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Showing posts from 2008

We Heart Asimo

Have a decko at what I wrote about Asimo the Honda Robot over at the other blog.

ACP: 1000 Hours of Drama

Hey Zeitgeisters,

If you've got the Insomni like what I do, and you're living in the Lucky Country (aka Australia) then you'll be fully across the fact that the Seven Network are showing old episodes of the series A COUNTRY PRACTICE (1981-1993)in the wee hours, during the week.

If you tune in around now, ACP is at the point of dealing with the death of Nurse Donna Manning (Caroline Johannson) in a car accident. Ben the vet (Nicholas Bufalo) is taking it particularly hard, because although they were housemates and friends, he never told Donna how he really felt (he loved her, right?) - and now - sadly, it's too late.

So Ben is grief stricken, even though Donna's brother Peter (Mark Owen-Taylor) is strangely casual about the whole tragedy. So it was just as well that he gave Doctor Alex (Di Smith) such short shrift in the last episode.He's a sad, clockwork man, anyway. And I mean what was Dr Alex doing asking him how he felt about her less than two weeks after …

Geeks Versus Nerds


I have a friend who has her own wheelbarrow theory that she pushes in order to define the difference between nerds and geeks. She says that a geek is someone with a passion or area of interest whereas a nerd is someone with a true expertise in a subject. Therefore your pal who spends a lot of on their PC, likes to use netspeak, is an early adopter of Google gizmos and has a World of Warcraft account may be a computer geek, but might know very little about actual programming or coding. I was speaking with my neighbour, an IT guy from Switzerland and discovered that he knows almost nothing about social networking on the Internet – so he would be a nerd.

So, sticking with this theoretical categorisation it becomes clear that almost everyone I know is some kind of geek. I was at Media Dell//Arte Xmas Lunch on Friday talking to a couple of friends who are animation/sci-fi geeks. One of them was drawing a series of robots on the paper tablecloth. Bob and Vincent from The Blac…

This Week with Kenji | No. 1

Our friend, Kenji Phlange used to write about politics for the now-defunct Monopoly Men site. We have invited him here to spiel on anything with a vaguely political bent that grabs his interest during the week. And with out customary inventiveness we are naming this section as above. Pretty good, huh?

This entry can also be found at

G'day Citizens,

"Who Throws A Shoe? Honestly." Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery asked this in his 1997 film. We now know the answer is Muntazer al-Zaidi, a television journalist who lobbed his size 10 loafers at President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference, a week ago, when the 'leader of the free world' was visiting Iraq.

President Bush's idea was to spin the unpopular Iraq War. Something along the lines of "Hey you guys, The Surge is working real well, even though you all said it wouldn't. Who looks stupid now?" It's all part of his all singin', all-dancin' GEORGE…

Renovation Rescue


I’ve been on sabbatical from this blog. And I have returned with a new plan. I am combining this blog (the more personal one) with my other blog (the even more focussed on retro-kitsch media than this one). Therefore the entries that would usually run here in ‘The Tract’ will run in, however, material that would usually appear in that blog won’t run in this one.

Confused? You won’t be as you journey with me for the extremely long-winded and slightly complex Mr Trivia’s Blog Amalgamation Scheme (MTBAS).

We will get there.

Mr Trivia

Look Who's Talking


I caught the tail end of an alleged story on Channel 7’s The Morning Show with Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies. They were interviewing some egregious twit from one of the Australian celebrity magazines. She shall remain nameless because I decline to publicise her or her vile publication further.

The subject was celebrity children. That is the non-famous children of celebrities. There was some discussion about how much paparazzi can get for a sought-after snap of a celebrity’s child. No discussion of the morality here, just some mindless chatter about comparing the looks of the famous person’s child with one’s own.

I mentioned this to a colleague at my workplace (Media Dell ‘Arte, Fremantle). She expressed some satisfaction with magazine stories showing Angelina Jolie with a big packet of chips and her many kids in tow. She argued that seeing a big Hollywood star having to bribe her kids with junk food gives aid and comfort to other frazzled parents out there.

Even so, isn’t t…

One Speaker


Before he became a murder trial celebrity, Phil Spector was more celebrated for producing some of the greatest hit records of the 1960s and for inventing the so-called “wall of sound.” Spector reportedly held out against the innovation of stereo sound for some time. He was said to play the songs he produced through a tinny little speaker as a kind of final test to see how they would playback on an average monophonic transistor radio.

This is more or less what I have in my vehicle in 2008. Every song undergoes the Phil Spector test. Naturally most songs are “produced” in a way that was unimaginable in Spector’s heyday. You can hear everything quite clearly, even when you don’t want to. Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” comes to mind.
Can you imagine no first dance,
freeze dried romance five-hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had . . . and me.Yeah, its that “best soy latte” line. I know not everything has to be universal, but that particular lyric has always str…

Coriolis Effect, The


The Coriolis Effect? What is it? I used to know. At least well enough to pass my Year 12 Phys. Sci. exam. It's just one of a slew of things I knew and forgot. Although some people, say you don't forget anything....

I can't calculate the circumference of a circle. Is it the diameter or the radius times pi? Maybe it's neither. Even if I could find my calculator it couldn't help me. I need Dataman from Texas Instruments.

Snakebite. You don't suck the poison out. You use a tourniquet, right?'s compression, but not a tourniquet...maybe you elevate the affected part.? Or would that just send the venom screaming through your bloodstream and straight towards your heart?

You put avocados in a bag with bananas and both ripen quicker. Don't even bother with an unripe apricot because it won't get any softer. Maybe...

Feed a Fever. Starve a Cold. Red Sky at night, Shepherd's Pie. A rolling scone gathers no mass which is different from volume.…

Chia Joy with Crackbook


Apologies from the outset. I've gone a little Facebook crazy. But I have an excuse - I've been on it for the last hour, just clicking stuff, so if I 'blog about the experience, then I won't feel so feebly 'noughties about the ordeal. Will they understand any of this in a century - or even a decade?

Firstly, my friend spottyjunglecat, just sent me one of those Facebook quizzes that is totally rigged. Which Gilmore Girl Are You?

Clearly, I am Lorelai (the mother) - he turned out to be Rory. Which is probably the best outcome for both of us. Unlike the Chandler Bing fiasco, I knew from the outset that I would channel the chatty Gen- X Innkeeper from Stars Hollow with nary a pause for breath.

I taught a writing course a few years ago and spent quite a lot of time attempting unsuccessfully to persuade my class that the Gilmore Girls was the best-written drama on television. Ah well.

Afte the Gilmore thing, I tended to my city in the My City application. Despi…

Golf, Anyone? Polo?

The Volkswagen Polo


I’ve done a car-swap with a friend for a few days. I usually drive an old Toyota Townace van which is very handy for carrying loads. The friend has loaned me his new, white Volkswagen Polo. Naturally being an ageing Gen-Xer, rather than someone cooler and younger, I felt my masculinity compromised the moment I laid eyes on it.

Any vehicle this size is a Barina to me. A chick car. Your granny’s car. Who knew I had this kind of issue with gender and wheels? I’m shocked at my shallowness and insecurity.

Apart from the psychological damage that I’m feeling from having it parked in my space at the flats where I live, is the actual annoyance of driving it. For reasons best known to the Euro boffins at V-Dub, the wiper and indicator sticks are exactly reversed in placement from the Townace.

So as I take a corner, I either confidently flick the wipers to low or intermittent. Not cool. I was cursing this very problem tonight when I saw that I was following a Volk…

Walking in South Perth


As counter-intuitive as I find the notion, apparently ‘exercise’ can do you some good. So, lately I have been walking around the fair city of South Perth at a brisk clip. I say brisk, but my brisk is someone else’s 'Cliff Young shuffle'. But I have years of not exercising to undo. From little things big things grow, as Paul Kelly once wrote.

I’ve seen some unexpected things out there in Southy. (Keep in mind that I’m a borderline shut-in. I’ve only just discovered that the age of VHS is over.) On Labouchere Road, at dusk, I saw a taxi-driver kneeling on the verge, next to his cab. He had a prayer mat out and his shoes were placed at the top. A very common thing in some parts of the world, but not what I thought I would see while walking past the South Perth Bowling Club.

Down on Sir James Mitchell Park, I heard a woman take on a couple of male cyclists over their dog. She was walking. I didn’t catch the beginning but I did hear her saying, “You f**king moron!” …

Virtual Greenie


Those of you who ever seen Lil Green Patch on Facebook or read my learned recent entry on’t, will know that it’s the perplexing application where the act of using the app is supposed to stimulate sponsors into donating money to save square feet of rainforest. You also earn "Green Bucks" which can be used inside the application.

Part of the way it works is much like a game and the idea is for you to travel to other Lil Green Patches and tend them; thus adding to your Green Bucks, the Social Networking Aspect of Facebook and somehow saving our planet from destruction.

When you go to someone’s patch you are often confronted with a task like weeding it, watering it, removing a neighbours’ dog, dealing with rabbits (as above). And you are equipped with specific implements for specific jobs (as below).

Today I went to two patches to discover that a “wily fox had paused in the garden”. I looked at my implements and couldn’t work out which I was supposed to use. Was I sup…

Eurovision 2008: Part 2

Ukraine's Ani Lorak

France's Sebastien Tellier

Hi Zeitgeisters,

This is the second part of my Eurovision re-cap. Part 1 is here on my site. We return now to the Belgrade Arena where the flags of various European countries are waving, the audience is screaming and a Scandanavian nation is about to blitz the Eurovison Song Contest (ESC) stage.

16. Denmark

Denmark’s entry was the lyrically uninspired, but musically quite catchy ‘All Night Long’. It was sung by SIMON MATHEW and he had an actual band backing him up. They played a 1970s style number that sounded like the sort of thing Mika might do if they decided to give up their career and enter the Eurovision Song Contest. The old-timey vibe continued with the band’s apparel. They had flat caps and braces, which were the height of 1930s-style retro-chic when Gilbert O’Sullivan dressed this way, back in 1972 and sang Alone Again (Naturally). Or maybe they were knocking off Chas and Dave. Can’t say for sure.

17. Georgia


Take Two Aspirins


I phoned the Doctor today, feeling poorly. I was put in a phone queue for about five minutes and listened to the customised message about the services my Medical Centre provides. They look forward to seeing me, apparently, which is awesome.

Then an allegedly human voice came on and quite snippily replied that the whole practice was booked out tomorrow, what about Monday? I said okay while not really feeling it was. I then told dronebot which doctor I usually see, figuring that I wanted the same one who had been following my test results for the last year or so. I was told he was on leave.

So, the breakdown.

1. We’re too busy to answer you now, so wait.
2. We’re too busy to see you tomorrow, so wait until Monday.
3. The doctor, exhausted from his busy schedule isn’t here so wait until he’s back, if you really feel you need to talk to the guy who has been advising on your treatment.

Yeah, it’s way better than struggling to find a doctor in the Third World or in regional Australia, but…

Marketing, Huh?!

Creativity and commercialism collide


Most of us have developed effective filters for advertising. We know when we’re being sold to or marketed at. So it’s pleasant to see something new. I say new in the sense that this piece of advertising makes no sense at all.

Yesterday, I was walking from the Perth train station and into the city when I spied this in Myer’s window. After walking on for half a dozen steps, I turned back and took another look because it didn’t compute.

As far as I can tell the message is: “after shopping for great fashion why not visit our café and enjoy a hot beverage and a…” And a what? What IS that? A bagel with sesame seeds? A donut with sprinkles? Why is it circling that mannequin like a doughy life preserver or the rings of Saturn rendered in pastry?

I figured the interpretation of this mercantile art installation was beyond me, so I whipped out the trusty Nokia and took a photo. Seriously, what the heck is going on here?

Mr Trivia

Boom Times in Perth

A Steve Parish image of Perth, W.A.

Hi Zeitgeisters,

Those of you who are full of joy, need to turn away from this ‘blog post now, because today Mr Trivia is not full of joy, but piss and vinegar and he is referring to himself in the third person - never a good sign.Perth, Western Australia, the glittering city ‘twixt the ‘scarp (Darling Escarpment) and the Sea (Indian Ocean) where I dwellest, is going through something of a transition at the moment. According to Channel 7’s never-sensationalist and always-accurate TODAY TONIGHT program, our state is in the midst of a Boom. Everyone says this. In fact, they utter this piece of wisdom whenever possible. It fills in breaks in conversations and the moments between television programs. WA is in the midst of a Boom. Everyone says that.In the TODAY TONIGHT piece, the Pilbara was shown as a place where a shrewd landlord can make a stack of money renting out even a one bedroom fibroshack for $1000 dollars a week.And it's all thanks to tha…


Hi Zeitgeisters,

Check out this slightly dodgy badge of my Green pride. If you're on Facebook you can add the 'Li'l Green Patch' Application and save square feet of rain forest. According to the app's creators when one uses it, advertisers donate money to a Rain Forest charity.

Feeling a little cynical about this proposition? Have some doubts that merely messing in cyberspace can save real world ecosystems? Click on this weird little character below, do some research and make up your own mind.

Elevate the Insignificant

Mr Trivia

Cross Media


I’ve just read a New Idea online interview with Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross (Marcia Cross: I Am Messy And I Don’t Cook). She plays the character of Bree on the show (as if you didn’t know). I found the questions lame and I felt her answers reflected their lameiousness.

So, using paranormal forces that I barely understand, I have decided to redo this interview, whilst performing a quasi-channeling of Ms Cross. Together, in a Star Trekkian Mr Trivia/Marcia Cross mind-meld, I believe that we can deliver a more satisfactory result than you’ll find at this link.
Read on, friends.

How do you like your TV home?

It’s pretty cool for a rental in Perth. A bedroom. A carpet of indeterminate colour. And some shockingly poor motel art on the wall. I’ve just had a rent increase and it’s still relatively cheap. There’s a minerals boom, apparently.

What's your own home in LA like?

Don’t have one, thanks. If I find Perth expensive, then I guess that Los Angeles is out of my p…

Stand-Up Guy


You know we love breakfast television. And you know we love Channel 9. So the tribulations of the Australian TODAY SHOW over the last few years hath sorely troubled us, here at The Tract.

Back in 2005 when TODAY tumbled from the top spot after a challenge from Channel 7s SUNRISE program (hosted by the inimitable Kochie and Mel), the Channel 9’s TODAY went through a number of changes. Long-time male co-anchor Steve ‘Liebo’ Liebmann was given the bullet and female co-anchor Tracy Grimshaw was teamed with Karl Stefanovic.

Mr Stefanovic is a man who clearly has a strong following among the powers-that-be at Nine because in all subsequent tinkering with the TODAY format, he has remained firmly in his co-host’s chair.

Grimshaw was replaced at great expense with the controversial Jessica Rowe. Her stint was short lived and controversial. Apparently Australia didn’t like her (but clearly loved Karl). Rowe went on maternity leave and amongst the tryouts for her seat were Sarah Mu…

Am I Rachel Green Enough?


Well, there it was, in the “Notifications” part of my Facebook page. Three of my FB friends were Rachel Green from Friends. Which one was she? Oh yeah. Jennifer Aniston. Three in a row just like that. A hat-trick sorority of Green clones. That was fine for them and their Rachel ‘dos.

But what of me? Was I Rachel Green enough to take the mantle? Gritting my teeth I added the “Which Friends Character Are You?” application and answered the not-too-stupid questions. I mean I had to do it – I have blogged about my feelings for FRIENDS.

Question #1:

How would you like to spend a Saturday afternoon?
Cooking a fancy dinner Shopping, of course! TV - 'nuff said Doing absolutely nothing Saturday's a great time to get your work done! Figure out where to go and whether there will be hot people there.Surely “doing absolutely nothing” and “TV” were the same answer? Which would I chose? What Would Rachel Do? Shopping, right? But I couldn’t consciously skew the …

Beside Myself


For reasons best left undisclosed right now, I recently unearthed my model of retired Danish footballer Peter Schmeichel. Now, I don't know the difference between football and soccer - but thanks to this figurine of Schmeichel, that I bought from Good Sammy's in Fremantle about three years ago, he is one of only two players that I can name from the latter half of the 20th century. Kevin Keegan is the other. Don't know why. Yeah, and I guess George Best. And I suppose David Beckham, but you get the point.

I know as much about the "World Game" as the W.A. State Government knows about keeping its nose clean. And speaking of noses, the one on the plastic model of Schmeichel is about the only thing that bears a slight resemblance to the man himself. I was showing him off to some colleagues the other day at work and they said, "Nah - he looks more like Gary Busey in POINT BREAK."

Wonder if the unlikeness was a case of ineptitude or design? You do…

Who is Quincy?

Hi Zeitgeisters,

Wondering about all this "Quincy" stuff? No? Well if you were, you could head over to the site and discover a YouTube clip of a 1982 episode of QUINCY: M.E.

He was the Medical Examiner who got involved. He was a detective, a social worker, a rabble-rouser. As you will see.

As Wayne and Schuster used to say "They don't make 'em like that anymore!" The answer was always the same, "They won't let them..."

Elevate the Insignificant,

Mr Trivia

Quincy is Back!


As you can see, I've changed things here at The Tract. We've moved from Blogspot fave template "Minima Blue" to that other Blogspot fave "Rounders 3" - both designed by Douglas Bowman. Or Dave. No, Douglas.

But why? It's boxes, and it's pastelly, and there's a yellowy element and an uncomfortable evocation of institutional scrambled eggs with a wan side order of lettuce.

Very true. But after almost two years of our trusty friend Min Blue, I felt it was time to mix it up a little. Yeah, I know. Radical.

I'm also making changes to the other site

Remember, if it's good enough for the Buddha and Daisy Fuentes, it's good enough for us. Change, that is.

Sit back and enjoy the shifting panorama.



P.S. Oh yes, Quincy is back, brothers and sisters!

This Here is the Wattle...


Dunno what Australia Day was like in your part of Oz but across here in Perth it was an exuberant display of spirited patriotism - or an opportunity for numerous bogans - many wearing the Australian flag as a cape - to get completely trashed and act like d*ckheads.

I stayed out of my trendy South Perth apartment from 9am. The roadblocks were already up at the end of my street because the best vantage point for the fireworks display is only about a kilometre from my house.

When I got back home at 2am on Sunday, there were only three traffic cones, some hamburger buns, a few empty tinnies and about half a dozen cooked sausages strewn over the carpark. We'd got off very lightly.

So Aussie, Aussie Aussie!

Mr Cobber Trivia

I Love A Sunburnt Country


I was down at Dingo Fuel early tonight, 11pm-ish, getting my petrol from Ravi and Dean.

Ravi wanted to show me all his fantastic Australia Day gear. They aren't far from the fireworks staging area, so the company has brought in a range of patriotically themed products to cater for the discerning Oz Day party-goer. There were Australian flag motifs on everything - novelty hats, stickers, beach balls, t-shirts. They also had a range of sparkly body paint and glow sticks (only 3 bucks!).

Dean's favourite was the Australian flag hat where the flag was basically a large pin surrounded with tiny red LEDs that flashed on and off.

I was a little disappointed that nothing played a tinny electronic version of LAND DOWN UNDER or ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR.

There's always next year.

Mr Trivia

Hanks on Letterman


I'm not a huge fan of Tom Hanks, so I wasn't looking forward to seeing him spruik his latest film, CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR on Late Night with David Letterman tonight. However, something about sharing the green room with Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee must have arced up Mr Hanks.

He came out full of energy and just launched into it with Dave.

HANKS: I was just back stage with Mike Huckabee the next President…of Iowa!Surely everyone has decided who they’re voting for by now, anyone who says they’re undecided is just saying that because they want to get their shopping in the car quickly. (mimes pushing shopping cart) come on kids they want money or something!

DAVE L:So who are you supporting?

HANKS: I have no idea

AUDIENCE: (Big Laugh)

HANKS: But I have some questions in my mind which I haven’t thought of yet…I want to hear the answer to those. Remember Dave, They’re campaigning for change. Campaigning for change!

DAVE L: Does it have to be about change –…

Taxing Times


I was speaking to Rollo Tomasi (not his real name) at the ATO (not a real government department) today on the electric telephone. He explained to me why it was only fair and reasonable that the outstanding amount I owed, was upped a further 15.75% every time crude oil prices went up or down.

He then explained that this was why the amount I owed the people of Australia was actually different to the amount on the little chit the Australian Tax Office sent me.

MR TRIV: It’s not a little chit. It’s a pretty big chit, actually.

ROLLO T: Very good sir, humour will get you through this.

MR TRIV: I suppose you’ve heard that one before?

ROLLO T: Yes, but not this week.

MR TRIV: So I’m supposed to recalculate this amount before I pay you…

ROLLO T: Factoring in the US Sub Prime Loan crisis and El Nino, yes.

MR TRIV: What about the Australian cricket team’s run rate?

ROLLO T: It depends whether you mean beach cricket or v. India.

MR TRIV: I’d just like to say that all of this is undemocra…

Monopoly Rant


Rex Glasini, one our angry buddies over at, has put up a polemical video he has sourced on the YouTube, the words are by veteran American stand-up George Carlin (pictured above), but the whole thing seems to be put together by one of them culture-jammin' YouTubers in support of presidential hopeful Ron Paul.

Check out the Monopoly Men and their left leaning agitiations, here.

Mr Trivia

Anyone for Coffee?


Like many a workplace planet-wide (start big, I say) ours worships the coffee bean. I didn't realise how much a disciple I was until I chanced into work early.

Strictly, against the terms of the UN's Hardly Workin'Convention (a.k.a. the Mañana Protocol) I cruised through the office and did a quick check on what I needed to do next week (I'd had five weeks away, see).

And there I discovered a Christmas card from the coffee chain Gloria Jeans addressed to Big Red, The Ghost and myself (names changed to protect the addicted).

Might be time to cut down on the caffeine in 2008.

Elevate the Insignificant,

Mr Trivia

Number Plates


I caught three new vanity plates while I was on my travels.

MATRIARCH was on a new model small car. Naturally I had to see who embodied these qualities, but the vehicle appeared to be driven by a man. Ironic comment? Or husband doing the Matriarch’s bidding?

DEARLY was also on a newer car. The fact that it’s an adverb is what makes it so intriguing. Could have said DEAR, or DEAREST, but, no.

LAYED OUT was on a cashed-up bogan’s ute. The vehicle was immaculate on the outside. I guess it could have been a sexual innuendo, but the spelling LAID OUT would be better for that, although that sounds like one’s laying days are in the past. Maybe the guy lays pavers during the week?

It’s a mystery!

Mr Trivia

p.s.Despite what it says on the above graphic, appears defunct, but is still up and running.

Happy New Year


You will recall how the changeover between the new year and the old year is traditionally represented by an infant and an old man with a long white beard. This venerable fella is known as Old Father Time, the kid is Chronos Junior or L’il Timex or somethin’. Wikipedia it, dude.

This graphic notion is still fresh after two hundred some years and I hope you enjoy this version of same.

Sign on for 2008 and enjoy more curmudgeonly irony with Mr Trivia, unless I have an epiphany or apotheosis and become a beatific being shining forth love and good vibes.

The odds are 20 to 1 against, I’d say.

Elevate the Insignificant,
Mr Trivia