LESSONS FROM A ROAD TRIP

Karratha to Perth: 1600 kilometres.

Date of son and daughter-in-law’s wedding: slap bang in the middle of the school holidays.

Length of time we’ve had shiny new SUV: two weeks.

Of course we drove.

The plan was relatively simple: we’d bundle ourselves into the car, blast through the 11-hour drive from K-Town to Geraldton in a day, stay overnight, then hit Perth on day two. Coming back, we’d take things slower: stop at Geraldton again, stop at Carnarvon on day two, get home on day three. Take the time to see a tourist trap or two on the way. We’d have Lord 15’s best mate in the car with us, so turn the trip into a bit of a sightseeing experience rather than a race. And with the extra space we’d have, and the lack of a luggage limit, get some big-arse shopping in in the meantime.

And so we did.

Along the way, though, it turned into an important rite-of-old-man-passage. Because I learned some things, and those things are going to herald some changes. Continue reading “LESSONS FROM A ROAD TRIP”

FIVE GRAPHIC NOVEL MINI-REVIEWS: ZAC’S CHOICE

Every now and again I throw a challenge to a nearby personage to hit me up with five graphic novels from my collection they’d like me to review. This time it’s Lord 15’s buddy Zac who happened to be in the wrong room at the wrong time. Let’s see what I thought of the ones he picked out while I was shouting at him to hurry up.

Continue reading “FIVE GRAPHIC NOVEL MINI-REVIEWS: ZAC’S CHOICE”

MIXED MOVIE QUOTES: RUNTS PRETENDING TO BE SUPERHEROES EDITION

It’s the last week of a long semester. I’m running on fumes, my students are running on fumes, the whole world seems like it’s running on fumes. So you know what? Screw it. Let’s power down, put a couple of movies on, and recharge our batteries. Ain’t nothing we can do in this week we can’t do in the first week of term three.

One of my Year Ten classes is watching Red, but I’ve done that one. The other is watching Mission Impossible: Holy Shit, I Can’t Believe This Pile of Crap Is Supposed To Be The Good One. And my Year Nines are watching Shazam.

So, as per my usual rules, here we are: A Mixed Movie Quote Cage Match. Shazam v Fallout.

I’ll be grown-up later.

 

fallout

 

 

Shazam

FIVE GRAPHIC NOVEL MINI-REVIEWS: TEAM-UPS, REBOOTS, CLASSICS, AND KINGDOMS

It’s been quite a little while since I managed to sit down and read some graphic novels. But the term is winding down: two out of my three classes have, to all intents and purposes, finished their work with a week to go — so there’s suddenly a little extra time in my week, and I’ve taken full advantage of it. So get ready: there are reviews galore to come.

Let’s get started with some easy takes, involving some of the core characters of both Marvel and DC.

Continue reading “FIVE GRAPHIC NOVEL MINI-REVIEWS: TEAM-UPS, REBOOTS, CLASSICS, AND KINGDOMS”

MIXED MOVIE QUOTE: THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE

It’s been a long time since I’ve managed to sit in front of the blog. Hopefully that will change in coming days, when we’re facing a teaching semester without COVID, cyclones, and all the other things that have turned the first half of this year into a rolling ball of liquid shite.

In the meantime, I was overcome by the medical necessity to see The Emperor’s New Groove again tonight. By the Gods, it’s still an absolutely wonderful, brilliant movie — I’d argue with anyone that it rivals Aladdin as the best thing Disney has ever done. And the Mixed Movie Quote proved so very easy…

 

Emperor's New Groove

LEGO 250 REVIEW: 31058 MIGHTY DINOSAURS

There’s something risky about designing a Lego set around a subject in which curves are the predominant architectural feature. For all its adaptability, and the cornucopia of new pieces that have arrived in recent years, Lego is still, essentially, a blocky product. Many pieces might be curved, but even they still give a predominantly rigid effect: sinuousness and curvaceousness are not in the brief.

So what happens when Lego decides to make sets involving animals? And what happens when the company decides to use the same part to make three?

Surely, madness abounds.

Continue reading “LEGO 250 REVIEW: 31058 MIGHTY DINOSAURS”

COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES: POSTWAR

Here’s my last gallery of movie images based on the Facebook meme that Stephen Dedman tagged me into: following on from forays into Speculative Fiction, Animation, the pre-1945 era, and Comedy, are ten (thirteen) modern — ie: post war — movies that have made an impact upon me — that don’t necessarily fit into any of the other categories. You know how these things work.

They’re not necessarily the best (although most are all-time favourites), but they are those that have had the greatest impact and influence on me as a person, artist, and small despairing thing. Stories will be shared as requested.

Continue reading “COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES: POSTWAR”

COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES: PRE-BOMB FILMS

As previously discussed, I’m throwing up five lots of ten (thirteen) images from movies that have impacted me, as yet another in our ongoing line of Covid-gathers-our-personal-information distractomemage.

Today, I’m hitting up pre-war fillums, from the golden age of talkies, shee, before the big one, shee? Nyaaaah.

Well, before the end of the big one: this is my list of films up to 1945.

Oh, and I should point out, as I haven’t already, that these aren’t necessarily the best movies from each category, or even, necessarily, my favourite; just the ones that had an impact. Anecdotes on request 😉

Continue reading “COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES: PRE-BOMB FILMS”

LET THERE BE MEMES: COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES — SF/F/H

Time for another Covid-distraction meme that has been doing the rounds of Facebook lately.

This one asks you to post an image — no posters, no titles, and no explanations, just an image from the film itself — from ten films that have had an impact on you. My good friend Stephen Dedman has tagged me.

Yeah. Bloody thanks, Stephen.

Not only have I failed to narrow it down to ten films, I decided to be smart and break it up into different categories — SF/Fantasy/Horror; Animated; Comedy; Pre-War; and Post-War,  and then still couldn’t manage to winnow the SF/Fantasy/Horror list down to ten. FFS.

So, balls to it. Here’s the first of the five lists. And here are the thirteen film images.

Pppphhhh.

Continue reading “LET THERE BE MEMES: COVID GOES TO THE MOVIES — SF/F/H”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: Z IS FOR WHAT COMES NEXT

This is the end, beautiful friends. The last entry in our Love in the Time of Covid playlist. Z for Zachariah, and also for pretty much the only band most of us have in our playlist that begins with Z.

So here’s the final question, at the heart of all this -end-of-culture ranting I’ve been doing in my recent posts: If you are only ever one mortgage payment, one food shop, or one car payment away from disaster, how much security do you really have? How well has the pre-Covid ‘normal’ really been for you? To speak in fluent memeslash: how are those franking credits working for you now, Karen?

We are a species that has fooled itself into thinking we have outgrown the need to adapt: that it is the role of the planet to adapt to us, when we have only ever been a small, breeding-crazy, too-smart-for-its-own-good part of a living organism that needs all of its components to maintain a constant evolution in order for the whole to thrive.

If there’s anything we can take from our experiences during this pandemic, it is that we need to fashion an environment that works for us as a part of something greater than our small, human concerns.  We can’t continue to try to squeeze ourselves into ever smaller cubicles to please the money-hoovering blue suits that have brought us to the edge of environmental, cultural, and societal collapse. Just why are we following these fucks, when we know, to the deepest core of our marrow, that they’re selfish shits with no eyes other than for themselves? Does anybody really believe that the Orange Humgruffin, or Boris the Bastard, or Scum the Crime Minister — Murdoch, Reinhart, Putin, Bezos, Zuckerbot, Branson the Pickle, you name your billionaire of choice — has your best interests at heart? Do you?

Then why?

The pandemic has shown us, if we didn’t already know: The world is too big for us to conquer one by one. But I can evolve, and adapt. You can. That guy there can. If we can do mit as individuals, as family groups, as small communities brought togethers by shared concerns, then we can have a positive effect. And yes, the world is full of idiots. And yes, we’re seeing that in full flow right now. But idiots can be taught. And if they can’t, maybe their children can.

Power does not have to lie with those whose only contribution is money, and entitlement, and the desire to legislate your culture into directions you don’t want it to go. Money does not have to equal right. Destruction does not have to equal progress. Cultural, religious, and ideological zealotry do not have to detract from synthesis and togetherness.

We’ve been adapting to the wrong things. That much has become clear. So isn’t it about time, now that we have had to fall back on our own resources at the community and interpersonal levels, that we did so, once again?

Enough of that sermon. Let’s talk music.

There was a time before ZZ Top were cutesy, family-friendly, mainstream radio darlings. Before the fluffy guitars and matching wacky suits. Before the way-too-80s-for-words videos and appearances on your Mum’s favourite extruded-sitcom-product. A time when they were the grungiest of grungy Southern blues bands. When sixteen words and a six minute guitar solo was considered a song. When you could dig their music out from under your fingernails, they had so much grit in them.

50 million album sales proves that evolution is a good thing and that, if a band can redefine itself and engage with a new way of thinking in order to adapt to the changing requirements of a world that would all too easily leave it behind, then we can, too.

So here’s a visual representation of all that I’ve blethered on about, above: ZZ Top, live. In full-on post-80s mode of dress, and persona, and image. Grunging the living fuck out of two of their greatest pre-adaptation classics. Proving that evolution doesn’t mean abandoning the past, simply redefining it to fit into the tomorrow you want to create.

Rock on.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, well, what can I say? You’ve had 26 days. Here’s everything else:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: Y IS FOR CHILD AND MOTHER

We’re almost at the end, my friends. The end of this little journey through a Covid playlist. The end of the capitalist, he-who-dies-with-the-most-was-probably-a-psychopath, white men in blue suits wet dream. The end, if we’re lucky, of the world that was, and perhaps, just perhaps, at the start of a new way of doing things, where destroying the planet and each other just so a minority of hate-filled money rapists can wank into a slightly higher stack of twenties on the weekend isn’t necessarily the prime way for the deluded Murdoch-gobbling masses to slowly kill themselves.

Or, if you spend any time at all on social media, perhaps we’re at the start of an era where fucking morons identify themselves even more easily than they have in the past. It could go either way.

Either way, here’s a gentle reminder: the world turned before we were here. It will turn when we’re gone. As pollution and fauna migration patterns during our quarantine period are showing, it might just turn a little better after we’re gone. Chuck Palahniuk is right: You’re not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. It doesn’t matter how many blue suits you wear, how many happy-clapper orgasmotron group therapy delusion sessions you kneel at, how many fistfuls of dollars you deny the needy. We are what we have always been: slow-moving meat.

Enjoy your contemplation.

Yothu Yindi was a band largely comprised of first peoples members from Yirrkala in Arnhem Land. They broke big in the early 90s, when a lot of politicians suddenly realised that hanging out with intelligent, politically aware Aboriginal people was a good way to look cool. Thankfully, they managed to shed the blue-suited parasites for a while and produce some truly excellent music. World Turning equates the rotation of the Earth with being in love, which frankly, seems like a very dodgy way to ensure the continuation of gravity.

Also, it’s a good dancing song, which might just be a better use for it right now.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, well, so is the rest of your species. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the extinction:

TEN ALBUMS BECAUSE IT’S A MEME, OKAY?

There’s a meme going round Facebook, in which those who are tagged share the covers of ten albums that influenced the way they listen to music, their taste in music, or the pleasure centres of their brain.

I was tagged by my long-time friend David, so naturally, as a memewhore of long-standing, I must play along. But rather than dribble them out one per day, as is the instruction, I’m going to drop them on you all of a once and leave you to figure out whether there’s any deeper message at play. (Hint: think ‘lizard people’, and ‘Illuminati’, and ‘I’ve really got to stop believing in this shit’).

So here we go: ten albums, no explanation. Make of it what you will. (And yeah, there’s eleven. I don’t play well with others, okay?)

 

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LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: X IS FOR…. UH…. X

The twenty-fourth day of my musical choices on the twenty-fifth day of supposed isolation: it’s probably time to smash stuff up.

I don’t know about you, but enforced isolation has had no effect on me whatsoever.

Head Zombified 2

 

Luscious and I… and you know, every other teacher in the state…. are back in the classroom next week, so we have to prepare lessons for both face-to-face and online environments — that’s two five-week units per class. I have three and Luscious has five, so here we are today, at the empty school, preparing powerpoint after powerpoint…..

We’re doing our best to isolate, but Karratha’s already a highly isolated town. There’s a bit of a ‘phony war’ feel to the place: the shops are taking it seriously, but the populace isn’t, judging by the shopping crowds, and the shambling FIFOs milling outside the drinking wallow in the twon centre every time I drive past of an evening.

We’ve had 2 confirmed cases of Covid, but they’ve been isolated at the hospital and nobody’s mentioned them, so it’s almost like they don’t exist in people’s minds. It’s going to break out here. It’s just a matter of time, and the wrong scraped-through-year-ten-Doctor-Google-type-who-knows-better. And when it does it’ll sweep through the town like, well, like a plague. So while I joke, and act all cynical and the like, and make comment about schools returning, I’m genuinely worried about what will happen in the coming weeks. Because there are 1200 kids in this school, and one of them is going to get it. And once they do…

One kid. That’s all it will take, and this town will fall down like a National Party policy promise.

In that spirit, here’s one of the great Australian punk pioneers, with an angry, thrashy, gloriously fuckyouish ode to staying the hell at home where it’s comfortable and all the beer is. Parents: your Government isn’t listening. Please make sure you do.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, crack a cold one, headbutt the nearest wall, and pogo your way through this lot:

LEGO 250 REVIEWS: THE FIRST 50

We’re one-fifth of the way through my original goal of reviewing the 250 Lego sets I have purchased. (We shall not talk of the fact that I’ve somehow managed to end up with another 30+ since I’ve started, no we shan’t….).

It’s time for a quick review of the reviews: an index to what we’ve seen and how they’ve rated.

But before that, as any adult knows, a hobby isn’t a hobby unless you can quantify it and uses stats to pretend it’s a sport.

Let’s break down some numbers, shall we?

Continue reading “LEGO 250 REVIEWS: THE FIRST 50”

LEGO REVIEWS: 30381 IMPERIAL TIE-FIGHTER MINI POLYBAG (AND NOTEBOOK)

Sometimes it calls to you. Sometimes it’s too beautiful, too brilliant, too exciting to ignore. Sometimes it completes a cherished theme, or is too perfect a fit for an incomplete diorama to leave on the shelf.

Aaaaaand sometimes you just happen to be in the post office and buy it because it’s on the shelf right there where you’re lining up to send a package.

Guess which one 30381 Imperial Tie-fighter Mini Polybag was?

Continue reading “LEGO REVIEWS: 30381 IMPERIAL TIE-FIGHTER MINI POLYBAG (AND NOTEBOOK)”

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: W IS FOR WARREN

We missed a day! Blame Sunday, sleeping in, and that guy over there.

Truth is, it’s easy to let things slip when the only day awaiting you is the one you just left behind. So yesterday it seemed more important to spend some time playing D&D with Luscious and Lord 15 than staring at the computer screen while our currently-shitty-for-no-reason internet connection drops in and out and in and out like a Lieberal candidate in a marginal seat.

And because it is important for the historical record, let it be noted that they spent 45 minutes getting a mortally sick gnome drunk for the sole purpose of stealing his hat, so clearly the isolation is not affecting their personalities whatsoever……

The media is full of the inevitable pushback against isolation right now. Persons can be wise, compassionate, humane, and intelligent; but people have a tendency to act like frightened herd animals if given half an opportunity. Sure as eggs is eggs we’re beginning to see it, from the usual gun-toting Merkan hillbillies to a pair of New Zealanders who make Beavis and Butthead look like the love-children of Albert Einstein and God. Throw in the usual Orange Humgruffin shitshow, in which he appears to actively incite armed rebellion in Democratic States actually following the rule of law, and it must appear, if you’re even a relatively mature human being, as if humanity is determined to eat itself.

I, for one, welcome our new hircine overlords

 

 

Today’s musical choice is a timely combination of positivity and self-destruction. Warren Zevon built a reputation as one of the great rock and roll wild children before it took its inevitable toll and his urge for self-destruction became well, just plain old actual self-destruction: cancer taking him way too soon at the age of 56. Before then, however, he gifted us a dozen albums soaked in acerbic wit, cynicism, laser-etched lyrics, and brilliance.

Splendid Isolation comes from his science fiction-infused 1989 album, Transverse City, a hymn book to themes of disconnection and social breakdown caused by an increasingly self-medicating technological society. With its underlying message of solitude and comfort in one’s own self-distancing it’s an appropriate panacea for the head-shaking despair you must be experiencing while watching all those morons incapable of simply being by themselves for four weeks without pissing, moaning, and having a mental breakdown all coz of dat dem gubmint.

And they call us snowflakes….

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get your kicker boots on and kick about through this lot:

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID, THE ALBUM: V IS FOR VIOLENCE

I’m such a slacker and part-time babysitter, as The Crime Minister ensures me I am, that I was up until 2am this morning completing a Kahoot quiz for my students to prepare them for their upcoming online/not-online/they’ll change the rules on us again at least once before this shit is over term.

So I’ve got nothing witty to say this morning. I’m too tired.

V is for violence. Insert something cogent and satirical and hilarious about how that fits into the current world situation here.

And here’s the Violent Femmes, and a song about America being the place where we keep all the fuckwits.

 

 

If you’re late to the party, get your kicker boots on and kick about through this lot: