Thursday, December 29, 2005

Shameless self-promotion.

RSJS writes:


Excited yet?


Apathy Jack writes:

(from something Warren Ellis was musing on a while back...)

We've all been heroes at some time -- or, at least, I like to think so. We've all looked like heroes, once. We've all felt that moment that should have had a soundtrack. I hope so. I hope you have. I hope there was a time when the mist lifted and the crowds parted and the traffic stopped and someone saw you standing there.

It'd be horrible if you'd never been a hero. It'd be like you'd never been alive.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

One More Before Xmas

Josh writes:

Home is the blogger, etc etc -- did Melbourne, saw the sights, purchased my body weight in duty free Toblerone and got more sweaty in the car ride home from the airport than I did walking around Melbourne all day in 30 degree temperatures. Bloody Auckland humidity. Good to be home though, but that's not what I want to talk about.

We're one year old -- hooray. That's not what I want to talk about, either. As Jack says, blogging over Christmas is a bit sad, so one last Christmas-related post should keep the site ticking over until the new year.

Pop stars doing Christmas carols -- for the sake of fuck. Seriously ladies, if you want to show off your vocal range, try opera -- don't assault us at a time of great stress by releasing Christmas songs in which you invariably stick a minimum of three scales into every vowel sound you sing. I'm looking at you Delta Goodrem. You too, Ms. Carey.

Si-iIiI-ilent ni-i-i-i-i-iiight. Ho-o-ly-y-y niiiI-I-I-Iight -- it's like that bit from Handel's "Messiah" where the entire choir takes two and a half hours to say "amen". Only half a dozen times in every fucking line.

Listen, there's nothing wrong with masturbation -- it's perfectly normal and healthy and Jesus doesn't care if you do it. Just keep your wanking in the bedroom or shower; don't record it and pipe it out of every shopping mall for the entire month of December, OK? OK.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
So, today is the one year anniversary of Brain Stab, and it is also a mere five days until the jolly fat man comes sneaking into your house bearing presents. (Note: I am that man. Except by “jolly” I mean “angry”. And by “presents” I mean “nazi raccoons and mice with no concept of fear that I’m going to let into your bed while you sleep”. And by “comes sneaking into your house” I mean “comes sneaking into your house”. But enough of that.) So I’m off. Over and above the fact that blogging over Christmas is kind of sad, I’m also off travelling. See you...

Congratulations -- it's a Blog!

Josh writes:

So today would be this site's first birthday. I'd expound more on this, but I just flew in from Melbourne, and boy are my arms tired!

That in-flight masturbation is a killer.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Hands up mother fuckers…

RSJS writes:

So I want to meet you weird-arsed monkey fucks whose idea of fun is to wave cellular telephones displaying horribly-abbreviated text-speak at my good friend Jack. So I can slap you, you bizarre dead ends in the evolutionary bush.

The reason I presume a legion of people have been doing this is a comment from recent cell-phone user, Jack. Someone who admits to having never given his number to most of his dear sweet friends, like me. He says:

“Most of the people I know with cellphones spell the word “you” with one letter – and yet the predictive text program on my phone assumes that these illiterates are more likely to type the word “enzyme” than “down”?”

Now, Jacko has never received a text from me, and ignores what few he gets from his other friends, the very few who even know his number. So his exposure to these misspellings don’t come via his own telephone, and he is unable to label any of his normal circle of friends (numbering at least into double digits) as vicious you/u spellers given their inability to display their text-prowess at him. So it must be due to random rag-clad sweaty people, in numbers enough to make a clear majority in Jack’s life, flailing Nokias in his hairy face showing their inept thumb-driven “u”-spattered typing on their wee green screens presumably while yelling “Oi” or something equally engaging.

I cannot conceive of another explanation.

Sundry observations while Christmas shopping

Apathy Jack writes:

Observation the first:

As I mentioned a while back, my school has given me a cellphone because that is how we’ll be taking the roll in the twenty-first century. And you know, I don’t think I’ve ever received a more disgusted look than the glare I got from my friend Lily Petals when we had the following conversation:

“Did you get the texts I sent you over the weekend?”
“No, my phone was off.”
“I don’t need to take the roll on the weekends.”

But anyway, going Christmas shopping for the grandparents, so have to meet my brother in town. He insists that I bring my cellphone so he can text me with the place to meet.

When I get the text asking where I am, I want to reply that I’m in the Downtown shopping center. I get as far as telling him that I am Fox Enzyme before completely giving up on all forms of cellular communication whatsoever.

Most of the people I know with cellphones spell the word “you” with one letter – and yet the predictive text program on my phone assumes that these illiterates are more likely to type the word “enzyme” than “down”?

I’m sure the future wasn’t supposed to be like this...

Observation the second:

When you are a munty looking beardo with long hair, and you go up to a counter with Rammstein’s new album and the latest offering from Shakira (the wonderfully titled Oral Fixation vol.2), it turns out that the Shop Drone assumes the Shakira album is a present for someone. It apparently hadn’t occurred to him that I was buying the Rammstein as an afterthought because I saw it going cheap.

Just as well I bought the Ashlee Simpson ‘Boyfriend’ single at another shop, really.

Observation the third:

Despite some libelous rumours started by Josh recently, I am in no way shape or form remotely gothic. Sure I know lots of goths (like Ben - and Josh himself for that matter) but I myself am not one. However, because of my close personal... acknowledgement of their existence, I always scan any members of the trenchcoat mafia that I pass on the street for signs of familiarity.

So I was walking up the road and looking at the little goth walking towards me, wondering why she seemed so familiar. Then, as I got closer, from under the makeup and angst, came a cheerful “Hello, Mister.”

It does the heart proud, it really does.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ho’s Ho’s Ho’s

Apathy Jack writes:

Listen up, Internet: I’ve already been to the Coal Works and got your Christmas present, so it’s time you got mine.

Nicole Richie has just released her first novel, The Truth About Diamonds – a fictional tale about the daughter of a popular musician from the seventies and eighties.

Also, Pamela Anderson has released Star Struck, the sequel to her novel Star, the adventures of a blonde, large-breasted television actress. The sequel continues the fictional tale as the leggy blonde stars in a show about lifeguards and marries a bad boy rocker.

However, I can’t justify spending money on these things – If for no other reason than that I’d have to explain their presence to my flatmates. (And no, hiding them isn’t an option for two reasons: Firstly, they would doubtlessly be found during one of Ben’s regular “stocktakes” of my belongings, which he assures me are necessary for reasons of Homeland Security. Secondly, shutting the door, listening to make sure my flatmates aren’t coming down the hall, looking from side to side just in case and furtively pulling a copy of Pamela Anderson’s book out from under my mattress... I don’t want to be that guy.)

However, if The Internet got them for me as Christmas presents, then you’d be the weird ones. I wouldn’t be reading them because I was a literary pervert – I’d be reading them because you all are literary perverts.

Send my new books to the following address:

Apathy Jack
Follow The Faint Sobbing Sounds


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Books you should be reading number 5 of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Planet of the Blind by Stephen Kuusisto

Tom is from Chicago, and like the city itself, he has broad shoulders. He’s a weight lifter and a marathon runner. Like me, he can see just enough to appreciate the odd human-shaped shadows that approach him on the sidewalk.

“What I like to do is lurch toward the people who are doing everything they can to get off the sidewalk so I can pass. You know, those people who see you coming with the white cane and they flatten themselves against the walls of buildings or jump into the gutter. When that happens, I can’t help myself, and I go into this crab-walk thing, where I lurch right off the sidewalk while flailing my cane. I’ll follow them right into the storm drain like some kind of human train wreck.”

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Dog Abuse

Apathy Jack writes:

Here is a Christmas present for your canine companion that surely counts as some form of abuse...

And, of course, for the true pervert: Doggie Cellphones, because, you know, even your goddamn dog needs to piss people on busses off by making everyone listen to his piercing polyphonic rendition of some Christ-awful eighties song before shouting at the top of his lungs: I’m on a bus! No, I’m on a bus! I’m on a bus! What? I’M ON A BUS!!!

But to make your own Christmas easier, someone has come up with transport involving an alternative energy concept “based on the premise that you and your dog are both going to the same place”.

But, as your Christmas present for the year you get the best story since Cow vs Dogs: Squirrels vs Dog.

Squirrels win.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Goth. Goth!

Josh writes:

Every now and then, the following conversation (or something like it) occurs between me and Ben from Dog Biting Men:

"You know, you're my favourite goth."

"But I'm not a goth."

"Exactly -- that's what I'm talking about."

And subsequent protestations go ignored. Now, unlike, say, Apathy Jack (whose repeated insistence of non-gothhood simply serves to emphasize how goth he is) I really don't consider myself anything more than peripheral to the goth scene. I mean, some of my best friends and all that, but, you know...

Anyway, yesterday my girlfriend needed a baggy T-shirt, so I suggested she borrow one of mine. She reaches into my drawer and pulls out a swag of neatly folded black T-shirts:

"I don't want one that says rude things on it -- how about this?" (picking up a still-folded T-shirt from the pile)

"That's my Preacher one."

"How can you tell them apart?"

"They're all different... shades... of... black..."

Slowly my world began to crumble.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ooooooiiiiiiiinnnkk! Splat!

Apathy Jack writes:

Alright you mouthy bastards, listen up.

Between blogs, the actual media, and sundry people I’ve talked to, too many people who have nothing to do with education have recently have been telling me the merits or otherwise of NCEA.

I figured that I would write something about the subject, but, you know, I’m very lazy, and can’t really be bothered - I only have another eight and a half weeks of holiday, and can't spend them all worrying about school. My time is precious.

So here’s the deal: If you have any questions about how it works (or doesn’t, as the case may be) put them in the comments below, or email them to the brainstab address on the side of the page there, where it says ‘contact’.

I figure my attention span for this will last about a week, so any questions within that time frame get answered.


Monday, December 12, 2005


Josh writes:

My car Knows Things. One of the things it knows is that it was 31 degrees outside when I was driving around yesterday.

You can keep your "meteorology" and your "accepted convention" -- I have two signs that tell me when summer has arrived in Auckland (whichever comes first):

  1. When it's the heat keeping me awake at night instead of good old-fashioned insomnia.
  2. When I get out of the shower and find that I can't actually get myself completely dry due to the humidity.
Number two happened yesterday morning. Subsequent blog posts will consist solely of me complaining that it's too damn hot, until Thursday when I go to Melbourne for a week. Enjoy.

I said enjoy, damnit!

Last Thing About Work For The Year

Apathy Jack writes:

I still have faint memories of my teacher training: Learning a lot about professional standards, boundaries, the appropriate ways of handling things and the like. Of course, at the end of my sixth year of doing this, I realise that none of it was useful.

For example: T’other day, as parents were filing into the Hall for a prize giving, I stood in the middle of the crowd, my hand around the throat of a student, squeezing not hard enough to cut off all of her air, but hard enough to doubtlessly worry the Anti-Benson-Popes of this world, and saying loud enough for the parents to hear: “If the public wasn’t here, you’d be dead!”

During my training, I’m sure they said this wasn’t the sign of a good teacher, but I know better now.

Hell, so long as I continue to get Christmas cards like the following from my kids:

You were the best English teacher ever, even though at times you were threatening to kill us! But I’ll get the spiders on you.

then I know I’m doing my job properly.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Reasons the Narnia books are better than Lord of the Elfmovies # 4

Apathy Jack writes:

Okay, they may all be increasingly obvious Christian tracts, but I’m beginning to think that CS Lewis was onto something.

In The Last Battle, he hypothesises that the battle of Revelations will be fought against people who wear Turbans and look awfully Arabic. Also, that this war will, in fact, be started primarily by the Narnians themselves, after they allow themselves to become ruled by a corrupt thing that looks like a monkey but claims to be a human, and claims to rule with the divine right of the One True God. However, the Monkey is stupid, and allows himself to be manipulated and lead to war by his advisors.

I think there might be something to this...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Today’s entry has been brought to you by the letters Un and Planned, and by the number Parenthood

Apathy Jack writes:

So, the question raised by Close Up today was: are parents within their rights to hire lawyers to fight suspensions and the like handed to their children by schools?

I can answer this: Parents are well within their rights to do so, and I think it’s a great idea. I just ask that they do one thing first:

Spend one week walking around their neighbourhood wearing a sandwich board that bears the legend: I Am A Bad Parent.

I’ve been involved in more suspensions than any of you – and I say that in the full knowledge that a bunch of teachers read this. The experiences I have had in this area have taught me one primary lesson: It’s usually the parents’ fault.

Certainly, the school has to take a level of responsibility – more than they often do – but the kids who get suspended or excluded from my school all have the common feature of unsupportive parents who take little to no interest in their kids’ education until trouble arises, who leave us to raise them until they break rules, in which case the kids and the teachers are expected to share the blame, putting none on the people who haven’t even noticed that Johnny doesn’t take a bag to school in the mornings.

Of course, there are exceptions. I admit that there are kids with supportive, loving parents who still get into trouble. Occasionally, these kids will get in serious enough trouble to warrant a suspension or a stand-down.

Maybe one in every hundred cases is like this.


As for the other ninety-nine who get suspended: I’ve met their parents, I’ve looked at their records, I’ve talked to them about their home lives, and the mantra I find myself repeating in every single case is: “This kid never stood a chance.”

So sure, you can ring the lawyers, immediately after you ring the sign writers and tell them what to inscribe on your placard, because you will take responsibility for the things you have done to your children. You will not hire a lawyer to chase an ambulance to the bottom of the cliff, you will stand up and admit to the world that you have failed, that you should not have bred, and that you are a bad parent.

So shut up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Reasons the Narnia books are better than Lord of the Elfmovies # 3

Apathy Jack writes:

I started reading The Magician’s Nephew this time last week, and I’m already up to The Silver Chair. This is a much more bearable run than JRR Tolkien’s Guide To Every Blade Of Grass In Middle Earth And The Horrible Minutiae Thereof, or whatever the book was called, which took something like forty years to read.

And yes, I know that, being in my late twenties, I can’t have actually spent four decades wading through that monstrosity, which leads to only two possibilities:

1) It seemed like it took forty years.

2) The book was so long, so boring, and so filled with elves, that it actually warped time around me and two score years passed while I was trying to decipher that bollocks-awful elfsong.

I’m currently tending towards the latter...

Man I’m going to hate it when the movie comes out – that many people dressed as elves can’t help but sully this for me...

I Blame Jesus

Josh writes:

Water into wine.

Wine into urine.

Urine into methamphetamine.

The circle of life continues...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Reasons the Narnia books are better than Lord of the Elfmovies # 2

Apathy Jack writes:

The line:

Now, the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

Which is going onto my classroom wall next year.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Not enough famine, not enough suffering, not enough natural selection

Apathy Jack writes:

If anyone was wondering why the Narnia books were better than the Lord Of The Christ Awful Elf Movies Which Are Just Tiresomely Long Travelogues Of Wales, then I think I’ve struck upon it:

There’s the scene in The Magician’s Nephew where Aslan sets Digory a quest. Now, here we have the first two differences:

1) The directions of where to go on this long quest are laid out in about half a page of big type, not dozens upon dozens of pages of awful rubbish about elves.

2) It’s not written in Welsh.

But the biggest difference is in what happens thereafter: Digory says (to paraphrase); “Well, that’s halfway across Narnia over stream and under dale, so it will take us a long time to journey there and back again.”

Whereupon Aslan replies (and again, I’m paraphrasing) “Don’t be so bloody silly – here’s a flying horse. You’ll be back by early tomorrow morning.”

Now that is how you write a mythical quest: No dwarves named Faceless Unnecessary Character Numbers 1-9, not an elf to be seen anywhere, and, best of all, it’s all over before you can say “Good fuck, Crappy Magician # 2 has taken over Hobbiton! Won’t this fucking book ever end?”

Friday, December 02, 2005

Currently Watching

Josh writes:

Still thinking about movies. The questions are the same ones that always crop up when I'm thinking about movies: What has Julia Roberts ever done that would justify her being the highest paid actress in Hollywood today? Why do people keep letting Uwe Boll make movies? Jesus Christ, what would have happened if he'd been given Resident Evil? It would have been about Navy Seals battling mutant squid on the moon. With car chases and bullet time.

A while ago now I said I couldn't rant -- just didn't get worked up enough about things. It turns out there's two reasons: Either I'm too apathetic to really get started, or I instantly go from 0 to 100 and my rant synapses just short out. The latter case generally applies to my contemplation of the above questions -- it just comes out "Gnggh! But! Pretty Woman -- fifteen fucking years ago! Moog! Gwaaaaa..." Hardly award-winning prose.

So no extended ranterpatin' from me. Instead, since I'm horribly lazy, the ultimate in blog filler -- movie reviews. Since I'm also mindful of your precious time and bandwidth, they will be Four Word Film Reviews. May contain spoilers.

The World's Fastest Indian - Anthony Hopkins pulls. Twice.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - "May Contain Nuts" -- a-haw!

Doom - Uwe didn't direct this?

Transporter 2 - Not nearly gay enough.

Serenity - Wash and Book die.

Navy Seals Battle Mutant Squid on the Moon - Doesn't exist, thank Christ.


Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Yes, I went to Motörhead last night and it was great, thanks for asking, although I probably can't hear you because I am deaf.

Of the warm-up acts I can tell you little since I missed them, arriving, as I did, straight after work at 21:00. They were apparently good, although they played very short sets.

Motörhead say they are the loudest band in the world, they did have a lot of amps and they made a lot of noise, and it was mostly good. That said, I can be fairly sure the sound engineers would have received an absolute roasting.

There were feedback issues every time Lemmy tried to engage in inter-song banter with the crowd which really pissed him off. And one instance of feedback in a song - their trademark song "Ace of Spades" no less - which would probably be the worst thing that could have happened.

This isn't the first time that I've noticed this at the St James. To be fair I've only been there twice, the time before was Nick Cave back in May, but during that show they suffered sound issues as well though not of feedback, just everything blending together and sounding duller (most probably because there were almost a dozen different people playing/singing at once, a thankless task to try and mix properly).

I am unsure as to whether the St James is a venue for loud bands. There just isn't enough space for the sound to dissipate, it just bounces straight back. It's an excellent venue, built for sound amplification, and with two mezzanines you can never be disappointingly far from the stage. But that's the problem, the sound goes out at 100db for only 50 metres before it hits a wall to be reflected back again. Whereas somewhere larger like the Supertop or somewhere outdoors lets the sound go away, never to re-enter the microphones. Speaking of microphones the stage layout didn't help either with microphones in front of two huge stacks of guitar amps, the bleeding of drum and guitar into vocals was unfortunate. I don't know how Motörhead would go doing a TOOL with the vocalist behind or alongside the drums and amps, but no matter.

A rating then? 7/10. The sound has to take a few points off, but they are a kick-arse band and bloody nice chaps, hanging off the stage to shake hands and pass out the usual goodies to fans at the end.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

“Mister, I’ll bet you can’t guess what I want to do when I leave school.”
“You want to be a forensic pathologist.”
“How...? But...? What...? How...?”

There’s something easy about teaching teenage goths...