31 January, 2006

drink up and think of england

As Friday evening rolled around, some friends-and-laziness time was just what the doctor ordered. So Oli and I were off to the House-of-Much-Goodness where I visited with Snazzles and Moodles (as well as PlantMan and Ms Z, briefly). We partook of beer (not Coopers, after Lady Lilikens' nasty revelation) and fish and chips. We also watched Six Degrees Of Separation. Top notch film - if you haven't seen it, go out and do so.

Now, for those of you who may not know, my family on patermunkey's side hails from Yorkshire, England. I have grown up my whole life knowing this, and Snaz and I even visited the location of my father's youth on our travels. Unfortunately, our Australian branch of the munkey clan only made contact with the yonder-folk in the last couple of years, discovering them to be an incredibly warm, welcoming bunch. Several of my family-members have since stayed with them and been treated to incredible hospitality - made to feel they had been known and loved their whole life. However until this weekend, I myself had never met any of my relatives from the Motherland.

Ms Lorraine is patermunkey and Aunty S's cousin. She was visiting for just three days with her husband Eric. So the whole clan convened (as usual) on Aunty S's house to meet and greet with them. It was lovely - even quite moving - to see Ms Lorraine and Grandma Ashton reunited after more than forty years. We have never had a family reunion of any kind, but I guess this is about the closest we'll ever get. These two ambassadors of the anglomunkeys are quite simply some of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet and - as matermunkey declared when she met them in England - Ms Lorraine does have some surprisingly similar expressions and mannerisms to Aunty S. It really is amazing how much it feels like we've known them forever.

One thing I have discovered which seems to be universal to my family, wherever they dwell: We like to drink. A lot. Fortunately we are also (the vast majority of the time, at least) very placid, benign drunks. So drop over sometime. Whether here or in the rolling hills of Yorkshire. The first thing you'll be asked is: "What can I get you to drink?" As long as you don't say, "Weak, white tea with soymilk," you will be most welcome.


everymunkey jiggling

My dear American friend Mr Michael, while researching for a college paper on tea, discovered this:


Apparently a much-loved delcacy in China, this tea is picked from wild tea plants. The plants grow on high cliff-faces and other hard-to-reach places, so the tea-growers have specially trained monkeys to go and fetch the precious leaves for them.

From the website:
The monkeys are very well cared for and their parents before them did the same job, so it has become ingrained into them and they wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.

Now it's probably just my natural cynicism, but it sounds to me like they're trying a little too hard to convince us how happy and healthy the monkeys are. Oh yes, I'm sure. Because the Chinese are so widely renowned for treating their human working-classes with unparralleled fairness and dignity. They would never exploit a poor little animal. I have no doubt the monkeys veritably crawl out of the jungles and beg to be put to work. "I'm so miserable with my carefree life of faeces-flinging and lusty monkey-rooting. I long for a life with purpose, like my dear old parents. Please sir, let me pick tea for you! It's a family tradition!"

Still, I'm sure it makes for a damn nice hot drink. I won't tell PETA if you won't. *winks*


27 January, 2006

munkey's-eye view


'But aren't books important?' asked Bruno.
'Books about things that matter in the world, of course,' ... 'But not story-books. Not books about things that never happened.'


Writing about Irish author John Boyne's short novel The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is a difficult affair, because to say anything about the story, the setting or even the themes is to give too much away. Suffice to say, by Chapter Two you will understand what it's about, and by Chapter 4 the full profundity and poingnancy of this wonderful book are achingly clear.

The narrative follows a nine-year-old boy named Bruno, and is told almost entirely from the perspective of his own limited understanding. The core subject matter of the situation in which Bruno finds himself, has been tackled innumerable times in literature, theatre, cinema - in almost every form of expression known to man. It is a subject whose mark on human-kind is so important, it has almost been overdone - to the point of creating a widespread feeling of (unwarranted but understandable) ennui about the whole topic. But Boyne's story takes such a fresh, ingeniously simple approach that in just 20 very short chapters, he gives us a new way in; a new way to appreciate the immense importance of our own history.

Like Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, this is one of those books you can devour in a single sitting. Not just because of its short length, but because (as with Curious Incident) the reader is propelled through familiar territory by a bold and brilliant new character voice. The clarity of perspective offered by watching events through wholly original eyes is addictive, and allows the reader to discover the subect matter anew. The deep questions and complex mysteries of the human world are forced into focus, as if for the first time, by the enlightening new viewpoint.

Through the uncomprehending eyes of Bruno, we see right to the core of injustice and cruelty - as well as the friendship and humanity that exist in the face of such circumstances - stripped completely bare. The effect is heartbreaking. As the compact narrative draws to a close, you can see the final events approaching, but they are so unconscionably tragic, you don't really let yourself believe they are coming. The effect is devastating but not depressing. This is a book that will continue returning to your mind long after you have finished reading.

(out of 5)


they're big and they're salty

I was at my local bottle-shop the other day, when I spied something on the counter I just HAD to share with y'all:

CHOPPER'S NUTS - "they're BIG & they're SALTY"

I shit you not, lovers and dreamers. It seems everyone's favourite brutal-criminal turned media-whore will, indeed, put his name on anything at all (including my sometime-acquaintance Crazy-Harry's white patent-leather shoes... but that's another story).

From the back of the pack:
In his quest for a better beer experience Mark put the pressure on some of Australia's premier peanut producers to come up with a snack worthy of his love for Ale. Not surprisingly Mark ended up wioth some damn fine nuts, huge nuts with tasty flavours.

Now - not wanting to become accquainted with the inside of a cement mixer - I'm not going to be the one to tell him, but Chopper's nuts aren't actually that big. They are pretty much your standard-sized peanuts with some salt, chili-powder and seasoning. (Perhaps one of these poor pressured peanut producers pondered it prudent to play down the truthful average nut-size, for fear of bruising Chopper's ego (and ending up in a cement mixer).) No arguments about the salty claim though. That Chopper obviously likes his salt. To quote Fry: "That's the saltiest thing I've ever tasted! And I once ate a big heaping bag of salt!"

Still, worth a purchase for the novelty / cultural-chuckle value alone.

Oh and if you're hungry for more (and who wouldn't be?), Chopper's Nuts even have their own website sporting the wonderful catchphrase: "Don't be a knob. Eat Chopper's Nuts." Ahh, it makes me proud to be an Australian.


24 January, 2006

look! up in the air! it's a... holden?

Thanks to Mr Altorus for this little slice of bizarreness.

A giant step forward for the human race in Perth! Yes, Perth! Exclusive GoogleEarth images reveal the unprecedented invention of a flying car:

From The Register:
...the vehicle in question is at an altitude of three of four metres and doing about 80 knots. Which rules out a rocket-powered project, and we can see no evidence of the Wankel-powered turbofan outrigger engines favoured by the Moller Corporation. Which leaves just one possible explantion: the Aussies have developed a gravity-busting hyperdrive, have bolted it into a second-hand Holden, and are seen here in the split second before their X-Motor made the transdimensional leap to hyper light speed.

The world will never be the same!


let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see

If ever you should attend a restaurant called Tho Tho on Victoria Street, be sure to tell them it's your birhtday - even if it's not. If you tell them it's your birhtday, they will bring out The Rude Cake.

We were there this weekend for The Birthday of my darling Ms Snazzles! There was no pretense needed; it was indeed the (day before the) 5th Anniversary of her 21st. However she was being coy, not wanting to bring it to the attention og the (comically inept/rude) waiting staff. Fortunately for everyone Jellyfish, Ms Kat and Brother-Snazzles conspired to out Ms Snazzles on her special day. Suddenly, a tinny muzak version of Happy Birthday starts playing, and a waiter arrives at the table with this - The Rude Cake:

There it was, lovers and dreamers. Truly a sight to behold: eight inches long, complete with mint-leaf pubes and fried ice-cream bollocks, literally oozing custard from its tip, and pointing its swollen head right at Snazzles - who happened to be sitting next to her mother. What a treat. Of course, much primary-school humour abounded as the penis-cake was shared... "My mouth is all sticky." "It's tastier than the last one I had." "God it gets all over you, doesn't it?!"

On Saturday night, we converged on The Retreat for the enormous joint birthday shebang of Darling Snazzles, Kranki, Sherrif and Fluffy. An atmosphere of celebration/chaos was more than adequately evoked simply by the sheer numbers (hundreds!) of partyers who braved the conditions (sweltering!) to rock-on in the beer garden. The participants indulged the 50's Beach Party theme to varying degrees, from all-out to cop-out. Personally I was decked out in a beautiful bright orange Hawaiian shirt, fluorescent green lei and big straw hat. The straw hat was abandonned early in the evening (munkey doesn't do hats, as a rule) and I also managed to misplace my lei by the end of the night (and haven't we all heard that before). The joint was still veritably jumping (I believe "Walk Like An Egyptian" had just hit the dancefloor) when I bundled myself into a taxi. Here's hoping the birthday boys and girls had an excellent evening. Joyeux Anniversaire!

Dragging myself out of bed, not too hungover *sensible-on-saturday-night-for-a-change munkey* I braved the almost inconveivably furnace-like Melbourne weather on Sunday to meet the lovely Mr Stevie for a coffee, before we both retreated back indoors. The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. I know there was airconditioning involved - as well as about 900 glasses of water.

A sad occasion last night: late in the evening, I traipsed over to the house of Snazzles, Moodles, Jellyfish and Plantman to farewell Krankiboy from our shores. I know, of all people, I have quite small emotional claim to this beloved yankee visitor. However it was important to me to be there to say goodbye - not just out of solidarity for my loved-ones who will be far more heart-broken by his departure - but also because it has been an honest-to-goodness joy getting to know him, and I will genuinely miss him. Travel safe Mr Kranki, and come back soon (or fucking else).

To paraphrase Moodles as she walked me out to my car last night, "It's good to have wonderful people around you." I have to agree. Wonderful people rock.


lyrics 101

I don't know much about songwriting, but I know what I like. Okay, so that's not entirely true. I do know a fair bit about songwriting, mostly through sitting at my piano with a pencil between my teeth trying not to cry because the FUCKING WORDS JUST WILL NOT BEHAVE!!! This has made me a bit of a lyrics-snob.

Here are the top 10 rules for writing song-lyrics, in mindlessmunkey's not-very-humble opinion:

1 ~ No-one wants to hear a transcript of your latest therapy session set to music. Writing is always about expression, but don't get too personal. Remember: if you write literal, it’s only about you. If you write lateral, it can be about anyone who’s listening.

2 ~ Don't rhyme “...on my knees” with “...begging please”. It’s been done too many times.

3 ~ Don't rhyme “...hands in the air” with “...just don’t care”. It’s shithouse and always has been.

4 ~ Use non verbal sounds like "Hmmm", "La la la", "Grrr", "Arrrgh" etc sparingly. It makes it sound like you couldn't think of anything to say. (Remember Crash Test Dummies' Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm? It screams cop out.) "Hmmm" works best when immediaely preceded by the phrase, “Things that make you go”.

5 ~ The name of the artist/group should never be mentioned in the lyrics, e.g. “Backstreet’s Back”, etc. It is a cheap marketing ploy to ensure teens and morons will remember who to ask for when thy go into their local Sanity.

6 ~ Unless you are Leonard Cohen, do not try and sing a letter.

7 ~ If you self-consciously use fashionable slang and vernacular, your songs will NOT age well... also, you sound like a try-hard.

8 ~ If you’re going to get political, have something more interesting to say – or at least say it more interestingly – than your average First Year Arts student.

9 ~ Stucture, people! It doesn't have to be verse, chorus, verse, chorus repeat; it doesn't need to have a neat middle-eight followed by an instrumental... there is no requirement to follow a conventional structure. But it needs to have shape. It needs to start somewhere and go somewhere and leave you somewhere.

10 ~ If your song is purely for yourself, save it for the shower. Music is about inclusion and communication. Don't forget that someone will be listening.

Okay. I will crawl back under my rock now.


22 January, 2006

amazing munkey facts!

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Mindlessmunkey!

  1. Mindlessmunkey cannot burp - there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in his stomach.
  2. People used to believe that dressing their male children as mindlessmunkey would protect them from evil spirits!
  3. Snow White's coffin was made of mindlessmunkey!
  4. California is the biggest exporter of mindlessmunkey in the world.
  5. Only one child in twenty will be born on the day predicted by mindlessmunkey!
  6. The Aztec Indians of Mexico believed mindlessmunkey would protect them from physical harm, and so warriors used him to decorate their battle shields.
  7. Only twelve people have ever set foot on mindlessmunkey.
  8. Astronauts get taller when they are in mindlessmunkey!
  9. Duelling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are mindlessmunkey.
  10. Some hotels in Las Vegas have mindlessmunkey floating in their swimming pools.
I am interested in
- do tell me about


21 January, 2006

vote ronn!

From the desk of Ms Snazzles, created by her friend Mr JA, comes this piece of GOLD.

I will say no more. Just GO THERE, lovers and dreamers. You will thank me.


r.i.p. vincent schiavelli

(I am horrendously late with this, because no one had the courtesy to tell me Mr Schiavelli had died just after Christmas. I only found out yesterday, and for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, it made me extremely sad. Perhaps because he's one of those performers you kind of take for granted, never fully appreciating. You always smile and say "oh it's him!" when he pops up in something, but it never occurs to you that one day they won't be there anymore. )

Vincent Schiavelli was one of those actors that everyone knows they've seen somewhere. However few can place him, and even fewer can actually name him. His talent as a character actor landed him countless roles, and his strikingly unusual features - sad droopy eyes and flyaway hair - ensured the majority of those roles were as criminals and/or weirdos.

He created over 150 characters for film and television. His credits included almost everything directed by Milos Forman (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man On The Moon...), the creepy subway ghost in Ghost, the organ grinder of the sociopathic circus in Batman Returns, the science teacher in Fast Times At Ridgemont High... he even popped up in a couple of episodes of Buffy as the patriarch of Ms Calendar's secret gypsy family.

In 1997, Vanity Fair named him as one of America's finest character actors.

He died of lung cancer at his home in Sicily, Italy on Boxing Day. He was 57.

Vale, Vincent.


18 January, 2006

i cut down trees, i wear high heels, suspenders and a bra!

It's very rare that I would actually promote anything to do with the Herald Sun. But alas, part of my job everyday is to buy a copy of the festering thing, and leave it on the tea-room table. Today, over lunch, I was flicking through and came upon something I literally could not resist sharing with you all.

A Croatian lumberjack, after receiving a transplanted kidney from a female donor, is suing his health authority, claiming to be experiencing unexpected side effects. Apparently since the female organ has been in his body, he has had an inexplicable passion for knitting, ironing, sewing and washing dishes.

From the
Fetid Scum:
Stjepan Lizacic, 56, said: "The transplant saved my life, but I wasn't warned about the side effects."
His wife Radmila said: "If it's just housework I am happy. I only hope he doesn't start looking at other men."

Everybody now! : I wish I was a girlie, just like my dear Papa.


galloping depression

"What horse were you thrown from, which riderless goes on?"

Dr Geoff Gallop is a Rhodes scholar with a devoted wife and family, and has risen through a highly-respected academic career into the world of politics to become the Premier of his state. Dr Gallop this week resigned. Dr Gallop is depressed.

From The Age:
Dr Gallop began his resignation statement with a blunt admission that he was being treated for depression. "Living with depression is a very debilitating experience, which affects different people in different ways," he continued.

Geoff Gallop, surrounded by family, resigns on Monday.

More accurately, Dr Gallop is suffering from depression. The word "depressed" gets bandied about pretty loosely these days. And sure, everyone has those times when they feel shitty or sad or unmotivated. But that is different from suffering from depression. Unless you've been there, you probably can't entirely grasp the difference. It isn't just a prolonged period of that down-facing feeling. It is something more insidious, harder to pinpoint; difficult to define and even more difficult to acknowledge.

The former Premier is receiving across-the-board, whole-hearted praise for his courage and honesty in making such a brave announcement. Indeed I suppose it was brave, as a public figure, to speak so openly about suffering from a mental illness. But why should it be? If he was suffering from leukemia and needed treatment, no-one would question it. Why should a mental illness, which requires serious ongoing medical treatment, be any different - have any more stigma attached - than a physical condition?

My best wishes to Dr Gallop and his family.

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17 January, 2006

a very, very wrong number

Beepity-beep beep! cried my phone.

Who could this text-message be from? An unidentified number. The message:

I got no sperm now its a bit sad no sperm

Ooookaaaay. Not the kind of thing I would expect to see in a text from even one of my closest friends. Is this, perhaps, some kind of lewd joke by one of my saucier queer friends? I reply:

Who are you?


Who's this?

Oh dear. We have a situation on our hands.

You messaged me!

He, semi-literate and no-doubt concerned:

Sorry wrng number wht i txt

Me, matter of fact:

Something about sperm.

Now this is where things get even creepier:

Sorry bit embarasing r u guy or grl

And you want to know because... ?

Guy. Sorry to hear about your sperm.

No further response (probably quite a blessing).

Now I just can't get this out of my brain. Why did he ask my gender?! Would it be more embarassing if this misguided text message regarding male reproductive bodily products fell into the hands of the fairer sex? Or - and this is the possibility that sends a cold shudder down my spine and makes my left eyebrow arch quizzically toward my brow - was he in fact hoping his message had reached a lady. Perhaps some single nubile wench just waiting by the phone to be wooed by accident by a blue-blooded-yet-spermless Aussie male. I almost wish I'd said I was female, just to see what would happen.

I wonder what he would have thought if he knew I was a deviant homosexual. I could have been in with a chance there.

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13 January, 2006

big things crowing, big things falling

Last night I had a dream about a giant cock. (Bet that got your attention.) No, lovers and dreamers, get your minds out of your pants. I did not dream of an enormous penis, but a rather gargantuan male chicken. A rooster, if you will. My family and I were taking a tour of a farm. The rooster was bigger than a horse. None of us found this strange. When it crowed, it was almost deafening. The farmer was very proud of his cock.

Later there was a hail-storm. The hail-stones were also gigantic. The size of basket-balls. We sheltered under a tin roof, and hoped it wouldn't get destroyed by the falling boulders of ice.


tales of woe

It is an interesting process, after you have been blogging for exactly a year, to move every post, one by one, to a new server. It's a little like being forced to relive the entire previous annum over again, in reverse, over the course of a few days. I feel like I have flown in a cosmic helicopter and looked down on the most recent slice of my own life from above. The view was a bit of a mess. Sifting backwards through your thoughts and whinges from months gone by, you encounter the closure before the trauma, the acceptance before the shock, the disappointment before the anticipation. From this perspective, the break-up is followed by the uncertainty, before an extended period of pleasant romance, hot on the heels of which is the brief excited flurry of the getting-to-know-you. And then it's gone. *poof* You have never even met.

This morning I received an email from an old (read: former) friend. This friend is a young teenager, who I tried to help through a very fucked-up time. The time got more-fucked up, through my friend's own doing, and I got out of the friendship. You know those people who thrive on being a mess, so that when you try and help them, they manage to find a fiendishly demented way to become even more of a mess, and drag you in with them? You get the picture. The email this morning was yet another thinly-disguised cry for help to all "my friends that r 4ever". This is about the fourth of these emails I have received in the last year. I deleted it without replying. People who know the whole sorry saga will know that this is not as callous as it may seem.

Last night I received a pep-talk which kind of missed its target. This was the target's fault, not the pep-talk's. I was told that I had limitless potential and wonderful talent, and that a dear friend wanted to encourage me to use it. That should have been uplifting. But what the insecure part of my brain heard was: you are fat and a loser in love, who's making nothing of his life. All of which is kind of true. But also kind of not. I've decided not to dwell on the downer-feelings, but rather to take this pep-talk in the spirit it was intended: as a positive force. Or at least that's what I'm in the process of deciding.

Tomorrow is another day. Here's hoping the weekend brings better things.


11 January, 2006

a hunk a hunk of bleedin' love

I've always said Elvis was bad news.

We all knew he was a B-Grade crooner who made it big due to a manufactured image and some clever marketing. We all knew he was a gluttonous, womanising, drug-fiend whose over-indulgence in fried peanut-butter sandwiches caused him to drop dead from a massive coronary while trying to lay a turd at the age of 42.

But take heed, lovers and dreamers. The real reason Elvis is bad news is because his music is so awful that overexposure to it can actually result in homicidal behaviour.

A woman who allegedly stabbed her partner six times because he repeatedly played an Elvis Presley song will face a West Australian court today. Police will allege the woman stabbed her 35-year-old partner with a pair of scissors during an argument over him playing Burning Love over and over again.

Well, call me a sociopath (no, really, i kinda like it) but I for one can sympathise. It doesn't even take repeated listenings of The King to get me reaching for the nearest sharp object. I've been known to salivate wildly and start hurling cutlery in response to the mere opening bars of Love Me Tender. Then there was this one time when I was in the hardware section at Bunnings, and Hound Dog came on the radio. Not pretty.

Anyway, this woman should totally get aquitted. It's obviously a case of extreme provocation - possibly even self-defense. If my boyfriend refused to stop playing Elvis, I wouldn't cease my punishment until he was a bloody puddle in the carpet. Men of the world, take note.

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adventures in the slow state

In the immortal words of Samwise Gamgee: "Well, I'm back."

As you may or may not know, dear readers, I have recently been here:

Yes, five or six (actually both, at different times) of my lovely lady friends and I, traipsed up to Wonga Beach (about a half-hour North of Port Dougals) in Far North Queensland. We stayed in the delightfully eccentric surronds of Hasta Mañana.

We had our own pool and our own mango tree (if you're into that sort of thing). There were innumerable geckos, ugly little cane toads and a myriad really dumb beetles whose life purpose seemed to be to hurl themselves out of the sky, land flailing helplessly on their backs and then object (HSSS!) when you attempted to help them out. There was no mobile reception at the house, so we had to walk across the road to the beach (all of about 10 metres) to make calls. This resulted in Munkey, The Mistress and Ms Leah, in the dead of night, coming within MERE INCHES of treading on an unidentified but presumably deadly snake. We all know my feelings about serpents. Nasssty little critters. I was freaked-out.

On one of the days, we all went sailing on an authentic Chinese junk out to the Low Isles:

Now, at this timne of year, you're unfortunately not supposed to swim in the ocean. In summer, this part of the world is infested with deadly jellyfish. (Not Jellyfish but jellyfish). However we all wrapped ourselves in lycra, donned flippers and took the plunge. Yes even those of us mortally afraid of the Creatures Of The Sea went snorkelling. It was actually fantastic (although tiring - swimming with flippers is rough on the ankles!). We saw shitloads of coral and zany-lookin fish and even quite a few beautiful turtles. They looked exactly like that one in Finding Nemo, but didn't regale us with pseudo-hilarious profundities in an irritating surfy voice.

Now (apologies in advance to my few wonderful friends from Queensland, who are very sharp and on-the-ball) did you realise that the little slogan on all Qld number-plates is now "The Smart State"?! Exqueeze me, but who the fuck do they think they're kidding?! I think a Family Feud style survey of 100 people is in order: Which Australian State do you think of when you here the word "Smart"? How many of those people do you think would say Queensland?

After driving through the Daintree behind local drivers who felt compelled to come to a complete stop before braving the (incredibly treacherous?) ascent of a fucking everyday speedhump, our merry band decided on a much more appropriate motto for Queensland: The Slow State. Seriously, maybe it's just the Far North, but everything happens, everyone moves and thinks sssooo ssslllooowwwlllyyy. We suspect that our Far North is the equivalent of the US's Deep South. Something about the heat, perhaps?

Anyway, most of the week was spent far away from the oft-scary locals, in the cosy confines of our private compound. I found myself feeling a lot like Hugh Hefner, especially when wearing my dark satin smoking-jacket and surrounded by a bevy of buxoum beauties in bikinis (and occasionally out of them).

On that topic... seven words that will change the way the world thinks about entertainment: Captain Munkey's Amazing Aquatic Flying Boobie Circus.

That is all. HAPPY NEW YEAR!