Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Plight Of The Wrestling Fan


Many people compare wrestlers to stuntmen, but that is not accurate. Stuntmen are a very small part of one big project, and they are brought in as a helping hand to the artists behind the film, taking orders and performing what is necessary for the filmmakers vision. But in wrestling, the only artists are in the ring, performing their own vision, and all in one take.

It's closest cousin is the theatre, in which people pay to lose themselves in a story which is played out right in front of them. And that is what I value most, being able to lose myself and watch a story play out, letting my emotions free, not knowing what's going to happen next.

In Japan and Mexico, wrestling is viewed in a very different way than in America, because the wrestling that is available on TV in those countries is totally different. It is viewed as an extremely athletic art, the wrestlers don't look like bohemoths and there is none of those bad yelling interviews you see in America. It has been this way for many decades. It is respected as much as any other artform, because the matches in Japan and Mexico are, well, actually good and the wrestlers take it very seriously. One of the great Japanese wrestlers, Mitsuharu Misawa, died in the ring in early 2009 after being dropped on his head one too many times. It shocked and saddened wrestling fans around the world. When Japanese TV news aired the story, they dedicated 15 minutes to it and the newscasters were finding it hard not to cry on the air. Because to the Japanese people, Misawa was not a silly larger than life character on a bad homosexual soap opera, he was a performer who put his body on the line every night to entertain people. And he was tough. Really tough. To take a look at any of his classic matches throughout the 1990's is to see a genuinely tough man telling a great story.

One problem wrestling faces in the west is that people feel a sense of being lied to and I'll explain why. Wrestling's origins are in the circus' at the turn of the century, and when matches took place, they were designed to make people believe the two men weren't performing, but that they actually wanted to hurt each other. Over the next century, wrestling promoters and organizations kept that up, with the goal being to have people become so lost in the illusion that they can't tell that what they are seeing is in fact not really happening. Sort of like a magic trick. Wrestling matches weren't the crazy over-the-top spectacles that we see today, they were all about creating the story through looking as real as possible. But as wrestling became more flamboyant in the 1980's, it became obvious that it was a show, and alot of people think that wrestling tries to present itself as a competitive sport, when in fact that idea was gone two decades ago. The only people that think wrestling is a sport are the children that watch WWE. Kids also believe in Santa Clause, but we don't condemn the adults that still celebrate christmas. Yes, wrestling is like the theatre with the illusion of reality, but it is not 'fake', which is the default word to describe wrestling in the western world. The endings are predetermined, and big spots in the match are devised, worked out and talked through by the wrestlers beforehand, but the wrestlers are hurting themselves every time they have a match so 'fake' is a word that doesn't sit well with wrestling fans because we feel it shows disrespect or ignorance.


A wrestling fan doesn't just like any wrestling match just because it's available. For as many great exciting fights as there are out there, there can also be poor quality matches that bore you to death, and this is what the majority of society witnesses when they turn on the television to find two steroid induced giants throwing each other around. These wrestlers are the equivalent of Ja Rule, Britney Spears or the new Michael Bay movie. Their matches are bloated, over-produced and the easiest thing to sell to kids (and therefore the advertisers). And that's what WWE (formerly WWF) is about: making money. And that is why the wrestlers in WWE are there, because of the huge pay-days. It's the same reason any hack singer, comedian or actor does a bad album, sitcom or movie. And it's sad, because there are the other 99% of wrestlers around the world who are looked down upon by the public just because in the 1980's someone found a way to market wrestling to children.


By 1987, wrestling in America had become a monopolized industry, with the watered down, roided up WWF being the only public representation of the artform. So while the theatrics of Hulkamania were running wild in the late 80's, there was only one company with the chance to compete with the WWF on a national level, and it's name was World Championship Wrestling, with an extremely rich history dating back to 1948. Unlike the circus that was the WWF, WCW was putting on great matches and they had a syndicated television deal making it the only direct competition to the WWF. It also, by default, became the only way to see a quality wrestling match on TV. So, to generalize a little, the people that loved wrestling watched WCW while the majority of viewers watched WWF. It all seemed fine until a billionaire named Ted Turner (owner of CNN) bought WCW, creating a seismic shift in the industry, to some for the better but to most, for worse.

- Lee

PART TWO NEXT WEEK - The Monday Night Wars, The Rise and Fall of ECW, and A New Era Of Honor

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Album of the Week: Are You Experienced

Are You Experienced?
Jimi Hendrix Experience

The debut album for the English/American rock band. Are you Experienced was released on May 12, 1967.


1. Foxy Lady
2. Manic Depression
3. Red house
4. Can You See Me
5. Love or confusion
6. I Don't Live Today
7. May This Be Love
8. Fire
9. Third Stone From the Sun
10. Remember
11. Are You Experienced?

Bonus Tracks on the version I have

Hey Joe
Stone Free
Purple Haze
51st Anniversary
The wind Cries Mary
Highway Chile

Why I chose this:

Ever since the Beatles first caressed my ears with the magic of music and taught me the wonders of the 60s I have been keen to hear some of the other great acts of the 60s and 70s. This led me to the likes of The Beach boys, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd among others. However, I always wanted to get into Jimi Hendrix but never seemed to get around to it. So I decided I would use AotW to kick start my Jimi Hendrix Experience. Their first album is Are You Experienced? and my answer to that question is: No. But in a few weeks I will be!


Album of the Week: Making Movies

Making Movies
Dire Straits

Making Movies is the third album released by Dire Straits, it was released on the 17th of October 1980.

Track listing:

1. Tunnel of Love
2. Romeo and Juliet
3. Skateaway
4. Expresso Love
5. Hand in Hand
6. Solid Rock
7. Les Boys

Why I Chose This:
I heard this album many times when I was about 13 years old. My stepdad used to play it a lot on the weekends when he'd be driving my step brother and I out to ride dirt bikes. I really liked it then, and it was only a couple of years ago that I thought I'd listen to it again. I gained a new appreciation for it, Mark Knopflers vocals and guitar playing is just so infectious. You'll know from the very first track, Tunnel of Love (which happens to be an 8 minute epic) that this is album is purely and simply great rock music.

- Dogman

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Roy Story II

(Mike and Roy)

Roy Story I in case you missed it


“Hey man, why are you still here? Shouldn’t you be with the Spiders?”
“Nah, I got moved to the cats! I’m working with Roy!”
“Oh, you serious?! Good luck, man”

I had just learned that I was working with Roy today. A puma! I was excited, but also a little nervous. And it wasn’t helping that almost every conversation I had possessed a similar theme.

You’re working with Roy?!”
“You’re working with Roy!?”
YOU’RE working with ROY!?!?”
“You’re fucked, man”

I brushed it off and maintained a nonchalant ambience (my cover for being tired and anti social) but inside the nerves were beginning to kick. I was asking myself ‘Who is this mythical cat, whose reputation has apparently already beaten me before I’ve even seen him?’

Dave arrived at around 8am. It was his last day. He was actually working with another cat but was filling in for Mike, Roy’s regular volunteer, who was suffering from severe food poisoning. I learned that I was replacing Roy’s other volunteer, who had quit after having to deal with some scary ‘jumps’. Another volunteer from Israel, Oren, was also helping out, though he worked with another cat and had never worked with Roy either. After stocking up with 6L of water for the morning (an extra six was required for the afternoon), the three of us set out with a collective 3 days of Roy experience between us.

Just the trek to Roy’s cage left me sweating and breathing heavy. I had a blister the size of a 50c piece on the ball of my right foot from playing soccer a few days prior, and it hurt every step I took. I started to hear the whispers of the earlier warnings people had told me, but these were muted out by Roy calling out from somewhere ahead of us. It sounded like a loud, raspy cat meow laced with excitement and irritation at the same time.

“Hola Roy!” Dave yelled as we passed under a fallen tree trunk.
“Reeoow!!” came another call from ahead.

Dave explained this was Roy’s area and we should all call out to let him know we have arrived. Oren and I complied, and a few moments later we saw Roy’s cage with a big, beautiful cat pacing around inside. He had golden brown fur, he was strong and lean and as he paced back and forth you could see the ripples of tensed muscles. His eyes had an intensity about them, yet also possessed a calm confidence. We placed our hands through the gaps in the cage so he could get a scent of us, like we were shaking hands for the first time. He coolly passed his nose within range of my hands but I started to detect more irritation from him then excitement. As I got to know him over the next few weeks I understood his annoyance.

The cage itself was fairly ugly looking but the light jungle surrounds were picturesque. A long, rope runner extended from the cage for about 25m to which we attached his leash. The leash was about 5m. He had a decent area to stretch and warm up in while we cleaned his cage and prepared for the walk. Dave also fed him some long grass to help with his digestion. While connected to the runner he could reach most places in his area except for the rest area where volunteers could relax under a tarpaulin for lunch and the water hole to the other side. These two areas were separated by a small passageway behind the cage. Anyone who walked inside Roy’s runner area while he was there was fair game.

When we were ready Dave wrapped a thick leash around his waist and went down to attach it to Roy. We embarked on our journey after a briefing from Dave. He explained what a ‘jump’ is and how to deal with one. Apparently when the puma wants to, whether he is annoyed or in a playful mood or just gets a good chance to, he will attack the leash holder and the others have to come and pull him away. Simple enough. So with me carrying 4L of water and Oren carrying 2L and a heavy back-up leash we followed Dave.

“Chau Sonko! Megalong-Short!” Dave yelled.
“Chau Roy” replied a distant voice. Sonko was a neighbouring puma whose runs were structured around Roy’s to avoid any chance of the two meeting. Megalong-Short was the run we were doing this morning. A Megalong was a 70-90 minute trail and a Short took around 40 minutes.

After about 20 seconds of walking Roy bolted up a very steep hill and then continued to power on. “Roy is a creature of habit,” Dave told us, “He sprints up that hill every time.” We climbed steep, winding inclines and then descended the other sides, sometimes 1.5m drops at a time all at the cruisy pace of a puma. We walked through dried up creek beds of slippery rocks and then actual creeks with daring jumps that left my boots soaked with water. By now I had forgotten that there was a pain in my blistered foot. I actually tried to focus on it to distract my mind from the pain in my thighs and chest.

As we reached a flat stretch of the trail Dave explained how Roy ended up at the park. His mother was killed by hunters when he was young and he was taken and sold to someone who then gave him to a friend as a present. The park then inherited him and has raised him, trying to provide a life as similar to a natural one as possible. I drank close to a litre of water as he talked. My body had recovered slightly from the trek so far but then we came up to the Hills. This was easily the toughest part of the trail. Eight climbs one after the other at a frenetic pace, my legs were struggling under the weight of myself and the backpack. We then continued on through some more difficult areas before reaching a resting point in a creek. Roy sat himself down in the cool shallow waters while we all drank looking a little worse for wear.

“So that’s the Megalong done,” Dave announced. The next forty minutes of the ‘Short’ was filled with excruciating pain and exhaustion. I dug to some deep unknown regions of will power to keep going til the end. The morning session was over.


The rest of that first day is like a blur now. In the lunch break I sat alone amongst the other volunteers trying to convince my body to do it again. In the afternoon session I almost collapsed at the top of the Hills, basically crawling the last few steps to the summit. I was forever grateful when Dave decided to only do a Megalong without the short. I limped home in sweat stained clothes. I showered and changed. There was a big party that was planned for the night. I spent the whole time sitting hunched on a fold out chair, only drinking a few drinks before crashing.

The next day I caught a lucky break. Dave had left and Oren went back to his cat. Mike was still too sick so my day was just sitting with Roy as he paced back and forth on his runner. I don’t think this pleased Roy ay all. He would walk up as close as he could get and growl in annoyance. He just wanted was to walk (or jump me) while I sat in a hammock listening to TV on the Radio.

Before this, though, I was needed to help with some construction, which turned out to be a chance for the Spider monkeys to give me a final farewell. While cementing a cage with Neil, an Irish guy working with Sonko, I left my backpack unattended. We finished the cementing job and as we started heading back I saw a spider monkey looking through my bag.

Oh! How cute! She is so curious and so smart and-Wait…what’s that in her hands?

She looked at me startled, eyes wide open and a look of guilt on her face. I walked over curiously and saw something very official-looking fall from her hands. My mind started racing. Although I had arrived over a week earlier, I still hadn’t taken my passport out of my backpack. I looked down and saw my little blue book of stamps. I picked it up and examined the damage. Bite marks on some important stamps and two pages with sections about the size of a spider monkey mouth torn out. Goddamn monkey cost me $250 when the Brazilians wouldn’t accept such a damaged document. Although it was fun using broken Spanish to explain to the embassy that a monkey ate my passport.


Two days later and I was about to face another test. I had met Mike and he had started to teach me the finer details of working with Roy, including some commands like ‘Muy bien, Roy’ ‘Vamos, Chico’ and ‘No mas!’ The idea was to remain strong and in charge with the commands. But really all I was trying to learn was how to avoid being jumped. Mike was a really cool guy. He was an English guy, 25 years old and had been with Roy for around three weeks at this stage and it showed. The constant exercise with Roy combined with the food poisoning had left him very thin, though he was still the fittest in the park (aside from Roy).

“You ready to take Roy out today?” Mike asked as we walked up to the cage. That afternoon I was going to take the reigns for the first time. I was going to change from being the back up guy who saves the other guy when he is jumped, to…well, the other guy. I was excited and nervous at the same time, but I had more pressing matters at hand.

“Chau Sonko! Megalong-Short!” It was another gruelling trek but I was slowly becoming accustomed to the pain. My body had accepted that this was its fate: to heed to the demands of my mind, which had accepted its fate: to heed to the demands of Roy. I had worked out a good system of focusing on the pain and trying to share the load between all parts of my body. If my thighs were burning, I would be grateful that my lungs were still strong. And if my lungs were struggling to maintain the oxygen levels I would focus on my wobbly legs. This and a growing knowledge of the trail helped me work past each landmark and conserve energy on the easier sections in preparation for the aching climbs and knee crunching descents.

The day was a hot one. We easily polished off our regulation 2L water bottles by the time we finished the trek. It was about 12:30 and as Roy sunbathed in his runner area, Mike went down to the café for lunch. Because of the heat I was soaked in my own sweat to the point where it looked like I had just showered in those clothes. I took off my shirt and pants, as well as my shoes and socks. I hung my clothes to dry on the rope that held up the tarp and put on my thongs. I decided that I would go cool off in the water hole on the other side.

I figured the only way to get to the water hole was either to pass in front of Roy’s cage, directly through his area, or to squeeze behind it. Behind was only a small gap that Roy couldn’t reach due to the length of his leash; however he could cover both sides for about 3m if he wanted. I saw him resting on a patch of grass looking very chill, so I dropped down off a ledge and scooted across and behind the cage. It was tight and I had to shuffle sideways to the other side and I scooted once more to safety. Roy was unfazed and uninterested when I looked at him so I went on to have a dip in the water. It was extremely refreshing and I felt great as I cooled down.

Confident from my first crossing, and feeling good from the exercise and the little swim, I again checked on Roy to make sure he wasn’t interested in my exploits. He was motionless as he lay in the dirt just out front of his cage. I set off to get behind the cage again, but my thongs made my steps a little awkward and I was slowed down by a fallen branch. It seemed like instinct, or maybe my subconscious telling me something, Wasn't he on the grass bef- I turned my head to see the awesome figure of Roy rounding the front corner of his cage. In two graceful leaps he covered some 5m, his eyes now looked like Indiana Jones’ reaching out for the Holy Grail, locked on my fleshy white thigh. He slammed me against the wall. He was holding my chicken leg like a drumstick as his teeth gnashed into the bare flesh.

“No mas, Roy! NO MAS!” I said, trying to maintain a calm, authoritative voice. Not surprisingly he continued his game. It really is all a game to him, just reacting on his instincts, but I was alone and it seemed like it was going to be all fun and games until someone has their leg eaten by a puma. I still have the vivid image in my head of his teeth scraping along my leg, almost raising the bruise as they passed.

In what seemed like an eternal struggle, I edged to the safety of the passage behind the cage. There was no anger or malice in his eyes. He was going easy on me, which is probably why he didn’t fully break the skin. I finally succeeded in escaping his grasp and after a short stare down with him I started my sideways shuffle to the other side. Roy was on top of that though; he quickly ran around the other side of the cage and stared at me again with those unnerving eyes. He patrolled both exits waiting to see if I was keen for round 2, as I stood squashed behind his cage in my undies, starting to shake a little as the adrenalin wore off and the pain in my leg became a reality.

“Roy! You OK?” It was Neil coming over from Sonko’s area.
“Yeah man, just got…ah stuck in his area for a bit.” I replied trying again to remain nonchalant (this time I was sure I couldn’t disguise my true emotion). I can only imagine how funny the image must have looked for him to see a puma stalking some guy in his underpants trapped behind a cage. Roy eventually lost interest and I quickly ran out to safety. Neil had a good laugh at my story, as did everyone I told it to. The swelling stayed for about a week or so and the scars since faded some months later.

When Mike came back from lunch I told him what happened and he loved it. By this point he was in love with Roy and anything that brought Roy joy brought Mike joy as well. I started to feel it myself from that point as well. I took Roy out that afternoon, no longer worried about getting jumped (at least this time I would have pants), and the whole afternoon was great. It seemed like Roy respected me for facing up to him like that, whether intentional or otherwise, and we had a new understanding of each other. He had such a tough guy persona that it was very rewarding when I finally started to bond with him. We were becoming brothers.


It had now been 5 or 6 days working with Roy the drill sergeant. He had marched through the jungle trails like he was on a mission to push his volunteers to the extremes of pain. And when someone screwed up, instead of yelling ‘Drop and give me twenty!’ he would say ‘Drop and give me twenty bites of your leg!’. He would only stop to scent, to jump or to shit. The funny thing about his shits was that they seemed to scare him, or at least the smell did, because every time he did one he would sprint away from it as fast as possible. This was always a thrilling experience for the person attached to him and a hilarious one for the second guy who got to watch. The first time Roy shat with me leading he sprinted up a hill and onto his favourite trail, confusing us all as the Megalong suddenly turned into a Short. The second time was even better.

Ed, a vet from Australia, had just started getting trained for Roy. They had decided to train an extra person for when Mike left to avoid the possibility of being short on fit volunteers for Roy. Ed was a funny guy. He was already ultra fit and loved the challenge of keeping up with Roy. Everything to Ed was a challenge, and I think I learnt from his positivity. The way he attacked the once fearsome Hills helped me to get through them easier every time.

So with me leading, Mike behind chatting to Ed who had his camera out filming and taking some photos, we reached the long runner. This was a very steep, muddy hill. We would detach Roy from our waist and hook his leash onto a runner so that he doesn’t pull anyone down at injury inducing speeds. The mud was a little wet so it was very slippery, but nothing unusual. Then Roy decides to spice things up. He stops and starts inspecting the ground just at the top of the hill.

“Vamos Chico,” I said when he had lingered for a while, unaware of his intentions.
“I think he’s gonna shit, man” Mike said with a smile of disbelief, realising that Roy was going to bolt full speed down the fastest part of the trail.
“Fuck off” I said dumbfounded at the prospect.
“Get the camera Ed! Film it!”

I stood shaking my head while Ed filmed and Mike laughed. Roy knew how to draw out the suspense as well. He slowly prepared his spot and after what seemed like an age, took a nice big shit. Mike attached him to the runner just in time for Roy to bolt. The leash flew out of my hands and we took off down the hill after him. I fell on my ass at least 37 times in the ten second descent, and judging by the video so did Mike and Ed. I reached the end of the runner and saw Roy hiding to the right in the bushes. His eyes still meant business, only betraying a fraction of the excitement he must have felt seeing me stumble down the hill like a blind rabbit unaware of its predator’s gaze. I actually overran his position so his first movement left him stationed at my head level. I was farther down the hill. He had all the advantage. We both acted simultaneously. He jumped and I ducked. He didn’t expect it and went over my head and the tangle of his leash caused him to be awkwardly on his back now below me. I had gained the advantage and held him down while he struggled to regain his feet. Just as he did, ready to continue our game, Mike arrived and pulled him away.

I reattached his leash around my waist and we continued on to a creek where Roy decided to have a rest. We all laughed about what happened and rewatched the video, which showed a flash disappear followed by Mike and I both falling over and then the camera went all over the place as Ed also fell over. Roy was enjoying himself. He looked around pensively, his business-like eyes showing some satisfaction with the way the day had gone so far. It was always tough to stare him down without losing your nerve. There was a look he gave that said 'I’m going to get you' whenever there were new volunteers. I got it that second day when he was stuck on his runner watching me lounge around in a hammock. But he never gave this look to anyone more than he did to Ed. Ed saw everything as a challenge and I think Roy saw Ed as a challenge as well. He and Ed had some good battles over the next few weeks.


The days kept ticking over and the bond between Roy and I grew. A good acid test for his appreciation of a volunteer was the head butts. There was a point on the trail where he would give you the chance to bump or brush your head against his. Similar to how a house cat brushes against your leg. However, if you did it wrong then he would forget the head butt and just jump you. I was getting frequent head butts and Roy was starting to really enjoy having consistent volunteers working with him. He appreciated the familiar faces of us three as opposed to my first day, when it was three strangers and no Mike. Each day we would finish the trails soaked in sweat, knees aching and exhausted. Roy would eat his chicken and we would leave him with a “Chau Roy!”

I was loving it. This all happened in my first week with Roy and I had another two to go. This was easily the most amazing experience of my life.

- Eden (while listening to Return to Cookie Mountain by TV on the Radio)

Roy Story III

Monday, August 24, 2009


The times when I'm alone are often the most productive parts of my day, I don't mean productive in the sense that I get actual work done (contributing tax dollars to society) but I do get a lot of good thinking done. Reflecting on yourself, your thoughts and what happened to you during your day is something everyone should do as it helps in all sorts of situations.

If you're worried about something, speaking to friends or family about it is often a great thing to do, but then again, talking about whatever it maybe over with yourself can be just as good. When I'm worried or concerned about some pending event, and I have a moment to myself, I like to think of the worst that things could turn out. Seems like a silly thing, but confronting what your worried about (and essentially afraid of) brings clarity and the ability to deal with it before it even occurs - that is if the worst case scenario even does occur. So you screw up a work, you're really worried... what's the worst they can do, fire you? Maybe, but now that you've thought about it you're already starting to come to terms with the possibility.

Decision making - I do this all the time when I'm alone. Whether it be accepting something the way that it is, or deciding that I need to change, I think a lot of this happens alone. I was looking to buy an apartment many months ago, I had been looking around for a while and nothing was right, I was loosing interest. One night after having finished a book I sat and thought for quite some time, it was then I decided I had to do it, that I could no longer sit on the fence. So I did it, it's a few months later and I have the apartment I set out to buy. Talking to someone I believe would only have clouded my thoughts, only by sitting and thinking to myself was I able to realise what I truly needed to do.

This what being alone is for, realising what you are, what you need to do and what is truly important.

- Dogman

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Nigella Lawson is Awesome

‘When I see a picture of someone who’s really hugely fat I don’t think ‘how hideous!’ I think ‘how delicious it must have been to get there.’’- Nigella Lawson
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson (although apparently she hates being called this as she has never been formally trained as a chef) is an extraordinarily passionate woman about all things food. She takes enormous pleasure in the simple act of preparing a meal, which is why I think she would make a good subject for BOTM as she finds joy in the most unlikely of places. Whether is be the beautiful colour combination that is made when sautéing pale pink bacon and light green leeks, the sound of scraping an avocado from it’s skin, or simply the fresh smell of thyme, Nigella relishes every moment of cooking.
Nigella inspires me in her food philosophy and laid back approach to cooking which is something I have really taken on board in regards to my own cooking. What sets her apart from other ‘celebrity chefs’ is her lack of pretension, honesty and her willingness to defy supposed cooking conventions. She doesn’t worry about using fancy ingredients like fois gras or truffles, or succumb to food trends, for Nigella if the flavour is there than that is really all that matters, in her world you should be able to serve mac and cheese to the queen if it’s tasty enough. One reporter dubbed her ‘queen of the frozen pea’ as she is not ashamed in using the humble product which would have most chefs tsk tsking. Another thing that I can really relate to about her approach to cooking is her express solution to everything. She understands that the average person does not have hours to create a meal these days which is why it is perfectly acceptable to cut a few corners like using stock cubes (who the hell has time to stew a stock for hours and hours!), lime juice from a bottle and pre-cut vegetables. If it still tastes really good than it shouldn’t really matter how you got there!
She is incredibly self- deprecating (which you don’t find amongst most cocky arrogant chefs), forever confessing that the reason she cuts corners is pure laziness or lacking in finesse. She also proclaims to be incredibly greedy when dolling out her enormous portions and this flaw is quite evident in the infamous endings of her cooking shows, as she is always seen going back to the fridge for a midnight snack and plunging back in to her culinary creations.
Another thing which cannot be ignored when broaching the subject of Nigella Lawson is her sexuality. Some say that there is something very primal about eating which connects with sex. You can definitely understand this concept when you watch Nigella, whose programs have been labelled as ‘food porn.’ Her passion for food is all consuming which is why she appears so sensual on screen, that and probably all the deep ‘ooohs and aaahs’ she lets out when preparing her sumptuous treats. It has also been said that there is something very provocative about a woman enjoying eating so much as a lot of women have a very tortured relationship with food, so to see a woman relishing it so much seems almost deviant. When asked in an interview what her favourite guilty pleasure was Nigella quipped ‘The one thing you should never feel guilty about is pleasure.’ She has even gone as far to say that if someone didn’t enjoy eating than she wouldn’t want to have sex with them as they would have no understanding of pleasure.
For some reason whenever I admire someone I have this weird desire to be related to them. I always say to Lee that I wish Nigella was my Aunt ( not my mother as I would get too fat!) an Aunt is just right as I could indulge occasionally without having to feel to bad. So I leave you with a clip of Aunt Nigella in action-
Feeling hungry yet?!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I am a musician and songwriter and my goal is to do it for a living for the rest of my life. I will be doing it for the rest of my life anyway, so why not have it be my sole profession. But over the last few years, I have been waiting for something to happen, thinking that my talent will suffice and that I don't really need to much else for my musical dream life to happen. But nothing was happening. As an artist I have been doing great, writing some very good music, but nothing happened towards my 'career'.

I have spent time frustrated with myself when my career is stalling, even while understanding that it is because of procrastination, yet doing nothing about it. The crazy part is not my lack of progression, for that is completely logical due to the aforementioned lazy attitude. No, the crazy part is that I'm even frustrated or surprised at all when it has been a conscious decision not to get out of a rut of which there is a simple way to get out of.

I am now learning that simple proactivity will significantly change my life for the better. If I want something and I know what I have to do to get it, then I will do it. Almost everything we do that is positive comes from proactivity.

So in June of 2009, I decided to change. I started thinking about joining a band, then that led to starting one myself and now I'm two months in and I've done more for my music career than I have in the last three years. All because I just did it. Something needed to be done, which required many little things to be done, and I did them one by one.

Sitting on our asses is fine, as long as we don't complain that nothing else is happening. We will experience the joy of that activity and nothing more. It's all a choice, so we better be happy with what we've chosen to do.

There isn't many people truly doing what they love without direct proactivity. And it goes for everything in our lives. Relationships form and grow through proactivity towards the formation and growth.

When we are at a restaurant, we know that to get our food, the required effort is telling the waiter what we want. That is small scale proactivity, the amount of work required for the equivalent reward, in this case getting the food. So naturally, something better than a meal would, in most cases, require more work. It sounds obvious, but nothing is handed to me on a platter. I started thinking about the smallest things, day to day things like brushing my teeth, showering (day to every other day....) and then things like trying a new flavour of a food that turns out to be a great decision. All this requires a conscious proactive energy.

I have also struggled in the past, thinking that it is not moral to want something like success, that it is selfish. But as we can give to others, we can give to ourselves. My success does not result in someone's failure. I want to change myself for the better. I am in awe that I have the opportunities that are in my life, so I want to use them as someone in my position should. And proactivity is my key.

- Lee

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


“You do it to yourself, you do. That’s what really hurts” - Radiohead

Now karma is a strange thing isn’t it? There are plenty of different interpretations as well, which usually lead to misconceptions, confusion or to just ignoring it as superstition. The idea of the universe possessing an unseen power that acts as an omnipotent Supreme Court dealing rewards and punishments based on right and wrong thoughts and actions can be tough to swallow. I mean, shouldn’t a universal power deal in universal justice? We see rich evil powerbrokers prosper off the suffering of good everyday people. Is that fair? Religions can be interpreted to explain the discrepancies of our lives in the short term by offering us eternity in heaven or hell, or reincarnation to a higher or lower power. I assume there are many who have felt like me: I hope karma exists just to inflict suffering on the moron who swore at me as he pushed me out of his way on the train yesterday, while I impatiently wait to reap the benefits of giving up my seat to an elderly woman. We don’t relate to the long term promises of religion if we can’t see any short term proofs.
However, I’ve been trying to break everything down to just straight experience. I mean if it happened to me then I know it to be true. So I viewed karma in the short term as a simple process of cause and effect. Every cause leads to an effect and every effect becomes another cause. For example, this morning you woke and sparked a chain of cause and effect that must have been laced with negative karma because you got stuck reading this blog.
But now we’re here I will take the time to see how the karma really worked for me yesterday. I was very pissed off thinking about the moron on the train, getting myself worked up time and again with ideas of revenge, or what I would do if I could relive the experience, even though I will never see him again. Too pissed off to even remember that the nice lady gave me a warm smile of appreciation when I gave her my seat. So as I keep stewing over that idiot on the train I bump into someone by accident, he apologises but I tell him to ‘Fuck Off!’ I cool down 10 seconds later and feel like an idiot myself. Then I relive that experience and get even angrier, first at myself and then at the dickhead from the train again. I then apply my angry self to my job and perform poorly and so on and so on.
How can I justify so much suffering? I could just as easily have gotten over it and stopped this self implosion from happening. But now that it’s too late. Instead of just causing myself suffering, the negativity spreads beyond me. My boss sees the shit job I did and becomes angry himself. He then takes his anger out on a co-worker who passes it to another co-worker until the whole office is shitty just because of the fuckface on the train!
No, wait. Not because of him, because of me. It’s time I took responsibility. I need to objectively see what I’ve done and I start to realise that I have caused myself pain, and then passed that pain to other people who hurt themselves and then in turn passed it on to others. It is my fault that I am suffering. How can I trust a universal system to deal with this troublesome world if I can’t even take care of myself?
But that nice woman from the train gave me such a warm smile. It makes me smile to think about it. Tomorrow when I come into work, I’m going to think of that lady’s smile every time I get worked up. Better yet, I’m going to smile myself. I’m going to laugh. Laugh with people and laugh at myself. I’m going to spread cycles of positivity. I’m going to receive negative cycles and destroy that negativity and create something positive out of it. Every person that I can impact positively is more likely to share that with others, and if I’m lucky the cycle might come back my way. And if the karmic reward of my own generosity goes to someone else then that in itself is a good enough reward.
- Eden (while listening to SMiLE – Brian Wilson)
N.B. Stay tuned next week for Roy Story II

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Religion in the Age of Intelligence

Religion – it is arguably one of the most heated topics out there. Its very mention can turn a pleasant conversation into a fiery debate. For centuries it has divided nations, and been the cause for many civil wars.

I want to start out by saying that this article is not going to attack any particular religion, or for that matter glorify one over another; I am not a preacher. What I will strive for is to explore my own thoughts on world religion, and how it relates to the 21st Century.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Ah yes, the famous first line found in Genesis 1 from the Bible. I’m referring to the central text of Christianity, a book that has sold so many copies the dudes who wrote it would be turning in their graves for not signing a publishing deal. From my limited understanding of the topic, the Bible is like a makeshift rulebook for a Christian. Followers read it, or go to church to hear someone read it to them, and then apply it to their lives. The wisdom found amongst its pages gives millions of people strength, hope, and often a newfound passion for life. So far so good right?

Let’s ponder this with a hypothetical. Imagine for the sake of argument that the year is 1970, and I am born into a poor family, living in a housing commission on the south side of Chicago. Throughout my youth I am involved in gangs; I sell drugs to get by, and eventually am arrested for being involved in an armed robbery. My life at this point seems to be at a low. However there is something that pulls me through the hard times. Luckily, I was raised to have faith in God, to never give up, and to believe that Jesus Christ is my saviour. Having knowledge that I believe in something good gets me through my jail sentence, and upon my release from prison I begin my new life as a carpenter (a skill I learnt whilst serving time). My life is now complete; I consider myself a happy man.

That was a nice story right? Yes, it was. I’m sure there are instances all over the world where people seek answers in there own God’s, and are able to turn their lives around because of it. But you know what? I wasn’t born on the south side of Chicago, growing up in the 1980s in the American Midwest – a place where there are churches everywhere, and the majority of people are Christian. Oh no my friends, I grew up in the 90s/00s in Australia, and didn’t go to church every Sunday. Furthermore to this point, I am a very sceptical person – and if a question is put to me I need an answer.

Sticking to the Christian faith (don’t worry, the others will get a mention soon), it is believed by many within this religion that on the first day God actually did create the heavens and the earth. According to them, God not only created the heavens and the earth, He created light and darkness, and called them “day” and “night”. I don’t want to be childish about this, so I won’t be. We all know, and a lot of Christians also know, that God actually didn’t possess a human form on Earth and say these things. They are more like folklore within the religion. The words shouldn’t be analysed as themselves, because that is too easy a way to attack Christianity.

However, I will say that even though there are many facets of the Christian faith that has sociological benefits, there are certain scientific claims that I just can’t let slide. Again from my limited knowledge, Christianity all started with Jesus of Nazareth, born sometime around 4 BC in Bethlehem. In the faith, Jesus is the son of God, and one part of the Holy Trinity. Some say he is the Messiah. I have no doubt that there was such a man named Jesus, or Yeshua, and that he did posses great wisdom. The time that he lived in though was very different to today; that was 2000 years ago, a time where disease wiped out entire villages. I don’t think anybody can obtain the state of mind people of Earth would have been in at this period. Just thinking about it blows my mind. So if there was the most influential personality living amongst me, with claims of being the son of God, I would believe him. Not only would I believe him, I would write about him, I would follow him wherever he may travel, and spread the word of his existence. And to see this man sacrifice himself for his cause that he truly believed, I would make sure to continue his legacy.

Now for the controversy – my own opinion is that that is what happened. I don’t know for sure, but either does anyone else. The same applies for many other religions, whether it be Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism. They are all beautiful and fascinating in there own right, and I love each and every one of my brothers and sisters of the world that places their spirituality in these narratives, symbols and ways of life. The only religion that I can connect with is Buddhism. I’m not going to go into why, because that should be reserved for a person with a greater knowledge and passion for the topic, but I can relate with many of its teachings.

Coming back to my earlier hypothetical, I believe that religion is a worthwhile factor for many communities. It can bring people together through the sharing of a common faith. I know many people who are brought up within this environment, and continue to believe in their Religion because it is their comfort zone – it is where all their family and friends are. My character from Chicago used his comfort zone to get out of jail, and turn his life around.

On the flip side of this coin, religion can be a very dangerous tool to brainwash people into either perpetuating their insanity, or to create terror organisations. I have been in many situations where people try and recruit me to their respective faith, a majority of the time this is Christianity given the size of its members. I understand their plight, but sometimes I just want to be left alone and go listen to Black Sabbath.

The year is 2009; we are almost at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century. The human race has come a long way since 4 BC. We are not necessarily more intelligent as someone who would have lived in those times, but the amount of information that is at our fingertips is endless. Even in the past 50 years our knowledge of the Universe we live in has expanded exponentially. There still exist wars, genocide, hunger, disease and poverty, but these things will never go away. We are humans, we are fucked up.

So let me end it. If you have faith in a particular religion, I’m happy for you. I want you to ask yourself a question though, is your faith your own? Do you think organised religion and the mixing of church and state is useful or detrimental to society? I am happy living my life without the burden of having to answer those questions. If we have love then organised religion shouldn’t be necessary. I am smart enough to know though that organised religion does exist, and it is here to stay.

Religion is a very complex topic, and shouldn’t be snarled at; make sure that you are in touch with yourself before you look for answers somewhere else, and all the pieces of the life puzzle will fall into place.

- Russell

Monday, August 17, 2009


"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." - Socrates

In lieu of Lee's poem I thought I'd write a piece about some things I've learned about life in the last few years. When I was in highschool I was "self-centered". I'm not sure if that's the right word to use, but it will suffice for now. I suppose a lot of kids are only thinking about themselves and more importantly, what other people think. I thought I knew everything, that my opinions had a strong foundation and I was, well... right. Looking back now I see a kid who hadn't even left the country where he was born, who hadn't experienced much else other than a life of opulence and mental stability.

I'm learning not care about what other people think, this is such a hard thing to do but I'm getting better at it. I owe some of this 'skill' to Lee. Probably the easiest way to convey this idea is with clothes. I had an experience where I felt like I was at school just the other day, you see I bought a shawl and was apprehensive about wearing it. After some thought I said to myself - "Hang on, I'm a fucking grown up, I can wear whatever I like, where ever I like, regardless what other people might be thinking". Why should you care what anyone thinks about what you wear? RB Sullivan once said something like - Don't worry about what other people are thinking about you, they're already thinking it. That couldn't be more true on so many levels. If someone doesn't like you, they just don't like you. And if they do, they do. Wearing a sweet pair of Nike's isn't going to make someone like you, you should only wear those shoes if YOU want to. So long as you're happy and comfortable that's all that matters.

Another thing I've learned is self control. Years ago I'd just say the first stupid thing that came into my head, now if something seems inappropriate or better left unsaid - I just don't say it (most of the time anyway). A lot of people I know never had this problem but I did, I see my maturity most when I'm in a meeting at work, my desire my make stupid and inappropriate remarks is still there, but I'm now able to just still there in peace and relax now. I don't know if that's learning, it's probably just maturing. I guess the actual learning part to this, is controlling yourself when you're stressed out, some people get stressed out and loose it. I know that I can only take on one task at a time, more than one task will make me screw up everything. So that's why I've learned to never take on too much, just do what you can handle, do get stressed out. Do what you can do and do it well.

The importance of good friends. When you go to school your friends are just there, you take for granted that one day you'll have to actually make an effort to see them. I realise now that you need nothing more than good friendship to be happy. No movie or TV show can make you laugh like you do with your friends, no one can be aware yet completely indifferent to your faults except your friends.

Most importantly, I've learned that I don't know shit.

- Dogman

Friday, August 14, 2009

A poem.

In primary school there came to be
a talent show that was meant for me

I thought to myself, "what should I perform?"
something, surely, not of the norm

should I learn to juggle or skip a jump rope
until I found karate was my only hope

I would kick and punch and they would cheer
and into the hearts of the bullies I could even strike fear

the night before as I prepared my act
I thought of my dream girl, Chloe, who as a matter of fact

was performing as well, some girlie ballet dance
using a backing track of 'Backstreets Back', which would surely put the school in a faggy trance

as I stood behind the curtain waiting for my turn
I could feel the excitement as my stomach would churn

I was now walking to them, my people were waiting
this was the moment I was anticipating

I started the 'kata' now a few punches through
as I heard the beginnings of what sounded like boos

THIS COULDN'T BE, karate is so cool
but here in this moment, I looked like a tool

as I stood now crying over a chorus of laughs
I threw every punch, looking like an ass

my eyes became misty, I could barely commit
with each kick my coolness took another hit

nothing could come close to how shitty I felt
and you know what!?, I was even wearing an orange belt

not black like the night, or lucifer's lair
but faggy old orange, serious, I swear

I just couldn't do it, the pain was too much
so I ran off stage crying like a little bitch and such

I could hear them still hollering even from backstage
when Chloe appeared with an idea to gage

she told me not to worry, it would all be alright
"they think they've beaten us, but they're in for a fight!"

"you must go back out there at the end of the show
they'll see you have the courage to defeat any foe

finish your performance even if it feels wrong
they'll HAVE to like you, you can even use my song!"

I could tell something was wrong as soon as she said it
but my love was so strong that I had to forget it

so I waited until the last act was done
and the teacher announced there would be one last one

he told them to be nice, and that it's mean to jeer
and I stood centre stage wondering how I got here

the other children didn't know what was about to occur
for it was not just a repeat, but something absurd

I waited and waited and when Chloe hit PLAY
a new level of faggytoolness was now underway

I lunged and attacked at the open air
while 'Backstreets Back' confirmed my despair

but I finished my act with no mistakes
and the music stopped as well as the ache

they were all now giggling and were told to keep quiet
but just then I realized, THEY wouldn't try it

from that point on I've understood
that a loss of shame is pretty good

and to laugh at yourself whenever you can
will always help you to understand

that nobody else controls how you feel
for only you can see what's real

humiliation only exists in your mind
so laugh with the audience and you'll never be blind

- Lee

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don’t Gamble With My Emotions! The Plight of the Sports Fan

I’ll preface this by letting you all know that I’m an Eastern Suburbs Roosters fan. For the international subscribers (all one of you), the Roosters are a Rugby League team who are currently coming last in the premiership with 4 rounds to go. That means we are on target to win our first wooden spoon in 43 years, the first in my lifetime. And for a fan these are the times that really test you. Stick by the team in the good times and the bad. That’s what a true fan does.

Now when I say fan I mean it. Not some casual fan who might catch them playing on TV a few times a year. I am a member who possesses ample amounts of merchandise and memorabilia. I read about the team and discuss them and the game online daily. I go to the games and cheer in the hope that my extra support will get them over the line. I share a mutual disdain towards other teams (Souths) based on history, geography and 100 year traditions. My loyalty to players correlates with their loyalty to the team. When they win it brightens up my day, and when they lose…well let’s just say I’m getting better at dealing with this one.

But this is what has got me thinking. Not that we have become the joke of the league and the definition of suck. Not that we were predicting top 4 finishes before the season began and that my favourite player-turned hero, coach and saviour has been sacked in reaction to the shit performance of the team. No, what has me most intrigued is my own evolution as a fan; my attitude and expectations, and my reactions to the constant losing.

It all started back in 2000. I was 13 and had always been a Rooster after inheriting the curse from my father. Before then I was still invested in their fortunes but, as I matured (or at least as I grew older) in my teens, my fandom progressed to newer, deeper levels. In that year I went to ten games including the Grand Final against the Brisbane Broncos in a chance to win for the first time since 1975. The saying that ‘you have to lose a grand final to win one’ is no truer than for the fan. The Roosters had shot their wad the week before and were simply outclassed by Brisbane. But as a young fan, I too wasn’t ready and had unleashed my own proverbial load (a common theme of puberty really), and was not ready to appreciate the spoils of a premiership.

But now I was hooked. Now I wanted that premiership. I knew how sweet it was going to feel. I would cherish it like it were a divine gift, and two years of avid supporting later we got the chance. We crushed the New Zealand Warriors in 2002 in a streak of 12 straight wins that included later claiming the World Club title against English champions St Helens.

The era of the Roosters had begun and I was in the midst of a team regularly touted as the benchmark. Despised by jealous fans of the opposition, and with arch rivals Souths battling out wooden spoon disputes all was good. All was great! Like a drug addict chasing a GF win as sweet as that first hit, I went out supporting my team more than ever. I possessed such assuredness of my team that even when we looked destined to lose the match I wouldn’t flinch. I believed in them and almost every time we would come good. Although Souths were suffering there were other rivalries. An old foe in Penrith faced us in the 2003 Grand Final and the rivalry with Canterbury was at its bitter most boiling point in the 2004 Grand Final.

But these glory years are when I learnt the fate of the sports fan. Unlike in the movies, sport is reality and there is no script and no guaranteed happy ending. I learnt that being a sports fan was gambling. Not with money, but with my own emotional state of mind. Against all the expert predictions, Penrith pulled off one of the great Grand Final wins. And in my hero Brad Fittler’s final match ever Canterbury came back from 6-13 down to win the 2004 final 16-13. That’s right. We made 4 GF in 5 years and won once. This was hard to take. To make the situations worse I had just taken up the teenage pastime of binge drinking (my first drunken experience was the night of the 2003 GF, highlighted by crying, punching the ground and vomiting on Hamish). To date these are still two of the worst days of my life. I was distraught and lost. I spent the majority of the 2005 off season daydreaming of a mythical pass in the final minutes that Fittler receives and runs under the posts to score and win the GF.

But these tough times are always made easier by the good times. In 2005 the Roosters went on to claim the trophy. And again in 2006! Boy was I happy!

Oh wait. Didn’t I say this wasn’t a movie? Oh that’s right, there aren’t guaranteed happy endings. We didn’t win in 2005 or 2006. In fact, we didn’t even make the finals. We actually didn’t make the finals again until last year when we finished fourth only to lose both attempts to progress towards GF glory. And now we are the whipping boys of teams and fans alike who still have that 2009 title to dream about. Now I, and many other keyboard experts, predict the Roosters are going to face a 2010 that very much represents 2009. I am as confident that we will lose now as I was that we would win in 2004. I believe in our ability to snatch defeat while on the brink of victory.

But like I said earlier, these are the times that truly test a fan. And I’m sorry to say that I am failing the test. This year I only went to five games in the first ten rounds and we lost them all and since then I have only dared venture out to see Manly v Parramatta, preferring the neutral perspective to the more intense and stressful Roosters encounters. Rugby League and the Roosters were my Sun, but now I look to other exploits like other sports, music and those cleverly scripted movies to help me enjoy life to the fullest.

They say that a key to happiness is to let go of your sports team. And as I have instinctively withdrawn a notable chunk of my emotional investment in a desperate move to salvage my own sanity, I wonder how much I will prosper when we finally do get that 13th premiership. I wonder whether the happiness I do derive from that victory will be as sweet as it could have been if I remained true to my investments in the face of this grand final crisis…

Go the Chooks!

- Eden (while listening to Who’s Next – The Who)

I dedicate this to the great football club of the Eastern Suburbs and to the fans who have stayed at the game cheering. I promise you I will be back next year full of hope, but I will always remember that you were stronger than me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why Women Are Awesome

A smile came to my face immediately when thinking of something to write for the "Why ....... is Awesome" section of this blog. See this is my first entry to this Blog so I had to weave my way in, and the Awesome files sounded easy. Now, what is awesome?

Women. They are huh? I love everything about women. Each girl has something unique about them. Whether it be a smile or laugh, or the feel you get when falling asleep with her in your arms. No matter what it is every girl is cute in their own way. Which is why I wanted to bring them up because if anything is awesome its women. Although, that’s not where it ends with girls. It’s not just the slow kisses when falling asleep, or the smile they make in the morning when their eyes have barely opened, or the scent they leave behind on the pillow. They’re just the parts we want to remember and care to love. Now, I’m no Casanova. Wouldn’t be calling me no Fabio. I ain’t no Jude Law. Can’t say I’ve ever been titled no Don Juan. People don’t call me Russell Brand. Wait, maybe the last one has been thrown around 5 or 6 times but that’s not the point. What I’m trying to say is I’m no Jack Nicholson, but I did kind of think I had some idea as to knowing them.

Here is a perfect example. This was said to me a few months ago that totally blew my mind. I was talking to a girl about relationships and fights, and boyfriends and girlfriends, and so she says,
‘If a girl asked you for space, what would you do? Would you try and contact her?’
Now like I was saying before, I’m no Antonio Banderas, but in a situation like this, I thought I would have it handled, play it cool, wait a week, let it cool down and see where your at. I mean, its right there, she’s asking for it. Only a certain Michael Bay with 200mil could fuck this up. So I says,
‘Give her space.’
To which she responses with,
‘No. Girls want you to contact them when they say that. They don’t actually want space.’

Can you believe that? That’s like telling me to go hire Batman Begins when you really want to watch Michael Keaton in the real batman, the only Batman. Actually, Adam West gets a gold star too. As for you Mr Bale, how about u go play the lead in Terminator only to come out a supporting. Pfft. You know who we were really rooting for. Way to turn John Connor into a douche bag.

My point was lost, much like Bale’s focus in the filming of Terminator. I think what was I was trying to say was that women play with your head. Tell you one thing and mean something else.
“Call me, it’s not just a drunken number give. I really want you to call me.”


No answer.

Speaking of playing with your head, look what happened to The Beatles. Nuff said.
All that aside, mind games and such, I’ll still dodge oncoming traffic to introduce myself to a stunning brunette across the road, because no matter what, the list is endless when it comes to women. It’s just, we are yet to figure them out.

- Luke

Monday, August 10, 2009


Sometimes when I'm looking around the internet I come across something that's really interesting. I thought it would be cool to colate some of these fact, figures, images, videos, whatever into an article, lets begin:

• The attosecond is one quintillionth of a second. To try and gain some perspective - one attosecond is to one second what one second is to the age of the universe. One attosecond is the time it takes for light to travel the length of three hydrogen atoms.

• Joe Kittinger: Watch

• There are between 50 - 100 billion neurons (cells) in the brain, which signal each other via approximately 100 trillion synanptic connections.

• The world population will rise about 80.2 million this year.

• This is really cool - Lightning in Slow Motion.

• The Beatles and Elvis have sold over 1 billion albums each. That's substantially more than anyone else.

• Snails have been known to live for 30 years, though generally no more than 10 - 15 years for most species in captivity. Also, the common snail moves at about 1 millimeter per second.

• This picture of a plane breaking the sound barrier: View

• The oldest tree in the world is the 4,841 year old "Methuselah" tree in California. Estimated date of germination - 2832 BC.

• One of my favourites to finish this off, its yet another video... What's with me and youtube videos? I am truly of the internet generation: Watch

I'm all big numbers... what's the go with that? Please comment if you have any interesting facts to share. I'll be adding more in the comments sections as a come across them, this is just a few that I remember and a couple I stumble across recently (this morning).

- Dogman

PS: Clearly this article isn't really original, so I've added links to all sources (by sources I mean Wikipedia): Attosecond, Brain, Synapse, Population, Best selling music, Snails, Methuselah

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why Curb Your Enthusiasm is awesome.

When Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, was offered an HBO stand-up special in 1999, he decided to surprise everyone with a special unlike any other before or since. He had a camera crew follow him as he prepared for the HBO special, honing his new material in comedy clubs across America. The documentary crew followed him everywhere, whether at home with his wife, at meetings with his agent or running into old friends. All in preparation for the HBO special. As the show progresses, we easily forget that this is the HBO special itself. We are just watching this pathetic yet justified man try his best to not make the special that we are infact watching. So instead of stand-up, we get some of the most brilliant, awkward, funny interactions ever, all the while retaining the same sensibilities of Seinfeld, but played out in a much darker way. Needless to say it is all an act, played so dry that we can't help but to wonder how much is true and how much is not.

One year later Larry David decided to adapt this style into a tv show called Curb Your Enthusiasm, each episode lasting thirty minutes, losing the documentary style but keeping the voyeuristic feel. This is a man that is so uncomfortable with stardom, it is funny just watching him stand next to his famous friends, as he seems like an impostor.

He is the butt of most jokes, and to see a person with this much shame while having no shame at all is bewildering. After all, he is playing himself in a show for which he writes every episode, set in the real world. His life and more importantly his mind is on display here. In real life, Larry recently got divorced, so he put it in the show.

What also makes the show so much fun to watch is the story arcs. Each season has ten episodes with their own story each, but they also weave a ten part story for each season, wrapped up neatly at the end.

But most of all the reason Curb Your Enthusiasm is awesome is the fact that we, the audience, sitting comfortably at home, can watch some of our fantasies play out, getting revenge on the people that we couldn't in our own lives. We all say things that we may regret, we've all been in awkward situations, but here Larry is basically taking the bumps for us.

I don't know what else to say (maybe you guys can help me here), but Curb Your Enthusiasm is groundbreaking, twisted, dark, funny and very awesome indeed.

- Lee

Album of the Week: Marquee Moon

Marquee Moon

The debut studio album from the legendary but short-lived rock group Television, Marquee Moon was released on February 8, 1977.

Track listing:

1. See No Evil
2. Venus
3. Friction
4. Marquee Moon
5. Elevation
6. Guiding Light
7. Prove It
8. Torn Curtain

Why I Chose This:
I first heard Marquee Moon when I was 17 years old. It features some of the best guitar playing I've ever heard, and it never gets old. I could go on for a long time about this album, but I'd rather wait until the comments before the discussion starts. But I will say that I once lent this album to someone, and when I found out that they lost it, I went and bought a new copy as soon as I found one, which is saying something in this age of downloading albums. Marquee Moon means a hell of a lot to me, I can only hope more people get turned on to this masterpiece.

- Lee

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Power of Your Passion

After watching The Dark Knight last year I was amazed by the character of Batman. And I got to thinking about other comic book characters, wondering if any of the other superheroes could compare. I’m a nerd but not an uber-nerd so I only went through some of the main ones: Spiderman, Wolverine, Hulk, Superman, etc. They all have their positives and negatives but to me none compared to Batman.

But this isn’t some character piece on Bruce Wayne. As usual my thoughts got distracted and while thinking of cool things about Superman I remembered that he drew his power from our Sun, and when he was down on energy he could use it to recharge himself. OK, I know what you’re thinking…“Where you going with this one?” but here we go!

It made me question myself: What is my sun? What is the thing I go to when I feel blue? Where do I find my inspiration and motivation? What gives me an energy in life? What is my passion? Ultimately, in an ideal world, every aspect of life would be our passion. But generally we all have pet likes and dislikes and each individual has his or her own passion(s) in life. So ask yourself those questions above to find your sun.

Music is my sun. There have been countless times when I have been feeling down and I listen to an album in solitude and it brings me out of the self pity, it reminds me it’s not so bad and I feel refreshed and energised. Other times I have been listening to music and while performing a tedious task for study or work, or some hard exercise and it makes the whole experience not just bearable but enjoyable. The chance to go for a run at night under the stars is exponentially greater with my iPod.

On top of having a passion I think that being aware of it is very important to help yourself grow. For the last three years I have sought refuge in artists like The Beatles, The Who, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin and with each new artist that I connect with I have another tool at my disposal to use whenever I need it. So instead of sticking with these artists I am always looking to expand the list (See AotW) and expand my range of inspiration. Another benefit is to consciously use your passion to be proactive. Whenever I am about to write this blog, my fledgling screenplay or even my journal I throw on an album or two or three.

Finally the real magic of your passion is that someone out there in the world shares the same passion. Same artists or filmmakers. Same sports team or player. Same collection or hobby. Same food or wine. Whatever it is, don’t just sit back, go out and share it with the world and connect with people you would have never met otherwise. There are plenty of ways to embrace your passion. The best would be to make it your career if possible. Obviously that’s a tough one so alternatively you could join a sports team or book club, join a class or teach one. I love writing so we started this blog. And the chance to embrace my passion with my friends makes it even more special.

And if one passion isn’t enough don’t be afraid to have two or more. Twice the passions - twice the joy. And don’t be afraid to try something new. I didn’t always love the Beatles but I took a chance and it changed my life. In 2007 I took Spanish classes just to do something different and it inspred my trip to South America and now I am fascinated by travel and language and have Spanish speaking friends living 10000km away.

Don’t just let your interests be some light diversion from your job, find and embrace your passions share them with the world. And if you’re feeling a little hesitant the easiest way to get started is to use the internet; this amazing tool which can connect the whole world. There are forums, websites, blogs and fans of pretty much every topic under your Sun.

- Eden (while listening to Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys)

Book Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

This isn’t actually a book review, more a reaction to a book. You probably won't want to read it if haven’t read the book, it'll most likely spoil it for you if you ever plan to read it (and you should!).

I’ll layout the plot first – Winston Smith is a civil servant, working for the totalitarian government of Oceania. There are 3 states or countries in the world now, which are in a constant state of war – Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Oceania is ruled by Big Brother, an omnipotent figure that is to be loved without question.

After finishing this book I didn’t look back on it with a fond memory and I didn’t enjoy the read as such, though it wasn't labourious. After reflecting on it (I still am and probably always will) I can see that it’s changed my view on the world.

The concept of doublethink is interesting, let me quote Wikipedia (which quoted Goldstein’s book actually):

The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

– Part II, chapter IX - chapter I of Goldstein's book

I find this interesting as the other day I was thinking about Grace Bros. the department store. Myer in NSW used to go buy that name (as we all probably remember), but it’s slipped out of my everyday conscience as the brand of Myer has been drilled in. What if Myer the company decided to destroy all documented evidence of Grace Bros, the only evidence know is that of your memory. What is in our memory is our history, if I tell a story from when I was 15 years old to an audience now, but I can’t quite remember the details (and I know I cant) but I tell it anyway – I make it a little more colourful. The audience has heard that and now believe it. It is now part of my history in their eyes, it’s not a lie. This is how fickle the truth is and it doesn’t even matter?

Another theme is Freedom. I grew to appreciate my freedom as I have it now much, much more. Winston doesn’t even have the freedom to write a diary without severe stress. I can write a diary and even publish a blog with two idiots if I please, to say life is good is an understatement.

I’ll cut it here, thoughts?

- Dogman