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December 30, 2004
Opinions half-way through the 00's.

Bush Bristles at 'Stingy'? @ http://www.dailykos.com

Pittance Hurts War On Terror @ http://www.dailykos.com [Doesn't have own page.]

Conflicting Reports Regarding the Existence of God @ Buck Fudd's Blues

Or, at least read: Bush Approval Rating at Historic Low linked from the above post.

Miranda Airey Branson hasn't had an opinion since November. Either she's holidaying in Pari, or has finally learnt that bad publicity beats no publicity.

Artist Makes A Bush of Monkeys linked from Suki Has An Opinion.



You remember this piece of art? If not, you can read about it in this post. It was banned for unfavorably depicting the president, but is now projected onto a prominent Bill Board in New York, potentially viewed by 400,000 motorists. The display was paid for by Animal magazine. This bolsters the Love aspect of my Love/Hate relationship with the US by a few points, fo sho.

I got new speakers with Christmas money. They have 5.1 surround sound, and a subwoofer that now sits between my screen and the computer tower like a little brother. Unfortunately, my good computer got stolen and as I wait for the insurance company to get me a new one, I'm using this Packard Bell from 1998. Apparently the sound card only has 2 sides (I think, in normal speak, that translates to it being crap), and I can only use two speakers and the subwoofer of the five speakers that came with the set. But who's complaining. So my computer is, not only functioning as a net portal, but as a stereo too. As you can imagine, activities since Tuesday have been largely music related, such as organising my iPod, ripping new CDs, and listening to Drum & Bass just to marvel at the bass capabilities of the 'subwoofer'. Who thought of that name? Why do I enjoy saying it and writing it so much? Nobody knows.

Favorite D&B song at the moment is 'Ra' by the Ebony Dubsters. There's a sample of an audience making some noise, then some guy exclaims 'By the power of Ra!' and it gets straight into things. That's what I love about Drum & Bass, it's not subtle at all, it's to Electronica what Metal is to Rock, its loud, smelly big brother. It certainly isn't devoid of the inane vocal samples that plague all genres of Electronic music (Trance, I'm looking at you.) One time I've got to post transcriptions of various Trance vocal samples... damn, they're just so bad.

Gwen Stefani's solo album isn't that great. Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events is, adversely, pretty great - people die (even get eaten by leeches), a toddler is dangled above the ground in a cage, Count Olaf - the villian - parks a car over train tracks and locks the kids in when a train is due in a few minutes. It's a dark movie, understandably boring all the <- 8 year olds who thought it would be standard Disney fair, but I think, entertaining everyone else. Only disappointment was that the Cinema was really full and noisy, and that I read on the net that Joanna Lumley a.k.a. Patsy from Ab Fab was going to be in it, but this proved to be a bit of BS. As they say, be hesitant when trusting stuff you read on the net. It can lead to minor disappointments and confusion. Just like this blog.

December 29, 2004
The media can be a callous beast sometimes. There's not a News Update on any channel not covering the Tsunami, and not covering the number of Australians dead first. There's something overtly insensitive about the phrase: "Three Australians dead and seven missing in the wake of the Asia Tragedy. The death toll is now estimated at 70,000," as if the media assumes we can't care or empathize unless we, as a country, have been directly affected, that 70,000 Asian deaths is an abstract thing that we can neither comprehend or rouse emotion for, but, at the news that three of our Aussies have died, we will then start to take genuine interest. Yes, every Australian death is a tragedy, but no more a tragedy than the deaths of anyone else. The media would have us think that the deaths of those Australians could weigh against the deaths of thousands. That we should know that "Australian tourists are now rushing to come home", etc. etc. that many hotels were affected [housing Australians]... the barrage goes on. It all makes me feel decidedly un-patriotic.

Maybe they think we're desensitized to death overseas when it's not in the US, or UK, because we so often hear of 'thousands dead' as a result of earthquakes, or war, or famine, or AIDS, that it's nothing but a number, we can't comprehend or empathize with unless we put a local face to the tragedy, unless it looks like it could be one of us. Funny thing is that, in the grand scheme of things, this tragedy is partly the fault of the West, for fucking Asia over to such an extent that such critical safety measures as early warning systems were luxuries it could not afford. There are guys around trying to blame Asia for not embracing Free Trade enough to get rich, and therefore have the ability to minimize the harm of such disasters. Well, it should be obvious, as the evidence is present all around the globe, that Free Trade is merely a tool for the West to manipulate poorer countries, not some kind of 'ticket to riches' that it's sometimes made out to be.

An interesting climate for the world to be in at the New Year.

*

Normal Mundane-ness resumes tomorrow. Stay tuned.

December 28, 2004
What could I say after this? The world reels.










Christmas is forgotten.

December 24, 2004
Good Things About Bowling:
- Sense of being connected to something that has been enjoyed in much the same form for decades.
- Bowling shoes.
- The retro nature of it all.
- Bowling balls.
- Skittles.
- Strikes.
- Throwing heavy objects down a waxed lane with reckless abandon.
- No physical exhertion required.
- Simple rules.

Bad Things About Bowling:
- No physical exhertion = avid bowlers are a parade of freaks.
- Gutterballs.
- Bad videoclips on screens above the bowling alleys, like: Let's Get Loud - Jennifer Lopez, The Ketchup Song - ?, Macarena - Los Del Rio, Who Let The Dogs Out? - Baha Men, etc. etc.
- Bumpers.
- Heaviness of bowling balls causing arm to hurt.
- Surly attendants.

If we measure both good and bad by sheer length, good wins. So, overall, bowling was pretty all right. Was it worth 35 dollars? That is another question entirely.

*

I'm sure there's some blog jargon to describe the act of linking to another blogger's post in your own post, but I'm not going to make any embarrassing guesses. The post is Dear Androids from Sleeping, Not Thinking, an artful dissemination of, it seems, right-wing religious zealots, my arch enemies (though they don't know it yet). Read and weep. Or whatever you do when you like something. And while I'm at it, though I know you've already read and commented at 'Reasons You Will Hate Me' like you do every day, Ms. Fits' most recent post is particularly good after, well, a slump in quality that has lasted since the election - though, like Michael Jordan or Rage Against the Machine, even when she's not at her best she's still better than most everyone else.

But I'm not here to judge, I just play songs. Enjoy Christmas Eve, keep smiling (break occasionally, but never frown).

December 22, 2004
If you're the ultra-observant kind with sharp eyes and a penchant for black and pink blogs you might have noticed that the links hedge to left has been trimmed a bit. Blogs that I don't visit enough to take up space have been weeded out. Blogs that I've just discovered that I will visit have been planted. Last seen movies and last acquired CDs have been sawn off. A jamming section has been grafted in the hopes my hedge and I will grow to become something better. This is not some kind of analogy for pubic hair. I don't know what this analogy is for, other than to be an analogy. In short, some stuff on the left has changed so check it out.

So, I've been complimented by many people on my Christmas Tips. OK... One person. And they may have been being sarcastic. Nevertheless, I have useful tips for all things - here are two of thousands.

#1

Jamming the iPod: Stop using 'the white ones'. They identify you as an iPod user. They are an advertisement for the machine. They make you look at people wearing them and acknowledge they have an iPod. While people often hide away their machines in pockets or bags where they cannot be seen, the ear-pieces are always visible - they formed the center of the television and poster advertising campaign where dancing silhouettes were used to contrast with the bright white of the ear-piece wires. Clever, yes, but no esteemed reader of mine wants any part of their body to become advertising space.

So... buy some new ear-pieces. The white ones that come with your iPod are low quality - with mediocre bass capabilites, an easy to wreck diaphragm, and weak outer casing. Their sole function is to identify you as an iPod user to those around you. Replace them with dark coloured, quality ear-pieces or headphones and jam the iPod marketing machine.

#2

Removing Post Garlic-Handling Smell from Hands/Fingers: The bane of spaghetti makers the world over, garlic-smelling hands are not cool. To rid yourself of this finger-halitosis, wet your hands or fingers with water and rub them against the inside of a steel sink. Results guaranteed to satisfy.

Tomorrow, I'm going ten-pin-bowling. May all my hits be crits.

December 21, 2004
My sister and I got together to wrap my mum's gift. It's a book. Layer one was, of course, some red wrapping paper with a Christmas pattern. Then one of those little stickers with a drawing and 'To' and 'From' on it in the top-left corner. Then gold ribbon with curled hangy-off bits done with scissors, and then overlayed red ribbon with curled hangy-off bits done with scissors also. We could have stopped there, but then I decided that it would be cool to:

1) Stick an Origami crane on-top of it (because the book is an Asian cookbook). So we got out an Origami book and I made a duck from a square of red paper, and tried to stick it upright with sticky-tape, a difficult task, so it looked like it was swimming in the present.

2) Then we decided that one Origami duck was not enough, and my sister put together an impressive blue flying-crane. Stuck that on too, with less difficulty.

3) Carrying further the swimming in present idea, cut lilly-pads out of green paper and stick them on the top of the present.

4) Fashion lillys from white paper and stick them onto the lilly-pads.

5) Upon deciding that it would have worked better if we'd worked from a base of blue, water-colored wrapping paper rather than red, we decided to...

6) Glue ruffles of blue crepe paper around water lillys and birds, to create a 'choppy water' effect. 'Serene Japanese Pond in Storm'.

7) We uncovered an orange streamer and cut little Koi out of it. Stuck them on the blue crepe paper. The present was divided by a ribbon about 2/3 the way across. The first two-quarters became the artwork, then a divider of ribbon, and resume normal wrapping paper.

I have an excuse for this strange behaviour - I went to the Zoo today and got sunburnt on my scalp. Presumably some UV rays found their way into my brain. I also took a bite of something while simultaneously throwing something else in the bin. The bin was exceptionally reekful, and I got a bit of bin-reek-taste in my mouth along with whatever it was I was eating (probably chocolate). I'm sure bin-germs were transmitted through the air and made me want to create strange Playschool-esque artwork.

To go with my above list, here are some more things I didn't realise before today:

8) My house is packed with enough coloured paper and glue to equal one Tonia Toddman's Craft Hour.

9) Siamangs are friggin' noisy bastards.

10) The 'Trail of the Elephants' at Melbourne Zoo is great stuff.

-- Photo of Siamang in the wilds of South-East Asia.

Now, as was promised, a Christmas Tip:

Q: What do I do if the shape of my present clearly gives away what it is? Example: CD, Book, Box of Chocolates.
A: Tell the person it's not what they think it is. It will fool them for a moment and make them think it will be something different and thoughtful. If they know you well they won't be disappointed when they find out you were lying. I used this in November on a friend and it worked well. It can work for you too.
Q: What do I do if a person has asked me for something they really want for Christmas, and I've bought it, but I don't want them to know what it is immediately when they see it?
A: Use method one, except go a step further. If it's a CD, pad it out with wads of scrunched up paper to make it look like something that is kind of medium sized and shapeless, and feel like a few wads of scrunched up paper. When they open up the present, and wads of paper fall out to reveal the CD they've wanted, your time and effort will be all worth it. Not to be used on any person outside your immediate family, because they won't understand you.

Gee, I should have my own show.

December 19, 2004
I spilt about half-a-cup of juice into the key-board and had to let it dry overnight. Such stupidities are par for the course in the life of Le Driver.

My local library is suprisingly trendite. It is new, oval shaped, with a slanted roof and huge windows that make it look like some kind of stadium for elegant literary death-matches. Usually it's peacefuly silent, apart from ringing telephones and loud kids. Today, I had to browse for books and CDs accompanied by a contemporary Christmas soundtrack that filtered down from speakers in the roof. I can live with the classics, at least we're all desensitized to them, it's the modern ones that get to me, because the artists seem to think that a Christmas theme is an excuse for cheap lyrics, mediocre vocals and bad orchestral arrangements. But the lyrics! They are the worst:

Oh yeah...
Candles burning low,
Lot's of mistletoe.
Lot's of snow and ice,
Everywhere we go.
Choirs singing carols,
Right outside my door.

All these things and more, baby
(All these things and more)
That's what Christmas means to me, my love
(Christmas means to me, my love)
Oh yeah,
Yeah yeah yeah.

-- What Christmas Means to Me by Jessica Simpson, from the album 'Rejoyce: The Christmas Album'.

And then, to play these songs in public places... Ugh. Rather than bolstering Christmas spirit, I think a song like that would turn Santa Claus himself into a scrooge. Still, all was not lost. The CD section was especially tempting today. And no, I'm not way into Beethoven symphonies and easy listening records - my library's CD selection is what makes the place so great. I picked up eight excellent albums (much to the chagrin of the librarians, but more on that later), which were: God's Son - Nasir Jones, Pulp Fusion: Revenge of the Ghetto Grooves, Shaft Soundtrack - Issac Hayes, Nirvana: Greatest Hits, Beastie Boys Anthology - Beastie Boys, Endtroduction - DJ Shadow, 3 Feet High and Rising - De La Soul, and... ahem... Platinum 80's (come on, you know you love it.) As for books, mainly dodgy sci-fi and fantasy you don't need to know about, plus Naomi Klein's 'No-Logo', because I've seen many culturally elite people reading it, and have had it reccomended to me by the similarly culturally elite Nu-Ju.

The database system was down, and the librarians had to copy the serial number of each book by hand. Yeah, fair enough, be pissed off about it, but damn did they take it out on the book borrowers. Never have I been made to feel so guilty for indulging in my right to access a wide range of literature and arts without cost! "I don't feel like opening thousands of CD cases, my arm's caning me!" and "We're gonna have to place a limit of ten for each person, we can't put through 45 books for each person!", accompanied by a dour young girl copying out our serial numbers at a rate of two digits at a time, sighing loudly and shoving the finished books and CDs in our direction with palpable disdain. At least this time we didn't get blamed for contributing to a librarian's Repetative-Strain-Injury: "Don't put your books there, I have to reach over, I've got RSI from reaching over like that." Well, sorry for wanting to broaden my mind, lady.

I guess it all balances out. You can't have everything. Excellent selection is balanced out by appalling customer service. Great customer service balanced out by poor selection. Please let me know if there are any Victorian libraries that go against this rule... Maybe that's too much to hope for?

In rather more significant news, Darp Hau and his fight against the Patriotic Youth League have made it into the Sydney Morning Herald. Things aren't looking good for the white seperatist youth, are they?

December 16, 2004
Kris Kringles; let us pray to mindless consumerism and the buying of cheap, generic presents for people you don't really know. For example, one of the only things I know about my Kris Kringle (work) is that she likes Jet. So, off I go to Nodlandz to spend $13 dollars on a poster-shrine featuring a band I despise with whinsome delight. I have to publicly carry around Jet merchandise. I have to pass my hands over an oversized piece of shiny paper featuring four ugly talentless shit-tards all in the name of Xmas cheer. I don't have Xmas cheer, I have Xmas bitterness. And hatred for Jet.

But I guess it's my fault for not buying her cheap jewellery.

December 15, 2004


'A diary is an assassin's cloak which we wear when we stab a comrade in the back with a pen.'
-- William Soutar

We stayed at a beach-house on monday night: dreary weather throughout the day. I'd imagine people go to Somers for the beach and little else - an attraction diffused by any kind of bad weather. The fire-place was unsettling at first, because the metal bird on top of the chimney needed to be oiled and sent faint, groaning echoes down into the lounge-room. We were rudely awakened at 9am on Tuesday when the lot became a construction site, and a bob-cat started up outside the window. The walls were paper-thin and we could hear the builders chatting, until they worked out someone was home and started acting more professionally, i.e. using tradie jargon and carrying around piping rather than discussing how they would treat Russel's wife if they were Russel. We called up the owners of the house to find out if they were supposed to be there, and apparently they were, but we were sure they were in contravention of some kind of 'must give notice' rule. The tractor must have scared off all the koalas because I didn't see one the whole time, just got swooped by magpies.

The house had a copy of the Assassin's Cloak, a compilation of diary entries from a variety of people spanning a few hundred years. I didn't get to read much because it seemed a bit antisocial, but the book contained hundreds of examples of good diary writing and would probably be useful to any blogger. You can read more about it here.

The newest addition to le blogroll is metal city. I guess it was this observation that won me over:

Re: Nicole Kidman
'The next time you see a CNN report with a doe-eyed child asking 'Why do the terrorists hate us?', pick up a copy of New Idea and look at that evil bitch. There's your answer, turkeys.'


In the news: Govt warns of terror attack in Indonesia. When you release a warning that suggests Australians in Indonesia leave the country in response to information you have received, it is not enough to be assured that it came from a 'reliable source'.

listening to: ching ching - timbaland, miss jade, nelly furtado

by Christopher Savido, recently removed from an exhibition in the US. I think I will hang it here.

Sourced from Suki has an opinion.

listening to: don't panic - coldplay

December 10, 2004
As honored guests, I should probably give you a tour of my new home. I want to clear up one thing: just because there's a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack on the speakers doesn't mean you can start up trouble - this is a respectable home. There are Leunig cartoons on the fridge; these indicate I am sensitive and politically conscious, with a refined sense of humour. The contents of my bookshelf is wide and varied, yet most of the books in it have never been read. A few are especially well-worn, and you can thumb through them if you like... you'll find them on your left. My CD collection is in my bedroom, but because it looks like a russian crime gang have ransacked it looking for important documents and thought I may have hidden them in my underwear draws, you can keep out. You should get an idea of what I like by the empty cases spread around the stereo, but there's different crap every time you visit, and no rhyme or reason to my tastes. The DVD collection is pretty small, but to be honest, I'm not a huge film buff. Sure, I like films, but only the very best are worth more than one look. I'm quite proud of what I have, and you can borrow some if you like. They're over on the side there. You're probably kinda puzzled as to why I'd choose to paint the walls black. At the time, I thought it would contrast my white-white skin. Then, in a rush of love for the 80's, I thought pink and blue would be appropriate too. You can make your own judgements. Do you want some lime cordial? I listen to a lot of music - when I'm not listening to music, I'm singing or humming or thinking about it. I'll try not to talk about it too much, because I consider music to be my thing and once I get started it'll be hard to stop. See? I told you. Politics, pop-culture and philosophy are also pretty cool. Those titles make me sound more refined than I am. My political discussions might just involve an emotional rant outlining the flaws of abstinence education, my pop-culture coverage a vague endorsement of martial-arts movies, my philosophical theories nothing you haven't heard before, and more eloquently too. But I make good cordial, and am willing to embarrass myself for your enjoyment.

That's counts for something, doesn't it?

December 09, 2004
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Modest two-bedroom blog, perfect for robots, renovator's dream.