Saturday, May 31, 2008

Relaxing at the Aquarium

If you're in need of some relaxation then these videos I shot at Melbourne Aquarium might help. The first is some general shots set to music:

This one features the ever popular shark feeding. And freakishly large stingrays. Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Messing with people's heads for dummies

I was doing a bit of online research today for work (in the brief moment when I got sick of looking for porn) and I saw a banner ad that I thought was funny. Proudly atop the home page for a corporate IT news site was an ad for "Securing network infrastructure for dummies". Now I know the "for dummies" books are a massive worldwide success and I'm just jealous that I'm not making millions telling people they're stupid (I'm stuck doing it for fun rather than wealth). But seriously, who buys these books?

And, more importantly, what do they do with them after they buy them?

I suspect any professional (or aspiring professional) who buys these books hides them better than they do their porn. Imagine seeing "Securing network infrastructure for dummies" on the desk of someone actually responsible for securing a network. How secure would you feel?

I started imagining what would be the most disturbing "for dummies" to see in someone's possession. Then I thought, why make stuff up? Go right to the source! Early front runners for most disturbing were "Cosmetic surgery for dummies" and "Forensics for dummies". Then I thought, you're hardly going to cheer someone up by giving them "Depression for dummies" or "Grieving for dummies". And I wasn't a fan of "Living longer for dummies" or "Sex for dummies". I want them to die quickly without procreating.

But then an evil plot started to form in my mind. Working in IT, a common complaint is that management don't actually understand technology. The footsoldiers of IT are frequently resentful about having to answer to people who don't have a clue about what's actually required to get the work done. So how much fun would it be to conduct interviews for programmers while surrounded by "for dummies" books.

And I'm not talking about one or two. I'm talking about filling bookcases with 'em. Put them behind you when you're interviewing so the interviewee is constantly distracted by their garish yellow and black spines. Have all the titles related to the technology field you work in and watch a look of terror slowly spread across the interviewee's face as they realise the horror they would be facing if they worked for you.

Along with all the titles about programming languages and hardware, throw in some frighteningly basic ones like "The internet for dummies". And really throw them for a curve by throwing in some left-field titles they won't miss, like "Breastfeeding for dummies" and "The historical Jesus for dummies". I think that interview would give you a good indication of how the candidate copes with unexpected situations.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Microsoft DRM - because fuck you is why

I'm not a big fan of the way big companies approach issues of copyright. Which is to say, fuck those guys! As a creator of original content the principles of copyright are important to me. I'd like to find some way to make money from what I do. I get angry when someone flat out steals my work and makes money from it (which has happened multiple times).
So why don't I like the actions of the big entertainment companies and their bought-and-paid-for political institutions around the world? Put simply, because their actions are nothing to do with protecting and enriching artists and everything to do with increasing their controls over consumer behaviour for their own enrichment.
Often when I say "fuck copyright" people will say that we need copyright so that artists can make a living. I agree. Sometimes people will go so far as to say some of the insane behaviour in the US like the introduction of the DMCA and the RIAA suing music fans are good things. I'm never sure if these people are naive or if they're fucking morons.
The big entertainment corporations do not give a shit about the artists who actually make them money. Selling the works produced by creative artists is a massive profit centre for these companies. Giving fair compensation to the artists is a cost centre. These companies are frequently guilty of breaching contracts with artists who make them rich simply because they can get away with it.
I'm not talking about them having some moral responsibility to make artists rich. I'm talking about them being legally responsible. They routinely breach contracts because they're the ones with the lawyers and the artists are the ones with nothing. They can fuck over an artist, use them up and dump them because there's always some other poor sucker eager to jump into their place.
And don't even get me started on the insanity of suing and criminalising customers. Again, this is supposed to benefit artists. So, given the hundreds of millions of dollars these companies have made from lawsuits that fuck over consumers, how much money have artists received? None, apparently. It's getting to the point where some significant artists are considering suing. If the Rolling fucking Stones can't catch a break, what chance do you and I have?
The thing that has gotten me pissed off about this all over again is news that Microsoft have decided to fuck over their customers to an extent that is in no way required by law in an attempt to suck up to big media companies. Some of the provisions of the DMCA and other laws proposed around the world are outrageous. But this act of bastardry is not even a requirement, despite the weasel talk coming out of Microsoft.
What sort of moron breaks functionality their customers want for no reason? Especially when there are alternatives available? It's as if they want to push consumers to free alternatives that aren't encumbered with this bullshit. Actually, I'd like to think this is all because of some deep cover free software mole buried deep inside Redmond.
"Hahahahaha" the free software mole cackles diabolically. "The fools have put in restrictions that will drive more and more users away from Micro$haft products." (Free software proponents can't resist calling Microsoft "Micro$haft".) "They are sowing the seeds of their own destruction without realising it!"
I would have a lot more respect for a company that was being duped by a double agent than I would for a company that purposely anally raped their customers this way. Sadly, I strongly suspect it's the latter.
With this in mind, I visited the good folks at to produce the following motivational poster

Microsoft demotivator

I think that says it all.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

25 years jail for creating The Backstreet Boys and N*Synch

Every now and then the justice system works even if it takes a long time. I was very glad to see one of the most heinous criminals of the late 20th century finally go to jail. If only we hadn't been put through so much suffering already. Nothing will heal the scars but this brings a sense of closure.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Atheist bigots - shut the fuck up!

People who think the simple fact they profess to be atheists makes them automatically smarter than anyone who believes in god can shut the fuck up any time now. I'm not sure what pisses me off most about this attitude - the innate arrogance, the internal logical contradiction or the ignoring of objectively observable reality.
I've made no secret of the fact that I think religious fundamentalists are morons. I've been very clear that I think people who want to place their religious beliefs on an equal footing on science are evil and enemies of humanity. None of that means there aren't atheists who are utter fuckwits. I can't stand people who push the line "I think believing in god is stupid, I don't believe in god, therefore I'm smarter than anyone who believes in god."
My response is: shut the fuck up you egotistical, self-deluding simpleton.
Because this type of bigot reflexively accuses me of being a religious fundamentalist I'll waste a little time explaining what my beliefs are. (I call this a waste of time because it's no easier to reach atheist bigots than it is to reach any other sort of bigot. Who else but a religious nut would challenge their sacred belief is the superiority of atheism?) My take on the question "Does god exist?" is that it's irrelevant.
The idea that any "supreme being" could possibly give a shit what us insignificant insects get up to is laughable. And the idea that said deity would punish us for eternity for not bowing down and offering out lifelong obeisance is fucking ridiculous. Those are human behaviours. Any being with those sorts of failings is a long way from supreme.
And I wholeheartedly reject every religion on the planet. No matter how humble and selfless the beliefs of any individual may be, religious institutions exist solely to exert power over other people. Fuck that. Besides which, all religions are working on the assumption that at least 95% of the planet is wrong (when it comes down to it, intra-religion sects hate each other more than they do outsiders). Why not go with the odds and assume 100% of them are wrong?
So if I reject religion, why am I telling hardcore atheists to shut the fuck up? Maybe you consider yourself a follower of science and rational, objective reason. Good for you. That doesn't make you innately more intelligent than ANYONE. Atheism is a belief system the same as any religion. You can't prove that god doesn't exist any more than anyone can prove god does exist. You believe that your rational thought system is right and religious belief is wrong. But by itself, that isn't a measure of intelligence.
Sure, you can point to insane bastards who reject conclusive science like evolution in favour of their literal interpretation of religious texts. Being able to point out complete freaks doesn't define you as a genius. In fact, an arrogant belief in one's superiority is usually a sure sign of lack of intelligence. Intelligent people are actually the most likely to say "I don't know". Something religious fundamentalists and atheist bigots have in common is an unswerving beliefs in their rightness - there is something essentially wrong with anyone who disagrees with them.
When someone says "My fundamental non-religious beliefs make me automatically smarter than someone with fundamental religious beliefs" i say "Shut the fuck up!" The fact that someone who would say that is too stupid to see the inherent logical contradiction would be funny if it wasn't sad. Neither intelligence nor your worth as a human is measured solely on where you lie on the religion/atheism continuum. Unless the person doing the measuring is a fundamentalist zealot.
It really bugs me how atheist zealots argue they are more intelligent than religious believers in the face of objective evidence to the contrary. Saying that a belief in god makes you automatically stupid denies obvious things like the number of scientists and scholars who are religious. Not to mention the amount of scholarly work that has been done through the ages and continues to be done by religious groups.
Why are some atheists so scared to admit that they are following a deeply held belief rather than some objective relaity? What the hell is wrong with belief? When you can admit you hold beliefs rather than some indisputable truth you're saying that you're still open to questions. You're intelligent and objective enough to admit that there is always more to learn.
Of course you think your beliefs are right. By definition when you believe something you think you're right. And it makes sense to defend your beliefs passionately and point out what you think is wrong with contradictory views. But a sure sign of an ignorant, anti-intellectual fuckwit is someone who's convinced they have no more to learn and it's impossible they will ever be proved wrong.
I've learned from experience that there is a certain (small) subset of atheists who are incapable of making the concession they could be wrong. In this they are every bit as much a fundamentalist as the most backward religious freak. Pressing them on this point tends to make them freak out. But I don't give a fuck.
Atheist bigots need to shut the fuck up.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Self censorship

When does it become acceptable to write something that's funny at someone else's expense? By which I mean, when is it OK to ridicule an actual, real person? You know, those things that have actual feelings and lives that may be affected by public ridicule.
No matter how much we don't like someone, no matter how much we think they "deserve it", there is ultimately a person on the receiving end. Even if we don't think they're much of a person. So what's acceptable when we're dealing with another human?
Looking around, it seems attitudes range from "anything goes" (no matter how cruel, damaging or untrue it may be) to "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I tend to be somewhere in the middle but get tipped more towards "anything goes" the more of a public figure someone is. I see it as a case of live by the sword... the more you make your living from being in the public eye the more you have to deal with the fact that the public eye can sometimes be cruel and unfair.
For me, that generally means politicians, movie stars and TV personalities are all fair game. In terms of ordinary people who find themselves in the public eye (usually for doing something stupid) I try not to be too cruel. And the one thing I always try to avoid is the internet lynch mob mentality. The people who indulge in internet vigilantism have a tendency to justify their action by saying their target has done something really bad. But I wonder how many of them would escape unscathed if their own life was subject to the same scrutiny.
The reason I'm musing on this topic is a news story that seems like perfect fodder for me. A pair of New Zealanders described as "experienced pilots" have put themselves out front for this year's Darwin Awards with their method of demise over the weekend. They were killed when they crashed a microlight plane they took for a joyride. In the middle of the night. While it was raining. And foggy. And there was lightning. To top it off, police believe the two had been drinking at a party before the flight (which could explain why they thought a midnight joyflight in shitty weather was a good idea).
Now, these guys seem to me to pretty much fit the definition of "asking for it". But at the same time, I'm sure there are people who are very sad they're dead and wouldn't appreciate the loss of their loved ones being made light of. I think I'll hold off saying anything too disparaging until there are more details confirmed (like whether or not they had definitely been drinking) but I suspect the nature of this story means these guys are going to be slammed around the world.
Of course at the back of my mind in all this is I'd really rather not have all my personal details used for online fodder. Quite a few people have a go at the fictional entity of Mr Angry already (many of whom seem to have no clue that this persona isn't actually me) so I'm always kind of expecting a wider public "outing". I'm not stupid enough to think that if I'm nice everyone will be nice to me but at the end of the day I'd rather be able to hold my head up regarding my own actions rather than worry too much about what someone might say about me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Doy you have plans for the weekend?

If not, may I suggest waiting an hour and a half of your time on the following video? A little while ago I pointed out that I realised I was able to upload files to YouTube up to a gigabyte in size with no time limit on the video.

In order to exploit this, I asked people to submit questions to me on any subject at all and I'd answer them in a video. Well, by the time I got around to printing them out to make the video it was 25 pages worth of questions. This turned out to take 98 minutes for me to work my way through.

I certainly don't hold it against anyone who doesn't want to watch it. But quite a few people have told me they found it entertaining. Maybe you will too.

Because people are likely to ask, here are the details of the "stock footage" I used when I got bored of talking to the camera.

The first bit is some stuff I shot specifically for this video, a walk through the Melbourne CBD.

After that is a bunch of stuff I shot on St Kilda Beach (on different days) last summer.

Then there's some shots of Melbourne's lights, shot from Northcote Town Hall one night.

Then there's a really weird performance I saw next to Fed Square one day - people on bendy sticks.

Then there's a classic car show that I shot on another day at Fed Square.

Then I reposted some of my original graffiti and street art videos that I first posted about 18 months ago.

Then there's some more of me talking.

The second bit of stock footage starts with some raw footage from one of my video shoots. Now you know what my videos look like before I edit them.

After that is some more night-time stuff that I shot on a bridge that's over the Yarra River right next to the Melbourne CBD.

Then I reposted another old video, my Melbourne video postcard so you get to see a lot of the places near where I live including a view from the tallest building in Melbourne.

Then there's a video of me playing with a motion capture toy at ACMI.

The last bit is a planning session for last Year's gathering that has me, SeanBedlam and our friend/co-conspirator Adrian.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dentistry is gross

I have no idea why someone would choose to be a dentist. Spend your day digging through people's gross, festering mouths seems like an appalling way to spend your time to me. Okay, I know why they do it - the money. But the are a metric shitload of ways to earn far more money that are far less gross.

Whenever someone wants to make fun about someone's choice of specialisation they always pick on proctologists. What sort of freak would choose to be an arse doctor? Well at least a proctologist expects an arse to be stinky. How many aspiring podiatrists really know how disgusting, fungus-y and diseased a foot can get? And how many student dentists are truly prepared for the vile and corpse-like stench that a human mouth can emit?

I state all this as a kind of apology to my dentist. I have a bit of an issue with gum disease which results in a fair bit of grossness mouth-wise. So when I go in for a serious cleaning (like this morning) it's a fairly arduous process that involves much scraping, gouging, anaesthetic and blood. The hygeinist's own words as she wiped my mouth at the end was I looked like something out of a horror movie.

An yes, I said I get anaesthetic when I'm having tartar scraped out of my gums. For anyone who thinks that makes me a wuss - you're absolutely right. I think there's a note on my file there that says "This bloke is a total nancy-boy, dose him up with massive amounts drugs to shut him up." I think that note is there because I asked them to do it.

I don't like pain.

And I have a major aversion to going to the dentist. This is the product of the childhood dentist I was subjected to. The guy was a fucking sadist. Or maybe just some random madman who claimed to be a dentist. I grew up in a small town where there people were easily fooled. When I needed filling this fucking bastard would drill without using any anaesthetic. No matter how much I screamed.

He would even do this shitty thing where he'd pretend the drill wasn't going to hurt. Like saying it was going to make the agonising pain not happen. When this cunning plain completely failed to work the fault was all placed on me. His evidence was that it wouldn't hurt was that he'd show how it shot a jet of water and say that was all it did. A jet of water! How could that hurt?

To which I desperately wanted to reply: "What about the sharp metal spinny bit that will soon be gouging holes in my non-numbed tooth? Why the fuck isn't your finger touching that? Let me hold the fucking drill for a while and go to work on you, motherfucker! Let's see if you still claim 'it's only water' after I've had my turn!"

But I was a kid and he was an authority figure. So the bastard put me through excruciating pain and scarred me mentally because there was nobody to stop him. Motherfucker. Once I was an adult I probably didn't go to the dentist for ten years. Which is not a good idea. When I finally went (triggered by a tooth essentially disintegrating) the dentist said the technical term for the condition of my teeth was "seriously fucked".

So after some root canal and extraction of the worst teeth things were a bit better. Incidentally, although everyone talks about root canal like it's the worst thing you can go through, it was a walk in the park compared to the shit I was put through as a kid. BECAUSE THEY GAVE ME DRUGS! The worst part was having to have my mouth open for so long.

Every dentist I've been to as an adult actually agrees that my childhood dentist was a bastard. And probably a sadist. And he clearly hated children. So I have discovered I wasn't insane. I have also discovered I much prefer female dentists. Because when they really get to work they usually have to push their boobies against you. Which is a great distraction from the horror of having your mouth ripped apart.

I like boobies.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Worst photo competition entrants

Let me just say there are some brave people out there. I mean, I'm an idiot - it's no surprise that I'd circulate a bad photo of myself. But quite a few hardy souls entered my competition to try to come up with a worse photo than mine. Here they are for your viewing pleasure. Let the parade of horror begin!

Feel free to cast a vote below!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If I can...

Today, I'm going to make you happier.

I bet you didn't realise that when you got out of bed this morning. I bet you didn't wake up thinking: "Wow, I hope AngryAussie improves the quality of my life today." If you did wake up thinking that, back the fuck off. I don't need that sort of pressure.

So how am I going to make you happier and improve the quality of your life? With this simple observation: if you mumble the words "if I can" it sounds a lot like you're saying "fuckin'." How easy is that?

What do you mean you don't feel happier? Don't your realise the applications of this? This bit of knowledge is useful in any number of situations. No matter who you're dealing with, this can come in handy. You boss, cow-orkers, family. Every now and then they all need to be told to fuck off but it rarely works out well for you if you do so.

But with this knowledge you can enjoy the catharsis of swearing at them. Without actually swearing at them! How good is that? If it still isn't clear to you, picture this scenario:

Your boss comes into your workspace and starts hassling you about some work. Besides the fact that this sucks generally, the hassling process is actually stopping you from doing the work. A double frustration. And the boss is either too stupid to realise this or is taking malicious pleasure in ravaging the pitiable remains of your soul this way. A triple frustration! Respond by saying (a little indistinctly):

"If I can get going then I'll be fine." Pause and then enunciate clearly: "If I can get going now I'll be able to meet the deadline."

What the boss is likely to hear is:

"Fuckin' get going, then I'll be fine." While you are paused, the boss will almost certainly stay silent. This is because s/he will almost certainly be stunned, thinking "Did this cubicle dwelling low-life really just tell me to fucking get going?" Before they recover from the shock, you follow up with the more clearly enunciated "If I can get..."

The boss wanders off thinking “Ohhhh, that’s what they said,” while you revel in your private joy. By the way, keep your revelling private. No doing the happy dance no matter how big a score it feels like you just made. The success of this ploy is totally dependent on you appearing innocent. Which brings me to safety tips.

Safety Tip 1: Don’t make it obvious. You should mumble “If I can...” in a fairly natural way. No sarcastic tone. No pulling faces. No smiling or laughing. It should seem as though you are unaware what it sounds like.

Safety Tip 2: The follow up should seem natural. Remember, you aren’t covering up for saying something bad, you’re continuing what seems like a normal conversation to you.

Safety Tip 3: Don’t overdo it. It’s unlikely you’d get away with doing this every day. Save it for when you really want to get up in someone’s face and get away with it.

So there’s a little something to brighten your day. I take immense pleasure in juvenile forms of subversion and I see no reason why you can’t as well. And don’t forget that although I used the work example, this trick has a wide range of applications. For example:

Mother: Clean your room.

You: If I can get out of the room for a minute, then I’ll do it.

- - -

Reporter: How do you respond to the allegations?

You: If I can take a minute to consider your question...

- - -

Anybody: George Bush just declared himself Emperor of the World!

Me: If I can... hell!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seat-sniffing quokka-fiddler

It seems that open season has been declared on the Australian conservative leader Troy Buswell. I made a video recently celebrated the fact that he had been outed for sniffing the seat of a female staffer (which he apparently thought was hilarious and/or sexy).

This guy is actually the leader of the conservate party in Western Australia. You know you're in trouble when someone this pathetic is the best you've got.

It seems he's now been written off to such an extent that the media were willing to bait him with completely unsubstaniated rumours. For a day or so the media kept asking him about rumoured indiscretions with a quokka which is a small Australian marsupial, indigenous to an island off Western Australia.

He gave some fairly exasperated replies which would have been fairly funny to see, considering how pathetic his non-denial denials of the chair sniffing incident were, right up to the point he was forced to admit to it. My personal favourite was when he denied having done anything to cause offence to a quokka. Phew! At least hasn't been saying mean things about the quokka's mum!

I was a little disappointed to learn that the rumours didn't actually involve anything sexual (if he'd go chair sniffing, I'm sure he's not above quokka fiddling). I was even more disappointed to learn they had been made up by a blogger as a joke earlier in the year.

Still, now they've started having a go at him I say they should really cut loose. It's about time politics was fun.

"Mr Buswell, any truth to the rumour about you being caught sniffing bike seats in a convent?"

"Mr Buswell, what's this I hear about you asking schoolboys to give you wedgies?"

"So Troy... There are reports that a labrador and a 44 gallon drum of baby oil were selivered to your office. Care to explain?"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Who needs a life when you have 600 videos?

Yes, believe it or not, I have uploaded 600 videos to YouTube. Clearly, I should be ashamed of myself. But I'm not.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

You can't handle the truth

Anyone who considers themselves to be part of the YouTube "community" (usually people who make videos and/or comment regularly as opposed to the majority of YouTube users who simply watch videos) tends to have a strong opinion regarding what videos get "featured" on the front page of YouTube. The summary of the most common opinion is essentially "That featured video is shit," and "Why don't I get featured?"

For those not familiar with how YouTube works, being featured is the main chance for reaching a large audience. There are the occasional breakout hits that reach millions of people without ever being featured but, by and large, being featured is seen by most people as the best way to make it big on YouTube.

Since YouTube opened up all of its regional pages in the last year, the game has changed a bit. When there was only one home page everyone was clamouring to be featured on it. The featured videos were almost universally English language and it was heavily dominated by North American videos (which made sense because this was also where most site users were from.)

Now with more than a dozen regional home pages it's considerably easier for people around the world to be featured in their region and at least raise their profile locally. But being featured on the global home page is still the golden ticket. For example, being featured on the Australian home page can deliver anywhere from a few thousand extra views to maybe a hundred thousand. Being featured globally will deliver anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of views.

I've found myself in the middle of a conversation with Australian YouTubers about what videos get featured on the Australian home page. Specifically, the conversation revolves around why some people don't get featured at all while some people are featured repeatedly. And I'm in the middle of it because although I've never been featured globally, I've been featured about half a dozen times since the local page launched last year.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Very few people seem able to cope when the honest answer to their question "Why haven't I been featured?" (or the more general "Why aren't I famous?") is "Because you aren't very good."

This is not universally true, of course. Many deserving, talented people never get the recognition they deserve and many talentless hacks get far more attention than their meagre offerings to the world warrant. But I find it surprising how many people are unable to face the fact that they simply aren't as talented as people they're jealous of.

As in life, the YouTube situation is not solely about jealousy. Not by a long shot. So long as YouTube persists in featuring cute fucking bunnies and kitties doing fuck-all, righteous indignation will fuel many dedicated community members. But I know from experience that it can be hard to find enough "feature-worthy" videos in a community as small as Australia.

A little while ago, I was invited to be the "guest editor" of the YouTube Australia home page which meant picking about 20 videos which the permanent editor would narrow down to 14 videos which would be featured. Fuck, that was hard! Admittedly I made it a little harder on myself than it needed to be by trying to limit the list to people that hadn't been featured before. In the end I did nominate two people who had been featured before but they weren't particularly well known and I really liked their videos.

But it did make it pretty clear to me why the Australian YouTube editor features some people more than once while not featuring others at all. It's bloody hard to find decent videos that don't contain copyrighted material, are of a decent technical standard and are unlikely to be a complete embarrassment to YouTube on a corporate level. I think the official limit on copyright material and unofficial limit on crudity are stupid but I understand why YouTube does it. I had to pass on one video I found particularly funny because the level of swearing was extreme even by my standards.

So I'm trying to gently nudge some people towards the understanding that maybe what they're doing isn't good enough to be featured. I'm reminded of the episode of Futurama that featured the Harlem Globetrotters. Bender was obsessed with being a Globetrotter but kept getting rejected. He pushed it to the point that the Globetrotter leader, Bubblegum Tate put him on the spot with words to the effect of:

"Look into your heart and ask yourself, are you funky enough to be a Globetrotter? Are you? No? Then deal with it."

Some people just have to learn to deal with the fact they aren't funky enough.

For those who are interested, here's a video of me discussing the videos I chose to be featured:

And here are the links to each video:

Gamer Tonight - Fighter Gamer

Stressed? Try This

Mini documentary - Behind the scenes of a cinema

21 accents +1 maybe?

kungfucolin - take action

Falling Up

The Force and You


Insane Chris

Political Correctness

The Super Duper Nice Campaign

How to successfully do a Tim Tam Slam

Dave Bushell Live at Playground @ 303

Learning To Read Music 1

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I love it when politicians self-destruct

Everyone knows politics is a dirty business. But the dirtiest business is usually kept behind closed doors so politicians can continue with the public lie that they are deeply virtuous and not subject to the same failings as you and I. So I really love it when the facade collapses and politicians are shown to be as two-face, disloyal and spiteful as anyone.

We're getting a real sideshow in Australia this week, specifically in the state of Victoria where I reside. The conservative party (known as the Liberal Party, which I know is confusing to Americans) has been in opposition for ages here and I think they're starting to crack under the pressure. Too long in opposition makes political types crazy.

The current Liberal leader (they've churned through a few), Ted Baillieu, is seen as too much of a lefty by the staunchly conservative wing of his own party. He's even derided as "Red Ted" (yes, the Red Menace is alive and well for some). So some party members started up an anonymous blog dedicated to attacking him and undermining his leadership to the point he would be replaced.

All well and good. I fully support anonymous blogging. If you don't like your parliamentary leader, go to town white-anting him. But here's what you don't do. You don't run the blog from your work PC that has a fixed IP address. Guess what these morons did?

Yes, they wrote their attacks on their boss while at work. Work, in this case, was the state headquarters for the Liberal Party. As the saying goes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. These clowns were net-savvy enough to start up an anonymous blog but too fucking stupid to know how easy it was to trace them if they ran the blog from work.

But sacking the two blamed for writing the blog was jut the start of the problems for the Liberal Party. The boil of discontent had been lanced and now the icky pus of revenge was spraying everywhere. The sacked opponents of the leader had some dirt on one of his supporters so they let fly with some payback.

One of the leader's supporter had called another party member a "greedy f---ing jew" in an email (I'm not being coy, the email actually said "f---ing" not fucking). Of course, once they made that public she had to resign. This article covers in loving detail how fucked up the Victorian Liberal party actually is. The stuff they say about their own party is astonishing. I expect politicians to say things like that about their opponents but about their own "team"?

My guess is the bloodletting isn't over yet. I for one can't wait for the next round of payback and counter-payback. I'm a big fan of politics as bloodsport.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Women don't work hard enough

Gender issues can be difficult for men to talk about with women. You could say it's a minefield but only if you're talking about a minefield that probably won't kill you but stands a really good chance of setting off an explosion at the level of your balls that will almost certainly shred them. As most men see some value in their balls, this is territory in which sensible men tread very carefully, if at all.

In Australia, studies have shown that on average, women earn about 15% less than men (which is to say, for every $1.00 a man earns, a woman will earn 85c). There are a lot of things that contribute to this, not all of which involve an evil plot by men to steal from hard working women. For a man to have a conversation with a woman about this is the equivalent of holding a grenade with the pin pulled. Staying alive depends on being fast enough to get the pin back in before the inevitable explosion.

Of course, with some men the intention is to lob a whole bunch of hand grenades and then laugh at the carnage. Somewhere between "You're so right, I wish I was a woman so that I had more empathy for all that is good in the world - I am so ashamed at being part of the phallocentric patriarchy," and "Shut up bitch and get me another beer," there is some rational territory for discussion. But it's a brave man who enters there.

This week there was a panel discussion on the topic of gender-based pay inequity at the National Press Club in Australia. Several prominent women including the federal Minister for the Status of Women were on the panel. As was one man, a social researcher (whatever that is) from the University of Melbourne, Professor Mark Wooden. I imagine the audience was heavily dominated by women as well.

(Side note: with a name like Wooden, do you think he's a really boring speaker?)

So where would the professor sit? Was he going to surrender his balls, focus on protecting them from shrapnel or swing them around in the breeze and see if there were any takers? Judge for yourself.

The summary of Professor Wooden's position is "women don't work hard enough". He said high achievers in all walks of life put in long hours of work and many women simply weren't willing to put in the same hours as men. One report described the response as "gasps from the mostly female audience." I bet. And there was probably the sound of sharpening knives as well. Not to mention a bit of walnutting* from the Prof.

Another panellist, federal minister Tanya Plibersek, (unsurprisingly) disagreed. She raised the extremely valid point that the notion of needing to work until all hours should be challenged. I personally think it's bullshit and refuse to do it. Which probably explains the fact I'm not CEO of anything. Along with the fact I never went to a private school. And I refuse to suck the boss' cock. And the crack addiction.

For the record, I don't think Professor Wooden is completely right. But he isn't completely wrong either. Only a tiny minority of the overall workforce rise through the ranks of management. If men are more prone to do stupid, life-destroying things to get there, is it any wonder they dominate the field? I don't think women (or any minority) are done any favours when they are given a benefit "just because they're a woman". But anyone who says there aren't situations where an equally or better qualified minority loses out to a white male whose sole advantage is being a white male is either deluding themselves or simply lying.

If he made his rather contentious statements just to stir up shit then he's a bit of a dick. But if his intention was to get people to face some unfortunate truths, then good on him. Maybe the reason some women don't get as far as some men is they just don't want it enough. I certainly know I don't want to give up my free time just to get more money in the bank.

He did seem to get a bit silly in the discussion. He was quoted as saying:

"The only way we can achieve this is if we have lots of role reversals, lots of men behaving like women and lots of women behaving like men."

"I don't think women in Australia want that, I don't think that women anywhere in the world want that."

I've never liked arguments that seem to be based on the idea that there's only one way for men to act and one way for women to act. And I'm not sure what qualifies Professor Wooden to say what women want. Speaking from experience, if you have one woman in your life it's hard enough to know what she's thinking, no matter how much time you spend with her. Speaking for all the women in the world is a little bit audacious.

But his "careful what you wish for" tone did remind me of my college days. There was certainly a very strong feminist culture there, right down to a hardcore group who fit right in with the "all men are rapists" stereotype.

A fellow alumnus, Sue Ann Post (self described as "Australia’s favourite six foot, lesbian, ex-Mormon, diabetic, comedian and writer") described them in a recent performance as feminazis. So there you go, Rush Limbaugh isn't the only person who uses that term.

Mind you, at the other end of the spectrum was an appalling boofhead culture that dominated the social scene which was basically run by rugby players. I enjoyed the company of most of the feminists but I fucking hated the rugby players.

Quite a few impressionable young women were cultivated into a reasonable approximation of man hating lesbians while they were there. The trouble is, a lot of them realised after college that they actually wanted to be with a man and even have a family with a man. And all that time spent man hating put them in a bad place. Most men really don't like being treated as if there's something intrinsically wrong with them simply because they're men.

And the ones who do knuckle under to this treatment are usually really bad in bed.

So ladies, when you look at inequality in pay rates and management positions, it's well worth asking yourself: "Is that what I really want?"

*WALNUTTING: To understand this term, you need to know two things. (1) What men's testicles look like and (2) The fact that, under certain circumstances, men's testicles will retract and appear to shrink. Men's balls look a bit like walnuts. Round and wrinkly. When it is cold or when a man feels threatened his balls will retract. Which makes them really look like walnuts. Hence, I wouldn't be surprised if Professor Wooden suffered some walnutting while making his speech to a group of women.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bullshit graffiti laws

Good news! All the murderers, rapists, drug dealers, bank robbers and terrorist in Australia have been caught. Bad news! Now the cops have to go after someone else to justify their existence.

Or at least that where I think the insane new anti-graffiti laws in Melbourne came from. Follow this link for the horrifying details but here's the summary:

  • $550 fine just for carrying a spray can
  • $26,000 fine if convicted of graffiti vandalism
  • 2 year jail term if convicted of graffiti vandalism
This is plain fucking stupid. The idea of criminalising non-violent offenders for the sake of appealing to conservative voters by appearing "tough on crime" is absolutely cretinous. Even if you think graffiti is vandalism and a crime rather than art, the severity of these penalties is way out of scale with the offence.

Last weekend we had a bit of a mini-gathering of YouTube users in Melbourne's Federation Square. While hanging out we shot a few round table vox pops on a range of topics, including these new graffiti laws. Some young lads who have a YouTube channel call TwoGuysOneChannel had a particularly good rant on the topic.

Coincidentally we were just across the road from one of Melbourne's best graffiti lanes so I thought I'd show off just how heinous these crimes are.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Competition time! (Worst photo ever)

Way back when we had a gathering for YouTube people in Melbourne a certain photo was taken of me. We were having a party and there may have been alcohol involved and I may have consumed some of this hypothetical alcohol. Or a lot. It's hard to be sure - my memory of events is a little hazy.

I had always assumed that this photo (without a doubt the worst photo of me ever taken) could be used to blackmail me. So to head that off, I've decided to release the photo myself. And why not celebrate the horror of bad photography? So I'm running a competition as described in the following video. To win the one-of-a-kind Mr Angry apron see if you have a worse photo of yourself.

You have nothing to lose but your dignity.