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Showing posts from December, 2007

Germs, Warfare

Zeitgeisters,

Miss Pink is a bit thingo about cockroaches and mice. She doesn’t like them. I don’t mind mice so much, but I do hate filthy cockroaches. Most insects that make their way into my house, are free to do their thing, man, until they start bothering me. Then I find some way to return them to nature, Rex Hunt style (sans the smooching, natch).

But cockroaches must die! The thought of them dragging their filth over my crockery and flatware revolts me. Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop me from being a hypocrite and doing the boy-thing to stir up Miss Pink. I visualise in detail and aloud, mice queuing up to do a whiz into the twin-slot toaster; that kind of hilarity.

Strangely, though, her anti-cockroach and mouse stance – which is actually a by-product of how much she hates the thought of vermin adulterating what she eats – has been taken up by me. I actually have my toaster wrapped in plastic Laura-Palmer-style in order to keep it critter-free. And I took on Miss Pink’s use-by d…

Yours, Mime and Ours

The Mal Fraser kids do "Luck Be A Lady Tonight"
from GUYS AND DOLLS.


Yo Zeities,

As y'all know I heart mime. I have been privileged in my job at Multimedia Dell'Arte to have quite a lot to do with the Spearwood Teatro Della Mimetica, as well as teaching mime and movement to the drama kids at Malcolm Fraser Senior High.

It has come to my attention that not everyone shares my love for the silent art. When the great Marcel Marceau rescued the art of mime and resurrected it for the 20th Century, he was doing the work of a Salk, a Magellan or an Aaron Sorkin.

If you see a little less of me blog-wise in early 2008, it's because I'll be writing a show for a friend's fund raiser - THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND MIMES: An Evening of Tap, A Capella and the Mimetic Arts. I've already thought of an opening, an a capella rendition of Billy Joel's WE DIDN'T START THE FIRE while the mime kids represent the peak events of the twentieth century and the tap kids dance …

I Was There For You

Zeitgeisters,

Okay, so FRIENDS is back, like every day at 7pm on Network 10. It was THE show of the 1990s; the one with Ross, Rachel, Chandra, Joanie, Monocle and Femur. Remember the great clothes. The zany hairstyles. And what about all those unforgettable episodes?

Who could not remember The Parking Nazi? Master and Commander of Your Domain? Junior Mints. Twinkies. The time where Chandra dropped his toothbrush in the toilet and wouldn’t kiss his girlfriend? And that other time when Ross married a lesbian and had her baby? And when Mr Carlson from WKRP in Upstate New York invited Joey and his friend Dudley to the bicycle shop after school, only it turned out that Mr Carlson was a Sicko Perv? And then Mrs C broke up with the Fonz and said, “They’re real and they’re spectacular”?

Great moments in television, friends. And every Tuesday night you and your real friends would have a FRIENDS party.And you would wait to see what that scheming bitch Amanda would come up with this time. And if a…

Dinner for 12

Zeitgeisters,

It’s time to take a stand and create a list of a dozen people, living or dead that I would invite to a dinner party. Looking down this guest list, I see that I have a definite bias towards artistic, English speakers. What a shock!

Here goes:


KIM NOVAK - American actress, born 1933, best-known for her role in Hitchcock’s Vertigo.


SOUPY SALES - American comedian and actor, born 1926.


CLARICE CLIFF - English ceramic artist born 1899, died 1972.


VIVIENNE WESTWOOD - English fashion designer, known for her influence on punk. Born 1941.


THEODORE CHIPMUNK - (pictured Right)An Animated American chipmunk. Not Alvin, nor Simon. Born 1958.


ED DEVEREAUX - Australian actor, best known for portraying Ranger Hammond in the Skippy tv series. Born 1925, died 2003.


BARRY BOSTWICK - American actor, singer, agony aunt, polymath, Renaissance man. Born 1945.


ELEANOR ROOSEVELT - author, civil rights campaigner, former First Lady of the United States. Born 1884, died 1962.


GRACE COSSINGTON SMITH - Aus…

Hail Prince Edward Island

Zeitgeisters,
I haven’t written about Prince Edward Island for nearly nine months now, long time readers know that I am fascinated by this Canadian Province known to the world as the setting of Anne of Green Gables. It’s not actually the book that peaks my interest as much as the idea of living somewhere that is really unknown to most people except in one unusual, specific way.

So, I randomly sent an email to a number of folks who live on PEI and asked them what was the best thing about living there. I got about a one quarter response rate (which I think is good) and was about to collate the responses, but these were lost due either to computer error or operator error or the effects of El Nino.

Then, a few days ago, I found the responses neatly stored away in an unexpected place on my hard drive. It’s a true Christmas miracle!

My thanks to all who responded. I appreciate greatly your taking the time to answer an Australian blog written by a semi-fictional character.

So here they are – bett…

The Christmas Box

Zeitgeister(s),

If you have the good fortune to be in Perth, Western Australia, on December the 25th then you could be enjoying temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius (approx 100 degrees Fahrenheit). At some point in this emotionally fraught, tiring day of good cheer, family and over-indulgence, you are likely to sit down in front of the cathode ray tube;and we are here to help our fellow Perthites.

Although on this blog and the accompanying site, we tend to be relentlessly opposed to so-called free-to-air, so-called commercial television, at this time of Peace on Earth and Good Will to All, we believe it best to dial down the curmudgeonly-ness.

So join with us as we point out those Christmas gems that can be dug from the otherwise barren earth of Free To Air telly (commercial and non).

Seven Network

Starting with our friends on the commercial Networks, this year’s undoubted king of the ratings, the Seven Network, has a glittering range of options.

Our attention is peaked at 2.20pm with TAB…

You're Talking Nuts!

Zeitgeisters,

It’s the day before Christmas Eve and some of you, like myself, are enjoying a deserved rest today. Others of you are being exploited by our capitalist system and you’re working like dogs while The Man lights his cigar with a hundred dollar bill. He ‘made’ that money through the sweat of your brow. Rise up brothers and sisters and throw off the chains of your oppression!

Capture the Means of Production!
Overturn the Apparatus of The State!
Destroy the Institutions of the Establishment!

Begin the Glorious Workers’ Revolution and launch an age of peace, prosperity and true Socialist Democracy!

Smash the State!
Smash the State!
Smash the State!

And scene…

My brother and I hit the stores early on Saturday morning to finish our Christmas Shopping. We were done by ten-thirty, apart from two* items. One of these was a bag of assorted nuts, still in their shells. You may recall that we are giving our parents a nutcracker and bowl for Christmas.

Two hours (and coffee and toast) later we…

Super Powers - What The?!

Captain Puce puts down another rebellion
and keeps democracy safe from "the people".


Zeitgeisters,

I was reading another blog (I felt dirty but there you have it), and the blogger mentioned what super powers he had always wanted to have. Other contributors chimed in. (Who needs contributors dammit!? I love being a one-man band with my little obsessions - Barry Bostwick, Interrobangs...I know you're out there people - like the nitrogen that makes up most of the air we breathe - you're out there.)

And suddenly I thought - super powers - PAH! Puerile nonsense. When will we get over the infantile fantasy of having amazing abilities so we can live our lives at some advantage over others?

Who the f*ck needs super f*ckin' powers? Wouldn't it be COOL if we could fly? Wouldn't it be GREAT if we could be invisible? Blah Blah Wah Wah!

Wouldn't it be freakin' great if we could get along with our bloody noisy neighbours and deal with the fact that we hate our f*c…

Zeitgeisters In Trouble

Well Folks,

According to a friend of mine, Dave, I'm committing a German faux pas by calling you Zeitgeisters. Dave, originally from Western Australia, now lives in Zurich and has been learning Swiss-German for the last five years.

He sent the following note, re: my standard blog greeting:

Hi Mr Trivia,

I'm not sure what I'm getting for Xmas but i know what you are getting from me: A mini German lesson (I bet you were not expecting that).# Dave's - Weihnachten Deutsch Lektion 1

It is:
Der Geist (The Ghost/Spirit) singular
Die Geister (The Ghosts/Spirits) plural

Der Zeitgeist (The Time/Age-of Ghost/Spirit) singular
Die Zeitgeister (The Time/Age-of Ghosts/Spirits) plural

So you should start your mails with:

Greetings Zeitgeister,
By putting an "s" at the end you are adding an english conjugation to an already conjugated word.

You could go 1 little step further and say for the Kaiser:

Grüß Zeitgeister,

I hope those special characters show up for you in 8 point Helvetica:
They s…

Ask Mr Trivia Returns!

Heads Up Zeitgeisters!

After a protracted legal battle of fictional proportions, our good buddy Barry Bostwick returns to answer your questions and help with your cares and woes in Ask Mr Trivia.

A Victoria Park Pisces asks Barry what her dream means. Click here to find out more!

Mr Trivia

Mr Bay Blocker

Zeitgeisters,

I was at a servo on Canning Highway earlier this week and as I walked out after paying for my fuel, I had to walk around some d*cksnap who parked his Toyota SUV and trailer right across the front entrance. He managed to effectively block four empty parking spaces - and one of them was the disabled bay.

I watched the driver as I was getting into my car. He was just wandering around, checking out the drinks cabinet. He didn't seem to be in any rush. Parking frontwise in a bay was obviously not an option, because the trailer would have obstructed traffic, but his solution was to inconvenience everyone else.

He had one option, which was to park further away at the side of the servo and inconvenience himself with a walk of perhaps fifteen seconds longer duration.

But I took action, I put a special Mr Trivia curse on him. Without giving too much away, my people are known for their occult powers. I cursed Mr Bay Blocker with having to wait in a queue of no fewer than three …

Samosas 3

Zeitgeisters,

Be careful what you declare in a blog, it could come back at you faster than you think.

Miss Pink and I were at the Woodbridge Tavern in Guildford on Sunday night for a Battle of The Bands Comp. We were there to support Avatar who magnificently took out second place - the outright winners were The Vans.

Just after we arrived, we did a shuffle around a table looking for a place to sit. The table had family, girlfriends, band-member's mates, uni mates and assorted crew seated around it. As we sat in this liminal social space, Miss Pink was offered a samosa or possibly samosi. She declined on our behalf and mentioned that I had blogged on this subject (Christmas samosas). She kinda shouted this over the top of one of the bands, and I hoped this news was being whipped away in a sonic vortex of chords and beats.

Why? Because people have the idea that bloggers are opinionated nerds (I know!). And I need a little less background noise to describe to people the literary-salon…

Christmas Blitz

Zeitgeisters,

My brother and I checked the Yuletide catalogues. We decided that Dad needed a cheese board with cutting arm and that Mum needed assorted teas. Our parents are a little hard to buy for, so we chose these items based on sketchy memories like, "I think Dad sorta likes cheese," and "Mum doesn't absolutely hate tea."

We sped down the freeway to a place called Bull Creek (The Dog Swamp of the southern suburbs.) There we went to an amazing modern edifice designed to enhance and focus the shopping experience - a shopping “centre” I believe it’s called.

We went to a large store which sold homewares, shiny electronic gadgets and useless clutter. This shop was identifiable by a red circular logo resembling a target.

Every other clueless offspring in the vicinity of Leeming-Willetton had the same idea re: the cheese board. The store had therefore had run out. My bro’ and I didn't like the look of the teas. Improvising brilliantly, the sibs decided to buy a …

A Duck and a Scotsman

Zeitgeisters,

I was talking to a work mate Ryan (name changed) the other day and, by way of friendly conversation, I referred to him as a ‘pantsman’ this was part of another longer conversation not suitable for these PG-13 blog entries) .

He insisted that for a few months this year, whenever he typed into his mobile phone, “Come to the Scotsman” (The Flying Scotsman – famed Mount Lawley watering hole) to any of his friends, it would be rendered, thanks to predictive text, “Come to the Pantsman”.

Ryan is a pretty good storyteller and that’s a pretty good story. He also said that Perth, our beloved hometown, would be predictively-rendered “Servy” which is not funny at all, so perhaps he is telling it true.

My own favourite predictive text sentence is “Enjoy the Crispy Duck”.

Thank you, I got a million of them.

Mr Trivia

Porter Reports

Hola Guys,

Mr Trivia, said I could write a little sumpthin’ in this space ‘cos it’s comin’ up to Christmas and all!

I think it’s super-keen and neat how he lets me do stuff that doesn’t cost him nothin’ in time or money! Like when we go to the store he let’s me sit on those little rides – you know the ones made of fibreglass like a little police-car or maybe a horse or sumpthin’. You put a coin in and it moves.

Only Mr Trivia never puts in no money. So I sez, “Why no money in the kiddie ride you cheap bastard?” And he says, “A wooden boy on a plastic horse can only truly seek stillness.” I don’t really get it, but it sounds kinda profound. He says a lot of things like that because he went to hi-falutin’ University back in the 1980s.

Not that I had time for higher education. I was an advertising copywriter in 1985. I also had something to do with inventing that little cord you could buy to hold your sunglasses around your neck. It was my idea to make it day-glo.

And for a while I had…

Champagne For My Real Friends

Zeitgeisters,

I must make mention yet again of Crackbook as Facebook is affectionately known.

Facebook is 2007. It's now. It's today! Yesterday, myspace was Facebook and one day soon Facebook will be a ghost town that even the tumbleweed will avoid. Social Networking. Getting worried about how many Facebook friends one has. An acquaintance of mine pointed out that I didn't have very many Facebook friends. I have 90 plus. Some of my actual friends have 200 plus.

I am happy with my modest group ("Sure, Mr Trivia that's what a no-mates loser would say"). I don't have 90 people whom I would call a friend in real life. My job puts me into contact with many people that I am friendly with and most of them are lovely, witty folks who know way too much about popular culture.

But if you define a friend as someone who will share your woes, lend you money in a pinch and can see through your carefully tailored social costume and yet still accept you, then I don't h…

Secret Santa Etiquette

Zeitgeisters,

At workplaces all over Australia – nay, the world – there will be Secret Santas or Kris Kringels in the coming two weeks; two names for the same quaint workplace ritual. It's where one secretly pick a co-worker's names out of a hat and buy that person a gift - up to a certain agreed upon value. The point is to be creative and buy within the price limit and to not admit it was you who bought the gift for the giftee.

At Media Dell’Arte this year our price limit was doubled from five to ten dollars. Last week we had the Secret Santa exchange at our annual Christmas lunch. In years past, there have been controversial presents that led to recriminations (sometimes lasting a whole twelve months). If the gift is a little vague or inappropriate then that can lead to all kinds of speculation as to the actual meaning of the gift and the identity of the giver. Frankly, I believe this harms workplace relations and cuts into valuable drinking and merriment time.

However, if you …

Samosas 2

Zeitgeisters,

As discussed below, I have some things to say about samosas.

It’s Silly Season; the lead up to Christmas here in the Southern Hemisphere. And for some reason, during this time of public and work gatherings, party hosts wish to serve up samosas. I’ve made the decision that this Christmas period, that I will refuse all samosas and even mini spring rolls. If something is offered up to me on a plate by a waitperson, that item cannot be deep-fried.

If I did consume these oily treats, I would have a hard time making it through this warm Southern Hemisphere Yuletide. So, Anything from a mini-quiche down, I can scoff. (Okay *Miss Pink?)

Merry Christmas!

Mr Trivia

*PS Miss Raspberry Beret has reverted to her name Miss Pink.

Crackbook & Marty

Zeitgeisters,

I‘ve admitted to a minor Facebook addiction in these pages. But if anything will cure that, it’s questionable applications like the “Which Hollywood Director Are You” quiz.

The quiz offers a series of not very challenging questions like “What’s Your Scene? – Bars, Sports, Clubs, Outdoors or Music”; after doing 10 vague multip;e choice questions like these, I hit the submit button, only to receive the news that I was 45% like Martin Scorsese. I was mercifully 0% like Steven Spielberg, but if you’d ever met me, you’d know I am actually NOTHING like the director of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and The Aviator. Scorsese is the fast-talking, enthusiastic movie expert whose visceral, violent flicks have explored the American male psyche for a generation. Me? I enjoy watching the Gilmore Girls.

If I’m like any of the choices on offer in this quiz, then I bear some resemblance to the nerdly Steven Soderbergh. The slack questions lead to a 2% match with this director, so I could tell…

Samosas

Here....


Zeitgeisters,

Please note that for a few days this entry had no picture and only the enigmatic "here" (as written above). This lead to a mighty outcry from the...ahem..readership and I responded to this in the entry "Samosas 2"

I have left this original entry in this half-baked (or perhaps half-fried)state because like many creative types these days, I am infatuated with the idea of process, build-logs and behind-the-scenes documentation. Let's face it, talking about the how and the why is so much more satisfying than the outcome.

Mona Freakin' Lisa - pah! Leonardo and the Lady - the six part video-diary and process journal of an artist at work. So much more interesting than a tiny painting behind bullet-proof plastic at the Louvre.

Wait? Have I digressed?

Yes.

Mr Trivia

Can Crime Be Cured?

Zeitgeisters,

My fellow Australians, this went out on American wire services yesterday. I stumbled across it again and again.

Thieves Steal 17 Tons of Christmas Ham
Dec 2nd, 2007 | SYDNEY, Australia -- Thieves stole 17.6 tons of ham and bacon from a warehouse and left behind a message busting the owners' chops, police said Monday.

"Thanks," the crooks daubed on a wall of the Zammit Hand and Bacon curers warehouse in suburban Sydney. "Merry Christmas."

Police said the robbery occurred some time between late afternoon Saturday and dawn Sunday.

Owner Anthony Zammit said that when he arrived for work Monday he found a hole in a wall of the building where the thieves appeared to have entered. The stolen meat was worth up to $88,000, he said.

This is how we get noticed by the world, people; strange, Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not style crime stories.

Incidentally the small goods are said to have a street value of over a million dollars when cut with polony or devon. Police ar…

Eavesdropping

Zeitgeisters,

I was at my local video store yesterday and I overheard two brothers, one around 11 and the other about 9 discussing Ben Cousins' “Such Is Life" torso-tattoo. The youngest kid was convinced that it would be much cooler if it said, “Much is Life” His older brother wasn’t so sure. “Much is Life? And the younger kid said, “Yeah – life is much.”

Two girls maybe around fourteen were looking through the range of DVDs. One girl had clearly seen just about all of them, the other seemed like she might be from a religious order of some kind. The conversation drifted over to me at this point.

Girl 1: And the man wants to find this girl and then he finds her.
Girl 2: What about this one?
Girl 1: It’s good. It’s a comedy. What about this?
Girl 2: What is it?
Girl 1: Charlie’s Angels.
Girl 2: What’s it about?
There was a short pause which sounded like, “Come on, Charlie’s Angels!” But she went on patiently,
Girl 1: It’s about girls who are spies. And they have fights, lots of acti…