decade

Jan. 4th, 2010 01:44 am
metavore: (mookie)
Ten years of being able to eat toast with vegemite and nuttelex, without fear of crumbs, cancer or excessive Australianness, whenever I want.
metavore: (tldr)
How many of you were aware that this man



actually died some years ago, in a tragic gasoline fight accident?

metavore: (mr kipling)
Presenting

Banksy's Angel of the North, from the Banksy Versus Bristol Museum exhibition

banksy,angel of the north,jimmy carr

Courtesy of Jimmy Carr, the biggest face in show business.
metavore: (snail)
Let me take you on a little journey I went on this evening.

Step 1. I rewatched Kung Fu Hustle. I love that movie. It's the first (and possibly only) Chinese slapstick comedy that hasn't made me want to punch myself repeatedly in the neck.

Step 2. I wonder what Stephen Chow's up to?

Step 3. Oh, my. He's in a remake of The Green Hornet, an old radio serial I love dearly, about a masked superhero whose powers are limited to a car, a gun and a the original martial arts valet, Kato. Bruce Lee's shoes will be hard to fill.

Step 4. The Green Hornet is being played by Seth bloody Rogen.

Step 5. It's being directed by Michel goddamn Gondry.

Step 6: Cannot process: Integer divided by zero.
metavore: (mookie)
As DJ pointed out, there's no point whinging about the gentle demise of Livejournal if you never post anything.

So, I'm posting Esther's recipe for Benalla Side Salad, something she probably learned during her recent enforced stay there.

Benalla Side Salad

Ingredients

Canned pineapple
Canned corn niblets in large can
Over-cooked shell-pasta
Finely grated carrot
No more than two actual lettuce leaves
1 large slice of canned beetroot
1 cup of extra creamy mayonnaise
1-2 tomato wedges
8 Coon cheese cubes
Diced Spam/ham

Preparation time: 4 days.

1. Microwave pineapple, corn niblets, the two lettuce leaves and shell pasta on high for 3 min; reserve corn niblet juice in can.
2. Desicate the grated carrot under a commercial grade hand dryer for 10 minutes.
3. Add pineapple, corn niblets, pasta, dessicated carrot, tomato, lettuce and Coon cheese cubes to the reserved corn niblets juice in can. Marinate in the fridge for 3 days.
4. Drain contents thoroughly, gently set the two lettuce leaves aside.
5. Place ingredients in small fancy glass bowl or one of those small plastic hospital bowls.
6. If customer has ordered the salad as a vegetarian option, add the diced spam/ham.
7. Cover ingredients with mayonnaise, taking care to hide the spam/ham.
8. Garnish with the two lettuce leaves and slice of beetroot.
9. Refrigerate further for 1 day and serve.

Enjoy!

Clonbinane

May. 20th, 2009 12:23 pm
metavore: (Default)
Last week, Greg and I drove up to our property in Clonbinane, between Whittlesea and Wallan. Peter and I last went up there about a year ago, after an absence of about fifteen years. We used to go up nearly every weekend as a family, to muck about with fires and sticks and getting covered in burrs along the creek. We had grand plans to build a house, but then our mother got bitten by a tick and somehow she just never found the time to go back. Over the intervening years, the whole property was taken over by a woody shrub, which someone identified for us as Kunzea ericoides, variously known as burgan, kanuka or white tea-tree. We referred to it as 'that horrible stuff'. It gradually muscled out the trees, even the bracken, until the whole place was just a sea of evil pointy branches waiting to smack you in the face.

It all looked very different last week.



photos )
metavore: (mookie)
8:57pm: Nicole fails entirely to notice yet another earthquake.

You say what happened now? Naaah.

Snort.

Jan. 4th, 2009 04:21 pm
metavore: (tldr)
How could I possibly argue with these randomly generated resolutions? Magnificent.

In 2009, matcha_pocky resolves to...
Overcome my secret fear of doing things.
Cut down to ten suffering fools a day.
Apply for a new stuff.
Give some webtests to charity.
Volunteer to spend time with chewy meringues.
Cut down on my relaxing.






Get your own New Year's Resolutions:
metavore: (mr kipling)
Graffiti snails roaming London

metavore: (tldr)
"The Contraction of Space/Time and the Dilation of the Narrow Circle"

--Subheading in a journal paper about blogs. I kid you not.

Journalism

Aug. 30th, 2008 10:58 pm
metavore: (Default)
I haven't seen anything drifting about my friends list about this, so I thought I'd take the opportunity. Obviously, there's at least one major media outlet which hasn't said anything about this.

550 job cuts were announced on Tuesday at The Age, including a large number of high-profile journalists. The first to go was editor Andrew Jaspan. On Thursday afternoon, the rest of the staff staged a revolt and picket lines went up. Strike breakers and non-union staff were at the ready.

Fairfax has been pushing the paper to do more advertorial content. By all accounts Jaspan, as an editor, is somewhat unable to find his way out of a paper bag with both hands and a mixed metaphor, but he nevertheless refused. Now he finds himself and a large chunk of his staff in the Centrelink queue.

While this might seem at first to be an issue of strikes and unions and pickets, at its heart it's a question of news. Is it your right to have good news? News that is relatively unbiased, acceptably impartial and approximately objective? Fairfax is a company, whose aim is to make money; news doesn't necessarily make money. Ads make money.

The bottom line is this: If you normally read The Age - online or in paper format - this might be a good weekend to give it a miss. Conspicuously buy something else. Head to the ABC instead. Nothing hurts a company like a good crack to the wallet. Melbournians are known for their fierce defense of their public amenities, and I know I personally can't bear to let The Age go down without a fight.
metavore: (snail)
Gosh, I love Weezer. Most fun I've had in three minutes and eighteen seconds in ages.

metavore: (tldr)
So I'm eyeing a master's degree. In particular, I'm eyeing the Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing at unimelb. I know there are probably easier ways to waste my time and money and still end up in the same place, but really, I have all the direction of a compass in a magnetic storm and maybe this will point me towards something more specific than "I don't know, I quite like doing everything, really, maybe writing of some kind?"

For this, I would like to ask you, my dearest peanut gallery, for some assistance.

Thing one: I need to submit 3000 words of folio, each individually polished to a mirror-like shine. If there's anything I've written on this blague, or my previous incarnation [livejournal.com profile] niki_chan, that's particularly stuck with you as a bit of writing, I'd like to know about it.

Thing two: I'll be putting together a writing filter where I post some of the bits I'm thinking of including, for feedback and dissection and so forth. If you'd like to be on it, leave me a comment. If you're not feeling livejournalley, there's an email version going out also. Feel free to come in late or change your mind at any point.

Thing three: If anyone needs or knows of anyone who needs an editor, I'd appreciate any cheap'n'dirty opportunities to kluge some editing/publishing experience into my resume. I have plenty of web experience but no print media. If you need your PhD introduction edited, for example, that's instantly 'freelance editing'. If your eccentric aunt needs a circular done for her organic vegetable co-op, I can wrangle those little Microsoft clip-art guys with the best of them.

I'm screening comments, because, well, I feel like it.

Tasway

Mar. 19th, 2008 05:37 pm
metavore: (Default)
So I spent a large chunk of last week in Tasmania, ostensibly bicycling round the west coast. Peter was in town, and the experience was appropriately wacky. I don't know what possessed me to think I could haul my generous posterior around anywhere on a bike, much less up and down the "it's just a small hill"s of Tassie.

We were molested by bumblebees, camped in a variety of different types of mud, had lunch in a dry riverbed, witnessed the world's largest collection of carved pelicans, stole some apples and mooned many, many people while changing in and out of bike gear. I managed to (carefully, conscientiously) lock the keys in the car, which meant I missed the Lake St Clair walk, but the ranger regaled me with stories of recovering the corpses of lost hikers and the difficulty of trapping feral cats while we waited for the break-in kit to arrive.

I drove the rider-support vehicle more than I rode, but I think I racked up 45k or so, only ten of which were spent walking my bike up a tiny, small, miniscule, not-to-worry cloud-covered mountain. The plus side was that I got to see a furry caterpillar, a hopping mouse thing and a dead baby bat being eaten by wasps. The minus side was that by the time I got to the top I'd pretty much already been dead for forty minutes and rigor mortis was setting in. And the wasps were looking hungry.

The best part about riding is the food. When you're riding, you can eat whatever crap you like. Esther handed me a bag of cashews, saying I need salt. Peter introduced me to pickled onion and salami crackers. Chocolate and dried fruit and fudge and lollies take on a dietary-supplement shine, and dinner is enormous piles of pasta and bread and meat. You get to eat all the junkiest food with a glowing halo of self-righteousness. It's lovely.

My riding for the weekend ended when I drove the car into a knee-deep pothole and my bike crashed down off the roof-rack. Peter and James and the guy who wandered over from the next campsite managed to get it into ridable shape, and for a while there I had a new and exciting ninth gear that hadn't previously existed, but I figure mobius wheels aren't a long-term solution. Hard earned cash goes once more to Brunswick Street Cycles.

I've put some photos on my flickr page:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictureskew/

I don't think bike holidaying is for me. I like to stop and smell the flowers, and when your feet are carrying you from town to town, you don't really have time. It's up at 7am, pack down tent, swallow food, race off for three hours, eat lunch, ride some more, collapse, put up tent, eat dinner, play half a game of scrabble and then zonk out. All the worrying about flat tire fixing equipment and water supply and sunburn prevention and who packed the spoke-wrench underneath the tent. I believe a holiday should include less... what to call it... obligation?
metavore: (tldr)
I just turned away a nice scottish girl with a clipboard who knocked on my front door with a request that I help Save The Children. I really had to convince her to leave. She got quite upset, I think.

I suffer a lot from looking like an easy mark. I have to put on my death-face or pretend to be on the phone to avoid getting hassled for change. Clipboarders make beelines for me. I have this cute pink cherubic face and multicoloured hair and I just look like I have a social consicence. It's all a lie, though. I am in fact a mean lady.

I always turn down people who knock on my door. Regardless. I don't think I've ever agreed to anything shilled over my front threshold beyond the occasional handful of shrapnel. I give them a variety of reasons - not interested, already have whatever you're selling, I give over the internet. I'm also very hard to clipboard in the street - I might sign your petition, but the only people who ever suckered me in to signing up on the street were Amnesty International, and only then because I'd been planning to join anyway. The closest anyone's ever got door-to-door was the mad Kirby salesman who wanted to talk about Punisher and the Mage(TM) tarot deck, and even he had to bribe me with a free carpet clean.

I'm sure by doing this I've missed out on things I'd be interested in. I'm sure if I listened to a spiel without "How can I politely get rid of you?" running through my mind, I might hear something I like. But I choose not to listen.

Firstly, I don't like my personal space invaded. Today, one telemarketer call, one hangup and one doorknocker. Insomnia and a newly acquired zcode addiction meant I went to sleep around 8am this morning. Between those unsolicited contacts, the three real calls I got, and the neighbours smashing pots together outside my window, that is some serious metal fatigue in the chains holding down my desire to kill. Even when I'm not asleep or cooking or in the bath, I loathe it. If the phone or the doorbell rings you have to answer it in case it's something legitimate, and then you find you've been baited and switched.

But it isn't just that I find the intrusion annoying, though that's a big part of it. It's the power imbalance inherent in the technique. When you're put in a one-on-one situation like this, you are always at a disadvantage. You have to take for granted that you're not being lied to. You have to take for granted that you're receiving all the relevant information. You have to take the word of the person on your doorstep that your details will not be sold to Nigerian spammers. You can't do research, you haven't got time to read the entire product disclosure statement. There's time pressure - you don't have all day to stand around and neither do they - and there's an increased sense of obligation to a real human asking you something.

It doesn't help that the person with whom you're communicating is usually a barely conscious robot with a pre-programmed spiel and a laminated card they don't really understand, who is being paid commissions and has been trained to plow through your polite "not interested"s. If you're lucky, they're a dedicated and well-informed volunteer; if you're not, they're a desperate teenage boy with a pregnant girlfriend in Cranbourne who works for a marketing company that isn't the company he's trying to shill you long-distance calls for.

For four interminably long weeks just after I left home, I knocked on doors and convinced people to 'register' for a 'new long distance phone service' that was 'free'. We told people that we needed their license number for an identity check; in fact it was for a credit rating. We glossed over the fact that people who signed the dotted line would now receive two separate phone bills. Maybe we saved some people a few dollars, but still, it was the most soul-destroying thing I've ever had to do. I was very good at it. The poor kid from Cranbourne really wasn't, and went home with nothing every night.

I don't know if my refusal to ever accept an unsolicited offer has any dent on marketing practices - I sincerely doubt it - but in the grand shiny future of personal profiling and information stockpiling, maybe they'll notice a pattern in my behaviour, take the damn hint and stop waking me up.
metavore: (Default)
One of my secret fascinations is all things medical. Okay, it's really not that secret; I actually have many fascinations. Certain things that appeal to me. The colour blue, for example. Dissolving Life Savers to as thin a ring as possible. Anything relating to gemstones. I think everyone has these little fascinations, and they're one of the the things that make each human unique, as much as personality or phobias or physical attributes.

Medical fascination has to be one of the most common fascinations, but also one of the most interesting. Hospital dramas do well. Hospital reality TV brings in crowds. Post a picture of a tumour that has it's mother's hair and teeth, even if it is only made of wool blend, and the interweb will come. There's something undeniably fascinating about the ways the human body goes wrong - but it doesn't all have to be Zach Braff tripping over an inflatable pig or a sanctimonious voiceover by a cheap Australian actor or a non-knitted version of the above. There is a lot of fascination that surrounds the process of real-life, unvarnished medical treatment. As a result, medically themed blogs are ridiculously popular.

I keep up with a few medical blogs, but some of the most interesting are the ones that deal primarily with the people rather than the medical conditions - Nee Naw, Random Reality, paramedics, dispatchers, nurses - fascinating stories. They can only blog, since obscuring identity is paramount. When the governments of the world finally twig that posting on the internet is broadcasting, these little slices of reality will probably disappear entirely.

Last week, though, I happened on a new one, which I think is possibly the best-written blog I've ever read. Ever. It's by a London paramedic, it's called Siren Voices, and it can be found here:

http://sirenvoices.blogspot.com/

I'm not a great advertiser of things, but my god, that is a damn fine pile of words.
metavore: (Default)
I'm finding it hard to articulate exactly why I was so shocked by the headline I found waiting on the Age's auto-reloaded front page this morning. Or maybe I'm not finding it hard to articulate.

It's always shocking when someone young dies. Not because they're inherently worth more than someone older, but because the chance for that worth to contribute to our lives has been taken away from us. There's a sort of tragedy curve that starts high (for children, babies and toddlers, drenched in pathos), and then as a rule slowly drops off for the rest of our lives. That curve, though, can go up if we show promise. If we show that we are more worthy of life and everything in it by giving something back to the race of man. Each person has their own personal measure of promise and tragedy - someone might value a promising sports career over a science whiz - but ultimately, we all have this system for calculating the approximate sadness of the death of someone we don't know, based on what we know about them.

This is the theory, but it doesn't ring true today. Brad Renfro died last week, and he got an "ohhh... sad." Sir Edmund Hillary's death rated higher, but in the end, the guy was 88 and we all have to go sometime. But Heath Ledger dying has hit me with more than just the loss of what he could have done. It feels like a personal loss.

Possibly it's because he's Australian. He looks and sounds like the people I know. Our Heath and all that. Possibly it's because, through his movie career, I've watched him grow into a better actor, master the art of accents, choose to leave his crappy movies behind and work with quality directors, willing to take a bit part to get into a good film.

But really, it's because of this:



The gossip dailies gave him no end of shit for this outfit. Yes, I read the gossip dailies. My dark shame. But looking at that photo - and watching him doing the ridiculous karaoke scene in 10 things I hate about you, and gamely pashing Jake Gyllenhaal when they're both clearly straight, and going all-out method for the chance to play the Joker - I get the strong impression that Heath Ledger is my people. There was always the vague feeling he might turn up at a party, or a theatre opening, wearing a cowboy shirt and drinking a locally brewed beer.

Now he's dead. Very odd. Like putting a full stop in the middle of a sentence. I'm sorry, Heath. I wish I'd known you better.
metavore: (Default)
So I need a desk. The black ex-office monstrosity I've been using can't be coaxed into my bedroom, and I need a smaller model. I don't really feel like shelling out $300 for a bit of ikea chipboard veneer, and the salvos are really very, very creepy - they buy the good stuff from other op shops and then mark it up a thousand percent, meaning you have to go there because they have the best selection. My sofas, when I bought them, cost $95 - yet when I got them home and cleaned them, I found the original $5 stickers under the cushions.

My question is this: Does anyone have a hard rubbish collection coming up in their neck of the woods? Or their parents' woods? Councils are very secretive about them, in a highly-non-communistic way, but there's nothing quite like a good hard-rubbish trawl, and desks are a prime item - too big to get rid of easily, and very likely to be victims of the downsizing itch. If you happen upon a pile of washing machines and bicycle inner tubes on a nature strip, let me know.
metavore: (snail)
Internet-generated band. Or, as I prefer, "outfit".

Your band name is the title from a random Wikipedia page.

Your album title is the last four words of the last quote on the Quotations Page.

Your album cover is the third picture down on the Flickr interestingness page.



Jazzy grooves, methinks, ethnic influences and the occasional echoey sythesised bleep or vocal sample. The kind of music that you put on your minimalist stereo before your date arrives so they'll think you're funky but laid back, or crank out of your bedroom window for the improptu drag-the-sofa-onto-the-nature-strip party. After years together, quietly producing music, Coupe de Madagascar will split up and no one will notice.

Gmail

Dec. 29th, 2007 05:07 pm
metavore: (Default)
Somehow, some kind of complete bastard has leaked my nice spam-free gmail address to a friendly email worm. My spam folder is filling up with stock reports, innocuous links and munged poetry and current events. I knew it would come someday, just not so soon. Not so soon. Dear God, Why.

The odd side effect of all this is that Gmail's context-sensitive advertisments have been offering me some mouth-watering delights.

Creamy Spam Broccoli Casserole
Spam Confetti Pasta
Savory Spam Crescents
Spicy Spam Kabobs
Spam Primavera
Spam Swiss Pie
Vineyard Spam Salad

My two particular favourites in this lineup are the French Fry Spam Casserole, which features not only the titular spam and frozen french fries, but also condensed cream of chicken soup, cream, cheddar and cornflakes, and the Gingered Spam Salad, which requires ginger, freshly squeezed lime juice and zest, cherry tomatoes, Thai bird peppers, coriander. And a can of spam. I don't care how much zest you put on, spam is at least 70% sow's ear.

Still, at least it really does mean Google's context-sensitive ads are as dumb as they make them out to be. My spam fetish is safe with them.
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