Friday, December 31, 2004

ToxicPurity's NY Resolutions

Personally, 2004, like most years, had its good days and its not-so-good days. More than ever, I am grateful to belong to this country, to have a friend and partner like Skribe to share my life with, and to be in a position where I can be thankful about anything at all.

So, rather than thinking about things to give up, I am resolving to add to my life:

1. I will get my driver's license.
2. I will continue with night classes at TAFE, and learn something useful, or fun, or both.
3. I will actually donate blood sometime this year (and so will Skribe).
4. I will have coffee/go to the pub/hang out with friends more. Like more than twice.
5. I will draw/paint/whatever and get published/exhibited/sold.
6. I will figure out the missing crucial second step in the Underpants Gnomes' 3-step route to wealth and profit, and so never have to work for wacky East Europeans again. Ever.
7. More than every other year before, I will make 2005 my year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Remember: Nature Is A Mother

It's been a tough few years for South East Asian coastal resorts. Damned thing also makes you conscious that you live in a low-lying area close to water. Hmm.

Dave and Joanne Ali, honeymooners and tsunami survivors, said, among other things, that they had felt abandoned by comparison to survivors from other countries. In the immediate aftermath, the German government had sent a plane to ferry home Germans, a bus appeared to take people from Hong Kong out of the disaster area, people were arriving with vehicles to collect survivors of certain nationalities. What did Australians get? An SMS message informing them that Alexander Downer was sending water and blankets. (And I'll link this post-ed when I find the damned article - so much has happened so quickly the story I want has been pushed off the ABC news page but not yet into its archives).

What DFAT has to say regarding tidal waves, which essentially boils down to:
1. Don't go there; and
2. Bring bottled water.

Just how big and bad was this thing? Apparently, it changed the physical map of parts of the world, and put a wobble in the earth's axis.

Meanwhile, buried elsewhere in the news but no less noteworthy, Cricket Australia has honoured the 1868 team of Indigenous players who represented Australia admirably in the first ever Australia vs England tour, nine years before the Ashes began, and who have finally been awarded their individual player numbers. Congratulations, guys.

And in a nearly complete segue from the headlines (so it's sea-related), you may find it a helpful distraction to consider that whales get the bends.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Spirit of Giving (What They Deserve)

I always thought the best present to give to the Christian of your acquaintance - particularly at Xmas time - was a cheque to the charity of your choice MADE OUT IN THEIR NAME. It makes you look good, some deserving charity gets some money, and you have just made the Christian of your acquaintance feel completely shitty. Watch them squirm as they thank you for the generosity of your gift, while the guilt and doubt eats them up on the inside.

Better yet, do it to the child of a Christian of your acquaintance, after promising them that your present is way better than an X-box, mobile phone, or scooter, and teach them a lesson they won't forget about the key doctrines of their own religion: humility, poverty, and charity.

If you're not into the poetic-justice school of gift-giving, and just want to feel good without stepping on anyone's toes, not even a hypocrite's, you could always buy someone a bucket. Or buy a goat (US$60) or a buffalo ($250), or better yet, for a percentage of the cost, buy a share in an animal.

Also, you could Give A Kid A Book. Now, I don't normally like these click-and-feed-a-hungry-child links because being a terribly skeptical and cynical person, I can't possibly see how it could work, and I've seen too many well-meaning people get taken in by hoax emails.

That said: these sites appear legit, won't cost you a penny, and haven't infected my Windows machine with pop-up porn ads. So, do something for yourself. Click on the button, and the sponsor charities will give a book to a needy child.

And if books aren't your thing, they have related charities like Save A Rainforest and Feed An Abandoned Pet and whatnot.

And don't just wait til Xmas to give to feel good about yourself. Remember that the true meaning of 25th December is that it celebrates the birth of the sun, thereby signifying the end of winter and the spiritual start of a new year. So if you're going to do the pressies thing, make 'em count.

Friday, December 24, 2004

A season of hypocrites

I hate Christmas. It's not because I'm a Scrooge-like character that seeks to kill the joy of others. It's also not because I'm sick-to-death of hearing carols and other christmassy ditties every time I go shopping - although I do have to wonder how anyone can work in such an establishment and still keep any semblance of sanity. No, it is because Christmas brings out the worst in people.

I know a lot of Christians and others that have bought into the myth of Christmas believe exactly the opposite: that Christmas brings out the best in people. Sure, people are generally happier, more friendly and more generous, but therein lies the problem. If you can do it over Christmas, why can't you do it all the time? Why does being nice for one day excuse you for being shitty, intolerant, pond-scum the other 364 days?

Also, around this time of year I meet a lot of so-called atheists. They usually surface after they wish me a happy Christmas and I tell them that I'm not a Christian and don't celebrate Christmas. They then reply in hushed tones that they're not Christian either. "But I still do presents," they quickly add.

I hate seeing people demean themselves this way. Being avaricious and hypocritical, because their family, society and the marketing arms of the corporations tell them that they have to act like this. It's tradition. Everybody in Australia does it. And so they just blindly accept it, even if they no longer believe it. That's why I hate Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2004


"An Italian being interviewed by a German, filmed by a Hungarian, and edited by a Singaporean. How does this represent the West Australian art scene?"

after viewing the latest installment of Gallery Watch

Personoid of the Year

While it looks like Time Magazine's Person of the Year nomination has degenerated into so much sycophantic Smithers-ness, just remember that their vote for Man of the Year 1939 was jolly old Adolph, and Man of the Year 1980 was the Ayatollah Khomeini. In their own words, the nomination (and it's NOT an award nor an honour) recognises "the single person who, for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year." Dubya is in good company.

Personally, my fav Time Person of the Year was the 1982 nominee, The Computer, but what do I know. Politicians and fanatics come and go, but when technological marvels become not merely commonplace but integral to everyday life - when something we've made changes our lives so much that we cannot conceive of doing without it - now that's worthy of recognition, for good or bad.

In that light, here's 10 Things Time learnt about blogging.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Definition problems

Of course one of the problems of using cutting-edge technology is that sometimes other support technology isn't as up-to-date. Case in point, the Sony HDR-FX1 is an excellent camera, particularly when used in its 1080 high-definition video mode. Unfortunately, Adobe's Premiere Pro, which is what we use mainly at CTV, can't understand High Definition Video (HDV). The required plugin is due out January. CTV's Administrator is not impressed. He has a wonderful, beautifully shot, widescreen version of his programme, Gallery Watch, and the only way to watch it is by playing it back in the camera. Sometimes, even the best of us can be a little too smart for our own good.

I guess that means that devotees should stay tuned for an extra-special episode in January, or February or whenever the plugin is released.

The One Game

They say that the browser wars are about to start again now that Firefox and Mozilla have reached a level of stability, security and standards conformity that Microsoft's Internet Explorer can only dream about. And it looks as though the good people at SBS - yes those people that receive fat wads of cash from the Australian taxpayer - have made their choice as to who they're supporting in that war.

I've been reading The World Game website everyday since its inception, using a variety of browsers on a variety of different operating systems. Except for a brief days a few years ago I've never had a problem reading it no matter what browser or operating system I chose to use. That all changed two weeks ago.

Now, whenever I use Firefox or Mozilla (on both Windows and Linux) to read the site I get a requester to download an octet-stream. Click save, open or cancel and nothing happens. Load it up with Internet Explorer and there's no problem.

I've written to them several times and have yet to hear a peep. There ought to be a law that requires that all publically-funded websites be standards compliant and accessible from more than one browser.

Not happy, Jan!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

What Toxic Purity Learnt This Week While Editing The CTV Perth Xmas Special

01. Among other things, Hitler was an outrageous tax cheat

02. Cluster-ballooning is apparently a real sport.

03. Australians spend way too much on real estate and imaginary real estate (has castle, furniture not included).

04. The next generation of car can climb stairs. Can we say Mecha?

05. From sperm-destroying mobile phones to the production of pate foie gras being an act of animal cruelty, people are just stupid enough to believe anything, and the press is just lazy enough to print it.

06. Santa's reindeer, including Rudolph, are probably all female.

07. According to Don Diebel, America's #1 Dating Expert, a surefire way to pick up chicks is with a hand puppet. Uh-huh.

08. Lava lamps explode when you put them on a hot stovetop. Yet another one for the Darwin Awards.

09. How to bring down a bank. First, start a doomsday cult. Next, borrow like there's no tomorrow...

10. Just because it's called Narcissist, is located in the sex shops section of Barrack St and down a dingy stairway, does not mean it's a fetish shop with black widow dresses and PVC gear and spikey jewellery. Boring!

11. My driving instructor is ex-SAS. COOOOOL.

12. You don't really know how to hate those soul-sapping lame-brained Xmas Specials until you've made one. I need a bath now. I feel so dirty.

Check the busker

The busking scene in Perth has never been particularly great. Sure there is the occasional highlight like Trent Humphrey, the Opera-Singer and the Sword-Swallower, who drives around in a hearse, but against that we have a plethora of lame jugglers, the Michael Jackson Break-Dancer and the Disabled Guy, who over the last ten years has managed to improve - while he still can't hold a tune he can at least reach some of the notes now. Occasionally.

Now we have a new busker. The Jamaican speed chess champion. Yes, speed chess is now considered to be a busking activity. For a small fee you can challenge him to a game. And the thing of it is, that he's attracting huge crowds. Sure not as many as the usual performance of the Sword-swallower, who proudly claims to hold the world-record for most swords swallowed, but still a healthy number.

So, if you know your pawn from your rook and are looking for a new playing partner perhaps it is high time for you to pop into YOUR city, as the City of Perth ads proclaim, and challenge the West Indian. Do us proud.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Stress Season

No, we are not dead. We are merely resting. Actually both ToxicPurity and myself have been rushed off our feet. One of the really stupid things about having a national religious holiday is that even those that aren't members of that religion are forced to suffer from the stress that holiday causes. For instance, every show that will be aired on Access 31 over the end-of-year break must be submitted by 17th December - THAT's TOMORROW! That's because Access 31 basically shuts down from the end of next week until January 3rd. This means that everyone is madly trying to shoot, edit and output their programmes before the deadline. Then throw in the Christmas specials and the end-of-year episodes and you've got a real mess. We'll be back soon. We promise.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Rabbit Hell

It was pension day in Whitfords yesterday because during our visit to Whitfords City we seemed to be surrounded by the entire memberhsip of Greypower. That and several busloads of large breasted teenagers dressed in denim skirts, that were about three sizes too small for them. What can I say about the rabbit warren that is the Whitford City shopping centre? AVOID AT ALL COSTS! The people there are ugly, rude, deaf and have a serious body odour problem. And that's just the staff. The shoppers are worse. If you're from Whitfords and Whitford City is 'your place' then I'm truly sorry. Life has punished you too much already.

And the award goes to...

[Straightens tuxedo tie]

[Reads off teleprompter]

Acting is defined by the Wiktionary as temporarily assuming the duties or authority of another person when they are not there or are unable to do their job.

The nominations for Best Actor are:
Khoa Bui
Mark Evans
Mahesh Jadunundun
Kingsley Judd
Robbie Vecchio

And the Barimen award for Best Actor goes to:
Mark Evans

The nominations for Best Actress are:
Julia Cukrov
Valerie Dragojevic
Melinda O'Gar
Stephanie Wilson
Farren Wood

And the Barimen award for Best Actress goes to:
Valerie Dragojevic

Congratulations to both Mark and Valerie and to all the nominees. You all did a great job and it was a pleasure working with you.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


One of the joys of blogging, or any website for that matter, is checking out the search engine queries that led users to your site. For instance, someone did an MSN search for BEST LOCATION FOR BLINDSPOT MIRRORS and somehow ended up here. Someone else reached here by googling for exhibitionist nus girl blog mrt. Others have reached this site by inputting the terms Crispy Ikan Bilis; libra odd spot list; and athena+symbol+cryptonomicon. All very interesting and most of them make some sort of sense, but how on earth do you get here by inputting the following term:

phone numbers of call girls in mumbai

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

High Definition? Yes!

So, you've just finished one part of the latest piece of animation you're producing and you pop out for a breather, and while you're there you just happen to run into the Administrator of the production house where you're doing this animation. You and he discuss setting up some training courses and he wants your advice on who to do them. You name some people and then casually mention that Sony has a new High-Definition camera out. 'Yes,' the administrator says, 'It just came in today. Would you like to see it?.' 'Sure,' you say blankly, and the two of you head-off down the street to Plaza Digital Cameras.

The administrator is greeted by the staff like an old friend. You're introduced. Names are exchanged. Business cards too. Then you get down to the nitty gritty. Checking out the Sony HDR-FX1.

It's neat. It has everything you want from a prosumer video camera, but the thing that blows you away - apart from the 16:9 screen and high definition recording, is the aperture toggle. On a shoot it is the little things that count. All the cameras you've used - all the dinky little prosumer ones anyway - place the aperture in a really stupid and out-of-the-way place. So, you have to stop to use it. Something that is annoying when you're shooting a doco. You've long ago forgone using automatic aperture settings. The HDR-FX1 has it exactly in the right place - or should that be left place, because it is ideally placed to be adjusted with the left hand.

Half-an-hour later, you've pretty much exhausted the possibilities of shooting everything in the shop. You want this camera. You want to see what it can do in a real environment. The administrator beats you to the punch. He asks to borrow the $7000 camera, that the store has had less than 12 hours, overnight. You're blown away when they say yes. You've learnt a valuable lesson. Ask. The worst they can do is say no.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Oh! What Fun It Is To Ride In A One-Tree Christmas Bus!

This morning, skribe and I rode the Christmas bus into Como. This was almost as scary as the bus itself being driven by someone who wasn't quite sure what the route was, and wanted directions, just to be on the safe side.

The Christmas-ness of the Christmas bus, however, served to distract us from the driver's lack of knowledge of the route they were driving. The interior was thick with tinsel streamers. Plastic stars rattled against the windows, which were white with fake frost. Santa's fatherly grin beamed down at us from every flat surface. There was even a Christmas tree rattling against the back of the driver's panel. "Noel!" and "Ho! Ho! Ho!" were stuck to the doors in big red padded felt lettering. The only thing missing was piped-in Christmas carols. Thank gods and odd socks they forgot the piped-in Christmas carols.

It was so ridiculously over-the-top it actually brought a smile to our jaded, cynical, non-Christmas-celebrating selves. You know what? I adore the idea of the Christmas Bus. It celebrates the best part of the holiday - joy and gaiety and quite a lot of childish silliness.

It got us thinking about other holiday buses. Easter would be cute, but it doesn't have the same drunkenly glorious sense of fun and frivolity about it. Valentine's Day isn't a holiday, and the Anzac Day Fun Bus is just wrong. What does that leave? The Queen's Birthday Holiday Bus? Brrrrr.

The Lunar New Year would be another great Holiday Bus, if only it were on the calendar. Ah, well. Not this year maybe.

The Christmas Holiday Bus. It was masquerading as the 32 to Como, but who knows where it'll turn up next, carrying onboard a crazy facet of the Christmas spirit with it wherever it goes.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Go Hobbits! Go Wozzies!

You've heard by now that Australia's Favourite Book is Lord of the Rings, pipping both Pride & Prejudice and the Bible. Clearly, this is a country that likes its books dense, meandering, and desperately in need of a brutal editor.

Don't get me wrong. The Bible's probably the best example of an ongoing collaborative work by mostly anonymous writers, but it needs some serious editing. And Jane Austen... I've been traumatised by her ever since my father decided that at age 11 I was too old for Enid Blyton and pushed me onto "real books" ie, a stack of Jane Austens. I still can't read her. Thank gods for the BBC drama department and Colin Firth.

What really surprised me though was that, as one of the panellists on the show, Edmund Campion, observed, the only two Australian books in the top 10 were both written by Wozzies - A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey, and Cloud Street by Tim Winton.

Only two of the top 10 were Australian, you gasp? Remember that this is out of the entire lot of books ever published in English, and it's actually an astoundingly high percentage. Tolstoy didn't make it, nor Dumas. 20% Australian, and 100% Western Australian.

It puts me in mind of something I heard recently about Western Australian artists: that unlike our Eastern States counterparts, we tend to aim for the overseas market and international showings. We are so isolated, so far removed from the centres of Sydney and Melboure, that we look even further afield for recognition. We are subsequently more cosmopolitan in our outlook, and not as inward-looking as our Eastern States peers.

I think there's certainly something in that sentiment. Being on the fringes, we are better aware than most that Sydney and Melbourne are not the centre of the universe - we don't have to write/sculpt/paint/film to please them, even if they seem to hold the funding pursestrings. We tell our own stories our way, subconsciously or otherwise, and somehow, we end up speaking to everyone.

Saturday, December 04, 2004


ToxicPurity and I popped into Fremantle to the FTI (Film and Television Institute) sundowner - end of year drinks thingymajig - last night. Yes, I should have mentioned it earlier. Blame it on the copious amount of soft drink that we drank. That Gest - sorry I mean Kirks - stuff really goes to my head.

Anyway, we caught up with lots of friends and made a few new ones and had a really good night - especially the bit where we nipped out to Madonnas, on South Terrace, and grabbed a bite or three to eat. I tried to catch some pics of the sundowner but unfortunately it was too dark - almost pitch black (film-makers tend to be very ugly people - at least the ones that stay behind the camera - so this is a good thing)- so my poor phone couldn't cope.

Meanwhile, over in Belmont at Access 31 there was another end-of-year party that by all reports was more like a wake. Lift your game 31! You're letting the side down.

Selling your soul

Apparently the new Microsoft blogging site requires that users grant a perpetual licence to Microsoft so they can use any and all of the blog posts. It is so very tempting to sign up and just, day-in and day-out, write posts like Microsoft is shit and My mother is dead because she trusted Microsoft. If I had a life I just might do that. Unfortunately, I don't.

The New Spelling

Heard in a popular juice store on Hay St this morning:

[Girl] As in N. A. V. E?
[Guy] What?
[Girl] N. A. V. E.
[Guy] His name is Dave.
[Girl] Yeah. It sounds like N. A. V. E. You know, you feisty knave.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Today's Useless Factoid

Odd Spot #69:
Only female ducks can quack.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The new math

Woolworths. This evening. The total on the register screen shows $22.44. Paying by card.

[Checkout Chick] Would you like any cash out?
[ToxicPurity] Twenty dollars, please.

Checkout chick looks at screen. Thinks about punching a button. Hesitates. Considers it again. Decides against. Turns to Checkout Chick Two.

[Checkout Chick] She wants twenty dollars. That would be $66.44?

Fortunately Checkout Chick 2 knew how to add.


It seems my nominations for the Stanislavski Award aren't going to be accepted because some moron put the wrong closing date on the email. So instead I'm going to do my own acting awards. Here are the nominations:

For Best Actor:
(in alphabetical order)
Khoa Bui
Mark Evans
Mahesh Jadunundun
Kingsley Judd
Robbie Vecchio

For Best Actress:
(in alphabetical order)
Julia Cukrov
Valerie Dragojevic
Melinda O'Gar
Stephanie Wilson
Farren Wood

The winners will be announced on December 10th.

Sure Signs Summer Is Here

You know summer has arrived when there's nothing but test cricket and crappy movies on the telly, and even non-commercial radio seems to have gone on break.

Meanwhilst, back at the office, the usual jokes about the lack of winter heating have gradually but definitively changed into jokes about the lack of summer air-conditioning.

On the streets and in the shopfronts, fake snow and tinsel ice crystals remind us that the annual winter solstice festival is nigh - a festival in which we all hooray the birth of the sun and the death of winter, and which makes about as much sense in sunny, Mediterranean Perth, Australia, as celebrating the Queens' birthday in October instead of, oh, say, 21st April.

All that's left now to confirm the onslaught of summer is the return of the white cockatoos, otherwise known as "Shut the fuck up, you little buggers!" but more properly as the Little Corella. They're a little late this year, which does raise the hope among those of us who live near the river that the darling little creatures have found new summer stomping grounds. Somehow, it doesn't really seem like summer without their incessant screeching at 4am, but I'd be kidding if I said they were badly missed.

And today's words of wisdom are:

Odd Spot #93:
Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue prints are different.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Google-Bombed! Or What's In A Name?

Iranian bloggers have successfully manipulated Google so that a search for "Arabian Gulf" brings up a spoof page directing you to search for "Persian Gulf" instead, and to read some history books.

Meanwhile, everyone else is diplomatically referring to the disputed area simply as "The Gulf", which neatly describes the situation. Maybe if it'd been called Joe from the outset, nobody would be getting all nationalistic about it today. On the other hand, people get their hackles up over the oddest things.

And since we're nominally in the region...

Odd Spot #71:
The first known contraceptive was crocodile dung, used by the Egyptians in 2000 BC.

Thanks, Libra. I feel so much more informed already.


It has taken you nineteen days - thirty-two since your meeting with Kim - but you now have a working, fully-functional-with-ported-number Z1010. Congratulations. You are happy and will recommend Three to all your friends because you are a money-grubbing whore - you earn $50 credit for each friend you recommend that ports their number to Three. They also get $50 credit. How is this different from a pyramid scheme? 'Pyramid schemes don't come standard with Z1010s,' you reason - thereby proving that you are totally insane and beyond hope.

Thus ends this saga. Stay tuned for the prequel.