Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tracy's anguish

Tracy Grimshaw's life was changed forever by the Beaconsfield mine disaster.

It was particularly difficult when:

- Tracy became so dehydrated she had to drink her own urine

- Tracy's claustrophobia got so bad that she couldn't stop humming Martika's 1989 hit single 'I Feel the Earth Move' over and over and over again

- Tracy's life flashed before her eyes and she had to revisit particularly traumatic episodes of Today

- Tracy suffered the indignity of having to defecate into her own safety helmet

- Forced to face her own mortality, Tracy deeply regretted skipping channel nine staff meetings to go roo shooting

- Tracy became so weak with hunger she considered hacking off and eating Eddie Mcguire's limbs.

Poor lass. No wonder her life has been changed forever.

Although objectively I understand the temptation to wring every last human-interest drop out of the Beaconsfield mine accident, is the hyperbolic headline not a tad insulting to the family of Larry Knight?

Unless Tracy Grimshaw was so moved by the plight of the miners and their families that she has decided to devote the rest her working life to the investigation of workplace health and safety inequities then she should BUGGER OFF and find some other way to self-promote.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Notes from an audience member who cares: Dead Man's Chest

Seen the preview for Sexually Ambiguous Johnny Depp in a Wet Shirt Being Very Amusing: Dead Man's Chest , aka Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest? It looks like rollicking good fun if, like me, you are prone to regressing to childhood when watching a better-than-average "family" film.

The sequel looks like more of the same as we got in Curse of the Black Pearl, only better.

Better because it seems they've replicated what worked in the first film and weeded out the rest. This means there's more of Johnny Depp hamming it up in a wet shirt and eyeliner, more sometimes-icky but not-too-scary ghoulish special FX for the kiddies, more of Keira Knightley being butch and sassy, less of Keira Knightley being wistful and sappy, and, most importantly, MUCH MUCH LESS OF ORLANDO BLOOM.

Orlando only appeared in the trailer twice, briefly, and I trust/pray-to-the-gods-of-cinema that this is indicative of his screen time in the feature. The filmmakers seem to have adopted the very wise practice (as perfected in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) of only letting Orlando do three things - jump off moving things and look fearful (both of which he does very well), and deliver one or two brief expository lines of dialogue to justify his role in the film (which sadly he doesn't do so well).

No more straining to be the protagonist for little Orlando. Oh no. Just let him look pretty and pose for promotional 'hero' shots so that tween girls (who haven't yet recognised that he's both woefully untalented and not interested in girls of any age) will see the film at least three times with all of their friends and then buy the DVD release in time for Christmas.

Bring on the big ships and big FX and big battles! Bring on sassy Keira dressed as a man! Bring on the lovely Johnny Depp being as camp as it's humanly possible to be for a leading man in a mainstream film!

I want to regress to childhood, yet also admire his thighs as only a grown woman can.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wonderful and Strange

Don't you love it when something created by a stranger and kindly placed on the internet for all to enjoy unexpectedly turns your whole day around?

Exhibit A:

Michael Paulus is a multimedia artist working in Oregon. One day it occured to him just how grotesquely distorted famous animated characters are. This was no fleeting notion. Strange and curious thinker that he is, Mr Paulus actually set about illustrating beautiful, detailed skeletal diagrams for everyone from Hello Kitty to Peppermint Patty.


‘Twenty Percent More’, Part Four

The random and rambling observations of a Melbourne lass who went to the USA, saw some stuff, and then came home.

Part Four: The Elevator

No, this is not a tedious whinge about the fact that seppos don't know what a 'lift' is.

The elevator is the 'up and down' glance that one person gives another when checking them out*. The Elevator is usually a sexual thing but apparently straight girls also elevator other straight girls to assess hair/make-up/shoes/clothes/shape/accessories/threat-level.

My experience in The States indicates that Australian blokes are far subtler at catching the Elevator than Seppo men. Well done, boys.

Maybe I just don't go to the 'right places' in Melbourne but at a bar in LA one night (when my 'ladies' were housed very discreetly and I had a gentleman friend by my side) I was rather startled by the incredibly obvious elevator-action going on.

In a couple of instances there was actually enough time for me to




and think of some possible responses**.

- Did you drop something down there, sir? Shall we look for it together?

- Yes, they are real. It's possible in places that aren’t Los Angeles.

- Have you noticed you’re thinning out a little on top there?

- What size? Go on, have a guess. There's a dime in it for you.

- They’re genuine looking, huh? I got them done at the same time as the snip. There was a coupon deal.

- I’m sorry, did you just say Mommy?

Yo, Californian dudes. No one can stop you from looking but speed it up a little, yeah? Not since high-school have I been so embarrassed for the opposite sex.

* Victoria's esteemed Premier Hymie Steve Bracks is allegedy very unsubtle at practicing the elevator on every woman of age he comes into contact with. There's an A Current Affair hard hitting expose just waiting to happen.

** More suggestions welcomed.

'Twenty Percent More', Part Three

Carrion Laughing at the Grand Canyon.

© snaz 2006

There were no words while I was there, and there still aren't.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What the hell are you doing today?

Make the most of the day of The Beast. Go here.

I'm particularly fond of this idea: Stage a "Slay-out". Don't go to work.

Monday, June 05, 2006

'Twenty Percent More', Part Two

The Pain in Spain

When in LA I was taken to a "Spanish Wine Bar". It was a perfectly nice but rather straight establishment, with perfectly nice but rather straight hot young people inside of it.

The owners were clearly very committed to their chosen theme because they felt it was not enough to simply serve fine wine, some of it Spanish, and hire bar staff with long black hair and dark flashing eyes. No, they drove home their image by covering the walls in Picasso prints, posters of bull fighters, and a madcap photo of a runaway vegetable cart at a small, presumably Spanish, provincial market. The images were placed slightly askew on the wall for a "relaxed" and "random" effect, as is the wont of a moody teenager in a television drama*.

If I hadn't already felt as though I were right in the heart of Barcelona, the walls had been painted an earthy red, the furniture and fittings were all wrought iron, and fake lemon vines wound haphazardly around the room. If I had squeezed past Antonio Bandaras on the way to the bathroom, I would not have been surprised. Melanie Griffith would have looked suprised, but she's been that way since 1996.

It was odd, but in a roundabout way I felt right at home in "relaxed" and "random" Spanish Los Angeles. Looking around at the excessive use of wrought iron and all the straight hot young things having a delightful time and touching each other's arms, I could have been in Spanish South Yarra. Or Spanish St Kilda. The effect was uncanny. And I didn't need a Ken Duncan print, or a poster of Vegemite, or a madcap photo of a man being chased by a kangaroo. Amazing. The world really is a small place.

* At age nine, I noticed the tendency of cool TV teens to place their posters at crooked angles and presumed it was the done thing. I rushed to "fix" my posters of The NeverEnding Story, U2 ,the Neighbours cast (with Lucy's face blacked out), and an adorable kitten smelling a flower. After just one night I cracked and straightened everything again (Type A, anyone?). Now of course I realise my instincts were correct and the whole moody-teens-crooked-posters thing is solely the invention of out-of-touch TV art department staff who think they're getting "down with the yoof". Crooked posters are naff. Don't do it kids.

P.S. To rely on a vague segue: So, speaking of Picasso...

As you can see from the above effort, I recently came across a nifty website where you can create your own Picasso. I know the very idea would make every art teacher I've ever admired cringe into their poorly ironed collars, but I LIKE IT. Who would have thought that hastily pouring my complex emotions into some shallow, knock-off computer art would actually improve my pathetically sad mood. Thank you Mr PicassoHead!

P.P.S. No, the man is not wearing an ill-fitting beret. It's a cloud. Duh.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Snaz Vs The USA, or 'Twenty Percent More', Part One

That United States of America place I visited was strange, complex and full of contradictions, and I only visited four of the fifty states. Any effort to sum up my experiences would be unutterably naff, so instead, over the next few weeks (or however long it takes me to bore myself or you), I will present you with random observations, soapbox rants, and some of my photos. You can draw your own conclusion, naff or otherwise.

I won't be offended if one of the conclusions you draw is that I get excited about arguably very trivial matters.

Part One: What/Pardon?

Seppos and Australians. We speak the same language, right? The same as dem English folk.

Nuh uh.

And I'm not talking fair suck of the sav, china plate, boofhead, bogan, bevan or, God forbid, a bit of how's your father. It's the obvious, everyday words they go blank on: capsicum, jumper/top, loo, bathers, etc.

And they have "fanny" entirely arse backwards.

Most disturbing to me though was that Americans don't know what a loungeroom is, and when you explain that it's what they call a living-room, they say "Whaddya mean lounge? You mean like a sofa?", and they look at you like you just said, "One has wearied of your crass nation. One would most like to be dining on tea and cucumber sandwiches whilst gazing out upon one's corgies frolicking in the verdure".

A beloved seppo friend and I joke that our frequent verbal misunderstandings and subsequent explanations actually provide us with twenty percent more conversation. Bargain. My New York cousins I visited as a child would just stare or laugh disparagingly, and then not let me play with their Popples.

I like the Twenty Percent More theory much better.

Also, the seppos thought it was side-splittingly quaint when I said "nice to meet you," or "good to meet you," after parting ways with a pleasant person I had just been introduced to. They tittered condescendingly, and I suspect if they had had Popples they wouldn't have let me play with them.

I mean, really. Fair suck of the sav.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Channeling Janette Howard

I purchased a book of poems from the second-hand book shop called The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley, by Phyllis McGinley, 1954. A cute little cloth-bound, hard-cover number in faded British racing-car green, with gold lettering. It smells like an old lady's house. But in a good way.

After a flick-through in the shop, Phyllis seemed domestic yet intellectual, quaintly old fashioned and romantic, yet genuinely insightful about humans - especially young female ones. Within two poems she made me both smile and sigh, yet I had never heard her name before.

While waiting in line I secretly hoped that she was some great, little known poet that I could casually quote and drop into conversation, and feel warm and secure inside knowing that I was spreading the word, and that I am really rather clever and ahead of the pack.

I could even start a little nerdy internet poetry fan cult. *squuuueeeeee!*

First step: Discover and memorise details about esoteric poetess of choice.

Bless you Google.
Phyllis McGinley 1905 - 1978
Born in Oregon.

Before she was a writer she was a teacher, a copywriter, and the poetry editor for Town and Country. She married at 22 and moved to New York. The suburban landscape and culture of her new home provided the subject matter for much of her poetry.

She was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters in 1955, and won the Pulitzer for her light verse collection, Times Three: Selected Verse from Three Decades with Seventy New Poems (1960).

In addition to poetry, McGinley wrote essays and children's books, as well as the lyrics for the 1948 musical revue, Small Wonder.

She even got her face on a stamp.

So far so good. Unfortunately she didn't drown herself or anything terribly romantic like that, but I do like the sound of a 1948 musical revue. This has promise for my nerdy internet fan cult. The fact that she has won a Pulitzer makes me feel good. I am not the only one to have sighed. Important people have sighed also.

To gain more insight into my potential new hero, I Google her quotable quotes. This, of course, is how you can safely sum up and judge a famous person's entire personality and published output within ten minutes. Fuck the poetry that makes you sigh when you're feeling lonely and hormonal, I want to know how my new hero thinks.

"Praise is warming and desirable. But it is an earned thing. It has to be deserved, like a hug from a child."

This is true. I like praise. And imagery involving children. This is going well.

"Sticks and stones are hard on bones
Aimed with angry art,
Words can sting like anything
But silence breaks the heart."

Hmmm. Cute and pithy, yes, but it also smacks of "semi-professional lady poet". I can see it printed on a desk calender in the office of Mrs Myra Higginbottom-Jones, President of the CWA, Geelong Chapter.

This worries me.

"A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away."

Ditto. Myra is loving this shit.

"A lady is smarter than a gentleman, maybe, she can sew a fine seam, she can have a baby, she can use her intuition instead of her brain, but she can't fold a paper in a crowded train."

Oh. Dear. This is the first poet I have randomly connected with in years and I bet you a million dollars that J-Dubya bought Janette a first edition for her 60th.

"Frigidity is largely nonsense. It is this generation's catchword, one only vaguely understood and constantly misused. Frigid women are few. There is a host of diffident and slow-ripening ones."

Myra and Janette are nodding and clutching at their hearts. PHYLLIS McGINLEY UNDERSTANDS US.

"Getting along with men isn't what's truly important. The vital knowledge is how to get along with a man, one man."

*flicking madly through book, trying to work out why I loved it instantly*

Could I have more in common with Janette than just our love for flat shoes and fantasy fiction?

"I do not know who first invented the myth of sexual equality. But it is a myth willfully fostered and nourished by certain semi-scientists and other fiction writers. And it has done more, I suspect, to unsettle marital happiness than any other false doctrine of this myth-ridden age."

Phyllis and my elderly Irish relatives speaketh the truth. My wild notions of sexual equality are why I am still on the shelf. Curse my mother for taking me to "Reclaim the Night" marches when I was a wee, impressionable lass.

"Marriage was all a woman's idea and for man's acceptance of the pretty yoke, it becomes us to be grateful."

God Bless Men. They really are very patient with us, aren't they? Pass the sugar, please Myra, be a Dear.

And last but not least...

"In Australia, not reading poetry is the national pastime."


I say, that's not very nice, Phyllis. Rather uncalled for, actually. I bought YOUR book, and I read it. You really had me on side for a while, but I'm packing up my needle work and I'm going home. Janette? Myra? Are you coming?

What this goes to show you is that you can't trust a woman. A husband is the only one that can truly be relied upon in life.

Note to self: Spend less time dreamily flicking through old books of poetry at second-hand book stores, more time trying to find a man to accept the "pretty yoke" with me.

Sure, Phyllis, your poetry can make me smile and sigh, but for that little anti-Australia barb at the end there you can forget all about the nerdy internet cult. Bitch.