Monday, January 31, 2005

Jesus Christ Pose

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
(by Soundgarden)

And you stare at me
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out
Like you've been carrying a load
And you swear to me
You don't want to be my slave
But you're staring at me
Like I need to be saved
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out
In your Jesus Christ pose
Thorns and shroud
Like it's the coming of the Lord
And I swear to you
That I would never feed you pain
But you're staring at me
Like I'm driving the nails
In your Jesus Christ pose
And you stare at me
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out like it's
The coming of the Lord
And would it pay you more to walk on water
Than to wear a crown of thorns
It wouldn't pain me more to bury you rich
Than to bury you poor
In your Jesus Christ pose

Saturday, January 29, 2005

What I'd Like is I'd Like to Hug and Kiss You

Josh writes:

So Sandra Paterson at the Herald doesn't like porn. My initial reaction was "fair enough -- plenty of people don't," until we get to the bits where she unquestioningly takes our pal Judith Reisman at her word that "viewing sexually explicit material produces a chemical reaction in the brain similar to the high from a street drug" and tut-tuts at the Listener for pointing out that the medical and psychological community says she's full of shit. It all finishes up with:

Pornography is both highly addictive and destructive.

Whether it contributes to crime, offends a spouse or takes away a child's innocence, it is far from harmless fun.

True enough (for a given value of "highly"). But what about when it doesn't do any of those things? Which would be the vast majority of times, going by the fact that there's no difficulty in accessing it these days, and yet the streets are not awash with the fluids of sexual predators and their victims.

The only person whose opinion on porn I trust is Ali Davis, author of True Porn Clerk Stories (the best online journal you'll ever read, by the way). It wrapped up a while ago when she moved on to better things, and in her final post, she says:
I've had rabidly anti-porn people (mostly women) tear into me because I didn't say that all porn ever is inherently evil and I've had ferociously pro-porn people (mostly men) send me frothingly outraged e-mails because I didn't say that all porn ever is healthy, free and wonderful.

When of course neither extreme is the truth. In other words: some porn = good; some porn = bad. Not that any of this matters, because porn is, well it's mostly shit, isn't it? Those bits of it that affect to show actual depictions of sex at least -- your standard pitchers of people what ain't got clothes on are all generally fine until you start getting into the more specific fetishes. And even then, hell, if a person actually wants to see women in PVC licking bugs off of toilet seats, and women are prepared to be photographed doing the same, then Fear Factor will live for another season. Wait, what was my point? Never mind.

But! If a person wants depictions of people actually doing the Underpants Charleston, all they get is what appears to be sex as imagined by people who have never actually had sex before. The porn industry's childish (that seems like the most wrong word I could use in this context, but it's the only one that fits) obsession with penetration means that you end up with something closer to an anatomy lesson than a genuine attempt to arouse:

"Look! Look! It's a penis, right? And it's in a vagina! See that? See the vagina?"

The people attached to said genitalia barely seem worth a mention half the time, so you end up with, again quoting Davis, "[women] just getting poled by some guy who's apparently deliberately avoiding their erogenous zones. Whee."

And then there's our friend the money shot. If you've seen the documentary Rated X (showed here at the Incredible Film Fest in 2002), there's a whole section of porn industry insiders pontificating on the ubiquity of the money shot. Why is it deemed necessary that every sex scene ever filmed ends with the man (or men) of the moment unloading their man goo onto (or into) a random part of the other party (or parties)? Well, um, they don't actually know -- there's a whole bunch of theories (generic male fantasy, male revenge fantasy, makes the man look powerful), but read between the lines and the answer seems to be "it's necessary because it just is".

That kind of lazy thinking pisses me off when anyone else does it -- I don't see why these folks should get off (b-doom ching) any different.

Hey, I just responded to a Herald opinion piece -- does that make this media commentary?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I hate every ape I see from Chimpan A...

Apathy Jack writes:

(Attention Conservation Notice – only relevant if you’re in New Zealand, but the statcounter says the vast majority of you are, so that’s okay... Of course, it has monkeys in it, so you might be interested anyway.)

You need to be watching Monkey World. It is on at five O’clock on channel 2, and it is the best television going. Yes, yes, I know that you’re not home from work then, but you need to set the video. No excuses will be accepted.

It is a documentary focusing on Monkey World, a theme-park/monkey rescue organisation in England. It concentrates primarily on two tribes of Chimps: the small one led by the bulky Paddy, and the bigger, completely dysfunctional (and thusly more interesting) tribe led by the aging (his shoulders are balding) Rodney and his 2IC Mad Charley, who has suspected brain-damage as a result of abuse and beatings during his years as a “photo-chimp” on the beaches of Spain.

The big drama being hinted at is the merging of the two tribes to give some stability to Rodney’s anarchic group.

However, the real star of the show is monkey keeper Jeremy. While the humans are definitely second-string players, and the producers are trying to get a bit of pathos by focusing on the trials of Keeper Mike – a gorilla expert thrust into the unpredictable and madcap world of chimp-care – it is really Jeremy (whose shoulders are not balding), described by the head of the park as one of the five really good chimp experts in Europe and the States, who is worth watching. A man noticeably less comfortable around humans than around his primate charges, when asked by the cameras which chimp was his favourite, he replied that he did not have one. When the voice behind the camera pressed the issue, Jeremy got visibly irate, ranting that one does not choose their favourite child, or which of their parents they love more.

When asked about his perfect world, Keeper Jeremy (who has one day a week away from the park – the Friday when he goes to town to get bread for the monkeys and to pick up his weekly supply of animal magazines) said it would be a desert island very much like Monkey World. When the voice behind the camera asked what the difference would be, Jeremey could not hide the bitterness when he pointed out that he had to let the public, and documentary film-makers into the park, whereas a desert island would be completely secluded.

Television doesn’t get a lot better than this.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Contains Sexual Material

Josh writes:

Buridan's Ass: Famous philosophical thought experiment, where a donkey is presented to with two identical haystacks, each exactly the same distance from it. Being unable to choose between the two, the donkey starves to death, thereby illustrating the nature and limitations of rational decision making. Assuming I have time before the SPCA comes after me for the abuse of metaphorical livestock (or, you know, that other stuff), I present the following anecdote...

In a quest to find more ugly buttons to jam down the side of the front page, I try signing on to Blogwise. Having entered a description, decided on a few keywords ("esoterica, misanthropy, pies") and the rest, I am confronted with a list of options regarding content rating. I can choose from:

  • Unrated
  • No nudity or sexual material
  • Occassionally [sic] contains sexual material
  • Regularly contains sexual material
  • Contains sexual material in an artistic context
  • Contains sexual material in an educational context
  • Contains sexual material in a medical context
And I just... I just don't know what to do. So far we've had talk of Mexican prison rape and the Gaping Vagina of Dita von Teese -- does that count as sexual material? Is it occasional or regular? And seriously, no, seriously: can I resist the urge to go for the medical porn option? (And considering the calibre of some of our contributors, it's only a matter of time, surely.)

Eventually, my dessicated corpse was scraped off the keyboard and buried without ceremony behind the local kindergarten. If it wasn't for the congenital vampirism, I'd have been in real trouble.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Second New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

That Morthos Stare writes:

From the mists of time comes a tale oft told...

In the short time I have been amongst you (five minutes if you count my dashing off for a pee when I arrived) I have learnt a great deal of your ways (your hygenie really is some of the worse I have ever seen, and I've spent time in the Filth Pits with the Not-so-Sanctus, More-Unsanitary Jack) and come to realise a fundamental truth about all of us, by which I mean all of you.

You see, you're not like me.

Many of you are bound to be fainting with relief (or due to the stench) on this matter, and I blame you not. Being unlike me is probably a good thing; being unlike the person next to you is equally beneficial. Oh, you wear the same stained uniform (one which you dare not let your partner wash because they'll ask that awkward question about the white mark on the left leg), you belong to the same clubs, read the same magazines and jointly worry about the opposite sex (in marathon drinking sessions). Fact is, if I were to look upon you from up on high, and I do, then I might well think of you as homogenous. Undifferentiated midgets, even.

But I know there is difference amongst you.

Which leads me on to the second point, which is the greater of the two and has less import to your egos. You see, just like there are differences amongst you there is also a quality of sameness that isn't just the shared presence of noses, ears and the ever important left leg (without or without aforementioned stain).

Differences can be aggravating when you note them; well-loved films that suddenly get released in new versions often cause conniption fits, as can the presence of new radio series based on old books which were themselves the result of new radio series at at earlier stage of television's development. It seems that you either need to be unnoticeably different or very noticeably different to be appreicated. Just being different seems not good enough.

Ah, commonsense truisms, you are thinking... And you are right. Can I offer a solution? No... But I now understand the 'Why?' of it all.

Minor differences are celebrated because they allow enough differentiation to make life distinguishable. Two friends, no matter how sexy their miniskirts, cannot wear the same (by which I mean highly similar) pink Ralph Lauren polo-shirt. It would cause trouble, misidentification and possibly the destruction of teenage sexual misadventure.

Major differences, the most uncommon, I am somewhat apprehensively pleased to say, are good because as long as they occur infrequently amongst the population then people find them interesting, amusing or charming rather than offensive and problematic. I can be brash, bombastic and overly open and honest and liked because of it for the sheer fact that virtually no one else is willing to be me.

I think people must think that being me is awkward or embaressing. And thank the gods above and below, because I'd hate to think that you wanted to be me. I have enough trouble with myself without all of you interferring.

Although it would improve your sanitary conditions, so you might want to consider it, you filthy beasts.

Oh, and if someone could remove this codpiece from my forehead I'd pay good money for the service.

Creation Myth

Josh writes:

It all started with the horrific assault of an elderly man.

In March 2004, a 68-year-old visiting American was attacked in his hotel room in Punakaiki, an occurence that the Herald summarized as "American Tourist Stabbed in Head". The content of the article notwithstanding, this headline was, and still remains, the funniest fucking thing I have ever read.

The phrase swirled around in my head for a short while, as phrases often do*, before resulting in this post to my old site. And that was that for a while.

Some time later, I started foisting my poorly developed cartooning skills onto the accomodating medium of Flash, and Charlie, Uncle Nancy and Tango were born (the title another instance of phrase-mind stickiness). Uncle Nancy's predilection for a bit of the old brain-stabbing soon became apparent, requiring me to come up with a pixellated representation of a stabbed brain.

Having based an "episode" on an inspired idea for a T-shirt slogan, I decided to see how easy it would be to make some of my own. This design, however, was the first one I tried out.

T-shirt making was a brief wheeze, but too fiddly to make a hobby out of. Nevertheless, upon deciding to do this blogging business for real, I already had a catchy name, a pithy slogan and a simple logo -- what more do you need?

And that's why this site is called Brain Stab. The answer to all of life's other mysteries remains "tiny pixies".

* Current example: Having sat next to Jellybean's Internet-porn-cycling screensaver for a few hours while watching DVDs the other night, I found myself less concerned by the advent of the phrase "The Gaping Vagina of Dita von Teese" in my grey matter than I was by the fact that my very next thought was "that sounds like the title of a Dr Seuss book". And Dr Seuss is dead, so someone's going to have to write it...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Kingdom of the bland

Apathy Jack writes:

Every year or so, depending on how the referees score the eternal battle between familial loyalty and apathy, I go down to Feilding, the town where I spent my formative years.

This time, going alone, I decided the only way to maintain my sanity was to take my notebook.

I figured that, in addition to letting me vent whenever I felt the need, I could come up with the script to Deliverance II, which I see as being a nice little earner...


Walking from the train station I feel little of the animosity that I have felt on past visits. Maybe I am stereotyping this place, being unduly patronising to the town. Surely it’s not the redneck backwater I stereotype it as.

Then I walk past the house with the horse in the front yard and decide to go with my old instincts.

I see some local graffiti, reading simply ‘Westside’. I wonder what constitutes the west side of a town you can circumnavigate in twenty minutes. Arriving in my grandparents’ street, an ambitious realtor has labeled a house ‘desirable west side property’. So the taggers are representing the five hundred meter pensioner-filled street of my octogenarian grandparents? Gangstas these days, I don’t know...

The next graffiti I come across is smudged, but seems to read simply ‘thorp’.

Now, I don’t care if you are the meanest OG in all of nearby Bunnythorpe (the town that even Feilding residents make fun of for being hicksville), you’re not cruising the mean streets of the ‘Thorpe...


As I wander the next day reacquainting myself with the streets, an old reflex makes me look for signs of familiarity of those that I pass. It’s been fourteen years since I lived here, and probably about ten since I last saw an even vaguely recognisable face, but you know...

Every single person my age has a kid in tow.

The most depressing aren’t the ones pushing prams. The most depressing are the ones pushing prams with seven or eight year olds pottering along next to them.


Several years ago, the Council redecorated the town square and mounted a massive campaign of civic pride, so I find myself seeing an increasing number of signs that declare shops to be ‘Proudly Feilding owned and operated.’

You want something to be proud of? Get a bookshop that has more books than calendars. Get a single music shop for gods sake. Hell, an internet cafĂ© wouldn’t go amiss either, while we’re dragging the town kicking and screaming into the twentieth century.

One segment of the square is paved with bricks inscribed with the names of sponsors. Some names belong to local businesses, some to families. Some are clearly epitaphs.

Then I come across the one that reads simply: “First white birth in Feilding 1874”

Now, as much as I dismiss the whole ‘decolonisation’ movement, I am acutely aware that you wouldn’t find such an announcement in Auckland, and this sentiment seems most alien to me.


I make a point of going to McDonalds whenever I’m in Feilding, partly because I’m a consumerist whore, but also to make up for my deprived childhood – the golden arches only came to town a few years after I left.

The surly teenaged drone that hands over my hotcakes looks just as happy as the next McDonalds employee I know (which, to be fair, is my shockingly bitter and increasingly socially dysfunctional McFlatmate) so I start to think again that I may have judged Feilding unfairly; places are places and people are people – surely I’m just being snobbish in viewing Feilding in such a negative light.

And I find myself thinking of my friends who stayed here after I left.

Over the years I’ve met quite a number of people born in Feilding who left in their teens to come to the city. All have said to me that they got out just in time, that, had they stayed another year would have been trapped in some dead end life which they never got around to leaving.

For a while I wondered if this was legitimate, but then I saw old friends systematically beaten down by this town, turning into their parents – living small dead lives and failing to question why they’ve become what they swore they’d never be.

I don’t talk to my old friends anymore.


I go the local park to look at the aviary.

Years ago, we had a cockateel. After a while, we noticed he was getting huffy and moody at certain times. After a while, we saw that he was building a nest, and had separated the corn kernals out of his birdseed, and was nesting, trying to hatch them.

Eventually, we gave him to this aviary, which had a special ‘asylum’ enclosure for insane birds, the most notable of which was a peacock that had been abandoned as an egg. A chicken has sat on and hatched said egg, and now the peacock thought the chicken was its mother, and would try to shelter under the (now much smaller) bird whenever it rained.

Last news had our former pet settling into wedded bliss with another male cockateel and trying to hatch anything vaguely egg shaped to complete the family.

I cast an eye around the aviary, knowing that all of the birds of my time will be long since gone. Then I see a bird, and for the life of me, I can’t tell what it is.

Looking at it closer, the thing looks exactly like a half chicken half peacock. I examine it closer trying to disprove my theory, but I just become more convinced.

Genuinely creeped out, I move quickly along.

Looking from the park I see nearly a dozen teenagers desperately huddled around the newly created skate ramp. I can see why; it’s the only non-date-rape related form of entertainment this town has seen since the previous, smaller, half-pipe fell into unusable disrepair almost ten years ago.


I go out to the orchard behind my grandparents’ house. This, and the orchard behind it, belonging to some never-witnessed neighbour whose house was hidden behind dense trees, was where my cousins and I used to play.

The orchard my grandfather is still tending to – depression-era work ethic overcoming the fear if not the fact of the frequent falls he’s been suffering of late – is mostly as it always has been, but the neighbouring orchard is overgrown.

I hop the fence, and wade through knee-deep grass to the tree line.

My cousins and I used to have this as our hideout. While the world at large assumed we were in the clubhouse our grandfather built, we were really in a specific section of this miniature bush, doing nothing so much as reveling in our own sense of conspiracy.

The bush is so overgrown with creepers and brambles that I can’t get into the body of it – not even the old path that used to connect the orchard to the neighbour’s house.

I stand there for a few minutes taking this in, and all I can think over and over is “Damn, what a great place to be a kid.”


I have to say, it would be a lot easier to like this godforsaken town if every freaking trip recently didn’t seem to involve a trip to Palmerston North Hospital for an infirm grandparent.

This time it’s to have tests done on my grandfather, who has been falling over a lot for no discernable reason in the last couple of months.

You know, so far I’m seeing bugger all good advertisements for getting old.

The three grandparents I have known in my life have always been the sturdiest most physically able old people I have come across – Not for them such things as walking sticks or dementia.

But helping my grandfather – who this time last year was stronger than me despite being fifty-six years my senior – out of the bath after he has fallen and is unable to right himself, well, it reminds me of how frail my Grandmother looked in the hospice last Christmas when I saw her for the last time. Even if you can carry your strength and your intellect into your eighties, sooner or later your body will betray you.


There is something very peaceful about the emergency ward waiting room at Palmerston North Hospital – primarily the fact that it’s completely empty. It stands in pleasant contrast to the revolving door of pain that is its Auckland counterpart.

As I sit, soaking in the peace, a fire alarm pierces the quiet. However, when you work at a school, a fire alarm isn’t so much a warning of impending emergency as it is a sign that the students are bored again (the one fire we’ve had at school in my tenure didn’t set off any alarms, and I only found out about it because some of my students who had been in the room that caught fire got bored waiting for the class to become inhabitable, and came to visit me...) so my first reaction is to continue with what I was doing.

As at school, this proves to be the right course of action, as the alarm stops after a minute or so.

A few moments later a voice comes over the intercom announcing that there will be a fire alarm test shortly.

And these are the people to whom I am entrusting the health of my last remaining grandfather...


Watching TV later that night and a friend of my Nana’s calls to say her husband has passed away.

My grandparents comfort the woman with the sort of polished routine that comes from experience, which is possibly the most depressing thing I’ve seen in my life.


Walking down my grandparents’ street on my last night there, when, echoing over the horizon, I hear the guitar-heavy strains of loudly played rock music. Given my proclivity for loudly played rock music, I once again feel I’ve been harsh in my judgement of this town; places with people are places with people – it is patronising and silly to stereotype Feilding as a backwater hillbilly town.

Then I see the dead possum in the gutter.

It’s no good. Feilding just can’t help it.

Listening closer I identify the music as being The Offspring.

Nope, no sign of intelligent life.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

So, I go into school today, you know, to sort some of my stuff out, prepare for the upcoming return of the students and all.

When I get home, I empty my pockets, and I find a whiteboard marker, the presence of which I am completely unable to account for.

That’s how you can tell I’m a teacher.

Of the New

Josh writes:

Things currently Of the New at Brain Stab:

  • New member - welcome to Brother Morthos, purveyor of a religion more fake than Scientology and Catholicism put together.
  • New template. It am pretty.
  • New e-mail address. Over on the right there. No, down a bit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

Righto, go and watch a Jack Johnson music video.

Done that? Good. Now watch a Donovan Frankenreiter video.

All done? Right, now back me up on something:

Donovan Frankenreiter is Jack Johnson’s Dad.

Dammit, why can’t anyone else see this?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Erotic Toxins

Josh writes:

I heard of erotoxins a little while ago, but never paid much attention until I happened to read a brief article on them straight after one on Alfred Kinsey, and noticed the name Judith Reisman in both.

This is the person who claims that Kinsey is a "Nazi Paedophile Collaborator" whose deliberately skewed research involved the abuse of hundreds of children and is generally responsible for the downfall of Western civilization, and who now claims that viewing pornography triggers your brain to produce mind-altering "toxins" that have a lasting effect on your behaviour, eventually leading to serious psychological aberrations including violence and paedophilia.

Aside: It's always paedophilia, isn't it? Because, one assumes, it's pretty much the one sexual practise that can be pronounced wrong without controversy. (I would add bestiality as well, but the number of "I love my dog, why can't I marry it?" arguments put forward during the Civil Unions debate makes me wonder...) This means, of course, that any other sexual practise you can tie to it becomes uncontroversially wrong as well. Hence the project of trying to prove that the more controversial practises -- homosexuality being the usual one -- are intrinsically linked to it. But anyway.

My understanding is that the reasoning behind the erotoxins project goes something like this: Street drugs are addictive, toxic substances that make you feel good. The sexual arousal caused by viewing pornography makes you feel good and can be addictive, so must therefore be caused by a toxic, drug-like substance. Essentially, we have an attempt to scientifically prove that things that feel good must be bad for you.

"Puritanism" is defined by the consistently quotable H.L. Mencken as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." In reference to my earlier post, it seems to me that if there really are people out there living in permanent horror at the state of the world, they're people like Dr Judith Reisman.

The First New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

That Morthos Stare writes:

Faithfully departed, we are gathered here today to commiserate...

Ah, sorry, wrong piece of parchment.

Faithfully departed, we are gathered here today to commiserate...

Hmm, may be this is the text I am meant to be reading... Cyclopean Edifices of Repressedness... Doom to the Shrivened Galactic Walnut... Happy-happy-go-go-fun-times!

Twelve days of Christmas my arse.

Sorry, this is really getting off track, especially since your fine folks of the Amalgamated Urinary Cake Dispensing Company have so kindly offered to liquor me up in exchange for a small talk and some illustrative slides of my latest trip to Greece (and when I say Greece I mean to the Greek who lives downstairs and waxes her moustache so it tickles me nicely).

I chose this venue to make my return, albeit brief and mostly unnoticed, to the public arena... Hehehe... Sorry; I thought I had written pubic. Then I thought I might have written 'arenal,' which isn't a word but would be most suggestive if it were admitted to the lexicons of mighty, mighty English!

Anyway, I chose this place to mark my return for a multitude of reasons, none of which I will get into today as they are remarkably silly. What I will say is this: Neo-Catholicism, is dead, baby! Undead!

Much has changed in the Church since last I spoke. The Cardinalature has been somewhat overhauled and our position (missionary, of course; can't ignore the old jokes) in regard to heresy has been modified ever since I declared myself schismatic and demanded I be removed from the toilet.

Neo-Catholicism was never a tired joke, more a retired sketch of a possible stream of humour never fully realised. We codified ourselves (and by we I mean that bastard Ransome and his chief cheek monkey, Morthos) far too quickly and thus the crazy-crazy-fun times that marked the early days became the backstabbing acid-drop of the last two years.

But all retired sketches need to be reimaged so the cool kids can think they know what was going on before they hit sentience (and salience) and thus the time was ripe for a new strand of Neo-Catholic thought to hit the streets and seek fresh blood.

Blood. Blood! BLOOD!!!

And jam.

I would add more to this cavalcade of delicious irony and serve it with a helping of bratwurst, but I think the time has come to fill this mouth with your finest brandy. Then, once we are suitable unattired, we can start kicking the living crap out of Brother Morthos here, who has kindly allowed me to chloroform him and tie him up in this lovely hessian sack.

That will be all.

(Posted for His Wholiness by the Devil's Parrakeet, Morthos)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Annoying Little Children (b)

liver writes:

So, the other day I'm having an argument with my 14yr old brother on the natural superiority of females over males. His retaliation was that females get pregnant. So I responded with the fact that it's males who get us pregnant. He then said that it's our own fault for not making guys wear condoms.

I'm getting sex-ed lessons from a 14yr old.

On a bright note it does look like there might actually be hope for the little blighters yet. Fingers crossed.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

So my McFlatmate shows me the training manual for his new position at McCafe.

There are seventeen steps to serving quiche – twelve for preparation, and five for giving it to the customer.

So let’s be very clear here; If you are a crack-addled alcoholic, you can beat that in twelve steps, but it take seventeen to prepare and serve a McDonald’s quiche?

Hell, there are only three steps to being a high school English teacher, and I only know two of them...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Great moments in literature # 1

Apathy Jack writes:

The Babar the Elephant book is sitting in front if me. I pick it up and start reading it. I remember reading it as a small Boy and enjoying it and imagining I was friends with Babar, his constant Companion during all of his adventures. He went to the Moon, I went with him. He fought Tomb Raiders in Egypt, I fought alongside him. He rescued his elephant girlfriend from Ivory Hunters on the Savanna, I coordinated the getaway. I loved that goddamn Elephant and I loved being his friend. In a childhood full of unhappiness and rage, Babar is one of the few pleasant memories that I have. Me and Babar, kicking some motherfucking ass.

- from A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey

Monday, January 10, 2005

Charybdis Tarot

RSJS writes:

Manipulated Murdered Photographs by Richard S J Scholes

5 - 18 February 2005

The Depot Art Gallery
28 Clarence St

Clicky for flyer

Right, shameless self-promotion flying in the face of all this site stands for. So delete me.

...I'm still here? Good. Art exhibition, very cutting-edge and outre and odd, features almost all the contributors to this site in one form or another. Some in two forms. Some in none. Scary stuff... Come see the prettiness, it is commanded.

Globalization Poisons Eskimos

Josh writes:

Factoid: Inuit mothers' breast milk ranks as toxic waste on the basis of its content of toxic chemicals. (Source: The Internet, which Never Lies.)

Why? Because, despite living furthest from the sites where toxic chemicals are actually produced, Inuit eat more fish than any other people, and the fish come from all over the world...

"No Logo" my bloated capitalist arse -- Globalization Poisons Eskimos: there's a slogan people can get behind.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

feeling pity for the survivalists...

liver writes:

So it's been taking me a while to post anything here, because I'm a wee bit paranoid, and it got me to thinking...

I can deal with my paranoia by a)repressing it till it drives me insane, b)letting it totally control my life till it drives me insane, or c)catering to it so long as it doesn't stop me from being a useful productive member of society.

So I'm exploring the web for information about survivalists kits. (Nothing wrong with hoarding food and matches but I don't think I should own a gun). There's a couple of handy sites out there that have the basic lists, and then there's the other ones. I'm scared of a lot of everyday stuff, (bath drains, phones, may flys), as well as the bigger stuff like nuclear war. But I've never been afraid of people. Perusing the survivalists websites you find a lot of people who genuinely feel that Johnny Foreigner wants to kill them, personally. Hell, a lot of them don't even trust their neighbor's.

What I'm wondering is, do they have this fear because they're so self centered that they feel everything revolves around them? I mean, if someone crashed a plane into the Beehive or the Sky Tower I wouldn't think it had anything to do with me, even if I was in either of the buildings at the time. Because I know that no matter how annoying I am I'm not that bad that people want to kill me. So, is it that they feel guilty and therefore think that people should want to kill them? Hell, I know I'd have trouble living with my conscience if I voted for Bush.

Basically I feel sorry for the poor sods. Then I hear about how the US is kicking up a big deal about how nice they are helping out the poor drowned Islamics. I don't think it even occurred to people over here to ask what religion the tsunami victims belonged to. Then again we didn't need our president to ask us to donate money, we did it spontaneously.

But I still try to feel sympathy for the buggers. Because hating them for being stupid doesn't really help.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

More Technophilia

Josh writes:

Arse. Ive been sitting on this one since the Spongebob post, but now it's become topical(ish), so I'd better get it out there while there's still time for me to look merely unoriginal instead of behind the times...

My mobile phone is a Nokia 6600, which I bought myself for my birthday last year at a price of NZ$way-way-too-fucking-much. In addition to general telephony, it takes photos, browses the Internet, sends and checks my email, plays movies and MP3s, talks to my computer via Bluetooth, acts a remote control, and runs a port of Doom.

It has been on the market for over 18 months, and is therefore completely outdated. Again, living in the future: good.

Note, however, that this cellphone fetish does not mark me as a geek. Geeks have no time for cellphones, which often strikes one as odd, given that they generally love anything shiny and technological and unergononmically small. Russell Beattie, the cellphone fetishist's cellphone fetishist, doesn't seem to get why geeks take any opportunity to whinge on Slashdot about how modern cellphones are full of features they don't want. I've never met the man, nor had any form of personal interaction with him, but I find his confusion surprising given that, going by his site, he must have daily exposure to the geek mind, and must therefore have a pretty good understanding of how it works.

Cellphones, you see, are different from regular technology in that they are now an artifact of the Filthy Layperson, and therefore of no interest to the discerning geek, as there is no opportunity to be l33t or uber or whatever-the-kids-say-these-days about something when your grandmother owns a better one than you do. For similar reasons, geeks hate it when people say "dub dub dub" when telling someone a website address -- this too is a term of the Filthy Layperson, who encroaches on the Internet, the rightful domain of the geek. But that's a whole different fistfight waiting to happen.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Apathy Jack writes:

(Attention conservation notice: The following is a combination of thinking out loud and shameless self-publicising, so, while the content could be of interest of you were reading November 9, if you’re right now saying “November who?” then you could probably save yourself some time...)

So anyhoo, Nov9 consisted, broadly, of three parts. The teaching stories, the non-teaching rants, and the shorter stuff; quotes, song lyrics and the like. Brain Stab is alright for the first two (given that I tended to stay away from the straight ‘dear diary’ stuff. Yes, that was me staying away from that. Shut up.) but I was wondering what I was going to do about the third.

In lieu of my original plan (of sneaking it in here, despite the site founder wishing for actual “content” in the posts) I’ve started up a new experiment in holiday time killing – a place for the small snippets of culture that affect me. Which is a pretentious way of saying that I’m going to dump bits of whatever I’m listening to or reading there. Quotes, lyrics, links to wherever I’ve been recently. Anything that reflects my own personal pop culture. In the same way that Broken Planet News (which you’re all visiting instead of believing the newspapers, right?) is my news service, and this is, for lack of a better term, my rant space (well, not “mine”, but you know what I mean) the new place will be my culture journal – showing what I’m doing and what’s infesting my brain.

May very well not be worth reading, but, if I may get self-important for a minute, I think it will be worth having a surf past every other week or so in the name of killing some weekend time.

Radio Free Apathy - Despaireoke

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The World is Not Ours

Josh writes:

Let me start by saying that Warren Ellis is a name you'll most likely hear mentioned a bit here. He's a writer of comics, screenplays and prose and a favourite of more than one contributor. Just so you know.

Some time ago, Warren Ellis wrote a piece on David Icke, delightfully loopy British ex-celebrity who believes that the world is ruled by shape-shifting snake people. Ellis concludes:

This is a man whose absolute belief in the hidden world he documents must make his life burn. This is a man who constantly braves humiliation and deportation to communicate his message of horror – that we are ruled by things that eat and rape us. Everywhere he looks, he must see evidence of this. Everything he sees must remind him that this world is not ours and just around that corner something truly disgusting is happening to somebody and no-one else knows but him.

Mad or not, David Icke must be in Hell.

And this never sat right with me. Does this guy really lie awake at night in perpetual terror? Or does he sleep soundly in the knowledge that he's in on the Big Secret -- that he Knows How the World Really Works? (These people tend to think in capitals.)

Did we imagine Neo, Morpheus and the rest of the gang jumping at shadows and shivering in terror? Did they wish they weren't in the situation they were in? No (apart from when they sat through all that shite with the Merovingian and his orgasm cake), they were the heroes; they Knew What Was Going On. Rather than being portrayed as objects of pity, they were objects of envy -- how much trade did those films generate for the PVC clothing industry?

Returning to reality (for want of a better term), while I've read the stuff that Icke has put online, I've never actually seen him talk, so its hard to get a good feel for what the man is really like. I did however, see Radar's piece on Eating Media Lunch where he interviewed the host of a conspiracy theory TV show in the States. His show did the whole bit: alien abductions, highest-level conspiracies, not to mention the good old reptilians, and he clearly bought it all. This man was not a quivering wreck; rather he was a smug bastard who's Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe, all dark utterances and knowing looks.

These sort of beliefs clearly make a person feel special -- "The world is out to get me! ME! Well, all of you, too, but especially me because I Know Stuff!" Not to mention reassured - bad things happen to good people because the Evil Reptilians are Behind It All.

The belief that the world is a terrible, terrible place; that the world is not ours; that we are ruled by an invisible power is, in a way, very comforting. Hence religion. (I'll get into that another time -- I think the sleeping pills are starting to kick in.)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

That’s science, that is

Apathy Jack writes:

At least two good reasons to read New Scientist magazine:

Reason the first:

Reading about infectious mental illnesses – the idea that some mental disorders have their root in biological infections - I came across a horrible immune disorder that affects children. Caused by streptococcus related problems, this results in an autoimmune attack on the basal ganglia, causing Tourettes Syndrome-like tics, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ADHA and Anorexia. This horrible condition is called Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus.


Lets ask all of the kids: “Would you like PANDAS? That man in the white coat is going to give you PANDAS.” Right there, you have your solution to that niggling problem about getting consent for human trials.

Reason the second:

Reading an article about the technological future of protest, there was a discussion with Aaron Gach, a member of one of the underground enclaves of anarchist technologist (yes, I said ‘one of’ – turns out there are tonnes of these groups. How cool is that…?) about a remote controlled graffiti device – a toy truck armed with cans of spray paint that vandalises walls with slogans sent via text message. Gach, a member of the Center for Tactical Magic, said: “In nearly one hundred percent of the cases, a given agent of the public was willing to participate in high profile acts of vandalism given the opportunity to do so via mediated tele-robotic technology.”

Come on, this is pretty cool – the apex of technology used for civil disobedience; it’s like science fiction (literally; there’s that one scene in Demolition Man where they have a device that serves precisely this function).

Who would have thought that when the machines take over they’re going to impose an anarcho-socialist government on us?