Friday, December 01, 2006

Twilight on Mars

Indirectly I happened upon some recent photos from the Mars rovers (not so recent actually, August this year). There's not much style to most of the photos as they're mainly for scientific benefit, it seems, but this twilight photo struck me as being the most poignant of them all.

It's probably a while before we'll be able to see this on a holiday.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Australian Youth Delegation to China part 3

Picking up where we left off: at the top of a tower in the center of Shenzhen.
From this point you can actually see the first McDonalds in China- much symbolism to be found there if you're that way inclined. Also says something about the Special Economic Zone, no doubt. And Paul's moving there.

After this interesting, confusing skyline tour, we headed to the hotel.
Although it wasn't a big name, it was actually the most impressive hotel we stayed at. A little hard to describe the feel; a 1930's vision of the future hotel, very much something of the The Gernsback Continuum. The restaurant maintained this feel of future Art-Deco, and had a great buffet going. Multicultural cuisine which included sushi, sandwiches, creme brulet (probably some French e's needed there), and Borsche (борш, if my Russian spelling is correct- which it probably isn't). It was my first time trying борш but unfortunately Alexandra told me later that it tasted nothing like the 'real' thing, and she was born in Russia so she'd know.

After lunch we set off for the LNG factory. It was quite a long bus journey to get there, but I didn't mind. We passed some of the nicer spots of Shenzhen, as it was a coastal road (though I'm not sure we were actually in Shenzhen proper).

Arrived after about 2 hrs or so in the bus.

We were given a quick word to exercise caution when entering the factory (basically no smoking), and the an informative lecture about the agreement signed between Australia and China for the exportation of LNG. I'm not very familiar with the process, but we were told that basically they developed a new method of shipping gas (liquified?) which allows it to be stored 400 times more efficiently. They had a cool model of the factory, and the engineer explaining it had particularly good English (and he'd never been outside of China apparently).

When we toured the factory proper, I was struck by the thought that the factory had the strong image association of a James Bond film.
Especially when we were shown to the control room....

Complete with attitude-packing guards....

At this point, in the control room, Thomas was actually able to interpret better than our provided interpreter!
Very, very impressive...

We were then taken on a bus tour around the rest of the site; unfortunately sleep deprivation had caught up with me by this point, and I fell asleep the moment that tour started and woke up as it ended. So much for that.

We then returned back for our farewell dinner, but were held up for about 1 hr in another of Shenzhen's traffic jams.

The farewell dinner was lovely; I believe the mayor of Shenzhen was there, the food was good, and we were all dressed up for the occasion.

Afterwards, we went up to Greg's room for an unofficial awards ceremony; we awarded Thomas for his brilliant interpreting, James for...something (photos I think), Fuchsia for organising our social events, Warren for his musical virtuosity and I took out the Greg Hunt award for using the phrase 'to keep the rabits out' in a speech.

Went off looking for a pub street but instead found something much dodgier with rip-off prices, crap music and a tacky beach/cave setting.

Since we had to be awake at 3.30 am or thereabouts, we decided sleep was hardly worth it.
So must of us stayed awake the whole time, had a good debrief on the trip and plenty to drink.

The bus trip to Hong Kong was interesting for the time I was awake, and indeed there was a feeling of a strange sort of relief when we crossed the border. I feel asleep before we got to the airport, and so blearily checked in and said goodbye to Lawrie and Fiona, who stayed on an extra day. We had arrived at about 6.30, but the flight wasn't until 10.30, so there was time to kill in HK airport. My shoulder-bag's carry strap broke, and there was no one who could assist me in the entire airport (apparently). So that was annoying. But, on the positive, they accept RMB at the cafe I went to, at an acceptable rate, and it was good to see copies of The Private Life of Chairman Mao for sale.

I managed to walk all the way down to gate 60 pr something like that (the furtherest point in the airport), had a 'no-liquids' search on my bag, whereby they took the beer off me (well it was really Jacky's) and threw it out, and then realised I'd come to the wrong gate (a USA flight). So I had to take the 20 minute walk back to the proper gate (15), and realised I had just lost a can of beer for no real reason!

And finally, on the flight home, did I catch up on all that lost sleep.

Now where, you might ask (especially if you're Paul) is the photo of us with Premier Wen Jia Bao?
Was it not afterall he who invited us?

As it turns out, we never did meet Premier Wen, though it was him who invited us over. I suppose Premier Wen had a busy schedule; there's always next time, anyway.

So the best I can offer is a photo of a hypothetical meet of myself and Wen....this is what it WOULD have looked like, perhaps.

He's very tall, as you can see.

And so ends the Youth Delegation to China. It was definitely the most exciting and interesting week of my life. I'm sure most of the people in the delegation will be involved with China in significant ways, in the near future.

I for one would love to go back as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Attention Vegetarians

This message concerns all vegetarians alike who would take to the moral high grounds, sneering and yelling down insults at the eaters of meat down below, accusing us of being inhumane.

Hear, hear.

Hitler was a vegetarian.

Where's your moral high ground now?

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I'm still working diligently (though that's subjective) on Part 3 of the China Trip.

Until then, however, there's been plenty going on.

Firstly: The examination period is almost over. This is something which results in a bizarre feeling of anti-climax, because there's a lot of preparation, and then it's over differently for each student. My 'end of exams' day is different from my friends, and so on. And there is a period of adjusting to what life consists of without having to prepare for an exam. Futhermore, language students are in a unique position where they don't actually want to forget what they've learned throughout the year.

This is not entirely different from a gym patron who doesn't want to lose their progress by taking too much time off. With Chinese this seems especially true, as it's rather easy to forget characters and tones.

So with the holiday season approaching, I suspect I'll actually more or less keep doing what I've been doing. That is, going through Chinese and Russian textbooks.

But even then that still leaves quite a few hours in the day. I'll be spending the majority of the holidays in Cairns, so I'll probably work most of it, and of course there's plenty of friends in Cairns to catch up with.

Secondly: I'm still pretty uninformed about politics, particuarly American politics. But it's good to see a better balance of power in the States. This may lead us to ask, Who should be the next Presidential candidates? I'll go with Barack Obama (who is also my personal preference for the next President) over Hilary, even though Time's article on him was not without criticism. Not sure who the Republicans will pick. Rudy Giuliani would probably be a smart choice.

Thirdly: Children of Men. This is by far the best film of the year. So I'd advise everyone to see it if you haven't already.

Lastly: Spiders. Not the Ralph Fiennes kind

but the arachnid kind. Now, as all who know me can attest, I'm a practicing arachnophobe. This is no joke. A photo such as this

makes me gasp, my chest tighten, my skin crawl, and my body shudder. The other night I came home late, and while I'm brushing my teeth I suddenly am overcome by dread, as there's a horrifying, fuck-off-big spider behind the aftershave bottles.
I had not the courage to do battle with it. I spat out the remaining toothpaste from my mouth and fled back to the relative safety of my room, all the way shrieking like a crazed chimp.

The spiders and their webs have been growing and spreading in the bathroom ever since. It's the storm that brought them in. Is it possible that they arrived as a part of some sinister over-arching plan? Every time I micturate or bathe, the dread grows stronger. I can feel multiple sets of 4 and 8 eyes watching me with unthinkably evil, sadistic urges. The bathroom mirror is now covered with grotesque spider hairs, evidence of their predatory hunts. It's only a matter of time before they reach my room. They'll be threading a special, hideous web just outside my door, a web to engulf my entire body. And if they don't succeed there, they'll come in the night and wrap me up whilst I sleep, creating for me a cocoon of blind, constricted horror and dread.

As far as I can tell, theres only one answer.

Move house.

But, as I always say, no point worrying about something that will only probably happen.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Australian Youth Delegation to China part 2

I was rather tired whilst typing the last post and I did indeed miss some photos as Paul pointed out; I've since added the missing photos to the previous post, so check those out. Also, I'd like to give you links to Thomas' and Fiona's blogs.

And now for part two.

The flight from Beijing to Guangzhou was really entertaining, as I sat next to Eric and David, and we discussed, amongst other things, The Spiderman and The Moose- if anyone knows what they are, feel free to express your disgust or delight in the comments.

Touching down that evening in Guangzhou, I was firstly impressed by the recently built airport, and then by the incredible humidity; it was a nice change from dry Beijing. Warren and Henry busted out the guitars while we were waiting for everyone to get ready (another photo courtesy of Fiona).

The Guangzhou hotel was a Ramada, very nice, although with a lot of the staff there, their grasp of Mandarin was far from perfect. This made it much harder to make yourself understood than in Beijing (or maybe lack of sleep was making me speak like a stupid 老外).

There was a small dumplings stall right near the hotel, which also sold fairly reasonable Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) beer. The dumplings were damn good, and it most appropriate that we would drink Zhu Jiang beer, as we were later to visit the very factory which produces said beer!
It was another night of laughter, perhaps even 'dark laughter', as Kerouac wrote.

The next morning, Thursday, it was again asked of us to be up early for breakfast and then on the road. Our first destination was Sun Yat-Sen University (中山大学). This campus was both nicer and dirtier than Tsinghua's campus. Nicer because I personally find tropical plants to be very beautiful, and the campus had lots of such plants, and a large insect population that delivered a majestic ambience to the otherwise quiet campus. However, it was also dirtier because of all the pollution; and Beijing isn't exactly clean, so this was really bad. It was noted by David that the pollution actually appeared like a mist, which did give the place a mystical vibe, but our collective lungs were not to be fooled, and the pollution manifested itself in the most irritating ways. For example, at the soccer stadium, the chairs were coated in thick blackness, a direct result of all the smog. Eric, who recently delivered a speech on Chinese Economic History, explained to me that a lot of factories have been built over the border of Hong Kong since the HK Government placed restrictions on HK factories; so the HK companies just went and built their factories over the border, polluting as badly as ever. What they didn't account for was that the pollution would make it's way back into HK; the resulting acid rain apparently does millions of dollars damage each year to the buildings in HK, so the pollution is actually hurting economically. Also, Eric also said that errosion is a problem throughout many parts of China, and that the Gobi desert is expanding rapidly. Thus, regardless of politics, this is a problem that needs to be solved.

These two photos are from a website James Morris set up after the trip, (I'm not sure why he chose the name either).

We firstly had a forum and smaller discussions with the Sun Yat-Sen students; it's still a very highly regarded university which usually comes in at number 10 in China, although Tsinghua often comes in at number 1! The students, however, were extremely laid back and fun loving, and the head of their university was a cool guy who gave all the students who attended the discussion groups a holiday the next day, to come with us to the beer factory.
After the group discussion, we were shown around the campus, were treated to a lovely lunch and then it was time for The Soccer Match.

I was a little sick at the time, and moreover I'm an uncoordinated, useless piece of reptillian shit when it comes to football games, so I refrained from gracing the field. However, we had a formidable line-up...

As did the Sun Yat-Sen team...

We lost, however, by a close 3-2 or 4-3, no one can remember.

Warren got a head injury, which was skilfully handled by nurse-in-training Fiona...

That evening we went to a nearby restaurant, and then, we went again to Sun Yat-Sen university, this time for an evening of cultural performances from both countries.

The Chinese performances were the most impressive, in particular the guy from Xinjiang province (if he was indicative of the lot, the Xinjiang people have a very peculiar, distinctive appearance), the various gorgeous female singers and dancers, and the duel of the two brothers, based on the historical story.

The Aussies, however, didn't disappoint; Warren was easily the star of the evening, playing various accompaniments on guitar, and also a solo Chinese flute performance. Also noteworthy was Laurie's opera rendition, and of course the absolultely rocking power trio at the end of Warren, Henry on guitars and Laurie providing Elvis from Beijing on the vocals (if you can imagine that). I was looking forward to playing some drums that evening, but a kit was not able to be arranged.

However, we have decided that at some point in the future, we shall definitely need to form the All Australian Communist Youth Band.

Warren and Henry, just before Laurie (大江)leapt onto the stage...(these 2 photos also courtest of James Morris)

and Warren about to start accompanying Alex, who sun a Chinese song...

Had many night-caps that evening again.

The next morning we had our first late start of the trip; we were able to wake up at 8.30-9.
And it was a very special day, as it was the fateful trip to the beer factory. Whilst we were greeted in a fairly standard fashion, there was one guy in particular who stood out. I asked him where the toilet was, and he shrieked back at me in a voice which was equal parts eunuch and lunatic, "WELCOME TO THE ZHU JIANG BEEEEEEEER FACTORY!", before bounding youthfully and joyously up the stairs in such a way that could only be described as crab-like.
I thought, what manner of position could a man of this nature occupy in the beer factory?
The bosses son? Asylum escapee? Test subject? Oompa-Loompa (picture Cooper and the Beer Factory)? He was perhaps of all of these things, and more, as it turns out he was the Party Representative of the factory.

We were given free beer for the duration of the tour, which was nice of them. It was quite an impressive factory (although I don't really have much to compare it with). Notable was their employment of Germans to oversee the operation. Thomas took a great photo of the factory production much beer...

Went for a really nice lunch afterwards, and then we went over to a shopping district; more market-place than designer-label. One might deduce that not many tourists go there, for the salespeople all assumed we were foreign students; they didn't approach us in English, but rather affronted us with Cantonese or (poorly spoken) Mandarin. Granted, that might just be because they couldn't speak much English, but they didn't seem at all surprised when Warren responded in his rather good Cantonese (he lived in Shantou for a year). I bought a weirdly sexual implicit shirt, which I will probably never wear, but it's nevertheless got comedic vaule. I'll take a picture at some stage.

That evening we went to the best hotel in Guangzhou to meet the Guangdong provincial leaders; it was very special, and CCTV were there to capture the occasion again. Laurie did a fantastic speech, and the food was great. After the dinner we had a cruise down the Pearl River; this was a highlight of the trip. I hadn't realised how pretty Guangzhou is at night, it seems they've really put in a lot of effort into the lighting of the city. The lasers off the buildings were particularly great, and probably only look so good because of all the smog.

Here's the said lasers...(these 3 photos, again, taken by Fiona)

Guangzhou almost resembles Hong Kong or Shanghai at night...

And here, 007 and 008 are debriefing on the mission...

Saturday morning we went to Shenzhen. Previously, I'd only ever been to the Lo-Wu shopping mall in 2003, so I barely had an idea of the city. Moreover, I think Shenzhen is one of the fastest changing cities in China. There was a cool moment crossing the border where one of the guards stopped us for our passports, which we didn't actually have with us at the time, but then one of our government minders told the guard that we didn't need to show him our passports. The guard didn't believe that our minder was from the government, so our minder whipped out a phone, called a number, and handed it over to the guard.
In an instant, the guards expression changed from anger to meek, smiling submission- it was very funny.

The traffic was pretty crap; I took this photo when were crossing a lane when we shouldn't have been- all these cars had a green light..

We first went to a skyscraper in the middle of Shenzhen, up to the 64th floor I think, which gave great views of the city. It was a surprisingly clear day for what I've heard of Shenzhen. The viewing level also had various sections of displays, sort of like exhibitions, but very peculiar ones.
Such as this one of Deng Xiaoping and Maggie which you can see behind myself, Henry, Thomas and Laurie. (thanks Fiona)

There was also a strange display with a robot, and some pirates.

And we'll have to leave it there. In part 3, we visit the LNG factory!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Australian Youth Delegation to China part 1

I remember when I started this blog saying I'd aim for one update each week.

Well, yeah.

Anyway, a few months ago I was contacted by my Chinese lecturer, informing me that I'd been nominated by the university as part of 46 Australian uni students invited by Premier Wen Jiabao to visit China for a week. I happily agreed to it, but I wasn't expecting anything to actually eventuate. It never does.

Except this time, it did! And it was a fantastic trip. We left on the Monday 25th of September, first flying to Sydney, then straight to Beijing.

CCTV was at Sydney airport, you can see the video here.

Watched MI:3 (above average but not good) and Lucky Number Slevin (1st half good, 2nd half crap) on the way over.

We were welcomed at Beijing airport by a Chinese delegation which included Frank from the Foreign Department- very nice guy-, and some other government officials. The girl who I took the flight over with, who was from Beijing, was really impressed with this welcoming group.

Whilst in Beijing, we stayed at the Beijing Hotel. Not a very impressive name, but it was a very impressive hotel!

Here's me on the balcony having just arrived. I love the sensation that you get when you first arrive somewhere far away; that realisation of the distance between where you stand now and where you stood 12 hours ago, around the bend of the earth..

And here's the view onto Chang An Jie (the street the hotel was on, which I believe translates to Long Peace Street).

We went down to the lobby afterwards for drinks, where we also met some of the 'adults' on the trip; The Honourable Greg Hunt MP (member for Flinders), his assistant John Deller, Nick from QANTAS (QANTAS provided both the domestic and international airfaires for the trip, very generous! Thanks QANTAS), and Dr Amy Yeung from Curtain University. And it was also when I got to meet most of the other students on the trip, in particular my room-mate David, from QUT, team leader Henry from ANU, and Laurie, Thomas and Fiona from UNSW. Laurie was in room 008, and I happened to be in room 007...very cool.

It was decided that more drinks were needed, and that we should also go out and hit the streets of Beijing. The solution was to go and drink on the streets of Beijing. This proved to be a portent of things to come, as myself and a consistent group made sure that we didn't waste a single night whilst we were in China. As a result, I only got 5 hours sleep each night, and got sick, but it was worth it. If you're only a country for a week, you shouldn't waste time sleeping.

Nevertheless, it was a very busy schedule. The next morning, Tuesday, we went to visit Tsinghua University, which is one of the top in China. We had a forum there regarding volunteer work and the Olympics, which proved to be very interesting. All of the students at Tsinghua are really intelligent, which I suppose is only natural given how hard it is to enter the university.

I had to ride a bike for the first time in about 4 years, with Diana (a Tsinghua student) on the back! Whilst there were multiple occasions where we were both nearly killed by a car, or my own clumsiness, there was no accident.

The campus at Tsinghua was breathtaking. We were guided by Diana, Thinker and Frank, who were also in our discussion group at the forum. Here's us by one of the lakes.

After Tsinghua, we went to the Australian Embassy. This turned out to be very educational, as we were given an informative speech by one of the diplomats there, Andrew. Everyone at the embassy seemed really attuned to the current events in China (although I suppose I should have expected this from them). We had lunch there, and chatted with the guys who work there, then headed off to the Forbidden City. I'd been before, but it was still good to see.

Then it was back to the hotel to get changed for our trip to The Great Hall of the People.
This was particularly special. The Great Hall isn't open all the time for tourists, and when we went it was after visiting hours, so it was open just for us. It's very opulent inside, and the feeling of walking down those halls with so few people around was almost surreal.

Here's Thomas.

The room we were taken into was beautiful, as was the dinner. We met some other university students there, and Greg met some officials. I believe there was a Central Committee member present, which is no small thing.

We walked back to the hotel afterwards, via Tiananmen Square. They had a pretty cool Olympic and 3 Gorges garden on display, with many neons and flowers. Hard to describe, here's a picture from Thomas' site.

Out drinking that night, to a slightly better pub this time. Beers were 10 kuai, which didn't seem too bad. So in that first day: Tsinghua uni, Australian Embassy, Forbidden City, Great Hall of the People, pub afterwards. I believe we ended up quite late that night, but it was our last night in Beijing. Here's some photos from the the good times that night (taken by Fiona)...

Up again very early Wednesday, firstly to go to the City Planning Exhibition. Sounded dry, but turned out to be really cool, particularly this huge model of the city. My directors eye immediately saw the potential for it to be used to make a new Godzilla-like film...

It was then back to the hotel for a very important lunch with Mr Zhou Qiang, First Secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China. I had to give a speech there, Chinese and English. Could have been better, but at least I managed to get a laugh when I translated the Telstra "Too Many Rabbits in China" joke for Mr Zhou, without causing any obvious offence.

After the lunch, we had to go pack our bags, and then it was off to the Great Wall. We only had 30 mins at there (!!!) but I managed to climb a bit with Sehee and Kayli, and take this photo.

Then it was off to the airport to take the evening flight to Guangzhou.

We'd only been in China for barely 2 days, yet already made really good friends and seen some great sights.

I'll post the next half soon.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Week of Passing

We've had an extremely tragic week, with both Steve Irwin and Peter Brock dying.
Two rather iconic Australians, in my mind, and both dying in circumstances related to their vocations. They'll be missed by everyone around the world. It's a good time for reflection upon our own lives, and surely it must remind everyone that we shouldn't waste what time we have.

The exception is Germaine Greer and her wild-eyed, wild-armpitted followers.

From ninemsn

Ms Greer said Mr Irwin had not treated animals with the respect they deserved.

"He would tell you how dangerous they were and he would proceed to intrude on their space and humiliate really - treat them with massive insensitivity," she said.

That was from A Current Affair, so we can't say how reliable it is, but whatever.

Sounds rather like Germaine Greer in regards to men, come to think of it. Read her Enough Rope interview.

Thus, if Germaine Greer is ever killed by a 'partner' (which would apparently likely be a young boy, hairless and feminine), I think it only appropriate that we respond by saying that
'the hairless boys world got their revenge'. It'll be, like, poetic justice.

In other news, A Current Affair is hate-mongering again, this time against Muslim taxi-drivers.
Is that really needed?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A night of XS

Had a fantastic evening yesterday, as Paul was in town and offered me a ticket to go and see INXS!
I've never been a fan of them, but I've always been aware of their status, and their drummer is quite well known. And considering that I wasn't a fan , I was really very impressed with their performance. They played a great set and the new singer of theirs seems to have all the requisite energy for the job. The opening act we saw was Killing Heidi, and though they're past their heyday, they played solidly too.

The only downside was the rain, but given that we're in such a bad drought it's hard to see that as such a bad thing.

In other news
Q: "What are the good movies coming out?"
A: The Science of Sleep, The Prestige, The Fountain, Sunshine, Marie Antoinette, Art School Confidential, Zodiac and Inland Empire will all be great in my opinion. Check out the trailers for some of them if you have time and tell me if you agree. Time will tell, but these are my bets.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I was scrolling along through my bookmarks and by accident clicked onto the blog of my schoolmate Tristan. Well, I decided to read through his lengthy posts, in particular his soppy post entitled "Fate it may be called". Poor guys had a run of bad luck with the ladies, it seems.
Got into a relationship with a girl who had to go overseas. A sad story indeed.

Then I read the comment on that post. Enter 豪. Another schoolmate of mine, a very good one in fact- it's Tommy Wong, 豪 is a part of his Chinese name. He's a very sensitive, passionate young man, and he was obviously very moved by Tristans tragic turn of events.

So struck with woe was Tommy by this post that he was implored to comment:

"Tristan you are still an idiot...."

Oh Lordy. Lordy lordy lordy.
I'm still in hysterics with laughter.

I've gone on to read Tommy's blog, which he updates with stunning regularity. It's in traditional Chinese, unfortunately, so it's an effort for me to read. He does inject occasional English in there too, so I'm doing my best to figure out what precluded Tommy to say:

"I am good at women and he is good at gambling...WTF..."

From what I can make out he's saying he's like a brother of his friend Paul. Thus Paul is the gambler, and Tommy is the ladies man (coloured wolf, as we say in Chinese). Surely not my friend Paul...but then it a coincidence, but taken from my friend Paul's blog:

I'm not a huge gambler (probably because I don't have the dosh?). I can't see much enjoyment in it, and I've heard too many bad stories for it to arouse any sort of interest/addiction in me. But I have tried it. Twice. Both times, I ended up with more than I put in! Both times, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing."

It's all connected, I'm sure of it. In fact, call it a pre-mature conclusion, but if you observe these two photos, I think you'd be hard pressed to say that they weren't in fact identical twins, albeit with different lusts; one loves women, the other loves money. But isn't that really two sides of the same personality? Food for thought, in any event.



Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Stupidest Forums in Existence

Well, before I post the next episode in my Chinese serial, I have to bring to everyone's attention the hilarious debate going on over in the Internet Movie Database forums for the film Memento.

I should probably warn people who haven't seen the film not to read on, not because I'll spoil it, but because you probably won't get the point of the post.

The IMDB is famous for gestating some of the most ridiculous and moronic comments on the net. If there's a film you love, or hate, just visit its page on the site and see what the web's collective idiots have to say about it. You'll be fuming in no time. There's some smart people who post there, but they're certainly the minority.

Nevertheless, if one can keep this in mind, it's usually very entertaining to see the latest threads.
I watched Memento again the other night, with a friend who hadn't seen it. We both agreed it's a fantastic film (a favourite of mine in fact), but try telling this to some of the posters in that forum.

In particular, some half-wit created a thread called Anybody ever told this guy about this Invention called a Video Camera?

Indeed. Some guys went on to suggest Leonard should have carried around

a) A mini-dv camera with an LCD screen and audio playback
b) A hidden spy-camera which would be uploaded to a laptop (voice activated, of course)
c) A mini-disc recorder with 'secret microphone'
d) a PDA

As opposed to his notebook and polaroid. Apparently a man who will murder an innocent man, steal his expensive suit from his dying body and then take his Jaguar (with two hundred thousand dollars in the boot) will have a problem obtaining film for his polaroid camera, because it's too expensive at $1 a shot- this is according to one of the posters. Apparently it makes a whole lot more sense for Lenny to be using a high-tech camera of some sort. The same moron also claimed Lenny should have gotten parking tickets; nevermind the fact that he's driving another man's car.

There's people who argue against this stupidity, but unfortunately they seem to suffer from room temperature IQs themselves.
The weird thing is two of the main debaters claim they each possess a phD! The one arguing against the stupid suggestion is apparently holds a doctorate in Organic Chemistry, whilst the proponent of the hi-tech shit claims a doctorate in Computer Science.

I really hope they're both lying. Because it's a scary thought indeed that phD graduates could be this fuck-witted.

You can see my response, in which I hypothesise a revised script with their suggested changes.

You can also read their earlier claims, but it'll take you most of the day, and their shit-brain-syndrome might be contagious.

I have since realised it was just as stupid of me to get involved....which makes me the stupidest BLOGGER in existence. Well, damn.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Crouching Rabbit Hidden Onion

For Written Chinese this semester I'm required to write a short passage each week, and it supposed to be continuous. Almost everyone else in the class are doing diaries of their lives, which are mind-numbingly boring to read, and one can only guess that to live such a life would be even more pointless and depressing. But I could be wrong.

In any event, I thought it was a great oppourtunity for a story told in weekly installments.
The first chapter was called Crouching Rabbit Hidden Onion, because in Mandarin it sounds similar to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Whilst my Chinese no doubt has a lot of errors in it, I'll publish it for the public to ridicule, and I'll give a translation too. So without further ado..




兔子有很多兄弟姐妹。 连父母亲也不知道每个兔子的名字。 虽然,有一天下午一个小兔子在森林,正在吃草。 他突然看了一个葱。 出乎意料,这个葱会说。



葱说:那我给你新的名字。 您叫。。。兔深

兔深说:兔深?很好名字。 你呢?你叫什么名字?



Shakespeare said: "What's in a name?"

In fact, names have great importance in our lives.

Rabbits have lots of brothers and sisters. Even the parents don't know every child's name. Although, one afternoon a small rabbit was in the forrest eating grass. He suddenly saw an onion. Strangely enough, this onion could speak.

Onion: What's your name?
Rabbit: I...I...I've forgotten..
Onion: Then I'll give you a new name. Your name is... Rabbit Deep
Rabbit Deep: Rabbit Deep? Cool name. And you? What's your name?
Onion: My name is...Intelligent Onion. Bye bye lah!

Suddenly the onion just disappeared. Rabbit Deep said "Bye Bye lah? He's definitely from Singapore".
-The End

Well, it's not quite Pynchon or Kerouac. Yet. But believe me compared to those diaries, this is full-blown excitement.

In other news, my good friend Paul has started a new blog. He's an old timer of blogs, and a man of great wit, so I advise everyone to read it. He's not in Japan, but that just means he'll be sour and funny in Cairns.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Review of the Arts

I've been rather fortunate recently to have been impressed by that which I watch, read and listen to.

I saw Miami Vice this evening, and it was all that I'd hoped. Michael Mann has always been a favourite director of mine, especially with his film Heat. This film version of Miami Vice doesn't seem to really pay too much of a homage to the t.v series, from what I understand, but I think that's probably a good thing. A 1980's period film wouldn't have worked very well unless it was a comedy. Perhaps the only thing that remains is awesome vehicles, because the automobiles are certainly very, very impressive. The film is hyper-realistic, in the same way that Heat and Collateral were. And even more so in the photography, which is now handled entirely by Dion Beebe, who shows his ability to work with digital here. I remember some friends of mine cynically suggesting this film would be just another action film, to which I replied, simply, "It's Michael Mann". And it seems I was right, because although there are some spectacular action sequences, they are few. The film is instead more concerned characters, particularly Sonny.
The storyline moves ahead pretty fast and there's no simplification, so in that aspect it's similar to Syriana. But it also has some very poignant moments, and it is these which I love the most.

I bought The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips yesterday, and it's an incredible piece of work. The orchestrations in it are beautiful, and Wayne Coyne's lyrics are simple yet very deep and thought provoking. In each of their albums they create a universe of their own, and in The Soft Bulletin it's the nicest of them all. The Flaming Lips now have reached my top 4 favourite bands. From what I've read, their live shows are stunning. I'd like to see them very much.

And I started reading Crash, by J.G Ballard. It's quite shocking, but it's also beautifully written and has a very interesting commentary on modern society. I'm enjoying it tremendously.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Dark Jenolans

In a development which confirmed our unspoken, unmentionable fear of the great expanse that is the unpopulated mass of Australia- ancient, untouched and raw-, the Jenolan Caves have been discovered to be the worlds oldest open caves. They are three hundred and forty million years old.

Apparently the Aboriginals have long shunned the Jenolans, and their name for the caves translates to 'Dark Places'. Anyone who's read any of the works of H.P Lovecraft knows that this is a horrifying development, bringing the paranoiacs and the gullible (is there a difference?) among us one step closer to the Dark Ones.

For those of us who aren't prone to seeing such patterns, it's nevertheless a scary thought to consider that these caves have been around since the Carboniferous age, when no human walked the Earth; which is a good thing. I'm glad I wasn't around then, and you should be too. Scientists know a lot about the creatures from that age from their teeth. Seven meter sharks, the Rhizodont, swam in fresh water. Dragonflys with a wing-span of seventy one centimeters, flying around, and they were predators.

I'd very much like to visit these caves. Although, as Ian said to me,
"You'd probably just get there and say 'Oh, so this is the Jenolans.'.. "

Monday, July 24, 2006

Brideshead Revisited

"Ought we to be drunk every night?" - Sebastian Flyte, from Brideshead Revisited.

I've arrived back in Brisbane after a seventeen day return home. It was a real pleasure to be back with my family, and having all of my favourite meals cooked by my Mum, and seeing all of my friends. But for me, the highlight of my time back home was watching the entire Brideshead Revisited series with Mum. It's the finest television I've seen in my life, surpassing even Seinfeld.
The acting, cinematography, music, direction, it's all wonderful, and it has such a sad, beautiful story.

I also found it entirely relevant to the present day. Whilst the story did not entirely advocate getting drunk all the time, and was of course mindful of alcholism, it was (thankfully) not entirely puritanical on the subject. I'm rather annoyed that the sportsmen and women of my generation seem to have taken alcohol and given it such a bad name; through their celebratory partying and sexual harrassment and deviancy. They've taken all the innocent fun out of drinking.

It led me to ask "Was Evelyn Waugh a heavy drinker?". I did some quick research and the answer seems to be "Yes".

That's in common, then, with some other literary heroes of mine, such as Christopher Doyle , Ernest Hemingway, Anthony Burgess and Jack Kerouac. I'll try to research this theory a little more.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The State of Origin State

Serious sport is war minus the shooting - George Orwell

Congratulations to the Queensland team on their fantastic victory this evening. It seemed that a lot of the umpire decisions didn't exactly go their (our) way, and yet they (we) still managed two beautiful ones when it looked like they (we) might lose yet again.

After the spit was wiped after rolling down my chin and I was through bellowing like a Bili Ape on a full moon, I realised old Georgey boy might have a point. Every decision the umpire made seemed, to me, a travesty. That Willie Mason looked like a filthy bucaneer, a right scoundrel. There seemed to be malice behind every New South Welsh movement. And everything that Queensland did was heroic. State of Origin seems to put me in this state moreso than other sports, and I've had friends agree with this sentiment. What is it that makes it so?

Is it all the more infuriating when the enemy is so similar to your own side? Does civil war tap into that Cain-Abel seed inside us all, ape and man alike?

Is it the lack of that seed that those Bondo Mystery Apes are blessed with, some preterition deep in the Congo, which gives them curiosity instead of aggression towards humans?

So for the those Bili Apes, let's have a minutes silence for the New South Welshman, our brothers and cousins, implicit in this Bondo Mystery.

Still, they're nevertheless a cheating, vain, vulgar, sour and banal shower of bastards, the lot of them.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


There's an interesting "10 Questions for Imelda Marcos" in Time magazine this week. A highlight was:
"If you know how rich you are, my dear, then you're not really rich."

How hard can it be to know what you have? I think this really says something about the difference between being rich and wealthy- and it's not greed. It's ignorance that defines someone as rich her.

Later on, she says:
"I'm poor not in material things but in the truth...I had to wear jewelry then, but all that was taken away, confiscated by the government. They think they have taken everything away everything from me, including my shoes. But actually that's my biggest defense: when they opened my closet, they found shoes instead of skeletons."

At least that seems an admission of ignorance. To be poor in the truth, seems to imply that she isn't in possession of much truth. Funny thing, to say that, it's a paradox. Like the sentence "I always lie." And then to talk about her loss of jewelry and shoes, relating back to her opening preposition of being poor in truth? Aren't jewelry and shoes empirical objects; material in nature? Also, how is it to her 'defence' she had shoes in her closet? Apparently she had 3000 pairs of shoes, and they themselves were 'skeletons in the closet' because it was evidence of a fortune ill-gained.

Now, "Imeldific", is an adjective currently used to describe someone of 'ostentatious extravagence'. I think perhaps it should be extended to describe someone of 'ostentatious extravagence and remarkable stupidity'.

Tickle Me Emo

Something I've noticed upon arriving in Brisbane is a new class of stereotype amongst youths, my age and younger. They hang out along the Queen Street Mall, and they're the current majority of Mall Rats, it seems. On a first glance they look like Goths, or Gothics, because they wear mainly black, and even some of the guys wear pale makeup. But the attire also includes comical patterns like green and white stripes; they bear some resemblence to a clown, or acrobat. The hair is dyed black, usually, and the way that it's parted seems to suggest that one side is longer than the other.
Studded belts seem to be de rigueur. The term "Emo" has been given to them, which apparently stands for "Emotional".

This isn't confined to Brisbane, as it turns out. Whilst I'm not sure where it originally stemmed from, the Emo can be found in large herds on the internet; in this very blogosphere. From what I've seen, they have characteristics outside of just fashion (although, some seem to just stick to the fashion). They seem to like punk music, and share some views that the convoluted later day punk movement had, but they probably have never heard of The Velvet Underground, or Andy Warhol. In fact, the image can be described as neo-punk in a way.

The general ideology of the true Emo seems to be: I'm dissatisfied, young, helpless, hopeless and despairing. This consumerist world is cruel, no one understands my plight, but apathy is the cool choice that I make. I'm unique, and superior to those who can't see the truth; and in this way, enlightened in the sense that I'm engulfed by darkness. And don't ever try to judge me, or class me, because I'm unlike anyone else; only I have the ability to see that life is pain.

It's basically Nihilism.

My analysis of the dress code is that the black reflects their bleak view of the world; the nihilism part. The occasional hint of colour is to suggest that they were once happy; to contrast with the blackness they now feel (this provides for them another sadness, I used to be happy and ignorant...). The lopsided hair cut is their lopsided view of the world, their unbalanced opinions. On this note, giving a nod to my hero Thomas Pynchon and his observation in V, it would seem that the position of father-confessor has, for the Emo, been taken by, of all people, the Hairdresser. Society takes the form of Dandruff, the banality to be shed, that's revealed when all is made Black and True, and this clarity is achieved not by Psychoanalysis, but by the painful yet liberating process of Hair Dye and Straightening, which Straightens not only the strands of hair, but the Soul of the Emo.
"I think... I'm getting a bit of... curl" suggests that the Emo may be experiencing the false, the foolish, the forbidden sensation of Optimism. "We'll Steam and Straighten," says the Hairdresser.

The interesting thing is that the Emo doesn't actually seem to bother to read anything that might relate to Nihilism, that extreme form of Existentialism, or any other forms of it. If they did, they might sharpen up their act.

But as it is, they've yet to realise their essential contradiction. They have a big individualist ideal; yet they're a new stereotype, just another class of youth. They dress differently in uniform.

That is to say, they're the "don't-stereotype-us" stereotype.


I've always enjoyed reading blogs. Even if I've never met the person, sometimes there's some very interesting reading to be had.

After months of deliberating, I decided to make the decision ("in the same terminal class as reaching for a gun"- Thomas Pynchon) to start my own. This is to serve two purposes.

1. To keep my family and friends updated.

2. To give me a chance to be read (perhaps by those other than my family and friends). This is, I feel, an often overlooked component of writing, just as important as having an audience to listen to music.

I don't wish to have an inward leaning blog; I'd rather keep it to those things that I'd bring up in a conversation; films, books, world events, things of this nature. So, if I can maintain these original intentions, the blog will be about things that happen to me, and what I have to say about some events.

I'll try to do at least one post a week.