Thursday, June 26, 2008

Instances of Hypocrisy - part 356

An advertising honcho has complained that the viewer created content spoofing TV advertisements, generated via ABC1's program taking apart the advertising industry, The Gruen Transfer, "'demeaned and trivialised' a $12 billion industry".

Well, it's a bit rich coming from the advertising industry, considering how many people feel demeaned and trivialised by advertising. It's nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change.

Apparently, the show's call for viewers to download segments of audio, video and other raw material and 'mash' them up into new spoof ads has generated over 600 uploaded film clips!

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Page 123, sentence 5

I'm home with my older son who's home sick from school, so I finally have time to do this book meme thing Kirsty of Galaxy tagged me for.

The meme works this way: you pick up a book closest to you (in this case, my bedside as Kirsty has stipulated), turn to page 123, and blog the fifth sentence.

If I had done this meme earlier this week, I would have been blogging Stephen Jay Gould's Dinosaur in a Haystack, but as it is, this is now on top of my pile (because I'm actually reading it): Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red.

Page 123, sentence 5:

A city's intellect ought to be measured not by its scholars, libraries, miniaturists, calligraphers and schools, but by the number of crimes insidiously committed on its dark streets over thousands of years.
If so, Melbourne's doing pretty well, then.

Oh, and I really am enjoying the book.

Should I tag or not? Or take a leaf out of Ampersand Duck's book (heh heh) and not "do the tag thing" and say, "Follow your dreams".

Hmm. I'm going to tag unique_stephen from
Emunctory, Helen of Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony, Gen from reeling and writhing, Tim from Sterne, and Ariel from Jabberwocky after all because I'm curious about what books they've got near them.

I would like to tag Mike from
The Peasants are Revolting, but his wife has just had a baby, so I doubt there's much time for reading in his house at the moment, and the last thing he needs is a meme to do. Congratulations and all the best to you and your family, Mike!

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Friday, June 20, 2008


As part of her practice of the fine arts of procrastination (and very productive and useful procrastination, I might say), Kirsty at Galaxy has linked to this great collection of corporate jargon and cant on the BBC website – 'Fifty office-speak phrases you love to hate'. I love it.

My favourite ones to hate are real viruses in Australia – 'going forward' (number 20) and 'at the end of the day' (number 30). Both make my skin crawl, and the later makes me wonder if they really mean at sunset. (As in, when the sun goes down, I will turn into a word-wolf and tear out the throats out of language zombies.)

But I shuddered at another one that's new to me: number 39, 'cascading'; or for the tautologically compulsive, number 40, 'cascading down'. What?

It supposedly means "to communicate or disseminate information, usually downwards". For me, it's the beer under that brand name, and the stuff that comes out the other side an hour later.

I'm looking forward to playing my first game of meeting jargon bingo next week, though my colleagues don't tend to use such crap jargon – the benefits, I guess, of working outside the corporate sector.

'Go forward' and poke fun at the pinstripe suits.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

It's nice to know good culture jamming is alive

How true. I saw this on a tram stop on the way to work yesterday.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

On a winter's night…

Winter is doing strange things in Melbourne currently. One day, it is all foggy mornings and grounded or detoured aeroplanes, the next it's sunny afternoons followed by rain clouds chased over the ranges. All the same, there is something quite lovely about they way this city faces winter. Lots of people get into the winter mood around here, and incorporate its features into not just their dress and cooking, but into art, writing, and more.

I took this photo of a hand-drawn leaf a couple of weeks ago. It is part of an extended artwork on the glass wall of the local municipal library near my work. It is a lovely meditation on plane trees and the way they lose their leaves for the cold weather, if a bit melancholic.

Winter's melancholy can play havoc with many of us, but then there is always something to cheer us up. Like the sun breaking through the clouds, or burrowing into bed with something lovely to read, such as the latest issue of Meanjin – the first under the stewardship of their new editor Sophie Cunningham. It's worth reading, from all reports, and not just because it features work by the wonderful bloggers Ampersand Duck, and Laura Caroll, who are also behind Sarsaparilla.

Winter is also a great time for a big hearty stew or soup, or maybe a curry, and a nice glass of red. I know what I'm picking up from the shop on the way home.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Winter – Wordless Wednesday (No. 5)

It has been a while since I've done a Wordless Wednesday, but it thought I'd try again, seeing that I actually liked some of the photos I took at a family outing to a park in Brunswick on the weekend. It has been cold here this last week. Winter has truly set in.

Last night I went to the forum 'Growing up Asian in Australia' last night, held to mark the launch of the new anthology of writing by writers of Asian descent – about growing up Asian in Australia – edited by Alice Pung, and I've had Hanif Kureishi on my mind .

Wouldn't you know it,
his website has a story with a tree, children, an 'Asian' father and a park. Oh, and an errant ball. I recommend you read his story 'Hullabaloo in the Tree' to go along with the photo. I will blog on last night's panel when I have some time later this week.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

This morning our car got towed – on purpose!

It is not everyday that you actually get your car towed on purpose! No, it didn't break down – our ever reliable Mazda 121 has served us very well this past few years – nor did we park it illegally, nor did we have an accident. For some reason, the fuel pump is gone.

The dodgy fuel ticker didn't didn't get picked up in the last tune up. It refused to start over the weekend, and on Sunday morning the RACV mechanic deduced that it was the fuel pump. He thumped the fuel tank and got it going, but when I tried to start the car later that afternoon, I had no luck – tank thumping and all.

This morning, we had to get the RACV to tow it to our mechanic down the road. I had to document the event, of course.

It struck me as a very delicate operation, as the tow-truck driver carefully manouvered the car into position, and carefully adjusted the steering as the car was winched onto the truck's tilted tray.

I was left in wonder at the feat of engineering involved as the hydraulics were left to effortlessly shift the tray of the truck back onto its horizontal position.

For the record, this is the first time our car has ever been towed. Hopefully, the mechanics will have it up and running in time to ferry the kids around later this week. Otherwise…

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