Friday, November 28, 2008


Jason Bourne threw down the guantlett and the Bond franchise failed to meet the challenge with 'Quantum of Solace'.

It was a sequel and it felt like one. It was lazy, poorly written, had a weak story and was badly directed.
Also the main title singer has no balls. It was Alicia Keyes and she simply can't deliver. Bond theme tunes are meant to be powerful, sexy and have a hint of menace - the song is meant to be a challenge. Keyes couldn't challenge a wet paper bag. And she couldn't sing her way out of one to mince metaphors.

They have invested too much money in Dench and now feel obliged to give her lots of screen time which hurts the story and the pace. Her only role is to try and reel Bond in. It's boring.

The action seuqences were far too choppy - the camera angled changed too often so that you couldn't follow what was going on. All this forced me to the conclusion that they were covering up for sloppiness. The fight scene on the scaffolding was lazy film making. You had no clear idea of who and how good a fighter the badguy was. And worst of all it didn't show how Bond shows his immense cool and talent by thinking his way through a fight which enables him to take advantage of luck. Smoothly taking luck in his stride is what Bond is all about. Oh, and in the trailer you see Bond perform a Spanish Web maneouvre - where he starts at the top of a rope with a loop around him and spins down it in a controlled fall, and arrests his fall at the very bottom shooting his gun back up the rope and killing the bad guy. Doesn't happen in the film. Stupid.
Makes it look like the director doesn't know what he's doing. Heard of storyboarding and blocking? Do it.

As if to fully convince us that this was a half-arsed piece of cinema the big building at the end blows up for no good reason. And continues blowing up bit by bit like all those villians' lairs at the height of Bond ridiculousness of the 70s. Trouble is: IT'S A HOTEL!!!

Everything was just too easy for Bond. It was boring.
The best change that Pierce Brosnan made was to show Bond absolutely knackered after a fight - y'know, sitting in the hotel room, collar popped open, having a smirnoff. It showed Bond was human - that he actually was making an effort.
Casino Royale showed how Bond became gritty and ruthless - another human side to him.
Quantum of Solace showed him getting handsomely cut on the face but not having to draw on reserves; and showed him being completely void of feeling rather than toughly ruefully when a helper dies.

The Bondgirl was missing almost all the elements that make a Bondgirl a Bondgirl. The fighting and fleeing are meant to serve as foreplay. They didn't get it on, and he was too much her white knight. Disappointing.

The main problem was that it couldn't get over how to show Bond was still crushing over Vespa.
Surely the whole point would be to show that he is carrying a shadow yet still doing his job for Blighty. (a) Don't make it a fucking sequel, and (b) show the shadow by having a few little 'tells' where he gets reminded of her. Ta daaa! He's English for god's sake.

It is far cooler if M is just an incidental character. She should be just a light touch on the film - not a fucking point of plot revolution - that's what the Bondgirl is for and the badguys are for. Remember them?! Bad Guys.
These ones were lame. It was not even half an idea.

Also the name sucks.

So Hollywood, when you want the next Bond, call me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ticking all the boxes

Last night I saw The. Best. Movie. Ever.
It was even better than The Scorpion King (The Mummy spin-off that stars The Rock.).
The movie was Death Race, and the trailer shows you the whole plot so you don't even vaguely need to pay attention.

It ticked all the boxes of big dumb A-grade B-grade Hollywood.

Near future. All prisons are private and one of them holds gladiatorial contests. The next stage in this is suped-up cars armoured and armed with guns and missiles, and they race around a track and kill each other. All the drivers are convicted murderers.

Tick, tick, tick.

An ex-NASCAR driver gets framed for a Crime He Didn't Commit


So he can be the driver in this conspiracy to keep a masked driver…


called Frankenstein 'alive'. Frank has actually died in the last race on the operating table. It's the Only Way He Can Win His Freedom


The cars have navigators


Who are absolute BABES


Who are female murderers.
Ahah! Tick

And then a whole heap of cool shit happens. The good guy is played by English actor Jason Statham (Lock Stock…) and his navigator is this Latino Goddess who I am sure has a name, but for the movie her theme tune so-to-speak was a dance track called "I'm Sexy".


The good guys win and get reunited


$16 well spent. Let's have a beer.


Friday, November 14, 2008


The barstaff at The Loft (which is a campus bar of UTS and just off Broadway) are some of the most gorgeous women you will ever look upon.

They are like the spicegirls but EVERY one of them is hot.
It's not like some pic'n'mix where you think 'I only feel like sqirms'.
It is like a pretty damned high level of heaven where it's like God and Allah got together aand said "Yeah, long black hair and brown drown-in-eyes are teh bomb".

Look, if you fell into those eyes you'd swim for days without reaching shore. And, no, that wouldn't be because of your particularly slow and girly form of sidestroke or lack of a sense of direction.
And then one of them has the most wicked mouth ever. If I was a small insect it would be the tastest, most yummy smelling venus fly trap ever.

And then some PhD students bought me, like, eight hundred beers.

God bless them - every one.

I love you all, but in particular the one with the tiny nose stud. Zow!
If she had glasses then I would be a puddle of incoherence on the floor right now.

"What happened to Harry?"
"he drowned and got eaten by carnivorous plants."
"Hmmm... weird."

So, I got home at about 12:30 after having indifferent burgers at the only place open and I tried to explain to Elf Sara about the bar babes. I then went to my room and engaged in my time-proved getting home routine.
Sit on bed. Take out wallet, keys and mobile from pants. put them next to bed. Take off shoes. Go to kitchen and drink lots of water.
Which is great except I had taken out keys and wallet when Elf came in and sat next to me to offer advice because she'd misconstrued my babes explaination as a crie du coeur from the depths of my loneliness rather than just an expression of how cool life is right now, which it actually was.
"You should become a he-slut", she suggested.
Which is not the most useful thing anyone's said to me particularly when it kinda sideswipes me and I can't must the required braincells to correct the situation.
And that's why I forgot to take my mobile out of my pocket, which is why I washed it this morning.

So if you've been trying to call me that's why you can't.
And, no, I did not give out my defunct phone number to any of the bar babes. Thyat wasn't the point at all.
And, no, I am not becoming a he-slut - it would require too much shaving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to Confuse people.

Say you get an email at work like this:
"My name is Suzie Nguyen. I have just recently joined our Science
Faculty. I will be working for Cameron E-R at Debbie Massey 's old desk.
You might want to call me as
Ms *NEW* Debbie:)"

I suggest replying with "Hi, my name is Harry, but you can call me Floppy."

However, for best results I recommend using this when meeting a new superior.

Superior: (extending hand) How nice to meet you. Harry, isn't it?
Harry (in a jolly English accent): (shaking hand) Yes, but call me 'Floppy'!

Try it today.

I'm orf to meet the new Dean. Or 'Bubbles' as I shall call him.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fear and what was the question again?

Why bother asking these people anything?

This is what a shattered Republican voter from Texas said about Obama:

"I still don't know this man. That is what scares me. He is a very pleasant speaker. But that's all I know."

Right, so your ignorance scares you.
I assure you it scares me more.

How fucking hard can it be to find out everything you could possibly want to know about Obama?!
Fucking hell, just type "Voting history" or "Obama what he stands for" or anything into a search engine!!!
What is wrong with these people?!
Look, if you 'don't know' the most stellar and important person in the US you are a complete moron, so fuck you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I was flipping through a Human Resources/Recruitment Powerpoint slide presentation last week and the “I’m trapped in a Dilbert cartoon” feeling really reached its highest point with the recommendation that a manager should also try “Radiating Positive Energy”.

Really, they write themselves those comics.

Anyway, some classics included these:

'Examples of Competencies

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Motivation
  • Brainpower'

Manager to other manager: What is your competency?

Other Manager: BrAInPoWER!!! BRAINPOWER!!!! URGH!!

Manager: How about Having An Extensive Vocabulary?

Other Manager: Nah. Just BRAINPOWER!!!!

Under the subject of ‘Interpersonal Skills’ was a sub-topic of ‘Building Relationships.’

  • Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Call people by their names
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interest
  • Smile
  • Listen

...AKA Faking Sincerity.

Did you know that “Emotional Intelligence accounts for up to 45% of one’s job success, while one’s IQ is said to account for less than 6%”?

No, I am not making this up – BUT I THINK THEY DID!

So, by maths, you can see that actually being skilled only accounts for a maximum of 49% of one’s job success.

Hmm, how about leaving me alone for the half a day each day that requires me to demonstrate Emotional Intelligence so that I only have to work 3 days a week?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Backstreet Adventurerering

I was wandering randomly around the back streets of Glebe last week and I saw a big mural painted on the side of a house. It was a take-off of the Coke logo (the ‘ribbon’ one) and read ‘Glebe’. Quite clever. Instead of the background being straight red it is a number of shades with other well-known logos parodied including ‘Nice’ for ‘Nike’.

It would make an awesome photo, with only one problem of a small tree in front that obscured part of it.

So, I went home and got my camera and a saw.

I cut down the tree and took a photo but on my way back I was mugged by Glebe street kids who took my camera, so I can’t show you the photo.

I related the above to my hippy housemate. She looked shocked.

I smiled to indicate I was joking.

“You didn’t cut down the tree, did you?!” she eventually asked.

No I didn’t, and I wasn’t mugged either but THANKS for being more concerned about the tree, bitch.

So, I am going to go and cut that fucking tree down just to piss her off.

The environment's gay anyway.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A discovery

From Wikipedia: "Ken Gelder* identifies six key ways in which subcultures can be understood:
1. through their often negative relations to work (as 'idle', 'parasitic', at play or at leisure, etc.);
2. through their negative or ambivalent relation to class (since subcultures are not 'class-conscious' and don't conform to traditional class definitions);
3. through their association with territory (the 'street', the 'hood, the club, etc.), rather than property;
4. through their movement out of the home and into non-domestic forms of belonging (i.e. social groups other than the family);
5. through their stylistic ties to excess and exaggeration (with some exceptions);
6. through their refusal of the banalities of ordinary life and massification."

It would appear I am my own subculture.

Also: "they [subsultures] can also seem 'immersed' or self-absorbed"

No chance of that happening with the Harry Subculture.

Does anyone want to join?

Unrelated but totally relevant, last thursday after a one-hour drinks-with-the-uni-guys that went for four hours I slept in a ditch in Sydney Uni.
Do you know who else slept in a ditch at least once? Shakespeare.
Do you know who didn't? Hitler.
Ergo, good people sleep in a ditch at least once.

You know, I might sleep in a ditch tomorrow night too.

* Some guy from somewhere

Monday, October 6, 2008


The joy of LAN parties in Days of Yore.

After making several trips to the car all the requisite parts are inside the house and, confidently declaring how much fun we are about to enjoy, we would assemble the network.
I'm sure that whoever came up with the idea of a computer network meant well and, his shining prostelysing carried each assurance of technological advancement to greater heights in the swirling mind of his research supervisor, but there is a world of difference between a neatly drawn diagram of a network all thrumming with elegant promise and the reality.
Don't get me wrong, setting up a network is a three step process - it's just that step two includes 387 incredibly hellishly frustrating ministeps.

Step 1 is to plug everything in. And that is relatively easy to achieve once various players have been cursed for not having colour coded plugs and sockets. The funiture will have to be rearranged because you find you have forty three 2metre-long Cat5 cables and only one longer cable which is so long it starts in a large coil in the middle of the floor and gradually unravels to tie each chair to a person and the chairs to other furniture, such that it is actually a good way of finding furniture you never knew you had.
'A coffee table?! Since when have I had a coffee table?' you muse aloud.
'We could have used that, you dickhead!' comes the inevitable protest.
'Where is this coffee table?'
'Right here, tied to my chair.'
Fred can't see because of the ottoman blocking the view, and anyway the hatstand tied to his monitor prevents him from moving out of the position of a hunchback. He stands up and pulls on various loops of cable, one of which starts strangling James whose flailing topples a lampshade and pulls out a cable that we don't discover for forty minutes.
Adrian falls over the coffee table, strangling James further.
'Nice table!' he exclaims.

Now that the room looks like some high-tech shipwreck and everybody has got on everyone else's nerves you are ready to begin Step2.
Step 2 is started by the player whose computer is acting as the server. He creates a network, names it and waits for each computer to join it. This is the process by which each computer works out that it can talk to every other computer. Since all the computers are crowded around the one table where each person has a space the size of an iced vovo in which to move their mouse, this should be easy.
It is not.
You've played that game 'Marco Polo' in someone's pool as a kid?
It is an uncanny analog.
The server start calls out 'Marco!' and instantly nothing happens.

You are now ready to run through ministeps 2.1 through to 2.387.
I won't go into all the details but this is where you discover that machines *do* have personalities. Some of the computers refuse to say 'Polo' out of truculence like a fat woman eating chocolate with her eyes closed claiming calories only count if you see them; some blame the others for not being in the same pool as themselves; some of them carry on like a deranged elderly relative looking for the spectacles they are wearing; and one is French.
'Ou ay le network?'
'Kes cou se?'
'Terribly sorry, old bean! Had a bit of bother with the old radgema-thingy. How nice to see you. Where is everyone else? Oh, I mean: Polo!'

By 2.133 you will be merrily deleting each other's modem drivers in a misguided search for incompatibilities.
2.201 will have you discover James' disconnected cable.
And 2.344 is to burn Bill Gates in effigy.

Step 3 is actually being able to play the game, but this isn't what I wanted to talk about at all.
I wanted to talk about graphic cards.
Quite by chance I had second-row seats to the introduction of 3D accelerators into the market. I was working at a computer parts importer from the start of 1998 and saw each stage of development come through in much the same way as the series of silhouettes from a chimp-like ape through various 'pithecuses to Homo and ultimately sapiens sapiens. 'Well that was worth all the effort: now I have a suit!'

It is a shock to think that *anything* I was involved in was ten years ago. After all, I am a disturbingly handsome and charming man, and I don't need reminding that sooner than I think I will be a roguish silver-fox with the certain twinkle in my eye that appeals to young ladies with father issues - but there you have it.
Back in 1998 we were selling 2D graphics cards with S3 chipsets and 2MB of RAM. We also had ViRGE and Rage 3D cards and they had, gasp, 8MB of RAM. That's not to say that gaming didn't exist, it did, but though you could easily spend $1500 on a truly astounding graphic card from a manufacturer hidden in an obscure valley in Taiwan and staffed by techno-warrior-monks infused with strange wisdom, there wasn't anything towards the budget end.

Then along came 3dfx Voodoo2.

Released back in 1996 Voodoo1 was the first 3D accelator add-on card and was the humble 'small step'. The Voodoo2 was the giant leap. It plugged into a PCI slot and lent its monstrous 16MB of RAM to your 4MB (or even 8MB) graphics card to turn your Ford Laser into a Ford Falcon!!
Yes, the introduction of the AGP slot was a revelation of a promising future for gaming. Its very name of Accelerated Graphics Port said it all, but Voodoo2... well, Voodoo2 made you change your pants because it was the chip that really made 3D gaming possible and allowed us to WASTE OUR LIVES!!

But the marvels of those days weren't over yet. FatboySlim exploded on the scene and changed Music As We Know It. And then that a bunch of techno-warrior-monks called Nvidia released the RIVA TNT2 graphics card.
Sweet Mother of the All Holy 32MB of RAM!
But, His Eternal Benevolence, Lord Nvidia wasn't done yet, for he so loved the world.He gave us the Geforce AGP card with its Graphics Processing Unit.

...Oh, I well up to think back on those days, their names familiar in my mouth as household words - Harry the Gamer, Geforce and Nvidia, Voodoo and Radeon - be in my mug of cold tea freshly remembered!

But even this history is not what I wanted to talk about.
Names! The eye-popping names!
They knew how to name cards back then: Voodoo 2, Mystique, Banshee, TNT, Rage.
Big powerful dangerous names that had gamers licking their lips in anticipation of the virtual horror they would be able to unleash!

But perhaps the biggest horror unleashed on the world was the marketing that went with it.
Now computers were all about gaming, and gaming was all about power and the next tiny tweak to get an extra 5% performance over someone else's card.
So, it did get a bit out of control.

(The marketing team are presenting their latest graphics card pitch to the CEO. A,B,C are marketing dudes.)

CEO: (reading) The Total Bastard 3. So this card is baaad?
B: No. It's Evil.
CEO: (dubiously) How evil?
A: (with relish) This card is so Evil it will fuck you in the ass!

(CEO looks suspiciously at his marketing team)

CEO: Come again? This card will fuck me...
B: See, we write that here on the box.
CEO: We're not going to represent it in graphic form?
B: Well, no.
C: It would take away from the graphic of the warrior decapitating the alien.
A: I suppose we could have the warrior decapitating _one_ alien, while fucking another alien up the ass.

(They mentally invisage it and glance quickly between the box and each other. They all shake their heads.)
B: Too busy!
C: Yeah, yeah. Too busy.
A: Yeah, you're right.

(CEO pinches bridge of nose. He hates the marketing department.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Friday Extravaganza

On Friday I visited my delightfully mad aunt who totally rocks. It was my turn to cook, so I brought the ingredients for the second version of a Italian seafood dish with which to impress the Hot Interior Designer.

(You may recall my aunt is an avid cook and generally awesome woman for whom I acted as chauffeur and butler on a two week driving holiday/seafood odyssey into Victoria last October.
We discussed many recipes on the way including many she disparaged.
Aunt: I mean, look at this! Fennel and Rocket Salad!? Easy! And yet there's a recipe for it.
Nephew: Yes, it's hardly Fennel and Rocket science.)

The morning after the marinara, I suffered a sneezing fit as she talked about the unique way she puts extension leads away on coat-hangers. An old friend was insufficiently impressed by this organisational feat.
"Sorry, I'm allergic to anecdotes," I manage to splutter.

Later I found a jar of hers that formerly held chili seeds, labeled 'Long Thin Hotness'.
"That's me when I'm lying down" I say.

Apparently I am an unending source of disappointment to her.

But, she _did_ like the marinara if not so much the way it was executed.
"There you were leaping about in a drunken rage: "What do I do with a stab blender?!" and I *told* you some woman managed to cut ALL her fingers off because she wasn't paying attention...."

That night I dreamt of a man who sacrificed his two unicorns and his soul to Bill Clinton, but I guess there are better ways to advertise that I have a loose concept of reality.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Found on my desk

...but it still tasted good.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Doing My Bit for the Media

Dear Mr Gittins,

I usually find your columns to be the best in the SMH, and find myself agreeing with your arguments.

However, your column on the 15th of August “How Rich Breeders Shaped the World” was woeful. Clarks’ hypothesis and reasoning are so splutteringly preposterous I can’t but wonder why you (a) reviewed him at all, and (b) why you didn’t give him both barrels as he so thoroughly deserved.

Even allowing for his complete and absolute ignorance of evolutionary biology, his arguments are totally intellectually offensive and if this is his contribution to humanity then my only wish is that he be rolled in barbed wire and fed to lobsters as soon as is feasible.

Below, for your enjoyment, is my just-shy-of-apoleptic critique of Clark’s arse-clownery as depicted in your column that I sent to a friend.

Harry Simpson

(Note: "just-shy-of-apoleptic critique" not included here.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Take that, almost B. Sc.!

Me doing my bit for the Advancement of Science.

One of my varied tasks in the Advancement of Science is to make new user registers for the autoclaves and ultrafuges. They are those thick plastic spine bond books what you put together yourself.
(Next week: Harry Advances the English Language)
So my boss, Philgor the Mighty AKA Philgor Defendor of Enmore, took me down to the paper room of the faculty office on Level 4.
This room houses a large printer, the supplies of coloured paper, heavy duty staplers, the binding machine and the like.

The process by which one makes such a book is this:
1) print pages.
2) select cover and back and find the right size binding spine.
3) Put spine in the opening-out-er bit.
4) Put about 8 pages in the groove that aligns then all
5) Pull the handle that punches the holes
6) Then thread them onto the out-sprung spine.

Or, as Phil gleefully put it:
(Points to large printer)
"One machine to print them"
(Point at groove)
"One to align them"
(Point top lever)
"One machine to punch the holes"
(Point to spine springer bit)
"And in the darkness BIND them!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

China lied about ...oh, everything still.

Well, the little girl who sang at the opening ceremony was lipsync-ing to another voice.
The fireworks were pre-recorded and not the ones actually let off.
The good news for us is the home ground advantage for the medal count because the games aren't in Beijing at all. They're in Dubbo at the secret government facility I keep reading about in Paranoid Christian Magazine AKA The Philadelphia Trumpet.
And it's not smog - it's a smoke screen to obscure human rights abuses.

But even with the home ground advantage Steph Rice won't win eight gold medals and this PROVES that we aren't investing enough money in sport these days. Or underwear ads.
Cut the pension from $277 to $210 and the dole from $219 to $195. It's for the country.

Also, those shoes I was crowing about?
Well... they were crap.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I got teh blues

I went to live jazz last night at the Macquarie Hotel near Central Station.
One of my housemates works in a cafe and one of her regulars is the singer and said to come along. So we did.
I don't much care for jazz so I was very happy when it was actually blues. Slinky sexy blues with the singer in just past elbow length black gloves without fingers. Zow!
I leaned over to Sparkly Sara and declared that I wanted to marry those gloves.
A few minutes later she leaned back and said "I think _everybody_ wants to marry those gloves."
Too true.

And - get this - at the station on the way to the gig I found a pair of shoes. And they were my size. I am wearing them today and telling everyone at work. The jealousy was all too evident.
Someone said I was "special". Well I must be special because I don't see THEM getting free shoes, do I?!?!?!

Anyway, the Macquarie Hotel is a brew pub and has some quite nice beers. Of the six on offer I think the dark is best.
The band is one each Sunday of August from 5pm until 8:30. Double bass, guitar, drums and keys.
A very recommended and cruise-y way to end the week.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Kylie got an OBE and I think we should celebrate by having an instant Public Holiday mostly because I don't wanna be at work today.

But how I really celebrated was I went out this morning and bought some shoes and then I felt up a man at the bus stop.

Go Kylie!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I am told that today* marks the 150th anniversary of Darwin and Wallace's work being presented in London.

If they'd only used an infinite number of monkeys on typewriters I am sure it would have happened sooner.

But, hey, two opposable thumbs-up to The Enlightenment!!

*Except that blogger is US timestamped. July 1, people. Obviously done for start-of-financial-year purposes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tapas in Sydney

Overpriced and crap.

Is there a Tapas place that actually embodies the spirit of what tapas actually is ie cheap finger food while you drink and chat?
I don't think so. For some reason everyone thinks tapas should be overpriced and an all hoitytoity playground for self-conciously dressed people to dick swing.

Last night I went to Subsolo at 161 King St, Sydney.
$30 each got four people:
A beef skewer with 5bits. Not top grade beef. Some marinade.
A chicken skewer of 6 bits. This was quite nice.
Two very small slices of french stick.
A small bowl of salad leaves presumably so we could put meat bits on-a-bed-of salad. Also included was one half artichoke and ONE green olive.
Good sized platter of indifferent paela including 4mussels and about six prawns.
Bowl of green beans with onion.
Bowl of potatas bravas (chopped baked potato with a chili tomato sauce).

What a bunch of cheap-skates. The cheapest vegetables in the world, and not even lots of them (to paraphrase a Woody Allen joke).

As bowls were being cleared we started asking if the main was coming.
No, that was not the entree. It was the whole meal.

What sort of a tapas place does not have:
a) bowls of a variety of olives
b) bread and oil to dip it in
c) chorizo
d) mushrooms for anybody but particularly when we requested vego options.
d) something fancy that makes you go "ooh! Haven't had that before"?

I'll tell you what sort of place: a shit one.

Don't go.

Hopefully the new winebar licenses will see real tapas come to Sydney instead of this overpriced crap. It's meant to be seasonal peasant/fisherman's food you bunch of pretentious dickheads!
if you don't have salt and pepper whitebait (the fish is $6 a kilo) when it's in season then you deserve to be firebombed.

Unimpressed, Marrackville.

Monday, June 23, 2008

An Instant Adventure!!

I am going to a restaurant called 'Subsolo' on King St in the city.
They have a 'find us' function where you type in your address and they give you directions.
I typed in 'central station' and got this

Which takes me from a town in West Virginia, USA to the restaurant in Sydney, Australia.

The best bit? Direction 25. "Kayak across the Pacific Ocean. Entering Australia (New South Wales). 7906mi."

What an excellent adventure to be had!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Canadia Pictorial the Last

Quebec City

The old town of Quebec City is simply beautiful.

Unfortunately there is no high fiving on the funicular.

No high fives left.

But there is a place to be yourself.

...and to be yourself by yourself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A model for 50% of us

I am a scrotum model.
Yes, the job does exist but not many people do it. Only a handful, really.

Actually for a couple of months last year I was a cook, barman, driver and scrotum model - which is a lot of balls to keep in the air - but, I just want to tell you about the last position that I held.

ASMI (Australian School of Medical Imaging) is a school for training sonographers ie ultrasound technicians.
Some people can't put a price on dignity, but I reckon $40 an hour covers it, so I decided to put my balls on the line for the good of humanity.
And it's not every day that someone offers you a way to do good by getting your happy sack depicted chiaroscurally.

In a Gilbert and Sullivan way I am the hairy model of some modern major genitals.

They like me because I have an interesting scrotum. I would hate to have a boring scrotum: it would make conversation difficult, particularly at the myriad award ceremonies I attend.

A: So, what's your scrotum like?
H: Um, normal?
A: Oh. Mine's very interesting.
H: Show off!

I have a scrotal pearl and varicose veins. The varicose veins are a congenital condition. A condition of which I am inordinately proud because of the pun.
A scrotal pearl is a calcium deposit that usually arises from contact sports, and appears as a bright white object on the screen hence the name.

This is now my fourth tour so I know how it works and I read a book, vague out or snooze.
The first time I showed up the guy explained that I would be in a cubicle with one demonstrator and one student, but first he wanted to use me in a demo for THE ENTIRE CLASS. I must have turned white because he hastily assured me that there would be a screen.

It didn't take me long to get used to it. I feel asleep on the table on the second day. If they are good students you really can't feel anything but the contentment of contributing to a job well done. The only trouble with falling asleep is coming to with a start which alarms the students. "I'm very sorry, Mr Harry!' is the usual response.

And, yes, I was worried about inappropriate movment but I found the whole experience completely asexual. So non-sexual that I even started testing my control. I ran some surefire scenarios in my head and didn't get even a twitch.

Last week the attractive female student with the particularly nice hair commented that I had brought a book.
I explained that I read Jane Austin in June and Dostoevsky in January, and that modelling was more appropriate for Dostoevsky because, though there are many balls in Austen's books, none of them are slimy*. And it had occured to me that since I was reading the classics there was an obvious author to read: Balzac!

I suggested if people didn't get my literary references then it was a case of me casting scrotal pearls before swine.

I was just flirting. I was hardly in a great position to ask her out - not that I was trying - but how (ahem) ballsy would it be to try it on?!

Harry: Nice hair.
Student: Nice balls. Let's make love for hours.

But if you really want to see balls then check out Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Press Club Dinner. Sir, me and mine salute your great big brass ones!

*Also: There is no postscript scene where Darcy's shag-slick balls are cooling in the breeze while Elizabeth gasps "I thought your fortune was your only thing that was the third largest in England!!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A model for us all

I picked up 'The Mammoth book of Wild Journeys' which is a collection of travel writing excerpts from the early 20th century to the present.
Each of the 40 writers has a mini bio at the start.
The best bio is this one:

"Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Fawcett DSO was born in England in 1867 and led several expeditions to the Amazon and Mato Grosso. In 1925 he disappeared without trace in the Brazilian jungle whilst searching for a lost city. With Fawcett perished his son Jack, and their friend raleigh Rimmell."

AWESOME!!! And, need I say it, Whizzo!

The worst writer I found was this guy:

"The travel writer Shiva Naipaul died in 1985, aged forty. His books include 'Fireflies', 'the Chip-chip Gatherers' and 'Beyond the Dragon's Mouth'. An annual prize in his memory is awarded by the 'Spectator'."

Yeah, well I'm thinking this prize is awarded to the most ignorant and stupid travel writer of the year.
This guy (who is a proffessional free-lance travel writer) was sent to write about Morroco.
He writes "Nor, perhaps, would I have gone if I had known it was the holy month of Ramadan and been forewarned of the privations and dangers to which I would be exposed to..."

Well, with that level of research perhaps the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Award is for the travel writer most like Matthew Reilly!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Canadia Pictorial part 5 Toronto Part 2

I noticed this last year too: how Torontonians love their barbers and psychics. I was on Bloor St in a neighbourhood called The Annex. I went looking for a psychic barber but was unsuccessful, but I did think of asking a psychic which barber was the best.

In Chinatown on Spadina I saw a shop that advertised "Palm-face-reading". What is Palm-face reading? Is it noticing the body language when someone 'face palms'? Or is it the next step in technology where a psychic reads your facebook page.
"Hmmm, you are popular with strangers. Also eighty of your friends made 132 assorted extraneous comments on stuff."

They advertise soccer as 'the beautiful game' I guess because Canadian football and ice hockey are ugly.

I confirmed the bad news in the Royal Ontario Museum that although T Rex could high two and allosaurus could high three, that most charismatic of dinosaur predators, the velociraptor, also could only high three.

AvenueQ was not on yet but whilst on the metro I saw that Dirty Dancing the stageshow was. To celebrate I stole as many babies as I could and piled them up in the back left of the carriage.
When the distraught mothers demanded to know what I was doing I replied that _someone_ had to put babies in the corner.

The metro is $2.75 to go anywhere one way and the security guards are polite yet firm and hand you over to the police efficiently.

Toronto is divided East and West by Yonge St. I walked extensively round the West. Much of it looks like the prettier parts of Sydney's innerwest. A long winter with the second highest snowfall on record was followed very quickly by a week of about 20degrees. Spring erupted spectacularly. The flower of the city is the tulip.

Queen St West is fairly similar to King St in Newtown.

I really like Toronto.

Canadian Pictorial Part 4

Toronto (Well, derr.)

Blue Jays! High Five!

Be Yourself!

Kensington Market street sculpture showing that, indeed, Australia is at the arse end of the world.

I agree.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Harry goes Bananas

Bananas are $1.69 a kilo.
I remember the wailing in the streets after that cyclone a few years back when bananas went up to $500trillion dollars a kilo payable only in family heirlooms and the ashes of your ancestors. I distinctly remember pundits shouting that it was the end of the world, while the less hysterical among us were moaning that it was merely the end of the entire capitalist system.
Done. Dusted. Adam Smith's experiment over.

So, at $1.69, where is the joyful dancing in the streets and the cries of "MANA FROM HEAVEN! God has remembered his children! We are saved etc etc" followed by a pogrom against smug socialists?!

Where are the street closing processions of delighted families converging on speakers shouting extracts from Paul Keating's speeches about us being a banana republic and everyone carelessly getting it exactly wrong like middle-class kids wearing Che teeshirts and designer shemags around their necks?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Canadia Pictorial 3

Halifax has beautiful scenery nearby.

Happy tourists at the beach.

And sexy pumpernickel. This, I guess, is what you get when you mix Germans with ummmm ummmm drugs?
But it embraces the whole Maritimes spirit of redefining the rules; for instance, tin the Maritimes you are free to...

...put asparagus on your wife's head.

Particularly if your wife looks like this..

..and you look like this.
Who would know that this young lad would become an associate professor of microbiology?

Canadian Pictorial 2

Montreal has nice buildings...

They also have breakfast of tea, chocolate coissants and a pretty girl. Sounds perfect, right? But does it have somewhere where I can really be myself?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Canadia Pictorial 1


Well, actually it's Ottawa.

But they do have some Greek influences.

...and they do have tea fit for heroes.

They have nice scenery.

And some guy being slightly cliched.
Passerby: Are you trying to find yourself?
H: No, to be myself.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Overseas Homosexual Hilarity

On a flight from Toronto to Halifax the cabin adress was by a delightfully camp man.
His gold was:
"We ask, ladies, that when you put your purse under the seat in front that you ensure the straps are fully under the seat. And gentleman if you have a purse we ask only one thing.... that it match your shoes."
Plane erupts in laughter. Flaming-death-on-takeoff fears subside.

The Canadians have the same maritime patrol aircraft that we do but instead of calling it the P3 orion they call it the Aurora. The maintenance crews and any other pilot, however, call it 'The Great Grey Slug'.
In return the GGS crews call F-18s 'Twin tail Plastic Fag Jets'.

I guess that means that our next fighter aircraft are Sthuuuper hornets!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Star Wars Day

May the Fourth be with you.

American WW2 poster

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Random wanderings around Toronto

East meets New World West

The worst:

Chinatown in Toronto just off Spadina

The best:
History of Origami store, Narita airport, Tokyo.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

TO Canadia

Paul the homeowning Canadian offered me an open packet of snackfood.
"Here! Try a 'Crispers'. They're not chips and they're not biscuits," he said.

Well, they have a good texture. And they aren't oily like... um, Paul, whAT FLAVOUR ARE THESE?!?


The bit you pick out of a big mac and flick onto the ceiling? Yep, a snack food flavoured like American pickled baby cucumbers.

Does not go with beer.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Anzac Day in Toronto

Step 1: Fill fridge with beer

Step 2: Fill Canadians with beer

I cooked snags on the barbie for the lads for breakfast.
Paul the Homeowner is delighted with Anzac Day. It's his first.
He wishes me a happy Anzac Day. I explain that that's not really what it's about. I explain about the beer once more and give him another.
He bragged to his friends who are holidaying in Australia. They ask him how that can be.
"I got me an Australian" he tells them.

The next day one of his local buddies texts him "Happy Aztec Day."

This fish scultpure is neither Aztec nor Anzac

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Toronto Voxpop

Having just walked by the Royal Ontario Museum ad for their dinosaur exhibition in a semiconscious daze I was stopped by a voxpop film crew.

vp: Can I ask you about polygamy?

H: Dinosaurs get married?!?!

vp: No, not dinosaurs. Have you read about the events in Texas involving the children?

H: Look, if Texans can, I don't see why dinosaurs shouldn't. There are lots of dinosaurs in Texas.

vp: Sir, you're missing the point. i would like to know your views on polygamy. Do you think it happens in Canada?

H: I dunno. I'm Australian. You should ask a Canadian.

vp: Does polygamy occur in Australia?

H: Well, we have dinosaurs, so I don't see why not.

vp: Thank you sir.

H: Also, Chinese mistresses so called 'second wives' get set up in Australia. Also anglo mistresses I say too. And we have immigrants from countries that allow polygamy, but I don't know how many wives they can bring in.

vp: Hm. Good answer.

H: And now a velociraptor impression!

vp: No thanks.

H: It's ok - this one supports gay marriage.

vp: Ironic for a velociraptor from Utah!

H: See, I knew I was talking sense all along. RRargh!

Vp: (shrieks delightedly)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A letter to a friend.

April 9

Gribble sticky wickey and a Hoi Hoi Hoi!

And _that_ is how we won the war!

Old bean, I bring news.
News AND herpes. But you only really get one of them from the snaggle toothed whores in the village. They are great gossips, and there is no proper willy-shrivelling VD to be found anywhere in the Province!
O, how I long for the old days of the Northwest Frontier. Shipping out from some pox infested Cinque Port to make landfall in crotch burning agony at some sweltering hive of gonorrhea in India.
Ah, the sweet smell of disintegrating undergarments in the sticky evening! God bless those women! (And even some of the men, eh wot, you old plonker you!)

I'm in Canadia. Yes, the one with the silent 'i'. I suggested that to my Lady Friend and she thought I was merely being charming and not the towering intellectual linguist that I am. So I slapped her on the arse and ordered another round of port and goose lard. It's how you keep sailors happy in these parts.
If you keep an eye out on the canal you will see Captains determinedly spanking the buttocks of their crew and giving orders and, in some of the more permissive boats, taken orders too!

Things work differently in these parts of the frozen north. Mostly, they don't work at all! Frozen solid, you see.

Look, really I'm just giving you a tip that if ever you find yourself in Ottawa then the War Museum is a slap-up damned good show. They have very interesting stuff and plenty of it. Just like Matron.

Yours in friendship etc
etc etc tea medals etc etc gout etc God Save the King/Queen etc

Sir Hairy Simpson KA 1st Battalion, Short and Curlies

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's all about me

People are so self obsessed.
Me, on the other hand, I am not self obsessed at all. Just the other day I was talking to some people whose eyes had glazed over about just how un-self-obssessed I was. I went into exquisite and peerless detail about how I was a genius with superb taste in all things and I am sure they agreed with me... etc etc gout etc brandy etc tea and medals etc etc

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I have accidently been living on bananas and sausage rolls.

This means my diet is high in potassium, fibre and sausage rolls.

But I am still a testosterone-filled man-beast and quivering tower of hetero man-meat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For all future leaflets

If you are pretending to be a Muslim activist group then you really shouldn't spell 'Allahu akbar' as 'Ala Akba'.
When your spelling and grammar are incorrect it casts doubt on the veracity of the rest of your leaflet.
I believe the phrase from our American cousins is 'rookie mistake'.

Better luck next time.
Mind you have shown that acrimonious marriage breakups CAN be funny, so cheers for that.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five years on

There is a reason why returned soldiers say 'never, ever go to war.'
There is a reason why they beg their sons not to go.
There is a reason why they commit suicide once they've come home to enjoy the peace.
There is a reason why 60 years later they cry at the recollection.

Here's an question for the Great Generation of World War Two: Would you rather be revered for being a participant or would you rather all your dead friends and relatives had lived?

Don't manoeuvre people into the peverse position of equating patriotism with losing sons and daughters in combat.

Don't conflate patriotism with nationalism.
A patriot fixes their own country and stands in direct opposition to nationalism.
A nationalist is one who uses patriotism to cloak ignorance, cowardice and a bellicose nature.
A nationalist doesn't ask if their country is wrong, or what is wrong with their county.
A patriot does.
Nationalists puff and bluster, but patriots have true passion.
Nationalism is mindless and serves no higher ideal.
Patriotism is constructive.

I am certain that the invasion of Iraq is the USA's greatest strategic blunder.
Militarily, economically and geopolitically.
But what did I expect from a bunch of people proclaiming 'Freedom' without understanding how it comes about.

The ideology behind the invasion was to trigger a domino effect of democratic liberalism throughout the middle east and sweep out despotism, inequity and barbarism. It would work because everyone wants to be free.

Right, so 'Freedom' means Democratic Liberalism.

Democratic Liberalism was born in the French Revolution. If everybody wants freedom (however you define it) why then did any number of European peoples oppose Napoleonic France?

Because nationalism is a stronger force than patriotism.

I saw a photo of a recuperating soldier meeting Dubbya. He was twenty five and the arm that wasn't prosthetic had only three fingers left. His remaining leg was scared and the stump of the other one was hidden by its prothesis. The fire that had consumed his head must have been a private hell: reconstructed lips, vestiges of ears and hairless scar tissue for skin.
Fifteen years from now when he turns forty he's gotta ask himself if it was worth it.

How many functioning limbs was a fair swap?
How many nightmares of burning?
How many pitying stares from his closest friends?
How many years of getting nothing but sympathy fucks from even prostitutes who blanche at his body?
How many aspirations, dreams and hopes rendered impossible by that roadside bomb?

But would he even make it to forty?
What about when he takes that gun a couple of years from now and thankfully finished the job, and the eulogists say that it was a bullet that just took 3 years to arrive', or that he was another 'sacrifice to the cause fo freedom', or a 'true patriot' because they are too cowardly to say 'suicide' or 'despair'?

Opposing the war while supporting the troops is a non-position.
If you support the troops you only send them to war when it is dead-set 100% neccesary. And you know when it's neccesary when those who sign the documents send their sons and go themselves.
Seventeen of the fifty six who signed the Declaration of Independence fought. Five were captured and nine were killed.

As for the Iraqi people, well here's an article from the future expressing disbelief and shock that a well dressed middle-class man blew himself up in Times Square. Seconds before he'd been seen crying and mumbling the names of his eight close relatives killed by US munitions. you can see the tears on the security footage released onto Youtube. the press will probably call it 'senseless' and 'cowardly'.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Words, words, words

I like books a bit too much.
But that's good because that means when I find a book I dislike I really hate it.
Like this one for instance.

It was the first in my New Attitude to Books: that some should stand as an example to the others. I let my displeasure be known, and now they all know.

What I thought was going to be a history of the Japanese doomsday sect was a poorly attempted dramatised thriller. Even allowing for translation problems the author doesn't know how people speak nor think, hence Unreadable.

And I think I spelled 'excrable' incorrectly too.

The next was one of any number of things that spring out two years after a conversation with LordMattressHamster40K. We were discussing doing a PhD in Rhetoric at Oxford University. When it came to the appropriate time there were two options in response to the question "How will you defend your thesis?"

a) a very angry "WHAT?!?!?" and storming out.

b) a smug "I don't think I need to" and walking out.

Anyway, it seemed sensible to sometime, eventually find out what studying rhetoric would actually entail.
"A whole lot of wank" is the answer to that foray into the unknown.
So, I felt my laziness quite vindicated in my decision not to earn a degree in "making really crap shit up as I go along".
*This* is the humanities subject that the rightwing are always going on about, and I quite agree with them.

So what would happen if you combined these two books in some bringing together of the broken-signet-rings of Gross Incompetence and Literary Affrontery?
Wouldn't it be funny if there was a book out there that was as shit as this two books combined?


..which some evil bastard gave me for Christmas after getting it inscribed by the 'author'.

(Several years ago I received a letter containing a review and photo of that Reilly fool which immediately found a place impaled on an aluminium kungfu practice sword I had lying around.)

Which brings me to the best book review I have found. It is from September 10, 2000 and is entitled "Everyone has a book inside them... Sadly James Thackara's is terrible."
If everyone was this honest and entertaining the world would be an infinitely better place.
I wonder if the reviewer chortled to himself that it took a year and a day for him to find something perpetrated by man that was more horrible .

Thursday, January 31, 2008