25 August, 2006

my very easy memory jingle seems useful naming... ?!

This morning is extremely exciting!

This morning, every kids' science book in the world is wrong. Remember those mnemonics they taught you, for the names of the planets in our Solar System? My teacher favoured: "
My Very Easy Memory Jingle Seems Useful Naming Planets". Well that's fucked now, isn't it.

A few months ago, I wrote about the epic battle between Xena and Pluto for the right to be called a planet.

As the Xena-fueled controversy raged without end in sight, a bold new model for the Solar System was proposed recently by the International Astronomical Union. This model involved the inclusion of Xena as a planet, as well as the similar orbiting object Ceres, while Pluto and its satellite Charon would be reclassified as a double-planet system. This would make twelve planets in the Solar System. TWELVE! Madness.

However, those cantankerous members of the Astronomical Union just could not agree. Some proposed creating a new definition - "plutons" - to describe these distant, tiny celestial bodies. Others didn't want a bar of it - refusing to acknowledge the proposed new planets, and even insisting that Pluto had been wrongly identified as a planet, since its discovery in 1930.

After what has been described as some of the most intense debate ever seen among astronomers (imagine!), the Union finally agreed on an "If you little shits can't share the balloon, I'm going to POP the muthafucka!" solution.

Xena is not a planet. Neither are Ceres, nor Charon.

And neither is Pluto. Pluto has been officially kicked out of the Classical Planets of the Solar System Club. It is, at best, a "dwarf-planet". Clyde Tombaugh must be weeping in his grave.

"What do you mean they're taking my Planet away?
Even that little pussy Mercury gets his own Planet!"

Personally, I don't know what to think. It is exciting to be alive right now! The geek inside me is turning backflips (and it tickles!) But this development is also disconcerting. Everything I've ever learned and loved about the Solar System I call home, has suddenly changed.

Nine is a lovely number of planets to have in a Solar System. The number nine has a balance and symmetry to it. Eight seems an ugly number to be employed in the wheeling heavens. It's clunky and awkward. And it was nice to have Pluto around - kind of like a midget, hypothermia-suffering little brother who lived so far away you never saw him, but it was still nice to know he was out there. Now it's odd - he's not gone, of course. It's just like we've suddenly found out that - all this time - he was really a pet salamander and not your little brother at all. I hate when that happens.


22 August, 2006

tired & emotional

There's no easy way to say it: I am in a shit of a mood.

And there's no good reason for it either. I don't particularly have anything to complain about. The problem is very simple; I haven't had enough sleep.

When I was a small child, after a late night, my mother would always sigh exasperatedly in response to my ratty temper, "Oh, you're just over-tired". (In case you've forgotten, adults would do well to remember that this is one of the most unacceptably offensive things you can possibly say to a child - right up there behind, "Stop sulking!" and "Because I said so!") But the truth I was never willing to accept in my infancy, now appears plain as day to me. When I am tired, I am a cunt to myself and others.

For some reason, I just couldn't get to sleep last night. I ended up finally snoozing off sometime after 3.30am, which means I got about two hours' sleep. Not Enough! Thus, today is not a good day in munkey's head. In my head, I hate everything and everything hates me (and rightly so). Everything I do is either boring or irritating or both. Everyone around me ought to have been drowned at birth. Everyone I care about no longer loves me. I am not good enough to achieve anything I want. I am not deserving of anything I have. All my head wants right now is to buy a large bottle of some form of brown liquor and curl up on my couch drinking it until I'm sick. Because life is Just That Meaningless.

Of course this is all crap. All I need is a good eight hours of sleep. I have learned that when I'm sleep-deprived, I must completely ignore the emotions in my muddy brain for the time being, and just ride it out. It's not easy though, when every single thing in the world is either infuriating or depressing. Still, ride it out I must, mature and reasoned in the knowledge that my heightened emotional volatility is merely a symptom of my tired brain... I shall be zen-like and calm and stay the fuck out of everyone's way...

However, it would be much more satisfying to revert to my childhood self and just, you know, scream & throw stuff.


15 August, 2006


Everybody loves babies, right?

On the weekend, I had the pleasure of spending some time with a couple of SmallPeople, to whom I happen to be related. During the short fraction of the day that they spent sitting still (While they were eating, of course. Why else would you sit still when you're a baby?) I took the opportunity of snapping some shots.

This goes out to all my Lovely Lady friends with quivering wombs...

Baby J:

Baby M:

Awwwww. But remember: a baby is for life, not just for Christmas. Or something.


miffy at the movies

Unless you live with your head up your arse, are a plebian bogan, or dwell somewhere other than Melbourne (fool!), you will be aware that it has been the Melbourne International Film Festival. MIFF is always one of my favourite times of year: traipsing about the city in the cold dark evenings, viewing often-obscure cinema from around the globe.

And if that's not enough to keep you happy, there's the Forum Bar which - though sadly lacking the half-price Stella-on-tap of yesteryear *pines* - is still a very cool place to hang out (except if you're unfortunate enough to stumble into "Movieoke" *shudders*).

Let me tell you about some things I saw at MIFF this year...

A Scanner Darkly
By now, everyone's heard/made/groaned/laughed-at the jokes about "It's the most animated Keanu Reeves has ever been!" Personally I still think he's only capable of playing a doped-out teenager, and those days are long behind us. Keanu is barely adequate in Richard Linklater's new animated film, based on Philip K. Dick's story. However the rest of the cast (particularly Robert Downey Jr. ) are great in this weird, paranoid tale. The visual style is more or less the same as that of Linklater's earlier film
Waking Life, and it lends a suitably dreamy, drug-haze quality to the story.

Thank You For Smoking
Aaron Eckhart's Chin stars as a senior spin doctor for the Tobacco Giants - an almost-universally hated man, trying to remain a role-model for his son. The film manages to be cynial and warm at the same time, and is clever in the way it presents its characters and gets its laughs without ever "taking a side". In other news, Rob Lowe has a brilliant cameo (does he do anything
but cameos these days?) and Katie Holmes is fine but distracting. It is actually impossible to watch her without thinking of Tom Cruise and Fictional Babies and Creepy Cults. Try as you might, you can't stop her public image distracting and detracting from her character. In conclusion: Ms Holmes has ruined her career. Sad.

Mutual Appreciation
This was a very-low-budget slice-of-life piece about late-20-somethings trying to make their way in New York City. I went in expecting some kind of
Reality Bites of the now generation... but this film had a much more indie heart than that, shot on grainy 16mm black-and-white and featuring unknown actors. The bad side-effect of this was that the film had no structured narrative whatsoever, and even though every scene and moment rang true and felt satisfying, as a whole it didn't really go anywhere. However the main guy (who in real-life fronts the band Bishop Allen) was outrageously charismatic, which scores a lot of points.

Spanning from the mid-sixties to the mid-eighties, in many ways this is a pretty standard gay-boy comes-of-age kind of deal. However it's far better executed than most. Unfortunatley there are some inconsistencies - the film loses a little of its humour in the second half, while the brilliant fantasy sequences which appear in the first hour fall by the wayside. But ultimately the good points outweigh the bad: it features a fantastic performance by Marc-André Grondin as Zac, flawless art direction recreating the time and settings, and some of the most breathtaking use of music in film I've ever seen/heard.

Terry Gilliam brings us this deeply fucked-up take on an
Alice In Wonderland scenario. If seeing an 11-year-old girl injecting her father with heroin doesn't make your skin crawl, just wait till she starts cuddling with corpses and kissing mentally-disturbed adult men. What makes the film so compelling is that - like Alice - the film's young protagonist carries on through all of this, emotionally detached and seemingly unscathed - remarking on its oddness, but protected by her own fantasy world so she's never really damaged by the horrors around her.

Like Minds
While beautifully shot and acted, this is one of those films that's frustrating because it
could have been great. Alas, it falls short; it'd be a decent telemovie, but is a rather lacklustre feature. The film belies its promise as a psychological thriller, by skimming over the potentially fascinating relationship between its schoolboy protagonists (and completely refusing to acknowledge the glaring homoerotic undertones) in favour of a tired Knights-Templar-inspired conspiracy *yawn*. Toni Collette is utterly wasted in a 2-dimensional role, and the "twist" is so obvious and badly-executed it would shame the writers of Law & Order. Oh well - at least the boys are nice to look at.

Brothers Of The Head
Conjoined twins! A 1970s pre-punk rock band! Sexual ambiguity! Yes, I think this film was made with munkey in mind.
Using a strange faux-documentary style, it tells the funny/tragic story of the Howe brothers, who are fused at the lower torso and share a liver. The film creates a troublingly palpable sense of the conflicting feelings that come with a life spent physically attached to another, while also creating an almost Spinal-Tap-esque pastiche of the music industry. It's by turns bizarre, hilarious, surreal and achingly sad, while the phenomenal on-stage presence of the (identical but not conjoined) Treadaway twins in their band The Bang Bang, is worth the price of admission alone.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic
In case you haven't yet heard the hype: Sarah Silverman is a very funny lady. The kind of funny where you feel guilty for laughing. Or embarassed for laughing. Yet laugh you do. Although her humour is completely different, she's a little like the creators of
South Park, in that she gets away with it because she's offensive about everyone. This isn't really much of a film as such, basically simply a recording of one of her live stand-up shows. Personally I found the extra bits the least satisfying, and wished it would just get back to showing us more of Silverman on-stage. But for sheer entertainment/laughter value, this is definitely worth checking out.

So there we have it, lovers and dreamers. MIFF has been and gone for 2006. Until next year!

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09 August, 2006

so 2002, that is

When I got to work today, one of my old, toothless and deeply-offensive workmates (no kidding - this guy looks like Sloth from the Goonies, only with a Santa Claus beard, and once entertained his workmates by playing Anal GangBang porn on my computer, while I was trying to process the pay-cheques) came up to me, and said:

"Did you do the census last night? You know where it asks your religion? Guess what I wrote! Guess!"

Me: (severely unimpressed) "Jedi?"

He: (oblivious) "JEDI KNIGHT! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! I WROTE THAT I WAS A JEDI KNIGHT! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!Ha! Ha! ..."

He then proceeded to tell everyone else within earshot.

Like Holy Shit! That's the most Original and Hilarious thing I've heard of since - oh, I don't know - THE LAST CENSUS. Four years ago. And it was dumb then.

Even Shitty-CGI-Yoda thinks you're lame.

On a side-note, is it pathetic that I actually had a really good time filling out my Census?

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08 August, 2006

a right royal shame

It is a truth universally acknowledged (by my immediate friends, at least) that every member of the British Royal Family becomes butt-fuck ugly somewhere between their late teens and their late twenties. Modern science has not been able to identify the exact source of this appallingly predictable Uglification Process within the Windsor genes (*COUGH*) but the evidence speaks for itself...

The Progression of Phil The Greek:

Did you see what happened there? From the Purity Of Youth to the Smile Of A Paedophile in just four pictures. Chilling.

Worse still, it's clear that once the Process begins, it never ends - it merely continues, and increases exponentially, until the welcome mercy of Death takes the poor Blue-Blooded Fug into its bosom once and for all.

Admittedly, it's difficult to build a strong case for the phenomenon using Charles, since he was always rather unfortunate-looking. But even despite what nature gave him, it's clear to see that the wallopings with the Royal Ugly Stick got harsher and harsher as the years progressed:

And his brothers didn't escape either:

Dear oh dear. But I hear what you're saying: What about those kids of Charles and Di?! Surely those PrettyBlondeGenes injected into the Incestuous German-Greek Mess did something to help the situation! Prince William is the Golden Boy of the Monarchy! All the hopes and dreams of the British Empire are pinned on him! And he's good-looking! Right? RIGHT?!
Well, let's take a look...

Cute Kid... Check.

Adorable Adolescent... Check. (Seriously I defy anyone to say they didn't want to give him a hug that day. Poor boy. Wub.)

Strapping Stripling... Check.

Dashing Young Man? ...Nurse! Nurse! We're losing him! It's started! There's no going back... Aaaaaargh!
It's over.


But what's that? There... is... another... Windsor!

Indeed: look at Harry! He seems to have escaped the family curse!

Encouraging. This might lead some cynics to suggest terrible things about his parentage (*COUGH*). And indeed Harry's run of good luck is quite remarkable, given the fates of those around him.

But wait! What's that on the horizon?! Could it be... the Windsor Family Ugly Stick?!
Yes, yes it is. My, how things can change in just a few short months. Such a pity. Maybe it's the military service that does it? Who knows. Either way, dear readers, we might as well accept it.
We have one Ugly MotherFuck of a Monarchy.


On a related note, have a look at this:

The first coin shows a young Lizzie II in a pleasant, soft-focus medium-close-up.
The second coin shows Betty with a couple more chins and a few more wrinkles. And it shows it all in tighter close-up, in greater detail.
This continues.
By the final coin (sorry bout the terrible photo above; grab a coin out of your pocket and have a look for yourself) we have the ageing Regina in all her terrible glory, rolls of face-flab and papery skin chiselled into the shiny metal in spine-tingling, close-up detail.

For the love of God why? This is cruel to everyone who views currency, not to mention cruel to the poor Monarch herself. Why, as she inevitably shows the signs of her advancing years, do these dastardly coin portraitists insist on zooming in and sharpening the focus. As she tiptoes through her ninth decade on earth, can't we grant the old dear a bit of a middle-distance/soft-focus/abstract/expressionist portrait, for the sake of dignity?

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04 August, 2006

yasmin's getting her soul sucked out by amoral tv producers in exchange for fame and "true love"!

Conservatives are always going on about preserving the "sanctity" of marriage. This is usually a thinly-veiled way of saying they don't want dirty poofs and hairy lezzies to be recognised as married couples. Apparently such recognition would in some way detract from the sacredness and importance of heterosexual marriage. Oh and of course it would also undermine the well-established and absolutely immutable rule that children can only be raised in a household with a loving man and woman as their parents. Otherwise they turn out depraved. Which means of course, in this day and age, most kids are depraved. Except me; I was raised by a loving, married, heterosexual couple. But I turned out gay. Something went awry there, I guess... maybe it's because I was raised by grubby Lefties.

Anyhoo, I'm awfully glad that the pollies have preserved the holy sanctity of the wedded state between a man and a woman. Because it's given Channel Ten the opportunity to create the program Yasmin's Getting Married - truly a most respectful celebration of the sacred institution of marriage. I can't imagine a better way of honouring the hallowed blessing of wedded bliss, than a desperate fame-whore spending nine weeks having her dearly-loving husband chosen for her by a live television audience!

And when Yasmin is joined in the consecrated rights of matrimony with whichever male fame-whore wins the competition to be her soul-mate, it will clearly be the perfect environment for bringing children into the world. The glitz and glamour of eligible suitors battling it out on national television for the right to marry someone they've known less than three months, is the perfect foundation for a wholesome family home. I hope Channel Ten does a follow-up special on Yasmin and her One True Love™ in five years, so we can see just what a healthy, happy, well-balanced-child-filled home they've created.

Thank heavens the conservatives preserved the sanctity of marriage from all those filthy unfit-parents/sexual-deviants!

EDIT: So Yasmin's reign of terror is already at an end. That was short-lived.

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