Friday, December 04, 2009

Seeing the other side

I think one of the most difficult psychological tasks to achieve is to recognise, and I mean truly recognise, that someone whose views differ fundamentally from yours is entitled to maintain those views. I don’t mean in the abstract “I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” sense. I mean seriously accepting that this other person is a product of a different environment, different experiences, a different life and these views areright for them.

This is a difficult concept to get across to a lot of people because people have a tendency to argue and fight. Acceptance, which logically seems easier than fighting, is much harder to achieve in practice. I’m not suggesting any kind of post modern “there is no universal truth” abstract reasoning. I’m not suggesting a weak, wishy-washy failure to commit to your own beliefs. I mean understanding that even though you are fully committed to your own beliefs and you are sure this person wrong, they have a right to their views and trying to force them to change is ridiculous.

There are a range of obvious exceptions to this, like serious criminal activity. But there are a lot of unjust laws and views over what is acceptable change over time so even this isn’t as cut and dried as authoritarian minded people would have you believe.

One thing that gets lost in a lot of political argument is the simple fact people are different. People give this lip service all the time but it is bizarrely rare for people to fully acknowledge what this reality means. Whatever your views are, however logical or moral you think they are, there will always be people who disagree with you. If you are a decision maker, you can never make everyone happy. No matter what decision you make it will always be wrong in every real sense for someone. Your decisions will always hurt someone. This isn’t a plea for politicians to water down everything they do in an attempt to please everybody. Personally, I hate it when politicians are afraid to commit. Plus, it’s pointless because nothing appeals to everybody.

Let’s get the disclosure out of the way. By most people’s measurement I’m a loony lefty although I’ve never been a formal member of any political party or group. This is simply because I recognised long ago that no matter what political party you join, the leadership of that party will make at least some decisions you strongly disagree with and you will be subject to massive pressure to toe the party line and go along with the orthodoxy. Fuck that shit. I am not inclined to subsume my individuality to keep some political party happy. And no, I’m not a libertarian. No matter how many libertarian principles I agree with there are way too many bugfuck crazy freaks who call themselves libertarian. I’m pro-environment, pro-choice regarding abortion, pro gay rights, anti-racist, anti-bigot, anti-censorship and I have disagreed with the policies and actions of right wing political parties around the world for as long as I can remember.

So that’s a very brief overview of “me” politically. Back to the bigger picture.

The problem I have observed from the Left is a sometimes obsessive need to do things “for other people’s good” whether they want it or not. This is as opposed to the problem I see on the Right of aggressively acting out a “this is right dammit” ideology and attempting to force diverse groups to conform to their views no matter what. I think it’s fair to say people on the Left are more likely to want to change an existing situation to the way they feel things “should be” without having any actual evidence and people on the Right are more likely to say they don’t want to change things without seeing an objective (usually economic) measurement of how it will improve things.

I’ve made it very clear where I sit ideologically but I think it’s still important to recognise that there are people on both sides of the political fence who are completely honest in their intentions. They pursue their ideology because they wholeheartedly believe it will benefit the most people and their opponent’s policies will hurt people. Having said that, I am far more likely to believe in the integrity of a left wing politician and support their policies. And that’s gotten me burned more than once.

I frequently attack conservatives because so often they make it staggeringly easy. I truly believe the things I say when I launch these attacks plus it’s a lot of fun baiting your opponents. However, doing only this would be lazy and I’d run a very big risk of getting complacent about the stupidity on the left. And people I essentially agree with are perfectly capable of being ignorant, obnoxious, narrow minded and straight out wrong. I guess I am too. Although I can’t think of any examples where I’ve been wrong right now.

One case of people on the left being obnoxiously arrogant and wrong is a book published a few years ago called “What’s the matter with Kansas?”. The basic theme in this book is echoed by left wing people around the world – why do working class and poor people vote for conservative politicians when the policies of conservative parties reward big business and hurt individual workers? It’s interesting to me that people looking at this situation seems to be saying “I represent this person’s best interests and yet this person votes against me. The problem is obviously with the voter.”

Does it not occur to them that this person they claim to be able to help is voting against them because they have fundamentally failed this voter? Why are people so quick to see a failing in someone else and not themselves? How dare they say this person’s moral judgements are wrong or have no value?

Even on a purely logical level this makes no sense. George Soros is a billionaire who actively supports left wing causes. By the logic employed in “What’s the matter with Kansas?” Soros is acting against his own interests. Do people on the left call him stupid for doing this? No. Because he’s on their side. So obviously he’s enlightened.

One premise from the book I do agree with is that Republican party is lying to these poorer voters. They don’t deliver on the “moral” issues they woo them with and, more often than not, they screw them over economically. I also think there is overwhelming evidence that these are deliberate lies, not a simple failure to deliver. I’m sure many people could point to what they consider deliberate lies from the other side of politics around the world – that’s the way politicians are. I will stress that I’m talking her about deliberate lies like Republicans saying Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11, not simple disagreements over whether or not a given policy is good.

This is a really complex issue. I’m writing this because I plan to explore the idea over a few videos for YouTube. Because I don’t see things as being black and white there are a million little qualifiers about almost every point I’ve made in this post. It isn’t possible to cover all the nuances in one blog post or one video. And it definitely isn’t possible to sort them out in comments. Not here and definitely not in the insane morass of fuckwittery that is a YouTube comment thread. I have far too much experience with ignorant morons who think they know it all sniping away in comments. They never shut up and there is no value at all in “engaging” with them because they aren’t engaged with you in any meaningful way, they are simply attacking you.

So don’t waste time with stupid comments in response to this, I won’t waste any time with you. Fuck off and get a life. Better yet, if you’re so convinced you’re right and I’m wrong go off on your own forum and explain yourself in at least as much depth as I have here. Otherwise I have nothing but contempt for you.

For those of you who have a brain and are actually interested in thinking, I will be exploring this topic further.

The future of being awesome

Inspiration is a wonderful thing. I’m not the most touchy-feely guy on the planet (surprised?) but I do look for things to inspire me to do better. I particularly like finding something that is aimed at a particular target group that is definitely not me but it still resonates with me. When someone is able to cross boundaries like that, it leads me to think they may be onto something.

I found this sort of inspiration recently when catching up with a blog I read semi-regularly – Joel on Software. Joel Spolsky runs a software development company and his primary audience is software developers but his writing is frequently applicable to a wider audience. It isn’t a huge surprise that the piece that gave me my inspiration was Joel talking about his own inspiration for the future.

He was quoting Kathy Sierra’s advice to help your users be awesome. Joel translated this into nerd-speak as: “We help $TYPE_OF_PERSON be awesome at $THING”. In his world, that becomes making software developers be awesome at making software. I’m not involved in a software development company but I am involved in a very interesting project and I realised this motto was directly applicable to our plans.

Some very clever and experienced (not to mention downright sexy) people I know are about to launch a major initiative for comedians in Melbourne and I am helping (mainly with the online component and video production). When I read the Joel On Software post I instantly realised his aims for software development were our aims for comedy. We will help comedian be awesome at doing comedy.

The others running this project have very long history in the Australian comedy industry as working comics as well as directing comedians and running venues. I’m more of an enthusiastic amateur which is why they are running things and I am helping. So if you’re a working comedian in Melbourne (or even an aspiring comedian) you might want to stay tuned. And sorry if you’re somewhere else but this will be relevant to Melbourne only. The type of intensive work we’re talking about doesn’t work over long distance, it has to be face to face.

One of the big reasons for this project is that the comedy “industry” in Australia sucks. It sucks balls. Not good balls. Nasty, sweaty dog’s balls. Even in Melbourne, which fancies itself as being arty and cultural, it’s a constant struggle for comedians. There’s the Comedy Festival and the Fringe Festival but unless you’re already an established star it’s pretty much impossible to make a living from them. The rest of the year there are only one to three venues that actually pay performers. In other words: it’s shit.

Seriously, my meagre earnings from the YouTube partnership put me ahead of (conservatively) 90% of people who consider themselves working comics in Melbourne. So a big part of making life awesome for comics will be to open up more opportunities to actually make a living from performing. But the backbone will be creating an environment that gives comedians both the training and the opportunity to be awesome.

There are far too many people who are creative, talented and working damn hard but still not getting anywhere or being rewarded as they deserve. And I’m one of them, dammit! This is what’s so exciting about this project – it’s about taking control and actually creating our own success. 2010 is going to be a big year for comedy in Melbourne and for me personally. I’ll be posting more updates as the plans become reality. Like all things to do with comedy, it’s all about the timing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

WAINGAFAT Wednesday poll

OK, so I'm reaching out to the internet for help again. I've recently started a new regular segment on my YouTube channel called WAINGAFAT Wednesday. It's on Wednesdays. The acronym stands for Who Am I Not Giving A Fuck About Today?

I was excited when the awesome Blordough AKA Shaun McGlinn volunteered to do me some theme music (he already did the heavy metal Angry Aussie theme I use for my TFU Friday videos). After he did the them I thought I needed some visuals for the opening as well and I've come up with a few possibilities.

There's option number one:


Option number two:


Option number three:


In case you can't tell, number two is a slightly sped up version of number three. So let me know, which one do you think works best?

[polldaddy poll=2265137]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shark punching for fun and profit

It seems summer is early in Australia. The southern states are getting a heatwave at the start of November - something we don't usually see until January. And the sharks are active.

Shark patrols have started early because the shark attacks have already started. A spear fisherman from Adelaide is currently recovering in hospital from injuries he sustained in a shark attack. You might say he was lucky his injuries weren't worse. You'd be wrong.

Luck had nothing to do with it.

You see, when 25 year old Dean Brougham was attacked by a shark, he didn't rely on luck to escape. He punched the motherfucker until it let him go. That's right, in Australia, that's how we roll. We punch sharks. Little kids are taught it at school. Right after finger painting we do shark punching.

We don't have surfers in Australia either, that's just what we tell the rest of the world so the tourists aren't scared off. Mark Occilupo, Layne Beachley, Mick Fanning... they aren't world champion surfers. They are world champion shark punchers. They're only out in the surf to punch sharks. They end up surfing because the waves get in the way.

Speaking of shark attacks, check out this photo of a 3 metre long (10 foot) shark caught off Queensland.

Shark Bite

Now a 3m shark would be scary enough but LOOK AT THE MOTHERFUCKING BITES TAKEN OUT OF THAT MOTHERFUCKING SHARK! From the size of the bites, another shark around double the size of this one has nearly ripped it in half! So that's a real shark about the size of the fictional shark in the movie "Jaws". And it's fucking with us.

There's some 6m shark off the coast of Queensland thinking, "You know, before I start chomping on swimmers, I think I will freak them right the fuck out by sending them a little message..."

THAT is the sort of wildlife we have to deal with in Australia. The only thing saving us from being ripped in half by massive Great White killer sharks is BIGGER Great Whites that rip them in half first.

Lucky we're a nation of shark punchers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And the winner is...

Well, there was a clear winner in the polling for which tie to get - and it arrived! I thought I'd make a video while wearing it to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Behold, the Angry Tie!

I’ve become slightly obsessed with designing items on the Zazzle website recently. Like most people who have decided to pursue the idea of selling merchandise online, I experimented with CafePress first. The site isn’t very flexible (unless you pay them) and a lot of people give them bad reviews for the quality of their products. To tell the truth, I have no objective evidence to support the bad word of mouth but it influenced me anyway.
After some advice from a friend I tried Australian-based RedBubble (and even ordered a few shirts I designed for myself). RedBubble do very high quality screen printing but they are a little expensive (not surprising given the quality).
Then, after another recommendation, I tried Zazzle. This site is much more flexible than CafePress and offers some cheap options. As an experiment, I ordered their cheapest t-shirt option (reasoning that it would be the most likely to be a dodgy product) and I was quite impressed with the quality.
Doing the t-shirts has always been a “just in case anybody wants one” thing rather than some master plan to get fabulously wealthy. Who knows, I might become an overnight media sensation and it would be nice to be ready to cash in on that.
More recently I had the idea of cashing in on the fact that so many people say they like the t-shirts I wear in videos and ask where they can get one. It isn’t as though the slogans are particularly original. Even though I buy most of them from shops I see the same (or similar) slogans replicated time after time in online shops. So why not do the same?
So I’m going to experiment with doing a version of each t-shirt I wear in a video with a link to buy it and see if that proves popular.
It was while working on this that I became intrigued with some of the more diverse offerings in Zazzle’s range and started playing with some designs. I did what I thought was a very ugly design on a shoe just because I could. A few people on Twitter said they liked it but I didn’t save it because the shoes are fairly expensive ($60 and up). I may go back and do another shoe design for fun but I can’t imagine anyone buying them.
Then I got into ties. In my day job I am known for sporting quite a variety of fairly flamboyant ties. Many people assume this is because I like ties. They are wrong. I FUCKING HATE TIES. But I like cartoon-y ties more than I like boring design ties. Seeing as Zazzle gives you a free hand with the design, and my YouTube friend DrakeMagnum has done a series of awesome designs for me I thought, why not go to town.
Which brings me to the whole point of this blog post. I’d like you to vote for your favourite from the following designs and then I will buy the winner and actually wear it to work. You’ll have to take my word for that (unless you happen to work with me) but I will model the tie when it arrives.
The first one is from the Shepherd Fairy inspired “ANGRY” design. I like the way this one abstracted when the strip of tie material shows only a fragment of the design.
This second one has tiles of the AA mask design with a prominent central image.
The third one is tiled again but with a much larger tiled image.
Vote using the buttons. My sartorial future is in your hands.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's funny - you just don't get it

The thing about comedy is it’s completely subjective. What’s funny to me may not be funny to you. What’s acceptable to me might not be acceptable to you. And vice versa. It’s pretty much pointless arguing these issues with someone who disagrees because it’s opinion, not objective fact. So if you disagree with my opinion, clearly you’re wrong and I’m right but I’m not going to waste time arguing opinions.
You’re free to disagree but I won’t engage with anyone who wants to argue via comments because it’s pointless. It’s pointless because it’s the wrong medium for a discussion, I don’t have the time to keep replying to people who just go on and on and on and can’t just make their point and be done with. These people who simply will not shut the fuck up. And they have no real interest in discussion they just want to grind people down by droning on and on and on because they think getting the last word is equivalent to winning and they will not shut the fuck up, why won’t they shut the fuck up? If there really was a god he would strike these fuckers down with lightning that’s what I want to happen I want them dead I want them to die painfully and horribly that is not a figure of speech I want them to DIE like something out of Happy Tree Friends, I want them to slip in their own drool and smash their face into their keyboard so hard the keys pop out and burst their eyeballs and the keys get driven right into their brain AND THEY DIE!
OK, that went off track. A little. The point is, I’m used to people who don’t want to debate, they just want to be shouting the loudest. I refuse to waste time with these people. You want to say your piece then say it and move on. Don’t expect any tolerance from me if you won’t shut the fuck up. In fact, if you want to engage with me you have to put in as much effort as me. If you think you’re right and I’m wrong you have to make a video going into at least as much depth as I do or I DON’T FUCKING CARE!
So... the theory of comedy. There are many forms of comedy. My favourite form is satire of the type that dates back to the European Medieval tradition of the fool or the court jester. The fool was the stupidest person, the lowest rank so he could say anything without fear of retribution. The job of the jester is to entertain but what the jester can do that nobody else can do is speak truth to power. He can point out the king is an idiot because what harm is there is someone so low insulting someone so high? You could argue that the idea of playing dumb to expose someone who thinks they are smarter goes back further. For instance, Sascha Baron Cohen is basically using Platonic Irony (oh yes, I’m bringing up Plato and ancient Greek philosophy), particularly with characters like Ali G and Borat, to get people to expose their inconsistencies and prejudices. But I prefer the tradition of the fool that you often see in Shakespeare plays.
You see that? I’m a fucking intellectual. Don’t fuck with me.
Essentially, this sort of satire is making fun of things. Rather than making up jokes, the satirist is looking at people, or things, or situations, or social conventions and saying “OK, here’s what I think is stupid about that.” Now you might have noticed I’m not into playing it safe. I like to push people’s buttons. I don’t think there’s any topic that is off limits if you’re funny enough. For me, funny enough means having enough skill as a comedian, actually having a point to what you’re doing and hitting a target that deserves to be hit.
This is why the tradition of the fool is meaningful because to me the difference between being funny and being a prick is who’s telling the joke and who’s the target? The little guy gets away with ripping on the big guy because that’s all the little guy has and how does it really hurt the big guy? At the end of the day, the fool is still a fool and the king is still a king. But when the one in power is making jokes at the expense of someone weaker than them, that’s being a prick.
This is why I’m stunned by white people who will say things like a black person doing white face is the same as a white person doing black face. Do you not see the power imbalance there? Do you not get the difference between implicitly saying “stay in your place darkie” and trying to challenge the power structure? And do you not get that ignorance of a long history of racism that you’ve never been on the receiving end of is not a fucking excuse?
Another reason I feel it’s important to think about these sorts of things is for personal integrity. First, I think it simply makes this sort of joke funnier if you’ve put some thought into it. Second, not everyone’s going to agree with you, not everyone’s going to get it. If you’re comfortable in yourself with what you’re doing then it isn’t going to matter as much when people attack you (and people will, inevitably, attack you.) Let’s be honest, saying “aw, c’mon, it’s a fucking joke, lighten up” is a pretty fucking lame defence.
I’ve been called everything from a soft, uptight PC liberal to a white supremacist. In the last week. About the same video. I know stupid. I deal with stupid every day. The secret to not giving a fuck about stupid people is having enough integrity in what you’re doing that stupid people don’t matter. People are always going to find different things funny and be offended by different things but if you’re telling someone they don’t get it and the truth is you’re being an ignorant prick, the real truth is, you’re the one who doesn’t get it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Daz addresses Hey Hey it's blackface Saturday

So what I want to talk to you about today is why the blackface sketch on Hey Hey it’s Saturday wasn’t racist. First, with so many white people saying it isn’t racist to black people, I don’t know how there could be any doubt. It’s as if people are suggesting there’s some sort of history of white people saying they know what’s best for black fellahs while they’re actually fucking them over. That just doesn’t make sense.
If people were hypocrites like that you’d see plenty of cases. Like all those conservative religious leaders and political types with their anti-gay, pro-morality talk. If they were hypocrites you’d see heaps of cases where they were caught having anonymous gay sex in public toilets, or using church money to pay for male prostitutes and crack cocaine in hotel rooms, or having sex with underage kiddies. That’s crazy talk.
So the way I see it, we’ve got one group of people who say you’re not being racist against black people unless you’re wearing a Klan hood and burning a cross and another group you’re still being racist if you do something that’s obnoxiously offensive even if you’re too fucking ignorant to know how racist it is.
All I’ve got to say to people who reckon you can be racist through ignorance is: are you shitting me? That’s a big fucking call. You actually want people to think? You want people to consider someone who exists outside their tiny little self centred bubble of awareness? Good luck with that.
Have you seen how people are? It’s like they’re living in this tiny little bubble and nothing exists outside the bubble. If something comes close enough to them that it gets inside the bubble they might see it for that one moment. But only if it’s right in front of them. And then it’s only for as long as it stays there. As soon as it’s outside the bubble again they’ve forgotten it ever existed.
But I guess if you put it right in front of someone and said whether you know it or not, blackface has a long history of being racist mockery of black people, it’s offensive to black people and doing it in ignorance doesn’t mean it isn’t racist, it means you’re ignorant – I guess that would make them see what’s wrong with blackface, yeah? Unless it doesn’t.
To be fair, I think if someone says over and over and over again that they aren’t racist that proves they aren’t racist, no matter what their actions are. What sort of crazy world would it be if people were judged by what they actually did rather than what they said they did? I’ve seen enough politicians and loudmouths on TV to know this is how it works. And what’s wrong with that, I say.
It’s as if some people are saying that shitting all over someone who’s in a weaker position than you is a bad thing. So long as you say you’re not being offensive while you’re fucking them over and humiliating them, how can you be doing anything wrong? And if you can get one non-white person to agree then that proves you aren’t being racist.
But it’s important to use the racial rule the right way. You see, one black person saying that black face isn’t racist means it definitely isn’t racist. And I’ve seen heaps of anonymous people online who swear their best friend is black and they said blackface definitely isn’t racist. How could you possibly need more proof than an unverifiable comment made anonymously on the internet?
But if a million black people say black face is racist then they just need to get over it. If a million white people say black face is racist they just don’t get the joke. Or, to avoid confusion, if white people say they aren’t racist then they aren’t racist, no matter what’s going on.
Look, I know this is a confusing topic so Uncle Daz will make it simple for you. If you’re confused on the topic of race relations, don’t ask someone on the receiving end because they’ll be upset and they won’t be thinking clearly. Ask the nice, objective white person who says it isn’t racist because they’re balanced enough to see the big picture. Don’t listen to white people who say it is racist because they’re just being PC and they need to lighten up a bit. But if you can find one non-white person who says the white people aren’t being racist then definitely listen to them no matter how many non-white people tell you you’re racist as fuck.
I hope that’s cleared things up.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

STFU - The Musical

Having spent time helping in the show “Robot vs World” at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, I feel inspired to develop my own show. The biggest thing I want to do is write a show, possibly for someone else to perform but obviously I have more than enough ego to perform myself. While a solo show is less hassle in lots of ways, the idea of writing for an ensemble cast and possibly directing the show too is appealing.
I think I’ve hit on a winning idea – STFU The Musical. Well, maybe not a musical. If you’d ever heard me sing you’d know why that was a bad idea. Also, I’m completely unmusical. So a musical is a pretty bad idea. I felt like adding “the musical” because there have been so many bizarre topics for musicals in recent years; Keating the musical, Shane Warne the musical, Beaconsfield the musical. So maybe I’ll go with STFU the stage show.
For a while I’ve thought a narrative about my experiences online was the obvious way to go and STFU gives me and idea of how to structure it. It starts with my entry onto YouTube, continues to how it took about 5 minutes for the first hater to show up and then tracks my adventures. STFU summarises what I’ve learned about interacting with idiots.
Internet wisdom about dealing with trouble makers comes in a few flavours: Don’t feed the trolls. Wrestling in the mud with a pig is pointless – no matter what the outcome you both end up covered in mud and the pig enjoys it. Arguing on the internet is like competing in the special Olympics – even if you win, you’re still retarded. But my own favoured method of dealing with the endless stream of morons online is STFU!
There are a couple of varieties of online moron. The common troll or griefer really is best ignored. For this type, the act of pissing someone off is an end in itself. They don’t actually have a point (no matter how much they claim to). For a troll, the more innocent their target, the more “fun” it is to cause grief. This is the sort of loser who posts rape porn to a forum dedicated to knitting and thinks they are being funny. Any engagement and even public denouncing of a troll is worse than pointless, it is giving them the attention they crave. Block them from commenting, delete their posts and move on.
The ones who cause a lot of trouble for a lot of people are the ones who seem to be making a structured argument and demand their right to be heard. These braying morons very quickly leap to declaring that their free speech “rights” have been breached if anyone tries to get rid of them. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable because they don’t want to be seen to be stifling free speech. Feeling this way is a mistake because this isn’t a free speech issue – the people making this claim are no better than trolls, all they are doing is framing their approach slightly differently.
To limit the explanation to YouTube: it might be a free speech issue if you were trying to shut down someone’s ability to post videos of their own but blocking someone’s access to your channel isn’t limiting their ability to express themselves at all. It’s just telling them to get the fuck out of your face. We all have the right to live our lives without fuckwits screaming their bullshit in our faces. That’s why houses have doors.
An equally important point is these idiots are not interested in having a discussion or debate. That’s what they scream over and over but it’s a simple lie. Maybe they’re even lying to themselves. All they want to do is browbeat everyone else with their views and they have zero interest in having a reasoned debate. In short, they will not stop. The YouTube comment system is an appallingly inadequate medium in which to conduct a debate even with someone who’s being reasonable. It’s nothing short of agonising to try and deal with a screaming fuckwit one disjointed comment at a time.
And it’s pointless. Not only is this the wrong medium in which to try and change someone’s mind, these people refuse to change their mind no matter how clearly you demonstrate they are wrong. I’m not simply talking about opinion here, you can present these people with an overwhelming body of scientific or objective evidence that disproves their insane theory and that will make them dig in harder. So don’t waste time with them. And literally any time spent with these morons is wasted. You gain nothing from subjecting yourself to the ravings of a zealot and they certainly aren’t listening to you.
Now, anyone who’s been paying attention will know I’m in favour of ranting. I don’t have a problem with people who disagree with me, I’ll even actively encourage them to do their own rants. In their own space. Hell, they can even rant about me if they want. But I don’t need them in my channel. I have zero interest in providing a platform for fuckwits like this. If they want attention they can fuck off and earn it on their own. I won’t waste time having endless arguments in comments with these idiots but I do enjoy telling them what I think of them.
This is where my preferred method of STFU comes in. The STFU videos target various types who exhibit this behaviour. They obsess over a given topic and simply will not shut up about it. They might be racists, religious zealots, atheist zealots, global warming deniers, 9/11 truthers or any of the rainbow of crazy that makes up conspiracy theorists. But the one thing they have in common is they live to harass anyone who dares to not share their delusion.
So I let them know I’m onto them. I know their game. I can see through the lie that they want to “debate”. And I’m calling the weaselly little fuckers out. They want to foam at the mouth about their paranoid delusions? I don’t fucking care. They aren’t going to listen to any reasoned response I give them so they aren’t going to get one. All they’ll get from me is STFU. I refuse to “engage”. I refuse to be cowed by their bluster. All these drooling freaks deserve is STFU and that’s all they’ll get from me.
Some people say this is trolling but the simple difference is I don’t chase people. Ever. I post these in my own channel and if someone doesn’t like it they have the simple option of not watching. Mind you, I am very evil. I deliberately pick targets that I know are too obsessed to help themselves. I do find it hysterically funny that they are convinced they are being reasonable and if only the rest of the world were reasonable everyone would see things their way. And they really can’t cope when all you give them is a bald faced STFU!
They try everything. They whine that you’re not being fair. They criticise your intelligence. They say you have no arguments. And all the get from me is STFU. Because I know their poorly hidden secret. No amount of well thought out and cogently reasoned arguments will reach them. Any intelligence used is wasted on them. All they do is berate people and try to manipulate them. Taking that away from them is like shooting out their kneecaps. Only less messy. And slightly less satisfying.
So that’s my STFU philosophy that I think is going to form the basis of a live show. It’s almost 12 months until the next Fring Festival so I have a while to work out the details.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Don't have heroes

I regularly get comments on my YouTube videos along the lines of "You're my hero" which is, of course, nice but also more than a little weird for me. I always assume people don't mean it literally, if they were put on the spot they'd admit they didn't really mean I was their hero - the wanted to be positive and supportive and that was an easy way to express it. I'm perfectly comfortable with someone liking what I do, agreeing with what I say or maybe how I say it. Even being inspired by what I do and wanting to somehow emulate it themselves.

But the term "hero" is dangerous if taken too far. If I could offer one piece of advice on the topic it would be "don't have heroes". Role models are great. Aspiring to match great achievements is awesome. But declaring someone to be your hero is very dangerous for one simple reason: heroes don't exist. They are fictional constructs.

People achieve great things. People can stun you with their ability to triumph over odds that seem impossible. People are capable of heroic acts - self sacrifice on a scale that takes your breath away. But people aren't heroes. People are people. They can't be heroes 24 hours a day and it's ridiculous to expect them to be that way.

The only possible outcome of holding someone up as a flawless hero is crushing disappointment when they fail to live up to that ideal. And they will fail. Everybody stumbles at some stage. Everyone has their bad points. Sometimes a person held up as a hero has truly horrible failings.

I've been thinking about this topic for a long time, the idea first occurred to me when a particular celebrity murdered his family and committed suicide. I remember being shocked when a friend said he was doubly upset by the news because he'd always regarded this guy as a hero. I was shocked because it seemed like a pretty sucky hero to have but it made me think about the idea of being failed by your heroes.

Let's leave the idea of anyone as shallow as celebrities or sports people being a worthwhile hero and look at people who have been called heroes because they did truly great things for other people, not for themselves.

Fred Hollows was an eye doctor who decided it was unacceptable that so many people in Australian aboriginal communities were being blinded by treatable conditions like trachoma. He dedicated his life to treating people who were being ignored by the world. He perfected a low cost, effective procedure and taught others to do it so it wasn't just that he saved the sight of thousands by himself, he set things up so that even after his death his Foundation continues this work around the world.

So what's not to like? He's a hero, right? No. He's a human. A human who did great things but still a flawed, mortal human being. I heard him interviewed once and he went on this bizarre rant saying that homosexuality should be outlawed because that's how AIDS was spread. He was by no means a stupid man but he was clearly homophobic and this bigotry caused a huge blind spot for him. (It wasn't until I wrote that line that I realised it would look like I was trying to make a joke. Insert your own "no surgery would heal his blindness" line here.)

Now of course some people would say he's even more of a hero for speaking out against what he saw as promiscuity and the evil of the "homosexual lobby" but those people are morons and I'm not talking to them.

I find his opinions in this area not only reprehensible but also, frankly, stupid and unsupportable. First, gay sex is not the only disease vector for AIDS, it isn't even the primary disease vector in a lot of the communities he was concerned with. Second, leaving aside the morality of wanting to dictate to people how they can live their lives, history shows you can't successfully legislate morality. It's an absolute waste of time that not only fails to change people's behaviour, it usually makes things worse by driving the activity underground which means less protection and often more risky behaviour.

Even with that, Fred Hollows did more good in an average day than most people do in their lifetime. As far as I'm concerned, his life's work means he's still worthy of respect and admiration. But he wasn't a hero. He did great things but he was a human being with all the flaws that involves.

For another example, let's look at Edward "Weary" Dunlop. He was a surgeon who served in the Australian army during World War 2. He ended up being captured by the Japanese and was one of the many soldiers who suffer the horrors of Changi prison camp and forced labout on the Thai-Burma railway.

If you don't know what happened in these places, it's worth reading a little background to understand what Dunlop lived through. The way the Japanese army treated prisoners of war (and civilians for that matter) was some of the most vile, disgusting acts in the history of humanity - far more prisoners died than survived.

As a doctor and an officer he was directly responsible for saving lives and easing the pain of countless other prisoners. He stood up to the brutality of the Japanese and inspired his men to keep going in a situation that would have crushed most people. It wouldn't be surprising to hear those whose lives he saved call him a hero but like anyone else, he was just a human being. A human who did incredible things and showed almost unbelievable bravery and strength of character. But still human.

After the war, he went back to work as a surgeon and continued to do great work. But apparently he was a bit of a prick as a boss. A real control freak and he didn't give a shit about anyone who had a problem with how he did things. But you know what? I'll give him that. After everything he did, he earned the right to be a grumpy old bugger. Because, like other humans, he had flaws.

There are a lot of people who do great things. It's great to have someone as an inspiration or role model to give us something to aim for. But always remember that even the greatest people are still people and they have flaws. Don't hold anyone up as a flawless hero because you'll end up seeing them fail somehow and end up disillusioned. And maybe don't be so hard on yourself about your own shortcomings because everybody has them. Outside of comic books, heroes don't exist.

And even those so-called "heroes" wear their underpants on the outside. What's all that about?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TFU Comix - Left 4 Dead 2 banned in Australia

Thought I'd put the comic version of the previous post here for anyone who wanted it:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Left 4 Dead 2 Banned in Australia!

Few things piss me off as much as censorship that treats adults as if they aren't grown up enough to make their own decisions. I actually agree with limiting what kids see, there are all sorts of things that are appropriate for adults that aren't for kids. Not everyone matures at the same rate but given the lack of any objective measurement of maturity, age will do.

Stopping kids from seeing things that aren't suitable is fine. Stopping adults from accessing thing because they aren't suitable for kids is totally fucked up! I bring this up because Australia doesn't have an 18+ rating for video games. The highest rating we have is 15+. That means that if the government censors think a game isn't suitable for someone under 15 then it gets banned from sale. That's right, the government sees nothing wrong with saying that if a game's too violent, gruesome or maybe sexual for a 15 year old then adults aren't allowed to have it.

The latest victim of this totally fucked up regime is Left 4 dead 2 which has been refused classification in Australia. This means it will be illegal to sell the game here. I am well pissed off about this Because Left 4 Dead was pretty much the coolest fucking game ever. Hell yes it was violent. Hell yes it was bloodthirsty, gruesome gratuitous and scary as fuck to play at 4am.

I would not for a second let my kids play it because it very nearly gave me nightmares. This was possibly made worse by playing 6 hour sessions at night fuelled by toxic doses of energy drinks. But I digress. I'm a fucking grown-up - I should be able to make the decision to do that to myself if I want to.

And if you're one of those fuckwits who say video games are different to movies because they're more immersive and interactive just shut the fuck up. If someone can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, how the fuck is that my problem? Saying I can't play a video game because someone with a mental illness might not be able to handle it is just as fucked up as saying I can't play it because a kid couldn't handle it. You're worried that some unbalanced individual will think the game is real and start killing their zombie neighbours? Some people think their fucking cat talks to them! Are you going to drown all the cats as well in case they cause a killing spree?

When most gamers are in their 20s or 30s it's unforgivable to not have an adult rating for games. The government needs to wake the fuck up and put video games on the same footing as movies. Until they drag themselves into the 21st century and recognise the validity of video games they don't deserve to be taken seriously. Arguing that to protect children you have to take away my rights as an adult is totally fucked up!


I also did a video version of this - a collaboration with Shaun AKA Blordough who did my heavy metal theme. I did it as a comic because lip synching would have driven me crazy. Even so, that one video lip synch gave me about an hour of pain.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to tell someone you don't give a fuck

It seems I have to spend an inordinate amount of time telling people online that I don't give a fuck about their worthless dribbling. So I'm trying to come up with creative ways to tell them. Sure, I love the simplicity of "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" but I also like variety.

So far I've come up with:

  • I've checked my "things to do" list. Your mum is right at the top but giving a fuck about you just isn't there
  • NASA sent a deep space probe to the planet Giveafuckaboutyou and confirmed that I wasn't there
  • Your web search "times I give a fuck about you" returned no results. Did you mean "times I don't give a fuck about you?"
  • 404 File not found. You apparently thought you'd find me giving a fuck about you. You were wrong. You could try the following - Find someone else who gives a fuck about you; grow the fuck up; just fuck off
  • Today's lesson is titled "I don't give a fuck about you". Tomorrow's lesson is the same as today's
  • Wanting you to fuck off and giving a fuck about you are not the same thing. So fuck off

And for those who like visual aids, I produced this Venn diagram on GraphJam:

Venn Diagram
Venn Diagram

Feel free to make your own contributions

Twilight sparkly vampire dildo - TFU or total genius?

I sometimes think people in the porn and sex toy industries are the most creative people in the world. Other times I don't think that. In the case of dildo inspired by the Twilight series, I'm not sure where I stand.


What I do know for sure is it's totally worth visiting the website that sells the dildo just to see the comments.

What do you think? Is the Twilight dildo Totally Fucked Up or Total Genius?

[polldaddy poll=1980935]

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dalek reacts to 2girls 1 cup

I'm working with some friends to help promote their show called "Robot versus World" at this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival. The characters involved include the original Optimus Prime, the classic Astroboy and an 80s Dalek who have something of a detective agency together.

One of our promotional ideas is to have the Dalek make some archetypal internet videos. Here's the first fruits of our labour, the Dalek reacting to seeing the infamously disgusting "2 Girls 1 Cup"

And yes, I know, this was more of a thing about two years ago. But Daleks are time travellers. That's my excuse.

Here's another little peek of a serious discussion held during a rehearsal.

Yes, we put a lot of effort into planning piss jokes.

Friday, September 04, 2009

TFU Files - the end of the world

I have some good news and I have some bad news. First, the good news: Global Warming won’t cause the destruction of human civilsation. Now the bad news: we’re going to be wiped out before Global Warming has a chance to do us in. While there are a lot of competing Armageddon theories I believe I have conclusive evidence for mine.

Not many people will be surprised at the revelation that humanity will bring about its own destruction. There are even those who won’t be surprised when I reveal that it will be robots that exterminate us. What may surprise is how exact my evidence is. This isn’t a vague “one day the robots will get us” alarmism. This isn’t some offshoot of Singularity theory – the idea that one day computers will be smarter than us and will be able to build still smarter computers without our help. Actually, the robots who destroy us won’t be particularly intelligent.

For my evidence, let me show you three significant developments in robotics. First, the tiny SWARM robots. These are solar powered robots not much bigger than a flea. By themselves they don’t do much but they are designed to communicate via infra red and form a group capable of swarm intelligence that enables them to perform a range of tasks (much like ants or bees).

Then there’s the plasmobot – a biological robot made from slime mould that is capable of “solving complex computational tasks” and “It propogates and searches for sources of nutrients”.

My final piece of evidence is the horrifically named “EATR”, a battlefield robot designed to fuel itself with biomass that it gathers from the battlefield. It has been pointed out that this biomass could include dead humans. It has also been pointed out that a battlefield robot is designed to create its own supply of dead bodies.

Now, while the EATR alone could cause human extinction (or maybe it will keep us on farms so it has a constant supply of meat) I think our destruction will come from a combination of these three. The group intelligence of the SWARM robots, the biological nature of the plasmobot and the human harvesting tendencies of the EATR will combine. In fact we’ve already seen this: It’s the BLOB, people!

It’s the fucking blob and it will eat us all and we are in the process of creating it ourselves. It gets to the point where saying “nobody could have predicted…” really doesn’t hold any water. For supposedly smart people, scientists seem to indulge in some really fucking dumb behaviour. I’m not the first to say “haven’t these scientists seen even one scary science fiction movie?”

Monday, August 31, 2009

TFU Files - Copyright is broken

So here’s the first cab of the rank in the TFU Files. Copyright is essentially broken. It’s also a very touchy issue that’s hard to get rational discussion on because people with diametrically opposed views tend to start screaming at each other. I’m a creator of original content. I’d like to make money doing it. I really don’t want pricks stealing my work for their own gain. But the companies pushing for more and more extreme copyright measures are nothing more than evil, lying greedy scumfucks.

A perfect illustration of this can be found here. Canada is in the throes of changing their copyright regime. The entire process is in danger of being overwhelmed by commercial interests from the USA that have ZERO interest in advancing the cause of Canadian artists. At a recent “town hall” meeting that was meant to be an example of the Canadian government including the public in their deliberations, private security guards threatened people (including opposition MPs) for the heinous sins of trying to distribute information.

Stacking these meetings so that they only represent corporate interests (foreign corporate interests at that) is bad enough. Harassing and threatening dissenting voices is far worse. But to prove just how fucked they are, the “American Federation of Musicians” has launched bizarre email attacks on people who dare to differ on issues of copyright calling the content of their proposals “disgusting”.

Really? Disgusting? You’re going with disgusting? With an almost endless parade of things in the world that are disgusting, you’re going to call a pro-independent artist copyright reform proposal “disgusting?”

Stay classy, corporate America.

The TFU Files

I used to be so motivated to keep this blog running but it really has faded away over the last year. It isn’t as if I’ve stopped doing anything - I’ve remained really active on YouTube and in fact I’ve become more focused on what I’m doing there as several people have proven it’s possible to make good money through the site. So yes, that’s apparently what it takes to hold my whore-ish attention: the offer of money.

But in all honesty, that doesn’t explain why I haven’t been posting more material here- even if all I did was post my YouTube videos here, that would be three or four new posts a week. I’ve kind of made an assumption that anyone who really wanted to see my videos would watch them on YouTube but that probably isn’t completely accurate. It really comes down to the fact I’m incredibly lazy and have been for pretty much all of my life.

That might sound strange given the amount of work I did manage to do on this blog and the hours of work I still put into YouTube but it’s essentially true. I’m very lazy and will actively avoid any sort of work unless it’s something I really want to do for myself. Of course I do my work in my day job (just in case anyone I work for/with is reading this) but that’s to earn money. I don’t want to do the job but I do want the money. But you know those people who say they’d stay at their jobs if they wont the lottery? Those people are idiots.

Maybe I have an unfair advantage because I have a very clear idea of what I’d do for personal fulfillment if I didn’t need a day job (namely, my online adventures) but the idea of doing your day job for self-actualisation seems fucking insane to me. But I’m like that. Opinionated.

It really does seem like a waste to not maintain this blog as I have managed to garner a decent amount of attention through it. The thing is, it achieved its primary goal. The name of the blog, “Angry 365 Days a Year”, was my mission statement for the first year. I was going to make at least one blog post every day for a year being angry about something. Mission Accomplished. Unlike George Bush, I didn’t get a big banner on an aircraft carrier proclaiming that. Also unlike George Bush, I wasn’t lying when I proclaimed “Mission Accomplished.

My original intent was to develop material for standup comedy routines but the combination of seeing how hard comedians work and the rise of YouTube killed that idea. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are working comedians and they work incredibly hard for frequently small returns in terms of audience size. That’s too 20th Century for me. Occasionally I piss them off by mentioning my viewer numbers on YouTube and the fact I can actually make money.

A lot of that material I have posted on this blog has ended up becoming the basis of videos and I had considered using the blog to continue to write up script ideas. But again, the whole “I’m a lazy bastard” thing rears its ugly head. Most of my videos roll out quite nicely without needing a formal script (I tend to play out the idea in my head a LOT before making the video). The ones that are scripted are usually the product of a script I scrawled out in a notebook while riding public transport on the way to and from work. So in either case, typing them up in the blog is doubling the work and I can’t be arsed doing it.

I’ve had a few ideas this year about how to bring a bit of life back to this blog. They were mainly about doing shorter posts and more visual posts but I haven’t really followed through. The thing is, I think it’s good for me to write more. It’s a good skill to practice, it keeps the mind sharp and it’s likely to help me make videos. One idea I’m almost certain I’ll follow through with (now that I’ve had it) is the TFU Files.

I’ve been running a regular video feature on Fridays for a few months now. It’s a week in review type of thing that I call Totally Fucked Up Friday (abbreviated to TFU as shown in this charming graphic done by YouTube pal DrakeMagnum).


The news items I select for the video all serve as evidence to prove my theory that world really is Totally Fucked Up.

It’s proven to be quite popular with users and now I frequently get suggestions for topics. Between the suggestions and my own reading I usually have plenty of worthy TFU stories to choose from and I end up narrowing it down to two or three choices. What I’m thinking for the TFU files is that I’ll write a short piece for every potential idea (maybe as short as a one paragraph brain fart) so I’m thoroughly geared up by Friday.

I like the idea of doing this because it essentially lets me do a response for every person who gives me a suggestion. I probably only use one in ten suggestions (or less) but I do like to encourage people to give them to me. Sometimes I don’t use a suggestion because I can’t think of any good jokes about it, sometimes I feel like it isn’t right for me (I’m very cautious about stories that involve death or personal tragedy) and sometimes the suggestions are plain fucking stupid.

Honestly, the number of people who seem to have no fucking idea about my motivations stuns me. Am I too subtle? Of all my flaws, I didn’t think one of them was leaving people guessing as to what I think about things. For instance, I get people who seriously expect me to join their racist crusades, apparently because I’m an angry white guy. They tend to get “fuck off” as a reply along with a link to one of my many anti-bigotry videos.

Another benefit of making a short post for every idea would be as a reminder to me. The number of times I’ve thought about a good idea during the week and then totally forgotten about it when it comes time to make the video is ridiculous. I normally (stupidly) wait until Friday to get down to planning the TFU Friday video. This has led to many agonising instances of me berating myself for forgetting what the hell it was I had planned to do or maybe simply being unable to find the link to the story I want.

So in short, making this blog a repository for TFU files is a win for everyone. I don’t lose material, people who suggest things to me get recognition and attention span challenged readers get plenty of tidbits to provide diversion during the day. Unless I complete fail to follow through again.

But what are the chances of that?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bo's Diary

I’ve finally started a long-overdue project, something I originally meant to start last year. So sue me, I need to work on my attention span. Last year when my girlfriend’s mum, “Bo” was visiting from England, she brought along some diaries she’d kept when she was young. Bo wants to maintain her privacy so that’s as much as she’s going to be identified by me. I have a bit of a fascination with artefacts and I found these particularly fascinating.

Besides that fact I would have found the diaries interesting in any case, by sheer coincidence she started the diaries just before the outbreak of World War Two. She started writing on December 31st 1938 and she turned 13 right on the eve of Britain declaring war on Germany. So (to me at least) they transform from being an interesting piece of family history to a unique document detailing World War Two through the eyes of an ordinary teenage girl.

Having said that, I feel like I should stress that the diaries aren’t necessarily compelling and exciting. In fact, the very mundane nature of a lot of the entires are what I like – this isn’t someone imagining they are recording history, it’s a young girl making short entries about her day to day life. (Spoiler alert- the outbreak of war doesn’t score a mention; Bo is more concerned at that point with how much birthday cake she has left.)

I love the physical books that Bo records her diary in as well. They are electrical engineer’s diaries she scored form her dad and besides the tiny spaces for daily entires there is a plethora of information that is apparently useful to engineers. This part of the diaries alone makes me feel like I have a time machine.

Because of the tiny space available for each day’s entry the entries are very short – they are like Tweets from the past. Given that I’m a little obsessed with Twitter at the moment, I’m going to set up a Twitter account for Bo’s Diary as well. If I had been more organised, I would have started this project back on December 31st and added an entry each day. I’ve decided to play catch-up and cram in a lot of entries until I reach the current date. I should be up to date within a month and then I’ll post one entry each day.

By sheer coincidence (trust me, it’s a coincidence, I don’t plan things this well) I will be posting the entries exactly 70 years after they were first written. Bo is visiting again at the moment (which is what has prompted me to finally kick this project off) and she has brought a few more diaries from later years. The original set run sequentially for 10 years from 1939, so I’m setting myself up for a 10 year project.

I’m insane.

This being the internet I’m sure I will run into people who want to prove how clever they are and the will “uncover evidence” that proves these diaries are fake. I have two things to say to that. First, thanks for thinking I’m that dedicated. Anybody who knows me knows there’s no way I’d put this much energy into a hoax. Second, fuck off. Seriously. I have no interest whatsoever in proving myself to some head-up-his-arse internet troll and I won’t waste any time with any moron who wants to snipe at this project.

The actual way I present the diary is likely to evolve over time. I’ll be able to ask Bo questions about entries (although there’s no guarantee she’s going to remember all details). I’ll do some videos showing details in the diaries. I’ll probably scan some of the other pages from the diaries from time to time. And during the war years, I’ll probably provide links to details of significant events that coincide with the entries.

The sequential nature of blogging and Twitter make them a perfect fit for this project. Ever since I became aware of these diaries I’ve though there would be an audience for them. Even if it turns out nobody outside of the family is interested, this is still worth doing as it creates a digital backup of the diaries and preserves a bit of family history.

Plus, it will give me something to do for the next ten years.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

A day in the limelight

If I'd known I was going to get all this company, I would have cleaned the place up a little. My "Should your website have a Flash intro" flow chart turned out to be very popular onReddit (and a few other sites). So much so that it was the top post on Reddit for most of the day and it was the top post for the day on Wordpress. When you're as shallow and ego-driven as me, this makes for a good day.

Although, in all seriousness, I really would have taken more care with the post if I had known so many people were going to see it. There were a couple of appalling typos in the first paragraph (which I've since fixed) and several people rightly pointed out that thejpeg of the flow chart I embedded looked kind of shit. I didn't bother to change the image. Give me a fucking break - it's a hostedblog that doesn't make me any money, how much of a shit am I actually expected to give?

I did get a good laugh out of the goon who had no idea how stupid he made himself look telling me to fix my "grammer". It's always a good idea to make sure you haven't made any mistakes with your own spelling or grammar if you're going to criticise someone else. Besides, if I wanted to get really pedantic towards annoying pedants I'd make a big show of pointing out that they were typos, not errors of grammar.

I would like to say thank you to all the supportive commenters, both here and on Reddit. That ratio of positive people to morons has been truly gratifying. Maybe some of you might even come back.

One of the things I found interesting is the recurring theme of people who want to show how clever they are by pointing out who did something "first". You don't have to do comedy/satire for very long before you realise there really aren't any new jokes. And you don't have to put your work out to public view for very long before you see how many people who will never create anything original of their own are eager to find fault in what you do.

This Toothpaste for Dinner cartoon was pointed out to me - it is essentially the same joke but I'd honestly never seen it before. It just shows that it isn't a particularly original idea for a joke. One person in particular was obsessed that I'd ripped of this blog post (referring to it here on my blog and on Reddit as "the original"). True, this one is actually about using Flash (for a whole site rather than an intro) but I'm not shy about saying (a) I'd definitely never see it before and (b) mine is way clearer in its intent and, in my not so humble opinion, way better.

The flowchart I'd actually seen a little while ago that was what I was thinking of when I did mine was about showing cops when to use ataser (hint: only use a taser if the only alternative is using your gun). I wish I could find it but I spent all day searching with no luck. So I'm copping to it barely qualifying as an original idea but the self-proclaimed "orignal police" got the specifics wrong.

One last thing about the day that made me laugh (which probably won't make anyone else laugh). This blog had settled into about 600 views a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. And here's the stats chart for the big day:

blog stats

That line at the bottom isn't at zero. It varies beteen 500-800. But when the day's total went over 60,000 it's so out of scale with previous totals that it looks like it used to be zero.

This is my third most popular post by the way. My most popular post was about the diet pill "alli" that makes you shit oil uncontrollably. I'm not sure if this is a step up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Should your website use a Flash intro

When Flash first landed on the World Wide Web (we still called it that back in those days) it was very popular it it became common for websites that wanted to look "cool" to load a Flash animation when a visitor visted the site. The standard method was to force the use to sit through this animation to convince them of how cool you were.
As time passed it became widely accepted that this practice was, to use the technical term, totally fucked. Despite years of frustrated users screaming at the websites to get that stupid fucking intro out of their way and let them use the site, some sites argue that there are certain cases where a Flash into is still a good idea.
Maybe so. I'm a helpful guy. Really. So I've provided this handy flow chart for all web designers and marketing people to consult before they put a Flash intro in place. Use this and no matter what your product, no matter who your target audience, you will always reach the right decision:
Flash flowchart

Monday, July 13, 2009

YouTube causing pain with censorship

People often ask my why I get angry and why I swear. I’ll fucking tell you why, because science fucking tells me to, that’s why. A study conducted at Keele University in the English Midlands (which I’ve never heard of but is clearly the best fucking university in the world) has shown swearing helps you withstand pain.
Volunteers who swore were able to withstand more pain than those who didn’t swear during the same test. Thus science has proved that swearing is not only big and clever, it’s fucking useful. And people who don’t swear are clearly into pain and are probably the sort of sick fucks who like to be tied up and whipped.
This also show’s YouTube’s attempts at censorship (threatening to delete or at the very least not promote videos just because they have some fucking swearing, introducing the censoring of swearing in comments.) means they want to hurt us. If we are allowed to swear we feel less pain. YouTube wants to reduce swearing. Therefore YouTube want us to suffer more pain.
Fucking bastards!
For those who can’t tell, including references to YouTube’s “censorship” policies is a joke. I point this out because I think people are far too casual in their use of the word “censorship” when it comes to YouTube. To cite the two examples I used, in 2008 YouTube said they would be trying to make videos with profanity appear less prominently on the site by “algorithmically demoting” them. This does appear to affect big name users – Cory Williams of SMP Films has been affected by it a couple of times but I haven’t toned down my swearing at all and I haven’t suffered for it. I would get pretty pissed off if/when it affects me directly.
More recently, YouTube introduced a feature that allows users to censor swearing in the comments on their videos. If this feature is invoked and a commenter calls someone a fucking cunt then it will appear as ****ing ****. It appears that on the first day this feature was live some goombah launched it with “on” as the default setting. This caused quite a few people to freak right the fuck out, thinking that massive censorship had been imposed.
It may surprise people to learn that I think this is a good feature. So long as it’s set at the video owner’s discretion and not imposed as a blanket rule, that is. It should be obvious that I’m anti-censorship but within their own domain people should be able set whatever rules they like. If someone doesn’t like swearing and they particularly don’t want to cop volumes of abuse directed at them on their own channel I say they are well within their rights to block swearing.
And I don’t give a fuck if that offends some purist libertarian streak in people. If someone imposes limits on my ability to express myself within my own domain I’m gonna get really pissed off. But it’s absolutely hypocritical to say “I demand liberty for all and nobody is allowed to disagree with me.” If YouTube enforced this level of censorship across the site I would be leading the user revolt but as an option I think it’s perfectly acceptable. I may even use it myself on some of my videos. For instance, my kids are in a few of my videos and they like to see what comments people are making on the videos. I don’t want them exposed to the typical lowest common denominator profanity that’s common on YouTube so I might censor the comments in that case.
Another way I can see it being good is the sort of no life fuck-up who makes a regular practice of leaving hater comments on people’s videos is easily frustrated. The main reason for this is the useless pieces of shit never produce anything of their own – the only thing that they have is trying to upset people who are actually doing something. Take that away (for example, by deleting any swearing in their comments) and they have nothing. So the whiny little fucks chuck a fit and wet their pants over how unjust it all is and I, for one, laugh right in their ugly fucking faces.
This is why I frequently delete obnoxious comments and block the perpetrator. Fuck censorship, I just want it to be clear that these sniveling little fuck-knuckles that they have no power in my world. And I want them to be upset. I want to know that they are bitching and whining about their “rights” being infringed. Because fuck them.So yeah, most of the hyperbole about YouTube going mad with censorship is overblown (not least because of the number of idiots who conflate copyright claims with censorship). It does seem clear, however, from their public pronouncements that YouTube see themselves as becoming some sort of new broadcast network. And they aren’t even a little scared of blanding things out if they think it will make them more money. Even if science proves they are reducing our capacity to endure pain.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Angry Comix - I hate you all!

A reaction to my recent blog poll:

Page 1
Page 1
Page 2
Page 2
Page 3
Page 3
Page 4
Page 4
Page 5
Page 5
Page 6
Page 6

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Who's the best "Old Fred"?

I've been looking for an excuse to run a Wordpress poll and here it is! About three weeks ago I did a video that was essentially a spoof of the most subcribed channel on YouTube, Fred. Given I'm about 30 years older than him, I imagined what he'd be like in 30 years if he was still making YouTube videos.

And just the other day, Mediocre Films, a channel with way more subscribers than me (like 200,000 more subscribers) did a video where... well, they imagined what Fred would be like in 30 years. Now, the person who pointed it out to me is crying foul but I think it's more likely that this is simply a coincidence rather than them ripping me off deliberately. It isn't as if this is the most innovative idea in the history of comedy. Spoofing popular people is pretty common.

The timing seems a bit coincidental but I'm willing to believe it's nothing more sinister than a coincidence. But seeing there are two versions of "Old Fred" now, why don't we put it to the vote?

P.S. I've been watching "The Mighty Boosh" on DVD recently. If I'd seen the "Old Gregg" episode before I made this video I probably would have had my version of Fred scream "I'm Old Fred - I've got a mangina!"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

First milestone for the angry empire

So I took the big leap this week up and set up some online t-shirt sales. Thanks to the magic of CafePress I can actually do this without too much hassle. Of course nobody might actually care but enough people have commented over the years that I should sell t-shirts that I thought I'd give it a go.

The whole adventure is made easier by the fact that one on my YouTube subscribers did some designs for me. And I didn't even ask for them - he just did them. So now there are two designs available on CafePress. This one:

Angry Shirt
Angry Shirt

And this one (that I've been using as an icon on various websites)

AngryAussie Mask Design
AngryAussie Mask Design

So give me moneyyou bastards. Or not. This is really just an experiment. But if you want to, click here for the default "Angry" design or click here for the mask design. And because people have always said they like the shirts I design myself and suggested that hand made shirts would sell, I've been working on some prototypes. I can't exactly mass produce these but I've cobbled together a home made screen so I can print multiple shirts before the screen packs it in.

The whole process of making these shirts still takes an insane amount of time so it isn't worth my while to make them unless I can sell them for at least $50. If anyone thinks that's insane you won't get a lot of argument for me. So the really experimental part of this process was doing some prototypes and putting them up on eBay to see what happens.

The good news (for me) is I've already sold one! Admittedly, to my friend Nick (AKA Arthur40TwoDent on YouTube) but it's a start. The commercial juggernaut that is the Angry Empire has been launched. Jump aboard or be crushed under its wheels. Which is my way of inviting you to bid on one of the following designs on eBay:

STFU - Red on Gold
STFU - Red on Gold

Click here for the auction for this shirt.

STFU - Purple and Yellow
STFU - Purple and Yellow

Click here for the auction for this shirt

STFU - Red & Gold on White
STFU - Red & Gold on White
Click here for the link to this auction.

And, me being me, I made a video to celebrate this milestone for the Angry Empire: