Monday, December 31, 2007

Blame the fricking television.

That's what I say. Blame the tv.
And yes, I'm well aware that there is a long standing debate on the effect of television on children and having bolted together an essay on the topic at uni I'm also aware that there's conflicting and often poorly conducted research for both sides of the argument.

I'll lay it out now though that I don't believe violence in television programmes or video games has any discernible long term impact on a child's behaviour, development or logic. Granted, some children may want to repeat an act seen on tv but I posit that it's the parent's responsibility to keep an eye on their child and ensure they're told what's right and what's not. I mean, growing up as a child the only direct impact tv had on me was once when I was about seven. There was a show on crocodiles about to start and I was so excited I was jumping on the couch and slipped, smacked my head on the coffee table and was rushed to hospital where I was sewn up with a number of stitches across my forehead.
So yes, blame tv for that. Also blame me for being the weird sort of child that gets excited to an almost epileptic level by a crocodile show.
Now to clarify, my stance on violence having an effect on children's behaviour is a firm and resounding 'Aww hells no'. And by violence I mean in a stylised, fictional sense.
However, (and this is the gripe that spawned this so-far beleaguered post) I do believe that certain television shows are on track to screwing with not only children, but impressionable adults. It's all these supposed reality shows. (Yes, yes, I know you've all heard a million rants about reality shows, but let me vent a little.)
So my issue with these shows it that it's the very nature of these shows to show supposedly normal people arguing, fucking, drinking, screaming, crying, swearing and basically exhibiting any other level of polarised behaviour. It's either that, or it's a My Super Sweet Sixteen scenario.
This show in particular really pisses me as it shows the most abhorrent, rich, spoilt children being given 'no budget' birthday parties* by their negligent parents whose idea of showing love or affection is anything that can be purchased for more than ten thousand big ones.

So kids sitting at home watch the people on Big Brother 34 screaming at each other over how much spaghetti has been used. They see some fat little whore from LA crying because her parents bought her an Audi and not the Mercedes she wanted. They see people in The Real World:Denver fucking and yelling and yell-fucking and fuck-yelling and whatnot.

And all of this, I'm postulating, sits somewhere inside their unconscious contributing to their understanding of what a basal behavioural level should be. And thus kids get this warped sense that it's ok to totally flip out over the tiniest things and then parents wonder why their daughter just called them a bunch of fuckwits, screamed and slammed the door when asked to tidy her room. Or why she went and fucked every guy at school because she thought that her friend Jodie was talking to her ex Tommy. Or something.
I dunno. I'm rambling.... I just think that kids are losing track of how a relatively normal person should act and as a result they're going to find social interaction a real task. Especially when every other chump and skank are all losing their shit and getting all up in each other's grills because the price of a sausage roll at the school canteen went up by 5 cents.

Bring back the good old days, when the only thing you hoped for as a tv watching child, wasn't a Mercedes or a BMW or for P Diddy to sing at your birthday party. Your only wish was to be on A*mazing and get to do the run through the maze collecting the hidden keys and hopefully winning a Gameboy.**
Halcyon days they were. Simpler times. Good times. Great times.

Anyways, I've had enough of trying to articulate my position on this.

The primary moral of the story is: Reality shows are screwing up everything.
The secondary moral of the story is: Bring back A*mazing. I could so do a whole post on that show. Stay tuned.

Also, what do you think? Is the portrayed craziness of people in reality shows messing up the perception of what 'normal' behaviour is for impressionable people viewing them?

* When I was 16, a 'No budget birthday party' was a rather literal term which meant I was getting sweet fuck all and would probably have to rely on mates to chip in and buy me a bottle or two of passion pop. No P Diddy at my birthday party. (Also note this * is not pertaining to the * in A*mazing. Just in case you were confused or something.)

** Remember James Sherry who hosted A*mazing? I found this page on him and now I think about it, it's like someone stole some DNA from Will Anderson and a sprinkling of alleles from Adam Hills and grew James Sherry in a petri dish. The Girl also told me a story which involved a girl from her school allegedly hooking up with James Sherry at a bar once. And then maybe going home with him. Whilst she was umm.... quite...errr... young.
I wonder if he made her rummage around to find his 'super secret hidden key'. Did she go home with a gameboy? Or did she get game with a home boy? Oh zing!
Um... Sorry... I promise that'll be the last bad pun for the year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas and whatnot

So Christmas this year was spent with The Girl's extended family.
It was quite nice actualy, although we did have to deal with a weird in-law...
She was one of those people that insist on organising the minutiae of absolutely everything. She's also a bit manic and possessing of an unknown number of neuroses which lurk ever so slightly below the projected veneer of sanity.
So rather than enjoy giving out gifts and eating a tasty Christmas lunch, we were subjected to a series of tasks, all of which had well defined outcomes and associated expectations.
Fucking hell.

So imagine that you're about to enjoy your tasty Christmas roast lunch and then you're interrupted with the following:
"Ok, so there's how many of us? Nine? Ok, nine. So that means we can probably have about... Wait, how many roast potatoes are there? What? Oh there's parsnip too? Ok, well we probably shouldn't take a lot as it needs to go round. Maybe 1 or 2 potatoes each or something. Depends how many there is really. Will this wine go with this?"
Oh. My. God.
I don't know exactly how many potatoes there are lady. But using a series of highly advanced neural algorithms, I can determine for myself that it wouldn't be reasonable for me to take 10 potatoes.

But it didn't end there.
This kind of retarded analysis applied to everything; setting the table, working out what to watch on tv, how to go about opening the presents, which wine we'd drink.
Luckily, the bathroom door locked or I'm sure she would have been working out a ratio to determine the correct number of squares toilet paper depending on the mass of excreted fecal matter.
Eww, sorry. I even made myself throw up a little.

Aside from this 'Christmas By Numbers' fiasco, the experience was largely enjoyable.
We went through more food than they did at The Biggest Loser post-production party and we drank enough to mildly sedate David Boon.

Now it's almost time for seeing in the new year which at the moment is going to be spent rather quietly, perhaps watching fireworks over The London Eye from Southbank or somewhere romantic whilst swilling Lambrini from the bottle. Yep, I sure know how to please the laydeez.*

*Not to be disputed, thank you non-Blondie.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

'tis the season to be listing.

It's also the season for bad Christmas puns. Righteous!

I know it's time for everyone to make lists of their best things for the year. Or their saddest moments. Or their favourite gluten-free baked goods. And so on. It really is open season on lists. I think lists are the easiest way to fill a post. Hence my adoption of the time honoured technique.
And away they go...

1) The list things I don't really want for Christmas. (I hope Santa's checking this bizzle.)

- The Teatool - This is possibly the most useless invention in the world. Seriously. You can't push your teabag against the side of your cup with your spoon? You have many problems. This does receive points however, for being a perfect amalgamation of Britain's two favourite past-times: Tea drinking and world class laziness
- The Banana Guard - I like this. But don't really eat that many bananas. And in school my lunchbox was generally pretty full, so my bananas didn't really bounce around enough to warrant a protective sheath. I wonder where this item's creator had their 'Eureka!' moment. By the looks of things it was a sex shop. At least they're dedicated to their product and are keeping it in front of the innovation curve. They're even up to Bananaguard 2.0. Riveting.
- Another credit card. No thank you Barclays. Keep your evil taint money away from me. I know your tricks.
- Another card from my grandparents with the motivational advice of 'Don't rain on other people's parades' written in it. Yeah, they are kinda senile but still... Way to give me big ups for my birthday.
- AIDS. Not after last time.

2) Places I wouldn't like to go sleep-walking after dark. Or My Somnambu-list.

- The ghetto street between our house and the supermarket. Shit be real down there. You want an illegal minicab? No problems. Gram of crack? No problems. Ounce of weed? Can do.
- Brixton. Our cab driver got lost once and we ended up in Brixton. He pulled into a sidestreet to recalibrate his satnav and turn around and we were suddenly surrounded by strung out dudes banging on the doors. Locked those doors quick as sticks, I did.
- The Algarve. For obvious reasons. These being me enjoying not getting abducted.

3) List of things which have made me smile and/or laugh this year.

- The girl.- 99 percent of the time anyways.
- The mice at Kings Cross tube station.
- Powder days whilst snowboarding in March. Also, my snowboard.
- The exchange rate of the British Pound to Czech Koruna. Hello uber cheap beer/food/accommodation/tacky souvenirs.
- Bill Bailey's Tinselworm.
- Never Mind The Buzzcocks
- Flight Of The Conchords
- Married To The Sea
- Dinosaur Comics
- Where Are The Dogs Humping
- Perry Bible Fellowship
- Killer Robots From Space
- Travel

4) Things which have made me angry.
- The usual: arrogance, ignorance, overly pushy opinionated people, people at the pub I've never even met who want to start arguments about 9/11 'facts' which they 'read in an official document on the internet' when all I'm trying to do is have a beer with my friends.
- Most probably everything else. Not really. It's been a pretty good year so far. Although people who tow their luggage around on the tube are high on my hate list.

Wow... What rubbish.
I've decided lists are not the way of the future.

Well it's almost Christmas which means I've finished work, it's supposedly festive and venturing anywhere near a shop which sells anything is a serious risk. English people go mental for buying things. Like I've never seen. Primark, for instance resembles the Western Front. Except it's strewn with cut-price basics and high-fashion copies, rather than mutilated bodies. That's excluding the ugg boot section in aisle three. That's no-mans land in there.

In order to get into the christmas spirit, we've purchased some mulled wine, are roasting some meat and intend to sit by our dodgy tinsel christmas tree and watch reruns of Ernest Saves Christmas and Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special until Santa arrives.

Everyone have an awesome Happy Birthday Jesus Day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cos the people here are nice and stuff.

Two nights ago on my way home from work, tragedy struck.

(Inaccurate reconstruction)

My train was suspended due to a suspected fire at Chiswick Park. Damn.
Which made me think: a 'suspected' fire? Did someone smell some smoke and freak out? Was it Christmas lights reflecting off the hard cold metal of the tracks? As far as I was aware, fire wasn't something that could be suspected. Is the child in the burns ward there due to a suspected fire? I think not. It was an ACTUAL fire, for sures. You can bet your epidermis on that one.

Anyways, I'm getting off track... Which is relevant for a train story I guess. Oh, quit your booing.
So my train was suspended and was sitting at the station with the doors open. Everyone thought they knew better and decided to wait out the crisis. I, on the other hand wanted to get home so got off and headed up to the bus stop, which wasn't all that busy. Waiting for my bus and the flow of people began to increase.
Then suddenly it happened.
it was kind of like when the oil in the pan gets hot and it's all peace and quiet until it hits flash point and then shit gets mental. And it did.
Up the escalator came a swarm of people. Deranged, sweaty people. And the scene changed from one of quiet commuting to one of madness and savagery.
The masses, like mushy peas, spewed forth onto the road, engulfing the bus as though it was an overcooked chip.
One man took to punching the doors and screaming, 'Open the fucking door!' which was unsuccessful, surprisingly. Some old lady thought the best way to expedite everyone's trip home would be to stand in front of a bus and yell at it. This method proved fruitless for the mad old bat.
Finally the bus made it to the designated stopping area, which I had luckily been standing close enough to. I anticipated that if I just stood and let myself be moved with the mob, I'd end up on the bus, fingers crossed.
People continued to go mental. One lady was pushed over as some bonehead tried to barge through the sea of people, an old man yelled into the air beside me.
I laughed out loud at the sheer absurdity of the whole situation.
Finally, I drew close to the door. And then I heard it- Possibly the worst call ever.
A pregnant lady had just stepped onto the bus and some old gnarled crack-hag behind her started shoving into her back.
"I'm sorry, I can't move on anymore, I'm pressed against the man in front of me." The pregnant lady politely informed Madame Crack Hag.
To which the Crack Hag replied "Not my fucking fault you're pregnant."

Umm... Whoa.

I couldn't say a word as my jaw was somewhere near my belly button.
I did manage to get on the bus though. the doors jammed shut right behind me. Sweet.

People here are mental though. As soon as things get a little bit hectic everyone just loses their shit.
It's crazy.
As I said, this was on the way home from work. If it was on the way TO work; different story. The British are happy to spend two hours standing at a bus stop if it means they miss the first two hours of work.

But deprive them of their nightly two hours of Coronation Street, Holly Oaks and Emmerdale and you better watch your ass.
Especially if you're pregnant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The not-make-happy thing of the day.

What better way to start than with a rant.
As of now, 5.20pm on Tuesday, here's what makes me angee at the moment.

People with stupid bags on wheels.

It seems to only be a London/English thing (call me out if I'm wrong on this) but for fucks sake! How hard is it to pick up a tiny bag and carry it? Oh what? You've had a long day at your desk? Poor diddums. Perhaps you'd like a slap in the face and a day in a coal mine to give you a reality check. Pick it up you effing pansy.
A lady pushed in front of me at Kings Cross station the other day and then tried to cut across the flow of people in front of me. I realised at the last minute she was towing a stupid bag (which is what they will be referred to from herein, but with capitalisation) and rather than try and jump it and stumble all over people who were doing the right thing and carrying their bags, I kicked her Stupid Bag resulting in her crying out and me scowling at her as one does whilst using public transport in London. That goes down as a win to me.
On another occasion, a woman was walking up the stairs in front of me towing her Stupid Bag, but not wanting to have it bang up the stairs and jar her wrist, she decided to pull it up in a zig-zag fashion not only ensuring no one else could get past her up the stairs, but also crashing the bag into my leg. This annoyed me, but then she glared at me and did the 'Hmmph!' put-upon sigh thing.
Usually, this wouldn't be too much of an issue, but i was at critical mass of Stupid Bag encounters and I'd had a shit morning for some reason I've forgotten, and as such had no patience for this wretched women and her insufferable bag. So in no uncertain terms I asked her to 'Pick the fucking bag up', which she obviously didn't expect judging by the way her jaw dropped. She quietly clicked the handle down and dragged the bag up the stairs.
Fuck yeah, take that Stupid Bags and all ye who posess them.

Talk about the decline of the human race. When did a tiny suitcase become too much to deal with? Your grandfather didn't fight in those 6 wars just so you could roll your bag around on a stick.

Toughen up, assholes.

So you stand on a chair and close your eyes and we all catch you or whatever.

Yes, it's an 'ice-breaker' activity.
Boy, do I hate those things.
Luckily this is less invasive and patronising. (Hopefully.)
So, cueing a 'Lost'esque flasback, these are the happenings up until now.

- I'm 23, Australian and currently living in London after spending a few months in the US.
- I grew up in a small country town on a large farm. Yep, I had all kinds of pets.
- I finished school and 'studied' science in Melbourne. Until i quit anyways.
- My CV looks like it belongs to a down-on-his-luck vagrant. Farm hand, butcher, supermarket assistant, tree lopper, barista, waiter, ski lift operator, customer servicey person, barman, training coordinator and so on.
- At various points in time I've wanted to be a pilot, an architect, a personal trainer, a sports psychologist, a writer, an artist, a professional footballer (Aussie rules), a film-maker, a photographer, a graphic designer, a real estate agent, a professional slalom waterskiier, a chef and a repeatedly, a millionaire.
- I like writing but of late, the nature of my work has stifled my ability to write anything that doesn't have a sedative effect and as such, I'm hoping I can break free from this tomb of managerial phrasing, boring fact-delivery and unexciting sentence structure.

Which I've done by using bullet points. Dammit.
That's all I've got to say on me for now. I don't want to go on and on.
Err... Too late you say?