Wednesday, April 26, 2006

555 shoe

Here's a list my good mate Dave sent me regarding ways to brighten up my working hell, I mean life. Working life:
  • Get a briefcase to carry your shoehorn around in
  • Put a thumbtack in a different shoe each day
  • Always have a banana skin on the floor of the shoe section
  • Make a point of refusing a pair to one customer everyday: "I'm sorry Sir/Madam. Those ones are not for sale."
  • Wear high heels
  • Give one shoe of a pair to one customer and the other matching shoe to another customer and watch them fight to the death for shoe supremacy
  • Speak to the shoes regularly: "Don't worry, I won't let anyone hurt you."
You could check out Dave's excellent haiku archive blog (linked in the links section to the right hand side of this page) except I got the web address wrong and Dave hasn't corrected me yet...
Anyway, I have sad news. The shoes I strung over the power line in front of my house were taken down somehow three days after I put them up!
I'm really mystified as to how someone got them down. Mystified.
They must have really wanted them.
Either that or gravity did its thing (note in the picture below that the laces haven't looped around the power line...).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I work at an op-shop, as I keep mentioning, and the menial task they've set me for the moment is to sort, assess, price and stock the secondhand shoes that are donated. Mostly they're really old, shitty, smelly useless junk and the work, of course, sux.
Anyway, I stumbled across a pair of tidy Nike basketball sneakers that had barely been worn. My flatmate Aamer collects sneakers so I decided to price them cheaply and buy them as a gift; the 50% discount for employees made it a very cheap purchase, too. Just as well...
For, when I got them home at the end of my shift, my boyfriend told me that they were fakes! I was disappointed and demanded to know how he knew they were fakes and he said that they didn't say 'Nike' on them, which, apparently, is a dead giveaway. I wasn't satisfied, so I decided to wait until the sneaker aficionado came home before I'd start thinking murderous thoughts of revenge on the shoes.
But lo, Aamer took one look at the shoes and confirmed Leigh's assessment, 'You can tell because of the cheap material.'
Yes, well, it seems I was duped by a pair of shoes. A pair of shoes!
So I decided to shoefiti them. That is, later that night I tied their laces together and threw them over the powerlines outside my flat.
Maybe you've seen this before, walking around some suburb in your locale, a lone pair of sneakers slung over a street's powerline, swaying lonely in the breeze.
'What's it for?' you may have asked yourself.
Well, there are theories from those who don't know shit that shoes hanging from powerlines could possibly mean:
that this is an unsafe neighbourhood; or
that there's a 'pot party' going on in the house the shoes are hanging outside of; or
that there is a drug dealer in this street; or
that a gang is operative in this area; or
that a gang member has been killed in this street; or
that a drug dealing local gang member has been killed somewhere in this vicinity, sometime, maybe... during a 'pot party'...
I like to think that it means somebody was bored and had a brainwave for brightening up the suburban landscape and getting rid of those pesky shoes without
contributing to landfill or tormenting some poor, over qualified shoe pricer at the local op-shop.
Wishful thinking maybe, but shoefiti is no middling matter.
Oh no. Apparently shoefiti is on the rise.
Hell, it has a name now so it must be some kind of a phenomenon.
If you want more info, you can check out a blog called
I took photos of my shoefiti, so once I get the film developed I'll post it up here.
I'm quite proud of leaving my little mark on my suburb. My only regret is that, given the
above ridiculous explanations for shoefiti looming large in the paranoid public's imagination, I didn't hang the shoes outside the primary school that's just down the road...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

city slab horror

I'm trying to write a job application but I'd rather sing the high praises of Severed Heads instead as I'm listening to their music, which they provide for free, at the moment and am re-inspired by their brilliance as I was many (not that many) years ago when I was an undergraduate, staying up early writing award winning assignments whilst listening to the Heds' amazingly shimmering sonic brilliance FOR FREE! such as their early tunes from '83 up to their 90's b-sides and remixes and still they continue to innovate and astound, oh yes, and all this for free, but of course if you're fanatical like I am it's just not the same unless you buy their cd's over the net, home made as they are and touched by the hand of genius, albeit it demented and 'ravaged by the insults of time'.
track of the moment: we have come to bless the house

Monday, April 17, 2006

why mX s-u-x

Yeah, right, so there are many good reasons to hate Melbourne's free daily 'commuter' newspaper, the News Limited made mX (Melbourne Express). Here's a short list:
  1. It's full of shit, trivial celebrity goss;
  2. It labels political, social news as 'boring but important' and relegates this section to less than a column;
  3. It has a section labelled 'doom and gloom' which fixates on news of death and devastation;
  4. It prioritises a section it calls 'what in the weird' that discusses quirky news events of little consequence to anyone over the section mentioned in point 1;
  5. It plagiarises from sources far and wide, including New Scientist as mentioned in Media Watch tonight;
  6. Its puzzles section contains the shittest of shit shitness when it comes to testing your brain and no funnies - what's with that?;
  7. It has what must be the worst cartoonist in Australia, Andrew Fyfe, and dares to print such trash as the following picture.
This picture came hot on the heels of Indonesian newspaper, Rakyat Merdeka, publishing a cartoon of Prime Minister John Howard and and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as two dingoes rutting on its front page. This was followed by Bill Leak of The Australian newspaper, drawing a cartoon of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's president screwing a dog. Now, obviously these caricatures are absurd and were duly shown little interest by these politicians. Fair enough.
But as Din mentioned, there is a clearly homophobic tone to them. At the time of his posting, I somewhat dismissed Din's emphasis on the homophobia, but now I feel a little foolish.
These kind of negative representations of homosexuality are nothing short of offensive. I fail to see how the unholy alliance of Australia and China on the basis of shared nuclear interests could in any way evoke the fraught same-sex relationship as depicted in Ang Lee's fine and sensitive film, Brokeback Mountain.
Now, it seems that Fyfe thinks the relationship depicted in BM is something rather ugly or laughable and that it is appropriate to satirise politicians by drawing them as homos as a means of criticising them, thus casting homosexuality in a negative light. I'm sure Fyfe felt he had licence to do this because some other cartoonist set the precedent. But he's merely manifesting something latent and has been supported by the editors of that rag.
What second rate hacks.
So remember kids, don't forget to ask this one important question to the next person you see reading mX:
is that the truth or is your news limited?

aqua teen hunger force

Stoner cartoons are such a boon for me.
They're like a micro dose of insanity to help a person get through the day.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force is one such cartoon.
It's three antagonistic protagonists are: Frylock, an intelligent box of french fries
with the power to shoot beams out of his eyes; Master Shake, a stupid and selfish milk shake; and Meatwad, a meat pattie with personality plus and a penchant for hip hop.
Episodes run for about ten minutes and involve some of the most absurd situations and characters imaginable.

For example:
There's Carl. Carl's the trio's hideous next door neighbour. They annoy him by using his pool all the time, burning down his house, stealing his porn collection, blowing off his foot and destroying his car to name just a few;

There are the Mooninites. Two two bit hell raisers from the Moon without any moral scruples at all. They make Atari 2600 sound effects when they move;

The Plutonians, Oglethorpe and Emory. These spiky inept aliens are constantly trying to destroy Earth. Oglethorpe is constantly angry and speaks with a German accent and Emory is his stoner subaltern. Their plans to destroy Earth are half-arsed and never end well.

Of course, there are other characters but not many more and I don't want to give it all away. Although if you're interested in more info just go to Wickipedia. There's an extensive entry on the show there, replete with detailed character descriptions and all episodes' precis'.
But it gets better!
There's a character
in a few episodes called MC Pee Pants who is voiced by real life MC Chris, the only MC with an extremely high-pitched voice that I've ever heard.
You can download his oeuvre for free if you follow this link. And it's great, if really misogynistic and homophobic. I think that's supposed to be part of the humour of it. He keeps it real as he spins lyrical frills about Boba Fett from Star Wars and
how much he wants candy and robitussin. Quality trash.
For the Class A stuff however, look no further than DangerDoom. This duo is comprised of MF Doom and Danger Mouse and they've collaborated to bring you some of the best hip hop you'll ever hear with some help from the Adult Swim back catalogue including ATHF, Harvery Birdman: Attorney at Law and Sealab 2021. Tight.
Just thought I'd chronically name drop...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

montezuma falls

I've spent six months of my life living on the beautiful, wild, rugged, stark west coast of Tasmania.
It was an amazing time. I was a social worker doing youth, mental health, alcohol and other drugs and community development interventions. Which provided me with many amazing experiences and privileges.
In between all that, I went sight seeing and this picture here
(which I took and which does no justice whatsoever to the falls) is one of those amazing sights.
Montezuma Falls is a ten minute drive and forty minute walk from Rosebery. It's Tasmania's tallest falls, standing at 104 metres in height. To get there you have to drive through an invisible ghost town called Williamsford and then walk along an old and disused trainline that used to link a mine to the town of Williamsford (the west coast having been settled for mining reasons) through verdant rainforest evocative of Middle Earth.
The day I walked to the falls it was pouring with beautiful, soft rain, which cast a kind of washed out pall to the whole experience and provided a crisp, clean, earthy smell too. The falls was flowing really strong and standing at its base was an amazing rush due to the sheer force of all the water falling down. Really rejuvenating. There's a one person footbridge there too. That's where this photo is taken from. And when I say one person, I mean the footbridge can only hold one person and their backpack at a time. It's a bit of a thrill crossing it as it's only twenty centimetres wide - at best - at its base.
The little person you can see in the photo is the adorable, amazing and sexy, sexy woman, Karen, who was also a youth worker at the agency at which I worked.
So much beauty all around.
Thanks to Leigh for compiling the two photos to make this a seamless panoramic shot. The photos were taken with Dad's old Pentax SLR 'Spotmatic F'.

strange flashback

It was the first time I had left Tasmania in six years when I came to Melbourne at the end of 2004, start of 2005.
The holiday was as much for the sake of getting a breath of fresh air as it was to check out Melbourne and see if I was ready to make the step of moving out of my comfort zone, which was getting a little too comfortable for my liking.
Well, I had a great time in Melbourne, partly thanks to my friend Jock. He really provided me with
good company, a lot of fun, and priceless opportunities.
Long story short, I spent a few days over the New Years period with a pretty special guy. In fact, I spent my last three nights in the company of a guy who is now my boyfriend de factoid. Nice!
This is where the story gets interesting and topical.
I had a good half hour to spend at Flinders Street Station on the way back from Leigh's to the place I was staying at on my last night in Melbourne.
I decided to walk around the CBD a little to fill in the time. Suddenly this little man in a deafeningly loud shirt bounded up to me. He asked if I'd seen some 'girls'. He assured me I'd know they were his because they looked like dancers and they were his dancers.
I said I hadn't seen them.
He hmmmed a bit and said that that was a pity as they were on their way to a party. Then he said I should go to the party with him, that it would be fun and that I'd like it and did I smoke?
I more or less said no, no and no, to which he started more or less pleading and pleading some more with assurances that it would be fun and that I'd like it.
I firmly said no and he went off in search of his girls, wishing me a good night and that was that.
Cut to Wednesday this past week, over a year later.
I'm stocking the shelves with shoes at my place of employment in Brunswick.
I hear a voice, redolent of gay and oddly reminiscent.
The voice is saying, "He's a nice one. I want to work at Slavers. I want to work in shoes."
I ignore the voice, working away as I do but then a moment later, this little man comes up to me and starts asking me if there are any dancing shoes for his dancing girls who are his dancing girls.
One thing leads to another and this guy's asking me what my name is. His is something like Cindy. He's asking me where I live and whether or not I like to drink and smoke. To which I say I don't smoke and he says, "Good." Then Cindy gives me his 'business card'.
It reads like this in handwritten biro:
Massage Therapist
Dance Choreographer
PH: 0400XXX666
But the 'business card' is a perfume card, like the ones you get from Myer perfume counters, and has Dunhill 'desire for a man' scent on it. Which stinks, by the way.
He's a professional poof! Makes me feel so amateur! I should run around with a business card:
Amateur Dick Masseur (aim to please)
Professional Shoe Salesman (in the style of Al Bundy)
Failed Academic and Social Worker
PH: 555 SHOE
I could give it to unsuspecting shelf stackers.
Cindy also gave Ben, a strapping young lad I work with, the third degree and his business card. So I feel a little less privileged.
Anyway, a strange flashback.
Disposable information for a consumerist society.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Last weekend, I was waiting in queue in the inappropriately named express lane at the stupormarket when I saw something mildly disturbing.
A couple of early teen kids, a boy and a girl, were generally making some noise, play fighting with each other, when their mother turned on them and casually, almost passively, slapped them hard on the head alternately, one, two, one, two, as they cowered away from her palm.
As soon as she turned away the children looked up, looked at each other and then with massive smiles started rapidly slapping each other in the head, too.
Now where did they get that idea from?
And why do I never tell parents off for abusing their children?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

we are experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by

The following entry is no longer relevant as my good mate Dave has fixed it all up. Maaaaate!
It seems, somehow, that I've managed to remove myself as moderator from my own blog and I don't know how to rectify this situation.
In other words, I've just maimed my own blog by shutting myself out from it in important ways.
If you look to the right, you will also notice two contributors boxes. This is also my fault and I have absolutely no idea how I accomplished it. What do I need two contributors boxes for? What do I need one for?
I feel as though I've run over my own child in the driveway... I thought I knew what I was doing but I was outta control!
Now I can't, for example, change the appearance of my blog, receive comments, add a clustrmaps site counter, add extra interesting links, or fix those fucking stupid contributors boxes!!!

In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, "Idiot! Gosh!"

track of the moment - 'technical difficulties' by dr octagon (dan the automator with kool keith and q-bert)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

da bomb

While I was working today, I heard a regular, steady beeping noise coming from one of the shelves. My first thought was that it was a bomb. Stupid. Of course, I investigated and turned off the alarm clock somebody had set. Initially it bothered me that my very first reaction was of the 'alert not alarmed' variety.* But then I realised it's completely normal for a worker in my position to pray for some major scale calamity to fuck up their employer.
*FYI: 'Alert not alarmed' refers to an advertisement campaign initiated by the Howard Government in order to arouse overt fear and hatred of Muslims, and people from the Middle East in
general, here in Australia. This and other measures (such as the introduction of a Homeland Security portfolio to investigate suspected terrorist activity) have been successful in achieving just that.

And check out CONELRAD (where I got the following picture from) for your recommended daily intake of oddly humorous early Cold War insanity. It'll also enlighten you about Gene Hackman's early career...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

AWA? No fuckin' way!

Kevin Andrews,
Minister for Industrial Relations
(see below for another side of Big Kev)

So things are getting worse at Slavers, the shop I work for.
They've introduced Australian Workplace Agreements
to the business.
Curiously enough, management are not requested to sign AWA contracts.
Why is this?
And what is an Australian Workplace Agreement, anyway?
Australia's archly conservative Prime Minister, John Howard, hates Unions and has being doing his best to undermine them for the whole ten years he has been this nation's fearless leader.
Since his latest re-election victory in which his party gained control of the lower house and the Senate, he feels he has a stronger mandate for fucking over the country in favour of big business even more than he has had in the past.
Australian Workplace Agreements are the icing on the cake of his efforts to diminish the power of unions in Australia (he will never destroy them).
Let's backtrack a little.
Enterprise Bargain Agreements were introduced in the nineties through Peter Reith, then Minister for Industrial Relations. These sought to do away with Union Award Wages and the rhetoric that surrounded the implementation of EBA's, as I recall, was concerned with 'empowering' employees to work with their employers to derive reasonable wages and conditions for their employment. This was a completely transparent effort to sideline unions and empower employers at the expense of employees of course, but it was not all that effective in its aims, although it was not without its successes either.
Well, AWA's go up to eleven in this respect. AWA's give employers even more power and potentially alienate employees from each other even more by individualising their working conditions.
I am going to use Slavers as a casestudy to elaborate on this.
We were given a pep talk and a come on from the Slavers Area Manager who
manages the whole of Slavers Australia - or so she and the business thinks...
Throughout this didactic display of rhetoric and lies, she said that the Union concerns in regard to AWA's were overblown and that AWA's actually work in the favour of employees. And here's why:
AWA's provide a lot more flexibility for employers and employees because, now, the 38 hours a week full time requirement becomes 76 hours per fortnight.
This means that an employer can potentially ask an employee to work 30 hours this week and 46 hours next week. It gets worse, however.
The employer can ask to change your roster and only give you 24 hours warning (for which you can read: any time during the day before).
Now, this means that if I
consistently say, "No," to an employer when they ask to change my roster, they have every right to say that I am not being a good employee for them and can therefore sack me. Naturally this point wasn't mentioned during the speech.
The other point that wasn't really elaborated on was that an AWA is a three year contract.
There is nothing to stop Slavers from deciding that they do not want to renew a contract after three years. NOTHING.
To sweeten the deal (which is a particularly sour one), employees who 'voluntarily' sign up for an AWA earn a whole $1 more per hour than employees on the current Shops Storage Award, retain the 15 minute breaks that SSA employees will now only get 10 minutes for and will have their birthdays as paid rostered days off, unlike the SSA employees.
Sorry Slavers, but you're going to have to pour me a lot more sugar before I switch to your oppressive contract.
New employees do not have a choice as to which agreement they sign up for. All
new employees have to sign an AWA.
So much for choice and equality.
Now, whose interests does this new agreement really serve?
But the thing I really can't comprehend is why about half the employees at Slavers want to be fucked over by Slavers and John Howard and (more importantly) one of these employees is a union rep.
We are living in strange times.
But not as strange as the picture of Kevin Andrews that I found when I typed his name into Google Image.

Admittedly, this is a picture from England.
It may not be this nation's Federal Industrial Relations Minister.
But then again, the likeness is uncanny...