Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Death by meetings

Have you seen that old movie "Zulu" that has Michael Caine in it? He's one of the British soldiers defending a fort at Rorke's Drift from a force of Zulu warriors that outnumber the British about 50 to 1. No matter how many Zulus they shoot another wave comes right behind them.

I don't want to over-dramatise my work situation but that's how it feels when I look at my weekly schedule. No matter how many meetings I get through, there's another wave of them coming right after. I'm among the first to refuse to go to pointless meetings which makes these ones even more daunting. Because of the stage our project has reached, I NEED the information that comes out of these meetings so I have to go to them.

This phase won't last forever but the second bit that freaks me out a little is that I can feel my brain collapsing under information overload. The nature of my role as Business Analyst means I'm expected to lead a lot of the discussion around deploying a company-wide piece of software and formulate all the design requirements. Not much pressure there.

So if my posts sound even more incoherent than usual (or they get shorter) this is the reason. It looks like I'm going to actually have to work for a living for a while.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I have a sore throat

The drive to work gave me a sore throat today. This was the natural result of the horn on my car not working (I think the fuse is gone). Add to that the fact that this morning was the worst drive to work in a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very long fucking time. This resulted in a sore throat because the only way to express my frustration at the large number of fuckwits on the road was to scream at them.

And there were a shitload of fuckwits this morning. They came in every stripe and colour. It started simply with traffic being more congested than normal. An annoying state of affairs but one I can normally cope with. But then I had to cope with dickheads just springing out of side streets and swerving across multiple lanes of traffic every five minutes.

The nadir of this particular nightmare came at an intersection where I have actually witnessed a mildly serious accident (I even wrote a blog post about it). I was waiting at the lights to turn right (convert this to a left turn if you drive on the right hand side of the road). I got a green arrow to go so I started forward but then had to slam on the brakes because of the idiot who went through the red light on my left.

This fuckwit must have been sitting waiting for oncoming traffic so they could make their own right turn but then they sorta fell asleep. So they've noticed their light has gone red AND THEN DECIDED TO GO THROUGH THE FUCKING INTERSECTION ANYWAY. Everyone runs a red light occasionally but this idiot made their sin far worse by going from a standing start a full five seconds after their light went red, which made it several seconds after mine went green.

I'm actually pretty careful at light changes in case some dickhead runs a light but she didn't decide to run the light until after I had actually started into the intersection. I saw her. She was stationary. Then I started around the corner. THEN she went right across the front of me. She's fucking lucky I didn't decide to run into her purely in the name of Darwinism. I would have t-boned her - straight into her door. Her stupidity created a situation where the risk of injury to me was pretty low and the risk of serious injury to her was pretty fucking high.

I fucking hate having to protect people from their own fucking stupidity. At least she seemed to realise (far too late) how fucking stupid she had been. The look on her face as she sailed past (BECAUSE I FUCKING BRAKED!) was a mix of horror and deep embarrassment. She clearly knew she was only in one piece because I wasn't as fucking stupid as she was. For this reason I resisted the urge to haul her out of her car and punch some sense into her.

Plus, that would be a really mental thing to do.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Behind the scenes of "Ghost Rider"

For those of you who don't know, the recent Nicolas Cage film "Ghost Rider" was mostly shot in and around Melbourne. It's a bit of fun watching the film and spotting places I know as well as spotting Australian actors in supporting roles pretending to be Americans.

I decided to shoot a video at one of the locations used in the film and expose a serious flaw in the film. Also, I shoot some video from 47 floors up in the Eureka Tower. People who are scared of heights might not like the bit where I fake jumping off the building.

Digg this

I've decided to experiment with a "Digg this" button now that Wordpress have made it easy to add a little widget. I've been toying with the idea of adding buttons for the various news/social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, etc. but essentially I could never be bothered to add the code to the template. Plus, I'm not absolutely convinced this is an unequivocally good idea.

After all, I already have top shelf readers. While adding a "Digg" button might generate large amounts of traffic it isn't necessarily high quality traffic. It's always possible that the pool of fabulousness that exists here now would be intolerably diluted by an influx from Digg. By the way, this is a social experiment to see how susceptible you all are to flattery. Flattery always works on me so I thought it might get my readers too.

I'm not going to put the code for the button on every post, I'll probably limit it to the technology related posts (ostensibly the main focus of Digg). When I do it, you'll see an icon at the bottom of post that looks like this:


If you click on it, this boosts my ranking on Digg thus gaining more of the fame that my shallow soul craves so desperately. This only works if you are already registered and logged in to so run off and do that now if you want to help make me fabulously famous.

Like I said, I'll probably only be putting the code on technology related posts but if I happen to post something that you think should get more widespread attention then let me know. Considering the primary Digg audience, it would help if you think the post would be interesting to young geeky males.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Art in an alley

This video is a bit of a visual treat and it was a bit of a laugh while I was shooting it as well. I've shown a bit of street around Melbourne before but the stuff shown in this video is all shot in one alley that is often used as a gallery/exhibition space.

While I was shooting this a wedding party showed up and started shooting their photos and videos here. I like the art but you can judge for yourself whether or not it would make a good backdrop for wedding photos.

2007 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Extravaganza

I'm planning something pretty exciting over the coming weeks. Well, it's exciting for me anyway. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is coming up in about a month and my old college friend, Adrian Calear (who I've mentioned in blog posts before) is directing quite a few shows in this year's festival.

The Melbourne Comedy Festival is probably one of the top three comedy festivals in the world (along with Edinburgh and Montreal) so this is a pretty big deal. To broaden what I'm doing video-wise I'm going to be shooting some videos with Adrian and his performers. They will be talking about their shows about comedy and being funny general and doing some performing.

I think some really good stuff is going to come out this, so stay tuned for plenty o' laffs!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Some exciting news

Well, exciting for me anyway. As I was driving home from work yesterday I actually heard myself on the radio! My favourite radio station used a grab from one of my videos to illustrate a story on their current affairs show. I called them to say (a) how awesome I thought this was and (b) were they going to explain the source of the clip.

In short, the person who answered the phone said she'd get one of their journalists to call me on Monday so they might actually do a story on me. Or maybe not. You can be sure I'll keep you updated. Here's a video I did on the subject while I was all excited:

Friday, February 23, 2007

You need The Angry News - Everyone else really is lying to you

When I came up with my tag lines for "The Angry News" ("everyone else is lying to you" in the opening credits and saying "that's the news and that's the truth" at the end of each bulletin) I was being mildly ironic. Like any sensible person would seek the truth from a raving lunatic who wears a mask and makes satiric jibes about stories he thinks are funny.

But then there's the underlying reality of so-called news reporting. In my opinion, well over half of what we get from the media is either deliberate lies or so lazily reported that it may as well be a deliberate lie. And every now and then it's done so obviously that I want to scream at people "Can't you fucking tell this is all lies being fed to you? Don't you have a brain? What's so fucking hard about thinking for yourself?"

And then there are the instances that are so fucking funny I want to laugh hysterically. Another one of these happened in Australia this week on one of the appalling nightly tabloid shows. This particular show has had a series of "embarrassments" in the last year where they've been repeatedly outed as liars and/or idiots. It got so bad that the long-running host had to resign in disgrace. But not before she provided some good laughs like reporting on the Steve Irwin memorial wearing a khaki safari suit with a fucking lizard on her shoulder!

It happened again this week when they reported on the shocking story of an 84 year old grandmother who was being kept chained up in a nursing home. Shocking to be sure, but it wasn't true - they staged the whole thing. They didn't exaggerate the circumstances, it was a complete fucking lie! They've been trying a few verbal contortions to get around the embarrassment of being found out but there's no getting around the fact it was a premeditated lie.

I decided to do an Angry News bulletin on the story because it was too funny to pass up. A little insight into how I do these videos: I basically make it up as I go along. I get the initial idea and start the camera. If you saw the unedited video you'd see how many times I got back to look at the original story to come up with the next line. That's also why there are usually a lot of edits in these relatively short videos.

When I started the video I was going to say the host was probably innocent because she wouldn't put her credibility on the line for such an obvious lie. But even as I was recording the piece I realised this didn't hold up logically. To run with a story like this you have to either be brain damaged or in on the lie. Really, the host's only defence is that she's hot. That's a pretty valid defence in today's media.

What it comes down to is these contemptible scum in the media think they can feed us laughably obvious lies and get away with it. Then tell more lies when they get caught. And this is over something utterly inconsequential. I don't even want to get into how they foster hatred and aid and abet governments to sell their lies that get us into wars. I have this horrible feeling I'm going to end up on the receiving end of their lies one day. God-DAMN I hate these fucking liars!

Anyway, I got really angry there when my original intention was to be funny. So here's a video of me being funny.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why aren't you listening?

I've had some interesting experiences over the last week sitting through some training. The training is for a new software package that's going to be rolled out across a reasonably sizeable company and I was in a group with some senior people from the company. Some of the things I saw made me think of how we tend to blame our problems on the "stupidity" of others (as covered in my recent posts on stupid customers, stupid bosses and stupid employees.)

In IT, the frequently heard refrain is that most of our problems are caused by other people's stupidity. If only users would read the fucking manual (RTFM) they'd give us less grief. This seems to make sense on the surface but the real issue is rarely that simple. I, for one, hardly ever RTFM - systems that are too difficult to work out without a manual seldom come with a manual that improves the situation.

A couple of times during the training sessions, some of the users got lost trying to follow some of the most basic processes. I'm talking about not being able to successfully click three times from the home menu. I'm surprised the trainer didn't scream at them to just listen (JFL). The things is, although it would be easy to say they were having trouble with basic things because they were stupid, in this case it was really the opposite.

A short side note: when I complain about workplaces or cow-orkers, I'm almost always talking about previous jobs. My current job is one of the best I've had and my co-trainees are all quite intelligent. In this case it was their intelligence that was derailing them - as they were being shown new features they were coming up with ideas on how the software could be used to improve processes. They were so busy leaping ahead to new frontiers little things like paying attention to how to navigate the software were slipping by them.

As has been pointed out so often by commenters, people accused of being stupid often simply have expertise in a different domain. IT workers call people stupid when they aren't technically oriented, bosses call employees stupid when they don't appreciate strategic issues. So take a breath next time you wish someone would RTFM or JFL - they might not be quite a stupid as you think.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Me next please YouTube - send me to Hollywood

I have to admit, I wasn't particularly surprised when I read the news that Jessica Rose AKA Bree AKA LonelyGirl15 has scored some film roles. Some people seemed to think that blowing the cover of the LonelyGirl15 makers would ruin their popularity on YouTube. After all, "Bree" became popular because people thought it was the honest video blogs of a young girl - when they found out she was an actress and the videos were made by a professional production team, they'd rise up in revolt, right?

Not so much. They scored loads of publicity, major newspaper coverage worldwide and appearances on a number of high profile TV shows. I don't really go along with the way they lied to everyone but it's hard to argue with success. They showed that short internet videos could be used to tell a story in a new way and connect with audiences in a way that wasn't possible before. And now they've shown that online video can be a launching pad for a mainstream career.

Me next please.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Appearances matter

I've had some funny experiences over the past few months with software vendors parading their wares in my workplace. The experience is probably similar in any field when corporate sales are involved. Most of the time the sales people go heavy on the gloss and light on the detail. They spend more time selling the image of their product than the product itself.

And the sales people themselves can be pretty funny. Sometimes they're so smarmy they make me want to wash my hand after shaking hands with them but most of them are OK while leaning heavily to the enthusiastic side of things, personality-wise. I'm a big believer in letting people be themselves but in a sales setting, the salespeople aren't really people. They're animated glossy advertisements for their product. So I always find it interesting when they fall somewhat short in the personal presentation stakes.

Anyone who has watched any of my videos will probably have noticed that I tend to ar-tic-u-late when I speak. This mostly comes from the theatre and radio work I did when I was at college. It still comes in handy when I do my job - I have to do a lot of presentations and speaking clearly helps in these situations. So while I notice the physical appearance and presentation of salespeople, my impression is most coloured by the way they talk.

One of the big software companies sent out a cockney guy as their sales rep. He seemed to know his stuff and I'm sure he wasn't really a criminal but I couldn't stop picturing him as Arthur Daley trying to pull a dodgy deal. "Leave it out Guv'nor, there's no bovver wiv dis gear." There I go being racist against white people again.

Another one had a distinct overbite and seemed quite self-conscious of the fact (I'm indulging in a bit of amateur psychoanalysis here). He hardly parted his jaws when he talked which made him talk mostly in a monotone. I think the Australian accent tends towards the nasal and his way of talking really exaggerated this in a way I found quite annoying.

My favourite was the last one who had what I can only describe as "disco hair". I can only describe it this way, not because I have a limited vocabulary but because it's the best way to describe his hair. There was a lot of it and it was really thick. His method of styling seemed to be "put in huge gobs of product then drive with your head stuck out the car window". He ended up with this huge swept back bouffant that made him look like he was standing in a wind tunnel.

I don't even remember what was in his presentation because I never got past thinking "Man, what the fuck is the story with your hair?"

So what is my dress style at work? I'm not telling you. This is because describing what I wear would completely blow my anonymity. My work wardrobe could politely be described as "individual" or "idiosyncratic". More often, the description would be along the lines of "fucking weird". If I gave any more detail, anyone I have worked with would instantly know it was me. So you'll have yo use your imagination. But rest assured, nobody would ever put me to work in sales.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Worst IT Worker in the World

I promised an equal time post to my recent "worst boss in the world" rant and here it is. A brief summary of the things you can do to totally reinforce the stereotype of IT workers being aloof, spoiled, uncommunicative and arrogant. Although it may sound like I have intimate knowledge of the following workplace sins, this shouldn't be taken as an admission of guilt on my part. My lawyer advised me not to admit anything.

Talk in jargon There are times when technical language is necessary to accurately describe things. By and large, that's when you're talking to other techies. It's rarely appropriate (or useful) to use technical jargon when talking to customers/business users. If you simply can't explain something to a non-IT person in a way they understand, that's what your project manager and/or business analyst are for. If you're a PM or BA and you can't talk without using jargon then there's a problem.

Treat anyone who doesn't understand your work as if they're stupid I'm not going to argue whether or not the person in question is actually stupid, but it's wrong to treat them as if they're stupid. Some people just have skills in different areas. Your work probably requires quite a bit of intelligence. The inability to do or understand your work is not by definition stupid. Don't try to be clever about it either. Too often I've seen IT people who think nobody is picking up on their sarcasm when they're laying it on with a trowel.

Focus solely on technology Most IT workers love technology for its own sake, or at least they have a strong affinity for technology. As admirable as it is to love your work, the technology itself is only half the picture when you work in IT. The other half (most often the half that controls what happens) is the business, whatever that means in your case. No matter how good a technology is objectively, the results it delivers to the business are what counts the most. By and large, the business side couldn't care less about the relative merits of operating systems, hardware or software. If you can't sell a technology in terms of the results it will deliver for the business then you're in for an uphill battle.

Refuse to acknowledge when there's an issue There's nothing that drives a user crazy like telling them they aren't experiencing a problem. And yes, often the biggest problem is the user themselves but reflexively assuming that the user is at fault is not going to win you any friends. I've seen this in multiple workplaces and read it on multiple online forums; someone says system X or site Y isn't working for them and the response is along the lines of "well, I have a machine configured like this and I never have any problems." Here's a tip: someone who's having a problem isn't really interested in hearing about how swell everything's going for you. Right or wrong, users want a solution, they don't want to be told that they are the problem.

Tell the boss's brother his idea is stupid OK, I did this one. I thought it made me a good worker - pointing out a moron former model was an incompetent prat who only got to be head of a business unit because he was dropped out of the same vagina as the boss. This was apparently not a universally held view and I didn't last much longer at that job.

React aggressively to any perceived criticism Go ahead. Start with the comments for this post.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Leave it to the professionals

I've been spending a bit of time over the last few days doing videos for the new series of the Fizz (to be known as The Fizz Newzz) which will be going to air on DirecTV in the US over the next six months. Essentially, they've given me some topics to rant on and some news videos to comment on - playing to my strengths in other words.

The news clips they have provided have trended towards the "wacky" end of the spectrum, most of the are fluff pieces done by the Associated Press which are syndicated to networks worldwide. They have another common element: a disturbing tendency to make really fucking appalling puns to try to highlight the fact that they think the stories are funny.

Every time one of these journos cranks out one of their god-awful lines ("maybe you should eat a chocolate chip cookie while you watch this - what else goes better with milk?") I'm torn between the urge to cringe in horror and the urge to hunt them down and beat some fucking sense into them. There's a reason these people aren't making a living as standup comedians - they aren't fucking funny. Michael Richards got more laughs with his "nigger" routine.

The funniest story (or at least the one that made me laugh most) was done totally straight. It was all about this animal lover who had been killed when she got into a cage at a zoo with some cheetahs. Seriously, what's funnier than someone who actually sponsored the animals to pay for their food ending up as their actual food? I'm pitching this one as an early front-runner for this year's Darwin awards.

I'm yet to do a video rant for the Fizz Newzz saying I wish these journos would shut the fuck up and stop trying to be funny, but I can feel it coming. After all, what could possibly go wrong as I try to start a career on TV with saying the people already on TV are totally fucked? I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but I calls 'em as I sees 'em.

That's the news and that's the truth.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My egg disability

I hate cracking eggs. Whenever I need eggs for cooking I always screw up somehow while cracking them. Either I make a hideous mess or I get pieces of shell in the cooking or some combination of both. My girlfriend, on the other hand, can crack eggs quickly and flawlessly.

This is very handy when she's with me but at the same time, it serves to highlight my incompetence. I know those bastard eggs are laughing at me. "Here he comes," they say, "the so called Mr Angry. More like Mr Can't Perform Basic Kitchen Functions. Let's watch him screw up again."

Smug bastard eggs. I'll teach them. I'm gonna fry them up good. And the fucking frying pan is gonna be really hot. I'm gonna fry up eggs I don't even want to eat. Just to stop them laughing at me.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Angry News Sex Videos

I'm getting really shameless with my post titles lately. It cracks me up how well it works as well. You may well notice how often my "Virgin worship, Anal Sex and Oral Sex" post shows up in the "Top Posts" section. I don't think this is because of the number of people who want to hear my views on sexual repression in the name of religion.

Without it being premeditated, I seem to have been doing a few videos this week on the topic of sex. And the law. But it's more attention grabbing to say I'm making sex videos.

This first video is about the cops in Sydney busting most of the sex shops in Kings Cross - Sydney's notorious red light district. Something a lot of people may not be aware of: hardcore or X-rated porn is illegal almost everywhere in Australia, including Sydney. Apparently we aren't adult enough to deal with images of adults having sex. The thing is, the law basically hasn't been enforced for about 20 years.

"Adult" shops have been selling porn for ages. For a while, the sold it out of "secret" back rooms but that didn't last long and it hasn't seemed to be a problem that they sell illegal porn pretty much out in the open. Now the media have been reporting that the cops launched raids on most of the sex shops in Kings Cross because they were selling kiddie porn. The fact that there is an election coming up probably has nothing to do with the police actions.

If I was living in Sydney I could probably find out if the cops really did find any child porn. I'm sure they'd sell me some if I asked. The NSW police - the best force that money can buy.

This second video is highlighting that there is actually some sanity in the US legal system. A judge has recently thrown out a lawsuit brought by some parents against MySpace. Apparently their 13 year old daughter lied about her age, hooked up with someone via MySpace ran away from home to meet him and was sexually assaulted. An appalling turn of event but it seems the parents didn't feel like taking care of their daughter was their responsibility. Because MySpace didn't take enough care of their daughter they felt compelled to sue.

There's nothing I take more seriously than the safety of my kids. That's why I take care of them myself, I don't expect a fucking web site to look after them.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Real Estate Agents Suck

Seriously. I'd say these fuckers are all going to hell but that's obviously where they're spawned.

I'm planning to move house so I need to deal with these scumbags while looking for a new rental property. The rental market in Melbourne is tight to say the least right now and there's a lot of competition for decent places when they're available. That I can live with but these piece of shit real estate agents don't have to start acting like arrogant pricks just because they can.

One agent in particular is on my shit list. In all their ads they specify that you can't even look at a property until after the existing tenants move out. Tenancy laws in Australia allow for at least one inspection to be arranged, even if the existing tenant is being difficult they have to agree to one. So the fact that this agent won't organise say, half an hour where everyone who's interested can have a quick look points to one of two things:

One, they're lazy pricks.

Two, the evil fuckers are hiding something about the property.

Neither of these options speaks well of the agent in question. This particular agent even advertises properties without giving a figure for the rent - they say "offers invited". Yes, fight amongst yourself little fishies, debase yourself for our amusement. I want to move but I'm not desperate so I'm not going to be fucked over by these vermin. I'll wait until circumstances are right and won't tie myself in knots in the meantime.

And there's no way I'm dealing with this one particular scumbag agent. On the off chance any real estate agent reads this and wonders why they're so hated, it's because you're evil, lying worthless scum and you fucking well deserve to be hated.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Inappropriate Valentines

On this auspicious Hallmark festival, I thought I'd provide you some of my wisdom. Valentine's Day is all well and good if you're in to that sort of thing, but heed my warnings:

1. It's possible to push things too far

2. Being "individual" is fine but there's such a thing as being too individual.

Allow me to illustrate with a video:

Of course, I think it's perfectly valid to ignore Valentine's Day altogether (I didn't but if you want your significant other to kill you go right ahead). But if you're in a bah, humbug mood (or whatever the equivalent for Valentine's Day is) you could always try these anti-valentines (thanks to engtech for pointing to these).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Packaging is driving me crazy

I just spent ten minutes of my lunch hour wrestling with a fucking packet of sliced ham because I couldn't get the fucking thing to open. I found the little tab on the edge of the seal that is supposed to make it easy to open but that didn't help. I pulled and pulled to no avail. Admittedly, the fact that I am a weak little girly-man was a big contributor to the problem but still, the packaging was ridiculous.

This isn't even the usual problem with fucked-up food packaging. Usually, the biggest issue is that the seal starts to come off but then it rips when you've partially opened it. Leaving the remains of the seal in place makes getting the contents out a bastard of a job but trying to rip off the remainder of the seal ends up taking forever and making a horrible fucking mess.

In this case my solution was to find a sharp knife and cut open the packet. This solved my initial problem (now I could actually get at the ham to make a sandwich) but now I can't re-seal the packet. So now the ham's probably going to go off before I finish eating it. Hopefully I won't continue to eat it after it's gone off - that never works out well.

And what is it with some drinks you buy having a seal under the lid? This would be less frustrating if (a) you could get the fucking seals off without spilling drink everywhere and (b) if all drinks had the seal. When only some drinks have the seal, you never know whether or not you have to unscrew the fucking lid before having a drink.

They go to all the trouble of putting one of those pop top lids on the bottle (this usually happens with bottled water and/or sports drinks) which makes the bottle convenient. But then you pop the top and nothing comes out. If you're like me you spend a few seconds sucking on the bottle wondering what the fucking problem is. If you're lucky, you're smarter than me and this isn't such an issue.

And don't even get me started on the packaging used on non-food items like electronic gadgets. That double thick plastic they use that's triple sealed along the edges just will not fucking come apart when you want to open the packet. I've read that this is an anti-theft measure but seriously, can't they cut us consumers some slack? We're not all thieves, some of us would like to be able to open products after we buy them.

When I hear stories of how Cheney and his cronies at Halliburton fucked over the soldiers in Iraq by taking billions of dollars to "outfit" them and then not giving them adequate (or any) armour, I think "send them some of this packaging plastic". Wrap their vehicles in this stuff and no amount of IED's are going to cause any problems. Mind you, there would be some issue with getting the soldiers out of the vehicles once you'd sealed them in but you can't have everything.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mr Angry moves one step closer to world domination

Readers with good memories will recall that last year I did some videos for a show called The Fizz on the DirecTV network in the states. The magic of the internet lets me perform for a TV show I'll never see. Well, the big news for me is that the producers of The Fizz have been given the go ahead for a new series which they're calling The Fizz Newzz. The format will be a news review type of show and there will be two new episodes a month for six months.

And I'm determined to be on every one of them.

The Fizz guys let me know about the new show and encouraged me to submit videos saying how much they liked the previous material I had submitted (note to the world in general - flattery works extremely well on me). And of course, a news review format works well for me, seeing as how that's the approach I take for about half of my videos.

All of which is evidence that you don't have to be noticed by everybody, you just have to be noticed by the right people. While I have some dedicated fans on YouTube, I'm barely a blip on the radar with around 600 subscribers. You need 20,000 subscribers to crack the top 20 on YouTube and you need more than 5,000 subscribers just to be in the top 100 "channels". But subscribers alone won't make you money. I'm yet to make my fortune via The Fizz but they did pay for the flights to New Zealand on my recent holiday.

While being paid by The Fizz is nice, being able to say I've been on TV is far more valuable. The more cutting edge and forward thinking producers are looking to media like YouTube for new ideas. The less imaginative but higher up the food chain producers are much more likely to notice someone who's already been featured on a TV show, even when it's a niche show like The Fizz.

And all of it happening outside Australia. This is, as I've mentioned before, the best possible method of progression for me, for two reasons. First, the serious action (and money) is in the USA. Not to indulge in too much cultural cringe but the Australian market for TV and film is about 1% of what's on offer in the US. Second, I'd rather not get too well know in Australia until I'm earning enough as Mr Angry to give up my day job. I'd like to quit being an IT worker when it suits me instead of finding it impossible to get work because everyone is freaked out at the concept of having Mr Angry work for them.

So I proceed by stealth until I am ready to crush my enemies. When my power has grown everyone on THE LIST pays! Every prick who's ever pissed me off will feel the wrath of Mr Angry. I never forget. Oh, and I'll be hiring my faithful posse members to mete out justice (I'm looking at you Sandra).

Oh well, I can dream.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Some Sunday Videos

Yes, I know, an all video weekend. Deal with it.

This first piece is about a psychic research lab at Princeton University that's closing down after nearly three decades in operation. Depending on your point of view, this is either the overdue termination of an embarrassment to science generally and Princeton specifically or... they know something!

The second piece is where I reveal the hidden depths of a character you may already know. The world's most boring yologger reveals he actually has super-powers. And he wants to join the Citizen Hero Brigade.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Some More Angry News Updates

So let me update you on some important news stories that might have slipped by you. First, evidence that Microsoft runs the world: a law is being proposed in New York that could see you fined $100 if you use your iPod while crossing the road:

OK, I'm being deliberately leading with this story. The law would actually impose the same fine for using any electronic device while crossing the road (e.g. mobile phone, Blackberry, portable game unit) but it's more fun to say something inflammatory like you'll get fined for using an iPod.

This second story is about a new product being marketed by Coke that they claim will actually burn calories. Their claims are under investigation by (among others) the Connecticut Attorney General because of the strong suspicion that they're, you know, talking shit.

If it turns out this drink does actually make you lose weight, I wonder what the side effects of drinking excessive amounts of it are? Because you know for sure that people aren't going to limit themselves to three a day if they can lose weight by drinking more.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Why I don't watch TV

Well, to be fair, I watch a lot of TV. But I watch almost no commercial broadcast TV and I definitely never watch any of their stupid fucked-up so-called current affairs reporting shows. A truly appalling example of what I fucking hate about these piece of shit infotainment shows has just been perpetrated.

It all starts on YouTube. Which I like. One of the highest profile YouTubers who goes by the user name of Boh3m3 does a video entitled "The Australians are fooling us all". I have no idea what prompted him to do this, but it was a fairly innocent little piss-take where he rips on Australians, mostly to do with Vegemite. Here's the video:

He wound up a lot of Australians and got a lot of responses. Most of the responses seemed to get the joke but a disturbing number seemed deeply affronted. Then the true horror begins... This was actually featured on a prime-time current affairs show as a fucking "news" item:

Now, I get that this is actually supposed to be a piss-take on the show but it's just fucking embarrassing that making a big scene about this is worth three fucking minutes of airtime! I just cringed in horror while watching this video. Which I watched on YouTube - I would have no idea that it had been broadcast otherwise (see my previous note on not watching this fucked up piece of shit tabloid show.)

Boh3m3 of course responded to the news that he'd been on Australian TV:

I was actually at a loss as to what this melding of YouTube and tabloid TV meant, but fortunately, I received a message from the future that explained it all: this is the end of civilisation as we know it.

You heard it here first, folks! The Vegemite wars are coming! Choose your side wisely.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nazis are lazy

I've shared my adventures in dealing with self-proclaimed Nazis and other racists on YouTube in a number of posts in the past. About a month ago I got sick of dealing with them and simply stopped allowing comments on the videos in question. After 500 - 600 comments on each video, all that could possibly be said had already been said. Any comments still coming in were simply repetitive and pointless.

At first I had some misgivings about closing the comments. Not because of any "free speech" issues, I'd let the ignorant fuckers rant on at length already and besides, they could always make their own videos putting forward their point of view if they wanted to. I had some worry that these videos might be idiot magnets and with the ability to comment on them taken away, the morons might spill over into my other videos and/or this blog.

I did see some signs of this at first and I gave some thought to going back and re-opening comments but I decided to bide my time and see how things developed. What I discovered was this: Nazis are lazy. Every now and then one of them makes a racist comment on one of my other videos and I've deleted two or three comments that crept onto this blog but all in all, their obnoxious stupidity hasn't spread very far.

It seems that most of these drooling troglodytes are stopped in their tracks when they are unable to comment directly on a video where I suggest that just maybe Nazism isn't favoured by the vast majority of thinking humans. That's another funny thing: I never realised criticising self-proclaimed Nazis was so contentious. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. It seems I had too high an opinion of humanity and didn't realise how many no-brain losers actually had access to a computer and internet connection.

Clicking on the link to another of my videos (let alone going to the trouble of clicking through to this blog) seems too difficult for 99% of the "master race". If anyone had any fears of large scale Nazism rising again, let me put those concerns to rest. These idiots certainly exist and they make inroads in some political circles in some countries but there's no danger of them taking over the world.

They're too fucking lazy.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The worst boss in the world

Most people want to bitch about their boss at some point. Some people are in the unfortunate position of having a boss who makes every day a misery. The lucky few have a boss who is an inspiration and makes their job a pleasure. So if I'm going to write about the qualities of a boss I could approach it from a positive angle ("be like this") or a negative angle ("don't be like this").

I'm going negative - it's more fun.

My experience of working in a specialised field like IT is that the more effort an individual has put in to reach their position (i.e. the amount of training and/or experience they have) the less tolerant they are of others who perform their role poorly. In short, I've never heard anyone complain more about their boss than IT workers do. If I was being completely fair I'd also go into some detail about what makes a bad IT worker. In fact, I may do that in another post. But today is all about the catharsis of ripping on bad bosses.

Thankfully, bosses who indulge in criminal abuse of their staff are few and far between. Physical abuse and/or threats, intimidation, sexual harassment, racism... any boss at this end of the spectrum deserves jail time. I remember reading about one boss in the public service in Australia who was eventually fired after one of the staff recorded one of his abuse sessions (apparently this boss didn't realise many laptops have built-in video cameras).

He was recorded trying to bully an employee into accepting responsibility for a speeding fine he (the boss) had incurred. The boss initially justified his demand by saying he'd lose his license if he got another speeding infringement and refusing to help him out was disloyal. When the staff member refused to sign a statement saying she was driving the car when it was caught on a speed camera, the boss commenced screaming, made several disparaging comments about the worker's sexual preferences and promised her she'd lose her job. It didn't quite work out the way he wanted.

The scariest boss I ever had ran a strip club where I was working. Yes, I worked in a strip club. No I wasn't a stripper. Shut the hell up, I could so have earned a living as a stripper if I had wanted to. If you pissed this bloke off, he conducted a "business meeting" to review your transgression with a baseball bat sitting on his desk. I shit you not. This and his reputed Mob connections eventually compelled me to run screaming for the hills.

So, ignoring outright criminal behaviour, here is my guide to being the worst boss in the world:

Be inconsistent I've worked in sweatshop environments that were tolerable because there were no illusions. We knew what to expect every day and we knew what we were being paid to endure it. Any time this wasn't acceptable we could (and did) bail. The good days in an inconsistent workplace aren't good enough to compensate for the constant fear that it's going to be a bad day.

Criticise publicly and give no praise at all Everybody screws up sometimes but if your goal is to actually get better performance from people, a private discussion works far better than public humiliation. Some people even do well sometimes. Never underestimate the positive impact of publicly praising someone, particularly when they've done something well that may not be particularly high profile.

Refuse to accept responsibility More than once I've followed a manager's instructions explicitly and been told later I'd done the wrong thing. My worst ever boss was a chronic offender in this area, to the point where I always preserved a paper trail to prove I was following her instructions. Even when presented with this evidence she refused to accept responsibility.

Avoid making decisions This is a classic bad manager tactic - don't make any decisions, don't give any directions then you can't possibly blamed when something goes wrong, right? Maybe you'll get away with it in some workplaces but this lack of leadership is a recipe for disaster. Have the guts to do your job - you know, be the boss.

Don't defend your team It isn't the boss's job to make excuses for incompetence but it is the boss's job to represent the team's best interests. Too often I've seen bosses reflexively blame their team for situations that weren't the team's fault. This type of boss seems to think if they blame someone else they don't have to defend themselves. This is a close cousin to:

Claim credit and apportion blame All too often I've been on an IT team where we started to think we were invisible. We never had any positive feedback from senior management because our direct boss would place themselves between us and management meaning we were never recognised for good work. Then something would go wrong and we would suddenly become visible.

Be ignorant and proud of it I'm not one of those people who think IT bosses have to be technical geniuses - in fact it's often counter-productive if they're too deeply immersed in the technology. But when you have resources that know more than you, don't belittle them for it. Recognise the value of their expertise.

Be a slave to "the rules" I'm usually a fan of a disciplined and consistent approach to process. But if someone comes up with a better alternative or is able to show where an existing process won't work... LISTEN! Saying "that's how we always do things" doesn't cut it. Do something because it's the right thing to do, not because "it's the rules".

There are probably a thousand more ways to be a bad boss. I have a suspicion I may be hearing about a few in the comments.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

YouTube and copyright - Who is the greediest?

A lot of people are discussing the latest tiff involving copyrighted material and YouTube. Viacom (parent company of MTV and Comedy Central, among others) have issued YouTube with an order to take down 100,00 videos they claim are infringing their copyrights. A lot of media are reporting this as a black eye for YouTube but I'll take a wild guess and say the Google/YouTube attitude can be summed up as "see if we fucking care." It's hard to imagine the removal of 100,00 videos having much impact on a site that sees around a million video uploads every day.

BoingBoing do a good job of pointing out that this action goes beyond obnoxious to the point where it may well be illegal. There are a lot of competing forces and motivations at work here but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the dominant one, for pretty much all parties, is greed.

The most obviously greedy parties are the film/TV/music publishing conglomerates who seem to think that it's their god-given right to be paid again and again and again for the same thing. Although this isn't really the issue here, it seriously pisses me off that it isn't enough when we, the consumers, pay for a legal copy of something. These companies think they have the right to dictate what we can do with something after we purchase it. What devices we can play our legally purchased entertainment on. Where we can enjoy it. Fuck these companies. They know they can't beat criminal pirates and profiteers so they fuck over the soft targets - us.

The one that that gives me a sense of satisfaction is that the actions of these companies are so brain-bendingly wrong that they are essentially committing a slow and painful suicide. Ask any marketing maven what's the best sort of advertising and they'll tell you: word of mouth. Actual recommendation from real people who truly love a product. They spend millions faking this. And who is the most common target of the legal actions taken by these companies? The most passionate evangelising fans they supposedly want so much.

There are a lot of complexities to the situation, not least a fear that many companies express: if we don't actively seek to protect our property from everyone then we'll have no defence against the really serious abuses of criminals who are straight up stealing and making bootlegs for commercial gain. The fact that this reasoning is neither logical nor legally accurate (it's a conflation of trademark dilution with copyright - a legal fallacy) doesn't seem to bother the companies in question.

The most flattering thing I can say about these companies is that they're confused and scared. They don't understand what's happening and they're scared of being left behind. Google have come along and invented (or at least improved and popularised) a whole new industry - ad supported targeted search - that's making them billions. Content owners of various stripes think to themselves:

"Hey, Google couldn't sell ads if people weren't looking for our content. They're making all those billions off our property! I want those billions!"

Note that I didn't say content creators. While many content creators are similarly up in arms it's the big publishing companies that are behind this. The actual creators of content rarely make much money. Of the billions made worldwide by the entertainment industries, probably less than 1% goes to the people who actually created the content.

Google (for example) is taking nothing away from these companies. They are opening up potentially huge and lucrative new markets. Revenue streams beyond the wildest dreams of these greedy fucks. But they can't look beyond "someone else is making money and I want it."

To be fair, there's abundant evidence of considerable greed on Google's part. Their business is built on the fact that other people have created content that users want to find. They're making billions off this fact. And any smart businessperson would want to keep as much of that for themselves as possible. And steadfastly maintaining the line "we're not making money from your content, we're making money from our technology" is ethically a grey area at best.

Plus, the arrogance repeatedly displayed by Google has to be pretty grating. We're smart, you're dumb, do what we say and everything will be all right. Even when they're right, that sort of talk pisses people off. I can imagine a conversation at GooTube proceeding like the following exchange:

Entertainment Company: You're making money from our content.

GooTube: We're giving you free advertising. You don't understand how this generation thinks. They don't watch TV, the go online for entertainment. We're delivering the next generation to you, you should be thanking us.

EC: But you should share all the money you're making from advertising with us. You wouldn't be making that money without us!

GT: Your content is a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions of videos on our site. We don't need your content, you need us.

EC: But people are seeing our stuff without paying! We want more money!

GT: We've changed our mind - you pay us for the privilege of being on our site.

EC: That's it! We demand you remove all our copyrighted material!

GT: Whatever. Don't let the door smack you on the ass on the way out.

And to bring it back to YouTube, there's greed of a different sort being displayed by the users who upload copyrighted material. It's the greed for attention. For all the high-minded talk of community and sharing I think it's fair to say users who upload quality content created by other people are hoping for some reflected coolness to rub off on themselves. They want people to watch what they've put up and think they're cool for having posted it. This is a relatively small sin but I think people need to be honest about their motivations.

For my part, I'm really greedy for attention for my original work. So I'd be really happy if all these TV, movie and music clips fucked right off. I really think YouTube is untouchable on this front. Maybe I'm too close to the whole "community" part of YouTube to see the importance of these clips to the continued health of the site. The most popular "channels" are either original content creators or officially sponsored corporate ones. Maybe usage would die off if every unauthorised clip was taken down but I'd doubt it.

The thing is, Google have at least as much money to fight this cause as anyone who's going to come after them. Plus, Google are the experts in this field - the entertainment companies are started from a position of ignorance. Greed, ignorance and huge egos - what a combination. The big entertainment companies have fucked actual entertainers and audiences for years.

The time may have come for them to realise that it they don't make nice and hold hands it will be their turn to bend over and take it.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Spam Developments

Some readers may remember a while ago that I promised spammers if they left genuine comments on my blog I would leave the link to their commercial site in place. I received several dire warnings that I was inviting a flood of spam but I wasn't worried. The first reason I wasn't worried is that I was confident that the vast majority of spam is launched by bots, so they are capable of responding to my offer.

The second reason is I have no problem with going back on a deal I offer to spammers. Spammers are the scum of the fucking earth. If I received floods of spam that complied with my terms I'd simply delete it anyway. Fuck spammers. So anyway, what was the result of my offer?

Totals valid comments submitted by spammers = 0.

Actually, there might have been one, I'm not sure. It was a very good comment and it did link to a site that was commercial in nature but that doesn't make the commenter by definition a spammer. If it had linked to a porn site or a Viagra site I'd probably assume it was a spammer. An addendum for porn site operators: if you were actually offering decent porn I'd probably leave your link in place.

I have noticed two interesting variables in the spam wars outside of this. One was a tactic that got past Akismet two or three times - leaving a comment spam that lamented how much comment spam my site was subjected to! This spammer at least deserves points for their appreciation of irony.

The second thing is that in the last week, the number of comment spam being reported by Akismet has slowed from a flood of hundreds a day to a tiny trickle. Sometimes as few as three comment spam in a day. I have no idea what is behind this. There are a lot of possibilities but the most likely one is that Wordpress (or someone else) are blocking them at the server level. If that's the case, good on you!

In the meantime, I continue to lobby governments around the world to impose the death penalty for spamming. I continue to be disappointed with the results. The only positive responses I have received are from several African countries. I don't know if I should associate with them - they keep asking for my bank account details so they can deposit large sums of money.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Some weekend video goodness

Apologies to those readers who can't actually watch the videos but it's the weekend. I don't feel like being excessively angry. So here's some angriness as I prepared earlier.

This first piece expresses my anger at choosing the wrong career path. I should have been a private investigator. Why? Because some councils in Melbourne are paying private investigators to have sex with prostitutes. You see, in Melbourne, prostitution is legal so it's an administrative job to make sure they're following the rules, run by government agencies not a legal matter handled by police. Brothels are a business like any other.

Well, not like any other.

In IT, we only get fucked metaphorically by bad management. I suppose as a punchline I could have used a "private dick" joke. But that would have been gratuitous.

This next piece is a response about authorities in Boston getting their knickers in a knot about some coloured lights. The promoters of the upcoming Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie put some Lite Brite type signs up in about half a dozen US cities featuring one of the characters from the cartoon. Now, admittedly, it's worth checking out unknown objects to make sure they aren't bombs or anything similar but the authorities in Boston acted like complete fucking morons.

If anyone wants to rush to their defence, tell me this: why was there no panic in six other cities? Why were they in Boston for two weeks without causing a panic. When, after being told by Turner Broadcasting (the parent company of Cartoon Network, who broadcast Aqua Teen Hunger Force) that it was a publicity campaign did they continue to act like idiots. Why are they trying to charge the perpetrators with essentially deliberately causing a bomb scare when this is obviously not their intent?

The answer seems to be that in this day and age, the authorities don't like to be fucked with. They may be completely in the wrong, but don't dare call them on it. You've given up all your liberties in the name of safety. Despite what Benjamin Franklin might have to say on the topic.

Although several of my YouTube subscribers had suggested that I do a piece on this topic I wasn't going to touch it because it seemed like everyone was having a go. And I do so like to be an individual. But then I received a message from the future...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I blame all my behaviour on sleeping pills

Inspired by Wallstrip's week of medical stories, I decided to do an Angry News video on Howard's favourite drug, the sleeping pill known as Ambien in the US and Stilnox in Australia. It's reputed to cause some really weird side-effects, from hallucinations to people performing weird activities while asleep.

My favourite was the woman who claimed to have woken up with a paint brush in her hand. It turns out she was painting the front door in her sleep. I think the drug maker should use this aspect for marketing. Could you imagine how much better some relationships would be if household chore were getting done while people slept?

From now on, this will be my excuse for people who think I have no life because of all this blogging and video making. It isn't me - it's the sleeping pills. I do all this stuff in my sleep!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Stupid revenge on my ex

I think we can all agree that all of our exes are idiots, right? I mean, they may have some redeeming features but if they weren't idiots they'd still be with us, right? Because I know my readers. My readers are high quality people. And WE got rid of THEM. Any appearances to the contrary are optical illusions or the misguided gossipping of other idiots who don't know what REALLY happened.

If you're anything like me you will have little private revenges against your ex. Nothing drastic like planting grass seeds in their clothing or wrecking their car or setting them on fire. No, I mean little things that they'll never know about. Stuff that is essentially meaningless but gives you an outsize sense of satisfaction.

For me, these things usually revolve around things my ex didn't like or wouldn't do. Get your minds out of the gutter. I mean things like she hated a particular TV show so now I watch it all the time (or more often she insisted on watching a really shitty show and I take great pleasure in never watching it now). She didn't like a particular food so now I eat that all the time. Or, my particular favourite, she had a bit of an obsession regarding what was an acceptable pattern on toilet paper.

She couldn't bring herself to wipe her arse on any cute animals so wouldn't buy toilet paper that featured prints of, say, dolphins or puppies. Suffice to say that I now take great pleasure in using cute little puppies to clean up my shit. Sometime I also use toilet paper that has puppies printed on it.

I'm not the only one who does this stuff, right?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What do Australians think of Americans?

Here's me trying to piss people off. Well, not really. This video was actually in response to a request from a YouTube subscriber - he's joining the armed forces which will see him being posted overseas and he was interested in how he might be perceived.

It's such a touchy topic that I thought no matter how I handled it, I'd piss people off (both Americans and Australians). As it turned out, there was remarkably little negative reaction and (unsurprisingly) what negative comments there were missed the point completely.

And so now I present for your viewing pleasure: Mr Angry's completely opinionated answer to the question "What do Australians think of Americans?"

The URL for this video is

Time to polish my re-org boots

I'm greeted at work today by the wonderful news that there's going to be a company wide re-organisation (AKA the re-org... a popular buzzword) and the structure of my department is going to be upended somewhat. Most of the announcement falls into the "like I give a shit" category but the one thing pushing Mr Angry into angry territory is I'll have to move desks.


This will be my sixth desk move and fourth building move in just over a year. It's made less of a pain because in this case it's a good idea. But piled up on all of last years moves (which were pretty fucking pointless) it's more than a tad aggravating. The lofty email communication regarding the move made me think of some old Dilbert cartoons.

When the boss says this is all about "alignment... focus... delivering value..." I get the urge to say "Is this an admission that all previous re-orgs were a complete fucking disaster and utter wastes of time? And why should we expect this one to be any different?"

But I don't say that. Not at work anyway. That's what is known in the trade as a "career limiting move." And that's why I keep this blog anonymous.