Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the politics of failure

i was doing a set of stand-up at, of all places, the ruby room last week, and i found myself newly acquainted with the sweet taste of failure. the experience was thoroughly educational. performing to an audience of 25-30 casino glossies in a lounge designed without the rigours of comedy in mind, i went down like a sack of spuds. i'm not sure if they appreciate my type down there. also, i missed out on the sympathy laughs because i went the entire set without using the word cancer. having wanted to do something different upon realising that my raw comedy set used it 14 times in five minutes. or once every 20 seconds. which may have been a little slef-indulgent. still, i managed to acquit myself reasonably well doing a set last night at the brisbane, so at least it kinda feels like i've got the shit back in the horse.

when i grow up (he's 27...), i want to be russell howard:


but while we're on the topic of failure, there appears to be a LOLcat-esque phenomenon occurring with the word FAIL. which you can keep up to date with at the aptly named fail blog. me, i like spelling bee fail

also of interest from the last few days is this listing of 'books that make you dumb', a brilliant and, by their own admission, flawed piece of statistical analysis that has indexed people's purported favourite books on facebook with the average SAT scores of the colleges that they attend. fun facts:

1. 'lolita' corresponds with the highest scores (closely followed by '100 years of solitude')

2. 'the book of mormon' scores higher than 'the holy bible'

3. dan brown is on par with 'fight club', but both are beaten by 'he's just not that into you'

too funny.

but just to prove that not all is lost in the world, here's a stunning stop motion video of a steadily evolving room-as-art. ah, this brand of ingenuity makes it all better.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

russians: better than australians?

had my last burst of chemo yesterday. at least for the moment. when i have this charming fellow extracted om my back we might consider having a bit more, but that will depend upon post-operative pathology tests. not that i'd be entirely opposed mind you. without chemo i lose half my material...


i feel that as we come to commemorate the brutal occupation of this fine country, perhaps we should start to think about the alternatives, the possible paths for the future. and i'm sure that when you do, you'll have to agree with me when i suggest that perhaps we should all think about becoming a little bit more... russian.

loan me your sister is a semi-regularly updated celebration of all that is drunk, provincial and russian. the guy's knack for finding photos and videos of eastern bloc people in states of heightened steretotype is almost overwhelming.

and while you're in the neighbourhood, how about you pop over to one of soviet russia's former favourite sons, lithuania, for a trip to grutas park, perhaps the world's only stalinist theme park!.

It's called "Gulag tourism." And Grutas Park offers visitors a journey back to 1984 to remind citizens what life was like under Soviet rule. Organizers believe that for those old enough to remember life in the Soviet Union, visiting the park can be therapeutic, filled with old memorabilia and humor[...]

After an amiable introduction, visitors are quickly transported back 25 years. They are ordered to stop smiling or thinking and are chased through an elaborate labyrinth of corridors. Any misstep can result in a violent encounter with angry KGB agents. All of the activity lasts two hours, costs more than 35 Euros, and takes place inside a bunker located in the woods.

sign me up! i can thoroughly recommend watching the video to be found at the bottom of the news story...

and finally, dancing. good ol' fashioned zangeif-style cossack dancing. if this don't convince you that the russian's are superior to us feeble westerners in all ways, then i don't know what will. perhaps a victory in the cold war would have done the trick...

now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to go barbeque some meat rations in vodka. i'll see you when i'm naked and trying to stuff an elk into my boot.

Monday, January 21, 2008

the animals! the animals!

the love that dare not speak its name? a british octopus called louis has picked up a live in lover: mr potato head. apparently louis cracks the shits when people try and come between him and mr potato head. makes sense. bbc version of events here.

and while we're on the subject of marine life, a video especially for the (relatively) newly ocean obsessed ms giggs. taken from the eclectic, interesting and informative TED archives (it stands for technology, entertainment, design), this particular batch of videos on the absolutely astonishing things that underwater creatures can do with their appearance impressed me no end. and there's even some more awesome octopus action at the end. yes sir, it's a fine time to be an octopod.

and now for another casual interest of mine, which i've probably never expressed in anyone's presence: ANTS. seriously, the shit these little tykes get up to blows my mind. not so much when they're simply setting their sights on your precious, precious sugar supplies, but out in the wild they definitely get props from me. from a distance. distant props. the video below shows a team of researchers (somewhat sadistically) filling an ant colony up with concrete so that they can create a mould of the interior. and maybe it's just the latent sci-fi nerd within me, but the end product is one of the cooler things i've seen in a while.

ah, sweet, expendable ants. we ended up with a low end ant infestation in our laundry at the beginning of last year and i was delegated the envious task of morteining the mother fuckers out of existence. which is all well and good, but there was a point, as i relentlessly unleashed the chemical apocalypse upon a steadily mounting tide of ant corpses, that i couldn't help but feel that i was effectively engaged in ant genocide. but then again, they were trying to steal our honey (probably...), so i couldn't feel too bad. could i?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

a week of positive developments

i have had three pieces of reasonable news this week:

1. i managed to wrangle my way into the state semi-finals of the raw comedy competition by performing a five minute set that featured the word cancer 14 times, and finished with the line 'my name's luke, and i have cancer, but, you know, it's ok, you don't have to put me through to the next round'. shameless. i may try and diversify somewhat for semi-finals, which will either be on the 21st or the 28th of february.

2. i was accepted into law at la trobe university in melbourne, where i shall hopefully be able to live out the remainder of my law degree in victorianised bliss. today i ran my sob story past them and hopefully i'll be able to swing a couple of units at uwa this semester and have them cross-credited back there. my university degree becomes more complicated by the second. this is going to be my fourth educational institution since 2002. all theoretically in pursuit of the same double degree. if anyone can work out who's supposed to be awarding me what degree by the end i'll be very impressed.

3. i had a pet scan yesterday which appeared to confirm what we'd been otherwise presuming/hoping - that wilhelm (my tumour) had suffered a fairly significant reduction in its metabolic activity, and had also shrunk slightly. this is, in the words of at least one doctor, reassuring. i prefer to think of it more like stalingrad circa 1943. shrinking the tumour is still the primary aim because of its proximity to, well, everything, but that's where the radiotherapy comes in. also on the good news front re. radiotherapy is the fact that because of worries about cumulative chemo/radio toxicity, they're giving me a few weeks off between final chemo (on the 25th january) and first radio (probably on the 18th of february). this means that i have time to COME TO MELBOURNE AND CAUSE RIOTOUS AMOUNTS OF DAMAGE. FUN DAMAGE. hopefully we'll try and incorporate the weekend of the 9th or the 16th. for extra DAMAGE.

hopefully i'll get to have a party with this guy

line of the day

"i suggest you go away and take a good long, hard look at yourself"
"i have. everyone has. they love it."

arsey bastard

Saturday, January 12, 2008

sesame street will mess you up

a month or so ago various portions of the media were righteously outraged over the american decision to release the dvds of the early seasons of sesame street with an adults only label. in their words:

These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.

i'm just going to leave that sentence to hang there for a second, but for a more comprehensive appraisal of the situation, virginia heffernan has written a corking piece on it for the new york times. have a look here.

sesame street started in 1969, so maybe things were a bit different back then. more tumultuous. fuelled by hallucinogens. rife with invisible woolly mammoths. still, surely times haven't changed that much. even back then sesame street really just wanted to teach kids how to count.

and while we're getting nostalgic here's a clip of the now deemed inappropriate 'monsterpiece theatre'. absolutely sublime.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

man, that's totally book

well, it is according to the third ranked entry on the urban dictionary

cool: the first option given when trying to type 'cool' in a text message using t9

that chick thinks she's book, but she's totally hacked.

i also think this picture is pretty book:

ah, pirates. sitting next to ninjas and robots as the go to guys of awesomeness.

on a more serious note though, here are a few links to some book as art projects that will make you look oh so cultured at your next 'heidegger high tea'.

1. nina katchadourian established the sorted books project in 1993, and it has been going ever since. they trawl a variety of locations, from homes to libraries, and then find book spines which go together to form small conceptual sequences or stories. it's thoroughly addictive and sometimes quite funny.

2. brian dettmer is making books visceral, with his lovingly carved sequence of book autopsies. he takes books and then cuts out segments of the pages in order to create three-dimensional book sculptures. so fucking awesome.

3. the simply named BOOK, a collaboratively drawn sketchbook created by two brooklyn and two belfast artists. each week one of the artists would fill in two pages and compose the beginnings of the next two, before sending it across the seas to the next artist in line, a process that continued for 36 weeks. there was no other communication between the artists except that which had gone before, the traces of which spilled on to the pages the next artist had been allocated for that week. the end result is a beautiful, meandering sequence of ideas, and cool pictures. worth a few minutes.

and finally, if you have the time (which you should make...) have a look at the twilight of books, a meditation on the implications of the decline of reading, taken from a recent edition of the always on point new yorker magazine. it really is a consistently amazing journal, incisive and well-written, and even better, its available on-line for free. get to it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


from the 1972 sears catalogue. the family that shoots together, stays together.

alright, let's get purgative. i've been somewhat remiss in my blogging duties of late so have a bit of a backlog of miscellaneous tidbits to unload upon you. my blogging recalcitrance has been in no small part been fuelled by my unexpected good health, which continues to dazzle me, my parents and my oncologist. last week i had a blood test where my white blood count was around about five times that of the average human being. while i've since had another dose of chemotherapy to take it down a peg or two, i figure that makes me roughly as infectable as jesus. or wolverine. i've started feeling a bit lethargic in the mornings, but even as expected as that is, it's coming through pretty low on the ol' chemo shit-o-meter. i like to think that i've fought through this with a modicum of style so far, having in the last month managed to chalk up attendance at no less than four festivals, and any number of other miscellaneous gatherings. again, hence the blogging drop off. i've been busy. convalescence ain't what it used to be. but we're back now, and here's a few odds and sods to whet your appetite.

1. 'deputydog' (ah, i love blogging monikers) has put together a list of 5 sci-fi worthy research facilties. the thing below detects neutrinos and cosmic rays and is built a kilometre underground in japan. but more to the point, how FUCKING AWESOME does it look. i mean, that's what science is all about. right?

2. plush toys for dead people. a company named eternahugs is marketing a new range of cuddly urn equivalents in which to deposit the ashes of your loved ones. varieties include the 'eternabear', a 24 inch cuddly bear that can apparently have 200 cubic inches of dead person stuffed into them (just like regular bears) and the yet to be released 'eternapillow', which allows you to sleep on the remains of your loved one every night.

also, can i just say that 'cremains' has got to be one of my favourite words.

3. while we're on a slightly spooky bent with this, how about the terrifyingly named 'reborns', hyper-realistic fake babies who were the subject of a recent UK channel 4 doco. from the times tv guide:

My Fake Baby explores the lives of women who spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds on lifelike baby dolls known as “reborns”. Some have beating hearts and tiny veins. They are loved like real babies, cuddled and taken for walks. Doll designer Jaime – a mother of four – fulfils the dreams of other women by engineering babies to their specifications in her front room. Adoptive “mothers” include women whose children have grown up and left home and women unable to have children of their own. It would be easy to dismiss all this as sad, strange and just plain wrong, but it gives great comfort to those involved.

watch a promo clip here. it's... interesting stuff...

anyway, hope that's provided some fodder for the next dinner party. more coming soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

say goodbye to the luke you knew

and say hello to 'white power luke', 'frightened inmate no. 2 luke' or 'german art critic luke'. my range is immense. i've avoided smiling, because i think that with a haircut like this i should avoid levity at all costs. this is a haircut with revolutionary potential.

is it just me, or do i have the most fabulously shaped skull? people could write anatomical dissertations on that thing. i'm a phrenologists wet dream.

also note the not inconsiderable tan line where my hair used to be. may have to subject my scalp to a bit of sun in the not too distant future.

fortunately, my melbourne housemates, being the considerable lot that they are, pre-empted this entire situation, and sent me the following photo of my newly updated mii (for the nintendo wii) at midnight a week or so ago

i think dan said he's never laughed so hard in his life.

of course, now i just need to take advantage of my situation and find someone with whom i can (to paraphrase george costanza) 'dip my bald head in oil and rub it all over [their] body'. candidates can leave stamped, self-addressed applications in the comment box.

on the plus side, i now look eerily like david cross. you may remember him as this man:

he also does stand up comedy, where he is renowned (amongst other things) for his bald head and black glasses. it's a good pedigree.

baldness. i'm going to make it happen.


other recent suggestions include

a white samuel l. jackson. cos there ain't no-one that gonna fuck with a 58 kilo bald dude. with a lightsaber. i might need to work on the last part of that.


the ever intimidating michel foucault. even dead, foucault is intimidating. but maybe baldness was the key to hs intellectual prowess. in which case you can all brace yourselves for a non-stop academic jizz-fest. that honours degree has got to be good for something. i may start wearing more turtlenecks.