Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why do I blog?

So, the inimitable Funky Brown Chick has asked me "why do I blog?" This is a multi-answer question for me. The most obvious answer is in the "Why am I doing this" section of this blog. I describe the blog as therapy - if I vent my anger here I theorised I would be less angry in day to day life.

While that's obviously tongue in cheek, there's an element of truth to it. My girlfriend for one will vouch for the fact my moods generally have been better since I started blogging. I'm a big believer in the benefits of catharsis. Venting anger in a way that doesn't physically harm someone is a lot healthier than letting it build up until you burst a blood vessel in your brain or go on a shooting rampage.

It's more accurate to say that I wanted a creative outlet. I've always been a pretty good writer and I'm a firm believer that writing is a skill like any other - the more you do it, the better you'll get. So I was actually quite methodical when setting up the blog. I had been working on some material for doing some standup comedy and decided I might get more feedback on what's actually funny by writing a blog. I could test out material here and use the most popular bits in a routine.

Standup is hard. And it doesn't provide a very rapid feedback loop. You get the instant feedback (or lack thereof) from a live audience but if some material doesn't go over all that well you can't really come back the next day and try some new material. With a blog I could try whatever I wanted, see the audience response and try some more the next day.

I made a couple of choices before I even started. First, I was going to do it anonymously. I'm a contractor and the IT community in Melbourne is too small, too conservative and too gossipy to take a huge risk career-wise. So I decided to invent a persona. Honestly, Mr Angry isn't me. He's a mouthpiece for a few things I want to say but more often he's a character who says things I never would myself.

The other decision was to be disciplined and regular with the writing. The name "Angry 354 Days a Year" is not a coincidence. I decided up front to set myself the target of writing at least one post every day for a year. Which I actually managed (just). There were a few close calls but some new content went up every day for the first year.

Since reaching that milestone I've relaxed a little. Now occasionally a day or two will pass without me posting and I won't freak out. Oh and I abandoned the idea of doing standup as well. Too hard. Too 20th century. YouTube killed that idea for me. Only the biggest name standup comedians in the world get a bigger audience than even a fringe player like me can get on YouTube.

Which brings me to the last big reason why I blog. I want to make a career of this. I've been a bit vague on exactly which direction this will take as I enjoy both the writing and the performance side of what I've been doing. But there have been a few positive developments in the last year. I've made a few thousand dollars doing videos for The Fizz on DirecTV (which has paid for camera upgrades and my broadband).

And then there was the New York possibility I mentioned a month or so ago. A journalist with one of the US broadcast networks had approached me about being interviewed for a segment on an upcoming show. For what felt like the longest time it continued to dangle as a possibility with no definite answer one way or the other. Now I finally have an answer. Sadly, I won't be going to New York.

I'm going to LA! Yes, Mr Angry is going to Hollywood. In two weeks. I fly in on the 14th of November (unless something changes). So if you're from the LA area, let me know. I definitely want to catch up with as many people as possible while I'm there. As you can see in this video, I was quite excited by the news:


Monday, October 29, 2007

Help me promote the Melbourne YouTube gathering

So I mentioned previously that I'd been to the YouTube party in Sydney and had a great time. Now I'm in full swing organising the gathering for YouTube users in Melbourne (known colloquially as AusOne) which will be in Federation Square on December 1st.

One thing I don't think I mentioned about the Sydney gathering was I stole a bunch of YouTube shirts. And they're all too small for me. So I'm giving them away. After asking for suggestions on YouTube for what people should do to win a t-shirt, the best suggestion was that they should go to people who do the best promotion for the gathering.

So, if you feel like helping me out, come up with some creative ideas to get the word out. Here's me showing off the t-shirts:


If you're interested, let me warn you: the shirts are really petite sizes. I actually tried on the XL one and I could barely get my arms through the sleeves. And let's not even get started on how my gut hung out.

I have a slightly significant post planned in response to a question Funky Brown Chick left me on voicemail (call 0403069148 in Australia, 61403069148 if you're overseas). She asked me why I blog. A fair question. And since she asked, I've received some major news that makes for a really good answer.

But I'm too damn tired to write it now.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Halloween Message

OK, I got a question. How fucking stupid are people? Because I had to deal with some real idiots today.

To give a bit of background: Halloween isn't a big thing in Australia. If you went around trick or treating people would think you're a freak (which, come to think of it, would be kind of appropriate for Halloween). But there's a American food store in a nearby suburb (I think they cater to homesick American expats) that runs a daytime trick or treat event for kids.

The idea is you show up on the Saturday closest to Halloween (which was today) and you go from shop to shop getting lollies. My kids think it's awesome. And this year I decided to dress up with them. So I'm walking down the street wearing my zombie mask, crazy wig and bloodstained, tattered clothing and I'm getting some damn weird looks.

It looked like people were actually scared of me. Because I looked a zombie. In a Halloween event. A really well-publicised Halloween event. With dozens of other people wandering around in costumes. In the middle of the fucking day. And it isn't as if I was lunging around deliberately trying to scare people.

Well... there was this one kid. Little bastard wouldn't stop staring at me. So every time his mother wasn't looking I lunged towards him with my tongue hanging out making gutteral noises. A little harsh perhaps, but I don't take shit from three-year-olds.

Anyway, the whole point of me going out in public dressed as a zombie was so I could make the following video without people staring at me. But they did anyway.


Friday, October 26, 2007

I am the new god of YouTube

Well, maybe not. But at least the featured one of my videos on the new YouTube Australia page. And my scary visage has been prominently featured on the global YouTube page for a couple of days now.

A little while ago, myself and a few other Australian YouTubers were asked to do a promotional video for the launch of YouTube Australia. This was what the "party" on Tuesday was about - it was considerably more a media launch than a party but I met a few cool people anyway so that's OK. The individual videos were spliced together into a promotional video which was featured on the various YouTube home pages.

And the thumbnail that everybody sees is a closeup of me. Which should be more than enough to put anyone off Australia. They even used my tag line in the video description. YouTube Oz, people!


The funny thing is I think they fucked up the editing. They did a pretty logo that I think was meant to be the thumbnail but they timed it wrong and ended up with me instead. More proof that I'm god's chosen one. Another funny thing is the comments. A fascinating collection of stupidity and self-loathing. If you want to lose all faith in humanity follow this link to read them.

The main thing is I had fun. I kept my camera switched off when drunk but here's some stuff I shot while sober:


I'm almost recovered from the trip and the late nights now. Back to the angry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Australian Federal Election - Arrogance and Lies

Consider this my application for a job with the Australian Labor Party. I love doing something this partisan because someone always blows a blood vessel because they can't tolerate the idea that you'd take a position that contradicts theirs. It'll be fun to see a few people humiliate themselves with idiotic comments.

For those who don't know Australian politics, here's the background to this video. The first one pictured is John Howard, current Australian Prime Minister. The second one is his deputy, Peter Costello. Howard has been PM for more than 10 years and he made a deal with his deputy to retire and hand over power. Then he broke that deal.

In their public spat, Howard was called a liar for not keeping his word and Costello was called arrogant for not waiting. The rest kind of wrote itself.

I did it in the stereotype election campaign ad style - slow zoom on photos with dramatic music. So what do you think - do I have a future as a political lobbyist?


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Call the Angry Phone - 61 403 069 148

I'm a very lazy man. And yet I got suckered into 4 hours of yard work today. As a result I'm suffering physical exhaustion and pain the likes if which is quite alien to me.

So here's a video I did before I got totally knackered from hacking through six months of weed growth.


And that really a number you can call me on. I got it mainly for the YouTube gathering. So I could give out a contact number but, you know, ignore it if I wanted to. I have no idea if anyone actually wants to call me or not but it's a pre-paid phone so it doesn't cost me anything. If you do happen to call me it's fairly likely you'll get voicemail. Which I may use in a video for my own purposes. Don't say you weren't warned.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Best fucking quotes - the annotated version

In my original draft of yesterday's post, I included an explanation for most of the quotes I chose. I decided to run them unadorned because I thought maybe people might want to copy the quotes into emails and I thought I'd make that easy. So today I bring you the annotated version along with a video version.

I nust love my swearing.

Fuck is my chisel.” - Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan explaining to an American audience why he needs to swear.
I thought this was the perfect starting point: swearing isn't necessarily gratuitous - sometimes it's weilded with the precision of a tool.

“I say we grease this rat-fuck son of a bitch right now.” - Hudson (Bill Paxton) in Aliens
It was hard to pick just one of Hudson's lines but this one did it for me. Who hasn't felt this way about some yuppie prick who's screwed them?

“You had best unfuck yourself and start shitting me Tiffany cufflinks or I will definitely fuck you up!” - Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermey) in Full Metal Jacket
The whole post was nearly Lee Ermey quotes from Full Metal jacket. Swearing was invented for this man.

“Was it legal? FUCK legal! Not nice? FUCK nice! The nation says I’m not nice? FUCK THE NATION!” - Roy Cohn (Al Pacino) in Angels in America
In this quote the character was talking about why he wanted Ethel Rosenberg to get the death sentence. I thought it was (besides being a fine bout of swearing) a poignant reminder of some of the excesses of the current US administration.

“Your mother sucks cocks in hell!” - Regan (Linda Blair) in The Exorcist
She was such a cute little girl but she swore a blue streak when she got going.

“Life does not start and stop at your convenience, you miserable piece of shit.” - Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) in The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is another movie that offered dozens of good swearing quotes but I liked the philosophy behind this one.

“Shut that cunt’s mouth or I’ll come over there and fuckstart her head.” - Mr Parker (Ryan Phillipe) in The Way of the Gun
Besides the sheer brutality of this quote I liked it for that fact that before this movie Ryan Phillipe had been a rosy-cheeked teen heart-throb.

“Fuck me? Fuck you! Fuck you and this whole city and everyone in it!” - Monty Brogan (Ed Norton) in 25th Hour
This is part of a long diatribe where the character says "fuck you" to pretty much everyone in New York. It's an awesome soliloquy.

“Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy. I’m going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before and I will do it again. I’m going to fucking kill Google.” - Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft
In case anyone doesn't believe this one, here's the source: http://battellemedia.com/archives/001835.php

“You have a look in your eye like you haven’t been fucked in a year.” - Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface
Tony Montana is another one who provided dozens of quality swearing quotes - I liked this one because it was relatively subtle.

“(if you work in advertising or marketing) You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself, it’s the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself” - Bill Hicks
This part of Hicks' routine is hilarious - it goes on for a while and he keeps repeating "there's no joke here - just kill yourself."

“I’ll send you a love letter straight from my heart, fucker. Do you know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fuckin’ gun, fucker. If you receive a love letter from me, you are fucked forever. Do you understand, fuck? I’ll send ya straight to hell, fucker!” - Frank Boothe (Dennis Hopper) in Blue Velvet
I once saw a TV modified version of this movie where they replaced the work "fuck" with "freak". It made Frank's speeches very weird.

“Your mother sucks big fuckin’ elephant dicks, you got that?” - Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci) in Raging Bull
When Joe Pesci swears, you believe he means it.

“So I say live and let live… Anyone who can’t go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker.” - George Carlin
From the man who built a whole routine around the swear words you can't say on TV.

“Things are fucked up at the North Pole. Mrs Claus caught me fucking her sister, now I’m out on my ass.” - Willie (Billie Bob Thornton) in Bad Santa
There's something about an alcoholic Santa who swears continuously and indulges in anal sex in shopping mall change room on his breaks that appeals to me.

“Bitch was so fine I’d suck her daddy’s dick.” - Richard Pryor
I used this one as it was one of the few times Pryor opened his mouth and didn't say "fuck".

“We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no-one has ever fucked him!” - Karl Rove, senior advisor to George W Bush
Again, in case anyone doesn't believe this one, here's the source: http://www.ronsuskind.com/newsite/articles/archives/000032.html

“What’s the big deal? It doesn’t hurt anybody. Fuck, fuckity, fuck-fuck-fuck!” - Eric Cartman in South Park Bigger, Longer and Uncut
What better way to round things off? Swearing really doesn't hurt anyone. Fuck anyone who says different.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Best Swearing Quotes Ever

"Life is a four letter word" - Lenny Bruce

Even Lenny Bruce, the master of profanity, knew how to be subtle. But sometimes subtlety simply doesn't cut it...

"Fuck is my chisel." - Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan explaining to an American audience why he needs to swear.

"I say we grease this rat-fuck son of a bitch right now." - Hudson (Bill Paxton) in Aliens

"You had best unfuck yourself and start shitting me Tiffany cufflinks or I will definitely fuck you up!" - Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermey) in Full Metal Jacket

"Was it legal? FUCK legal! Not nice? FUCK nice! The nation says I'm not nice? FUCK THE NATION!" - Roy Cohn (Al Pacino) in Angels in America

"Your mother sucks cocks in hell!" - Regan (Linda Blair) in The Exorcist

"Life does not start and stop at your convenience, you miserable piece of shit." - Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) in The Big Lebowski

"Shut that cunt's mouth or I'll come over there and fuckstart her head." - Mr Parker (Ryan Phillipe) in The Way of the Gun

"Fuck me? Fuck you! Fuck you and this whole city and everyone in it!" - Monty Brogan (Ed Norton) in 25th Hour

"Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy. I'm going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before and I will do it again. I'm going to fucking kill Google." - Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft

"You have a look in your eye like you haven't been fucked in a year." - Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface

"(if you work in advertising or marketing) You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself" - Bill Hicks

"I'll send you a love letter straight from my heart, fucker. Do you know what a love letter is? It's a bullet from a fuckin' gun, fucker. If you receive a love letter from me, you are fucked forever. Do you understand, fuck? I'll send ya straight to hell, fucker!" - Frank Boothe (Dennis Hopper) in Blue Velvet

"Your mother sucks big fuckin' elephant dicks, you got that?" - Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci) in Raging Bull

"So I say live and let live... Anyone who can't go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker." - George Carlin

"Things are fucked up at the North Pole. Mrs Claus caught me fucking her sister, now I'm out on my ass." - Willie (Billie Bob Thornton) in Bad Santa

"Bitch was so fine I'd suck her daddy's dick." - Richard Pryor

"We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no-one has ever fucked him!" - Karl Rove, senior advisor to George W Bush

"What's the big deal? It doesn't hurt anybody. Fuck, fuckity, fuck-fuck-fuck!" - Eric Cartman in South Park Bigger, Longer and Uncut

Quality swearing compiled for you at http://angryaussie.wordpress.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hating Haters

Did I mention I was in a mood? One of my subscribers on YouTube egged me on by asking me to make a video speaking out against haters. I don't need much prodding to attack this target. I've gotten so used to haters that I don't think about them much any more. It's almost a Zen experience when you realise how truly meaningless they are.

But it's still fun to have a go at them. Plus I like giving people tips on how to deal with them. Knowledge is power, after all. The one thing I want to do is encourage people to be angry at the pointlessness of haters. A common (and stupid) ploy haters use is to say hating them makes you a hater. No it doesn't, it makes you a human. This can take extreme forms like when nazis claim that standing up against their racism makes you intolerant. You're intolerant of intolerance, geddit?


So, all in the name of empowerment (and catharsis) here I go:


Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm in a mood

And when I'm in a mood I like to vent. A little while ago I posted a collection of "intellectual" insults under the title "When insults had class". I saw the collection on a mailing list for graduates of my old college but versions of it have been circulating for years. It really struck a chord with me when I saw it - I have been subjected to a barrage of brain-dead insults over the past 18 months so remembering that there have actually been people in the past who have taken time to craft a well-thought out articulate insult, well, that makes me nostalgic.

It seems I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Despite the fact that post was nothing more than a widely circulated list of quotes, it was the second most popular thing I've posted here. Right after the one about pooping your pants. So I have the measure of the internet - it's all about insults and poop. Which plays to my strengths.

While I was greatly enamoured of the classy insults (they're a great change from "you suck!") there really are some people who don't deserve that much effort. The world in general and the internet in particular is riddled with people who just need to be told to fuck off. I got going on this train of thought the other day when some moron swanned through and left an absurdly stupid comment about me not being funny. I'm more than OK with someone doesn't like my approach but it helps if they express this in a less than moronic way.

Plus, this moron made the mistake of saying "no offence, but..." then following up with something incredibly offensive. By all means, say something offensive to me but if you value your safety don't preface it around me with "no offense, but..." That sort of fucked up behaviour will earn you a smack upside your head if I get my way. If you're going to be offensive, commit to it.

It's like some of the morons I have to put up with on YouTube. The most pathetic idiots crop up on my anti-racist and anti-nazi videos. It's bad enough that the world has so many people who are pathetic enough to self-identify as a nazi but even these dicks can't seem to commit to an insult. You'd think if you were confessing to jacking off to mental images of Hitler in the nude you'd have the force of will to give a wholehearted insult. But a bizarre number of these dweebs punctuate their pathetic attempts at insults (usually some variation of "jew" or "fag") with "LOL" or something equally insipid.

Seriously, are these guys the new stormtroopers of the white race or giggling teenage girls?

So anyway, I've been feeling motivated. Motivated to find the best way to tell someone to fuck off. To that end, I've been searching for quotes that feature graphic swearing. I've spent a couple of days picking them up from all over the place (which should shut up the fucking morons who went on about me "stealing" the other list - it's kind of necessary with quotes for them to have been published somewhere else before).

Most of them are movie quotes although there are a few corkers from real world people. Because some of the real world ones are controversial to say the least I've made sure to source all of them. Of course the sources might be lying but I can't really control that. Speaking of movie quotes, I have a question on a matter of style. Say I was quoting the Tony Montana character in Scarface played by Al Pacino. Should the quote read:

"Say hello to my little friend." - Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface


"Say hello to my little friend." - Al Pacino (as Tony Montana) in Scarface

Oh, and I know that the quote is technically from the writer, not the actor who reads it but don't get pedantic. I'll be posting this collection in the next day or so, if you have some favourite swearing quotes of your own, feel free to lob them my way in the meantime.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

May you live in interesting times

There is a proverb that goes "May you live in interesting times". Many people say this is actually more of a curse than a proverb. The idea is that "interesting" means trouble. Well, the blogging bot from the future has an opinion on that.


So these interesting times will definitely be challenging. But I side with the blogging bot from the future. This is an adventure. Maybe even a revolution. And I'm all for creating the future - right here, right now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I swear it wasn't me

I rarely do posts that are simply links to stories but I thought it was important in this case. Given the number of times I've threatened murderous retribution on spammers, I thought it was important to point out that I didn't do this.

I've heard that decent humans don't celebrate the death of another human no matter how much they despised them. So I won't celebrate this. But I won't shed tears, either. And as the story mentions he isn't the first Russian spammer to be murdered - those interested in cathartic reading can check out some details here.

As for me, I'm busy getting witness statements swearing that I haven't left the country recently.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One job I won't be doing

I've mentioned a few times I'm leaving my current job soon. I don't know what my next job will be but I've come to the realisation that there are some jobs I can't do. It may surprise you to learn this, but there are some jobs that aren't suited to people prone to explosive outbursts of anger.


So yeah, I figure that I'll never be a starship captain. And not only because Star Trek is fictional and I need a factual job. It seems every crew from every series are a bunch of whiners. I don't think I'd even be able to limit myself to a phaser set to stun. I'd be handing out photon torpedo suppositories. And I'd tell the really annoying ones I was beaming them down to a planet to explore than make sure I missed by a few million kilometres and beamed them into the heart of a sun.

Although it would make for some great TV.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The truth about science video

Yesterday's post was essentially my script for a YouTube video. I wanted to do a response to a video done by one of my favourite YouTubers who goes by the user name of JustA11en. In his video, Allen asked why so many anti-religion, pro-science people on YouTube were so aggressive and hateful.

Allen is a politically conservative christian from the southern USA. He's also a damn decent individual. Open-minded, thoughtful, intelligent and always willing to listen. He's also usually quite engaging and charming and quite often incredibly funny. No, I don't want to have his babies.

I haven't made any secret of my politics on this blog - it's fair to say that I'm the polar opposite of Allen politically. Long time readers with good memories might remember that in the early days of this blog I went looking for some right-wing blogs that were also intelligent, even-handed and thoughtful.

I came up dry.

It seemed all the right wing bloggers I could find were loud-mouthed, ignorant, braying, hateful jackasses. Yes, I know many left wing bloggers are too. As a result I tend to not spend much time on overtly political blogs.

As an aside, if anyone thinks they know of some intelligent right wing blogs that don't spend all their time spraying hate and bile, feel free to tell me about them.

Anyway, this is one of the reasons I like Allen. He's conservative and I disagree with him on just about every substantive political issue. But I respect him. I respect his very human way of relating his views while rarely going for cheap shots. I'm quite a fan of cheap shots myself so I don't mind that he indulges himself occasionally.

YouTube is renowned as a cesspool of the worst, most hateful behaviour on the internet. And that's saying something. So the fact that this is where I found the first conservative commentator that I could respect is mildly ironic. It restores my faith in human nature somewhat that in the midst of the most juvenile morons on the planet I can find someone I disagree with, yet still respect.

Here's the video version of yesterday's post where I respond to Allen (warning: it's about 10 minutes long):


Monday, October 08, 2007

The truth about science

Science is built on faith. I mean that in both the good sense and the bad sense.

For me, "faith" in the good sense means scientists believe in their results and those who choose to believe in science trust that people smarter than us are doing their best to come up with objectively verifiable data. The best scientists realise that there is unlikely to ever be a universal "truth" but through diligent work they add a few more pieces to the puzzle.

While I think it's insane for a scientist not to have faith in their work and believe in their results, history shows us that many of the most dearly held scientific "truths" will end up being modified or completely invalidated by subsequent discoveries.

From a Joe Public point of view, it simply isn't possible to have a deep understanding of how scientists come to their conclusions. These people spend years (usually their whole lives) specialising in their fields. Reading a 1,000 page book might give good insights into the science behind the latest theories and/or discoveries but you won't understand it in the same way as the scientists doing the work. Anyone who says they do really understand it is either in 0.0001% of the population or they're a wanker. Do the math and you'll see what I think of people like this.

So basically by definition, if we say we believe in scientific principles we believe that based on faith. This isn't intrinsically a bad thing, like most faith it depends how you apply that faith that counts. Personally, I apply it along the lines of "I believe the majority of scientists are acting in good faith; I believe their greater goal is to expand knowledge, not prove they're better than everyone else; I believe the experiments conducted to verify important theories were rigorous, repeatable and peer-reviewed; I believe the best scientists are always asking questions because the currently believed answers might be wrong."

So that's my version of science=faith in a good way. Then there are, of course, those who express their faith in science in what I see as a bad way. I find it mildly amusing when people who claim to be pro-science and anti-religion aggressively attack religion in the name of defending science. Now, I understand the value of an angry outburst but when supporters of science want to argue that following a religion makes you stupid by definition then they're falling into the same trap of zealotry.

I am all for aggressively fighting for the separation of science and religion. The idea that creationism should be taught alongside evolution to "teach the controversy" is utter bullshit. That goes double for creationism's lying scumbag cousin "intelligent design" - I mean, fuck me, just admit you're creationists. It all boils down to "magic man in the sky done it" which, frankly, doesn't cut it as a scientific theory.

You shouldn't "teach the controversy" in science classes because there is NO scientific controversy regarding evolution versus creationism. There is plenty of controversy within the details of evolution but that isn't the same thing. If evidence ever comes to light that displays fatal flaws in evolutionary theory I'm quite confident that the unmitigated bullshit that is creationism isn't going to magically become any less of a fairy story.

I actually understand the impulse to scientific zealotry. If you dedicate your life to learning about the natural world in what you see as an objective way and find yourself having to defend your views against people coming from a completely illogical position, well... Why not simply call them fuckwits and be done with it?

My personal belief is that fundamentalists of any religious stripe tend to be utter morons. Maybe they're not morons in the literal sense of being unintelligent (although a hell of a lot of them most definitely are) but they sure seem keen on crushing knowledge that challenges their "magic man in the sky done it" view of the cosmos. But there is not a straight line of logic between "fundamentalists who try to undermine science are fuckwits" and "anyone who believe in god is an idiot." It can be comforting to think so but it simply isn't true.

Likewise, many supporters of science over religion are loud mouthed idiots who should sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. I've had the amusing experience (more than once) of having supporters of science saying that it isn't possible to be stupid and support science over religion because you need to be intelligent to have a skeptical mind. This is a seductive line of reasoning but I think it has two major flaws.

First, as soon as someone tries to support a position with circular logic (it is what it is because it is what it is) I get suspicious. Second, it presupposes that the people who believe in science actually understand what it is they are supporting. It isn't possible to understand current scientific thinking on evolution (for example) in any meaningful way without years of study. So the scientists dumb it down for us poor schmucks so we have an inkling of what they're going on about.

It all comes back to belief in science being a leap of faith. I happen to believe it's an intelligent leap of faith that respects the logical and rigorous application of scientific inquiry. I also believe that far too much religious teaching discourages and even punishes critical thought. But a lot of demonstrably stupid people champion science over religion. To pretend otherwise is to ignore a huge body of evidence.

My personal favourite is when you refer to scientific zealots and you get someone jumping all over you ranting about how there is no such thing as a scientific zealot. Show me a scientific zealot, they demand! Uh, you got a mirror handy there, champ? Actually, the level of narcissism on display with people who feel compelled to trumpet their intellectual superiority leads me to suspect they have many, many mirrors on hand. But actual self-reflection and introspection aren't their strong points.

Interestingly, I've found you get the same response if you pick on zealous supporters of Israel, Apple and/or Agile software development methodology.

So the fact that I think science (as opposed to religion) is the way to discover the truth doesn't change the fact that I've made that decision based on faith. I also believe science thrives on the questioning of it's conclusions - an area where religious beliefs (or at least religious institutions) tend to not hold up so well. But I also think scientific zealots can be more deluded than religious zealots. At least religious zealots tend to admit what they are.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ways you can tell I'm leaving my job #4

I tend to forget some of the social niceties because I'm not going to have to face these people for much longer. You know how you usually suppress your annoyance when you're at work? Well, there was this one little incident the other day...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I hate stupid people

I used think that my problem was people. Everywhere I go, always with the people! People getting all up in my face. People messing with my shit. Life would be much more bearable without the people.

Then I saw the flaw in this theory. Some of my best friends are people. I do a fair approximation of being a people myself. I realised it wasn't all people who were the problem. It's the stupid people. And I think I know how they manage to be such a problem: we're too nice to them.

Darwinism tells us these stupid motherfuckers should be dead. But we do our best to keep them safe. We protect them. I tell you, not actively punishing stupidity is the same thing as rewarding stupidity. It's time to put a stop to this shit.


So yeah, that's my first step. Remove all the warning labels. Most of these stupid bastards will be dead within the first twelve months.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Finally a Democratic sex scandal!

I don't know about you, but after the astonishing parade of Republican sexual misadventures over the past year or so I'd been starting to think the Democrats were off their game. But finally someone's put the Democrats back in the sexual spotlight.

Matthew Barrett, a young Democratic state representative in Ohio was giving some high school kids a civics lecture when he decided to branch out and make it an anatomy lecture. You see, what he apparently didn't know is that Windows PCs can be set to automatically display images on a USB drive as a slideshow when such a drive is inserted.

That's the sort of thing you really should know if your going to store nude photos on the same drive as your PowerPoint presentation on how a bill becomes law. So the high school kids saw a more lively slideshow than they were expecting when an image of a topless woman appeared onscreen.

I wouldn't even be joking about this if he had traumatised the kids with something appalling like goatse, but it's nothing they can't find in a mass circulation tabloid. Still, a politician showing school kids a nude picture is a pretty big fuck-up. And he's using the classic "I have no idea how that got there - somebody gave this drive to me" defence. Yeah, and Larry Craig has a "wide stance".

Actually, I really hope the guy is lying. If he really didn't know about the porn then he's an idiot and almost criminally negligent. Here's a tip for ANYONE giving computer based presentations to kids: check first and MAKE SURE there is no porn on the same drive as your presentation. This is not something you want to leave to chance.

I wonder what Republican will be the first to trumpet this as an example of the moral laxity of Democrats? I think it's almost inevitable that somebody will and to be honest, that makes me sick. There are few things I hate more than a hypocrite. One thing I hate more is a hypocrite who uses their public office to persecute people for sexual preferences that they themselves share but won't admit to.

Why the fuck can conservatives not simply admit that sexual differences like homosexuality are normal? To cling to the insane notion that homosexuality (for instance) is abnormal and/or a sin against god is (a) to villify a huge section of the population and (b) to ignore a massive presence in their own ranks.

If you follow this link you'll find a site detailing an astonishing compendium of conservative misdeeds. To be fair, the site is shamelessly partisan, sometimes to an absurd degree. To repeat the claims of crazy people and strippers who say they've had sex with President Bush is pretty ordinary. I'm not saying Bush categorically hasn't had sex with strippers and crazy people but given people's propensity to vilify public figures, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

And speaking of Presidents, why the fuck can conservatives not leave the whole Clinton/Lewinsky thing alone? So he let an adult female who wanted to suck his dick actually suck his dick. Deal with it. Personally, I think he was wrong to do it. Regardless of the consensual nature of the episode, it was still an abuse of power. Plus, it was an appalling insult to his wife. And yes, I think it cheapened the office of the President.

Also, if you read the details, it shows he has some really creepy issues with power and control. And feel free to call me conservative but I think people actually have the right to expect that their leaders don't exploit their position to score booty.

Mind you, this isn't quite as serious a breach of trust as lying to the public so you plunge the country into an illegal war, squandering untold thousands of lives and billions of dollars, eviscerating what had been a thriving economy and crushing what the population sees as their basic (i.e. consitutional) rights.

But hey, never forget: Clinton had his dick sucked.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I already hated spammers, but this guy...

I really hate spammers. The types who are running botnets are scum. I don't have to worry about that too much on this blog, thanks to the magic of Akismet. But then there's YouTube. It's all but overrun with spam. I can't work out why the company (Google) that has a product with one of the best spam filters (Gmail) also has a product with one of the most fucked (YouTube).

The deluge of anonymous spam on YT really pisses me off, it feels like I have to deal with as many spam as I do legitimate comments. Usually these take the form of comments on videos but occasionally they spill over into YT's "email" message system. I got one last night that made me just about blow a fuse. Seriously. Even by my standards I was fucking pissed off.

The message proclaimed the wonderful news that YT meetup gifts were now available. Now, as I have made clear here, I am one of the people organising the YT meetups in Australia. So to receive a spam exhorting me to buy some really shitty t-shirts to "promote" the gatherings pissed me off mightily. The blatantly misleading nature of the spam (which many people have received) makes it sounds like this is official apparel.

Lines like "T-shirts for the YT Meetup Dec. 1 in Melbourne OZ are now available" are deliberately designed to sound official while giving the scum-sucking weasel wiggle room to say "I never explicitly claimed they were official t-shirts." I know this is actually a small example of exactly how depraved people can be in the pursuit of money but still... this motherfucker is doing it to me! He's trying to profit from my work while contributing nothing in return. So I retaliated in the only way I could:


This piece of shit had better hope I never find him.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ways you can tell I'm leaving my job #3

I'm more likely to tell people what I think of them.

You may not believe this but at work I am generally of a sunny disposition (I've mentioned before that I'm a whistler). But there's always some jerk who thinks it's their job to pass judgement on others. They are fools because this is, of course, my job.

So I'm having a conversation with a cow-orker today when, for no reason I can fathom, he says:

"You're in a way better mood than usual. What's up with that?"

Personally, I thought I was in my normal mood. Maybe this fuckwit is the type who's so terrified of running out of things to say he'll fill momentary silences with anything, no matter how mindless, rather than shutting the fuck up for five seconds. Maybe he suffers from such extreme self-loathing he couldn't work out why I wasn't punching him in the face. Like his mother does.

Usually, I'd ignore mindless shit like this but, hey, I'm leaving. So I said:

"Well, talking to you is bringing down my mood by the second so I should be where you expect real soon."

Surprisingly enough, the conversation sort of died after that.

Walking tours of Melbourne

One of the things we want to do with the upcoming As One gathering in Melbourne is make it something more than standing around and saying hello. From all accounts (from those who have attended other gatherings) this is actually a fun thing to do and if that's all we manage to get happening in Sydney then it will be a success.

But for Melbourne we're planning to "take it to the next level" as they say. I'm not sure exactly who "they" are in this context but I'm sure somebody says that. To that end, we're in the midst of planning a range of activities for the day. When considering the nature of the likely attendees (people with video cameras) and the fact many of them may not know Melbourne very well we decided showing off some of the more hidden, yet visually interesting, parts of Melbourne would be a good idea.

So we will be offering some walking tours to show off some Melbourne secrets. Fortunately, as this video shows, there are many interesting things only a short walk from our gathering point.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Thank Christ football season is over

I'm really not into sport. Not even enough to spend much time saying how much I hate it. Mostly because I don't actually hate it. It doesn't have that big an influence on my life, it's more a case of... meh.

Not being into sport renders you instantly weird in Australia. And by weird I mean "obviously a poofter." Add that to the fact I don't drink beer, I speak more eloquently than average and I enjoy the company of women... well... There was only one conclusion to be drawn in the sort of places where I grew up. The fact that my best friend at school turned out to actually be gay is a source of some mirth to me considering the number of fights I got into declaring "We are NOT gay!"

Which is all slightly divergent from where I intended to go.

The two major football codes in Australia (Rugby League and Australian Rules) both finished their seasons over the weekend. Both are nominally national codes but Rugby League is big in New South Wales and Queensland while Australian Rules is big in Victoria (where I currently reside), South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The disturbing news for me is that both Grand Finals were won by Melbourne teams. This means the self-congratulatory braying is going to continue for a while longer even though the games are mercifully finished.

Australian Rules football is treated like a religion in Melbourne, so not being interested in it is not widely held to be an acceptable option. When someone asks what team you support, you're expected to answer with a team name, not "Who gives a fuck?" If there's one upside to people's obsessions with the football finals, it's being able to mess with their heads.

Today, every second person has been asking me "how did you go on the weekend?" In case you are not familiar with sporting fan vernacular, they are not actually asking me how I was on the weekend. They are asking me if I supported the winning teams. Because apparently they all have some hybrid of symbiosis with and ownership of a bunch of sportsmen they've never fucking met.

I've been enjoying myself by responding with a blank look, then, after a pause, saying "Was there a football game on the weekend?" Cognitive dissonance is a funny thing to watch in action.