Saturday, June 30, 2007

More mistaken racism on Australian TV

I mentioned earlier in the week how touring rapper Xzibit seemed to have grabbed the wrong end of the stick when accusing an Australian TV show of racism. Thinking about it brought to mind a classic moment from Australian TV in the 70s as I recount in this video:

Friday, June 29, 2007

Annoying habits

I have a few habits that people at work tend to notice. I'm a bit of a fidgeter. In meetings I tend to doodle (I always tell people it's a sign I'm thinking). And when I walk along I tend to tap on surfaces to see what noises they make. In other words, I'm fucking annoying.

I normally get away with it but I had a bit of a run-in recently. The meeting rooms at work have this translucent coating on the glass walls. The coating is designed to make the rooms private without blocking out all the light. It's also a rough surface that makes a cool noise if you scrape your fingernails across it as you walk by.

That's what I reckon, anyway.

So I happened to be walking by one of the rooms and ran my fingernails on the surface. Cool noise. Then I walked back past the room and did it again. Still a cool noise. Then I remembered somewhere else I had to go and walked past the room again. And ran my nails across the surface again.

It turns out this was the room that HR uses to do job interviews. And there was an interview going on at the time. This was revealed to me after I scraped my nails on the wall for the fifth time in about ten minutes. The door burst open and a red-faced HR person lunged at me.

"Is that you scratching on the glass?"

As my nails were still touching the glass, I didn't think a denial would work.

"Ummmm... yes."

"And was it you the other ten times?"

I thought about it for a while. All she could see through translucent glass was a vague shadow. She couldn't prove a damn thing. Besides, she was exaggerating about how many times I'd done it.

"Ummmm... no."

She paused, thrown for a moment by my unexpected denial. She stared hard at me. If she had lasers for eyes she would have vaporised my head. Actually, if she had lasers for eyes she'd probably be some sort of world conquering alien instead of working in HR. Either way, she knew she couldn't nail me for all the times I'd made the noise but she had a go at me anyway.

"I'm trying to do an interview in there, do you have any idea the impression it creates to have it interrupted by that horrible noise?"

I figured that was a rhetorical question. I ran away. The odd thing is I saw the interviewee over her shoulder. He wasn't looking in my direction but it was a guy I knew. I caught up with him later in the week and asked him what he'd been up to.

"I interviewed at your work the other day, actually."

"Oh, cool. How did the interview go?"

"OK, but I don't think I want to work there."

"Why is that?" I asked innocently, ready to decry my awful cow-orkers' horrible noise-making habits.

"Well, the person who interviewed my was really weird. They jumped up in the middle of the interview and abused someone who was walking past for some reason. I figured if they're that freaky during an interview, they'd be insane to work with."

"Good call. I don't know how I put up with those people sometimes, they have so many goddam annoying habits."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We're from the government, we're here to help

How would you feel if you lived in a remote community in the middle of nowhere, you had no money, no prospects and felt pretty much ignored and forgotten by the rest of the country. Your life expectancy was about 2/3 the national average; unemployment, alcoholism and abuse were endemic. Then one day, completely unannounced, the army rolled up and said "The government sent us, we're here to help."

Me, I'd be a little freaked out as I recount in this video:

This was the situation faced by some indigenous Australians this week. You can download an MP3 of a report that includes an interview with a bemused local here. The rest of the country knew what was going on because it had been a major story in the media but the news travels more slowly in these remote areas.

What it was all about was the federal government's plan to address a report into the rather appalling state of affairs in many remote indigenous communities. This issue has been growing in prominence over the last year, I blogged about one of the first major reports last year. The hot button issues have been alcoholism and child sexual abuse, both of which are widespread problems.

Some of the higher profile government initiatives include banning alcohol and pornography in these communities (that would tip me over the edge, if the army took away my booze and porn). Even some international media has focused on the banning of substances for a particular race. It isn't as if white government in this country has a very good track record with the indigenous population (aborigines were only recognised as part of the population after a referendum in 1967).

The government says that it's a complete coincidence that there's an election later this year and they're lagging badly in the polls. The fact that they have won previous elections by inventing dramatic issues shouldn't make you think that's what they're doing here. Their opponents disagree. Go figure.

The fact that the author of the report is saying the government is taking the wrong approach is rather telling. However, it's good to see that the people on the receiving end are keeping an open mind. I like to think that the people on the ground (police, army, welfare workers) have the best intentions and maybe their good work will rise above any political pointscoring by either side of politics.

If anyone is actually interested in the issue there are a few terms that might pop up that could require some explanation:

Children Overboard: The current federal government has had previous electoral success by whipping up paranoia about illegal immigrants/refugees. Prior to the 2001 election, the government claimed that a boatload of asylum seekers that had been intercepted by an Australian Navy ship had thrown some of their children overboard in an attempt to force the ship to pick them up.

The claim was proven to be false and it was also found that the government knew the claim was untrue before the election but never passed this bit of information along to the public. This made them look "strong" (dirty foreigners, they weren't genuine refugees but they forced us to pick them up) and the opposition look "weak" (they'd let anyone into the country). Some people are suggesting that the government's sudden focus on the plight of aboriginal children is similar political game-playing.

The Stolen Generation: This term refers to previous governmental policies of removing children (usually of mixed descent) from aboriginal communities and making them wards of the state. This makes some people understandably wary of government intervention regarding their children (there are already stories of families fleeing settlements at the sight of authorities). Some people say this is the past and should be forgotten. Considering this happened to people my age and younger this doesn't seem like ancient history to me. The government has some work ahead of it to convince indigenous people that this is more than another attempt to take away their right to self-determination.

I take it as a positive sign that there has been strong debate on the topic. Not everybody is swallowing the government's line and not everybody is rejecting it out of hand. I'll never stop being cynical about politicians of all stripes but whether this is fuelled by politics or by genuine concern for what the Prime Minister has rightly called a "national disaster" there's at least a chance of a positive outcome.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Xzibit plays the race card in Australia

I wouldn't have even known US rapper Xzibit was touring Australia if he hadn't caused a little stir by labelling the staff of one of the highest rated shows on Australian TV as racist. He was slated to appear on a show called "Rove Live", a "tonight" style show named after the host Rove McManus.

The main reason I wouldn't have know he was touring is the guy has zero profile in Australia. Only the most mainstream of US hiphop/rap acts get commercial coverage here. I know the guy hosts "Pimp my Ride" on MTV but I have no idea how his music is regarded or how much he actually sells in the US. He was pretty much guaranteed a hardcore of fans making his tour successful but the mainstream media was ignoring him as far as I could see (i.e. I saw no mention of him at all until his fracas with Rove).

Apparently the pre-arranged deal was that Xzibit would have a rap-off with king of bland, middle-of-the-road jazz guy Michael Buble. Wacky incongruous juxtaposition humour at work here. As an aside, I fucking hate Michael Buble. With Xzibit I'm neutral but that fucked-up, blanded out Sinatra wannabe Buble can burn in hell.

When it came time to do the performance it looks like Xzibit's ego came into play. A rapper with an oversized ego - who would've guessed. Why can't rappers be humble like, I dunno, bloggers. It seems Xzibit didn't want to perform the double act (he said the "shit was wack" on his MySpace blog) and wanted a solo spot. The Rove Live staff said this wasn't going to happen as (a) the music spot for the show was already lined up and (b) he wasn't interesting enough to the show's demographic.

It seems as far as the show was concerned, they were doing Xzibit a favour by giving him any time at all, not the other way around. Xzibit says a staffer phrased this along the lines of “you know we came a long way just having you on the program”. He took this as racist, as in "you're lucky we let black people on this white person's show," and stormed out. I think he was off the mark taking this as racism, the truth as far as Xzibit is concerned is far worse.

So far as Australia goes, Xzibit is pretty much a nobody. That's gotta hurt.

This practice of using the race card has, sadly, become a bit of a joke. There is no doubt that different people face prejudice every day in their lives but reflexively calling "racist" whenever a white person disagrees with a black person (for instance) helps nobody. Some people might conflate this with the situations faced by Michael "Kramer" Richards and Don Imus but they're light years apart.

I personally think both Richards and Imus are in a bit of a grey area (are they actively racist or just stupid?) but the Xzibit/Rove issue is only remotely related. Thinking about it from Xzibit's point of view (and pretending for a moment that he isn't an egotistical goon) I can see where being told "You're lucky we're even allowing you on" could feel like a racist slur. He's probably copped racism his whole life and faced being excluded repeatedly because of the colour of his skin. But viewing every impediment placed in your path as an example of racism doesn't help anyone.

It's like the old "you people" joke. I've seen it used in comedies dozens of times - a white person can't use the phrase "you people" around black people or it seems like they're making a racist reference to all black people rather than simply referring to the people in front of them whose race may or may not be an issue. Actually, the t-shirt I wear in the accompanying video might get me in trouble in ways I hadn't considered up until now.

When every impediment placed in a minority's path is labelled racist (or sexist or religiously intolerant) that undermines real instances of racism etc. People who aren't racist get sick of having to walk on eggshells and people who are racist blithely say "oh, they're just playing the race card again."

One thing worth pointing out that white folks often gloss over is that the playing field isn't level. The question is often put forward "Why are there exclusively black beauty pageants when you'd get crucified if your tried to run an exclusively white beauty pageant?" This question presupposes that the "open" beauty pageants don't implicitly (at least) value standards of beauty that work against non-white contestants. The historical records of winners at least make this a dubious proposition.

Second, there can be a significant positive boost to a community's self-esteem when they are able to celebrate the strengths of their own community by judging the best of their own rather than coming second to someone else. I think voluntary ghetto-isation is a losing proposition long term but segregated competitions can be a confidence builder and a stepping stone to truly open competition.

All of which is spoiled when a self-important rapper's ego can't deal with the fact that he really isn't very popular with a given demographic. This puts me in mind of a reality TV show I'd like to see: "World's Biggest Ego". It could feature ego-driven rappers, spoilt teen pop queens, aging rock pigs, elite sport stars and movie stars all competing to show they had the most distorted view of their own self-worth. It would be like a truly gruesome car wreck - so horrific, you couldn't look away.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A psychological experiment

I'm going to teach you something about the power of suggestion now. This is basically how hypnotism works, if you're open to suggestion a hypnotist can have a considerable influence on your behaviour. However, one doesn't have to be a professional hypnotist to see this in action.

Have you ever noticed how if someone yawns in front of you it often makes you want to yawn as well? This is a mild form of hypnotism even if it isn't intentional. Now, I've brought that example up intentionally and even thinking about yawning may be a powerful enough suggestion to make you yawn yourself.

But that isn't evil enough for me. I'm going to unleash one of the most powerful forms of suggestion. Very few people can resist this one: have you ever noticed if someone mentions headlice you have an almost uncontrollable urge to start scratching your head? When you have kids you're often on the lookout for headlice - if one kid at school gets them then all the kids end up with them.

No matter how many people tell you that headlice aren't a sign of being dirty you can't help thinking they're gross. Oh, and as soon as someone mentions headlice, most people can't help scratching their heads. How are you going with that? Trying to avoid that maddening itch on your scalp because you know there's nothing there?

Of course, the reason I bring this up is someone just mentioned headlice to me and now I can't stop scratching my fucking head. And damned if I'm suffering alone.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Life is full of little pleasures and small victories. I was very excited recently when I found a vey special product. I hadn't been able to find this since the last time I was in the states (which was far too long ago) so when I found it in a local supermarket, I took full advantage.

Road Conversation #1 - MC NoseJizz

The conversation is started by Adrian twanging on his nose. I'll have to leave "twanging" to your imagination as there are no sound effects to go with this post. Essentially he was flicking his nose rhythmically while making a vaguely musical sound in accompaniment.

"That's really special. Just the thing to make the drive go faster."

"Why thank you, it's nice to be appreciated."

"I can't belive you aren't more widely appreciated for that. What the hell are you actually doing?"

"Well, I'm trying to clear some man juice that's lodged up there after a particularly spectacular blow."

"Sorry I missed that. The musical aspect is a nice addition"

"That part I have actually been appreciated for, it's been a major part of my career."

"Oh wow, were you MC NoseJizz back in the 90s?"

"That was one of my stage names, yes."

"I'm a big fan, I bought all of your CDs. And your signature range of tissues."

"It isn't about me, it's about you. It's always been about the fans."

"And the jizz."

"The fans and the jizz. Preferably the jizz on the fans. Nothing ever mad me as happy as when I was unloading a good spray onto some fans."

"It was always hard to get front row tickets for your shows."

"I prided myself on always going well beyond the front row. I couldn't sleep at night for worrying that there were fans who weren't wearing enough of my jizz on their faces."

"Is that why you would get the backing band to help?"

"They helped but it was never enough. That's why I franchised the MC NoseJizz concept, including the female MC NoseJizz."

"Sistah SoulJizz?"

"That was her. I had high hopes for Sistah SoulJizz but her heart was never really in it."

"She didn't care enough about the jizz?"

"She didn't realise how important the jizz was. It was all about the fame to her, I tried to explain to her that the jizz was bigger than any one person but she never really got it."

"Maybe it was because she was always reliant on you for the jizz."

"I think that was it, she never really valued the jizz, she thought she was better than the jizz."

"I'm sure that's why the public turned on her."

"Yep. One night she went on stage with her nose only half full of jizz. That was the beginning of the end."

"If only more people realised that, you'll never get anywhere with your nose only half full of jizz..."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Road trip!

I'm about to head out on a big road trip. About 800-900km with my friend Adrian to attend a retirement party for our favourite lecturer from the old college days. This is likely to be a fairly insane party weekend so you may not hear from me for a while. Then again, I'm taking my laptop and cameras so you may get some extremely crazy updates.

Two men, the open road and a head full of cold pills. Anything could happen...

You're all a bunch of sick little monkeys!

So that's what it feels like to get the top post on reddit and front page of Digg in the same 24 hour period. Now that my genius has been recognised more widely I guess all that's left to be said is "What the hell took you people so long?" Seriously, the encouragement I've received from the responses to the diet pill post has been awesome.

My regular readers will know that I usually respond to all comments but the volume of responses to this post was more than a tad overwhelming (they keep popping up even as I write this). So rather than play favourites I decided not respond directly to any of the comments. I did read all the comments, however, including the comments on reddit and Digg.

I have to say, I'm more than mildly surprised at the lack of negativity in the comments as well. The number of people completely incapable of understanding a joke was reassuringly small. Even on Digg, which has an appalling reputation for stupidity and immaturity the comments were by and large intelligent. Or at least not hideously stupid.

I did notice two common memes running through the comments:
  1. These pills would be great for a truly horrible practical joke
  2. Surely this oily shit could be harnessed as biofuel
You're all a bunch of sick little monkeys! And I couldn't be more proud at having provided some fuel for thought. On the fuel front, I don't know Al Gore's email address but surely someone can contact him with the biofuel idea.

Actually, now I think about it, the way big Al bulked up recently and now seems to be losing weight he may be ahead of all of us. Expect an announcement from the Gore camp any day now that Al is planning to shit all over us. For our own good. I wish he would make that announcement actually, it isn't like he'd be the first politician to take a shit on us but at least he'd be the first to be honest about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Laugh? I nearly shit my pants!

Hi everyone. I normally reply to every comment but this tsunami of comments came in for my "Miracle diet pill" post while I was sleeping. You crazy northern hemisphere folk. Hopefully at least a few of you will stick around and read some of my other material. God knows there's enough of it to get through.

My alternative title for this post was "Pants-shittingly funny video." It was a close call. I went with the title above because I thought it would be better search engine bait. Remember that conversation we were having via comments about search engine terms CinnKitty? Within a week I'll be getting some major action from variations of "shit my pants". Oh yeah, some high class readership on the way to me.

Anyway, this is a video version of my earlier blog post that has proved so popular. I intended to do this video as soon as I wrote the post but its popularity sealed the deal. I often do video versions of my blog posts and in this case I definitely wanted to strike while the iron was hot.

I thought the post in question might be popular - after all, who doesn't laugh at poo jokes? This was actually one of the very few posts I have written where I was laughing as I wrote it. I suspect that was as much from the source material (the diet pill website) as it was from any jokes I was writing. I found it almost impossible to believe they could write such unintentionally funny material.

For a while I suspected that it was maybe only my sick mind that would find it so funny. But the popularity of the post has proved you're all a pack of sick little monkeys. SO maybe you like the moving pictures too:

Go ahead and subscribe - you know you want to!

A miracle diet pill with a teeny-tiny side effect

I found this news on and felt compelled to throw my 2c in. There's a "new" over-the-counter drug available in the US that's apparently flying off the shelves. It's called alli and I use the term "new" loosely because it's apparently a lower strength version of a prescription-only drug (Xenical) that's been around for a while.

So what does this incredibly popular wonder drug do? Well, not to go all Bill Clinton on you, but it depends on what your definition of "do" is. You see, there's (1)what the drug company markets it as, (2)the medical description of what it does and (3)the biggest effect you're actually going to notice.

The drug company markets it as a weight loss pill. They say it will give "safe, effective weight loss". Because it's FDA approved it must be good. What could possibly go wrong?

A simplified medical description of the drug is that it's a fat blocker. It stops your body from absorbing some of the fat in your diet. It doesn't burn calories. But fat that would have otherwise been absorbed by your body... isn't. Because fat contains calories less calories will go into your body.

But here's the most important thing the drug does: it makes you shit oil. Worse, it makes you shit your pants. With oil. This is not the ravings of some fringe conspiracy group, this is what the company tells you itself on its website. Buy our drug if you want to lose weight. Oh, by the way, you'll end up shitting your pants.

Neat, huh? No wonder it's selling so well. That large sector of the public that enjoy having their pants filled with liquefied shit has been seriously unde-catered to up until now.

The drug company indulges in classic marketing bullshit that really pisses me off but they still fail to obscure the horror of what's going to happen to you if you take their drug. The first bit of marketing bullshit they spin that makes me want to smack them in the fucking head is the old "eat healthier and exercise more to get the full benefits".

Hello?!?!?! If you eat less fat and exercise you don't need their fucking pills. I'm sick of these sleazy companies pretending that they're promoting health. They're promoting bad habits and laziness. The subtext to the whole thing is "this drug lets you lose weight with NO exercise and NO change to your eating patterns". People who can eat healthier and exercise more aren't interested in this shit. But the company doesn't think it'll get away with an advertising slogan along the lines of "Fuck diet and exercise! Take these pills and shit your weight away!"

The second thing they do that pisses me off is deliberately using language designed to obscure the full horror of the effects of their drug. They can't even come clean and call them "side-effects", instead going with "treatment effects". Hell, maybe they're right, these aren't side effects. Side effects are incidental to the main effects. Shitting your pants is the main effect of this drug. It literally is the treatment effect.

Try as they might, their weasel words can't hide how horrible their drug actually is. Following are actual quotes from their website followed by Mr Angry's no bullshit translation.

Website Bullshit (WSBS): You may get:
  • gas with oily spotting,
  • loose stools
  • more frequent stools that may be hard to control

No BS: The following things will happen to you:

  • You will spray oil when you fart
  • You will have diarrhoea
  • You will be shitting constantly and you will lose control of your bowels to the point where you shit your pants

WSBS: The excess fat that passes out of your body is not harmful. In fact, you may recognize it as something that looks like the oil on top of a pizza.

No BS: Oh dear god. Pizza is one of my favourite foods and these evil fucks have done their best to turn me off it for life. It will be very hard to look at a pizza again without wondering if someone on this drug has taken a shit on it.

WSBS: Eating a low-fat diet lowers the chance of these bowel changes. (my emphasis)

No BS: Even if you do cut back on fat, you're still going to shit oil.

WSBS: ...pick a day to begin taking alli, such as a weekend day so you can stay close to home if you experience a treatment effect.

No BS: Do not go out in public after taking this drug. You are going to shit yourself. Stay close to a toilet.

WSBS: If you're getting ready to travel or attend a social event, hold off on starting with alli until the event is over.

No BS: Don't say you weren't warned. You are seriously going to shit yourself.

WSBS: You may not usually get gassy, but it's a possibility when you take alli. The bathroom is really the best place to go when that happens.

No BS: You're old life is over. Forget what you think you know about your body. You are going to fart uncontrollably. And there will be follow-through. This is not going to be something you want to share.

And my absolute favourite (which is to say, the part of the website that horrifies me most):

"You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work."

Oh. My. Fucking. God. They are so sure you are going to shit your pants they are saying you should accept the inevitable. There is no way to avoid this. So wear dark pants to hide the liquid shit stains. And bring a change of clothes. Because your first set are going to get impregnated with liquid shit.

To me, this is the ultimate evidence that western society is utterly fucked. You can tell people that taking a pill will make them shit their pants uncontrollably. And your pill will be an utterly out of control success.

There was also a link to a video where you could "watch alli in action". I assume this is a video showing people shitting their pants. I couldn't bring myself to look.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Competition time! Win fabulous cash and prizes!

OK, so I'm not actually giving away cash. And whether or not the prize is fabulous depends on how easily impressed you are. Inspired by Sandra, I've decided to have a contest for people to submit potential t-shirt slogans for Mr Angry.

I've been meaning for months to do new t-shirts but I keep failing to get around to it. When I say "I" am going to do it, that means getting my girlfriend to do the lettering. Because it would look like shit if I did it. Sandra actually suggested one months ago that I had been intending to make: "Do I look like I give a fuck?" Another I had been intending to make was "Shut the fuck up."

There are also a few more ideas I've already had shown in the attached videos. But here are the contest rules (subject to completely arbitrary changes at my whim) for people who don't want to watch the video:

1. Write a slogan that you think would make a good Mr Angry t-shirt
2. The winner will be chosen by me, guided mainly by popular acclaim but also maybe the one I like best won't be the one with most votes
3. Don't enter if you're going to get miffed if I don't pick your entry. That would make me sad.
4. The prize will be your very own one-of-a-kind hand lettered Mr Angry t-shirt with your winning logo/slogan. So make it something you'd want to wear or at least occasionally show people.
5. That's basically it unless I make up any more arbitrary rules.
6. The judge's decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. Don't even think of trying to fuck with me over this.

Oh yeah, one more point, when making t-shirts for myself I basically chose the cheapest t-shirts I could find. I promise to actually use a good quality shirt for the prize. You can even nominate colour and style (within reason). So get to it!" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" quality="high" WIDTH="445" HEIGHT="369" wmode="transparent">
Competition'>">Competition time! Fabulous cash and prizes to be won!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Is God an IT Consultant?

Having stirred a few creationists on YouTube lately, I got to thinking about the modern creationist's favourite weasel words, "intelligent design". Intelligent? You think? What part of disease, famine, war is intelligent?

All of which reminds me painfully of many IT consultants I've had to work with over the years. These people are employed because of their supposed expertise. They're paid a fortune. And they manage to fuck things up over and over.

OK, a brief disclaimer here. Technically, I'm an IT consultant. So if you're one and you were thinking of taking offence, don't bother. You're obviously one of the good ones. Like me.

The bad ones certainly act as though they think they're god. Just try questioning one of them. Righteous hellfire and brimstone is sure to follow. I'm starting to suspect this is where intelligent design proponents are coming from. Actually, they could probably get me on their side if they started pushing a "god as IT consultant" theory.

It would certainly explain a lot. If you ever got to question god on why so many aspects of creation are so utterly fucked up, the response would be along the lines of: "well, it was designed according to the spec. Technically, there's nothing wrong with my design, it's your implementation that's the problem."

This is pretty close to the explanation I was always given at catholic school. Everything good = god. Everything bad = satan and the wickedness of man. Which always struck me as a bit of a cop out. Fluffy bunnies, cute babies and beautiful sunsets are because god loves you. Horrible things like disease, genocide and really bad TV shows happen because you're wicked and you deserve it.

When it comes down to it, I have no problem with the concept of divinity or some sort of higher plane of existence in the afterlife. It's just that I think using this as an excuse to interfere with my life here and now is fucked up.

The idea that any sort of supreme being could possibly give a shit about whether or not they have my adoration and supplication makes no sense to me. The idea of inflicting eternal damnation on a lesser being is the product of vain human thinking, not the wisdom of a deity.

Judge me on whether or not my actions help people here and now, that I can deal with. Judge scientific thinking on its merits, don't ban it because it offends the magic guy in the sky nobody can see.

And if god really is an IT consultant, we should have read the fine print in the contract. Because there are a hell of a lot of bugs that still need fixing. Does anyone know the number of the help desk? I tried calling the pope but he called me a smartarse and hung up.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A quarter of a million doses of angry

I passed the 250,000 view mark this week. More than a quarter of a million times, my angry little voice has spurted out across cyberspace. Actually, I guess if you count my YouTube views it's more than a million times. That's good for a laugh.

Actually, on more than one occasion it has been a little freaky to consider. The number of times my blog has been found by people searching on the term "I want to kill myself" is more than a little disconcerting.

Still, I started this blog for catharsis as much as anything else and the nerve I seem to have touched with a large number of readers with my angry outbursts is gratifying. I knew I was angry but it's fun to see how many other people are angry too.

I'm planning to branch out from this blog. This blog will, of course, continue but I'm exploring a few other avenues. I'm going to republish some of my more serious work-oriented pieces on a site called that (theoretically) pays contributors who generate ad clicks. Also, I'm trying my luck on LiveVideo - YouTube is pissing me off so much I'm getting desperate for an alternative.

I think embedded LiveVideo looks better as well, see if you agree:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Don't look behind you

You probably shouldn't watch this video if you're superstitious.

This is another product of my Doctor Who geekfest. One of the episodes has this classic horro movie moment when a guy (who is working on a space station that may or may not be in the process of being overtaken by the devil) starts hearing a voice in his head saying "don't look behind you."

This is what I do for fun. You wouldn't want to meet me in a dark alley.


I've been geeking out with Doctor Who recently. I used to watch the original series all the time growing up. It was my favourite show without a doubt at the time but in retrospect it's incredibly cheesy. It went of the air in the 90s but they resurrected it (fans would say regenerated) a few years ago. The difference between the old and new series is comparable to the difference between the old and new Battlestar Galactica.

The new series is totally different to the original in style. When you watched the old series you got the feeling the BBC had hired a bunch of out of work stage actors on the cheap whereas the actors in the new series definitely know how to act for TV. Also, rather importantly, the budget is obviously massive by comparison and so production standards are commensurately higher.

It was kind of fun when watching the original series to pick out what piece of off-the-shelf crap they were using as a cheap prop/special effect. My favourite was probably when they tried to show a guy was morphing into a space slug by having bubble-wrap wrapped around his hand. It was spray painted green so you knew it was space-slug-morphing bubble wrap.

Anyway, the cable service here ran marathons of the first and second seasons of the new series over the weekend. More than 12 hours each day - geek heaven! Apparently the merchandising for Doctor Who in the UK is a bit over the top, there are Doctor Who products everywhere. Including the mug in this video, sent over from England for my girlfriend's little boy from his grandma.

The sound samples built into that mug are of the coolest of all Doctor Who Monsters, the Daleks. The second coolest are the Cybermen. Both have been resurrected for the new series and Doctor Who geeks got their ultimate wet dream when the two were brought together at the conclusion of season two. For this Doctor Who geek, the ultimate moment came when the Daleks and Cybermen started trash talking each other.

The Cybermen suggested an alliance with the Daleks (which would have been bad news for our heroes) but the Daleks rejected the Cybermen as inferior. For a couple of emotionless robotic races they got pretty shitty with one another, having an exchange that went something like this:

Cyberman: Why not join forces? Our systems are compatible although your design is inelegant.

Dalek: Daleks have no concept of elegance.

Cyberman: That is obvious.

Dalek: We will exterminate you!

Cyberman: There are millions of us, how many are you?

Dalek: Four.

Cyberman: You will defeat us with only four Daleks?

Dalek: We would defeat you with one Dalek!

Pwned! Take that cyber-bitch!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Make a point, make it quick

This videos was a response to another YouTuber who was sick of over-long, pointless videos. The challenge was to make a video that was some form of social commentary and make it less than 90 seconds long. Here goes:

It's also the first video where you see my cool new backdrop in action.

What a disappointment

Further to my rant yesterday about YouTube's shortcomings, I have noticed there are two types of failings that seem to make people particularly angry.

One is the case that I mentioned yesterday, namely, when someone seems capable of great things but falls painfully short of the standards you expect of them. They may be achieving higher than 99% of the population but because you placed such high expectations on them (rightly or wrongly) you end up really disappointed with their failure to achieve.

A second one I've noticed is when you see yourself in someone else's failings. I know I do this myself and based on my observations, other people do it too. I'm not sure what it is but I definitely have a tendency to get more angry with someone when they're doing something that I know is one of my bad habits. The thought process goes something like this:

"That person really pisses me off...

"I do that as well...

"I hate being reminded of what a fuck-up I am...

"Man, fuck other people! Like I give a shit about what anyone else thinks...


Or maybe I'm the only one who's this neurotic. Does anyone else react this way?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fuck YouTube! Seriously.

I have decided YouTube is like an amazingly gifted athlete who is utterly unable to empathise with other humans. This athlete is capable of doing things you didn't think were possible prior to their arrival on the scene. And they don't just do it, they make it look effortless. You feel carried along by them because they're on your team. You're amazed at what you can accomplish with their help.

But every now and then they take a big shit right in your face.

And this isn't a one time event. At regular intervals, they'll totally fuck you over and won't even respond when you ask "Why the fuck did you do that?!?!?!" They might have a good reason for doing it. After all, they operate on a higher plane than you. How are you to know whether or not what they are doing is for the greater good? Of course, they could tell you their reasons. You'd pay attention to them if they told you because you owe them so much.

But they don't say a fucking thing.

You have no way of knowing why they do these shitty things. So you assume it's because they don't fucking care. You're some sort of insignificant bug to them. So you're still grateful for the good that they do but each time you're treated like shit you get a little more resentful. It gets to the point where pretty much every time you mention them it's to say how fucked up they are. And you spend a LOT of time thinking of ways to survive without them.

YouTube's latest fuckups have been the same as their old fuckups. I mean literally the same. These problems have happened multiple times before when they've made "upgrades" and they'll doubtless happen again multiple times in the future. Gruntski pointed out to me the videos I'd embedded in this blog were doing weird things. This was due to "improvements" YouTube made to their embedded video player.

Completely fucking unannounced improvements, mind you. The addition of links to so-called "related videos" was obviously an attempt to get people to spend more time on YouTube and fair enough. But some fucking communication would have been nice. It's the complete lack of communication from YouTube that drives me stark, raving mad.

So along with these upgrades came a slew of site performance problems: uploaded videos were taking ages to be available for viewing (one of mine took more than 24 hours), video statistics (view counts etc.) were utterly fucked and the one that bugged me most of all was the link to new videos from creators you subscribe to that usually appears on the home page was missing altogether (it's back now).

The absurdity of YouTube's continuing public relations hari-kiri is that the whole fucking site is built around the concept of communication by video and they never do this! Why they choose to avoid this stunningly obvious method of communicating with users is completely beyond me. And like I said before, when someone makes absolutely no effort to communicate with you when they're treating you badly, it's only natural to assume that this is because they don't care about you.

I've had numerous invitations to join other video sharing sites like LiveVideo with the invitations always including flattery like "It's really shitty that you've never been featured on YouTube, I bet if you joined site X you'd be featured in no time!" It's tempting and possibly true. There are three main reasons why I haven't dumped YouTube so far:

1. Wordpress doesn't support the embedding of videos from all sites. I know it does support more than YouTube but it doesn't seem to support the ones I'm most likely to defect to (like Revver). Being able to post video to Wordpress is very important to me.

2. I'm incredibly lazy. I used to post to both YouTube and Revver but it didn't seem worth the effort. It would take more time than I'm willing to dedicate to develop a following on another site while maintaining my user base on YouTube. I probably shouldn't be so lazy but I am. Regardless of the disbelief of the haters, I do have a full time day job as well.

3. YouTube still has the biggest audience. By a massive margin. The carrot of that huge potential audience is a powerful thing. At least to shallow attention whores like me.

One more thing YouTube has in common with an elite sociopathic athlete is they don't seem to realise that no matter how total their dominance feels today, it's a fleeting thing. History shows over and over again how businesses that were top of their field end up being skewered by their competition. And the online world moves exponentially faster than the offline world. YouTube could easily forestall their competition for at least a couple of years simply by treating their users better.

It remains to be seen whether or not they will.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My ego is officially out of control

So I found this really cool site called Blockposters where you can upload any image, say how big you want it and they'll create a pdf file that spreads the image across that many A4 pages so you can print it out and put it together like a big mosaic. And it's all free!

So what image would I choose to print out on a massive scale? Hmmmm, I wonder...

Something a little different

Here a change of pace for me on the video front - a dramatic piece. The script for this is actually from a one-act play I wrote about 20 years ago while I was at college. Just to show I'm no johnny-come-lately jumping on the environmentalism bandwagon, the theme of this piece was environmental degradation. I got brainwashed and jumped on the bandwagon years ago.

The play was called "This is the Sea". It's set in the future after environmental disaster has poisoned most of the world and reduced the world's population by about 95%. The character doing this monologue is an old man who has landed as a refugee in a country that turns out to be a police state. He's telling a young girl a story about what things were like when he was young.

I might do another piece from this script at some point. All part of my quest to avoid boredom by trying something different.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A modest proposal

As I was being subjected to the usual cavalcade of idiots on the drive in to work this morning, I came up with a potential solution. I'm going to be writing up a formal proposal for this idea to submit to the federal government because it will require the creation of a new public holiday. This holiday will be known as "No Road Rules Day".

On No Road Rules Day there will, of course, be no road rules. There will also be no repercussions for any automotive transgressions committed on this day. Speed all your want. Cause all the multi-car pile-ups you like. Ignore traffic lights. There will be no rules.

There will also be no ambulances.

I'm going to present this proposal as a chance for all the anti-social hoons to get their aggressive tendencies out of their systems but it will actually be an opportunity to see Darwinism in action. Sensible people will spend the day safely indoors. Fuckwits will be out in huge numbers being even bigger fuckwits than normal. Many of them will inevitably die, resulting in a noticeable improvement in the gene pool.

At the end of the day, the wreckage and corpses will be scooped up by specially designed dump trucks. Normal people will wake to a new day with clean streets. And on the way to work, everyone will be thinking the same thing:

"Wow, traffic's way better than usual today."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Larry King is a crybaby

There's a bit of footage doing the rounds at the moment where Larry King, not realising he was being picked up by a live microphone, complains that Anderson Cooper is getting more time than him. You may have seen that video but you have to watch this version to find out what King was really saying.

What can I say? I'm very, very childish. It was the way he rubbed his eyes and the really ugly expression he has towards the end that gave me the idea.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Parking lot of the living brain dead

I had the strangest experience on the weekend while parking my car. The supermarket where I was parking makes you get a ticket when you park there. The first 90 minutes are free but after that you have to pay. I knew I was going to be longer than 90 minutes so I proceeded to put some money in the machine.

My money wouldn't go all the way in - it seemed obvious that someone had jammed a coin further in. My money was still theoretically recoverable as I could reach the edge of the coin but not easily so. Being a cheap bastard, I put some effort into getting the coin out.

I'd been trying for about thirty seconds when a guy comes up and informs me that the machine's broken. He has a repair dude type of uniform on so I assume he's been called to fix it. He tells me there's another ticket machine around the corner, I say fine but I want to get my money back first. He gets his screwdriver to work trying to lever out my dollar coin.

While this is happening a couple more people show up wanting a ticket. I turn and tell them the machine is broken and they'll have to use the one around the corner. They don't move. They're still standing behind me waiting. So I repeat:

"This ticket machine is broken. There's another one just over there, you'll have to use that one."

They don't respond at all. They don't go to the other ticket machine. They continue to stand there, slack jawed, with a glazed expression on their faces. I thought about this for a second. This was neither a difficult nor remotely abstract concept I was explaining. My explanation was very clear. Yet they were unable to comprehend. There was only one possible conclusion.

They were brain dead zombies. I was in the parking lot of the living dead.

I was torn. I could always test my zombie thesis by screaming in their faces "The fucking ticket machine is broken, will you fuck off and use the other one? You're creeping me out!" Or I could simply cut to chase and shoot them in the fucking head before the stupid zombie bastards starting trying to eat my fucking brain.

At this point the deadlock was broken when the technician got my dollar back. I had what I wanted - I figured he could take on the zombies without me. He had a pretty formidable looking tool belt.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Creationism is Bollocks!

I was in a bit of a mood to pick a fight via video this past week and when I read about the opening of the Creation "Museum" in Kentucky I decided to state the obvious. Namely that creationism is, well, utter bollocks. I'm not criticising religious belief in and of itself, I've met way too many intelligent religious people and way to many stupid atheists to take the Richard Dawkins path of belittling everyone who disagrees with me.

But creationism isn't about believing in god, creationism is about being fucking insane. By all means take the good bits of the bible (or the torah, or the koran, or the bhaghavad gita if that floats your boat) and use that as a guide for life but taking parables like the creation myth as literal truth? That way lies madness.

Look, by all means, people can have their own belief systems (I personally believe I must never give up eating chocolate because it's the only thing keeping me safe from evil trolls who are allergic to chocolate) but don't force your shit on other people. When these freaks (most notably in the USA) want to shut down science in favour of their delusions, that's when I call bullshit.

I used this rather nifty article from the Scientific American magazine as a reference for my arguments. You might like to use it when you're next confronted by a creationist nutbag.

Hot Nude YouTube video! With Pink Hair!

So here's my first official nude YouTube video. I decided to shoot this without my clothes on so I wouldn't get hair dye on them. I think I actually look sexier with my party gear on (the silky shirt was an op shop special at $8 - bargain!) but you be the judge.

I think "copper" is a more accurate description of the colour than pink. I've decided I actually like this, it's supposed to last for a month or so and I might experiment with other colours after that. Maybe instead of a semi-permanent rinse through colour like this I might try some hardcore permanent red or even blue. Then I could spike my hair up for a manga look.

Monday, June 04, 2007

So I showed up to work today with pink hair...

Well, it might be more purple than pink. The bottle it came out of said the colour was orange but the way it has reacted with my hair gives it more of a pink/purple tinge today.

Some background: I decided to put some colour in my hair while getting ready for a party on Saturday night. My girlfriend was using this foamy stuff to put some orange colour into her hair and I wondered out loud what it would look like in my hair. She thought I was joking and that I wouldn't dare actually put any of it in my hair.

To which, of course, my reaction was: "You think?"

A few seconds later I was busy foaming this brown sludgy looking stuff through my hair. I decided to try and do my beard too which led to some interesting orange stains on my face. My hair's quite dark but I have a fair bit of grey so I thought I might get an interesting effect. Essentially, according to the instructions I have EXACTLY the sort of hair upon which the product should NOT be used.

I did make a video of the process which I'll get around to editing and posting later so you can judge the colour yourself. Suffice to say that all conversations at work today have followed a similar pattern:

"So..... you put some colour in your hair."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Presenting: Mr Angry Comix!

I decided to try something a little different and do a Mr Angry video in comic book form. I have an animated version on YouTube but I thought I'd put the full pages here for your viewing pleasure. If these are too small to see properly, follow the links through to my Flickr page.

The starting point for this story was another YouTuber, Nalts, who made a video where he pretended he had a team of writers and he abused them regularly. My team of writers saw that video and wanted to know why they were never given credit.

Page 1
Page 2



And here's the YouTube video:

Friday, June 01, 2007

The third person

I've noticed a disturbing trend at work lately with people referring to themselves in the third person when sending emails. It's usually when the message is to let you know where someone's going to be; something along the lines of:

"Bob will not be in the office tomorrow."

It's annoying enough when pretentious celebrities refer to themselves in the third person, I'm not putting up with this shit at work. There's more than one offender but Bob does it the most so I decided to go and sort him out. I figured if I made an example of him, the others would cease their transgressions lest my vengeance be visited upon them as well. I strode across to Bob's cubicle to address the situation with him thusly:

ME: Bob! What the fuck is your major malfunction?

Bob shrieked. I forgot what a nervous type he was.

ME: Calm down Bob, don't make me slap you already. Why the hell do you refer to yourself in the third person in emails?

BOB: What do you mean?

ME: Look at the email you sent earlier. It says "Bob won't be in tomorrow." Why doesn't it say "I won't be in tomorrow"?

BOB: I thought people wouldn't know who "I" was if that was all I put.

ME: Bob, take a look at the email. It has your name in the email address line. It has your name in the subject line. Then you signed off "regards, Bob." Then under that is your email signature that has your name again. How many fucking times do you fucking think we need to fucking see your fucking name before we fucking know who the fuck the fucking email is from?

BOB: (sweating visibly, looking for help from nearby people who are all studiously looking in other directions) Uhhhhhh...

ME: Stop it, OK? It's stupid. It's annoying. And you know I'll hit you if you annoy me enough.

BOB: Bu-bu-bu-but...

ME: No buts, Bob. If I have to smack you in the head to serve as an example to others, I'll do it. And you know I'll enjoy doing it as well, so don't test my patience. You're not going to refer to yourself in the third person ever again, are you Bob?

BOB: No, definitely not.

And so the issue was resolved. This is why, during job interviews, I like to refer to myself as "solutions oriented". It's a better sounding buzzword than "psychopathically hostile to idiot cow-orkers who deserve it."