Thursday, December 31, 2009

Call of Duty 4 - Modern - a reveiw

I picked up Call of Duty 4 - Modern a couple of days ago, spending my Xssie pocket money on it as a present for moi. I deserve it.

Well, I don't. But still, me wantee.

Mr Lappy fortunately has a shit hot graphics card, sound card, and assorted other Laptop++ capability which means I can play it now.

So I also bought an optical mouse and keyboard to augment Mr Lappy, since playing a first person shooter with a trackpad and laptop keyboard would be next to impossible.

I liked the first two CoD's I have played. But the Modern ... wow. The graphics are incredible. Simply incredible. I felt like I was there. And I don't mind saying that on more than one occasion I have mashed the keypad in a frantic attempt to escape a grenade, or actually physically crouched down in my seat, or slanted to the side when attempting to evade enemy fire.

It's also incredibly frustrating when you get killed SO many times. I think if my avatars, or whatever the hell they're called by First Person Shooter Types, were cats (ie 9 lives), then I'd have burgled the life jar on each mission by more than one jar.

I've also found that my previous softly, softly approach of sneaking in a crouch or going the leopard crawl around the map is not as effective as enemies quickly learn where you are and chuck grenades at you or hose the location with bullets. Running from a grenade when crouching or lying down is hard for me. Basically you have to sprint from cover to cover then crouch, take out enemies, then repeat, and hope that the computer player allies that are coming with you have your three, six and nine.

Lots of fun. The graphics ... wow.

But I can't play it in large chunks. 20 minutes a go is about my limit. Otherwise I get the jitters.

A Dental Adventure

Away from home? In a house with a lot of other people? Is the communal bathroom's vanity festooned with a variety of different toothpastes and toothbrushes?

If so why not have yourself a merry little dental adventure and treat the array on offer like a ladies-bring-a-plate* potluck adventure. Is your offering the Colgate? Fuck that, try your brother's Sensodyne? How about that Chinglish covered tube the OS visitor brought to the table? The one that tastes almost completely unlike Strawberry, despite the confusing promises that it is indeed 'A sensation of mouth glow of the berry made of straw', or whatever the fuck the tube says.

Mmmmmm, differently clean.

Choosing a brush at random however might be a dental bridge (ho, ho) too far though, especially if you're sprung brush in mouth by the owner and you come to a comedically slow halt as you discover their presence and the expression on their face is dawning horror...

*When my mum came to the Southern Hemisphere as a Brit abroad, she was invited along to a lunch where the ladies were indeed asked to bring a plate. Which is exactly what she did. One, shiny, nothing on it plate... She also got thrown by 'See ya later' from an ex flatmate, and worried about the safety of said person when she didn't see them for a couple of weeks - given the 'see ya later' implied to mum either later that day, or the next.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Doesn't matter how old you get...

... you'll still be the child that "needs" a healthy dose of parenting.

Well, according to your parents at any rate.

I am in my late 30s. I have a child of my own that I am battling to raise in a decent, forthright manner. The important thing I've learned is to swallow any child induced rage, not shout, and basically do my best to present a loving, calm environment. I tell you what though, it's a tough gig at times. And this is at the two to three stage. I shudder to think what the teen years will be like. Will I have a party machine that's into the latest and greatest designer brain frying drugs? Or a sullen room-painting-black-teen that listens to Joy Division in the dark? Maybe I will luck out and get myself an awesome balanced teen that struggles with adolescence but conquers it in the end, and without the still-to-this-day-dealing-with damage I endured at that time.

But that ... that's a decade down the track. I'll talk to you about that then.

As for me. I am still getting parented.

It's my weight you see.

I am a large person. Morbidly obese. I don't wish I was that's for sure. Being fat has been a horrid curse on my self esteem ever since I porked during puberty, which is an especially fucked time to bloat given that girls go from yucky to smelling like fruit loops and being all delectable. Suffice to say, unlike Mick J, I did not actually get no girly action - on account of weirdness and being in the bottom tier of attractability.

I left my parent’s direct parenting orbit sometime in my early 20s – I think I was 24 when I departed my home town, having been out of the house for about three years before that in various group student style dwellings. And I admit, during that three years I got direct financial support – largely because my parents refused to sign the independence paperwork to allow me to claim Austudy before the age requirement of around 23 at the time, and they gave me the fiscal equivalent of what the government would have – with additional support now and then on top of that.

For that, I am grateful. They also helped out with loans now and then, especially for the deposit on our house, and we are gradually paying them back.

So big ups to the folks for that. For giving me love and support – a roof over my head – and the encouragement and financial backing to go to uni (though I could have done without the soft threats of being cut off if I failed).

But as my friend M in Canberra would say, that’s their job. Being a parent is doing those things they did. However, they did an awesome job. They gave me a thirst for knowledge, a love of books, a love of comedy, a love of music, and a sense of honour and justice and, above all, doing the right thing – even when doing the right thing is hard and lonely.

So there you go – morals, knowledge, support, love, comfort – pretty much all of the hierarchy of needs right down to the bottom tier of the pyramid.

Unfortunately they just can’t let the fact I am big in size go.

At Christmas, as I cleared away the pudding desert dish where the trifle had been served from, the passing comment was that it was likely I was going to clear it away ... into my gob. As irony would have it, I did – two days later when I had the skerrick of trifle left in the Tupperware container for breakfast. Yes, that’s right, breakfast. Not as a snack. Not as an idle consumption. As one of the holy food trinity that a stopped growing man needs. It was delish and I will not resile from my choice of two day old dessert remnants as the ripcord starter on my daily energy intake.


TheWife and the nieces made a lovely gingerbread house for Xmas. We had it as a table decoration. Naturally it’s now being noshed on. Tonight we had some for desert. As I pulled chucks of icing coated wall away and consumed it I couldn’t help notice the glaring being glared in my direction for my temerity of ingesting a sweet I clearly do not need. You know, on account of my weight.

I know I am fat. I know I am big. I also know that in addition to being weak willed around food – I am designed by evolution (yes, evolution – not creationism like that book in my parent’s bookshelf suggests is the case) to nosh tuck – and lots of it – when and whenever I can. As noted in a previous post 60% of the west have chubbed up in recent times – though I am definitely a representative of the curve down near the flat end for that. I also have genetics at play in my weight (my mum’s dad was a porky little man as well – who also went bald early on and had excessively awful abdominal pain issues). Hell, my mum was large sized most of her life – and really only dropped most of her weight after spending four weeks on a drip in hospital.

I am big and I don’t like it. I walk everyday to retard the slow growth in weight – having largely succeeded by the way – and rarely eat junk food. Most of my meals are not oversized. Sure, I have indulged in snacking these past few days but it is unrepresentative holiday snacking as opposed to the normal way I do my eating business.

So while over indulgence has a part to play, for varied reasons, so does lifestyle, career, cultural issues, genetics, and unlimited access to refined energy soaked food. Therefore, for the most part it’s not all down to my failing as a human being. That it’s just a weakness of will.

I love my parents. I think the job they did raising me was fantastic.

But you know what? I can do without the sideways glances, the sneering, the disapproving looks, the shaking of heads, and outright comments about my downing leftovers into my apparently over generous mouth, because it makes me think less of them and makes me question their feelings towards me.

I'm sure my parents love me, despite my size. But sometimes they can be real jerks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sherlock Holmes - the Guy Ritchie film

As parents of a two + year old, with a limited circle of would be babysitters to call on so we can go out, we rarely get to see movies.

The last movies we saw (two in a day to get our monies worth) was District 9 (Yay!) and GI Joe (Boo!).

Tonight, with theNoo safely asleep in bed, we left the monitor with my Brother and Auntie A and escaped downtown to see Sherlock Holmes - the Guy Ritchie interpretation.

It rawked. Great cinematography, great acting, great costumes, awesome script. If you're reduced to limited outings to see movies, then this is a good one to blow your limited outing on.

Kudos to all involved. Great stuff. I will get the DVD and I look forward to the sequel.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sl-e-e-e-e-p

When not constrained by the weird notions of the work day 9 to 5 requirement - which let's face it is SO last millennium - I tend to drift into my preferred sleeping pattern of 3 am til 11.

I've had this pattern since high school - which played merry hell on my horrid Saturday morning job down at the local fruit shop where I would spend four hours porting potatoes from a sack into two kilo bags whilst avoiding being stabbed by a homicidal co-worker who each week would proudly announce his new super car stereo would soon be installed which led to its name of Snuffleupagus since it never turned up.

Indeed, I was set for classes in Psychology when I went to uni except for the fact they were run at 9 am on a Monday. Fuck that, I did History and Comms instead.

So, away from work I have locked back into this pattern. Except instead of a horrid Saturday morning job influencing this, I have a seven day a week Noo problem.

TheWife and I take it in turns to sleep in when not at work - with the other on NooWatch - getting him up, changed, fed and keeping him gainfully entertained and away from the locality where the other parent is abed. It's a tough gig because he prefers the combined full parental unit so he's forever asking where Mum slash Dad is during the sleeping in phase.

Trouble is of course, his wake up time is between 630 and 730 - and he's in the same room with us while we're away and thus the at home system of letting him stay in his cot mumbling like a wino or singing to himself while we doze ourselves to awake status is denied.

This morning it was the dreaded 630 awake. I'd stayed up watching Spinning Boris - an excellent dramedy about Yeltsin's re-election from the perspective of his US sourced spin team - and playing Warlords. I then spent a good hour in bed trying to sleep.

So when I was on deck this morning I'd had about three hours or so of fairly shit sleep.

I was monged. Utterly rat-shitted. I drifted from room to room in his energetic wake, holding a tissue up in a vain attempt to clear away his excitedly dripping twin trails of snot. He tried to play "CARS?!" with me, and I made feeble attempts to comply. Fortunately I managed to get food into him - with the assist of Auntie A - and clear away his infamous Brekkie poo (he gets changed into a dry nappy when he's gotten up which he then soils with a two within an hour).

I have to admit in my head I was screaming tearfully to theWife entreating her to awake and save me. Finally she turned up around 930, freshly laundered and ready for the hand off. I gave a dot point account of theNoo status then returned to bed - hers because her single bed is better than mine - and crashed out until about 1 pm.

So here I am, alone in the house except for mum (who is playing freecell whilst sitting almost side-saddle on her mobility impaired scooter), eating toast slowly (on account of my surgery issues), and waiting for the return of kids and adults who went down town while I lay abed aslumber.

Sleep. Fuck me, it's important. And to the person who said 'sleep is for when you are dead' you obviously never had a child that you were in charge of wrangling.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Guess who's gone mobile?

We're away from home so we're using a travel cot. It collapses into a four foot by half a foot rectangle. By and large it gets the job done.

Well, it did.

TheNoo was born small for dates, just 41cm long and I think just over 2 kgs. He had no body fat to speak of - and his legs looked like a monkey's with his fatless thigh skin flaps.

So we haven't had to worry as much about stuff he could reach as other parents - or stuff he could climb and so forth.

Except where there's a will there's a way. That and he's smart and largely fearless - which is a horrid combo in these early years where you have to anticipate what he can potentially achieve when you're not there to look.

The cot has fallen victim to his motivation to get out. He can now get a leg over and throw himself on the ground.

So at night, if he wakes up screaming, it makes it exceptionally hard to do the controlled crying thing since he simply gets out of the cot, runs to the door, and starts whacking it while wailing his head off. It's only pure luck he hasn't worked out how the door handle works.

Last night was a shocker. In the end theWife had to stand over the cot and each time he stood up she laid him back down. It took about 40 minutes until he was too tired to keep trying. That was at 3 in the morning.

Don't get me wrong. As a proud parent of a child I think is smart - he may be average, I don't know - I get a buzz from seeing him develop, think, and achieve goals. It's just that the blow-back is things like Escape from Stalag Travel Cot...

Nul time

I love the time between Christmas and New Year. The public service mostly shuts down so we're all on leave. And chances are you're somewhere nice. So you're not working and ... it feels like you're just drifting lazily down the time stream. Almost like it doesn't count. Reading, eating, watching awesome teev, funny conversations with friends and family. drinking, chocolate and so forth. Great stuff.

Here's what I don't like.

The weight loss companies that prey on the self esteem of people like me.

I guess it's their prime time to advertise, what with New Year's around the corner and people making plans to deny themselves what makes them happy - even if it's temporary and unhealthy - because well ... it's unhealthy.

It's dumb. I don't mean trying to be healthier is dumb - clearly it's not. But it's so arbitrary to pick a day to start just because it's the start of the year.

I started walking once a day, rain, hail, shine etc, on June 6 in 2008. No date of significance. I just decided it had to be done. Even though most of the time, most of the time, I fucking hate it. But I do it because I have to do it. I weigh well into the morbid category - though I like to think I carry my weight well (as dopey as that sounds) - and I need to have at least 30 minutes of some sort of physical activity to balance out the fact that I am sedentary at work and in play.

Back to the ads.

Diets don't work. They don't. Chances are all the people that crank up for Nu-fit, Jenny Baxter, Betty Craig, Dr Tom and all that assorted crap are going to either give up, or will succeed ... but put it back in a couple of years. Because they think the fix they have chosen is temporary - and once they get there they can well do what they do.

But they can't. If you want to have a slimmer bod, you have to exercise and basically change the way you eat for good. I've got the first part at least mostly locked in - exercising - except that's 5% of the job. It's the changing the way I eat. Not pre-prepared meals. Not substitute powders. Not throwing carbs in the bin. Just eating less, and eating well.

That's the hardest part of it.

The west is soaked in food. Processed, high energy food. 60% of us are overweight because of the nature of work being not physical for most - yummy calf muscle owning tradies aside - and because we have access to this delicious food, as much as we want to eat if we want to.

We're surrounded by food. Consoled by food. Cheered by food. Hell, we celebrate key moments with food - and the mundane like watching teev.

Weight loss companies make their money off the sweaty backs off the fat. I hope they rot in hell.

And for those people that think making comments about weight or intake by your loved ones - you're not helping at all. You're just reminding them that everyday they fail.

But for those people, those one in two hundred that change their body shape from obese to normal - and keep that way - to you formerly fat I doff my hat. Because you have succeeded where 199 before you did not.

Cluedo was my Everest

I love playing games. Case in point - I still play D&D in my late 30s.

But one game in particular was my Everest. My K2. My insert-hard-to-climb-mountain here.

That game was Cluedo. Until recently, of my twenty or so attempts at the game, I'd won just once.

The nieces got Cluedo Junior for Xmas - which is a slight variant on the main game in that there's no cards (you look under bases for playing pieces), and instead of a J'Accuse to determine who did in the Bod and how slash where to his corpse it's finding out who noshed the cake, what they drank it down with, and the time this sorry cake snaffling event took place.

Of the two games I have played post birthing of the game from the Christmas cave, I have won both.

My Cluedo Everest has been conquered.

Though I do have to admit my success would not have been possible were it not for said nieces who have an appalling ability to practice opsec with their clue recording sheets...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mid match pressie opening review

This is a bit of sneaky live blogging - the fam is in the lounge opening pressies - but I just have to mention this.

I hate Lofty from Bob the Builder. The reason being that when theNoo became obsessed by Bob, the only ep we had was one where Lofty was the focus. His high pitched whining shits me.

Bod and fam (my brother) got theNoo a present.

A talking Lofty.


J came up to me and solemly stated the following.

'Suffer the Lofty that talks.'

Pwned by a 10 year old. Gold.

Mikey nearly has a protest

My dad is religious. A believer. Raised in the old school (public school) environment of Anglicanism, he's even a member of his local Cathedral choir.

So every year, if we're in town for it, use brothers will go watch. Our belief systems differ to Dad's, but we're for him. We're kind of like the hard friends of Andy from Extras when they go see him in the Sir Ian gay play.

This year I was sorely tempted to zone out of the sermon time via the means of my Mp3. I had Beethoven Symphony 2 all cued and figured that would be just the thing to drown out the almost certain talk about I am a bad person / TV is bad / you can't have Christmas without Christ. Fortunately my brother convinced me that was probably a bad idea, indeed, as was my backup plan of simply walking out during the sermon then coming back for the music part.

I think my militancy over this has been increased from reading Dawkins (see books read list). But I also have a fierce dislike of hearing people pontificating and telling me stuff I don't want to hear. Not stuff I need to hear, but don't want to. But coming from a position I fundamentally disagree with - institutionalised homophobia and misogyny - and saying stuff that I basically find disagreeable.

Last night the Chocolate wheel of Xmas Sermon dot points landed on Christ is for Christmas. I did have a wry smile when I heard him say that even Athiests, except the hard core a bridge too far kind, celebrated Christmas - then correctly said that of course their view of Christmas was different to his. Less of the Christ part and more of the goodwill basking in the company of others type.

I did indeed zone out, tempted as I was to stare forward with an upraised left fist leftist salute going, and instead I read the bible. The first reading was Paul's letter to Titus ("T-i-t-i-a-n, honest to god, Titian"). Verses 11-13.

Here it is, from da web.

11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

Noice, and entirely appropriate for the season about the message of Christ has come.

Here's the part of the letter that was not read which preceded the above.

1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.
2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;
7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,
8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
9Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

Yep, good advice for all. Women - shut your yap and get me my breakfast. And you, slave, get on your hands and feet. Why should I spend good money on tables when I have men standing idle?

Don't get me wrong. The central message of Christ, of "do good, be just" is a great message. But it doesn't have to be from him to be a great message, and if not from him it doesn't come loaded with all that ... crud from the past about patriarchal attitudes to the fairer sex (which is a patriarchal thing to say) and upper class attitudes to the labour market.

Merry Christmas to all, and peace to all men ... and women and slaves.

PS My dad just came in and said I was having a 'Busman's holiday' because I spend all week using computers, come here, and do the same. I responded. 'What can I say? I write.' Hah, take that. I just wish I had a beret on when I said it, was packing a goatee on the lower chin, ended my response with the word "man", then brought out my bongo for some beat smackdown.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chain Store vs the high street

Attention major retail chain. Where the fuck do you get off trying to pass off $80 as the cheapest cable you're going to find in town where the poky computer shop on the high street retails the same capability for around one third of that? Seriously? Try some sensible fucking customer service.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tummy zombies

TheNoo likes to show off his tummy. So he will tuck his shirt under his chin, then walk around saying "TUMMY" loudly to one and all. Then, sometimes, he combines this with a bit of chasie action, and demands the person chasing him (usually me) likewise goes the shirt under chin tuck tummy reveal.

So there we were, running around my parent's house shouting TUMMY ... whereupon the nieces joined in. I remarked it was like we were zombies and within seconds S had her arms out in zombie mode and lurched along, intoning 'TUMMMMEEEEE' in a zombie voice.

Gold.

Nerd Sign #21

Usul, we have wormsign the likes of which even God has never seen - Dune.

You know you're a nerd when you leave a EXCEL spreadsheet random dice generator on your parent's PC on the off chance you may need it when you're staying with them.

And I did need it! I had to do some random city encounters, and weather generation for sea voyages and ... and ... so forth.

Cough ... cough-cough.

Be it ever so humble

So here I am, back in my old home town for Xmas. It's weird being back - and I am sure I blogged a similar thought stream previously on this. You get amazed by different stores to the ones that were there the previous year, or coo at the new buildings that have been put up, but still find comfort in all that remains the same since last time you were “home”.

The weird thing is I've been in Canberra as an adult since 1996, and I still regard my hometown - which wasn't even my hometown until I was 8 - as my hometown. I think it’s something to do with your formative years as to where you feel the most at home.

The trip up was okay. We stayed with my sister in law and her family on the way up - which was surprisingly good. Had a nice dinner - I slept on the couch due to severe wind pain - but got to sleep away the pain the next morning when they went to the park.

The drive to my hometown from Sydney went okay - apart from a lid on a bottle of juice not being tightened on properly (and attention non parents - you'd be surprised how often it happens that a lid that seems to be on is not in fact on) which soaked theNoo. That and the being tailgated by a semi-trailer. If I'd kissed our brakes a touch he would have power driven us off the road for sure.

Grr.

I'm staying in my old room - in my old bed no less - the room having two single beds. That's a little weird. I think I last lived in this room in a between flats at uni experience back in 1993. The puffy Starwars stickers that last decorated my bed head long since fallen off.

It’s nice to be on an official big break from work. The year was a stressful one, that's for sure. More downs than ups - but the ups were definite ups. TheNoo is a fantastic up - except when he has one of those epileptic fit style full body tantrums that last 40 minutes.

Today I was sitting in the front passenger seat holding him, as he screamed and writhed in a mega-fritz. It was beyond stressful and it put me in mind of that horrid time I tried to fly alone with him to meet theWife in another town. Hands down the worst tanty he’s thrown in months.

Of course, once he calmed down he was fine, and a pleasant little man to be around. But it’s weird as an adult dealing with someone who can have these schizoid moments of pure inarticulate passionate rage for no real reason … then, become like the calm after the storm, and are placid and agreeable once more. I tell you what, there’s a market out there for a safe-to-use throat spray that can render someone’s voice mute for a while given the sheer assault on your eardrums from a tantrum – especially when confined in a car.

It took me ages to snap out of the funk I had from the tantrum enduring experience, and I admit I said a couple of times ‘I do not like you when you do this’. And he’s like two point five for fuck’s sake – like he has any control over himself when he’s in the T zone. I was apparently a shocker as a kid so it’s likely he got that from me.

My brother and his family have made it in from overseas. Aw, so good to be back together again. I miss them like crazy – though their OS experience is an absolute blast for them – it sucks they’re so far away. I love my clever, funny, kooky, insanely smart nieces to pieces and it’s so, so nice to bathe in their company once more. And a boon for theNoo as he’s now old enough to play with them – and they’re young enough to take a genuine interest in his happiness and want to play with him, read him stories, take him for walks and all of that.

I do wish however I could take back the Fox Po I dropped when my awesome sister in law said she’d been working as a part time librarian for an infants school and I blurted out ‘what, so like you have to re-shelve Spot books and assorted other and de-tangle their flaps?’ Because that’s all a librarian does: shelve books. They don’t run classes, organize events / costumes / themes and basically create an environment of wonder, joy and sheer delight.

Fortunately she forgave me and let me eat most of her duty-free jaffas as we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – hands down one of the best Christmas themed movies ever made.

Have a great xmas lads. Mine's already shaping up to be awesome. Thanks Xmas spirit!

But, er, but don't worry too much about the myrrh next time...*

*Tantrums

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A whitman's sampler

The other day I had 4th movement / 9th symphony Beet style cranking out on the car stereo. It had finally reached the thunderous Ode to Joy bit when up in the distance I noticed a long strip of plastic had wrapped around a tree like a scarf, its ends whipping in the strong wind. That, combined with the music as I passed, made for a bliss inducing scene. Aw. Noice.

Of course real life was a total rip off of the plastic bag in the wind scene from American Beauty. God real life, be original.

I discovered there is another plank of things not to discuss at dinner, in addition to politics and religion - mainly because it seems to be a fusion of the two. Climate Change. I was at a lunch and I mocked Pell's stance on Climate Change as being some sort of leftist hoax. The very senior person next to me said he agreed with Pell and until someone put the evidence in front of him he was skeptical. WTF? I decided rather than to press the point on what I felt, and how Pell was wrong about this as he was about so many things - gays, abortion, women priests and the wearing of pants - that I would www dot zip it dot com dot org lest I say something I regretted. Which given I had not one, but three shandies under my belt, was a hard thing to do!

At the secret santa I put in two presents. You're only supposed to put in one. I thought on a whim I would insert a story where the hero was the person receiving it and that the story would be non gender and non preferred-gender-to-pleasure-in specific. Noice right? Indeed on the day it seemed we were one pressie short and that I had saved the day with my story.

Turns out that was a neddy no. We were actually two pressies over. I'd thrown the count out and, as someone pointed out, the person who got my back up secret santa present of a story didn't get a proper present. Yes, that's right. My awesome story, which I admit I wrote that morning, was considered a sub par gift - despite its being awesome - and the maximum value of the presents was $10. So there you have it. An original Mikey tale is worth less than $10. I feel like that street writer busker in Sydney whose shtick is to craft tales for random passers by in under 30 minutes.

In our secret santa, you got a number in a random draw which then indicated when you got to pick a present from under the tree (which were wrapped, so there was no way telling what it was). You'd think it have been quicker just to go around with a sack with someone just handing them out at random - but apparently this was more fun.

I saw a plain large envelope. I didn't really care about the presents - so not that fussed - and it seemed the most plain and unpromising. So I did the world a favour and selected it. Inside was another envelope. In that another, and so forth and so on. In the end the nesting dolls of envelopes was about seven, and the present at the heart of this paper protection was a nest of scratchies. Which I enjoyed getting because of that sweet momentary fantasy of actually winning a chunk of cash.

As a throw away line, having been an admin type in my past and knowing such things, I commented that the giver of the scratchies had spent more money in regards to the envelopes than he did for the scratchies themselves. Which was true-ish in that the average unit price for an envelope as used by Her Majesty's Government Service is around $0.71.

But - the envelopes were not used. The person had not gummed them. So in reality, no cost to the government at all. Little did I realise the giver had a fractious relationship with their boss and their boss was aware of what they'd done and apparently gave them a serve. Seriously, gave them a fucking serve for daring to temp use fucking envelopes. What a complete total and utter bah humbug of a low fucking act at Christmas time.

Honestly some people just do not get into the spirit of living in a harmonious workplace.

Needless to say some groveling was needed to the secret santa organiser, whose brain was broken by the fact there were two presents left over (my not having said anything at the time), and a hearty sorry to my giver of scratchies whose Scrooge McUnpleasant of a boss had used their sullying a stack of envelopes as a means to make them feel like shit.

I bought them Krispy Kreme donuts.

Nothing says sorry like a sugar delivery system.

That's it from me for a few days - not that anyone reads this anymore because they've all fucked off to Facebook because they can see how fat and bald everyone got since high-school and play mentally challenged high school style games of half whispered teaser comments, and snarky crap about relationships and so forth, instead of shouting angrily into the night about how fucked some things are, like here in blog land.

Have a good Xssie peeps. Catch you on the flippers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Glen 20

What ... happened to the other 19?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lucked out

Work is a bit of a Summerthon wheel. Most of the slivers are shitty prizes, and it's rare that you get the actual kewl segment of $30 worth of chocolate. So too is the workplace in that, like family, you end up having to interact with people through circumstance as opposed to choice and it's rare to work with those you wouldn't mine hanging with outside of work. Unless you have one of those rare careers where you are doing exactly what you want to do and your co-workers share the love.

I've been a public servant - my core accidental career choice - for over a decade now. I've been pretty lucky too in that most of the people I've worked with have been decent, intelligent, interesting types. But would I socialize with them if I didn't have to? Probably not.

In my first year in I remember I once got incredibly blotto and bandied around the C word a little too frenetically at a social gathering, and got a 'er steady on mate' from my boss - who I now outrank. Go me. But, by and large, they mostly blow chunks. Now and then, like I said, you luck out and meet people that you think are the shizzle and you enjoy hanging out with post work. These are rare people indeed. The sort of people you can rely on to, maybe not so much help you bundle the dead hooker into the boot of you car, but will cut you free from the ring-pull of the Diet Coke can you snagged your mo in.

The other day I had our workplace Xmas lunch. Fortunately the powers that be declared that we could flex off the arvo for those that wanted to kick on with drinkies.

I had a leave-pass from theWife, and armed with a month's worth of pocket money I planned to party on broad-way style.

Party on I did. With a bunch of delightful people. Hilarious conversations about death songs, ie the song that will ring out as you're lowered into the crisper most mortem (mine is Staying Alive); funny discussions about kids ("bath poos!"), and teasing of the new recently from blighty co-worker and her obvious love for Home and Away. I also discovered my over the partition neighbour is a hard core leftie whose rage against the right is hot and knowledgeable.

I've been working with these lads for nearly a year and it's the first time I actually got almost fubar drunk with them. And I had an absolute blast - we even had a crawl in that by the time I left it was establishment three I had been drinking in.

I totally scored the chocolate segment on that one.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

... Mainstream ...

The Tonester has unveiled his cabinet. Returned from the death of the back benches are Kevin "Legohead" Andrews, Phillip "Nail 'em up I say" Ruddock, and Bronwyn "Burkas hold Bombs" Bishop.

Nice choices Abbott. Seriously.

Annabel Crabb's report of yesterday is a good snapshot of how it went down. She quotes the Tonester on Late Line.

But Mr Abbott, speaking on ABC's Lateline last night, insisted that he wanted an aggressive team.

"What I wanted, Tony, was a frontbench that was going to take the fight to the Government," he told host Tony Jones.

"What I wanted was a frontbench that was going to make a contest of the next election. Not from the right, not from the left, but from the mainstream.

"A frontbench that was going to articulate mainstream concerns about the new emissions tax, about the interest rate rises, about the loss of control of our borders, about all the broken promises of Mr Rudd. That's what I wanted and I tell you what, I've got a pretty feisty team."

Seriously. That's right kids. Abbott has a front bench that represents ... the mainstream.

Ahahahahahahaha.

Gold, baby, gold.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Aw man

I am a foot picker.

This is not a boast. This is more along the lines of the at-the-podium confessional at insert-support-system-here group modelled after AA.

Much like other segments of life, if you're not part of it - you don't get it. Trekkies, scale-model enthusiasts, dwarf plant fanciers. All of that. If you're outside the Venn sliver you look upon it as weird and unseemly.

I admit - it's a bad habit. I try and not do it. But yes, there is on occasion, a sense of satisfaction - of mission accomplished - as you carefully pull off a layer of skin that could readily be tattooed and used as a postage stamp because of its size.

I also tend to pull of my toenails. No, it's not with pliers in some sort of solo Cold War interrogation fantasy. It's because they grow weird and snag on my socks. And they come off with a light tug. For the most part, if you saw my naked feet with the divots where nails should be - inc the big toe beds - I suspect you'd throw up in your mouth a little.

I pick - and I bleed.

The bleeding is a bit of a hazard I admit. Unless you take out a nail you don't have a gusher. You just get a little patina of blood on your finger tips and around the site of the extraction where a skin layer removed was a layer too far.

Post event I will wash my hands, curse my stupidity for the picking, put on a bandaid and try and not let my fingers wander down that part of foot town for a revisiting.

That sounds like a fetish movie - Foot Town: The Revisiting.

Last night I couldn't sleep for gut and wind pain. Plus I'd had a dabble in my footsies, yanked a nail, and got a little bit of blood on my finger tips.

Since I was up, and hurting, I decided to have some ice-cream. I went and grabbed a cup and dropped a couple of scoops in.

I went to pick up my prize, and wander down the end room to eat it as I delved into the latest issue of Time, when I noticed something - that during the ice-cream dropping into the cup I must have scrapped my finger tips across the surface at some point.

Yep. I'd had blood ... on my ice-cream.

There was only one thing for it. It had to go. So I quickly scrapped the bloodied bit off with my spoon.

Now logically I should have dumped it in the plug well of the sink. But, I was in pain, not thinking straight, and at some point that logic train had left the station.

I ate it.

True story. I bled on my ice-cream, then I ate it.

But, what's the bet, out in cyber-land, there's a p0rn site for people that eat ice-cream with blood on it.

This macabre tale was brought to you by Harrangueman.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Denied!

TheWife - 'Hey, your beard and mo is looking really blond at the moment.'

Me (eagerly) - 'Does this mean I could be a blond Bond?'

TheWife - 'No.'

Not a blond Bond?! - Denied!

Then she hid in the bedroom because I farted and when I tried to go in she pushed me into the toilet opposite and demanded I void my bowels.

Correct me if I am wrong ... but I don't think these are the actions of a supportive spouse.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Some numbers - and an Xmas unmiracle

Average lifespan for an Australian male: 73

Average number of gifts given each year at Xmas: About six (based on the UK average spent of $AUS640 divided by the Xmas present average of $AUS110 for a present from a quick googling)

Assuming proper present giving - as opposed to shitty made in craft count down to the end of the year pointless busy work at school efforts - starts around 14, when you have access to funds, so 73 minus 14 is 59. So 59 years of present giving.

59*6 = 354

Assuming 50% are wrapped, the remainder handed over in gift-bags, or even greenbags), then total Xmas presents wrapped in a lifetime = 177

Which means, factoring in the 30 seconds to perform said task, on my deathbed I will have spent ONE HOUR AND TWENTY EIGHT POINT FIVE MINUTES OF MY FUCKING LIFE TRYING TO FIND THE FUCKING END OF THE FUCKING TAPE.

By the way apparently this economist proved that, given the average person undervalues a present received by 10% to 33%, then for the most bang for your buck in Xmas pressie giving, the best present is ... actual cash.

Nice one mimo - what a complete Bah Humbug.

Pipe glare

The other day, whilst on my vigorous constitutional around the buildings near my walk, I passed a man in his 40's. He was outside, enjoying a smoke.

The number of smokers has, fortunately, declined since I've been in the workforce - these poor huddled souls exiled to the fresh air (the irony) to ply their dirty, dirty habit. So they're a normal sight outside offices - and typically congregate in the same area. At mine it's the under the building carpark. Here, this dude had been sent to smoke out the front of his office.

This man was unusual however in that he was smoking a pipe. A proper pipe - not a mini beatnik beret clad mul pipe. An actually tobacco with a bowl and stem pipe.

I smiled wryly as I passed him and received in return a glare. I'd say as an idiosyncratic smoker, he'd get a lot of people wry smiling at him. Still that's what you get for idiosyncratic smoking.

How do you even migrate to pipe smoking anyway? It's not like Tobacco companies load popular culture with kewl imagery of celebs chuffing away on pipes. 14 year olds don't flog their parent's pipe for a quick durry with their mates down the bike-track.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A free speech conundrum

I am all for free speech - the only speech that should be controlled is that which calls for the violent deaths of lots of people for an ideological purpose.

But I'd be willing to revise my opinions on the freedom of speech when it comes to the hijacking of beautiful soul enriching, inspiring music - the sort of music that makes you feel alive and glad to be so - by fucking souless advertising fucktards.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 is one of the all time greatest symphonies to ever grace this planet. And, at some point, an alien race will encounter it drifting through the ether and wonder at how something so beautiful can ever be written and played.

It does not deserve to be the backing fucking muzak for Uncle Tobys welcoming Cheerios to their branding family.

Maybe some sort of committee that can vet music for its commercial adaptation? I'd support that.

Do yourself a favour and check out Mark Steel's lecture on Beethoven - which inspired me to go and get No's 5 and 6 - and I will add no 9 to my collection the next time I go to JBs.

NSW Politics - new premier

So NSW has a new premier (cue Sale of the Century music when they go scope out the prizes).

It's a she - awesome - Kristina Keneally- who is a vivacious American-accented 40 year old.

What the?!

Seriously, the NSW ALP is starting to resemble a game of whac-a-mole.

In the same way I felt sorry for Mal Turnbull, I also feel sorry for Rees (the loser). He may have gotten the job in a complicated non election tested way - but given all his limitations he seemed to have given a red-hot go like he promised to do, and his main mistake was rolling a pair of power brokers who - from this member's perspective at least - seemed more interested in politicing than actually managing the state.

Nice one guys. Way to make the almost certain years in the wilderness next election that much longer.

Resistance from the noodlet

Toddlers are proto-protesters. They're often mad as hell and not going to take it any more. They are also not afraid to lash out physically when they're pissed off. The running from up over the head slap - or the cycling kicking when lying down - which for dads attempting the change is a risk of a foot meets the place where the toddler ultimately got their start from.

The other classic is the rigid body. You go to pick them up - or put them in their child's car-seat - and they arch their back and go fully rigid like a spangly magician's assistant doing the lying horizontal between two chairs trick.

It's highly irritating - and you worry when you gently push on their damn to de-rigid that they're not going to like it.

It must be hard being a toddler. You can't express yourself verbally, you're 99% Id, you're short and unable to get places you want to, your dexterity isn't great, and you have to put up with patronising TV and books about manners and saying sorry and shit.

I can fully see it. However I am afraid my son, who has been accused of being a "ring leader" by carers in the past, is going to hold impromptu 'how to resist' lessons for the other kidlets and attract the attention of the authorities.

Hmmm ... in retrospect this probably explains the song he sang last night of 'hey hey, ho ho, 730 bedtime has got to go...'

Thursday, December 03, 2009

More man to love, baby

It's December. Which means it's "prepare to recharge your calendar" season. You see in the public service some of us use desktop calendars - that have a single page for each day which faces the reverse of the previous day with the month by day and number and the surrounding months below that.

I used to pooh pooh the desk calendar. But, for some reason, when I got traded* to the new part of the org - I started using them.

The call went out to come to the EA's desk to grab your 2010 recharge. I offered to grab my desk neighbour L's pack too.

The shirt I had on had two top pockets. A recharge sat neatly in each pocket.

It made me look like I had tits.

So ... when I closed on L's desk I started shaking my recharge boozies side to side and did a bit of a step dance as I approached her, sexing up my display, then demanded she reach up and retrieve her one from my right "tit".

A steely glare was returned to such a suggestion ... so, faux shame faced, I handed it over.

Anyway, it seems, much like Bart Simpson, the art of erotic man dancing is not a good career choice for me - as I lack both a hard oilable bod to entice the ladies, and any semblance of rhythm to make them moist like cake in their lovely lady parts.

*
Traded of course implies some value went the other way ... it didn't ... so it's more correct to say I was transferred because they didn't think what I did should be done by their area ...

A Letterman moment in my own home

You kids (and your music) are probably too young to remember when David Letterman hosted the Oscars. From memory it was about 1998. Let me check wiki ... 1994. There you go then.

Letterman famously bombed the role as host. Though I personally thought he was one of the best hosts evah! He made a typically mostly boring night marginally less boring. The audience, pimped and pampered and festooned with $US40,000 gift bags were not in the mindset to appreciate his humorous antics.

In fact, allow me to quote the wiki for the 67th academy awards.

The ceremony is perhaps best remembered for Letterman's performance as the host. Although some thought of him as different but good, most critics labelled his performance as terrible and vowed for him never to host the Oscars again. This negative criticism arose from Letterman's absurdist brand of comedy, and it would lead to Late Show with David Letterman losing in the ratings to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno by the summer of 1995.Letterman seems to have a sense of humor about it, however, because around Academy Award season he frequently references his lackluster appearance at the Academy awards on his show in a humorous tone.

One of his bits was to point at Uma Thurman and shout 'UMA!' Then, point at Oprah Winfrey and shout 'OPRAH'

Admittedly ... this went on for some time. It only got a mild laugh ripple when he first dropped it on the audience. By the fifth cycle it was wearing thin and getting a tad cringy.

Last night I had the happy task of wrangling theNoo for bed with theWife at a surprise birthday party (guest, obviously, not as the subject). As part of his routine he's allowed to choose a book for us to read as he stands up in his cot.

He chose an alphabet flip book. The book has a spray of 'starting with that letter' pics, some of them obscured by flaps. On the last double pages the letter X had an Ox under the flap. The Y had a Yak (though personally I think the use of Ox for X is a massive cheat).

TheNoo flipped open the Ox flap. I said 'OX!'

He tittered.

He then flipped open the Yak flap. 'YAK!' I semi-shouted.

He giggled.

He opened up Ox again - 'OX'.

More giggling, then back opened was Yak. 'YAK'

Howls of laughter.

This went on for fully five minutes until tears were smarting in the corners of his eyes at the hilarity of a conjoined OX-YAK riff.

This morning, I reminded him about it. So now he's running around shouting OX at the top of his voice and expecting a can-I-hear-a YAK! back.

Aw. He's such a funny little man in what he finds funny.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Abbott rolls Turnbull

Basically, this whole Abbott now Liberal leader debacle is best summed up with four simple characters of a W, a T, an F, and a ?

But, I am a politics nerd, and I feel I need to make three points at least.

First up you need to know Turnbull lost 41 to 42.

A) How funny is it that in parliament they have a system where when one person can't vote, an opposing number agrees not to vote so the absence of a key player is taken into account. But, in the Liberal party, if one of their members can't make a party room vote - and they're medically unable to do so - they are not allowed to indicate a vote by phone or by a proxy. Fran Bailey, almost certain to have backed Turnbull, was not present due to medical reasons.

B) The two by-elections held on the 5th of December apparently would have almost certainly elected Liberals (given the ALP wasn't running someone and the Greens are the only real opposition), and both candidates were Turnbull supporting types (youthful progressive moderate Liberals as opposed to the reverse Chicken Little climate change denying types that have bolted themselves to the furniture in the Abbott camp). If Turnbull had delayed the spill vote by a week ... he would have won.

C) Someone voted informally - and their ballot was not counted. Apparently they simply wrote "No". Which to me indicates the mentality of a whiny spoiled child that didn't want to vote for the two options presented. That voter just changed the course of Australian politics. He or she is the Oz equivalent of a human hanging chad. Actually, that's not true, since the "No" could not be determined as backing either way instead of obviously for Gore but lightly spoiled by a processing area. That was more the equivalent of someone drawing a big cock on a ballot paper and writing 'fuk da po-lease' above it.

Wow. What a day.

But ... got to say. Big ups to Turnbull for trying the crash or crash through on climate change. What a shame that he wasn't able to crash through the dense layers of science denying deluded big business suckling at the teat almost crazed ideologues that infest his party like a gang of under the fridge roaches in a student's house.

Crikey have suggested there's a chance Turnbull may even say 'two fingers to you', take his bat and ball, and fuck off and start his own party.

He would do me, and the rest of the Futurama loving fan base, a solid if he named it the Australians Blackjack and Hookers Party.

In fact ... he can forget the Blackjack.

SMH has a good summary of today's events here and here.

At any rate, it was a lovely early Xmas pressie for Mr K Rudd. As the delightful Annabel Crabb (now with the ABC online crew), noted yesterday ...

Watching Laurie Oakes' interview with Mr Turnbull yesterday was to watch a man carefully, deliberately and coolly securing bomb belts around every inch of his person.

If Nick Minchin and co succeed in bringing him down, they will not themselves escape injury; the Oakes interview is replete with quotable quotes that would provide perfect fodder for a Labor election campaign.

Merry Xmas indeed.

A reel life moment for Mikey

Today I had a reel life moment. Reel life being reel as in film reel as in what real life would be if TV was real. But it's not.

I was cruising along to the highway this morning which, when I turned onto said highway, rapidly went from cruise speed to crawl. Bumper to bumper traffic, where the car was edging along at (it seemed) a metre a minute. It was probably walking speed. At any rate, it was SLOOOOOOOOOW.

This sort of traffic shits me. Hell, that sort of traffic would shit a bunch of Trappist monks that had those giant conch shell like hats on as per Tintin in Tibet - though I am assuming should said conch shell hat clad monks be car bound it would probably be some sort of people moving high ceiling comfortable van like a Tarago, what with the need to be able to wear said conch shell hats in comfort without them scraping on the ceiling.

You know if Nelson had thrown a bone to the admittedly small Trappist monk Tarago owning market segment in his fierce spittle and tear flecked denouncement of the Luxury car tax last year, because little William Wheelchair needed a vehicle he could ramp into and nasty wabor was going to add 7% to the ticket price of a Tarago as it just scrapped into the value of said tax, he may still have been Liberal leader ... instead of Turnbull now Abbott. Which, has an added layer of icing irony in that Abbott is known by some as the mad monk for his previous experience as a would be Catholic priest - which itself has the additional cherry of irony on the top of the icing on irony because when Abbott was a young man studying he thought he'd impregnated his girlfriend of the time and gave the baby up for adoption - except the stalk of irony on the cherry of irony on that icing irony layer was that the baby he gave away wasn't his - but was the result of a one night stand where the offer of actual dad to spend the night dossing on a bed with the girlfriend ending up being a tad frisky.

Phew.

So there I was, shitted off. I managed to get into an outer lane that had a feeder road off that lead in a round about way (and the air of irony around the stalk of irony plus cherry and icing of irony is this new route had lots of roundabouts) to my workplace. It meant a fair drive of extra distance. But it also meant I was travelling at normal road speed instead of the tooth grinding experience of the car crawling and dealing with the frustration of people suddenly braking or trying to lane weave at a snail's pace.

As I beetled along I had tuned into ABC news FM. They have that car watch report thing on in the mornings. Turns out that crawling traffic was the result of a nasty accident and the forecast clearing of the wreckage was an incredible one to two hours.

So, good choice by moi to turn off.

Eventually I reached the end of my round about route to work and I merged back onto the very highway that had been blocked, but merged up above where the accident was.

As I came onto the highway there were no cars before me.

Numerous comedians over the years have pointed out the sheer absurdity of car commercials on the tellie. For passenger cars, as opposed to off-road cars, the vision is replete with verdant countryside, quiet peaceful driving, and not another fucking car in sight. When of course the average car use is within 20 kays of the home, in a built up area, and is used when most other fuckers on the road want to be there too. The idyllic depiction of the road in car commercials - akin to the footage they screen to the soon to be euthanised in Soylent Green - does not hold in reality.

Except ... this one time. Where at rush hour, I had two lanes completely free, right up to the lights - a giddy car ahead of me free journey of three or so kays.

I have to admit ... that was pretty nice. Shame it took a 15 kay out of my route and the likely crippling of another human being to make it so.

TheWife suggested I should have lazily lane weaved like Elaine did in Seinfeld when she encountered the four lane highway that Kramer had turned into a super wide two lane affair thanks to an application of paint over the dividing lines.

I totally wish I had done that.

Anyway, there you go. A reel life moment for Mikey. Weeeeee!