Sunday, November 27, 2011

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said

As I suspect many other do, I often judge books by their covers. I'm not being metaphorical. When I'm browsing in a library or book store I'm prepared to overlook a dud cover if I've heard good things about a book or I already like the author. If, however, I'm flying blind then I'm more likely to pick up books with covers that interest me or convince me they're concealing the kind of novel I want to read.

With that in mind, I've been looking at different covers over the years used for one of my favourite Philip K Dick novels, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. The premise of the book is that insanely famous television star, Jason Taverner, wakes up one morning to find that nobody knows who he is. It's a great read and a classic of the genre but, seriously, the cover art that's been used over the years? Cracked. OUT.

Going only by the title (Dick is soooo good with the titles) and the cover art what the hell would I make of these if I stumbled across them for the first time?

A homoerotic look into the psychology of body building triplets as they struggle to get off the 'roids so they can join the police force, just like their father always wanted...

Jason Taverner was just another good looking cop who plays by his own rules until a chance encounter with the mob sends him fleeing to the Amalfi Coast where he goes deep under cover by becoming an art dealer. But he's about to find out you can't always outrun your enemies...

In which Jason Taverner is a banker hopelessly late for an important client meeting. CAN HE MAKE IT?...

Jason "Babyface" Taverner never wanted to be on the force. But when he gets sent undercover to investigate a series of attacks at the local high school and encounters the free spirited Kelly Ripper he's going to find out that some things are worth fighting for...

So I guess the police are the puppets... or are they the puppeteers? Can puppets feel pain? Let's find out...


Monday, November 21, 2011

Things I like Slightly More than My Job Tonight

My (still kinda new) pair of shoes, even though they don't go with anything.

My morning Epic Espresso soy mocha, even though it costs $6.70.

My afternoon diet coke.

The new Jeffrey Eugenides novel, The Marriage Plot.

Turning off the light at night when I'm really, really tired.

Waking up on a Saturday morning with nothing much to do.

The so-so couscous salad I had for lunch today.

Taking out the recycling bin.

Cleaning out the regular kitchen bin.

The super painful cut on my foot that I managed to get while (literally) running to be on time for my haircut at the weekend.

Having my wisdom teeth removed.

Token Smokin' Hottie (by proxy): Paul Newman

So I agree with more or less everything in this charming article on the lovely Paul Newman, and this bit made me laugh -
"Racing fast things, however, added the needed counter-point to Newman’s otherwise steady image. But just in case you thought he might be getting too wild, DON’T WORRY, he’s also making salad dressing. Yes, that big, broad, smiling face on your food items? That is an aging Paul Newman, so eager for you to make a Caesar Salad so that all proceeds can help ill children go to summer camp."
(The only part I disagree with is the two second throwaway reference slagging off X-Men: First Class, which I enjoyed thanks almost entirely to all the crazy hot Ho-Yay chemistry between James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender). But, yeah, Paul Newman. Faaaawk.

Reasons why I am madly in love with the new drama/soap/trashfest show, Revenge

1. It's (supposedly, anyway) based on Alenxander Dumas' awesome (though nuts long) novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.

2. As you might imagine from the above point, the main character is uh kind of a sociopath who pursues revenge at the expense of her own happiness.

3. Its supporting cast includes a skinny, shaggy-haired software billionaire who dresses like the preppiest prep you've ever met and utters this line - "I'm about a three on the Kinsey scale myself" - just before he totally nails some random scheming dude to get him onside/stop him from medding.

4. It's the soapiest show on TV right now and I mean that in a very good way. People scheme, other people die, mistresses get thrown off balconies and then creepily taken in to recuperate by the very people who (albeit unintentionally) were responsible for her getting thrown off the balcony in the first place. In short: IT'S AMAZING WHY AREN'T YOU WATCHING IT RIGHT NOW?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

For the love of... Annie Hall

It seems like kind of a cliche to list Woody Allen's 1977 film, Annie Hall, among my favourites. It's a critically beloved film, recognised by some as one of the great American movies, so I'm hardly breaking new ground. If I was smarter I'd say I enjoyed his earlier, more screwball/insane movies. I like his old stuff better than his new stuff etc. Actually I should be doubly embarassed because the only reason I got into Woody Allen in the first place was a boy: he was smart, bespectacled, older and more or less indifferent to me - with good cause. I was a dorky teenager sporting (at various times and - for a bad year or so - all at once) glasses, braces and orthodics. But he was always sweet to me and would chat about books, music and movies while I daydreamed about what our wedding would be like. So it was because of him (he was hugely into Woody Allen... he actually kinda looked a bit like Woody Allen) that I sat down one sleepy Saturday afternoon to watch Annie Hall.

I'm not sure what I expected: this object of my affection was a lot smarter than me and seemed so serious and bookish that I guess I was bracing myself for two hours of turgid screenplay I didn't understand, no plot and certainly no laughs. Instead I found... oh man, what did I find?

1. Happiness
This sounds like an aside but it's not: Antonia Quirke, in her very good novel Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers, said something true about Woody Allen and his ability to write happiness.
"Happiness in movies is a bit like love - the camera's always cutting away. You hardly ever get to see it. All you get those ultra-casual but ever so slightly speeded-up kitchen sequences over breakfast just before Harrison Ford's wife gets murdered by a terrorist or his kid gets crushed by a hit-and-run HGV. Instead we have happy montage sequences, like the one in Manhattan where Woody Allen dangles a hand into Central Park lake and comes up with an armful of muck. Woody was the master of these sequences. So happy they've been playing on the inside of millions of skulls for twenty years."
Quirke wasn't writing about Annie Hall in particular but she was so right: is there a better scene of what a happy relationship can look like than when he and Dianne Keaton are in the kitchen with the lobsters? Or any more depressing than when he tries to recreate it with another girl?

2. A Great Hook
Movies (and indeed books) are like relationships: if they're not great at the start I have no faith that they're going to get better and no enthusiasm to see if they do. I love the start of Annie Hall: not so much the flashback stuff but just that stupid joke he tells at the start and the way he rolls it all out there. It still draws me in, even when I know how it's going to end. The only one of his movie's that did it better was Manhattan and that was, you know, pretty fucking amazing.

3. Jokes
Before I got into Woody Allen I think I had a vague feeling that movies couldn't be serious AND have jokes. But Annie Hall is a serious movie, or at least it has something serious to say, and yet it's also really funny, just packed with one-liners I mostly missed the first time around and long dopey jokes that shouldn't work but somehow do.

4. Romance
Rom-coms these days are a pretty sad bunch. For every good romantic comedy I've seen I reckon I've seen five bad ones, or maybe two truly bad ones and three that just stopped short of making me want to stick a fork in my eye. For this reason I hesitate to call Annie Hall a romantic comedy but of course it is. And unlike the vast majority of bullshit rom-coms I see these days, Annie Hall makes the stakes feel both real and high. It even kinda made a love interest out of Woody. I... might not have thought that was possible. The scene on the balcony with the subtitles still holds up, I think, pretty damn well.

5. A Perfect Ending
I won't go into details, in case someone who reads this hasn't seen the movie but this is just perfectly done. Just like the starting sequence, it gets me every time.

The Angel and Devil on my Shoulders: A Conversation

Angel: You definitely do not need this beautiful, beautiful Cambridge Satchel Company satchel.

Devil: Don't you?

Angel: No. You have plenty of bags already, including a perfectly fetching black handbag that you only bought a year ago.

Devil: But do you have any... satchels?

Angel: Satchels are for uni students or pretentious wannabe writers who sit around in coffee shops ostentatiously scribbling in a notebook or tapping away on a laptop.

Devil: YOU could be one of those pretentious wannabe writers... if only you had this satchel.

Angel: Dude, that's not a good thing.

Devil: Isn't it?

Angel: Anyway, it's leather: you don't wear leather.

Devil: But, looked at another way leather could be the environmentally responsible option. You can buy a cheap synthetic bag every year, one that falls apart and will end up in landfill, or you can buy a handmade leather beauty like this and keep it forever.

Angel: Or you can use your perfectly fine existing bags and not buy a new bag at all.

Devil: But you can have these satchels embossed...

Angel: I really don't think... did you say embossed?

Devil: With one's initials. Or...

Angel: Or?

Devil: Or one's name.

Angel: You sure are saying 'one' a lot.

Devil: That's because I own a Cambridge Satchel Company satchel. You too could talk like this. If you owned a Cambridge Satchel Company satchel.

Angel: I.. you've beaten me.

Scenes from my street

Random dude walking past: Hey, how're you going?

Me (standing next to my car, clearing out glass from the window that some dicksnaps smashed in overnight): Oh, I'm doing great, obviously.

Random dude walking past: Yeah you're really living the dream.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is it me you're looking for?

So I don't usually just post links to other blogs but this is highly amusing.

The moment that just blew my mind

Watching the (thoroughly enjoyable) 2007 sci-fi movie, Sunshine, and thinking "hey that dude looks like a hot version of Chris 'I brought my own mic' Evans" before realising that, Holy Shit, that fucking IS Chris Evans.

Hey, what can I say: I live a simple life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An open letter to my new office neighbour

Let me start by saying that I know it's not your fault that you've been kicked out of your cushy office and moved to a cubicle directly opposite mine. I'm sure that sucks for you and you're miserable about it, although I'm happy to see you've managed to bring those blown up photos of your(?) cats along with you.

Let me continue by saying, however, that things cannot go on like this. I am not a hateful person but we've been neighbours for four days and already I hate you.

I take that back: hate is a strong word and I'm sure you're not hateable. If I'm honest, instead of being nasty, you seem harmless enough, even sweet, certainly friendly and well-intentioned if kind of... dumb. No, wait, I take that back too. I'm sorry, it's just that I've honestly never heard anyone call up the Coles information line to ask them how you can order Coles groceries online before.

My real problem, when I get down to it, is not so much the cat photos or the random calls or your voice (which is WEIRD by the way, I'm sorry if nobody's ever told you that) or even your perpetual snuffling. It's... the way you drink your coffee. Okay so I know that sounds like maybe I'm the one with the problem here but hear me out. It's not that you slurp it, or that you drink a lot of it or that I hate coffee. It's just that when you drink it you, for some reason I cannot fathom, feel compelled to stand up at your desk and stare directly at me across the aisle like you're staring into my soul.

Do you... think I don't notice a grown woman staring at me from three metres away? Or do you just... not care? What are you thinking about? Are you staring into space randomnly or staring at me in particular? Do I have lipstick on my teeth?

These are the kinds of questions I just can't afford to waste time thinking about. Yet these are the questions that have been plaguing me all week.

I'm not saying that I have all the answers or that I'm a perfect neighbour myself (I know the Phoenix ringtone gets on other peoples' nerves too, it's been brought to my attention). But what I am saying is this: sit the fuck down when you drink your fucking coffee or I'll throw it in your fucking face.

Your neighbour

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


So I've been a very slack blogger lately because I've been distracted by very dull, very unpleasant things, most of which centres around a bit of unwanted change that has been foistered upon me. Have I mentioned how much I hate change? I hate, hate, HATE it. I hate it like I hate.. well, let me see.... what DO I hate?

Not being able to sleep

The smell of seafood

Suped up ("souped up?") cars and the people who drive them


Tonic water

Laziness, especially my own

Unrequited love (well, come on)


The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul (otherwise known as Sunday evening, TM Douglas Adams)

Finishing a book you love



Pins and needles

February heat

Early nights

Not having a dishwasher


The novels of Dean Koontz

Summer TV

People who cut in line, particularly at bars


My hair

Coming home from an awful day to find no wine in the house

The dripping tap in my bathroom

People who walk across the road reaaaalllyy slowly

Drivers who don't indicate



The day after my birthday

Day-after drunken text remorse

And when you take all of that - the insomnia, the too-bitter drink, lying in bed trying not to hear the drip, the creepy, creepy, creepy crawling bugs and the loafing around listening to Elliot Smith and weeping in the bath - and it's still nothing compared to how much I hate change.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quiz Night Shame or Why I Should Probably Read More Thick Books

Questions I got right:
1. Recognising Eminem lyrics.
2. A question about The Sound of Music.

Questions I got wrong:
1. Flags of the world.
2. Everything else.