Saturday, July 30, 2005

Melbourne International Film Festival

I'm heading off to the Melbourne film festival today, and in form true to my nature I'm going about my task with the zeal of a faith healer: I'm going to see a record six films in a row!

A record for me, anyway...

I'm also intending to build my nerdish cred by taking a notebook and pen so that I can take notes on what I see.

I'll see if I can put together some sort of review when I get home tonight.

Sit Ubu sit!

I'm like a dog running back and forth, tail wagging after being tossed a bone, except the bone in my case is the slightest attention thrown my way by a girl.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Splendor in the grass

Splendor in the grass was a whirling, whooshing wonderful thing. The Doves in particular, aided considerably by some magic mushrooms that I purchased, created a sparkling bright liquid wave of sound that washed over me with a soothing caress. All sorts of thoughts spun into and out of the dark recesses of my mind as I stood in that tent, each one illuminating the black for a short period, each one a star in the nightscape of my mind.

The weather in Byron bay, as usual, did not disappoint: the temperature was that dreamy, neutral degree; the one to which human beings are optimally suited. And the girls! All sorts of wonderful, exotic girls. Fortunately, the food at the festival was far above the norm for music festivals - the norm being Dagwood dogs and dried up mystery bags (aka dim sim). I managed to find myself a tasty samosa accompanied by a creamy coriander sauce at one of the food stalls and walked away a very satisfied customer.

Har Mar Superstar, though very funny to observe, was not nearly as entertaining as I thought he might be. Queens of the stone age, Interpol, Cut Copy, Bloc Party and Sarah Blasko were the highlights. Having to spend my weekend away with ex-housemates, ex-housemates who come attached with the ‘ex’ for a very good reason, was the lowlight.

During the second afternoon of the festival I went and lay upon the beach, with the golden fire shining down on me, its rays penetrating more than my flesh, and with the even, relentless crashing of the distant waves I fell into the world beyond. As I lay there, half in this world and half in the next, I tried to focus on the timelessness of the ocean. Would that I could become one with the sea; would that I could crumble, fade and return to the sand that was spawned at the beginning of time. And the waves kept rolling. And the waves kept rolling. And the waves kept rolling. Sleep.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What if?

What if I did something awful at the start of this year? What if I committed an act so terrible, so despicable that I can't even bear the idea of writing it directly, in a diary that nobody I know reads? What if there are some things that a person cannot take back? What if I deserve every shitty thing that has happened to me, with interest?

What then?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I think I can

After taking an extra long four day weekend off, to go to the music festival Splendor in the grass (large post coming up on that topic when I have the time to devote to it), I've found myself taking another 2 'sick days' off on top of this. The reality is that after 6 years of working for 'The Corporation' I'm utterly burnt out and find it difficult to face going in there. I'm being made redundant in March and I need to force myself to at least show up during the interim.

I really don't want to, though.

I want to stay at home in bed and read books. I want to listen to music and go to movies. I want to read the paper and stay abreast of current events. In short, I want to be retired.

My application to Uni goes through in November and I think if I can just get through 'till then it'll provide me with the energy to survive at work until May. It will give me something to look forward to although, one would think that the $26,000.00 severance package would be enough incentive.

Maybe I need to take another 2 weeks leave? I have it up my sleeve - I should probably use it because it gets taxed at a ridiculous rate if I receive it as part of my payout.

Hmm... Things to think about.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mum is coming home soon...

A government report today announced that Australia can expect significant climate change over the next 40 - 50 years. The same report also draws an indisputable link between greenhouse emissions, like those created by our harvesting of coal for electricity, and the destruction of our life giving ozone layer. By significant we are talking a 4 - 6 degree temperature rise; drought, flooding and rising seas; and the destruction of our natural habitats such as: the great barrier reef, many coastal beaches and some forests. I strongly suspect that this scenario may not take into account the exponential nature of natural events - I think that a collapse of biblical proportions is not far off…

My initial response to this report: 'durr, really?' Apply my most sarcastic Aussie drawl if reading the last sentence I just typed out loud.

Surprisingly, or rather unsurprisingly, the federal government is focusing on how to manage the predicted change and not on reducing the source of that change. This is obviously because much of the Australian economy is based on the burning of fossil fuels and the export of oil. Are we ever going to learn? Preparing for disaster, as in the case of storms produced by our malfunctioning climate, is a simple, ridiculous and reactionary way of coping with what’s going to happen. Can we not see that it is our ‘patch up the problems, don’t find solutions’ way of dealing with things that has brought us to this stage in the first place?

War, famine and prejudice - I accept these things as a natural reality that every species must face in some form or another - I do not, however, accept the total obliteration of this gift of nature that the universe has bestowed upon us. Let the age of man come and go but let us not destroy the truly important things in the process.

When thinking about this issue it is hard not to get sidetracked on politics, but I have a simple format for environmental success that should be adopted by our leaders: think in the long term, not about the next election result.

We need to ratify the Kyoto protocol now. Right this minute. Not tomorrow or the next day. We need to bring massive pressure on to the American government to do likewise - unless they are forced to play ball the whole caper is lost. What are we doing instead? We are squabbling and squawking over free trade deals with China and the US. What use will money be, I ask you, if there is no habitable land to live in? There can be no more equivocations, no more excuses and no more finger pointing.

I guess there is a very dark positive in all this: if we don’t make the decision to truly learn to live in a symbiotic relationship with nature, nature will teach us (probably to the extent of the whole obliteration of our species) a very tough lesson indeed. We have been put on notice - we have been given a very friendly warning - but when ‘mother’ decides that we haven’t heeded her warning, and when she chooses to put things back the way that they are supposed to be, we will suffer a vengeance the likes of which will make any terrorist attack look like an episode of Sesame Street.

Jack Johnson puts it simply but eloquently as follows:

There's traffic in the sky
and it doesn't seem to be getting much better
there's kids playing games on the pavement drawing waves on the pavement
shadows of the planes on the pavement
its enough to make me cry
but that don't seem like it would make it feel better
maybe its a dream and if I scream it will burst at the seams
this whole place will fall to pieces
and then they'd say...

Well how could we have known?
I'll tell them it's not so hard to tell
if you keep on adding stones soon the water will be lost in the well

Puzzle pieces in the ground
but no one ever seems to be digging
instead they're looking up towards the heavens
with their eyes on the heavens
there are shadows on the way to the heavens
it's enough to make me cry
but that don't seem like it would make it feel better
The answers could be found
we could learn from digging down
but no one ever seems to be digging
instead they'll say...

Well how could we have known?
I'll tell them it's not so hard to tell
if you keep on adding stones soon the water will be lost in the well

Words of wisdom all around
but no one ever seems to listen
they're talking about their plans on paper
building up from the pavement
there are shadows from the scrapers on the pavement
it's enough to make me sigh but that don't seem like it would make it feel better
the words are still around
but the words are only sounds
and no one ever seems to listen

Instead they'll say
well how could we have known?
I'll tell them it's not so hard to tell
if you keep on adding stones
soon the water will be lost in the well

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Silent, indeed

Last night saw me twiddling my thumbs at the HiFi bar whilst watching those amazing lips sing those amazing tunes… Those amazing lips belong to the lead singer of Bloc Party and those amazing tunes were courtesy of that same band. I know the whole Brit-Pop, art-rock thing has been done a million times; Bloc Party just seem to do it really well. I just can’t get over the lips on the singer - we are talking Angelina Jollie lips on a man! Anyway, back to the music: it was a fantastic set, the vital ingredients being:
  • Great Sound
  • Great Songs (Ok, so I’m a little biased here as I loved the album)
  • I found a great position to watch them from
  • Good company
  • A good support act (Cut copy: they are a sort of electro-pop outfit)
  • Free soda water!

The only drawback from the gig is that upon leaving the venue I noticed a ringing sound in my left ear. My left ear, incidentally, happened to be the ear that was right next to the blaring speakers. When I woke up this morning the ringing had disappeared - unfortunately, it has been replaced by a dull, soundless sensation. The last thing I need, compounded on top of my broken toe, is a damaged ear. I don’t want to be one of those old people that is constantly yelling “WHAT??? WHAT DID YOU SAY SONNY???” I prey that I’m only experiencing temporary deafness. I have promised my left ear that I shall wear plugs from now on (however unsightly they may look) if they hold their end of the bargain by allowing me to hear properly once again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


My laptop broke down, and I don’t really like to post from work, so I haven’t been able to give my blog the love an attention it deserves.

I purchased a new laptop today, and I’m getting hooked up for Internet tonight, so… I’m back!
Or, at least, I will be back...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sorry, not tonight mate...

Two Melbourne nightclubs today won the right to refuse punters entry to their establishment based on gender. This egregious decision, in my opinion, constitutes reverse discrimination. Although the findings of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) concluded that clubs would be granted the right to ensure that there will be an even percentage of males to females, I don’t think one can be expected to believe that this ruling is aimed at anyone other than men. I find it truly hard to picture a bouncer stating: “Sorry, too many ladies in here already tonight girls”, followed by the all too memorable gloved palm.

VCAT, in an attempt to justify its ruling, stated that high proportions of males in clubs leads to a higher likelihood that fights will break out. It also stated that girls feel unsafe when being leered at by groups of rowdy males. So let me just see if I’ve got this right: an assumption is being made about the behavior of a certain group of people based on their gender? Not only that - an assumption of BAD BEHAVIOUR is being made about people belonging to a certain gender. Now, if I were to assume that a future girlfriend will clean, cook, and fetch me beer (which, at this juncture let me say is not my expectation!), I will have made a discriminatory assumption (and I will probably find it very hard to keep said girlfriend!). I will have assumed that a girl will act in a certain way because she is just that – a girl. Now, how are these two situations any different from one another?

My solution: if you want a well behaved clientele, start with the music that you’re playing. Most rednecks will flee at the faintest hint of culture and sophistication; I’m almost certain that hearing the same boring tunes that Popdom pushes out of its laboring bottom attributes to a great many fights - you will probably have knocked 30% of the riff-raff off right there. Next, allow people to have free water in clubs. For years now, clubs have been cashing in on the booming drug industry by charging ridiculously inflated prices for bottled water. You will die if you don’t drink so to force you to buy their water they employ little tricks like only having warm water running in the toilets, bending the faucet down so low that you can’t fill your bottle up from it, and turning the heat up (to encourage thirst). I’m pretty certain that guys wouldn’t be so leery, sweaty and violent if they could enjoy a little cool refreshment via some free H2o. Lastly, perhaps instead of hiring pseudo human beings with biceps that look like personal flotation devices, clubs should instead look to employ people with genuine conflict resolution skills. I strongly suspect that having big gorillas with ex-convict blood pumping through their pea-sized brains whilst guarding our clubs is probably going to make people edgy and prone to violence.

But hey, that’s just me. Perhaps barring men from clubs is the solution. Perhaps we should also ban anyone with Arabic descent from catching public transport? And why stop there? Why not ban homosexuals from donating blood and single women from having children??? After all, stereotyping is fine: the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has made it legal.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My 2005 reading list

My planned and utterly unrealistic reading list for 2005, in order that I intend to consume it, is as follows:

Solzhenitsyn a Soul in Exile - Josephy Pearce
Warning to the West - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The Subterraneans - Jack Kerouac
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The complete works of Oscar Wilde
The castle - Franz Kafka
America - Franz Kafka
Faust (pt 1) - Goethe
The Dressmaker - Rosalie Ham
The complete works of William Shakespeare
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Dafoe
Gods and Goddesses of India - Arjula Bedi
The dialogues of Plato
Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
Europe, a history - Norman Davies

Mathematically I don't think that it is possible to read all those pages in one year, even if I was to quit my job and take up reading full time, but hey, you have to have goals, right?

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Wistful thinking

You could take nearly any summer morning from my childhood and they would be thus: bright, light, and pregnant with the promise of unknown adventure and mischief. As you grow up you simply do not experience days of a similar ilk, this is a simple fact. The purity and open nature of a child’s mind is far more receptive to the inherent joy that can be found in the simple things: the smell of freshly cut grass; the zigging, zagging flight of a paper plane, climbing a tree; a kiss on the cheek from that girl you’ve always liked, the list goes on. As you grow older your expectations grow more complex, you develop an ego and all interests and aspirations sprout from a desire to satisfy it. During this turning of self we lose our reason and intuition. We grow selfish and corrupted. This process is as natural and unavoidable as the slow erosion of a cliff face as it is washed away by the constant pounding of ocean waves. I wish I could recapture those childhood days somehow.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Your anniversary, our daily reality?

I wonder what the average Arab take on the media coverage of the London bombings would be? Would they think, perhaps, that London's day of horror and tragedy is no more than the average weekend on their soil? Would they wonder, maybe, why the London bombings can fill hours and hours of television time, and occupy reams and reams of newspaper, whilst 40 dead in Iraq (as long as the 40 dead comprises those of Arabic descent and not US soldiers!) might grab a solitary page two column, or a few uttered sentences from our devoted newscasters?

A song for L

Go with the flow - QOTSA

"She said "i'll throw myself away,
They're just photos after all"
I can't make you hang around.
I can't wash you off my skin.
Outside the frame, is what we're leaving out
You won't remember anyway
I can go with the flow
I would say it doesn't matter (with the flow) matter anymore
I can go with the flow (I can go)
Do you believe it in your head?
It's so safe to play along
Little soldiers in a row
Falling in and out of love
Something sweet to throw away.
I want something good to die for
To make it beautiful to live.
I want a new mistake, lose is more than hesitate.
Do you believe it in your head?
I can go with the flow
I would say it doesn't matter (with the flow) matter anymore
I can go with the flow (I can go)
Do you believe it in your head?"

Join the dots life is a head fuck

Last night I went to Glenn and Timmy’s house party. On paper the elements looked good: the music was great; the company was amiable (all the old crew was there); there were plenty of interesting, though immensely mashed, strangers for me to converse with; and finally, I managed to avoid substance abuse. One would suspect that these favorable strands would draw together to form a beautiful web of party happiness. Unfortunately, as the subject in this case is I, and not some other happy, well adjusted individual, these events must be viewed through the gloomy prism of my consciousness. It often holds that I feel most lonely surrounded by good friends and interesting company. I liken it to a ship wreck survivor marooned upon an uninhabited island; watching sadly as a plane comes into view and then vanishes again upon the horizon: would not the stranded soul be happier for not having seen the fleeting promise of rescue?

I often get to wondering as I sit back and watch the little intrigues: are they all as happy as they seem? Do I seem happier to them than I actually am? Sometimes when I’m out I want to break something – pick up the fucking TV and throw it through a window. Then I would stare defiantly at everyone in the room, just looking for some kind of reaction, some kind of change. Perhaps one day I will tell people things that nobody else will ever tell them. Perhaps one day I will reveal all the twisted things that they do to one another, and then I’ll smash down all their weak justifications, tear at the fabric of the flimsy lies that they have woven around themselves. No, I won’t do that - I’m no better than they are - probably worse in fact.

Kay-Marie (a girl who has had a boyfriend for 5 years) zoomed in for an attempted snog last night. This is not the first time she has had a crack – I’m sure also, that I’m not the only guy she has had a crack at. What the fuck is up with that? If she wants a variety of man-meat why doesn’t she dump the attachment and play the field? Too many people want to have the best of both worlds at someone else’s expense. It is betrayals like this that make me keep people, other than my very best friends, at arms length. I guess that is the reason why I let opportunities like the one last night – a very alluring girl showed me some interest – slide off to the periphery. You simply can't trust anyone in this world.

This is the problem with my up and down serotonin levels: perhaps I did have a good time last night, however I’m feeling down today and thus my recollections are being flavored by present time anguish? Perhaps… Perhaps I simply didn’t get enough sleep and I’m paying for it now? No, I know it is a little more than lack of sleep – I’ve had that ‘the sky is falling in’ feeling today – lack of sleep does not make a person feel this bad.

I read a little on existentialist angst a while back. Perhaps that’s what I’m suffering from. If I was somehow to divine a sign, or some sort of knowledge took wing and flew from the well of the infinite and landed upon my window, perhaps then I would find peace. I don’t see the point in, as I call it, our modern day syndicated lifestyles. I’m being hypocritical even as I write this – as I said earlier, I’m no better. Still, are we simply advanced proponents of breeding and continuation? Is there nothing beyond that? I don’t want to live simply to spring forth into the world a slightly varied reflection, one which, no doubt, will spend its time agonizing over the same questions, all without resolution. A reflection within a reflection within a reflection; and what, ultimately, is a reflection? It is nothing. I don’t want the clothes, the hair cut, the job or the buzz words. You can burn them for all I care. I just want to know! And the lack of knowledge kills me.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Woe toe

My lack of activity and the consequent surplus of contemplative time, over the last couple of days, has provided me with many ideas, thoughts, and musings which, I was all set to type. Here. Right this moment. I was going to discuss the G8 and the, in my opinion, egregious aims of the masses; the recent terrorist attacks in that Monopoly board town: London; and lastly, my residual relationship issues, my thoughts on why I’m holding so much hurt, and the reason why I don’t think I’ll be able to sustain anything meaningful, in that respect, with anybody ever again. I was all set to pour my heart out and then… I banged that toe (see previous post and its grizzly accompanying photographic evidence) on the damn leg of my damn desk chair. Now I have a spider repeatedly sinking its hungry fangs into my toe. Repetition. Pulsing pain. Unfortunately, my train of thought has been irrevocably broken and my urge to type must succumb to the cries of a toe that will not be ignored. Woe is me.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I awoke very early this morning largely due to pain in my broken toe. The toe has now swollen even further and it appears that my foot has seen fit to follow suit. I think there may be a chance that I have broken a bone in my foot as well, because it just doesn’t feel right.

I’m not the best sleeper in even perfect slumber circumstances, so it is usually a safe bet that if woken early (5a.m in this case) I probably won’t get back to sleep again. That proved to be the case this morning. I tossed and turned, counted sheep and tried to position my foot in a more comfortable position, all to no avail. My thoughts on whether insomnia is a psychological or, rather, a physiological condition are something that I shall note down another time.

My thoughts on the bizarre Christian shows featured on late night (early morning?) television are the topic of today’s rant.

When one wakes early in the dark ambiguous hours of the morning one feels exactly that: dark and ambiguous. Questions about the direction of ones life, their place in the world and other such disturbing (disturbing, at least in my case!) notions float through ones consciousness like specters: they howl and whisper but prove ethereal and impossible to grasp. But I’ve indulged my crude prose far too much here and I’ve digressed far from my intended topic. What I’m trying to do is build a picture of how I felt when in desperation I turned to the tube for some sort of respite, some alleviation, from my cursed sleeplessness.




It is with those three ‘un’ words that I switched on the television and began to channel surf. Normally, I have found that infomercials and motivational shows prove to be good anesthetists for the restless mind. This morning, however, there was no Danoz Direct, and no Chuck Norris attempting to sell me some exercise device; a device intended, in reality, to do more damage to a person’s body than good and thereby enable them opportunity to offer you the next exercise contraption; and so on and so forth… On this particular morning I found no such programming – instead I chanced upon a horror movie (well, not really a movie for it is only 1 hour in length, but you get my point) that features in large part a Christian minister by the name of Benny Hinn.

Now at this point I should make it clear: I’m not a Christian. I do not believe in the westernized assumption of what God constitutes, nor do I subscribe to the polytheistic notions of the east. I make a point of trying to understand the basis of most religions and I like to think of myself as being far more tolerant of their institutions than they themselves are of homosexuals, pro-abortionists and euthanasia advocates. I mention my atheistic tendency in order to highlight the fact that I may possess bias with respect to the issue of Christian television programming. With that out of the way let me declare that if Benny Hinn and the crackpot Rod Parsley that he had on his show this morning are representative of the Christian majority, and if that same Christian majority has as much of a foothold in the Republican government, and consequently American foreign policy, as I’m lead to believe, then the world is in real trouble. The fervor in the eyes of those two freaks transcends any peaceful devotion to a higher power. The rhetoric spewing forth from those clowns mouths was so disturbing that I sat up in my bed.

The bloody rising of Christ and America’s leading roll in bringing the ‘word’ to the masses was the topic of the day. I kept searching their faces looking for a hint of insincerity, a hint that their psychotic outlook was in some way a jest: I was sadly disappointed. I could tell from the way they were talking that they would firmly support crushing anything and anyone that stands in the way of their intended glorious Christian rising. The end of the show featured a 40 second slow motion highlight reel of Benny Hinn ‘healing’ the sick and infirm. To gloriously cheesy music Hinn touched the heads of his flock and they in turn collapsed on the ground in a heap. Scenes of a once wheelchair bound person walking and a child running on the stage still in a cast - obviously from a recently broken leg - were designed, I suppose, to encourage the watcher to want to join in their unholy crusade.




That is how I felt before I turned on the television this morning.

When I turned the television off I felt a whole lot worse.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Broken soldier

This morning as I was heading down stairs I tripped and fell. I was clutching a blanket around me against the cold, and the edge of it caught under my heel and sent me flying, feet first, towards our hard wooden floorboards. The end result was, aside from a significant amount of cursing on my part, extreme pain, a broken toe and a badly torn toenail.

I wasn't really sure if I should go to the doctor - what can a doctor do for a broken pinky? I don't think they could place it in a cast, although, that would be quite funny if you think about it. The toe itself has swollen up and turned an ominous purple colour. It refuses to stop bleeding and is also very sore to touch. Poor Pinky!

A positive that came out of the accident is that I was able to test out my new digital camera and, I was able to see if I can put photos up in this diary. Yay! It has worked: ok, I know it isn't the most pleasant picture, however I will be able to put all sorts of interesting (interesting to me at least!) images up in the future. I'm really glad now that I made the journey over from diaryland, which was really complicated, to blogspot, which is extremely user friendly. I was trying for quite some time to get photos up in my previous diary but it never worked; here it worked first time.

Anyway, I have managed to turn a painful negative into a bizarre positive via the wonders of photographic and cyber technologies. The broken toe is protesting but my lips have won out as they are currently forming a smile.

Take your medicine

I have decided that (and this is purely metaphorical, as I’m not a practitioner of the Christian faith) commercial current-affairs shows are Satan’s propaganda given a prime-time slot. I’ve spent several years now quaking with fear over tales of killer dogs, killer food, nightmare neighbors and other such absurdities which are, in reality, glorified ghost tales given credibility by the fact that they come attached with the ‘current affairs’ title. Look at your life: how many times have you contracted cancer from the water you are drinking? Ever had a neighbor fling feces at you? Are sharks secretly plotting the demise of the human race? Poorly researched facts and skewed presentation of reality does not do the population any good. All these shows do, in my opinion, is create a culture of ignorance masked by a misplaced belief in ones own grasp of events. Ignorance is a dangerous, though common, state; the illusion of worldliness and self confidence promulgated by the crap that current affairs pump out is a truly insidious thing.

You may find yourself asking: why is Don Quixote on his hobby horse today, he is usually so sedate? Well, I’ll tell you! I was watching a show on television tonight called Media watch. The myths and scare stories put in to circulation by the aforementioned pseudo-journalists are placed under the microscope by MW, and they are often subsequently exposed for the irresponsible fraudsters that they really are. Time and again I’m astounded at the alarming deviation from truthful presentation of events that MW exposes. There are so many vested interests and the desire for ratings by the commercial networks is so high that any sense of integrity, fairness and journalistic objectivity is checked at the door like a pair of shoes at a Japanese restaurant.

Tonight’s MW article focused on a feature by channel 9’s, 60 minutes program. Last week 60 minutes ran an article about the decidedly nasty problem of Staph infections in hospitals. At this point I think I should say – you do not want a Staph infection. A Staph infection can turn a healthy and recovering patient into a decidedly dead one. I’m not for a minute suggesting that Staph infections in hospitals are cause for rejoicing and celebration. That said, I think that any assessment of the problem should be done in a calm and rational manner, not, as 60 minutes went about the task, by running around the hospital with hidden cameras; inserting dramatic music into the finished segment; and the filming of a series of ‘swabs’ that were secretly taken off of elevator buttons and handsets of public telephones found in the hospital foyer.

So what did 60 minutes turn up during their investigation you must be wondering? Apparently, the two hospitals that they ever so cleverly infiltrated are swarming with bacteria. It would appear that so much bacteria was found on the mouthpiece of a public phone that one could be excused for wondering if communication was even possible, given the conversant would be choking on an evil mouthful of vile tasting Staph. So, who performed the analysis of the swab taken by 60 minutes? Surprisingly (note my sarcasm) no mention was made of where, how, or who performed said analysis. MW found out who performed it though – a British doctor apparently did the testing and it was he who came to the conclusion that the hospital in question was host to a bacterial dance party.

At this stage in proceedings MW gave out a little background on our bacteria sniffing doctor (whose name eludes me, sorry). It would appear that doctor so and so doesn’t have any kind of qualifications in bacterial research; however, he does have a very pressing financial interest in bacteria: you see old doctor Staph has his own company specializing in anti-bacterial kits which include items like: anti-bacterial bath wash, anti-bacterial gloves and scrubs and other associated virus-destroying paraphernalia. And so we find that when presented with a swab from a hospital our doctor, who derives profit from the sale of anti-bacterial products, advises 60 minutes that there is a copious amount of bacteria on it. Could there be some sort of vested interest here??? Surely not…

Now to me this whole thing smacks of an evil ploy by a television station to grab ratings at the expense of truth and responsibility. The problem is that nobody is held to account for such a devious presentation of the facts and the vast majority will never hear about, let alone lay eyes upon, the fantastic half-hour program Media Watch. I guess these things are to be accepted – it is only Staph, right? Our media institutions and associated bodies would never extend such deception to areas of real importance: they would never sell us the dummy on issues like war and weapons of mass destruction and plans for world domination. Right?

That is my rant for this evening, my father is snoring in the other room and my concentration is flagging, which is probably a good indication that I should be joining the ranks of sleeping Australians, those dozing citizens that one hopes are not troubled by dreams of infection, rabid dogs and the war on truth.


Monday, July 04, 2005

The Ships of the Archipelago

I just went in to work and finished off a whole heap of stuff that I’ve had overdue for some time now. A great weight has lifted as if I had a pterodactyl perched upon my shoulders which has now taken flight in search of a more stable support. That was a really terrible metaphor… What makes having completed my work a truly wonderful thing is that I have all next week off. I decided at the start of the week that I needed some R&R so I put in for leave. I intend to spend the next week reading my books and the paper, watching movies, walking, catching up with friends and hopefully blogging every day. Now that I’ve knocked all my work off I can really get into those things without my pesky conscience nagging away at the back of my mind.

My week off is not, however, the reason for this post. The reason that I’m posting is that I wanted to jot down a passage from ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ by A Solzhenitsyn. I’m not going to go into the whole book in detail now – I plan review it at a later stage – I just want to note down a particular paragraph for posterity. What struck me about this portion of writing is the authors amazing positivity in looking at the very grim reality of prison life during the oppressive Stalinist era. Solzhenitsyn manages to tilt the prison experience (an experience so horrific that 66 million people died as a result!) from one of grim horror into a kind of spiritual purification of the soul. Solzhenitsyn isn’t just writing from some abstract theoretical position here either: he endured 10 years in the prison camps himself. Basically, what he proposes is that the deprivations, humiliations and physical punishment inflicted upon a prisoner can serve as a kind of spiritual emancipation. Being starved? You are now free of your gluttonous ways. Forced to parade naked in front of your fellow countrymen? You have learnt humility. Stripped of all your earthly possessions? Your mind is now free to contemplate the eternal and the divine.

To set the scene; Solzhenitsyn is talking about ones first encounter with the camp and the way in which one must learn to deal with the loss of property, liberty and luxury:

“Own nothing! Possess nothing! Buddha and Christ taught us this, and the Stoics and the Cynics. Greedy though we are, why can’t we seem to grasp that simple teaching? Can’t we understand that with property we destroy our soul?
Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Use your memory! Use your memory! It is those bitter seeds alone which might sprout and grow someday.
Look around you – there are people around you. Maybe you will remember one of them all your life and later eat your heart out because you didn’t make use of the opportunity to ask him questions. And the less you talk, the more you’ll hear. Thin strands of human lives stretch from island to island of the Archipelago. They intertwine, touch one another for one night only in just such a clickety-clacking half-dark car as this and then separate once and for all. Put your ear to their quiet humming and the steady clickety-clack beneath the car. After all, it is the spinning wheel of life that is clicking and clacking away there.”

Friday, July 01, 2005

The meeting (A corporate Haiku)

Works flow disrupted
Fake interest; suited bliss
Avoid eye contact...