Friday, June 24, 2011

Angelus, Qui secum Fert Pax

A few days ago I was driving home along the winding back-road, the main roads were all backed up due to peak hour and I needed to get home in a hurry for reasons that escape me entirely. You know how it is with driving; the second you try and change something, all Hell breaks loose. (A good metaphor for life, really. I don’t like change) When you try to go an alternate route that you’re unfamiliar with, of course there can be a few complications. Firstly there was a rather large tree branch that had come down across the road due to the bollock-rattling storm from the night before. Secondly the branch had seemingly decided to land on a stretch of road next to a bridge, so there were no embankments to use to avoid it. There was no doubt about it; this particular branch was clever. Thirdly the geniuses that lived nearby found it a much more effective treatment of the branch to simply force their way around it, rather than getting a posse of about... say… four people to move it out of the way. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I totally agree; sitting in a comfy warm car is much more pleasurable than being useful. Being useful is usually tedious and time consuming, besides, it was 2:45PM on a Tuesday, I’m sure they had important places to be. Who am I to judge?

The problem that this caused, though, is that everyone had deemed themselves to be the more important traveller on this windy back-road. Instead of any fathomable diplomatic process occurring everyone went for the “Fuck it, I’m way more important than that A-Hole over there” approach.

What occurred next was no less than triple distilled madness.

There were cars going left, right and centre. A couple of them had flipped over and burst into flames, some of the drivers had gotten out to start fist fights, others had resorted to the less violent but equally dramatic Thumb War to contest dominance. Others were just scrambling to get away with their children under arm like rugby balls while the more angry drivers had tackled them to the ground and had begun feeding on their legs, like a brown bear taking down a fat and sluggish bison.

Side note - the American Plains Bison has the world’s greatest Latin genus name:  

"Bison bison bison"

I shit you not.

These poor, misguided people would have torn each other apart if left to their own devices. Then, as if from nowhere, he came. He glided down the embankment, calm and graceful like an otherworldly spirit. His sleeveless high visibility vest that strained so fiercely against his rotund figure sparkled in the sunlight as his steel-capped boots left enormous indentations in the mud behind him. He had little to no hair to speak of… on his head at least; his shoulders and arms were covered with it like a pubic shag pile. In his left hand he held his ambrosia: a 600ml Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee. In his right he held his weapon, his Excalibur, his staff: 
The Lollipop.

As he reached the carnage he paused for a moment, surveying the surroundings with a sense of wise and ancient understanding. A smile could almost be seen to flicker across his face, as if he were amused with the trivial complications of lesser beings. He took a calm sip from his Iced Coffee and then casually placed the carton onto the ground by his feet as the battle over the bridge continued. He raised The Lollipop over his head, wielding it with both hands as the sun refracted across the ‘STOP’ sign on the end, scattering 390 to 750 nm (rainbow) light across the chaos in front on him. Several drivers had noticed, putting down their Thumbs in sheer awe and respect for him, the cannibalistic drivers had stopped taking frantic bites of out the Children = Rugby Balls drivers’ legs and had now settled down to chew their present mouthful. The Angel brought down The Lollipop in a swift motion, its base rooted into the ground and its golden message raised six feet in the air for all to see: SLOW.

Everyone cowered before him. He was Justice, Peace, Order, Fear, Panic and Death. His simple two-word message rang out eternal in the silence, though he spoke no words as the peace and order were restored as people returned to their cars:


The Lollipop Man had saved us all.

- Tom


Some people have been asking for some sort of visual interpretation of events, so here is one:

Notice how unbelievably awesome the events were as to literally DRAIN THE COLOUR FROM THE WORLD, BUT ONLY MOMENTARILY. I have also gone Super Saiyan as a result of the sheer magnitude of this incredible event. Also those sunglasses are an actual part of my face, due to the extremely toxic levels of coolness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Han Shot First

For those of you that don't know, 'Han Shot First' is a phrase commonly used by Star Wars fans referring to a controversial change made in 1997 to a scene in the first Star Wars film, one of the greatest scenes of all time; the Cantina scene.

Basically, 1977 Han (Harrison Ford) has a bounty on his head. He runs into a Bounty Hunter in a Cantina and shoots him before he can finish his let's-hold-Han-at-gunpoint conversation. This decision is more than acceptable given his situation, but most importantly, it is crucial to defining Han's morally ambiguous character.

Here's where it all goes downhill: 1997 Han gets shot at first, manages to dodge the shot via digital manipulation, then proceeds to shoot the bounty hunter in the face. Not only was the scene changed for no good reason, but it was changed poorly and in an awkward manner in order to convince the kids of today that ‘Han had no choice’.

What makes it worse is the fact that in the 2004 altered version, the Bounty Hunter’s head is engulfed in flames as Han casually walks away. Is this even worse than the regular-smouldering-head original? Quite possibly.

Lucas had obviously grown weak after 20 years of pressure from moral skeptics and single mothers. This I cannot ignore. But he went for the overkill. He tried too hard to fix things that didn't need fixing and ended up making it worse. As the saying goes… Well, you know.

We’re due for a Blu-ray release of the entire Star Wars saga sometime this year if memory serves, so it will be interesting to see if Lucas has spent the last few years changing the only two things that truly need changing: The removal of Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman.

- Aaron.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Out of Context Ramble #2: Microwaved Kitten Parenting

If you’ve come here thinking “Oh gosh, golly, gee! Tom has written a sequel to Admiral Excitement, I bet this will be a convenient clusterfuck* of amusing anecdotes for me to peruse using my gelatinous ocular sensors” (that’s ‘eyes’, for you kids playing at home). Well you’d be WRONG! There’ll be no such amusements here, only bitter frustration at fellow human beings, and a kitten.

Sometimes I worry about what I’m going to be like as a father. I mean, my father did a fairly reasonable job, I’d like to think, so it’s not like I don’t have a decent frame of reference. No, my concern is my own shortcomings as an individual. I’m an uncle, you see, and I often wonder what it is that I’ll be teaching these kids when they get a bit older. I can just imagine myself in about ten or fifteen years; my niece Amelia will by then be in her early to mid teenage years. She’ll be young and impressionable and I’d like to think that I would be one of those cool uncles who she can come to when she’s having a fight with her mother or something and I’d totally be supportive and generally cool. I mean, who wouldn’t appreciate a cool uncle in their lives, right? However despite my best intentions I could see that conversation going something like this:

 “You know what’s everywhere these days? Unprofessionalismists™. Oh yes, you know the ones I mean. Those ruddy Bollockers who feel like it’s totally appropriate to stand leaning up against the wall with their arse cracks hanging out because that’s DEFINITELY something that I’d be interested in seeing. Mmmhmm.  This is the problem with the kids today; Too many Internets and arse cracks, not enough bookness and learnabilities.** You know why this is a problem? Of course you don’t, you’re just as guilty as the rest of the smelly humans. Well, for those of us who aren’t smelly humans (such as myself), I’ll be more than happy to oblige:

The problem is that, as you’ll quite rapidly find out, people don’t really give a toss about you. I know you’re new to this whole existence thing, but it’s something that you’re going to have to get a hold of pretty fast if you want any hopes of getting somewhere in life. There are some thoroughly bloody important learnatudes that need to be downloaded and absorbed (or adsorbed, if you’re into that kind of thing). These life lessons are paramount to your survival. Most importantly, if anyone knows what these lessons actually are, please feel free to let me know so I can write a self-help book to earn mucho dinero, because I sure as hell don’t know.”

This is even more concerning for me since I’m supposed to be a high-school teacher.

Do you know what would be really hard to microwave? Your own head. Think about it; let’s just pretend for a minute that you’re that Black Knight fellow from The Holy Grail, right?

That's the fellow there

All you really have left in the world is some bloody stumps and your own noggin. Now back in the good old days you could have promptly stuck your head into your gas oven or what-have-you and be done with it. But oh no, not with today’s ‘superior’ technology you can’t. I really doubt that the inventors of the microwave took into account that some people out there would be interested in their microwave’s capacity to nuke a human skull. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “I hope they still have that shampoo I like”, right? Well, stop thinking about that, you self absorbed bastard and think about the microwave dilemma. The people that invented the microwave should have thought this through, I mean, isn’t that the whole basis of inventing? Taking something that doesn’t exist and creating it, or already does and improving on it? How is a microwave an improvement on the traditional oven if you LOSE the functionality of cooking your own face? It isn’t! That’s my point… I think. You’ve gone a step backwards, it’s a disastertastostrophe.

Now I’d absolutely hate to end this on such a negative note as the various downfalls of the microwave so to lighten the mood a little here is a picture of (what I think is) a cute and fluffy kitten***:

"I can see into your soul" - Creepy Motherfuckin' Cat

- Tom

* Word tried to autocorrect ‘clusterfuck’ to ‘baked fartsalad LOLOLOL’.  I suspect foul play.

** I TOTALLY see the irony in using the Internet to complain about the Internet, thanks Observation Boy.

*** This also came up when I was searching for pictures of fluffy cats, is it wrong that I kind of want one? Yes, yes it is:

"It's all the rage in Paris" - President of the My Scarf is a Golden Retriever Club

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Butcher

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a story. It is a factual story, but it is one that occurred while I was under the influence of many beers and running on about three hours sleep; so I cannot guarantee the level of accuracy to the actual events.

This is the terrifying story of... 

The year is 2010, mid-winter; the location is a house party where you knew precisely two people out of roughly 70. You’re sitting outside with a group of 10 to 15 people, none of whom you know. The time is… around 2:56am and you are currently equipped with:

1.     Right hand: Your 16th beer; one third consumed.
2.     Left hand: Half smoked cigarette (you have no idea how it got there, if anyone asks)
3.   Feet: Covered with odd socks because you did not think that this house would be one of those places where wearing shoes inside earns you a death sentence.
4.     Head
a.     External: Severely skewed trilby you found on the floor around four hours ago that you promptly stole because you are about three months overdue for a haircut at this stage.
b.   Internal: Harshly reduced system performance. The temperature, operation time without a break and incorrect use of coolants have all played a part.
                                               i.     Vision: Blurry, party guests are now classified as either ‘male’ or ‘female’. Faces and names take up too much memory. Look at the floor, it’s moving less than the other things.
                                              ii.     Movement: Strictly for bathroom visits only.
                                            iii.     Thought to Speech Filter: [error 404: file not found]

Admit it: you’re shitfaced and about twelve minutes from falling off of the chair and onto your arse. But what do you care? You don’t know any of these people; they don’t know you and you’ll never see any of them again.
Most likely not. Probably not.

“You look don’t look well…”

…It’s a girl, you think. At least it’s a girl’s voice. You gather yourself as best you can: “Ok…” (You say to yourself) “…a fellow human being is trying to converse with you, let’s not immediately scare them away. Play nice.”

You look up. Yep it’s a girl, all right and holy-sweet-Mother-of-God she is a giant! Oh wait, you’re sitting down you damn fool, she can’t be that tall. You stand up.
Holy-sweet-Mother-of-God she is a giant! At least 6’ 2’’, if not taller. You sway a little and squint, trying to find the delicate balance between nonchalance and vomiting on your shoes. Your stolen trilby is now trying to make a break for it from the left side of your head. “She’s a damn good-looking giant”, you think to yourself. Ok, time to begin some conversation, start off with something casual:

You: “Holy-sweet-Mother-of-God you are a giant!”

Oh brilliant, well done. You’re a fucking modern day Casanova, you are.

Her: “I’m not, you’re just tiny.”

Well she’s sharp, you give her that… and a little scary, you can’t pinpoint why.

You: “So, what do –”?

Alcohol brain error 299: short-term blackout
Please stand by - rebooting…

Her: “…family business ...Butcher.”

You: “Ok, cool… Wait, what?”

Her: “I’m a butcher. You know, I dismember animals and sell the parts for money.”            
           (I am going to murder you)

She smiles, it’s compassionate but your left foot impulsively tries to make a break for it without consent. You stumble a little. The right half of your brain is screaming; “This woman is going to kill you, RUN!” while the left half is thinking; “Haha! I’m super cosy under this hat, motherfuckers!”
Stalemate. You’re rooted to the spot.

You: “Oh, right…” (Frightened laughter)

Her: “Oh hey, your drink’s empty, I’ll get you another one…”    (Subdued animals are far easier to slaughter)

         You’re torn. This rather attractive girl is possibly flirting with you, you can’t quite tell. At the same time you’re quite concerned with ending up in a Sweeney Todd-like situation. Think, man, think fast!

         Shit, too late, she’s back. She hands you another beer.

You: “Mmnnh- thanks!”

You sip at the tasty beverage she has brought you. It helps a little. The fears of being massacred and sold as low-priced steak are slightly subdued. You figure what’s the worst that could possibly happen? You’re being paranoid, surely.

You: “Well what is it like being a – ”

Alcohol brain error 766: System failure.
Please stand by for full system scan:

5% - Checking vitals… Vitals functioning.
32% - Rebooting motor functions…
68% - Reinitialising vocal functions…
97% - Deleting directory – C:\Users\Social\Dignity
99% - Installing - C:\Users\Social\Shame
100% - System starting up…

You’re on the floor. It’s carpeted and warm. You have no idea how much time has passed, but it’s light outside now. Something heavy has convened on your head at some point; it’s squashed and sore. Your stolen trilby is gone. You sit up and look around; there’s a bucket next to you, you grimace and look inside, but it’s empty, your shirt is missing but your pants are still intact.

 Memories of the night before are a haze with no colour or substance: chairs, fireplace, strangers, socks - “No shoes inside!”, beer, BBQ, “cosy…hat”, beer, cleavers, meat, blood, chop, hack, crack…

You compose yourself and leave without taking your eyes off of the floor; everything hurts.

The Butcher was never seen or heard from again.

- Tom