Saturday, October 30, 2004


Those people who support Bush have gotten so used to being rammed up the arse with a hot poker by him that they're starting to enjoy it.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

When Movies Invade Reality

So, Hobbits really did exist (and they lived on a tropical island alongside small dragons and Rats Of Enormous Size, and they hunted pygmy elephants); and US President George Bush is really just a movie villain, albeit the scariest movie villain in recent cinema.

I'll buy that. Explains a lot, actually. Not the most convincing performance of a US President in my memory, but without doubt one of the most genuinely terrifying portrayals of modern evil.

It's an interesting experience living in a reality that can produce both of these findings. I love when the universe plays head games with me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

TV Highlights

1. Jinkies! If it weren't for those meddlin' kids, the Simpsons would have got the record for most episodes ever produced for an animated series.

Too many easy jokes. Just too many. So I'll just say that, personally, there is one area in which the old Scooby Doo show beats hands down the Simpsons show any day: Velma. She always was, and always will be, my model for geek womanhood. And she has her own catchphrase :)

2. Speaking of which, in a a recent US poll, Homer Simpson is apparently the people's preferred choice for US President. In response to the poll, Homer has pledged that "...there will be fewer nuclear disasters with me as your mayor than with me as your nuclear safety inspector."

Now there's an episode they haven't done yet.

3. Of course, you probably already thought of it but couldn't do a thing about it. Sick of passively watching other people's TV shows? Well, imagine a TV show where you, the viewing public, get to text in what happens next.

The concept of personalised TV programmes is being touted as the next step in interactive entertainment.

Frankly, after editing TV programmes all day, I'm not sure I can stomach editing TV programmes all evening, in real time, for fun.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Week In Brief

1. On the same day we learnt of Tony's death, the boss's granddaughter was born. Hello, Nikita. Or as the boss himself put it: "Ah, yes, another child to hang on the Christmas tree."

Gotta love that wacky East European sense of humour.

2. Noel's recovered from his flu, but Wendy still wasn't available, so I did both lessons this week with good old Noel. On Wednesday, after warming up with U-turns on Moore St, he took me out to the Horation/Nile circuit again and had me get up to 4th gear. This was particularly exciting because 4th gear is a hell of a long way to gear down from when you're on a turn, approaching a corner, flailing for the inidcator, checking your mirrors, and then suddenly you're at the intersection having to avoid the ruddy big Blue Cat sitting on the most inconvenient point of your turning arc. That's when I mounted the near kerb, missed the pole (and the Blue Cat), still in 3rd gear, while Noel clutched his shirtfront and said, "Oh, my heart!" We stayed out of 4th gear by mutual consent after that.

3. Noel, however, is an optimist. Thursday saw me navigate through the centre's shared carpark and out onto Wellington. I don't entirely remember how I got into the new development in East Perth, since I was dealing with real traffic and lights for the first time in my life, and I was in a state of near terror all that way. After a respite reversing down a slope and hill-starting (deliberately), Noel sent me out into real traffic once again, and this time I was prepared for it. This time I could handle 4th gear. This time I enjoyed it even, though I have only the foggiest idea where I was, but we were up past the East Perth Railway Station and we did pass the Australian Naval Association at some point (they have a torpedo and a sea mine in their front yard, you can't miss it). I pointed out to Noel that I tend to get distracted easily. He said I was doing just fine. I like Noel. He's very reassuring. Even when I keep stalling the car at the lights, and there's traffic backing up behind us.

4. Channel 31 are a bunch of incompetents. Instead of broadcasting the Penelope episode this week for Gallery Watch, they re-broadcast an earlier episode on Regina Noakes by accident. So the entire Gallery Watch schedule has been pushed back a week, Penelope is understandably annoyed, and the next couple of shows on current exhibitions - like the WA Cartoonists Retrospective at Constitution House - are going to be irrelevant by the time they air. Unbelievable.

5. 109 votes. 2 weeks after the Federal Elections - two weeks of recounting postal and absentee votes and scraping every last vote out of every last cardboard ballot box - incumbent Kim Wilkie was finally declared the winner in the seat of Swan. By 109 votes. It's official, Skribe and I live in the most marginal (read: indecisive) seat in all the wide brown land of Australia. How lovely to know that come next election, we're going to be the target of even more political proselytising than anybody else. It's nice to be needed.

6. Skribe and I are taking Sunday off. We haven't had a Sunday off since whenever, and if we can't figure out when that was, it's definitely time to take the day off. Maybe check out the Open Day at Government House. Maybe catch up on sleep.

Monday, October 18, 2004

In Memoriam: Tony Styles

You don't know Tony, but he's dead.

He used to volunteer his admin skills at CTV, and is to this day still the only person I've ever known actually make the office work. He had a dry sense of humour, always wore shorts to work, and could charm the skin off a snake over the phone. He was also a pain in the arse sometimes, but you don't get to be a killer admin guy without the patience, hide, and cunning of a crocodile.

After some months absence, he was coming back this Friday to admin again.

Instead, a couple of days ago, he died on the couch watching TV. Just like that. Deep vein thrombosis is suspected. Is that even possible? I don't know.

I'm not even sure how old he was. 38? 42? We'd chat in the office, but I spent most of my hours upstairs at an editing suite and he'd be downstairs orchestrating order out of chaos.

People die all the time, are dying right now, out of view, out of knowledge. Every now and then, someone dies that you know, however casually, and it unsettles the picture of the world you carry around inside your head. It's like an actor has gone backstage, but not returned on his cue. It's like you've just put a book down for a moment, and now it's not there anymore. Gone.

Tony's dead. He won't get to travel again, nor explain why today's mass media education is a failure, nor tell any more jokes about having been an exec-level civil servant.

Ciao, Tony.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Toxic Purity's Makan Review

I've never been particularly adapt at being Singaporean, but there's one trait that still marks my origins in that tiny island state: their national obsession for good, cheap food.

Yesterday I tried out the new eatery on Barrack St, Prima Taste, which is apparently a Singaporean franchise specialising in, well, Singaporean favourites like Chilli Crab and Prawn Noodles. In fact, it's not so much an eatery as an outlet for Prima Taste cooking products that's been cleverly disguised as an eatery.

First up, the smell. The second you walk in, you know the food's good. The place smells exactly right. Second, the service. Early days, a couple of teething problems, running short on items like lids for takeaway containers. But the aroma. You can forgive them anything when it smells right.

Like their Nasi Lemak. All I did for the first 30 seconds was inhale. Short of serving it all tucked up inside a newspaper and banana leaf package, it was the genuine article. The delicately rich fragrance of the rice, the nutty-salty crunch of the ikan bilis (anchovies), the sambal, the crispy boiled egg... Nothng like the 50cent Nasi Lemaks we scrambled for on Mondays at recess time back when I was in primary school, or even the $2 version at the market near my parents' home back in Singers, but for a high end affair, the Prima Taste version was damned good. At $6.50, it was one of their cheaper meals. An Aussie-priced Singaporean-sized meal. Prima Taste can't lose either way, it seems.

Now, their food is excellent. But what you get for what you pay is going to be an issue. Why would any sane person - however homesick they are - pay $7 for a Mee Goreng, when they can stroll up Murray St to the nearby Karache Cafe (another Singaporean franchise) and pay just $4? Tastes just as good, bigger portion, and no waiting at Karache.

And there's the menu. It may not be as extensive as say, Han's Authentic (ha!) Cafe, but it's not designed to be. Quality vs Quantity. These guys are prepared to stake their success on a discerning (read: fussy) customer base with a select handful of classic Singaporean dishes done well rather than overwhelm you with sheer numbers of similar offerings. I'm guessing they're targetting the 20,000 strong Singaporean expat population rather than the average Australian diner.

Even so, I suspect they'll be successful enough to hang around for a while. There're cheaper places to eat on that block, but they don't have any real direct competition in terms of quality and authentic makan-ness. I for one plan to go back there. If only for the aromas!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

skribe's pretend pop quiz

skribe spent his free day:


All the above

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Toxic Purity's Pretend Pop Quiz

Toxic Purity spent her free day:

junking spam mail

doing the laundry

weeding the balcony (don't ask)

doing homework

getting the cat out of a tree

arranging to meet Skribe at the Vic Park transfer station and walking home so they can get in their daily 30 mins exercise and have a squizz at what's rocking down at McCallum Park

being delightfully bored out of her mind.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Toxic Purity Learns To... Um... Kill Time

Noel's not well this week, so no Thursday driving lesson. Instead, I booked a Wednesday morning class with Wendy. On the bus in, I get a call from the centre checking to see if I was aware that I had booked a driving lesson for that very morning. I confirmed that I was. All well and good. Five minutes later, I get another call from the centre. It seemed Wendy was unavailable all this week, something to do with it being the school holidays, and therefore my class had to be cancelled. But it was on for the next week. Oh, good. Like they couldn't have told me this the first time?

With my morning to kill, I went in to CTV and finished working on episode 12 of Gallery Watch (don't say I haven't got a life), which focuses on free-spirited artist and poet Penelope. Nice lady. Writes short poems.

Going in early consequently meant I finished early, which left me wondering what I was going to do for the two hours before TAFE, and which wouldn't neccessitate me carting my folio all round Perth or Northbridge. Simple - go hang out in an art gallery.

PICA has a couple of interesting exhibitions on. Well, it's PICA. Although this time around, the art's actually the most accessible I've ever seen. Almost commercial, in fact. Graffiti on canvas, posters and found objects that have been painted over, and the infamous Texta Nudes. For a change, it wasn't so much the art itself that was subversive or edgy, but the application of the art. Stealing posters from bus shelters to use as your canvas, drawing over the printed image of Aaliyah's publicity still from Queen of the Damned, and claiming authorship over the enhanced/vandalised result. That's naughty. That's sampling for the graphic media. And that's a pretty picture.

Disappointed I missed out on the colouring-in Texta sessions, which was a great interactive concept that got out of control, resulting in people drawing all over the walls with felt-tip pens, instead of on the canvases provided.

Ah, well. Gravity Games H20 starts tomorrow in my own backyard, just about, and I don't have to go back to the office 'til Monday. So. Hmmm... Wonder what I'll do to kill time tomorrow?

Sunday, October 10, 2004


Heard while walking down Murray St Mall.

A couple walking joyfully hand-in-hand.

MAN: So, are you married?
WOMAN: Not anymore.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Post-Voting Malaise

12 hours later, and I feel sick. Channel 10's choice of movie tonight says it all really: The Mummy Returns. Seriously, what does it take to get that yellow-streaked fearmonger out of government? Howard the Coward is like the gray gooey glob you find on the sole of your best shoes that just won't be scraped off.

I'm not bitter the wrong man won. On the whole, I'm grateful to have taken part in this democratic process. Latham will come back stronger next election, because he'll be up against Costello, who has even less spine than Howard, if that's possible.

What makes me angry is that Howard and the Liberals will take this as their God-given right to go on doing all the crappy things they've done to us this past administration. The people of Australia (in Howard's egoistic little fantasy) will have granted him a mandate to lie, cheat, and sell away our birthrights, integrity, and basic human values.

Well, I did my best. I numbered the Liberals (does anyone else find their name an affront to common sense?) right down there with One Nation, Family First and the Christian Fascists. But I guess that old adage holds true: No matter who you vote for, the Government always wins.

The Pre-Voting Euphoria

Well, it's 9am on a damp but sunny Saturday morning on what is turning out to be another working weekend. No sweat. It's Election Day! Skribe and I are going voting! Yay!

Yes, I'm a civics geek, among other things. Breakfast? That can wait. The office? Later. This is important.

I love Election Day. I'm sorry it only comes round every few years, and I honestly can't understand people's lack of enthusiasm for it. This is not a chore - it's a privilege, our sacred right. And virtually the only duty expected of us as Australian citizens that's actually constructive and fun, too. (Okay, so I get excited about jury duty as well - it's so much fun! But taxes, we can at least all see eye to eye on taxes. Paying taxes is neccessary, but there's not much to get excited over. Taxes is not fun. But voting is!)

Ahem. It's Election Day. WOO-HOO! Yay! I'm going to number every single little box and make those preferences work, baby! Bye-bye, Jackboot Johnnie and all your prejudices and petty fears. It's time to live in the 21st century. Hello, Mr Latham and a future worth believing in.

I'm off to do some voting, some wonderful voting in Oz!*

*sung badly to We're Off To See The Wizard of Oz

Thursday, October 07, 2004

ToxicPurity Learns To Drive Part 3

No more carparks. No more safety zones. Today Noel handed me the keys and the first thing I had to do besides the preliminary checks and mirror adjustments... etc, was figure out how to get inside the damned vehicle to begin with. I really, really, don't have much experience with driving. Scared yet?

So we stuttered out onto Moore Street, which sees a hell of a lot more traffic than a deadend has any right to, and learnt U-Turns. Up and down the street and back again, dodging pedestrians, bike couriers, delivery trucks, a tree root and those pesky wayward kerbs.

We didn't get beyond 2nd gear this time, which was just as well, since the combination-action of clutch in, gear down, clutch out, mirrors, blindspot, indicator, clutch in (and brake), check, and turn, was just as likely to result in a perfectly executed U-turn as to strand us in the middle of the road broadside to oncoming traffic. Once. Or scraping the kerb. Twice. Which led to a quick refresher on reversing.

But who's counting?

At least I can now reverse out of a driveway. Now I just have to learn to not stall it where I will inconvenience other drivers.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Safe As Banks

83 - count them - 83 safety deposit boxes from a DBS bank in Hong Kong were accidentally sent to the crushers and scrapped, contents and all. Wouldn't you love to be one of those customers sitting down with the manager afterwards, detailing exactly what irreplaceable family heirlooms and valuables were kept in your safety deposit box and just how much the bank subsequently owes you for its admitted incompetence?

Of course, knowing the sort of things that some people hide in their safety deposit boxes, there're probably one or two relieved customers out there as well.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

And The Prize Goes To...

Coca-Cola, the Vatican, and the guy who patented the combover. It's a highly select company, but what could they possibly have in common?

Well, they are all recipients of the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize, which rewards scientific and academic endeavours of questionable value.

Coke won the Chemistry prize for the Dasani fiasco, the Vatican got the Economics prize for outsourcing prayers to India, and the Engineering prize went to the late Frank Smith for, you guessed it, the combover.

There were other categories, and other prizes, of course. You can find out all about it at the Ig Nobels site.

And the biggie? Who got the Ig Nobel Peace Prize? A certain Mr Daisuke Inoue of Japan, for teaching the peoples of the world an entirely new way to appreciate and celebrate our shortcomings - with a singalong. That's right, he invented Karaoke.

Clearly, his magic touch is needed in certain warzones right now.

All aboard

TP and I took advantage of our generous state government's offer and went train riding today - all for free. We visited the new station at Clarkson, which I must say looks pretty hoopy even though the male toilets were locked and 'won't be open until tomorrow' according to one of the guards. What if I can't hold it that long?

As fortune would have it, on our ride home we got to try out the new 'B-trains' which are due to come into service in the next few months. Whereas the old (current) trains have either 2 or 4 carriages the new ones have 3 or 6 thus giving them greater carrying capacity.

And, boy, do they move fast. We arrived back into Perth five minutes ahead of schedule, and this despite some teething problems which delayed us. I also got the feeling that the driver was being extremely cautious and not 'putting the pedal to the metal'. The ride is so smooth it barely feels like you're moving at all. I expect it to cut the trip up to Joondalup by about ten minutes once all the kinks have been ironed out.

All in all a great day.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Since 6pm last night I've been upgrading my workstation installing Mandrake 10.1 give or take an hour or two for sleep - so this might be a little weird or at least error-ridden. I have to say that even though it is a community release and therefore somewhat beta (experimental) Mandrake 10.1 is pretty nifty. I haven't upgraded this machine since 2001 because I need my copy of Final Draft and there was no other option for me. I'm now able to do stuff that I could only dream about 36 hours ago - such as play windows media files. Mandrake and linux has come a long way in three years.

Although it has taken me the better part of 24 hours to complete the upgrade, most of that time has been spent copying files over from my backup storage and configuring my desktop how I like it. It took me about three hours to import all my email (about 12000 messages) and set up the filters. On my old system I needed about 100 different filters to keep the spam down to a tolerable level. Now I'm down to about 10.

I'm over the moon. Expect me to be raving about this for at least another week. That's what you get when you have to suffer for three years with a sub-standard system. Sorry =).

Friday, October 01, 2004

Toxic Purity Learns To Drive Part 2

Hold on. What happened to Toxic Purity Learns To Drive Part 1? It got swallowed up by the hideous deadline nightmare crush of the previous week. All you need to know is: I only drove over the island ONCE (steered too sharply) and almost crashed into the fence ONCE (mistook accelerator for brake), but I mastered the right-hand turn eventually.

My instructor is a lovely gentleman named Noel who retired from teaching speed and precision driving to the cops and apparently misses all that heart-stopping adrenalin action.

For my second ever lesson, I learnt to steer left, how to reverse-turn down a steep incline (actually that was an impromptu lesson after I nearly drove us into a tree), and then he put me onto the road.

I crawled out the carpark on Horatio St that nobody uses because of its exciting incline, and down towards Nelson.

"Now indicate left," says Noel.

"Indicate?" I said in a panic.

"Ah, right. We haven't done that yet. Don't worry. You're doing just fine."

I like Noel. He's very reassuring.

Now Nelson is a long curving stretch between the WACA, Trinity College and Gloucester Park, which means half the road is taken up with parked cars whose side mirrors I have to avoid taking out. It also means any driver caught behind me was essentially trapped.

My favourite was the poor sod who finally managed to edge around me when I pulled over and he sped past, only to be surprised by a couple of cops training with a speed gun.

I think I'm enjoying this way too much. It's like the terror you experience on a roller-coaster, except you're steering. I also recommend the Nelson, Nile, Waterloo, and Horatio circuit. It has hills, curves, light traffic, and pretty riverside views. But you probably don't want to be there early on Thursday afternoons; that's when I'm on the road :)