Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ask A Hyperactive Fat Kid

Dear Hyperactive Fat Kid,

On the weekend my partner and I went to the movies. I wanted to see
Monster-In-Law but he insisted we see Land of the Dead or Kung Fu Hustle. It seems like we always see the films he likes, and whenever I suggest something he complains until I give in. I love my partner, but I'd love him even more if we didn't have to see these horror and action movies all the time.

Marjorie

Hyperactive Fat Kid says: What? Are you out of your mind? Like, what's wrong with horror and action? Hang on. Mum! Mum! Where's the fuckin' Mars Bar Pods? Ah fuck, Jamie's eaten them all. Mum! Jamie's gone and eaten all the fuckin' Mars Bar Pods! Hang on, Marjorie, I'm on level three of Big Mutha Truckers 2. Ya got Xbox? Ah, shit. Where'd I put those Cheezels? Mum! Jamie's gone and eaten all the fuckin' Cheezels! Marjorie, you've got to step back and shit, all right? You don't want to see chick shit like Monster-In-Law. Man, I heard Land of the Dead is the sickest shit. Like, one scene you see this zombie like eating some guy's leg, and it looks real as! That reminds me: Mum! Jamie's gone and eaten all the fuckin' KFC! Mum!

Dear Hyperactive Fat Kid,


Recently I discovered some porn on the computer I share with my husband. It was nothing extreme, jus
t naked women, but all the same I am offended and distressed that he feels the need to view such material. I want to ask him about it, but I also don't want him to feel like I've been snooping. What should I do?

Carolyn

Hyperactive Fat Kid says: Hang on, I'm just about to kill some dude on Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance. Oh! Take that you fuck! Whoa, hold up a sec, Carolyn. Did you say porn? Have you seen this thing, right, where the chick has like a fake dick strapped on her and she puts it in the other chick? Matthew Kingston showed me on his computer last week, his brother downloaded it or something. Ah, shit. Mum! Mum! Jamie's taken my Fiddy CD! What? 50 Cent! Give it back you fuck! Carolyn, you need to step back and shit, all right? Porn is like a natural thing. Like, you should see the shit Jack Bristow brought to school on his fuckin' iRiver last week! With like one guy and ten chicks and shit. Fuck! Jamie, give me the fuckin' CD back! You don't even know his fuckin' songs, you cunt! Yeah, fuckin' "Candy Shop", but what else, you fuck? Mum!

Dear Hyperactive Fat Kid,


I'm sixteen and fairly good looking, but I'm really shy. There's a girl in my class called Sarah. I really like her, but I'm so nervous around girls, and I don't think she even knows I'm alive. I really want to ask her out, but I don't know how to go about it. What's your advice?


Jason

Hyperactive Fat Kid says: Did you fuckin' see that? Jamie - check this out. Watch me shoot this dude. Ha! See his fuckin' face explode! Sorry, Jason, just playing some Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2. Ya got Xbox? Je-sus! Mum! Mum! Jamie's taken the fuckin' instruction book. What? Well, how am I supposed to fuckin' figure out how to fire the stun grenade thing without the fuckin' instructions? Yeah, fuckin' genius, Mum. Jason, you need to step back and shit, and...hang on, Jason? Jason "Pigfuck" Jones? Is that you? Are you talking about Sarah Carter? "Poo-sags" Carter? Haha, you're a fuckin' dirty cunt! She's a scrag, man, a fuckin' scrag. Ah, shit, hang on a sec. Boom! Jamie, did ya see the dude's head? Like blown to fuckin' pieces. Where's the fruit 'n' nut block? Fuck it. Mum! Mum! Jamie's picking the fruit out of the fruit 'n' nut block and chuckin' it at me! Stop it ya fuckin' wanker! Mum!

*

This post is part of an occasional series in which old material is reposted in order to distract attention from the paucity of new material. It originally appeared on August 23, 2005, hence the dated film/video game references.

Page 123, sentence 5

Mr Lawrence has tagged me for a meme. I'm meant to take the nearest book, turn to page 123, and blog the fifth sentence. Well, the nearest book is Fowler's and the second nearest book is a thesaurus (I like to pretend I'm a writer), so I'll have to go for the third nearest book, which is The Victim by Saul Bellow:
He thought at first that it came from below, out of the subway.
This, of course, is from the scene in which our hero, Asa Leventhal, is engaged in hand-to-hand combat with an army of ninja zombies on the heat-drunk streets of NYC. Suddenly there comes a deafening roar, followed by a cacophony of shattering glass, torn tarmac and screaming. There is another roar, and Leventhal, with his fist submerged in the brain pulp of an undead warrior, ponders its source. "He thought at first that it came from below, out of the subway." But Leventhal is wrong - dead wrong. The roar sounds yet again, echoing through the deserted borough. Could it be? thinks Leventhal. After all this time, has my nemesis returned? Dispatching the remaining ninja zombies with a hand-grenade (Leventhal: "I gotta hand it to you guys..."), Leventhal feeds a fresh bullet belt into his waist-mounted machine gun and walks off into the night, towards the Empire State Building and his destiny.

Anyway, I don't want to spoil the book for you, but suffice it to say that The Victim is one of Bellow's best early works with a body count higher even than that of the hardcore splatter-fest that is The Adventures of Augie March.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mob Bores

I have been playing a game on Facebook called Mob Wars. In the game you are cast as a mobster (whom you are allowed to name - I am of course Mick Gateau) and the object is to commit crimes and buy weapons and property and basically move up the mob rankings. I started playing Mob Wars because a lot of people at my most recent work were into it and I thought it would be a good thing fitting-in-wise if I got into it too. (Imagined conversation: "Hey Tim! Nice going on Mob Wars last night!" "Thanks, [co-worker]. Nice going by you, too!" "Thanks!" "No worries!" "Man, even though you've only just started here, we're already getting along so well, and it's all thanks to Mob Wars!" "Let's be best friends!" "Ok!") Then I quit that job, but for some reason I didn't quit Mob Wars, which is strange because Mob Wars, deprived of its social lubrication role, is a waste of time.

Mob Wars takes the things that make the Grand Theft Auto games fun - shooting people, driving getaway cars, shooting more people - and replaces them with clicking on buttons. Let's say there's a mission in GTA that involves smuggling liquor. You will probably be required to drive around town to various locations, secure an appropriate vehicle, maybe shoot some people, drive to the pick-up location, collect the booze, drive it to its destination, and so on, all the while trying to avoid being arrested or killed. You might get involved in a high-speed car chase, or you might be ambushed by rival gangsters, or whatever. The point is that it requires time and effort to complete the mission, time and effort that is repaid by the sheer fun of playing the game and the satisfaction of completing the mission. Now let's say there's a similar mission in Mob Wars. You will be required to point your mouse cursor at the button labelled "Smuggle Liquor", click said button, and...that's it. Mission accomplished! Here's your reward, now wait an hour while your energy levels recover and you can click again!

The thing that kept me playing this futile and non-fun game was the cumulative nature of its "rewards". You start off scrounging together funds to buy basic weapons and properties but after a week or so you start raking in serious cash which you can use to buy better weapons and properties, and also to pay for hits on rival mobsters. Of course once I moved into these higher levels it became obvious that it was just as unsatisfying to click a button labelled "Place the hit" as it had been to click on a button labelled "Commit mugging". Who'd have thought? Well, not me, apparently.

Anyway, I have removed Mob Wars from my profile and I will now go back to ignoring Facebook. Somebody please let me know if there's ever anything worth doing on there.*

*Obviously there's Scrabulous, the crack-like Scrabble knock-off. I went cold turkey six months ago after a night spent dreaming about triple word scores and I ain't going back.

Old Guy From the Bill & Ted Movies Dies

The old guy who played Rufus in the Bill & Ted movies died the other day. He was 71, which is pretty old.

The old guy from the Bill & Ted movies rose to prominence when he appeared alongside Keanu Reeves and a young guy who wasn’t Keanu Reeves in the 1989 comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The old guy from the Bill & Ted movies cemented his position as the preeminent old guy from the Bill & Ted movies with an appearance two years later as Rufus in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

Eager to capitalise on his sudden fame, the old guy from the Bill & Ted movies took on a diverse range of roles, including the voice of Rufus in the animated series Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures.

Aside from his extensive Bill & Ted-related career, the old guy from the Bill & Ted movies is best known for his monologue “Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television”. David Mamet later adapted the seven words for the stage under the title Glengarry Glenn Ross.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Unemployed

Sterne seems to have turned into a tedious personal blog so I might as well report the tedious personal news that I have quit my job. It probably seems like I quit jobs every other week, but in fact I held my last permanent position for just short of eight years. Commitment is not, therefore, an issue, which is perhaps part of the problem – I don’t want to commit to something that I know in my guts isn’t right, or at least tolerable.

I had doubts about this latest job from day one. I held off judgment for the first week but by the start of my second week it was obvious that I’d made a big mistake in accepting the position. Fundamentally, the job wasn’t suited to my skills and temperament; if I’d stayed, I would have been miserable and unsatisfied and this would inevitably have shown through in my work. The shitty pay was another huge factor. Without going into specifics, the job was management level, which requires a certain sense of personal responsibility towards the organisation and a willingness to do extra, unpaid, work if necessary. All fine, but surely those expectations must be backed by a reasonable salary or else the incentive is simply not there. You’re not there for your health, as my dad would say.

Anyway, it was a shit decision to have to make – stay at job I don’t like or go back to being unemployed? Some choice! – but I’ve made it and I am once again unemployed. Here comes that gnawing sense of dread again…

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Y Kant Timi Read

In the first six months of 2005 I read thirty-four books.

In the first six months of 2006 I read thirty-five books.

In the first six months of 2007 I read thirty-nine books.

In the first five months and twelve days of 2008 I have read sixteen books.

The petrification of my mind continues apace.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just another tawdry Tuesday

There is a new edition out of a certain novel that features a quotation from my review of said novel on its back cover. The quotation is attributed to the publication, not me, but still I didn't expect to read my own words when I picked up the book. Sure, it's a minor thing, not like I wrote the book itself, but you've got to take your ego boosts where you find them.

In other news: I am getting over it. All of it.

I'm going to fricken write something soon, just you watch me!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dull personal blogging from a dull blogging person

I was reading my job description today and was struck by the ease with which the title "Job Description" could be replaced by "Description of Tim's Least Ideal Job Outside of Chicken Boning" without having to alter the contents of the piece in any way. Then I learned what my salary is and my heart sank to about ankle level. (I realise I ought to have asked about that during my interview/first week but I was far too nervous and eager to make a good impression to want to bring up something so vulgar as money.)

Honestly, in the past 18 months I have made nothing but bad decisions. Bad decisions about studying, bad decisions about work, and now I'm paying for them all and can't see a way out. Maybe writing misery guts posts bitching about how my determination to make life difficult and complicated makes life difficult and complicated will cheer me up!

...

...

Nope, still depressed. Oh well.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Me educated

I was astonished today to learn that Buckminster Fuller is not a brand of carpet.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bollardian

Meme Weaver

Och aye, I've been tagged! I did a variation of this meme in 2005 but I dinnae mind another bash.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

I was exactly one month away from becoming a dad. Contrary to my own expectations at the time I reckon I've been a pretty good one.

Five snacks I enjoy in a perfect non-weight-gaining world:

1. Beer

2-5 Four other kinds of beer

Five snacks I enjoy in the real world especially when I'm trying to be good:

1.
Chocolate (is this good or bad; I think it's very good)

2-5 Assorted fruit and veg, the occasional donut. I'm not big on non-chocolate snacks & desserts.

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Quit working. I know people say you'd miss it, but would you really?

2. Sit around listening to music, reading books and writing. (Not a massive lifestyle change.)

3. Rent city billboards and display eye-catching progressive/offensive-to-conservatives messages.

4. Ditto tv and radio advertising time.

5. I suppose I'd do some nice stuff for non-billionaire folk, give them jobs erecting billboards and the like.

Five jobs that I have had:

1. Shop assistant

2. Supermarket shelf-stacker

3. Telemarketer

4. Gardener

5. Book reviewer

Three of my habits:

1. Spending money

2. Selective neatness

3. Near-obsessive punctuality

Five places I have lived:

I have only lived in two houses, my parent's house and the one I'm in now, and they are both in the same suburb. We are moving soon, again within this suburb. I am boring.

No tags - the meme is yours if you want it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sickie: a live blogging extravaganza

I have a pain in the stomach, not of the gastroenteritis variety (so no need to wear gloves and a face mask while reading this, unless you really want to), more a cross between a stitch and the aftermath of a gut-targeting sucker punch. Is it stress? An alien fetus? Whatever: I have called in sick - not, I might add, an act that I take lightly - and have decided to liveblog my sickie experience. This post will either be updated throughout the day or deleted if I find something better to do. What fun!

10:07 Do people really understand/care what is happening on Lost? I lost (hey!) interest after the first series, but then the kind of drama I like is the kind that features, you know, drama as opposed to an endlessly drawn-out succession of hints, allusions, and reveals.

10:50 The latest Meanjin, Sophie Cunningham's first as editor, features not only &D but also Laura Carroll! Oh, and Beth Driscoll had an interesting piece on literary awards in the Oz a couple of a weeks ago. Then there's Allison Croggon's manifold activities, Kerryn Goldsworthy's ubiquitous intellect and insight, Ben. Harper's world tour... It's getting so you can hardly step out your front door without being confronted by the talents of one or another Sarsaparillian.

11:34 When Ten "relaunched" Neighbours last year it made a lot of noise about the show returning to traditional, family-oriented soap storylines, in contrast to the Dallas-in-Nunawading excesses of recent years. Obviously that quickly became boring (who'd have guessed?) and the absurd storylines are once again being piled on. In recent weeks we've seen: a young, adopted male character engaged in an affair with his allegedly hot aunt; the young, adopted male character's father being informed by his father (played none other than Tom from Home and Away!) that he too was adopted; the apparently adopted father of the adopted young male character confessing to, and being charged with, a murder that his adopted daughter in fact committed in self-defence because her date for the Year 12 formal tried to "force her" (a standard Neighbours euphemism); Dean Geyer joining the cast; Simone Buchanan joining the cast! (Could Nudge be next?); Paul (Stefan Dennis) turning evil again, despite having a brain tumour removed sometime last year which caused him to revert to his non-evil days circa 1987; Paul somehow managing, despite his manifest ogreishness, to carry on an affair with an attractive blonde half his age then being blackmailed over it by two separate parties, one of whom was demanding the idiotically precise figure of $12 400; an especially winsome and annoying teen having an all-out affair with her gormless English teacher, the latter ending up in the big house; Toadie returning from an overseas jaunt and announcing that he's planning on adopting an orphan, a la Brangalina; the adopted father of the adopted aunt-lover and date-murderer moonlighting as a school janitor in order to pay his mortgage, despite being a veterinarian (this is probably the most unlikely story of all given how much vets charge); plus many other stories I have either forgotten or missed.

11:39 Just realised that at 10:07 I indicated a somewhat elitist preference for good television drama over sensationalist trash, then not two hours later rattled off a list of recent Neighbours storylines with apparent delight at their populist inanity. I blame my blatant hypocrisy on the alien fetus that is even now brushing its five sets of teeth in anticipation of its gory birth.

13:08 Bored with this now. Almost wish I'd gone to work.

14:51 Back from the library where I saw the new Meanjin (Not For Loan, of course). David Nichols is in it too. I must buy a copy soon - there are people I sort of know in it!

14:55 Want a book about big penises? March into Angus & Robertson and order The Big Penis Book (nsfw).

15:13 I'd rather drink a glass of Alexander Downer's armpit juice than a Starbucks coffee, but I do think the (minor) fuss over Sonic Youth releasing a greatest hits comp through the chain is a a load. The band has been recording for freakin' Geffen/Universal for eighteen years so you'd have to conclude that either a) SY "sold out" a long time ago so the 'bucks connection is nothing to get het up about; or b) that a canny band like SY can operate within the corporate music world while retaining their integrity (witness, say, their last five albums, plus their SYR stuff, plus Thurston's and Lee's jams with Nels Cline, plus Free Kitten, plus...) in which case... the 'bucks connection is nothing to get het up about.

15:35 Is smoking sexy? I don't mean the smell, or the associated health problems, I just mean is smoking sometimes aesthetically pleasing? I think it is, although I hesitate to say so because we all know (rolls eyes) what the cigarette is meant to represent, and when you combine that with tobacco's well-known adverse physiological effects (although Joe Jackson reckons that's all a con) saying you find smoking attractive in any sense marks one as a sadist as well as a fetishist, a dreamer of death-phalli. I should say that I don't find smoking arousing, merely that a woman smoking can, on occasion, be pleasing to the eye.

Cor!

15:52 "Anybody’s music is made up of a lot of things that are not musical. Music is an attitude, a group of symbols of a way of life, whether you’re conscious of it or not… And of course, it naturally reflects the social and economic and educational attitudes of the players. And that’s why the fools don’t think I play jazz." - Cecil Taylor, quoted in Valerie Wilmer's As Serious As Your Life

16:03 The recent Sam Newman brouhaha sent me back to a short story I wrote about six years ago in which a Newman-esque character is undone by his on- and off-air misogyny and serial womanising. It's not an especially good story - too didactic, for one thing - but it has some ok bits. I like this scene:
Spike Taylor arched his back, grunted twice, and ejaculated into Marty Kane’s wife.
“Oh,” she said, “it’s over.”
“Yeah.” Spike grimaced and rubbed at his hips, causing great tremors to ripple through the varicose flesh of his upper thighs. “These fucking hips,” he said. Holly Kane sighed. She knew all about Spike’s fucking hips. The whole country knew about Spike’s fucking hips.
Soon after retiring from professional football, Spike had revealed in a newspaper interview that, sexually speaking, he could barely keep up with himself. The exact quote: “It’s my hips, they can’t keep up with my c***.” It was well known that Spike’s hips had been injured early in his playing career, but it wasn’t until he linked them to his sex life that they achieved minor celebrity status of their own.
Spike walked naked to the bathroom, and, leaving the door ajar, urinated noisily. When he’d finished, he sauntered back in, sat at the foot of the bed, and placed a paternal hand on his mistress’s foot.
“Christ,” he said, “I’m pissing like a cherub in a fountain. You feel like something to eat?”
Holly declined, sighed once more, rolled over to face the window. Spike threw on a dressing gown and headed downstairs to grab a snack.
Boris wandered in from the backyard, a great sagging rottweiler that Spike fed on whatever looked least appetizing at the back of the fridge. The dog was scrawny and wasted, its coat patchy and stinking. Spike barely gave Boris a thought, outside of the occasional episode of summary punishment when he came in late, drunk, and found it asleep on the good furniture. Boris, in return, loved Spike with all his dumb heart.
Gosh, I think the dog is meant as a metaphor for Spike's friends and public. Or perhaps that reading is completely unintentional, I can't remember.

19:46 Well this has been unexpectedly diverting and productive. I'm off to search for a reasonably priced copy of Irma Vep, a film I remember enjoying as a callow nineteen-or-so-year-old and that I suspect I would enjoy even more as a callow twenty-nine-year-old.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I have measured out my life with heaped teaspoons of Milo

Posting may be a bit light around here for the time being. I started my new job yesterday and it's pretty good as these things go but it's not going to leave much time for blogging. I'll just pop in when I can, say something stupid, then shuffle quietly off-stage again. Business as usual, then.

Reading: I can't decide if John Crowley's The Solitudes (aka Ægypt) is really good or unbearably wanky. My opinion changes from page to page, sometimes from paragraph to paragraph. Every time I'm on the verge of giving it up Crowley does something brilliant and I'm drawn in again. Frustrating yet fascinating. The book I read just before The Solitudes was Alasdair Gray's Poor Things which was brilliant all the way through.

Listening: unhealthy amounts of Bud Powell (allegedly as "research" for my piano novel); Beefheart; Dexys Midnight Runners; Light FM, a Christian radio station Belinda has inexplicably taken to.

What a life.