Tuesday, November 29, 2005

That'd be one of those Signs of the Apocalypse I keep hearing about

Josh writes:

There's the bit in Charlie's Angels where Drew Barrymore tries to warn Sam Rockwell that Kelly Lynch is actually the bad guy by spelling out ENEMY on the scrabble board in front of them. The camera zooms in on it, at which point Drew whispers "enemy...", completely defeating the purpose of silently spelling out the covert message in the first place.

In the director's commentary on the DVD, violently enthusiastic director "McG" explains that they decided to add the whispered voiceover later, just to be sure that people got it. He doesn't say as much, but the implied continuation is "because our target audience is that fucking stupid."

They figured they'd better put the whisper in, just in case anyone in the theatre was spotted nodding in comprehension by their fellow movie-goers, who would doubtless then beat them to death on the grounds that "we got ourselves a reader..." And then go fuck their tractor, eat their cousin and marry a possum (or similar combination).

Nowhere else have I seen so blatant an instance of a film making it clear that it thinks you, the viewer, are a drooling moron. I mean, chances are good that you are, but that's not the point.

This is the point: McG thinks you're stupid. Hollywood thinks you're stupid. And that's why they're remaking Revenge of the Nerds.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

“So, ready for your exam?”
“No. I haven’t studied at all.”
“I’ll kill you.”
“Then I’ll come back from the dead.”
“I know how to kill zombies. Destroy the brain. Easy.”
“I won’t be a zombie.”
“I also know how to kill vampires. There are lots of ways.”
“No, I’ll be, like, a Maori spirit.”
“I know how to tramp a house to exorcise a kehua.”
“Dammit, you know too many things. Do you not have a life at all?”
“I’m a teacher, what do you think?”

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

For a while now, I’ve been the only person I know without a cell phone. I’ve always said I’d get one when I needed it, but I simply never have to date. My friends told me that I needed one in order to track down people with greater ease, and in order that they might track me down with equivalent ease. That was never the best argument to use, because the only idea more repugnant than being able to find the people I know wherever they roam is the truly horrible concept of them being able to do it to me.

The weird thing is how much pressure there has been on me to get one. I know a thing or two about being on the receiving end of peer pressure: I went through five years of high school without drinking, four years of university without experimenting with drugs, and four or so years of church without doing a single thing that could be described by even my most charitable supporters as being in any way Christian whatsoever. The flack I copped for all of those combined in no way even approaches the pressure put on me by my friends to get a cellphone.

However, I now have a cellphone.

It wasn’t my idea: My school is upgrading, and all of the teachers now have them as part of a centralised attendance monitoring system – it’s far too complicated to go into detail about...

So anyway, today I lost my pen, and decided to make a note to myself in the form of a text-message – My first ever text-message to be precise.

Now, near as I can tell, this text-messaging that all of my friends have been evangelising to me for years with more passion and fervour than Creflo Dollar at a Benny Hinn event, is, basically, a slower, more fidgety, more irritating version of sending an email.

Now, if all of the cell phone preachers out there had begun your many sermons to me over the years with “C’mon, it’s just like technology you already have, only it takes longer and is considerably more annoying!” then I could have at least discarded your deranged ramblings sooner...

In other news, when I unfurled the local rag today, and saw that the headline ‘Children Traumatised’ had nothing to do with my school, I audibly sighed with relief. I wonder if teachers at other schools have that sort of problem.

Actually, given that I never see their schools mentioned by name in article after article on Auckland’s ever growing youth gang problem, I don’t wonder at all.

(Oh, and to pre-empt this: No, People-I-Know, you can’t have my cell phone number. Because I don’t know it, that’s why not. And because it’s still locked to prevent outside-school use. And because I don’t want you people bothering me - If I did, I would have got a cell phone years ago.)

Victor Rudd : 1901 - 2005

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

The last remaining New Zealand World War I veteran has just passed away, but the whole thing, and the second one, might never have happened at all...

The War Office in Whitehall, 1913

In a war room with maps, charts of Britain, with markers all over them etc are
GENERAL CHAPMAN, C-inC of the army and LORD RAGLAN, Chief of the Imperial General Staff. The door opens and ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET JEFFERSON enters.

RAGLAN: Ah, Jefferson, glad you could get here...something pretty big's come up...sit down.

JEFFERSON (sitting): What's the problem Archie?

RAGLAN: Well...we think the Germans may be trying to start the war a year early...

JEFFERSON: God! (He looks aghast.)

CHAPMAN (equally shocked): I thought they were the only nation we could trust.

RAGLAN: We all did Harry.

CHAPMAN: Dammit all, it's not as if we're short of people to have a war against.

RAGLAN: Well, suppose this damn rumour's true!...are we ready to start a war now?

CHAPMAN: Well, I don't know about your boys Jefferson, but we need at least another six months - we're still short of heavy cannons, two-point-five mortars, trestle tables.

RAGLAN: Trestle tables?

CHAPMAN: For the catering! We've only got six. You can't expect to train a man to the peak of military acheivement and then ask him to eat off his lap. I mean if you spill things on some of those uniforms...

RAGLAN: What about the Navy, Jeferson?

JEFFERSON: We're short on spoons mainly.

RAGLAN: No, I meant weaponry.

JEFFERSON: Ah well, we have fifteen Dreadnoughts at seas and twelve under construction.

RAGLAN: And the Germans?

JEFFERSON: Oh they've got everything: spoons, forks, knives, complete condiment sets...

RAGLAN: Ships Jefferson! Destroyers, Dreanoughts?

JEFFERSON: Ah...er...well, the last they told us...it was twelve at sea and nine under construction...

RAGLAN: When was that?

JEFFERSON: Well I spoke to old Tirpitz at a sherry party about a month ago.

RAGLAN: Since then?

JEFFERSON: I haven't heard anything.

RAGLAN: Well, this is what worries me. Intelligence think that the Germans are up to something very underhand.

CHAPMAN: Bloody Intelligence, they never did like the Germans.

RAGLAN: I'm afraid, gentlemen, they're pretty certain that the Germans have somehow opened hostilities without letting us know.

Looks of astonishment all round.

JEFFERSON: How the hell could they...?

RAGLAN: I don't know how, or where, or when, but we must find out and put a stop to it before...(a sharp crump as of a distantly exploding shell)... what was that?

CHAPMAN: Sorry, it was my stomach.

RAGLAN: ...Before the whole bloody country starts to panic ... (He stands up very straight, and gazes heroically out towards the Houses of Parliament.) We can save this war and it can still be a Great War, but if we should fail ... (He looks round significantly.) I need hardly say gentlemen, it could jeopardize our chances of ever having a war with the Germans again ...

Real Groovy tells me that Ripping Yarns will be instore on the 12th of December. Joy of Joys.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

What a lot of lay-people don’t understand is that when you hear one of your students planning her weekend rather than doing the work you’ve assigned her, going up to her and quietly but pleasantly asking how she thinks she’ll be able to dance on the weekend with two broken legs is good teaching practice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Where Does Meat Come From?

Josh writes:

I remember one time in high school (7th Form, no less) having to explain to a classmate where meat comes from:

"No, you know -- muscle tissue. That's the bit of an animal that we eat -- its muscles."

"Is it? Gross!"

"Well what part did you think we eat?"

"Just the... stuff... you know, the stuff that goes in between all the other bits..."

In his mind, "meat" was seemingly an extra type of generic body tissue that served no purpose other than to be cut out and eaten by humans.

I'm not actually sure what caused me to recall that anecdote recently, although it always does good to reflect that teenage boys are fucking stupid sometimes.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I think it's arson. Yes, someone’s been arson around

Apathy Jack writes:

Fun schoolyard conversations the first:

Walking along the corridor with a student.

Student “I smell fireworks.”
Me “That’s not fireworks. That’s fire.”

Fun schoolyard conversations the second:

Staring idly out a classroom window.

Student “Who are those people? Are they student teachers?”
Me “I doubt it – That one’s got handcuffs clipped to the back of her belt.”
Student “Why are you looking at her arse, sir?”
Me “I was looking at her handcuffs!”
Student “Riiiiight.”
Me “Dammit, there was a time in my life I had to notice things like that!”
Student “Suuuuurrre.”

Saturday, November 19, 2005

November Dog Abuse

Apathy Jack writes:

A slow month for dog abuse – several stories that were either not funny, or just plan nasty, so I ignore them.

However, there is still the odd gem, such as the case of the police dog who was fired for laziness.

“The canine cop took early retirement after bosses at South Yorkshire Police noted his poor motivation and a fondness for making friends with rowdy drunkards, his former handler said Monday.”

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Andy Kaufman Mother Fuckers

Josh writes:

Which motherfucker stole my flow? Eeny, meeny, miney mo.

The "A J Chesswas is a rhetorical construct/soul-less piston-swinging death machine" bit was my idea, damn it. (Read for yourself -- to be fair, it was Paul who first suggested that he might be a robot. I still have my suspicions.)

Oh, the fun I could have had with that schtick -- I had all sorts of material lined up, not trying to dupe the world, just to stymie the good Mr. Chesswas by replying to his comments with refusals to accept his existence. Getting other people to buy it would have just been a bonus. And much easier to achieve than I had thought -- I forget how credulous most Net denizens still are. Duck's quack echoes, anyone?

But then About Town had to orchestrate an elaborate (well, erudite) hoax on the Internet at large and spoil my fun. And take all the credit. Still, they've 'fessed up now, so everything can go back to Just the Way it Was.

This concludes the "blogosphere circle jerk" portion of our broadcast. Normal transmission resumes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Out of sight, out of your mind...

RSJS writes:

So, the snipers who peer through my bedroom window and watch my pale arse as it thrashes in my satin sinkhole of a bed through the long nights of torment are getting angry. Poor snipers, those long-suffering sharpshooting types with their good bladder control and “one-shot-one-kill” t-shirts and guns they probably paint veins down the barrels of when no-one’s watching.

Why are they up in arms? Why are the coordinated squadrons of stealthy murderers that dot or fair city getting itchy trigger fingers? I’ll tell you why: Their lines of sight are being scuppered and skyscrapered.

The wanton development of Auckland into some vast concrete Megapolis is threatening the “cultural” and “aesthetic” lines of sight that dot the landscape and allegedly mean everyone can see the volcanoes that remind our city of its mortality. These ticking lava-filled zits waiting for god’s teenaged fingers to rupture them and squirt hot magma and pus across the metaphysical mirror of heaven. What those who installed these “Sightlines” didn’t mention was that if we can see the mountain, the mountain can see US (As in an emphasis-added capital “us” not the U.S. given the world being ROUND you stupid flat-earth creationist trouser-wearers). Oh yes, Big Brother has been perching assassins across the city atop these defensible positions for decades now and finally anarchists have infiltrated the business armed forces and council commando squads to lofty-enough positions to be able to strike a blow for personal freedom by building towering blocks of unaffordable housing to block out the laser-sights and armour-piercing rounds of the black-clad death-freaks. And the killers are sad. And, I’m told, a bit lame live, which is also sad.

For too long the so-called “Heritage” types have been hiding their desire to control the country and their twisted ability to decimate the population with a word, pretending to be about keeping Aotearoa green while the true bastions of liberty have been pinstriping and boot-strapping up through the corridors of power to use multinational billboards and faceless corporate edifices to break up the natural beauty of the city that is cruelly used to target us all with hollowpoint death from above. I say support the conglomerates who wish us safe in our beds while the Clean Green Killing Machines smoke their hemp trousers and dream of a world where my skull is ventilated with lead. Save yourselves, save your children, ask for a big distracting Golden Arch effigy in YOUR garden today!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sign your life down the drain

RSJS writes:

Signatures are like pissing, it is bad news to stop halfway through either of ‘em. I hate having to restart signing my name when distracted mid-squiggle, you can never get the momentum up again. At least it doesn’t burn like uric acid devouring a soft pink urethra…

And of course, at times people use their warm caffeinated urine to write their names in the snow, further cementing this connection.

It’s a territorial thing, a way to take credit for or control of something. From signing documents to tagging buildings it is the modern equivalent of pissing on a lamp post or in the corners of one’s yard, declaring the urea-reeking spot “yours”. Listen to the pissing sound of a spray-can as some filthy hoodrat scrawls “Teh fuckzor” across some pristine soulless breeze-block wall and tell me this gobshite isn’t dreaming of whipping out his dick and hosing the thing down…

Ah, it always comes down to penises with men, doesn’t it? I don’t see many women needing to scribble in vivid across bus-shelters and shopfronts. And the mechanics of writing in the snow does boggle the mind… this is the bloke’s domain, the Alpha Male lording over all he surveys with a beer in one hand and his cock in the other. Look at what he puts his name on, after all. Like lonely cowpokes branding the arse-end of their cattle? ‘Nuff said. Hell, even the name’s a giveaway. And the insistence on drawing a cock and balls on things, this is straightforward cut-out-the-middleman felt-tip-pen hooliganism. I’d like to say it is the domain of the modern primitive, the slope-foreheaded glue-sniffers in running shoes that will never be run in and bomber jackets that have never seen the inside of a B52, but drawing porn dates back to the Egyptians chiselling cock on tombs of long-dead dudes with their lungs in jars. Or the “celibate” monks of the Dick Ages merrily decorating their illuminated Bibles with a plethora of bodily functions all to honour Jeebers, all the way up to my school days when some poor sod took a story book based on the Praying Mantis that Ate New York and drew monster dicks on all the bugs. The bugs, people. Hairy-balled insects eating skyscrapers. It haunts me.

And yesterday, I saw the ultimate in pointless sign-posting/pissing, on the sign for “The BaseMENt”. For those of you in denial of your arse-hungry urges, the BaseMENt is a rainbow-striped gay “adult” store for all your greasy buttplug needs, and it’s sign consists of a photo of a big G-stringed crotch. And that’s it. Just the shops’ name, and an enormous package glaring at you with lumpy malice like a bunch of grapes wrapped in a hankie.

And on this sackful of walnuts, someone had with shaky Biro drawn a penis, urinating.

Perhaps like the forgers of old and the politicians of new, this pen-wielding donkeyfuck thought by putting his mark on this member he in some way claimed allegiance to its monstrosity, a chance to claim he was that crotch, two foot wide and smooth of bikini-line. Maybe he thought the sign too subtle and needed to educate those unsure of what lurked beneath the cotton. Maybe he just really liked cock. At least we can be thankful he didn’t piss on the damned thing.

Somehow, It Always Comes Back to Killer Robots

Josh writes:

Sex and death are most similar, in that they both go before "bot".

So, I'm sitting in the car wash (which at one point seems to involve being assaulted by the 70s) thinking about my recent exchange with fictional construct A.J. Chesswas on span's blog.

Having judged his rhetoric incapable of having issued from the mind of a real human being, it was suggested that, rather than being the alternative personality of an Internet japester (and really, who would use a fake personality to play jokes in the Internet -- the very thought) he may actually be some sort of machine.

Naturally, my thoughts turned to killer robots:

armies of Chesswasbots subjugating entire continents to their silicon will, flattening all who oppose them with their hulking, steam-powered exoskeletons ... robo-Nazis oppressing all that fall under their mighty pistons.

Awesome! \m/ \m/

There followed a dissertation on the subtle intricacies of the human-deathbot dynamic. It was awesome.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

So, another student accidentally called me Dad.

Unlike the one in my last post, who made the sort of mistake that is surprisingly common at third form level, this one is Year 12. This is the kid who has been in my class for four years – at least one of which she spent industriously trying to set me up with her mother. This is the kid who changed her options at the beginning of the year to get back into my class, the kid who has spent ages with me as the year ends trying to process the fact that, because I don’t teach level three, I’m not going to be her English teacher for the first time ever. The kid that I recently overheard telling her boyfriend that, while he was special to her, he’d have to wait a while before he had the kind of connection she and I had.

When she called me Dad, there was no self-consciousness, no feeling of being shamed in front of her peers. “I called you Dad” she said, curious at her slip rather than embarrassed by it. Then she came up and hugged me goodbye.

I’m the sort of tired that I had forgotten existed, and it really has been a prick of a year in a lot of regards – the students have noticed how exhausted I am: One of them wrote as her goodbye to me on the whiteboard “Stop stressin yourself out man. It’s bad for the health!!” and I got an email from one of my Year 13s saying “i just wanted to ask if you were ok? u didn’t look very happy the last couple of weeks.”

Now that they’re gone, life can start making sense again for a while. But they’ve taken a big part of me with them.

Anonymous said:

Josh writes:

In the interests of keeping this discussion out of the comments thread of an unrelated post, the Anonymous Commenting Conversation shall take place here. I'd prefer to keep them, since there are people who read this who don't have blogger accounts (who leave comments under their name). But to be blunt, they're pissing me off and I am a Vengeful God.

To address the points Morthos made in the other post -- he says:

A comment (well, a good one, where 'good' is either funny or informative) should stand on its own whether you have the context of the person putting it forward or not.

I agree. I'm not saying that anonymous posts are by definition no good, but the ability to post anonymously increases the likelihood of posts that are a waste of time. Having to put your name to something seems to cause people to put more effort into producing something that, well, that they don't mind putting their name to.
...the 'Anonymous' tag has its use. It allows you to put forward a view without necessarily having to own or subscribe to it. It's the equivalent, in many cases, of the Devil's Advocate in the Blogsphere (hate that term);

Or you could just say "this isn't my view, but..." or "if I can play Devil's Advocate for a minute here..." There are plenty of disclaimers a person could use.
if you write something under your own name then people tend to think that you must believe or support it;

Unless you say "this isn't my view, but..." or "if I can play Devil's Advocate for a minute here..." or some other disclaimer
if given the chance to voice the comment anonymously you can throw the idea out there without anyone having to contextualise it in re yourself.

Not quite sure what you mean by that, but it sounds like saying you don't have to take responsibility for what you say. Which is what annoys me about anonymous posting the most: the ability to not have to take responsibility for your words; an ability that is abused more than it is used, in my opinion.

In conclusion, I provide the following (not actually a) syllogism:
  1. Anonymous commenting isn't necessary to write good comments
  2. Anonymous commenting makes it easier to get bad comments
  3. Fuck anonymous commenting.
Out of interest, what are other bloggers' policies/opinions in this area?

Bad News

Josh writes:

I can't be alone in having followed with some degree of sick fascination the case of John Sharpe, who, in March of last year, murdered his wife and daughter in Australia. Here's where things stood when last we heard:

  • John Sharpe kills his pregant wife with a speargun.
  • A few days later, he shoots his 20-month-old daughter. Four times. In the head. With a fucking speargun.
  • He then dismembers the wife with a chainsaw, dumps the bodies, and makes up some story about her running off with another man.
  • The wife's family doesn't buy his story, police get suspicious, and eventually he's arrested and charged with the murders, which he confesses to.
In January of this year he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two life terms with a 33-year non-parole period (a sentence influenced by the fact that he "only showed signs of remorse when he realised he was about to be caught").

And you'd think that was that -- there simply isn't anything left that could add to the horror of these happenings.

But no.

Because now, now it turns out that the reason why he killed his wife may have been...

*deep breath*

...because she found out he was a child molestor.

Thank you and good night.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Less than stellar moments in the field of education, from the last week or so...

Apathy Jack writes:

or: I get very tired around this time of year...


“Don’t you think it’s a hell of a coincidence that this review is almost word for word the same as the review written on the same book by your mate?”
“I’m not a cheater!”
“You’re a lying sack of crap, is what you are.”
“I’m not a sack of crap.”
“You’re fifty pounds of crap in a twenty-pound bag, and you cheated on your review.”


So, one of my juniors accidentally called me ‘Dad’ the other day. Happens occasionally. However, one of the boys hasn’t let her forget it – and is becoming quite tiresome with it: He made a big display of calling me over with “Dad! Come and help me, Dad.”

Normally I’d glare at him, or yell, or some such, but it’s been a very long term, and I’m tired, so as I walk over to him, I say, just loud enough for the whole class to hear: “I don’t know what you think I’ve been doing with your mother that would make me your father...”

Professional? Probably not, but, after the laughter and mockery had died down, this boy was quiet for the rest of the period.


Student 1 “What did we do in class yesterday?”
Student 2 “We had a Roman orgy.”
Me “Well, actually, that would have been a more interesting internal assessment than the rather dry research project I gave you to do.”
Student 2 “Wouldn’t that be a cool thing to appear on your report: Roman Orgy – six credits.”
Me “Yeah, but what if you got a Not Achieved?”
Student 2 “Ooh, that would hurt. Would there be a resit?”
Me “Yeah, but you’d have to rest for a while first, get your energy back up.”


“Here. Here. Here. Oops – Looks like I’m out of sheets. Hold on a second while I go and copy some more.”
“Why did you give him the last sheet instead of me?”
“He’s closer.”
“It’s because he’s white, isn’t it?”


So, for a while now I’ve been lending my little goth sundry books of interest: Dracula, the odd Lovecraft anthology and the like. After she found my copy of Nightmares and Fairytales (my fault for leaving it in the comparatively public domain of inside a closed drawer), I started letting her borrow the various “goth friendly” comics I have lying around – Squee, Lenore, you know the ones. They’ve gone down a treat, and she’s been evangelising them to all of her friends, and even her parents.

Who have now put her in therapy because they’re worried about the things she’s reading.

I’ve managed to mess with students before – in fact, I do so on a hobbyist basis, but having one sent to the brain doctors is a new low in my professional career...


Oh, and I broke out the horse blinders again, which is never a sign that I’ve been sleeping well...


As I’m leaving school the other day, one of my Year 13s catches up with me and we walk together.

She’s in my Year 11 class: The first time she failed was her fault, but the second was a direct result of my school’s inability to retain good English teachers – which leads to a revolving door of people who can’t tell Shakespeare from Bacon. This kid thinks that I’m the reason she is finally succeeding in English. Despite my best efforts to convince her otherwise, she won’t believe that her passing grades are entirely due to intelligence and hard work on her part.

We walk together for a while, and our discussion turns to University. My girl is getting worried: School is over for her in a matter of weeks and she still hasn’t decided what she wants to do.

As it transpires, she simply doesn’t know anything about tertiary education. The subject of university isn’t discussed in her house any more than the subject of walking on the Moon – for much the same reason. We chat about eligibility, about working, about student loans, and the sundry little specifics of her high school career.

As we talk, a light comes on in her eyes. She tells me that she has it figured out: Not her whole life, but the next few years of it. Like I said – she’s intelligent. She thinks fast.

As we’re saying our goodbyes a few days later, she hugs me and tells me that she will be back: She has the next year or so figured out, but would like my opinion on her half-formed plans for life thereafter. A ten minute conversation and her uncertainty is lifted, a blueprint for the future sketched.

Some days it doesn’t matter how tired I am.

Oops. I let a positive “I like my job” post slip through.

I know some of you think these posts are boring, and many of you think I’m being sanctimonious. But here’s the thing: You’re right. As my friends will tell you, I am, by nature, a boring and sanctimonious person. Congratulations, you win the prize. The prize is not reading my posts anymore if they upset you that much. Because for as long as these sorts of moments make up for all of the bad, and talk me once again out of quitting teaching to find a nice quiet retail job somewhere, these posts will keep coming.



That Morthos Stare writes:

United Kingdom Television Welcomes A New Star

You probably know Matthew Dentith. You may have seen him in ‘Classics,’ where he played a young man who dreamt of becoming a Jesuit. Perhaps you saw him in ‘Philosophy’ as the pedagogue who wasn’t exactly bucking the system as bending it to his whim. Now, starting early December, you’ll have to be in the UK to see this rising star in his new Britcom, ‘Personal Management.’

“Matthew is an actor who we’ve been looking to find the right role for.” Killarney Poppet, Esq., Matthew’s agent for ten years now, explains. “He was one of the principals of ‘Classics’ but when that [show] hit its fourth season it started focussing on life after university and he was more of a cameo than anything else. As the mood went from sitcom to drama his character didn’t really fit in.”

It was at this time that Matthew’s character was spun out to a brand new series set at the same University but in a completely different department.

“It just made sense; the former priestly-hopeful now philosophically-wondering character had to go somewhere, so why not Philosophy?” Chip D. Hardstuff, the producer of ‘Classics’ and ‘Philosophy’ speaks out. “We were able to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, and get back to those early days of character interplay that we had on ‘Classics’ but intellectualise it.”

The show ran for seven years. Recently, however, Matthew was clearly uncomfortable with the direction ‘Philosophy’ was taking.

“When I first came on board it was very much an ensemble show; we were all postgraduates from different disciplines trying to make some sense of it all. Then, as people went off to other jobs the cast really reduced itself down to a few core people, myself included. Now that we’ve hit the seventh year the producers are trying to get that ensemble feeling going again, and I can’t help but think that I’ve done this all before.”

Renewed now for an eighth season, ‘Philosophy’ will have to do without its sole surviving first season member. In a rare move the character is changing networks and professions with his jump to UK television in the new series ‘Personal Management.’

“I was looking to write my first proper series and key in my mind was ‘What kind of characters are we going to be dealing with?’” HORansome, writer of ‘Personal Management,’ fills us in. “Someone suggested Matthew. It suddenly seemed so very obvious; the whole fish out of water times two. Different job, different location; it’s comedy gold.”

Matthew will be starring with two co-stars in the British-produced ‘Personal Management’ which sees Matthew relocate from Auckland, New Zealand to London, England. Gone is the whole academic side as Matthew will be working as a PA and seeing life from the other side for a change.

“I’m really excited by this move,” Matthew told us last week in interview. “New locations, new ideas; I can’t wait to see what they have in store for my character. And, you know, it’s not as if my influence on ‘Philosophy’ won’t still be felt...”

The show also plans to feature a number of cameos from both ‘Classics’ and ‘Philosophy,’ and some of them are promising to be very surprising indeed.

Filming for the new series starts on the 28th of November with a location shoot at Heathrow airport. However New Zealand viewers will have a chance to say goodbye to the character of Matthew with the telemovie ‘Leaving’ which plays on the 27th of November, which also sets up the new series.

‘Personal Management’s’ season premiere will screen in early January.

-IAN, November 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

So, The Internet often asks me: What's it like living in a flat composed of myself, Ben from Dog Biting Men and Nick from Hangover? Surely such a hub of internet creativity would be sparkling with Waugh-esque wit and Fry-esque frivolity? A given Thursday night in such an electronic Algonquin can't consist of normal, relatively boring people chatting and watching bad television, can it? Surely, says The Internet, their flat is a reflection of their respective sites: Nick drinking heavily in a comical manner, Ben ranting loudly about politics, and Jack rocking backwards and forwards in a corner while weeping openly.

Horribly, The Internet is right.

However, for all those that have wondered what life in this hub of the new media is really like; basically imagine this conversation. All the time.

Kansas to Science: Know Your Role

Josh writes:

I really want to say something about the news that the Kansas Board of Education has redefined science, so that "it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena." (Not to be confused with the current court case in Pennsylvania, where a bunch of parents are suing a school board that's already introduced this sort of ID crap -- see Xavier's coverage over at About Town for that stuff.) But anything I can come up with is either stuff that's already been said a million times over elsewhere or a variation on "gaah! fuckers! arse!"

Maybe it's not a bad thing -- if there had been a few more pixies involved when I studied electrostatics, I might not have dropped out of my Engineering degree...

UPDATE: Xavier has plenty to say about this one, too. I concur.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Bored; Have Some Lyrics

Josh writes:

You are the heart-dotting "i"
In the word "apologize"
Scribbled drunk on a postcard
Sent from somewhere volcanoes are

I am the heart with no name
Airbrushed on the license plate
Of a Subaru that was
Registered in Pennsylvania

- The Bloodhound Gang, "Pennsylvania"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Only Your Doctor Knows For Sure

Josh writes:

HETRACIL - "The most widely prescribed anti-effeminate medication in the United States, helping 16 million Americans who suffer from Behavioural Effeminism and Male Homosexuality Disorder"

What's really disturbing is that I had no problem believing that this could be real, given the number of real pray-out-the-gay facilities and organizations out there. I mean, I wasn't so ready to believe that I didn't immediately check to see if it's a hoax (it is, thank Christ), but come on -- if such a drug really did exist, you know its website would be just like this.

I'd be interested to know what happens when US callers phone the contact number it gives (1-800-ShettyRx). I imagine the Maxim Institute have already given it a try...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Are you people listening? Well, are you?

Apathy Jack writes:

If there’s one thing that would cause me to lose sleep at night it would be people thinking I was making them be wacky. Wacky is not something I would ever willingly be involved with. Wacky people are bad. I frown upon their wackiness. They wear Wallace & Grommit socks and think it’s expressing their wacky personality. It’s not. It’s expressing they’ve got bad socks.

- Danny Wallace, Join Me