If I ever heard my parents having sex, it would sound like they were moving furniture. "Okay, lift your end up. Back up... pfff... it's not gonna go. Twist it and take it back out. Never mind, put it down!"
By Bob Marley (the comedian not the dead musician)
Since my post, Happy V Sad, I've been conducting some more search engine battles, aka time wasting trials. Just search two words or phrases and see which is more popular. First I tried some phrases, the kinds of things I think people like to confess on-line -
'I'm so bored' V 'I'm so busy'
Being bored seems to be something that people like to complain about and being busy is something busy people love to tell you that they are, so I think this might be close and it is. 'I'm so bored' is the winner but only just, at 489,000 hits, to 'I'm so busy' at 453,000. But the results that I read were equally boring and it makes you wonder, if all the busy people are really so busy, how do they have time to complain about it on the internet?
'I'm so fat' V 'I'm so ugly'
'I'm so fat' gets 42 million and 'I'm so ugly' only gets 17 million, so fat beats ugly, but ugly is definitely more interesting. A teenage girl has written to an advice column called christiananswers.com, 'I find myself looking in the mirror and wondering why I have to be so ugly and have such an ugly body when all my friends are pretty and have nice bodies. Why was God unfair to me like this?' The answer she gets is, 'If being good looking is important to God, then Jesus Christ would have been a real hunk, right? But he wasn't. In Isaiah 53:2, Jesus was described this way: "In our eyes there was no attractiveness at all, nothing to make us want him." Jesus wasn't good looking, yet he rocked the world because he walked with God.'
Yeah, good point.
'I just got married' V 'I just got divorced'
Married people love to show off their wedding photos and wedding presents and lifetime supply of happiness, so I thought this was a pretty fair fight, but 'married' gets 31 million and 'divorced' gets 145 million. Turns out divorced people have a lot on their minds. This search took me to a site that sells divorce gifts and greeting cards. For 5 US dollars you can get a pack of novelty alimony cheques printed with, 'Pay to the Lying Selfish Whore, Cold Heartless Bitch and Cause of all my Pain, in the Amount of Every Last Friggin' Cent.' They also sell Ex-Husband Voodoo Dolls that come with 25 pins.
'I love my job' V 'I hate my job'
This genuinely surprised me, 'I love my job' got just over a million hits and 'I hate my job' only got 332,000. The number one result for both searches was a site called jobvent.com, which offers 'inside information about the jobs and employers we love and hate'. I only spent a few minutes at this site but there wasn't a lot of love going around. Just for the hell of it I searched 'blowjob' and got 35 million results. Quelle surprise as the French say.
Then I moved on to the big issues -
War V Peace
I know this is not a fair match, war is loud and proud and peace is quiet and hard to find, so the result is no surprise, war gets 579 million hits, peace only gets 204 million. War kicks peace's ass.
Jesus V Obama
I thought this was going to be a good fight with an advantage to Jesus because he's been around for so long and his fans are so famously enthusiastic, but no, Jesus gets 168 million and Obama gets 215 million. Obama really is bigger than Jesus.
God V Science
For someone who may or may not exist, God gets a lot of hits at 387 million. Also someone has taken the domain name god.com. It's a Christian website that promises to answer such pressing questions as 'Why are there so many religions and which one is right?' That was posted last year but still no answer. Anyway science beats God by more than 300 million hits.
So I guess that's the end of that old argument.
Sex V Love
It's the internet, it has to be sex. But no, 'sex' gets 654 million results and 'love' gets a massive 1 and a half billion, bigger than war, sex and Jesus combined. I think Jesus would be happy about that.
While trying to read about the 'Final Destination' news story - an Italian woman missed the Air France flight that crashed into the ocean with no survivors, but then she was killed a couple of weeks later in a car accident in Austria - I somehow went to a site called proudzionist.com (how could I not click on it, with a name like that?). It was much more boring than it sounds, but after that I went to some site on the proudzionist blog roll, called righttracker.com, which is a directory for right-wing conservative blogs and sites. I checked a few of them out and yeah, scary. But I like how you end up at such unexpected places sometimes on-line. You might find out about something you didn't even know you were interested in, or get way too much insight into the minds of crazy people. It's like a mystery flight, destination unknown.
I'm at the supermarket choosing between six kinds of orange juice and I notice that the guy next to me is wearing one of those 'trying not to get swine flu' paper masks, that look is so over. Then I notice that not only is he buying a lot of cartons of orange juice, but he's putting each carton in its own individual plastic bag. Freakin' germ freak. He calls out to a random supermarket employee and complains that one of the juice cartons is open and they shouldn't sell it. Then he starts yelling about how he spends fifteen dollars a week on plastic bags because of things like this, and over a year that's hundreds of dollars.
I love how he blames his psychosis on the perils of open juice cartons but how could he spend fifteen dollars a week on plastic bags? They only cost a cent each or something don't they? Even if he's paying ten cents a bag, he's still going through a hundred and fifty bags a week! Maybe the germ phobia thing is just a cover and he's really just obsessed with plastic bags. Anyway, I'm riveted, he walks away and I can't decide what kind of juice I want, all I want to do is follow this guy around and I'm dying to see the inside of his house. The supermarket employee tells me that the germ guy usually comes in five minutes before they close, he buys a months worth of food, wraps every single item individually and then the poor person on the checkout has to deal with all the plastic bags and the whole procedure takes an age and they can't close the store.
I never get plastic bags, because I like totally want to save the world, but now I'm wondering if there's any point when there's people like this guy using seven thousand bags a year (if he's paying only one cent a bag, then he's using 78,000 bags a year). Maybe one day there will be an environmental militia that will take people like him away and lock them up with all the unrepentant water wasters. Oh yeah, that's me. But I have great rationalisations for my long showers, I don't have a pool, or a garden and I don't play golf or lawn bowls (golf courses and bowling greens use millions of litres of water a year). Also I find it infuriating that we're encouraged to have three minute showers but business and industry, who are by far the biggest wasters of water, aren't being forced to recycle or conserve it. Yes, I'm aware that I'm ranting and me and crazy germ guy will probably be sharing a cell and I'll have to beg him for a plastic bag to kill myself with.
Stop the Presses! Celebrity Chef Insults Current Affairs Host!
Tabloid media has gone insane over Gordon Ramsay, the famous for being angry TV chef, insulting the host of 'A Current Affair', Tracy Grimshaw. Even the Prime Minister has commented and come to Tracy's defence, call me crazy but doesn't he have more important things to do? (I obviously don't but surely he does)
Apparently Ramsay likened Tracy to a pig, sure it's not very nice but I can see the resemblance and I've called her worse every time I've ever seen the show. He also implied she might be a lesbian, but that's just stupid, no self-respecting lesbian would host that ultra-conservative, reactionary, piece of crap excuse for a TV show.
Tracy hit back in a one-sided rant to camera, using the show as her own personal soapbox, and calling Ramsay an "arrogant narcissist" and a "bully". Oh the irony, accusing someone else of being a bully, when bullying people is the definition of your job and you're on a show famous for bullying and exploiting naive, unsuspecting people. But you don't like it when somebody does it to you, do you Tracy Grimwhore? You bullying, piggy, current affairs biznitch!
Today I got a phone call and my friend said something no one wants to hear, 'You were on Today Tonight'. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I actually felt nauseous, instantly. I wondered what terrible thing I had done to get me on a current affairs show? And then, what terrible thing did they find out about? I didn't even get around to wondering why they would care what I do.
Turns out I was accidentally standing next to the star of a movie that I went to the opening of, I wasn't even invited I was just a plus one. She was wearing black and smiling for the camera, I was talking to someone and wearing a really bright scarf, not just red but fire engine red, and apparently me and my scarf were distracting. It could have been a lot worse. Even though I appeared on one of the world's most sleazy television shows, I only feel slightly unclean.
I'm crap at remembering jokes and usually I don't even try, but the other night I'm having dinner at my friend's parents house, we're outside smoking and her dad gets a step ladder to sit on. I know that I know a joke about a step ladder, I can't remember the set-up, but I don't let that stop me -
Me: Have you heard the joke about the step ladder?
The Dad: No.
Me: I love it almost as much as my real ladder.
It got a huge laugh especially from my friend's step mother.
I believe in crediting jokes so I'll tell you, it's a Jack Dee joke, I think.
In the middle of my busy and inspiring day, full of rewarding and meaningful tasks, I type 'I'm so fucking depressed' into Google and get 111,000 hits. It's strangely comforting to know that more than a hundred thousand people used exactly the same words to describe their mental states. A disproportionate amount of them seem to be in, or just out of, rehab. They sound pretty fucking depressed. Someone called 'BREAKaBEAT' writes, 'I'm so fucking depressed, sobriety is not at all what it's cracked up to be'. Someone else called 'Rageboy' writes, 'I'm so fucking depressed I could fucking die. And I'm so sick of feeling this way, I could fucking puke...' I hear your pain Rageboy.
Just out of interest I tried 'I'm so fucking happy' and got 3,670,000 hits. So I guess the happy people win. Yay for them for being so fucking happy. My favourite is 'I'm so fucking happy I found a Taco Bell that serves the chili cheese burrito'.
People at movie theatres who only start wondering what they want to see when they get to the box office, need me to kill them. The ticket person asks them what they want to see and they turn to each other and discuss. You had the whole way up in the line to talk about this.
I hate you.
Same goes for people at the supermarket who wait until the cashier tells them how much it is before it occurs to them that this is going to be a financial transaction and they need to find their wallets. 'Where is my money? Do I want to pay with cash or card? Hmm... Let me think while everybody waits for all eternity'.
I'm at a party in a bar and I don't know anyone except the host and a girl friend I brought with me. My friend nods in the direction of a girl across the room and asks, 'What do you think of that pink dress?' I look over at the girl in the pink dress and say, 'Not with that orange face'.
I thought I was a nice person. Looks like I need to think again.
My favourite news story this week is about the old man who got attacked by mice in the old people's home. He was bedridden and helpless when a mouse plague went through the place, staff found him the next morning covered in blood and his head, ears, neck and hands had been chewed on. Can you imagine what it would be like to be attacked and eaten by a plague of mice when you can't move and fight them off? It's like a horror movie but so much worse because it's real!
A few years ago I got obsessed with the woman who had her face ripped off in an accident in a milking shed. I wasn't so much obsessed with her as with the horror of the situation. I think her hair got caught in something and her face and part of her scalp were pulled off in one piece and fell into the milk vat, which turned out to be a piece of luck, as the milk preserved it and kept it clean so she could have it sewn back on. The story had a happy ending but I couldn't stop thinking about her husband finding her without her face on and having to tell her that everything was going to be okay. I wonder if he has nightmares about it, or maybe they tell it as a funny story when they meet new people.
When a rich man dies, all his sins are forgiven, quickest by those preparing to spend his fortune. I want to die penniless and owing millions to the tax department, I wish to be remembered for all my sins and to have a car full of unpaid parking fines.
When you go into a cafe or restaurant, it's the job of the wait staff to ask you what you want and then bring it to you in an amount of time that's mutually acceptable. But you, the customer, also have a job to do. It's your job to decide what you want, and while some people manage to scan the menu and make the crucial decision in a few seconds, others seem to find this too difficult a task. These freaks can look at the menu for hours, but ask them what they want and they just don't know. This is not the most important decision you will ever make, if you choose the wrong thing you'll know not to order it next time.
No, I haven't seen it. I've looked at the DVD cover a few times on one dollar day at the video store, but I always put it down again. I'll watch pretty much anything if it only costs a dollar but why does it have to be so long?
My friend's mother saw it and she said it was good but it had "too much dust".
My friend Marie saw it and said that she had never noticed that Hugh Jackman was so hot before and now she's seriously in love with him. She said she only had two emotions while watching the film, horny, crying, horny, crying, and then at the end, horny and crying at the same time.
I don't think I'm ever going to see it, I'm just going to use these two reviews to form an opinion.
Since I started the stupid blog I've noticed I have less enthusiasm for email because it's all about other people and what they're doing and what they want. Posting on your stupid blog is all about you, it couldn't be more about you, no matter what you write about.
When you post something on your stupid blog there's no sense of the reader, you can't see whose on the other side of the curtain so you feel like you can say anything to them. It's an illusion. If Francis Ford Coppola called me for lunch I'd delete my mean post about him in a second. It's the most self-indulgent forum ever invented, and hence, so addictive! For instance where else would I get to use the word 'hence'?
The chicken burger is back on the menu at the cafe down the street. It's on bread now instead of a roll, so it seems 25 percent smaller, and it's gone up 25 percent in price, but I don't care. Maybe that was their plan all along. I noticed Nando's has opened up across the street from the cafe and I guess they saw there's a big market for chicken in bread.
This is seriously the best thing to happen all week, even better than the gorilla escaping from its enclosure at the Melbourne Zoo and chasing everyone into the gift shop. Okay I just did some research and apparently Yakini didn't chase them into the gift shop, they were ushered in there and then they just waited for the drama to be over. I prefer to think they cowered.
I just saw your first film in ten years, 'Youth Without Youth', and it was so interesting to see how bad it was. It had something in common with 'Eyes Wide Shut' (apart from being amazingly boring and self-important), which is that you and Stanley Kubrick have both made some really excellent films and then just to surprise us, you make a really tedious one. And it wasn't just that it wasn't great, it was awful, proving that William Goldman's quote about film making is the only thing you need to know - 'Nobody knows anything'. I'm truly happy to see that you've just completed another movie because if you died and this was your last film, that would be a sad thing.
Jenny from the Blog.
P.S. I know you're an old old school movie director but I saw photos of you wearing a beret at the opening of the film, please don't do that again.
This week I went to see a little piece of experimental theatre called 'Scooby-Doo in Stagefright', yes it's a pantomime musical for children. I used to watch the cartoon but I never liked it, it was the same story every time and even as a kid I thought it was insulting. Actually most of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons used to annoy me, I remember when The Simpsons first came out, I felt actual jealousy that kids got to grow up with that when we had to endure The Flintstones. So the Scooby-Doo musical wasn't at the top of my list of things to see, but I had a free ticket and I find it easier to enjoy things if they're free.
Everyone at the theatre was under ten years old and I felt the rare sensation of being tall, like a giant in a midget mental asylum. The merchandising stand was swamped with kids so I couldn't even get a look at all the Scooby crap for sale, then during the performance parents were checking their messages and taking phone calls but the kids didn't care and neither did the actors, it was all about the audience participation. There was a lot of 'Look behind you!' from the audience, and a lot of 'I can't hear you!' from the actors, I yelled so loud the kid next to me covered his ears. I couldn't understand the story or much of the dialogue but the atmosphere in the theatre was electric, I imagine it was what it might have been like to see a Shakespeare comedy when it first came out at the Globe. Never have I seen such frenzied enjoyment in the theatre and I'm not sure if that's a reflection on modern theatre or adulthood. Darn those meddling kids and their pesky dog!
This Saturday is two years since Kurt Vonnegut died, but its only just sunk in. I've read all of his books, first Cat's Cradle and then everything else and after reading them, I wondered how can there be books like these and the world still be like it is? (It occurs to me now that this is probably how religious people feel about their books) Mr. Vonnegut would probably have an excellent answer for that, he had an excellent answer for most questions, I just have to read all his books again and maybe I'll find it.
I've been reading 'Like Shaking Hands With God', a transcript of a conversation about writing between Kurt Vonnegut and another writer, Lee Stringer. It's not a 'how to', more of a 'why to'. Near the end of the book, Vonnegut says, 'Music is proof of the existence of God'. He describes it as 'the most pleasurable and magical thing we can experience'. I worship him so much I'm inclined to agree with everything he says, which makes me ask, if music is proof of the existence of God, what proves the existence of the Devil? Is it the Crazy Frog Ringtone? Is it money? Maybe Auschwitz and Hiroshima, or Vegas? For Kurt Vonnegut it might be Dresden. For me it's something different every day and today it's the property developers who stole my view of the setting sun.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I used to write poetry. I know. I wish there was another word for it, but there is no other name for what I did, it was freakin poetry. It's my guilty secret, I never called myself a poet but I had a notebook, many notebooks, and I filled them with words, they didn't have to rhyme but sometimes they did, if it was convenient. It's not that I thought writing poetry was slumming it, more that I was the plus one guest at a dinner party, where everyone was much more educated than me, or I. When I thought about calling the trail of words that came out when I put pen to paper, 'poetry', it made me cringe, and it still does. So, I gave it up and I've been clean for at least ten years, I still write things, but never what you'd call a poem. If I think something sounds beautiful, or beautifully ugly, intentionally or not, I occasionally hear myself say it has 'poetry', but it always sounds too sincere, like I really believe in the mysterious and miraculous power of words. I do, but I don't want anyone to know that shit.
Last weekend, just like that, I fell off the wagon. I wrote a poem, and the worst part is I liked it. Actually I wrote a few and I loved every minute of it but I had to drown almost all of them at birth. There was one I couldn't kill, because it was smaller than the others and it wagged its tail in a fetching way. I was going to keep it but I think I might give it away to you, gentle reader, I'm sure you're dying to hear it, and yes, I stole two words from Buffy, when she burns the school down in the last episode of season three. I know you probably didn't come here to read poetry (I certainly didn't come here to write it), so don't think of it as a poem, think of it as a list. Or here's an idea, don't even read it, check your Facebook, click on Next Blog and see where it takes you. I dare you not to read it. If you're sensing reverse psychology, even better, I double dare you.
I hate flying, I hate everything about it. Obviously everyone hates how cramped it is, how long it takes, the lining up for everything, and the food, but I also hate the air-conditioning, the other passengers and the part where the flight attendants talk you through what to do before you die. I even hate drinking on the plane even though I love it everywhere else. I also hate everything about the airport, including the drive to the airport. I do like flying in my dreams but that's because I can fly, and there's no plane involved. Actually there is one thing I like about planes, how they look, from the outside.
There's a reason that there was so much fuss about that plane that landed in the river in New York (apart from the great visual spectacle of it), it was because that never happens. When passenger planes hit the water, usually everyone dies. People give you that tired old argument that you're more likely to die in a car crash than a plane crash, but it's not the likelihood of dying that I'm scared of, it's more the way you would die. Car accidents happen fast but planes take a long time to fall, long enough to panic and have regrets.
The fear of flying hasn't stopped me traveling, when I have a long flight, I take a valium, watch a movie and try to pretend that I'm not five miles above the ocean. This was working pretty well until one day when I have a flight from Helsinki to New York and I decide, hey, I'll be brave and do without the valium for a change. It's a morning flight, only a few hours in the air, I'll be fine. Wrong. There's no movie screens on the plane at all, not even above the aisles. Screened entertainment is the only thing that makes flying bearable, if I'm watching Two and A Half Men, how could anything serious happen? Sure, I could read a book, but I didn't sleep very well last night because it never gets dark in summer in Finland, so maybe I'll just have a little sleep.
I close my eyes and I'm just starting to forget that I'm on a plane, when a woman starts screaming. When I say 'screaming' I don't mean 'Eek a mouse!' squealing, I mean 'I just found my husband's severed head in the overhead luggage compartment' kind of screaming. Like a horror movie. And not just one scream, again and again, and not stopping. My eyes snap open and everyone's heads are spinning around like in the Exorcist, trying to see what's happening. I'm in the last row of the plane and it sounds like it's coming from behind me, in the space past the toilets where the flight attendants go to get away from the passengers, but it's curtained off and we can't see what's back there. Everyone has the same look on their faces and I assume I have it too, it says 'We're all going to die'. The only people who don't look like that are the kids across the aisle, they look excited and curious, oh to be so innocent.
Nobody moves, everyone stays seated, waiting for someone to rescue us. After what seems like an age, two female flight attendants run down the aisle, moving quite fast in their heels, the wordless screaming stops and becomes screaming with an eastern European accent, 'They're trying to beat me! They're trying to beat me!' This goes on for a while and then an old woman is dragged out from behind the curtain and escorted to her chair only two rows away from me, her hands are tied together with those plastic things serial killers use on cop shows. The person next to her talks to the flight attendants but of course we can't hear anything over the noise of the plane and we can't tell if they're traveling together or not.
Everyone's heads are practically exploding, so great is the desire to know what is going on, but no announcement is made, nothing at all from the pilot over the intercom thing! The hostesses walk away and there is a lot of whispering for about three minutes and then the old woman is up and running back down the plane. She trips over right next to my aisle, she falls face down and can't get up because her hands are tied. And then she starts screaming again. The 'fasten seat belts' sign comes on but they don't need it, everyone is glued to their seats. The flight attendants run back, this time with someone who might be the co-pilot. They all pick her up and carry her into the back of the plane, eventually they come out, but she does not. Again there is no word about what's happening and people start talking, all I find out is that she's Russian. About an hour later, I go to the toilet at the same time that a flight attendant is coming out from behind the curtain, and I see the old woman, she's cuffed to a chair and now she has electrical tape over her mouth, she's gagged with sticky tape! Is this really the best we can do? Her eyes fix on mine and they beg, 'Please, please untie me.' I feel bad for her, maybe she just hates flying and forgot to take a valium.
Finally we land in New York and now the pilot makes an announcement, not 'Sorry for the disturbance', but something like, 'Please remain seated and do not remove seat belts until further notice'. We wait at least half an hour and then twelve huge New York City cops and some other people in suits, board the plane and disappear up the back. They come out with the old woman, escort her off the plane with her hand luggage, and ten minutes later we are allowed to remove seat belts and get off the plane.
The speech that copywriter Don Draper makes in the final episode of series one of Mad Men, is the best screen monologue I've heard since the rabbi's speech in the Charlie Kaufman film 'Synecdoche, New York'. Don pitches an idea for a Kodak slide projector ad and it turns into a speech about nostalgia, how we long for the past and the bittersweet pain we feel when we do. The performances are brilliant, Jon Hamm as Don Draper, the ultimate conflicted man, takes you to the edge of the abyss and you feel it's chilling emptiness but you can't look away. The writer and series creator, Matthew Weiner, is obviously a huge talent, but it's not just the writing and the performances, it's also the direction and the design, it all comes together to give you more than you used to get from television. It's not my favourite show ever (I'm still furious at Deadwood for not going to another series) but it's up there with the best of them.
This is the era of series television, it's better than it's ever been, better than I ever thought the medium could be, and I hope it stays that way so I never have to be nostalgic for it. Mad Men is set in the time when television was the new kid on the block, now it has come of age and it wants to buy you a martini and look up your dress. In the spirit of speechmaking, I'd like to make a toast to great writing, now coming to you on television, and men wearing 50's suits.
Why does everyone always pick on tofu? Haters complain that it doesn't taste like anything, but no one ever accuses rice of not tasting like anything, or pasta! That's why these things come with sauce, to add the flavour. Tofu is also burdened with having to replace meat and that's really too much pressure on any food, better to think of it like Asian cheese, or eggs. Tofu is full of protein, it's good for you and it tastes like whatever you want, why is it so unloved?
In the interests of having a well rounded blog, I wanted to write a post about fashion. I'm not an expert, the way I decide if I should buy something is I ask the question, 'If Indiana Jones was a girl, would he wear this?' If the answer is yes, then I buy it. So I don't really know anything about fashion but I know I'm a victim of it because I have a pair of black skinny jeans. Skinny jeans used to be the old pair that you could only fit into on skinny days, now it means the pair you can hardly get your foot into on any day. When they came into fashion, I said out loud that I would never have a pair, 'It's all very well on Kate Moss, she can wear anything, but you'll never see that on me', I said. Cut to last year when I found myself trying on a pair. The sales assistant was encouraging me to go tighter, two inches smaller than I usually wear, and she asked me if I washed my jeans. I didn't know there was an option and I said that I wash them and then I put them in the dryer to make them tight again. She said that was all wrong, you should buy them too tight and then stretch them to fit you. You shouldn't wash them, you should air them and give them the occasional rinse. How could I not have known this? I tried on the smaller pair and of course she told me they looked great, but I couldn't do it, I bought a pair but they were in my usual size.
The reason this concerns me is that last year I was in Europe and girls were wearing MC Hammer pants, I said I would never wear them, but now I'm scared, what if I weaken? Somebody kill me if I do, or take a photo and make me take a good hard look at myself. The thing to do is just to never try them on because they're probably ridiculously comfortable, why else would people wear them? So, I don't know anything about fashion but I do know something about shopping. I know that underwear/swimsuit shopping can make a girl suicidal faster than anything else ever invented by humans. How can people who own shops not know that the lighting in the dressing room is more important for your sales than the actual clothes? Is it that hard to get? Light it like a nightclub and you will sell more stuff!
Have stupid annoying cold, have hardly left the house for three days. Thank God humans invented television, and the internet. A few days ago I woke up with an eye infection, I looked in the mirror, it hurt but it didn't look as bad as it felt. I put some salty water in it, which is my cure for pretty much everything, and then I went out. Everyone I saw immediately said something like, 'Oh my God, what's wrong with your eye?' I had a closer look and saw that while it wasn't really puffy, the white part of my eye was a nice even shade of bubblegum pink. So apparently I have 'pink eye', that thing they always talk about on South Park (in fact they named an episode after it, the town is overrun with zombies and the doctor diagnoses it as pink eye). According to my extensive research, it's another name for conjunctivitis, which is common when you get a cold. Anyway, it's not a good look but it goes with my dripping nose and swollen tonsils. Worse than the pink eye, I have lost my sense of taste. That sounds like I don't know what to wear, but it means food has texture but no taste, and it immediately makes all food repulsive. We developed sophisticated palates so that we would better know when something was poisonous or rotten and the lack of any taste is confusing my brain. On the plus side, I can't taste my own mucous anymore which makes a nice change, and I'm thinking this could revolutionize the diet industry. Diet doctors could try temporarily shutting off the taste buds of the morbidly obese, they might die from eating toxic food but at least they'd be thin. Does that sound too cruel? It seems that being sick doesn't bring out my charitable side.
"Photography is truth and cinema is truth, 24 frames a second."
"The camera lies all the time. It lies 24 times a second."
Brian De Palma
They're both great film makers and I don't want to debate their individual merits, more to say that I think they're both right. When you watch a movie, a documentary, or a reality show, you are being lied to. The situation is contrived, the content is edited for maximum effect and you are looking at a world that doesn't really exist, but the camera did capture a moment in time and there's truth in that.
This is why I don't get people who say they don't like fantasy, they can't watch a show about demons or hobbits because 'it's not real', as if a show about cops or hospitals is somehow more real. They're still actors reading scripts, on a constructed set in front of a camera. The police procedural formula is so tired and yet it continues to be so popular, someone dies and you know that someone you meet in the next half an hour will be the killer and then at the end you find out who it was, it's the same show every week! Switch off CSINYPDSVU, suspend your disbelief and buy a ticket to Gotham City or the Hellmouth.
Live long and prosper and may the force be with you.
Last year a friend lent me the DVD of a cable reality show she was obsessed with called 'Rock of Love'. I put it on top of the TV with all the other unwatched DVDs and never watched it. Yesterday I decided to make a start on doing my taxes and what better way to do something boring, than with the TV for company. I tried a few movies but they didn't grab me, so as a last resort, I put on 'Rock of Love'.
Turns out it's one of those competitions involving one guy and a bunch of hot chicks, and it's reality gold. Twenty-five girls compete to prove their potential as the perfect 'Rock Star Girlfriend' for Bret Michaels, the singer from Poison and 'the star of Pamela Anderson's other sex tape'. Apparently the demands of life on the road have taken a toll on Bret's love life and now he wants to settle down. I was never a fan of Poison, or boys who wear make-up, but the girls are hilarious. There are a lot of blondes and a lot of boobs, so it's hard to tell them apart, but they say some brilliant things. One of the blondes has boobs as big as my ass and another blonde called her 'circus tits' behind her back and then to her face. Circus Tits took offense and said, 'My tits are beautiful', and the other one said, 'Yeah, in the meth world'. Genius.
They have great challenges like who can give the best phone-sex (apparently if you want to be a rock star's girlfriend, you have to be able to talk dirty on the phone because he's going to be away a lot on tour), but the most important thing the girls have to be good at, is not minding or complaining when Bret makes out with other girls, because that's what rock stars do. Circus Tits said it was fine if he had up to three other girlfriends, as long as she was number one.
One contestant, Brandi, (who told everyone her nickname back home is 'Blow-Job Brandi') won a challenge and got a private date with Bret. As soon as she was gone the other girls started bitching about her and one of them asked the question, 'What guy would want a girlfriend with the word 'blow-job' in her name?' None of the girls gave the obvious answer, which is Bret Michaels, and every other guy. Probably the highlight of the whole show is a hair-pulling fight between Lacey, the animal liberationist, and another girl who said she hates animals and she only wants to eat them and wear them. Lacey is the most hated girl in the house, described by the other girls as 'a crazy, psychotic, cold-hearted bitch', and, 'a fucking, dirty, sneaky whore'. So much for the sisterhood.
The girls might not like each other but Bret loves them all, my favourite quote from him is - 'There's nothing sexier than a beautiful girl, wearing a cowboy hat and riding a horse'. I only have three episodes left and I'm dying to find out which lucky, evil, sneaky bitch he's going to choose.
A friend of mine has made a porn film and she's invited me to the cast and crew screening. My first dilemma was that she knows my dad, and I had this horrible feeling that she'd invite him and I'd wind up watching a porno and sitting next to my dad. Wrong in so many ways! I found out he's going to be away, so I rsvp'd for me plus one, which brings up a new problem. Who is the right person to take to a porno? A couple of years ago I went to a Christmas party for some fancy advertising company, it was in an old movie theatre and they were screening old silent movie porn. It was in black and white, there were no close-ups, no muscles and everyone was hairy, everywhere. It was almost the opposite of porn now. I watched for a while and it was funny and kind of fascinating, but the audience didn't seem exactly comfortable. There was a lot of nervous laughing and most people only stayed for a few minutes, and this was soft-core porn, so tame it would hardly even qualify as porn now (it had nothing on 'The L Word' for instance).
So who do I take to my friend's movie, which apparently has one scene described as 'shocking' and 'gross'. I've seen the trailer and it's 'chick friendly', meaning the guys are not disgusting, but it is kind of weird seeing porn with Australian accents, like watching 'Home and Away' if they all started fucking, in close up.
'Let the Right One In' is the best vampire movie I've ever seen. Nosferatu did my head in when I was a kid but I haven't seen a really scary one since. I love 'From Dusk Till Dawn' but the road movie part was scarier than the vampire part. I liked 'Lost Boys' in the 80s and I didn't hate the recent sequel (Corey Feldman returns as Edgar Frog, how could you not want to see that?). I'm a fan of the Jim Carrey movie, 'Once Bitten' and the George Hamilton movie, 'Love at First Bite'. The 'Daywatch' and 'Nightwatch' movies were great to look at but not even remotely scary and you wouldn't even know they were vampire movies if it didn't say so in the press. '30 Days of Night' had a great title but it was a big yawn, even with Danny Houston. The problem is usually the high level of emo/gothic content (Underworld/Interview/Bram Stoker's Drac), or they try to go modern and you have to watch Wesley Snipes running around in a full length leather jacket. I'm not going to bring Buffy/Angel into the conversation because it's TV (the movie isn't worth mentioning in any conversation).
So, this little Swedish movie, adapted from a book and soon to be remade as an American film, stands out as far as bloodsucking fiends on film go. It takes you to a cold, dark, Scandinavian place and the book goes even further over into the dark side. The author, John Ajvide Lindqvist, has a new book out, this time it's zombies not vampires and I want to eat its brains out.
My morning routine is go out for coffee, read the paper and smoke a cigarette. This morning I go to a place around the corner, it's cold but I sit outside and start reading about the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Then it happens, five women and one man arrive with eight children, all in those huge four wheel drive pusher things. They block up the entire street and it takes them ten minutes to arrange themselves around the table next to mine. My coffee arrives, I light a cigarette and it only takes two puffs before the mothers send the only man in the group over. He asks in an extremely polite way, if I would mind moving to the table on the other side of them, downwind. I pick up my stuff but I don't say anything. I don't say, 'Sit outside and expect to be smoked on. If you don't want smoke near your children, take them inside. You people have driven us outside and now you want to follow us out here'. I also refrain from asking him if he had his balls removed when he joined the mother's group.
I go and sit at the other table and now the unsolvable world conflicts seem easier to comprehend, people just don't get along. Pakistan and India, just can't get along. Israel and Palestine, just can't get along. Smokers and parents, you get the idea. Soon enough another lone smoker asks if he can join me, he's also been moved along by the baby nazis. We roll our eyes and blow smoke in their direction, maybe they'll take the kids somewhere else tomorrow. Or maybe they'll sit inside next time, leaving all the fresh air for us. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate children, I hate their parents.
How did I get to be this old without seeing a 3D movie or making macaroni and cheese from a packet? They are both completely awesome. The mac n' cheese was so cheesy and so cheap and the 3D movie (My Bloody Valentine) was so cheesy and so expensive, $19! It stars Sammy's brother Eric from Days of Our Lives, I kind of like him but you get an idea of how the acting was. Words like dumb and retarded don't even begin to do justice to the story and the 'twist' at the end made me want to chop off the fingers of whatever writer committed them to paper. The 3D thing gives you a $19 headache but it's worth it just for the eyeball on the end of a pickaxe coming right at you, and the bullet coming right at you, everything coming RIGHT AT YOU! Has anyone ever made 3D porn? What about 3D porn at IMAX, fifty feet high! Am I crazy or is it genius? By the way you can't steal the 3D glasses because they have these annoying beeper things on the door, you could go out the other exits down the front next to the screen, if you wanted...
I read in some movie magazine that Will Smith is the only movie star in the world. Not that he's the best actor, or even the best looking actor, but that he's the only person in the world that can 'open' a movie. No matter what movie he's in people will go to see it on the opening weekend. Tom Cruise has been in some big movies but he still has movies that bomb, so does Brad Pitt, so does George Clooney... I can't even think of anyone else. So I just watched a Will Smith movie on late night tv and I couldn't get the stupid smile off my face, how does he manage to be so damn likeable? I want him to invite me over for a barbecue at his house and then I want to write a movie for him just so we can hang out. I used to watch the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and he was kind of annoying in that, what happened? Did he sell his soul to the devil, or L. Ron Hubbard? As I write that name I suddenly have scientology fear, do you think they'll flag my blog and picket my house? I'd quite like to work in Hollywood one day, am I burning a bridge? Is it too late to sign up for a quick audit? If something happens to me, you know who it was...
I was walking down the street today and I stepped on one of those seed things that float around in summer, kids call them fairies and the story goes that if you blow them away, you get to make a wish (I imagine it was a man that came up with that one). Anyway I accidentally stood on one and for a second I had this horrible, and completely irrational, feeling of guilt, like I'd stomped on a butterfly or a little kid's dream. I tried to tell myself, 'hey, it's just a bit of grass, like standing on a leaf.' But it didn't work, I still felt like a fairy killer. First fairies, next dolphins and rainbows.
On Saturday half the state caught on fire, people died and all the things melted. On Tuesday I went into a cafe/bar down the street, it's not my favourite place, it's a little bit fancy and up itself, but they make a chicken burger that I love, the only reason I go there (apart from the big comfortable booths, attractive staff and proximity to my house) is the fucking chicken burger. It's not complicated, crumbed chicken in a turkish bread roll with coleslaw, tabasco sauce and salt, but it's the way they do it. The chicken is organic or grain fed or something, the breadcrumbs are that Japanese brand, and the coleslaw sauce is half yogurt/half mayonnaise with dill and it's just so damn good. Anyway I go in, order my coffee and my burger and the waitress tells me it's not on the menu anymore because the apprentice chefs hate making it and the other chefs hate it because they put so much effort into the rest of the menu, and all anybody ever orders is the ten dollar chicken burger. They've replaced the burger with some kind of pork roll which she tries to sell me but I'm new to eating meat and I don't know if I like pork, so I order a bacon and egg sandwich (yes, I know, bacon is made of pig too but it's not the same!). Then the chef comes over and says, 'You wouldn't believe how many customers have complained about the burger'. 'Oh but I would', I say. He tells me that one customer wants to start a petition, which I offer to sign, and another customer has done a deal with one of the other chefs, where he can have the burger if he orders it three days in advance. I suggest a burger tax where the cost goes up by a couple of dollars and every time someone orders one, that money goes straight to the guy who has to make it. The chef nods and you can see he's actually thinking about it. My bacon and egg sandwich arrives, I put tabasco on it and it's fine but it's not my burger. My friend Richie comes in and finds me slumped against the bar, he tells me that he tried to call me and warn me that they'd taken the burger off the menu but I missed the call. I want to cry. First the fires, now this, it's the week from hell.
On Wednesday night my friend Penny died of cancer and the next day I went over to her house with my brother and had drinks with everyone who loved her. Her dead body was in the lounge room in a hospital bed, which was really confronting for about ten seconds and then it seemed totally normal. We sat around and cried and laughed and had cups of tea and red wine. It was sad and I'm going to miss her but it was also great... Maybe I can learn to make my own fucking chicken burger.
Our country is on fire and we don't have any water, which is inconvenient because that's the first thing you reach for when you want to put out a fire. My friend Nick had a fight with his wife on the day of the fire, they knew it was coming, she wanted to leave and he wanted to stay and fight it, so she left and he stayed. He spent two hours wetting around the house and then the water pump broke. He heard the roaring of the firestorm, ran into the house, and he and the dogs watched the flames coming in through the gap between the door and the floor. And then the windows exploded and he knew he was going to die. But he didn't die, it passed. He went outside and things were burning but the wall of fire had moved on. He had no water so he grabbed what he could from the house and ran around putting out fires, he put out one fire with a bottle of Champagne and when the car caught on fire he put it out with a U.D.L. can (scotch and coke if you're interested). Nice one Nick, I'll think of you every time I drink one.