Balmain Boys Do Cry

Friday, January 21, 2005

That's MR Mauresmo to you, pal.

If only our front row looked that scary......

News Roundup

Here are a few items you may have missed in the news of late. In amongst the agony and destruction (and I’m just talking about the ALP here) are those genuine, heartwarming stories that remind us that, yes, as a species we really are completely screwed. After all, if we keep turning out idiots like these, what are our long term chances for survival?

ARIA is worried about music dumping from Asia?? That’s nothing (SMH)

A driver for the Dave Matthews Band has been charged after dumping human waste from a tour bus over the side of a bridge onto passengers aboard a boat.
Stefan Wohl, 42, who turned himself in to Chicago authorities and was released pending a March hearing for reckless conduct, drives a bus assigned to the band's violinist, Boyd Tinsley. Prosecutors said Wohl was alone on the bus at the time of the incident over the Chicago River in Michigan last August 8.
Up to 380 litres of waste were dumped over the bridge and fell on scores of people aboard a boat passing underneath. Several of the passengers, who were on an architectural tour, retched and tore off their clothes. No-one was seriously injured, authorities said.

I mean, I always thought their music was pretty shit, but what do you charge them with when there are so many offences? Would it be worse to get a busload of Dave Matthews Band CDs dropped on you? And where are they dumping those? Let’s face it – they’re not flying off the shelves themselves…..

Why Cops need to be screened a LOT more carefully (The Age)

A feisty magpie picked the wrong person to swoop when it menaced the son of a Victorian policeman in his backyard on New Year's Day.
The suburban constable says he got his high-powered .22 rifle and killed the bird.
Now the policeman, from Diamond Creek, is under investigation for discharging a firearm in a built-up area and may face wildlife offences.
Animal activists are outraged over the death of the bird. Magpies are protected.

What a complete knob – we’ve all had a maggie swoop down on us from time to time. Remember that great old theory of putting a ice-cream container on your head with eyes drawn on it to scare them off? I’m not sure whether it worked because they thought something much bigger than them was staring them down, or if they were just too busy pissing their feathers laughing to bother attacking anymore. I’m hoping someone remembers this sort of thing, otherwise it’s yet another cruel thing I have to blame my parents for.

So let’s have a good hard think about whether this is the sort of cunt-stable we really should have on the force. Perhaps Victorian police need a little more time at Police Academy dedicated to ways to resolve problems without shooting. Come on fellas (and ladies) – you know you can do it.

Pump up the Justice (The Smoking Gun)

So when the cops do catch the bad guys, they send them to court. And what is the judge doing in there, you ask? Well, he’s amusing himself with a penis pump under the desk!

While seated on the bench, an Oklahoma judge used a male enhancement pump, shaved and oiled his nether region, and pleasured himself, state officials charged yesterday in a petition to remove the jurist. According to the below complaint filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General, Donald D. Thompson, 57, was caught in the act by a clerk, trial witnesses, and his longtime court reporter (these unsettling first-hand accounts will make you wonder what's going on under other black robes). Visitors to Thompson's Creek County courtroom reported hearing a "swooshing" sound coming from the bench, a noise the court reporter said "sounded like a blood pressure cuff being pumped up." Thompson, the complaint charges, even pumped himself up during an August 2003 murder trial.

Whatever you want to get up to in the privacy of your own bedroom, or even your own chambers if the door is locked, is normally OK with me, as long as no one else is hurt or degraded, unless they specifically ask to be (and even then I’m not so sure it’s a great idea). But I would hope that if I ever came appeared might be a better term before a judge, he was concentrating on the facts of the case, rather than having a pull under the desk. Plus if you’re stupid enough to believe that a penis pump is going to enlarge your dick*, then you’re probably not smart enough to be a judge.

Go and have a read of the whole thing when you have a sec - it's pretty damn funny.

* I’m secretly hoping that during the investigation they discover that the pump wasn’t actually a “gag gift from a friend” as the judge claims, but was in fact purchased by the judge in response to a spam email about penis enlargement. That would make the whole saga even funnier.

More actual content soon.


Worth thinking about for Bloggers

I was considering writing about a few things that have been really shitting me off at work of late, but after reading this and this about people who were fired for their blogs, or more specifically the content of their blogs, I think perhaps it's better left unsaid. Apart from in the privacy of my own home while belting the punching bag.

You might want to have a look at the Bloggers Rights Blog - some interesing thoughts.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Tips for Sydney commuters

Now I know that Sinney is a big city, and there are a lot of people to move about. And I’m aware that a LOT of those people will want to travel at around the same time, in roughly the same direction – what we like to call peak hour. But here are some tips for making the experience a little more pleasant for everyone.

Train travel.

Don’t even think about it. It’s not worth the grief

Bus travel

Many other people may want to get on the same bus as you travel on. So move down the back of the goddamn bus.

And no, your bag does not need a seat because it is tired.

Yes, we’re all enlightened and PC and equal and all that these days, but if a woman who is 13 months pregnant gets on, you can stand up. Yes you. Unless you want a smack upside the head.

It may take some time to reach your destination, and there might not be enough seats. This means you will have to stand up, and hang on to one of the swinging rail thingies. For heavens sake people, use deodorant. If in doubt, use two applications. Or two brands. Whatever you need to do to make the stink stop.

Ferry travel

Ferries offer one of the most pleasant ways to travel to work. What could be better than gliding across the harbour in the morning? But there are some tips to remember:

Ferry wharfs are, generally, quite small. Ferrys themselves are quite large. So even though the wharf is full, and you are in a queue, there WILL be plenty of room on the boat. So there is no need to push through the crowd as the ferry docks – we’re all trying to achieve the same outcome and you’re not helping.

This is an especially important thing top remember if there are different ferrys that stop at your wharf. Learn which one is yours. There is nothing worse than pushing through the crowd and parking your barge arse in front of the narrow gangplank, only to discover that the boat is going somewhere you don’t want to. Don’t do this. Every. Single. Bloody. Morning. Or expect a little early morning dip care of your fellow commuters, bitch.

Friday, January 07, 2005

My little piece of paradise, lost.

It took three days to get there, coast to coast. This may not sound unusual, but I’m talking about Sri Lanka, and the distance as the crow flies is only around 200km. It was 1988, my first trip to the island, and I was determined to get to Arugam Bay, on the east coast to go surfing. Sure, the civil war between the government and the Tamils was still in full swing, and the east coast was supposedly a no-go zone for the handful of tourists still traveling to Sri Lanka. My enthusiasm was buoyed when I checked into the hostel in Colombo and spied another surfboard in the locker room as I put mine in there – someone else either had the same idea, or perhaps had undertaken the journey and could give me a few tips. I left a note on the other board with my name and room number, and later that night I met up with a long-haired, bearded bloke from Melbourne named Matt. He had actually arrived in the country only a few hours before me, and had the same journey in mind, so after lengthy discussions over a few 3-coins, a cheap curry at the Lankan RSL, and a few more beers, we had a plan.

The next morning we took a cab to the central train station, and carefully and slowly threaded our way through to the ticket window and then the platform. If you’ve ever experienced sub-continental train stations, you’ll have an idea of the mass of humanity involved in these sorts of maneuvers, we were additionally hampered by having backpacks on, and a surfboard under the arm, much to the amusement of the locals. The train we were catching was going to Badulla, away from the coast into the high country in the centre of the island – we must have looked like right idiots. The train rattled through the countryside, and slowed to an amble as we climbed into the hill country. It may have been my imagination, but it never seemed to totally stop at stations, just slow down even more, to less than a walking pace, while those exiting threw first their luggage, then themselves off, with those boarding reversing the process. We reached Badulla in the mid afternoon, long after the last (well, only) bus heading towards the coast had left for the day. Nothing to do but find a hotel, kick back, drink some beers and swap travel stories.

The next morning we waited at the bus station for sign of a bus going to Pottuvil. Eventually we asked around, and finally someone informed us that no bus would be going all the way to Pottuvil that day, but we could get as far as Lahugal, a small town about 20km shy of our destination. Being a little young and naive, we figured that this would do, and that we could simply hitch the rest of the way, so we help load our boards onto the roof of the bus and jumped on. About an hour later, when I thought I was close to passing out from the heat of being trapped in a non-moving bus in a tin shed in the middle of the day in 34C temperatures, we headed off. On arrival in Lahugal, we geared up and started walking, thumbs out, down the road. I think I mentioned earlier that there was a little bit of a civil war going on in these parts at the time. We hadn’t figured this into our equation very well – there really wasn’t much in the way of traffic! After walking for about 4 or 5 kms, we chanced upon an army outpost. They were mighty surprised to see to aussies walking along the road, but were wonderfully hospitable, offering us tea and water. We chatted to the lieutenant in charge of the base, named after one of Sri Lanka’s great exports – Kamal. He was the same age as me, but at 20 had experienced a rather radically different life. To help us out, he had his men set up a roadblock to stop all passing traffic to see if anyone could offer us a lift to Pottuvil – as I said, incredibly hospitable – but to no avail. The sun was starting to set, and with a nighttime curfew in place, we weren’t going anywhere. The army guys kindly put us up for the night, pulling out a couple of spare camp cots. Before we turned in Kamal came by to remind us where the rifles were stored, because well, “sometimes the Tigers, they attack in the night”. I don’t think either Matt or myself got much sleep.

The following day we were finally able to get onto a bus heading to Pottuvil, from Badulla of course. There was no transport for the last 3kms from Pottuvil to Arugam Bay, so we legged it. Arugam was something of a ghost town – a former bjackpacker mecca, now empty, save around 10 other people stupid enough to venture there. But the reason the place was formerly so popular was still there – a beach plucked straight out of a travel brochure, with a perfect 4-foot wave wrapping around the point, and a seemingly endless line-up following it. Oh, and no one out. If you’re used to surfing at Bondi and having to fight for every wave, this scenario is pretty much what you dream of, but never expect to find, a surfers nirvana.

I spent 3 weeks there, surfing every day with the locals, eating whatever fish the locals caught or peanut butter and banana toasties when they would come back empty handed, drinking dodgy cheap arrack with warm fanta, learning much about Lankan history and culture from talking at people at night, and generally having the time of my life. I’ve been back 3 times, and always had a great time. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel extensively, and people often ask me what my favourite place is. Picking a favourite is always a difficult thing – how do you compare somewhere like New York or Buenos Aires to Koh Pan Ghan or Aitutaki? But the place that I always end up nominating is Arugam. As the situation with the Tamil Tigers improved over the years, the tourists came back, hotels were rebuilt and new ones built, new restaurants sprung up on the beach, and even a surf shop run by an Aussie, Hawkey, who liked it so much he never left. Transport services and roads improved, with a car and driver able to do the trip from Colombo in 6 or 7 hours. After a decade or more of doing it tough, things seemed to be looking good.

Sadly this area was the hardest hit last Sunday. Of the more than 30,000 dead in Sri Lanka, more than 10,000 came from this area. The bridge is destroyed, preventing any supplies getting in by road. Lankan, Indian and French army helicopters have been ferrying food, water and basic medicines, and flying out some of the wounded not able to be treated in the field hospital. Flooding is also hitting the area badly. An unimaginable number are homeless. It’s sad beyond comprehension. I wish there was something more I could do than give money, but I guess that’s pretty much most of us can do. Just keep giving, people. You can give directly to people in the region here


I’ve been trying to write for a few days now, but every time I start I end up giving up and chucking it in the virtual garbage bin. It seems almost impossible, almost useless in the face of such disaster. Writing any more about what has happened seems not to add anything to the discussion, while writing about anything else seems trite.

One friend, who was sailing between Sri Lanka and the Maldives, is back home safe and sound. In hindsight, being on a boat in deep water in the middle of the ocean, while rough, was probably one of the safer places to be. Another friend, K, who was in Phuket at the time, I still haven't heard from. Fingers crossed.