Friday, September 30, 2005

This Space Intentionally Left Blank


Dream Poetry

I dreamt some poetry this morning. That's a first. The first line was the clearest, and the last line seemed to stick in my head, as well. I actually saw several stanzas, but couldn't work out what they were.

Coleridge, famously, dreamt up the poem Kublai Khan, but was unable to write it all down before some unnamed person from Porlock came on business and made him forget it all.

Here's the poem:

Time is all in an hour glass fall
Life is a breath of wind
Love is feather touch on your skin
Death is a state of mind.

How soppy can you get? If only the Person from Porlock had come and screamed into my ear 'WAKE UP' a few minutes earlier, none of this would have happened.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The City of Lost Vowels

Got a postcard from mum today. She's busy doing a tour of obscure Eastern European countries. You'd think she'd be able to choose a country where they spoke a language of Indo-European (or at least Ural-Altaic) derivation, but no. She just has to be different.
The city she's writing from is called 'Ljubljana'. Far too many consonants in that name for my liking. Never trust a city that has fewer vowels than it has consonants; you just don't know who you'll run into.

Of course, last time Mum went overseas, she was going to Russia. I asked her, very specifically, to get photographs of Soviet triumphalist architecture. I have quite a thing for gigantic cubes made out of crumbling concrete. She ignored me. All I ever got was pictures of the Hermitage, St Peters, and the Hotel Kosmos. Then again, she did get a picture of some Russian bums begging in the park, so her trip wasn't entirely wasted.

She ends her postcard:

Have been trying to buy a brolley but am assured rain will disappear tomorrow.

While she's about it, she'd probably better get some vowels. Where she's going, they'll be in pretty short supply.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Fruit Free State

Damn government, it just can't get anything right.

Plans to implement random roadblocks in a bid to intercept motorists carrying fruit into the Sunraysia area have been delayed.

The roadblocks will not be in place for the current school holidays, despite the Mildura Country Music Festival attracting thousands of visitors moving into the area from fruit fly hot-spots.

So please, interstaters - when you're travelling interstate and need some refreshment, stick to chocolate, beer, or hallucinogenics. Keep the fruit in your own damn state.

On second thoughts, stay away from the hallucinogenics. You'll start dreaming about bugs, which are just as bad as fruit flys. Stick to the safer alternatives, like snorting crack.

On the Naming of Cyclones

Talbo makes an excellent point:

I'd hate to be named either 'Rita' or 'Katrina' right now. It just wouldn't be good.

In the future, I move that all cyclones or natural disasters be named after dictators like 'Hurricane Hitler' or 'Cyclone Stalin' or 'Whirlwind Whitlam'. That would be much more sensible.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Grammatical Structure of Non-Existent Words


The study of the syntax and grammar of non-existent words is a fascinating one, mainly because you are able to make it up as you go along. But you're never quite sure where you are with non-existent words, either ...

For instance, take the words:

and 'zenbusiance'.

A quick search on Dictionary demonstrates that they do not exist. What do they mean? We don't know. Are they really spelled that way? We can't say for sure. Where did they come from? Nobody knows.

You see, the trouble with non-existent words is that, not only are there an infinite amount of them out there to choose from, but there are an infinite amount of possible meanings out there to choose from as well. How can you choose? How is it possible to choose between them?

And these aren't the only non-existent words that we have to worry about. There are also those non-existent words that already exist, words that have already been made up by others or that are spelled in exactly the same way as currently existing words, but yet mean something completely different.
Into this category fall such words as:

and 'lissomed'.

The student of non-existent words, upon realising this, will often through up his or her hands in despair, and go back to writing miserable iambics on the back of his toilet paper. So much safer, you see. As well they might, because things just keep on getting more complicated.
What happens, for instance, when you put a whole load of non-existent words into a sentence? The grammatical problems encountered with the individual words are multiplied tenfold. And then, there are the problems you encounter when you write whole books consisting of made up words, phrases, and places. No writer has ever quite achieved this vertiginous feat, although many have tried. *

But then again, maybe we should leave the whole question of grammar to the experts, and get along with the altogether more amusing task of using the made up words.

One flubble day, I was angandering along the ustokula, when I was vlabled by a rather dambulous examiter. Needless to say, I was rather blustered, and the only word that I could think of was "Hasapopolous!"
It was a most champuling thing to have happen. And that, my dear astumate, is only the trongalop. Stranger things were soon to graspulade ...

Or maybe not.

Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths
Lewis Carroll, Collected Works
Douglas Adams, The Meaning of Liff
Mervyn Peake, Nonsense

* And let's not even begin on the subject of non-existent items of punctuation, such as the glinph, the reverted comma, the lyphen, the half-stop, the umpursand, the bloaph, the upper-lower-case heugh, and the repentage sign.

Judging a Blog by its Blogger

Grogblogging last night was hell fun, but I can't really say anything about it at the moment. Darlene has more for those who want to read about it. Here are some of the blogs that were present: - A piss funny blog that knows weird people with names like Slavenka Drakulic, and a taste for evil jokes. - A lovely warm-hearted blog that knows everybody. - A chatty and amiable blog, good company. - A blog that can tell you what the difference between a geek and a nerd is. - A blog that wears glasses and moisturises.


This is the number one blog for the google search "cormorant of futility". I couldn't be prouder!

The Miracle of Birth

Why bother filming yourself giving birth when you can blog about it?


10.00 AM
I am overflowing with joy! I feel like jumping up and down and dancing in the street! I am about to commune with the Mother Goddess and give birth to my first child! And I shall share it with all of you, my lovely blog readers!

10.15 AM

10.30 AM

11.00 AM

11.45 AM

12.30 AM

12.45 AM

1.45 AM



2.20 AM
A beautiful boy has been borne into this world! I have joined the sisterhood of Gaia, and I am brimming with maternal feelings of love and pride! Frabjuous day!

Next post: My husband is an evil fucker and he must die.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Suggested Notices For Connex

Suggested Notices for Connex Trams, Trains and Buses:

- No spanking in the aisles.

- You are not authorised to receive fellatio unless you are the holder of a valid concession card.

- If you are receiving fellatio while not being in concession of a valid concession card, the ticketing inspector will receive it on your behalf.

- Please vomit courteously.

- All claustrophics receive a free ride on our trams today.

- Please remember to make room for the schizophrenic and his multiple personalities.

- For safety reasons, oxygen on our trains is banned. If you find yourself becoming asphyxiated, please notify the driver and he'll see what he can do.

- It is illegal not to follow Connex regulations.

- It is illegal not to read Connex regulations. If you are illiterate and are unable to read these instructions, please notify the ticketing inspector and you will receive a fine.

- Have an efficient trip.

- Please do not have sex on the tram. Have it in the tram instead.

- The bus is no longer travelling on this route. Please wait patiently until the bus does not arrive. Thankyou for your consideration.

- The tram on which you are travelling no longer stops near your house. It travels now to an arbitrary location in the outer suburbs. If you are currently travelling home, please alter your destination accordingly.

- Please die quietly.

- When using public transport, it is compulsory to be travelling with a drunk dwarf. If you do not have a drunk dwarf, you may purchase one at the nearest newsagency or chemist.

- If you are in possession of a valid concession card, you may receive fellatio off the drunk dwarf.

- Do not talk. Close your eyes and think of England.

- If another person on the tram is talking, please notify the tram driver or ticketing inspector silently. They will be dealt with.

- Ignore the dead body at the other end of the tram. It's none of your business.

- Nothing is your business.

- Have a nice day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Grogblogging Reminder

Just ignore that last "post". I don't know what got into me. Not a word of truth in it.

Grogblogging, Friday night. Be there!

Grogblogging Communique

To: "Rachel Croucher"
From: "Tim Train"
Subject: "Grogblogging"

Greetings, "Rachel". I am pleased to hear that the "preparations" for the "grogblogging" are going "well". Come Friday night, much of the "blog population" of "Mel Bourne" will be at The Clyde Hotel on Elgin Street in Carlton to "drink" and "converse with one another". This is excellent news!

I have been informed that you have secured the Emeters from the nearby Church of Scientology on Russell Street, and that the Thetans have been kept up-to-date with the latest news about this "blog meet-up". Oh, how it makes me laugh, to think of all those innocent, naive souls ripe for the harvest that will turn up at the "blogging meet up" on Friday night! Oh, how I lust for the feast of flesh that will follow! Yes, the MIGHTY ZARQUON will indeed look kindly upon us following this coming sacrifice BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Oh, sorry, got a little carried away there.

Nevertheless, I must once again impart upon you the need for absolute secrecy and discretion prior to this coming event. The interplanetary conjunction that shall occur this Friday night is indeed a rare event, and if one thing should go wrong - just ONE LITTLE THING - then the WRATH of the mighty Zarquon shall be great indeed, for, as you know, Zarquon is a Vengeful and Malicious Lord!
The Infinite and Cosmic Council of the Shadow Realm have been informed about the coming interplanetary conjunction, and they shall be present at the grogblogging in large numbers. I am pleased, also, to hear that you have secured the mind rays, and that they are in perfect working order prior to this coming "grogblogging".
Brother Axoz informs me that the Judges are impressed with your zeal and thrift in doing work for the MIGHTY ZARQUON, and that there is a coming seat in the Cosmic Council which they have earmarked for you. I don't mind saying, I am just a little bit jealous. Nevertheless! We all have work to do!


In the name of the Hive, the Swarm, and the Mighty Zarquon


Hey, this is my email, isn't it?


Hi Class Litraycha

Over the past couple of days, I've been playing a storytelling game on the Vibewire website with some of the other readers. The rules are: 1) Keep it simple 2) Post as many times as you like, but wait for another person to post something before you post again.

Here are the results so far. See if you can guess which additions are mine; I've posted four times. The different posts have been separated out in bold and italics so it's easier to make out, and I'll give the answer later in comments.

Walking down the street last Tuesday, I was stopped dead in my tracks. It was not the fact that I had left the iron on at home - although I certainly had; indeed, I could smell my ironing board burning from here - it was the fact that I had run into my ex-boyfriend, Shaun. Shaun, as blunt as usual, sniffed the air and said, "You've left the bloody iron on the ironing board again, haven't you."
"No I haven't Shaun, you great patronising twat," I said, pretending not to notice the drop-dead-gorgeous hussy holding his hand.
Shaun, however, knew me too well, and could see my eyes flitting (I thought subtly) between him and the blonde. "It's not what you think," he said. "We've accidentally super-glued our hands together."
He was wearing the shirt I bought him for Christmas. It still had that brown crumpled stain next to the arm pit where I'd left the iron too long one morning when he distracted me by dragging me back to bed.
I screamed, "Well why were your hands touching in the first place?"

He opened his mouth, then closed it again, then left it open like a man who had seen a herd of wild elephants stampeding in his direction - and lucky for him, he actually had. Or unlucky for him, as the case may be, since his blonde companion was too busy gazing at her own reflection in a puddle of water to heed Shaun's panicked screams of "Stampede!!"
The hussy flicked the bangs out of her eyes and evened up the lipstick on the left side of her mouth with an ostentatious poke of a gigantic, scarlet little fingernail. Shaun heaved, but the hussy's narcissism knew know bounds and the elephants hit before she even had time to look up. With a spittering and a spattering, a pittering and a pattering, a dithering and a dathering (and other such self-indulgent descriptors), the hussy's limbs went flying through the air to the shock of everybody, not the least of whom was Shaun and myself. By the time the stampede had passed, I calmly surveyed the scene of carnage; legs at one end of the street, head rolling down the other; and her left hand lay languidly at my feet, with Shaun still firmly attached on to it, glaring angrily up at me.
"You're in big trouble now," Shaun said to me. "You've just witnessed the death of somebody extremely important. So important that importance is not sufficient to describe her. That's how important she was. Boy was she important."
"Are you implying that I had something to do with the sudden proliferation of African wildlife in this inner suburban Australian street?" I asked incredulously, putting my hands in my pockets and nervously fingering my elephant whistle.
Shaun glared at me. He was well aware that instigating random stampedes was a passionate hobby of mine. While trekking in Thailand in the summer of '69, Shaun had slipped a crab into my back pocket. I squeaked, startling a herd of elephants nearby who turned and charged at us. It was so exhilarating I can't help but carry a whistle with me everywhere I go just in case the chance arises again.
Shaun grabbed my fidgeting left hand and pressed it frimly against my thigh. "If I find you have that bloody whistle in your pocket, my dear, you know what I'll do.' And I knew all too well what Shaun would do. The same thing he did every time I caused an elephant stampede. The same thing he did all those years ago in Thailand. The same thing he would always do when I incited to riot huge herds of African wild-life. He would burst into a spontaneous rendition of "Hakuna Matata".

In conclusion, there are several morals to be drawn from this story:

1) Communism is so very, very wrong;

I stopped myself. I was using an outmoded literary device. Morals? Who was I trying to be - fucking Aesop? I held my poststructuralist head high. I would let the reader decide what to draw from his/her/its own reading of the work. And so I went right on back to contmeplating Shaun and his unfortunate habit of singing 'Hakuna Matata' after stampedes. It was a supremely unfortunate habit, not only due to the god-awful song itself, but also because rather than pacifying the elephants, Shaun's rendition of "Hakuna Matata" seemed to further inflame their ire. Knowing what was coming, I scaled the closest tree, which, in another stroke of bad luck, was already occupied by a gaggle of National Party politicians holding a conference.
"We didn't descend from these, Goddammit!" said the one in the tuxedo and the gas mask. "Intelligent design for president twenty-ought-seven!."
I shook my head. Where, oh where, had everything gone so wrong today? I looked at Shaun. He looked at me. I could control myself no longer: I threw my arms around him and said the only thing I could. "Communism is so very, very wrong."
He cried. I cried. We laughed! It was so beautiful, in this crazy, whacky modern world to find something we agreed upon.

And then the dam burst.

So ... which are mine?

Monday, September 19, 2005

From Ogblog to Wogblog - a History of Blogging

Hey, look at the funny person! Ha ha! You're reading a blog! What a geek!

There. Now we've got rid of everyone else, it's just you and me, dear reader, and I can get to the point of this post. Did you know that blogging has a long and fascinating history that goes right back to the stone age? That's right! And you can read all about it here in:


20,000 BC
The first recorded blog of history is carved on to a cave wall by a guy named Og one afternoon after hunting Woolly Mammoths. Although it is extremely slow (have you ever tried using a hyperlink made out of stone?) a post he does linking to the Lascaux cave paintings proves to be wildly popular.

10,000 BC
Writing is invented, which proves to be very useful for bloggers. Previously to this, they have expressed themselves in the occasional monosyllabic grunt and/or crude pictographic representations.

7,000 BC
Instapundit begins blogging. Ancient Sumerian blogger Akh-Ngakh calls him a 'fresh new face' on the blogging scene.

6.400 BC
An anonymous Egyptian blogger writes the first ever post comparing George Bush, the President of America, to Adolf Hitler. Since none of the nouns in this sentence made any sense at the time - even when written in hieroglyphic notation - the Pharaoh at the time decides to have his head cut off.

4.300 BC
Some crazy dude called Moses escapes into the desert and starts a blog, later to be published in scroll form. It features the occasional guest post by another crazy dude who lives in a burning bush and calls himself God. Moses later admits that it was all a joke, and that God didn't really write all those posts, in fact, he could hardly read, let alone write. But no one believes him.

2.500 BC
Slowly, the secrets of tagging leak out of the HTML mines in Eastern Europe. Bloggers learn how to use bold <b> tags, italic tags <i> and underline tags <u> for the first time. (It's not until much later that the dreaded secret of the strike tag <strike> is made known to the general public.)

1,200 BC
A little known group of warbloggers calling themselves the 'Ancient Geeks' manage to infiltrate the computer systems of a group of opposing bloggers using the first ever Trojan Horse. This gives rise to the popular saying, 'Beware of Geeks bearing Gifts.'

50 AD
Ancient Roman Emperor Nerdo holds regular blogging festivals where left-wing subversives are put in the arena with right-wing death beasts. They prove to be wildly popular.

1000 AD
The arts of tapestry and embroidery continue to be developed, and in this format the first pioneering experiments in flash animation are undertaken. The Bayeaux tapestry proves to be a particularly popular animation - much more so than the lesser known tapestry, The Simpsons.

1500 AD
The renaissance happens and everyone forgets to notice it because of some cute kitten pictures being circulated at the time by a photoshopping blogger known as Michaelangelo.

Shakespeare uses the phrases LOL, OMG, ROTF, LMFAO, and BBQ in a play. Half of his audience don't know WTF he's talking about. The other half a puritans who don't know WTF he's talking about, but want to ban it anyway.

1750 AD
Charles Babbage invents the first ever computer - or 'difference engine' - and bloggers wonder what took him all this time. The difference engine, which is powered by 20 wild horses, doesn't work, so Babbage goes off and tries to invent a cheese slicer powered by otters. It fails, and he becomes a broken and destitute man.

1790 AD
America institutes a nation-wide communication system known as 'the pony express' which means that bloggers are able to post with unprecedented speed. (The pony express proves to be much more popular than the previous postal system, the 'ocelot express', which failed, primarily due to a lack of ocelots.

1820 AD
Some other guy tries to invent a computer, this time, powered by steam. It doesn't work. Bloggers tap their fingers and think, this is just getting ridiculous.

1940 AD
Yet another guy called Alan Turing tries to invent the computer and actually succeeds. He is so surprised by this that he kills himself.
Bloggers just shrug their shoulders and go on as they've always done.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Well, I've had a chat with Dr Symantec and he's given me some pretty good advice about my computer. Unfortunately, I can't take him to Symantec's surgery, since it's very expensive, but there's a very good clinician around the corner called Dr AVG, and he's just had a session with my computer last night. It's early days yet, but I think the patient will make a recovery.

I'm very worried, I must admit - it's only been a few months since I found this computer slaving away in a sweatshop - but we get along so well. It would be terrible to think of him in the grotty paws of some RMIT hippy or TAFE student.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Post About Marmosets

Marmosets are small monkeys that live in trees and use their scent glands for communications. There are several species of marmoset, ranging from the Common Marmoset to Wiedd's black tufted ear marmoset.

Here is a recording of the common marmosets cry.

The Pygmy Marmoset.

Once I knew a guy who thought he was a marmoset. He set up house in the rose bush outside and everytime his wife came out to speak to him he would fart in her face. Eventually they took him to see the psychiatrist, who eventually convinced the guy by means of hypnotic suggestion to work his way up. One week the guy would believe he was an African Anteater, the next week he would be an Alsatian, and the week after that he would be a fully grown male Gibbon. Eventually, he reached the stage where he believed he was a human again, and things might have stayed that way, too. But he just couldn't help himself, and he kept on working himself up through the species, becoming an Arabian Stallion, a rhinoceros, and then a giraffe.

Don't you believe this story? Frankly, I don't either. It sounds like a load of old hogwash. But this guy did believe it, which is why nowadays he spends his days roaming the backyard chewing the leaves of the tops of his shrubberies.

If you are curious - and let's face it, who isn't - here is a website about marmosets.

Cough Cough

My computer has a virus. It just lies around in bed all day, spluttering, sneezing, and complaining. I've tried feeding it cough syrup, drinks of lemon and honey, and I've even rubbed its chest with Vics Vaporub, but though it makes the keys rather slippery, it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I must admit, I'm a little worried about it.

Do you think I should take it to see the doctor, or is there anything I can do to make it better?

Lay Off the Laudanum, Old Son

Have you read anything by Captain Marryat lately? Of course you haven't. Oh, when it comes to post-enlightenment English literature, it's all "Wordsworth this" and "Dickens that", but when it comes to the REALLY important people, like Marryat or Fielding, everyone goes silent. I blame Coleridge. That laudanum swilling swine got all the publicity.

The book I'm reading at the moment is Frank Mildmay by Marryat. It was his first book, and it doesn't look too promising. Every chapter begins with a quotation from puritans like Milton (a guy who wrote essays justifying divorce in order to be able to sleep around). Normally, Marryat is excellent at introductions. Take his introduction to Mr Midshipman Easy.

"Mr Nicodemus Easy was a gentleman, and in very easy circumstances."

He carries on for a whole chapter in this way. Well, it amused me.
But Marryat can be serious as well. Later in the book, Mr Easy and a doctor contract a wet nurse for Mr Easy's son, the hero of the novel, Jack Easy. Her name is Sarah, and she has given birth to an illegitimate baby who died soon afterwards. When the doctor asks her about this, she replies,

"Yes I did, sir. But it was such a little one."

Has anything simpler or sadder ever been written?

Marryat's heroes tend to be young men born into well-off families who go to sea and learn some of the realities off life, and mix with different classes of people, before returning to the shore and reclaiming their property. The book usually ends with a gunfight or fisticuffs between the hero and some presumptuous servants. Basic slapstick humour, really.

Odd characters appear. In Peter Simple, the hero becomes friends with a cunning Irishman called Frank, and the pair have to escape from France during a time of war and return to their vessel. In Mr Midshipman Easy, Jack Easy becomes friends with an escaped slave called Mephistopheles, or Mesty, for short.

Mesty, who was once an African prince, likes Jack because he is full of the doctrine of "equality" and "rights". In the end, Mesty accepts his position as Jack's servant a little too easily. The reasons he gives are a mixture of pragmatism and standard Tory doctrine about "accepting ones place in society".
But at least Marryat was able to talk about slaves, something the romantic poets never did. James Hogg* once even wrote a few words in support of slavery.

Anyway, here's a passage from the third chapter of Frank Mildmay, where the young hero needs to get to the ship, and two women agree to take him there:

"She LAYS under the OBELISK," said the elder woman, who appeared to be about forty years of age; "and we will take your honour off for a shilling." I agreed to this, both for the novelty of the thing, as well as on account of my natural gallantry and love of female society. The elder woman was mistress of her profession, handling her scull (oar) with great dexterity; but Sally, the younger one, who was her daughter, was still in her noviciate. She was pretty, cleanly dressed, had on white stockings, and sported a neat foot and ankle.
"Take care, Sally," said her mother; "keep stroke, or you will catch a crab."
"Never fear, mother," said the confident Sally; and at the same momnt, as if the very caution against the accident was the cause of it, the blade of her scull did not dip into the water. The oar meeting no resistance, its loom, or handle, came back upon the bosom of the unfortunate Sally, tipped her backwards - up went her heels in the air, and down fell her head into the bottom of the boat.
As she was pulling the stroke oar, her feet almost came in contact with the rosette of my cocked hat. "There now, Sally," said the wary mother; "I told you how it would be - I knew you would catch a crab!"
Sally quickly recovered herself, blushed a little, and resumed her occupation.
"That's what we calls catching a crab in our country," said the woman. I replied that I thought it was a very pretty amusement; and I asked Sally to try and catch another; but she declined; and, by this time, we had reached the side of the ship. Having paid my naiads, I took hold of the man-rope, as I was instructed by them, and mounted the side.

Yes - I think I will enjoy this, after all.

*You haven't heard of James Hogg? You haven't heard of THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD? Shame on you!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Today Is The Third-and-a-halfth Day for the Rest Of Your Week

Well, it's my birthday today. My mother is going to be surprised, let me tell you that. I hope she's alright. It must have been hard enough for her to give birth to me as a baby, but now I'm 28 years old ... I think I'd better give her a call to make sure.
I wasn't even going to tell anybody about it, but several people have already let the secret out.

Now, I'm not sure what to think because, on the one hand, I am older today than I have ever been before, but on the other, today is the first day for the rest of my life. Certainly today will be a day just like any other day, but then again, I've got to seize the day, to live in the now, until the now slips into the then. I've got to be careful about this and plan for tomorrow, but then again, tomorrow never comes. Or does it?

Today and today and today
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.

Shakespeare had it right, the old bastard - and even if he didn't write this, he should have. Today is a trap because, every new day we wake up in is today, and all the joys that tomorrow promises become the mindless reality of today. It's like Groundhogs Day, except there's no way out, there's no escape from this gaping void of nothingness, this endless succession of TODAYS, no escape at all, except for ...

Would you excuse me while I just nip into the next room and blow my brains out?


Ah, that's better. There's nothing like Ending It All to Make You Feel Like New. Anyway, happy birthday to me and all that. Here's a story I wrote last night. It's for Gem, because even though she stole my birthday, she was nice about it. Bless you, one and all. Now I just have to go and sweep up the shattered fragments of my brain in the other room ...

He was born too early and she was born too late. They arrived on the same day, and there things might have ended if they had died on that day as well. But stories are rarely this simple and life never is.
They were total strangers to one another, as people who have never met or spoken often are. Nevertheless, it chanced that one day they happened to run into one another at a cafe, and formed a mutual bond of difference.
He was German and she was French, so they compromised and communicated in Mongolian. Neither of them could speak a word of this language, so they found that this was one thing which they could agree upon. They began to tell one another details of their separate lives, which they were both very pleased to discover they had.
He explained that he had been born into a Mannheim firm of Lion Tamers, and had run away with a troupe of travelling accountants to see the world and perform daring financial transactions for multinational businesses. She happily talked about her fulfilling career as a music therapist to abused pachyderms. They were both happy to discover that they shared nothing in common, and therefore agreed to stay in touch and see if they would grow older at the same rate, or whether it was just a coincidence.

The year passed slowly. Spring sprang and then Summer came and it turned into Sprung. Autumn shoved Summer out of the way and stayed there for three months. Then Winter fell with a thud that caused everyone to wake up with a horrible start. He realised that he had promised to give her a call but had forgotten her number. She remembered his phone number but that she forgot why she was going to call. So she went round to his house and knocked on the door.
So the years passed in this manner, and time progressed as well. She began to have her twenty third birthday over and over again. He began to save his days using the local banks 'Daylight Savings' account, until he had plenty of extra hours. So both of them lived for a very, very long time.

As bad luck would have it, they died on the same day as well. It is impossible to tell whether they were the same age when they died, or if she beat him in the end, since neither were able to talk to me. All I know is, he was so forgetful that he didn't turn up for his own death, and that she insisted that it be put off for later, since she was visiting family at the time. In the end, Death had to go round to their houses, sit down with them, and explain in a calm, reasonable voice that they had to come with him; if they weren't able to come to their funerals, who else would he get, at this late hour? They all agreed that it would be terribly inconvenient. And, in the end, Death didn't seem to be that big. (A bit chubby around the stomach area, yes, but that was only to be expected when you had been around for an eternity, like Death had.)
Now, where was I? I've no idea. I could go on for ages, and I probably will, but look at that!



So you won't hear anything more out of me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My Brief But Dazzling Future Career in Australian Television

Not many people know it, but in a few years time, I will be a has-been, a piece of human detritus, chewn up and spat out of the ravening maw that is the Australian television industry. No, really. It will all start next month, at a party in some house in Brunswick or another, when I run into a television producer and tell him about my quirky yet whimsical, violent yet compelling idea for Australian television. Three days later, I will be called by him, out of the blue, and offered the opportunity to become producer for the show.

SILENCE OF THE HAMS - an ultra-realist piece of fiction about the Australian film industry, with a cast to die for.

Nicole Kidman - played by Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow - played by Carlotta
Bill Hunter - played by Paul Hogan
Paul Hogan - played by Rove McManus

Basically, it will be just like any other Australian film. It will be about the struggles of a community of twenty-something young actors who suddenly find themselves hunted by a serial-killer. The premiere episode will end with the ritual death of Nicole Kidman (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) on a funeral pire, as a sacrifice to the God Ereshkigal.
The following episode will be exactly the same in plot to the first. The show will run for a record 32 series, and become a staple of the Australian television industry.

Or something like that. Actually, I haven't thought about it that much. Anyway, the killer turns out to be Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, or John Howard, or somebody.
Then, suddenly, without reason, the show will be dropped and I will be cut off from the television industry. Disillusioned and angry, I will take to drink, and become a bitter, wretched old man living in a hovel on the edge of the Simpson desert with the help of an Australian Film Industry grant, taking pot-shots at British tourists as they drive past.
I've got it all planned out.


David and I have our political disagreements, and that's putting it mildly. He calls me a fascist, I call him a communist. But he is hilariously funny, a brilliant writer, and very kind - basically, he's just a delicate little flower who has never been allowed to bare his fragile, child-like spirit before the harsh, cruel world.
He's been silent in the past couple of weeks, at least as far as blogging goes. But now I can see that it's all worth it, for he has been producing a work of genius, a novel - his third.

Well, I know it's unorthodox for a fascist like me, but I'm going to do every I can to make sure that his writing doesn't get suppressed. Go read the fragments of his novel just posted on his blog - they'll make you think, they'll make you laugh, they'll make you cry. And when you're done, join me, and we will march on his home in Greensborough and drag his fragile child-like spirit out into the harsh light of day and get him published. Because talent like this can't just be wasted.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Who Said I'm Not Sensitive?

Ralph Vaughan Williams and his Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis makes me cry. In a good way. Life is beautiful. I fucking love you guys.

That is all.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Absolutely no FREE BEERWhatsoever

... although for YOU, dear reader, we can always make an exception, if you come to the Melbourne Grogblogging ...

The Nine Other Muses

The Nine Other Muses: A Modern Pantheon

Since the subject of The Muses came up in a recent discussion, I've decided to find out who the Muses for the modern day are.

Abstemia is the muse of diet books and food guides and health pamphlets. She is usually depicted as a thin, spectre-like girl in wispy gowns, carrying with her small black diaries in which she records the details of her daily dietary activities.
Worshippers of Abstemia hold a feast day in her honour every year, during which they sit around the table and discuss dietary matters and cholesterol intake.
Once, it is said that one girl worshipped Abstemia with such zeal that her figure shrunk and shrunk and shrunk until there was almost nothing of her at all. Her family weighed her on the scale when, with a sudden
ping, she vanished.

Falliope is the muse of motherhood, and books and poems about motherhood. Artistically, she is depicted in the Centrelink queue, waiting for her single mother pension cheque to come in. More recently, pictures of Falliope show her clasping a bottle of pills in one hand and a pregnancy test in the other.

Clito is the muse of free expression, free love, free verse, free money from the government, and free drinks, too, if she has anything to say about it. She is often depicted in the lascivious grasp of another man/woman/thing, and usually wears nothing at all. She couldn't be bothered writing poetry, because she is usually doing it.

Tranette, the muse of transgender and sex changes, is regarded by many as an impostor amongst the muses, as a kind of 'Tranny come lately', if you will. However, her supporters are eager to point out the existence of her aunty, Tiresias.
Tranette wears fishnet stockings, and is worshipped at the karaoke machine.

Mepoormeme is the muse of self-confession, self-obsession, self-examination, self-masturbation, and autobiography. Her most devoted worshippers are the hordes of beret-wearing poseurs who flock to Melbourne's poetry bars and clubs and read out delicate and touching poems about their feelings.
Mepoormeme carries a mirror with her at all times, and a nymph flies after her to record all her thoughts as she speaks them into a
livejournal or a blog.

No one is exactly sure what Feministia is the muse of, but she's pretty impressive. She is depicted in many different ways, sometimes wearing bluestockings, and sometimes a tight black vinyl dominatrix outfit, complete with whip and spurs. Her supporters are mostly women, and they write books with titles like 'The Female Eunuch' and 'I Blame the Patriarchy'.
However, many men are secretly in love with her as well, but will not admit to it in public.

Polymania is the muse of craziness, looniness, and all forms of insanity. She is depicted wearing a straitjacket or, sometimes, dancing about on the city streets with foam coming out of her mouth.
In order to best appreciate the virtues of Polymania, it is often necessary to stimulate yourself chemically, and in excessive amounts. This may not always have predictable results, but the goddess will appreciate it.
Other acceptable forms of worship include shutting yourself up in the cupboard and reading book after book of realist fiction, or trying to understand James Joyce.

Herpe, the muse of ill-health, sickness, or even depression, is depicted in art wearing a patients gown or in bed. She has inspired many works of self-misery by countless lily-skinned artistes who would rather lie around in bed than work.
Her company is best avoided, for your own health, so she is most often seen in company with Abstemia.

The best of the bunch, Obscenia is the muse of swearing, shouting, cursing, criticising, and generally saying things that will annoy the most amount of people as possible. If you ask Obscenia a question about yourself, she has the habit of telling you something that
a) Will be very true
b) Will be something you don't want to hear at all.
Obscenia wears trousers, and is often depicted artistically on the toilet. She can be found in company with her niece, Uranal, and her nephew, Colon.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Dialogue Between Person and Bed

A Dialogue Between Person and Bed, in the manner of Plato.

I love you. You are so large and warm and comfortable. I want to lie down in you now.

I hate you, you great lumpy, sweating, steaming mass of flesh. Who do you think you are, to come and slip yourself between my sheets and thrash around all night?

It's so wonderful, after a long, hard day working, eating, and performing various human activities, to come and slip myself into your rectangular embrace.

Urgh!! I shudder everytme you waft into the room. If I had a mouth*, I would tell you that YOU STINK. You perspire towards me, then slip yourself into my lily-white sheets, then proceed to propel your way through your dreams by a serious of burps, yawns, and farts. By the time the night is done, I feel less like a bed, and more like a stagnant fen. I hate you.

You are so accommodating! Not only can you be my place of repose, but whenever she is here, you become a scene of sport, an athletic arena, a circus, an epic stage of history! Oh! And when that is complete, and we like back, you are so gentle with us ...

Her? NOT HER!!! As if your lumps and farts and thrashing around are not enough to deal with, I sometimes have to deal with HER as well! Fuck! And not only do you both start exuding pheromones left, right and cdentre, but the way you two flail about - it's as if you want to knock the stuffing out of me!
Is that it? You want to KILL me?

Truly, bed, you are one of the finest, most elegant, most beautiful things to grace this earth.

Do you know what my fantasy is? The secret desire that I dream about? It is that an albino elephant would suddenly and inexplicably storm through the house, smashing you through the floor, before ravishing me and carrying me off to the forests of Mandalay.
But it's never going to happen, is it, because - I'm just a BED, and YOU MADE ME THIS WAY!

I love you.

I hate you.

*But I don't, because I was made that way. And whose fault is that? YOURS - you fucking bastard!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

When Blogging Goes Wrong

That's right - there's a new grogblogging coming up, in two weeks time!

Grogblogging: the sordid reality*

So please, come to the next grogblogging in two weeks time. If not for yourself - do it for poor kitty here.

UPDATE - Looks like we picked the WORST DATE all year for a grogblogging - AFL Grand Final night! I think the blame for this lays fairly and squarely at my feet. I mean, I'm a bloke, aren't I supposed to know everything about sports, right? RIGHT!
Anyway, we've decided to hold the thing on the previous evening - Friday the 23rd. The poster and link on this blog have been amended thusly!

*No cats were hurt in the making of this post.

An Unspirational Story

FERNANDOS: An Unspirational Story
(Which may or may not have similarities to the story of a certain Melbourne food chain)

This is Mr Rolando Fernando - leader of a national chain of overcooked chicken stores!

But things were not always this way. Once, a long time ago, Rolando was working as a kitchenhand for Greasy Jakes One Stop Eatery in Essendon.
"Rolando, do this!" one person would shout.
"Rolando, do that!" another would yell.
"Rolando, do something else entirely!" a third would order.
It was all enough to make a young boy turn to crime. But not Rolando! For he had enterprise on his mind!

"If only," mused Rolando to himself, "I could start up a chain of stores, based on our traditional Portuguese recipe of overcooked chicken. Combined with high prices and overspicey sauces, it would be a winner!"

Late one night, after coming home from work, Rolando happened to run into his uncle Tony playing poker with his friends.
"Get out of the room, Rolando!" shouted Tony. "The men are having an important discussion!"
"Uncle!" said Rolando. "There is something I wanted to ask you!"
"Well?" smirked Tony. "What is it?"
"I was hoping to start a business!" said Rolando. "And I was wondering if you could lend me some money?"
"Don't be foolish, boy!" yelled Tony. "Only smart men like myself are allowed to start a business! Foolish boys like you should not even bother!"
"But Uncle!" pleaded Rolando, "I had the best idea! I wanted to start a restaurant chain, using our nonna's recipe for Overcooked Chicken!"
"Stupid boy!" replied Tony. "No one would want to eat that!"
"Aha! But I plan to disguise the Overcooked Chicken with Extremely Spicy sauces!"
"Not good enough!"
"And then," went on Rolando, "I will distract their attention with our High, High prices!"
"Fine words, boy!" snapped Tony. "But there are far too many restaurants in town as it is!"
"That is why," concluded Rolando, "I plan to open up my restaurant in a part of town that doesn't have any restaurants. That way, when people pass by, they will say, 'Oh Well. There's No Where Else To Go'. And they will flock to Fernandos Overcooked Chicken Store in the thousands!"

Tony looked to his mates then back at Rolando. Clearly, they were dealing with one smart cookie here.

One month later, Rolando had gathered all the money together, and opened up his restaurant in an obscure corner of Melbourne, on Gluph Street, which was empty, except for a parking lot at one end and a rubbish dump at the other. Rolando sat quietly behind the counter. His hands shook just a little. Would his crazy concept work?

Things were quiet for an hour. Then along came the Jones family. They were looking for somewhere to eat.
"Hey, there's a restaurant!" shouted Mr. Jones.
"But do we want to go there?" said Mrs Jones. "I heard some members of the mafia set it up."
"I want to go to the chocolate shop!" whined Billy.
"Be quiet, Billy!" snapped his sister Jilly.
"Well," concluded Mr Jones, "There's No Where Else To Go!"
And with that, they entered the store.
Rolando smiled quietly to himself. He knew his restaurant was going to work, after all ...

Over the coming weeks, Fernandos became a bustling hub. It became known all over the city that the "Best Overcooked Chicken Can Be Found At FERNANDOS!"
Rolando - or Mr Fernando, as he had become known - overheard many conversations in his restaurant.
"This burger is not bad!"
"This chicken bad, but it is not terrible!"
"These prices are extremely expensive."
And sometimes, when the people really got grumpy and started to complain, Mr. Fernando would simply say to them with a shrug, "But - there's NO WHERE ELSE TO GO!"
"Oh well," the customer would reply. "He's got us there!"
And go right on eating.

Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. Fernandos Overcooked Chicken Store grew and turned into a chain of Overcooked Chicken Stores, right across the city. It was consistently rated one of the best overcooked chicken stores around in the Melbourne Age and the Herald Sun. As time went by, other restaurants grew up around the store.
But Mr Fernando was not worried! He knew that, although the customers now had other places to go, they would still come to Fernandos. "After all," he reasoned, "We've Always Been Here! And where else could they find the Best Overcooked Chicken in town?"

And he was right. Night after night, customers would walk up and down the street, looking from the French restaurant specialising in chocolate-coated snails, to the Indian cafe specialising in boiled tofu, before settling on Fernandos.
"After all," they would say as they entered the store, "They've Always Been Here."

Mr. Fernando was a happy man. He had a large and happy family of his own, who he one day hoped to hand on his city-wide chain of Overcooked Chicken stores to. And it was all because, one evening, as a kitchenhand, he had had a good idea for a business venture.

One morning, Mr Fernando marched out to the front of his store carrying a large sign which he had had prepared for him the previous day. His wife and children, curious about the sign, followed him out. Proudly, Mr. Fernando nailed the new sign up over the old one: "Fernandos: Because We've Always Been Here!" (And truth be told, it was growing a bit tatty, anyway.)

The new sign read:

At Least We're Not McDonalds!

And it was true, too.


I Blame John Howard

Australians are less secure and more fearful than ever before under John Howard's leadership.

Australian Social Attitudes: The First Report finds most people are satisfied with the economic gains made since the Prime Minister's election, and that they enjoy their work, are proud of their families, and feel confident and optimistic about the future.

We are becoming selfish ...

They are also more willing to forgo income to pay for major state services than at any time in the previous two decades.

John Howard is dragging us back into the 1950s.

"We need to go back to the 1960s to find a stronger mood for social spending," the report says.

Intolerance is rising:

More than 80 per cent of the 4000 Australians who responded to the survey support choice on abortion and increasing numbers are willing to accept same-sex couples as families.

And it's all John Howard's fault. John Howard, you bastard.

UPDATE: And I shouldn't forget to mention our rejection of multiculturalism:

Support for higher immigration has more than doubled since 1995 (from 11 per cent to 26 per cent in 2003). 57 per cent of Australians now want the immigration program to stay the same size or increase. Not since the 1960s has immigration been so well supported by the Australian public.

Our increasing job insecurity:

Fourteen years of economic growth have left Australians feeling secure in their jobs. Just 13 per cent fear losing their job in the next year. But half the Australians surveyed thought it would be 'Not easy at all' to find a job as good as their current one.

And our withdrawal from community activities:

Almost all Australians are a member of at least one voluntary organisation (86 per cent). Consumer and automobile associations are at the top of the list with 54 per cent membership, followed by sporting groups (45 per cent), financial cooperatives (29 per cent) and religious groups (24 per cent).

Fascist right-wing death beast nazis from around the nation will be rejoicing at this news. Why, John Howard, WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY???

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Life: The Limitation of Art

Although you wouldn't know it, I'm not only an extremely mediocre blogger and writer, but I am also a cultural critic. That's right! And here's a little piece of cultural criticism that I've had published just recently!

I'm here today to talk to you about art, which is a very important thing. In fact, art is so important that it has changed the world in many profound ways.

A lot of people may scoff and say, 'Art? Ha! Art is just a representation of life!' But they're only half right. Consider a recent historical example: the invention of the colour TV. Many people believe that this seminal cultural development had no effect on the world whatsoever. They believe that life went on after this invention just as it had done before. In fact, before the invention of the colour television, the whole world was in black and white. That's right. People lived in black and white houses, on black and white streets. Every morning the women would put on black and white dresses and black and white hats, and go and sit in black and white gardens and eat black and white cakes. It got very dull after a while, and if someone hadn't invented the colour television, I don't know what they would have done.

Apparently, it happened when an old lady called Mavis was pottering around in her black and white azalea garden. Her grandson was fiddling with a film camera and her home video set, when he discovered the secret of colour TV. In a flash, the whole world changed. It was as if God had walked in the room and switched on the light. Mavis was violently assaulted on all sides by riots of colour: gold, green, and red marching in murderous rows into her eyes. It was all too much for her. She promptly had a heart attack and died.

With the introduction of technicolour, many other revolutionary changes in society followed. The dull 50s gave way to the swinging 60s, where people did all sorts of colourful things, like have cheap and degrading group sex or do fun things like divorce one another. Others liked nothing better than to drop tabs of acid and watch the world explode in pretty colours all about them. Pretty soon, the old world of black and white didn't look so bad. But they couldn't go back.
So although now, the colour television may seem to be a simple representational device, we now know that it changed the world, simply and irrevocably. And a good thing, too - after all, what use would a colour television be in a world of black-and-white?


The first pieces of art, as we now know, were simple pictographic representations on cave walls or on pieces of stone. It follows logically that primitive man lived on cave walls and pieces of stone too. This type of existence may seem to us a bit silly, not to mention two-dimensional, but let's remember that this is primitive man we're talking about here.

Now we come to the Classical era, which occurred with the invention of statues. And along with the invention of statues, the third dimension was discovered. Suddenly, man had a whole new dimension to do things in, and he spread all over the world, and did many great things like build buildings, destroy Carthage, make aqueducts, and discover democracy.
But it must have been rather boring as well. Scientific research informs us that statues are unable to move. As we now know, this indicates that a typical day for the Classical Man went something like the following:

MORNING: Strike a dramatic pose while wearing a toga.

DAY: Continue to wear your toga while resolutely holding your pose.

AFTERNOON: Stare off stoically into the distance and hold pose strikingly, perhaps cursing the Gods for your fate.

NIGHT: Strike pose, wear toga, stare stoically, etc etc.

And so on. This caused quite a bit of confusion in classical times since, in effect, it was impossible to tell people from statues. Of course, people have pink or brown skin, and statues are grey, but remember that this was in a time before colour television was invented, and nobody knew the difference. This led to quite a bit of confusion, and people were often mistaken for statues.[1] Sometimes they were even mistaken themselves, and to this day you will see statues wandering about the streets in the mistaken belief that they are humans.[2]
This confusion may have been the origin of Martin Luther's famous phrase, "Here I stand: I can do no other." After all, for Classical people, this really was true.

More interesting things were soon to develop in the world of art, which would have astounding, even revolutionary effects on the world. After all, people tired of the whole 'statue' thing pretty soon. Thankfully, some artists came along one day and invented mosaics, murals, and friezes, in which not one, but a series of images could be represented on the wall of a building. This was a very handy invention, since instead of just standing about all day and getting themselves confused with statues by striking one pose all day long, people could strike several poses in succession. They were also able to communicate with one another by writing messages like 'Sic Gloria Transit Mundi' or ' Gloria in Excelsis Deo' or 'Your Mother Is a Harlot' in speech bubbles above their heads. I mean, it doesn't seem like much to us in the present day, but remember how rich the experience must have seemed to those simple people.

Nowadays, this earlier, halcyon period of existence is almost forgotten. The tradition of living in two-dimensional friezes on the wall lived on for some time – some husbands were especially fond of keeping their wives in this manner, for instance – but eventually that died out, too.

There have been many other important developments in art, especially during the twentieth century. For instance, late one evening in a Belgian cafe, three young painters who had been drinking too much decided to invent surrealism. This changed the world irrevocably. All of a sudden, odd things began to happen to people. Elephants began to spring out of their head and their watches began to melt. Tubas would suddenly, inexplicably catch on fire, and everything started being covered in bugs. Things would suddenly, strangely, dissipate away or change into other things. Pipes were not pipes, windows were not windows, doors were not doors, and you don't want to know what towers were.

It was a good thing for all concerned that surrealism went out of fashion relatively quickly. It's just a pity the same thing could not be said of cubism. This artistic movement, invented by Pablo Picasso, played havoc with everyone's sense of direction and apparently some chap called Einstein even had to invent new laws of physics to explain how everything worked following cubism.[3]

Anyway, that's the end of our little tour of art history. And if you think that art is finished, and that it's thrown everything it can at you - well, I'd be careful if I were you. I know an artist who claims to have developed a form of sculpture in 23 separate dimensions, which travels backwards, not forwards in time.
If I were you, I'd go indoors and draw the curtains - now. You just can't trust art. You never know what it will do to you.

[1] See Plato's dialogue, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Sculpture"

[2] The giveaway is the fact that they're usually more static than most people.

[3] It's probably good that he never survived to see what Abstract Expressionism did to the world.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

If Shakespeare

Maybe it's because they had a poetry festival here in Melbourne just recently, or maybe I'm just mad, but I was recently struck with several poetic fits. Here's what I came up with:

If Shakespeare Dropped Acid

If Shakespeare dropped acid with the Rolling Stones
Marianne Faithful would dance with Ophelia's bones
At the bottom of the sea;
Juliet would fly into the Marmalade sky
And Hamlet would step up to the microphone and cry,
"Is this Mick Jagger I see before me?"
If Shakespeare dropped acid with the Rolling Stones.

If Moses drunk soma with William Blake
They'd bake the ten commandments out of chocolate cake
And ask Shiva around for tea;
The LORD would speak out of a flaming fish
And ask for a sample of that tasty dish,
Before changing into a tree,
If Moses drunk soma with William Blake.

If Homer and Sappho got blotto on plonk
And stonkered, they bonked till the sun rose with a thunk
Then the sky would fall into the sea;
And Mighty Zeus would retire and Hera expire
And whole turning world would explode into fire
Before turning into a pea,
If Homer and Sappho got blotto on plonk.

It's meaningless, it's obscure, and it scans badly: the perfect modern poem! But that's not to say that I haven't been working on, er, more traditional efforts. Here's another one I've been writing ...

My Love: a poem by Timothy Huw Train

My Love is like a metaphor
That's sweetly typed in June;
My Love is like a simile
Or like a bag of goon;

My Love is like an elephant
That's wearing a beret
My Love is like a flamingo
That's dancing in the bay;

As fair art thou, my chocolate love
This cask is fairer still
And I will love thee still, my love,
Oh shit. I'm drunk again.

That's all I've been able to come up with so far. Do you like it?
Email: timhtrain - at -

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