November 2011 Blog Posts

Bigmouth Strikes Again - on the ukulele

OK, so this is one of my favourite Smiths songs to play on the guitar - so I figured I should probably learn it on the uke too, and do a cover. Which proved slightly trickier to arrange than I'd expected. The song is in C#m, and results in, shall we say, not a perfect set of chords on the uke. It's played with a capo on the fourth fret in most guitar versions. I could simply play it in a different key, but that results in a trickier bassline with different open strings (and I know the C# one quite well), and...


Meryl Dorey, over at the Australian Vaccination Network, spent a bit of time in Western Australia recently, where she went to the Conscious Living Expo. At this expo, a skeptic attached to Stop The AVN managed to get hold of an AVN leaflet which was essentially begging for money, besides being utter bilge and disinformation with a tagline of one Judy Wilyman, a social sciences PhD student with AVN sympathies who is known to tout a PhD she doesn't even have yet to add a veneer of respectability to her nonsense. Meryl and the AVN are, of course, disallowed from making public fundraising appeals by...

How to identify one-humped camels

  You're welcome

It's not just McDonalds!!

I've seen a lot of posts around the internet, talking about how McDonalds food doesn't rot or mould. It's worrying. We all care about our diet, right? And if food doesn't rot, that means....errrr.... well.... I think it means something bad. Surely? Yeah, definitely something bad. Like, I dunno.... maybe it's not actually food?.... ....or something? But anyway... I discovered something worse. Much worse. A few months ago I was preparing one of my favourite snacks. It's a little unusual, but it's totally natural and, like, totes good for you and everything. I call it my warmed fruit medley. I get some apples, and some apricots,...

Stupid is as stupid says

Today has been an extremely lulzy day in #StopAVN land. It's been a non-stop festival of fail from the side of the Australian Vaccination Network. A shining example of the idiocy on show is this comment from an AVN Facebook Fan: Yep. A-grade stupid there, for several reasons. First up, very few vaccines now have mercury compounds in them. The childhood schedule in most countries was made mercury-free as (pretty much) a PR exercise quite some time ago now. These days only multi-dose vials of vaccines such as seasonal flu contain mercury - since some kind of preservative is required. Secondly, there's a failure of...

Running The Gauntlet

Stop That Astronaut - Running The Gauntlet by StopThatAstronaut I've been wanting to do a cover of this for ages. This lovely little track is from Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel's 1996 album "Highball with The Devil", and I first heard it not long after the release when Alun Vaughan lent me a tape including superb bass tracks by Les Claypool and Victor Wooten. That tape properly switched my brain on to what bass could do when freed from the constraints of merely being in the rhythm section. So anyway, I felt like doing an ukulele cover...

A new script for @BankWest

BankWest occasionally call me to discuss "a personal banking matter". Generally, it'll be one of You're overdrawn. Again. Give us some money. Your card has been used overseas. Again. Was it you? You're a few days late on your payment. Again. Give us some money. The first is a business necessity - I do occasionally overstretch my card and Bankwest are right to chase me for it. The second is a nice courtesy and important for security. The third is slightly needless but understandable. HOWEVER, the way BankWest goes about making these calls is extraordinarily bad...

Newtown Festival 2011 - The DM Report

So. My checklist from yesterday's Newtown Festival Disgusted at Newtown Community Chiropractic's utter quackery - check Tell "psychic" to fuck off because you don't give a fuck about his sincerely held but deeply stupid beliefs - check Have argument with creationist; have creationist prematurely declare "victory" halfway through a sentence; call creationist an "arseclown" - check Sing song containing the word "cunt" on the ukulele - check    aaaaaaaaaand.... check Attempt to avoid festival altogether by hitting the pub instead - partial success ...

Infinite Potential

It's often said that in an infinite universe, everything is possible - indeed probable. This "infinite potential" is often viewed in an overwhelmingly positive light. Indeed, the word "potential" is almost exclusively used in a positive sense, especially by industries such as marketing, education, finance and #SMEG. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a misapplication of everything we know about the universe. You see, in a universe of infinite potential, it is probably more likely that you'll encounter eye-gouging horror than anything else. If there can exist unicorns which fart cherry-flavoured rainbows, there must also be not only sharks, but kelvar-armoured flying sharks...

Your absurd belief

Hi. It's me. We need to talk. It's about that thing you believe. You know the one. Yes, that one. As we've discussed before, that thing you believe is completely unsupported by evidence. Yes, I know. You've tried to explain your "evidence" before. And we've told you why, in fact, it's not even worthy of the name. No, it's not. We've talked about this. Your "evidence" consists of supposition, logical fallacy, confirmation bias, wishful thinking, observational error, groupthink and, frankly, a whole load of gullibility on your part. I know. It's harsh, but it's time you were told. Everyone tiptoes around you because of this ridiculous belief, and...

In which I have a whinge about my banks

I have a mortgage. Very grown-up, huh? Yeah. My mortgage is currently with NAB, or more specifically, with Homeside, the NAB's mortgage division. We switched to them a while ago when it became clear that Macquarie Bank were taking the piss with constant rate rises, and were a pack of suit-wearing moray eels with Louis Vuitton briefcases and expensive coke habits. Anyway, I recently changed jobs. During the lead-up to the change-over some furious budget calculation went on, and it became clear that we were going to be a bit strapped for cash during the transition from job A (salary) to job B (contract...

The Wicker Man

@TinyDalek and I watched The Wicker Man last night. Obviously the original, starring Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward. Not the remake. No. Perish the thought. It's a fantastic movie. If you haven't seen it, hunt down a copy. Of course I might not see it the way some others do. The way the film is stereotypically seen is that protagonist Sergeant Howie (Woodward) is the victim, and the residents of Summerisle play the part of, if you will, The Monster - with horror mainstay Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle at their head - in classic adversarial horror movie form. The thing is, I don't see Howie as...

So, carbon tax, huh?

UPDATE: Technicality. Not a Carbon Tax, but a carbon price. Thanks @teknetia

In which I make some predictions

I just filled out Malcolm Turnbull's "survey on problem gambling", being as I am, it seems, now an advocate for pokie reform. I noted with interest the way the survey was laid out. It questioned whether I supported mandatory pre-commitment It questioned whether I supported voluntary pre-commitment It questioned whether I supported limiting bets It questioned whether I supported increased counselling for problem gamblers. In these questions, we see the contrast between Labor and Coalition plans on this topic. Labor are seeking to introduce a limited version of mandatory pre-commitment,...

This Charming Man

At the risk of saturating every syndication channel I have, here's what I got up to this weekend:   I have adored this song since I first heard it back in my teens. As an angst-ridden hormonal teenager I simultaneously agonised and triumphalised to The Smiths. As a trainee drunkard, I sang this song at the top of my voice with my friend Glyn, several ill-advised vodkas, rums and whiskeys providing the fuel. As a (so called) responsible adult, The Smiths have followed me home and made me happy, sad and heart-poppingly proud to be a British indie kid of a certain...

I'm what now?

  Lolwut? I'm doing what? Oh fuck. Mia Freedman retweets me, and now this happens? Oh wait. BNE too. HALP.   Update 11:35pm. Help me. I don't know what to do.


A fantasic short film by a talented young director

Vaccination Saves Lives: Stop The Australian Vaccination Network
Say NO to the National School Chaplaincy Program