Monday, January 28, 2008

Plans plans plans plans

So for one reason or another, which it is not my duty to blog about, early next year the T-Dog and I will be separated for six weeks to two months. This has happened once before, when I went on holidays. It's no biggie.
The question is, what to do with the time?
Kezza and I have already planned to go to the Australian Open for a few days to a week and I am so excited there is wee in my pants about that. But what to do after that?
So I'm looking into the possibility of doing a short course in Russian. In Russia.
My Russian teacher, Anya, thinks it is a good idea and I have been looking into what is available. There are a few courses listed on the internet and some seem reasonable. Others I've already dismissed because the website was soooo cheap-looking and Eastern Bloc that I suspect you arrive and are either sold to the FSB for target practice or get your kidney's harvested in the night. But there are one or two which look really good.
So there it is. My plan.
Now after that, when Thom and I both return to Oz, THAT is when some seriously big plans can take off.

Here's Johnny

Hands up everyone old enough to actually remember 21 Jump Street? I don't mean re-runs (have there ever been any?) I mean the original screening on Saturday nights around 1987 or so.
Yes, I was there. I was there for a young Johnny Depp. Even as a very young boy I found something seriously hot about this man. I had no idea at that point that he'd starred in Nightmare on Elm Street - a film which, to this day, I still have not seen and still refuse to.
But if anyone can induce me to see something violent, or weird, it is Depp. Just as well considering his penchant for working with Tim Burton.
Edward Scissorhands was, let's face, bloody weird. He's also played bizarre characters like Capt Jack Sparrow and Willy Wonka. His incarnations are genius, though, and I love him for them.
Last night I saw a combination of all these Depp traits: A freaky, make-up wearing, murderous, big-haired, dark, dark, dark, creature... Sweeney Todd.
It is a freakin bloodbath of a film. So incredibly violent. Yet much of the film is faithful to the music of the Stephen Sondheim musical. And incredible piece of cinema. I had nightmares last night.
But I'm not here to talk about the film, I'm here to pick the Top Depp Freak Hair.
And the nominees are:

Because I have to say, for my part, the Sweeney Todd hair is so dash-it fantastic that I'd quite like to wear it myself.
I just worry that's not a healthy look to cultivate.
Now Johnny, if you're out there... can we have another "Chocolat" or even a "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" please? Pretty please?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quick Question

Before you look at the question below, pick an answer:
a) 1
b) 2
c) 3

And the question?:
How many episodes of the new Glenn Robbins program will go to air before it is axed by Channel 7?

Hit me with something sexy from Dostoyevski

Russian is very hard work. It is a language you can read and write long before you can speak it.
So when you tell someone you're studying Russian and they immediately ask you to say something in Russian, they don't believe you when you come up with three awkwardly cobbled together words.
Usually after an extended pause. Mi yazavoot Dan, ya gavaroot pa ruski yazik... I usually come up with. Which is actually a stupid sentence.
Really, you want to be able to turn around and recite something sexy from Dostoyevski.
All the verbs and adjectives have different endings depending on whether they are male, female, singular, plural, neutral... I mean you could go nuts.
And I may actually be going nuts.
I love this language. I want to speak it. I need to learn it for my own satisfaction.
But the words aren't sticking in my head. Perhaps because when you learn it you can't just whack it in a sentence... you need to know at least four different versions of it.
"What", for instance, can be pronounced "kak", "Kakoye", "kakoi", "kakiye" or "kakaya"... and if you get it wrong people will laugh at you.
As it is I think I will have a bit of a thick accent. There are whole letters I still cannot really pronounce. I have to slow the word down and contort my face. Russians on the street will be calling out "oh look, here comes that Australian retard".
I think I may have to get an extra lesson a week. I'm struggling.
It's good for me to struggle though... I tend to sail through life too easily.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Who will speak at my funeral? What will they say?

I had to cover a funeral the other day. They're always such hard things to do. You find yourself choking back tears for someone you never knew. And at some point during the service as you're standing there going "he seems like a really great bloke", you realise you never will.
"Did you know Tim?"
"Yeah, yeah, I met him at his funeral".
But the thing that really intrigues me about funerals is just how little people know about their loved ones and mates.
People get up and read eulogies and say kind words about all different facets of someone's life at a funeral. You get an insight into people out of the context you might otherwise know them in. The bloke who's funeral I covered was a former Olympian and a stockbroker and there were lots of Olympians and stockbrokers there and other people there who did not know this man was also crucial in setting up charities for asbestos diseases and other medical research. That's a 'for instance'.
His sister spoke about their childhood together in glorious, colourful detail. Another aspect many wouldn't have known. The wife and children spoke about the man of their house, now gone. Each giving an insight into private moments.
And I started to realise that when we die, we are just one person plucked from a matrix which exists nowhere but in our own reality and which is dependent entirely on our ongoing existence for its existence. When we die, at our funeral, is likely to be the first and last time so many people connected with us - so many people in our matrix - will be in one place at one time.
It doesn't happen at our weddings or birthday parties... we like to trim lists on those occasions, usually. Invite only.
When you die, if you were a good person, the disparate parts of your life come together. They do so for the first and last time.
So then I also got to thinking: People only know a part of you. They don't know the whole of you. It took eight people talking just to give an insight into the man who's funeral I covered. Every person in the room learned something from each of them and every person in the room had their own story to tell which, if included, would have continued to fill in the picture.
No-one knows you completely.
As my mind does, I started on the morbid and self-obsessed thought process. Who would speak at my funeral, and what would they say? I feel like I've lived a good life, made good and long term friends, contributed to the communities I've lived in, succeeded in my chosen profession... all the things expected of me (forgetting the wife and kids bit, I suppose). But if I died tomorrow, perhaps in my bedroom and surrounded by prescription pills, who would speak for me?

Well bugger that. Lighten the mood, Datchy.
If I die, I would like the following please:

1. A choir. Preferably all black and gospel singing, but a choir will do.
2. I'd like to kick off the service with the Bitter Sweet Symphony as people enter, please... The Verve's version.
3. Don't get in a preacher. If Lionel Yorke is still around I'd like him to conduct the service but I'd like you to tell him my name was Stephanie Trunchbull.
4. I'd like Andrea Gibbs to do a tight five minutes
5. Canapes. There's never enough food at a funeral. Please get shirtless buff guys to serve it.
6. Cremate me, don't bury me. Scatter my ashes over Margaret Duffy's headstone in Trish's backyard.
7. For Godsake don't hold the service at the crematorium. It feels like a fucking drive-thru funeral.
8. As the coffin is taken away, I want the choir to lead the whole congregation in "I Will Survive"... the disco/Gloria Gaynor version.
9. I've pinched this idea from Thom and Trish, but if we could hire some eastern European headslapping babushkas to wail out the front, dressed in black... that would be hot.
10. A door prize. I'm dead fucking serious. I want a door prize. Envelope under the seat job please.

And perhaps with the exception of Margaret Duffy (I'd like my ashes slung-shot into King George Sound please), that really is what I want.
Although I don't expect you'll get the babushkas.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Best. Idea. Ever

A few weeks ago I went to the Hopman Cup. Free tickets from work. Take three friends.
Well Thom and Trish spent the day commentating on the spectators. No, not commenting. Commentating. And quite a bit of conjecturing actually. But I slowly became charmed with the fuzzy ball game as my good pal Michael explained the rules to me.
Since then I've watched a hell of a lot of tennis. I'm addicted. The Australian Open has been a revelation.
I love Alicia, Novak, Marat, Marcos, the Bryan Brothers (in particular), Sania, Jelena... I love them all. I don't care who wins. I love them. And I have a total soft spot for Casey Dellacqua cos she bounced into the tennis world in a big way as I watched my first grand slam.
Tonight, while watching Casey, I told fellow tennis tragic Miss Kerry that I was going to plan my holidays around the Australian Open next year. She said book tickets now. I said come too. She said yes.
WE'RE GOING TO THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN! Word. I am so excited. Such an awesome holiday with such a good friend. I am all a-flutter.
Best. Idea. Ever.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler?

I must have been 12, thereabouts anyway, when I was first transfixed by the opening titles of a TV show that was to change my adolescent life.
Not in any large and Earth-shattering way, you understand, but in the commitment sort of sense. I'l explain better in a second.
Drumbeats were followed by a brass marching band and the calls of parade marshalls ordering men around. The animation playing out on the screen was of arrows with swastikas and Union Jacks invading various parts of Europe. I was capitivated.
"Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler, if you think Old England's down..."
I was already a fan of Hogan's Heroes and was one of those teens who was fascinated by old war movies, but when I saw that first few fantastic moments of classic BBC comedy I new I was going to have to be at home in front of the tele at 6.30pm every single night until I'd seen the everything "Dad's Army" had to offer.
A group of granddads, wet boys and spivs defending in true Spirit of the Blitz-style the seaside town of Walmington on Sea... practicing their drills and exercises nightly in the local town hall. The first episode I saw they had converted Jack Jones the butchers meat truck into an army van with sniper holes for shooting Gerry.
Why am I crapping on about this? Well last night I was driving home only to discover Radio National playing an entire episode! I was thrilled.
The platoon were practicing their drills but had no rifles... only broom handles with knives and forks tied to the ends. Corporal Jones was held-up by one of the village kids with a pop gun.
The whole thing was such a delight... it sent me straight back to my lil Goldstar tele, perched on the end of my childhood bed, watching every second anticipating the next belly laugh and desperately hoping mother didn't call me for tea.
To this day the catchphrase "They don't like it up 'em, Sir" is, ironically, a firm part of my repertoire.
Anyway, it's good, harmless, clever, clean fun. 5.30pm on Radio National if you get the chance.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ah, the shitbox is mine

It's all done and dusted. I own it. That lil one bedroom shitbox on Stirling Street is mine. Settlement went through today at 12.15pm. I am slightly poorer for the experience, but I own a flat in what is essentially my dream location and by the time I finish with it, it will be my dream flat, too. The tenants are out in a week and I can begin the renovation process.
I feel bad kicking them out because they are Christian missionaries who have just had a baby and live there very very cheaply under some deal the church has with the previous owners.
I thought once they were out, it wouldn't matter, I could forget my evil doings... but alas no. They have rented another flat in the same building... so I'm destined to regularly bump into their angelic and wronged faces every time I go round to the flat. God has a sense of humour.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I Am Legend

I wanted to see this movie from the second I saw the trailer some three months ago. Why do they do that? Put out the trailers so far in advance these days?
Anyway, we saw it last night but it was too late. It had already been destroyed for me by one word: zombies.
Oh they never call them zombies in the film... but they're zombies. This is a zombie film.
I hate zombies. I just think they are THE MOST stupid scary idea ever. Dude I watched this film in Belmont... zombies aren't going to scare me. Of all the things that could reach out of the dark and grab me, zombies are the least of my worries.
Add to that Will Smith playing the same role he plays in every film and some slow slow slow repetitive slow slow sequences... and some hatchet-job sentimentality... and you have a disappointing film.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year, New Year

I have my New Year's resolution. It's to fix up all my fucked up relationships.
It's time, really. Time to be an adult. A nice person.
Everything else is just goals.
(How's that for a sentence?)
My goals include learning Russian to a reasonable-enough-for-conversation-with-a-five-year-old level. Renovating the flat successfully enough for it to provide a home for someone deserving a reasonable income for someone like me. And to spend as much time with my wonderful boy as possible.
Career stuff is different goals.
And basically, I just want to whoop-ass: Completely dominate local government. Nothing should happen without my knowledge.
That is all.
It's not so unreasonable, is it?