Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In which I make a vain attempt to get Bob Ellis to post on my blog.

It has recently come to my attention that Bob Ellis appears to be posting on John Birmingham's blog. As I type this Birmingham himself hasn't responded or anything ... but I don't suppose that A) John Birmingham, or indeed anyone, would be in need of my help in defending themselves against Bob fucking Ellis or anything or, of course, B) either of them are likely to read this anyway. So what the hey, I guess....

First of all, let me just say that I like you, Bob. Well, actually ... that's a blatant lie. You're a complete dick and I can't but help have that inform my opinion of you at least a little bit, but just let me say it anyways, because it will make what follows a little bit easier for both of us. The point I'm trying to get across, and this one I really do mean, is that I think it would be a shame for you to be dropped from the Drum. Not, I suppose I should make clear, because you have anything all that compelling, interesting, well-thought out, internally consistent or, well, intrinsically valuable to say about anything.  Rather the opposite in fact, I think  you're generally entertaining for much the opposite reason and, well, it's the Drum we're talking about here so it's not like we're parlaying over prospective loss of standards or anything.

Thing is, though, whether or not I, or indeed if most people think it would be a bit of a shame if the Drum refused to publish a single future solitary word you write in future is not, I submit, a particularly good criterion in and of itself on which to base such a decision. It is, I would submit however, a far far better criterion on which to base that decision than it would be to base the decision on, say, whether or not you should be free to, oh I don't know, rape people with impunity. I would have hoped we could agree on that point, Bob, but the demands of your being consistent with the article you wrote would seem sadly to dictate that this isn't to be.

I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Bob. It's called the rule of law. I like it. It was, in it's day, a profoundly revolutionary and progressive idea. A lot more progressive than, just to pluck a few examples from your article, let's say the next French president, JFK, John McCain and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Honest. What makes it so important, Bobby, is that without this kind of principle there really isn't any point at all debating the ethical questions like, you know, whether or not my clubbing you in the head because of something you wrote on the Drum is a bad thing to do - because if the answer isn't the same whether I'm me, Adolf Hitler or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, well, it probably isn't really an ethical principle, is it? It's probably just a subjective 'people I, personally, like should be accorded with rights other people aren't because, well I like them' statement.

I mean.... people really shouldn't have to point this sort of thing out to you, Bob.

And with that, I'm going to sleep.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

On Poker Bots

Sorry Dave1.

1May actually write more later. The above represents the fruits of my morning, however.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mark Sharma Mark Sharma Mark Sharma.

So, apologies to all (of, like, three of you) about my tardiness in posting in this new year of ours. Busy, and all that.

There are two things which have conspired to bring this hiatus to an end, and they're kind of where I left off last year anyway.

So, if one mosies on over to Andrew Bolt's blog and scrolls down .... some distressingly high number of pages1 .... one will come across the remnants of him and Tim Blair probably thinking they've just pulled off the great Australian culture-war version of the Sokal affair or something.

Imagine I am now wearily wiping a tear of laughter from my eyes while I just take a moment to congratulate them on uncovering this dirty secret that no-one has ever noticed before: that it is really, really easy to get dumb shit published on Unleashed. Congratulations, fellas. You Rock. No, seriously, you do.


Anyway, this brings me nicely to my next subject .... which the astute reader may well have inferred from the title of this post. Because that story was in fact broken wide open by one Mark Sharma on the 26/11/2010. Unleashed articles will, I submit, never get dumber than that one. And that guy wasn't a fake. He is, in fact, running for the seat of Strathfield in the upcoming NSW election:

He seems pretty proud of this sign, too. He posted it on Twitter.

Which brings me to my Fitz-the-blogger plays public service announcement moment to the good people of Strathfield. I'm not dis-endorsing Mr Sharma. Quite the contrary, from my point of view Australia gets just that much more hilarious in the, I'd have to think highly unlikely event, that he actually gets in. So by all means, please do vote for him.

I just think that you should probably know that he wrote, then subsequently deleted, the following comment on this blog, though2:


1Which is kind of the way he works, I guess. It's actually a good thing, in as much as it promotes a massive stream of comments, to go around publishing non-researched demonstrable falsehoods and thinly-veiled wink-wink, nudge-nudge incitements to racist bullshit when you publish like 50 posts a day anyway and have a readership which looks like what might happen if you collected all of the head trauma victims of a hospital into one room or something. Anyways, I guess you've got to hand it to him, his business model works.

2Sorry, Mark. It turns out screen-shots are really easy to take in this day and age.

Friday, December 3, 2010

In which Jindabyne tourist info earns a place on my hit list.

Jindabyne is a lovely little town. Really, it is. I quite like it. I would even go so far as to say I like almost everything about the place. I cannot, however, dock the 'almost' from that last sentence. Is it because there is a malfunction of some sort in either blogger or my computer I hear you ask? I thank you for your concern, but no. It is because I must contractually1 reserve a brooding hatred of at least one part of Jindabyne.

The information centre.

Superficially, it's not such a bad centre. It looks nice enough. The staff certainly seem friendly and helpful enough. "Seem" is, however, the operative word in that last sentence. I don't know what your definition of 'helpful advice' is, dear reader, but for my money it should preclude advice such that, in following it, you materially increase the probability that you will die in the near future. But, hey, maybe that's just me. I wish to relate a conversation which occurred on the morning of Saturday 27th November. This is pretty much how I remember it, at any rate, and I will not be moved on its veracity.

Adriana: We were hoping to do a walk from Charlotte's pass to Kosciusko today.

She-Devil Information centre employee: Lovely! There are basically two routes you can take ..... (we choose one ... anticipating about a 7 hr walk)

We chose this route..... longer than it looks.
Adriana: So what are the conditions like?

Information centre employee: Well it's a little misty. And there is a little snow over some parts of the path .... but that shouldn't be a problem.

Adriana: Anything we should take?

Information centre employee: Well, you might want to take a spare pair of socks to cross the Snowy river..... or you could just take your shoes off. You want to cross that in the morning, too, because it rises during the day.

Adriana: And how cold is it? Last time we went we took way more warmth than we needed2....

Information centre employee: Well at the moment it's 11°, but the wind-chill is taking that down to 10° .... the key is to take layers.

Adriana: Should we take a map?

Information centre employee: Well, we can give you this one (same degree of detail as the above picture ..... they had other, actually good, maps for sale also). You shouldn't really need one, though. The path is clearly marked.

 So how did the walk itself go?

Well, to start with, there was a bit of this sort of thing:

....... but things ended up a little more like this:

O.K. so the picture I was going to put here, but didn't on account of Ads not wanting it put up(understandably I guess), was a selfie Ads took in which she believed she was likely to die3.


What happened to us was pretty much as follows. A few kilometers short of Kosciusko the path kind of disappeared. This, in and of itself, wasn't necessarily a big deal. For a start, mist had gotten very thick in places and it was raining from time to time, so it wasn't that rare for us not to be able to see more than a five meters in front of us anyway. Actually, this leads me to my first favourite line of the day:

Ads: This *referring to very light precipitation* isn't rain .... it's just that some of this mist is condensing and falling.

Me: Ads, ah, you do know what rain is, right?

Ads: *pauses*... Shut up.

So .... when I say 'mist', I should perhaps really be saying 'cloud'. Also, there'd been some snow across the path before now ... and by that I mean great big stretches of it. But up until now it had always been pretty clear where the path actually was and, excepting a little nervousness about walking across slightly sludgy/slippery snow while being lightly rained on, it was easy enough to cross. What occurred here was a little different. What we saw now was a bank of snow resting on a sharp incline which, in its recently rained-on state seemed far to steep for us to feasibly climb up. In addition there were rocks immediately to it's left which could conceivably have been the edge of the path.... the possibility of which we decided to investigate.

It became reasonably clear, by virtue of the fact that the only way forward on these rocks rapidly became to climb downwards, that we were moving off the path. The question was whether we could traverse around this great big pile of snow and find the path on the other side. Ads, who was walking in front reached a dead end of sorts ... which is to say an end of rocks and a start of steep snow bank. This leads to another favourite line:

Me: If you slide down that, do you think you can get back up it?

Ads: No.

..... and, at that point, Ads slides down.

Perhaps because I thought she must have seen something path-related I came down to follow suit instead of, as I probably should have done, left Ads there and gone back to fetch help. Help, in this case, being represented by a group of well-equipped people on a 20 day hike who couldn't have been much more than 1km behind us. As I said, however, what I did instead was follow her, almost sliding down the entire slope in the process. And it turned out she hadn't seen anything at all.... she'd just slipped.

From where we now were, we certainly couldn't have gone back the way we came and, while we could actually see the afore-mentioned hikers moving along a peak behind us (we think, based upon a previous conversation, that they must have been looking for a place to camp), actually getting to them directly from where we were would have been even harder. With the levels of mist drifting around it didn't exactly very likely they'd seen us.... and what's more, we were now under a great big bank of snow we had reason to believe had already moved in previous rain. The only real option seemed to be to move forward and hope to find a way back onto the path.... which is what we now did.

In the distance, I could actually make out a structure and what was probably a path. Between us and them, however, was a valley, a small river and quite a steep ridge. It was highly doubtful we could get to them easily (if at all ... while there was no snow blocking our path, all slopes were very slippery due to rain and probably pretty treacherous at the best of times) via a direct route. I was only going to be able to make these out for a few more minutes, too, before mist and rain intervened, but their existence became increasingly important to us as it became impossible to move forward without also moving downwards into the valley.

While there was a constant threat of slipping... we were at least grateful that it wasn't raining. This gratitude lasted a few minutes. The sky then pretty much opened up on us with a truly heavy downpour, and while we were prepared for light rain walking upright, we simply hadn't gear that could keep us from getting completely wet through crawling around the side of a mountain and, when one factors in a now significant wind-chill, border-line hypothermia cold ... which is where we eventually got. Ads was in a far worse situation than I was too, since she depended upon glasses to see and subsequently had visibility of maybe a metre.... She was probably nowhere near as fit, also4. My phone, unsurprisingly, had no reception. Yay team!

It turns out that adrenaline is a pretty wonderful thing. So long as we kept moving, I found the only real indication that I was really fucking cold came when I grabbed a rock and felt pins and needles all the way up my wrist. On the downside this probably happened at least once every 10 seconds or so.

The story between here and when we found the path probably isn't all that interesting to tell. The important details are that we decided on a course of action, which is to say which way we would approach the distant path .... and I should probably point out that Ads' way turned out to be right5, and that we eventually made it on the other side of what was a pretty scary experience in light of the knowledge that we probably wouldn't have lasted the night if it came to that.


Oh, wait. The other thing I should mention is that is that after getting significantly higher, still being uncertain whether or not there existed any way to get onto the path we knew existed or whether there was a path at all on our side of the ridge that we were on .... and at a point when Ads' legs were kind of giving out on her ..... I realised my phone had reception. I now made the following awkward phone call.

000 person: Police, fire or ambulance?

Me: Umm.... rescue? *I explain, somewhat awkwardly, our situation*

000 person: What's the nearest suburb?

Me: Jindabyne, I think.

000 person: I'll put you through to Jindabyne police.

There was now a little phone hockey and awkwardly long waiting for people to call me back and such-like, which would have been a whole lot more amusing if we didn't feel like we were freezing to death on the side of a mountain (I particularly liked when they asked 'can you shield yourself from the wind there, we can't quite make you out?' .... No, actually we can't.... that's kind of the problem here). All of this took place while we were, unbeknownst to us, a few hundred metres from the path which had now emerged from under probably around 1 km of thick snow cover. Turned out that big bank of snow above us kind of was the path. Hey ho. Having made contact, been reassured ..... eventually..... by police that what we were doing would definitely see us reach the path at Rawson's pass and being assured that someone, somewhere knew enough of our predicament we made one final push up the steepest most foreboding piece terrain above us and.......


.... and this is what it looked like from the other side.
Found it.

There are probably now only a few things worth mentioning. Firstly that we made our way to a toilet block and shelter. It was at this point that we made use of one of the few pieces of advice we got from the information centre lady and changed our socks to nice, dry ones. Thanks so much for that tip! They even stayed dry for, you know, a minute or two! That was awesome!

Rain, wind and light hail had now gotten to the point where reception was completely shot again so I couldn't let the police know we'd made it, and when we finally did it turned out that they were on their way to pick us up. The path from Kosciusko to Charlotte's pass now in front of us, it turns out, is wide and stable enough to qualify as a road if you happen to be a 4wd.

We met with a few people who'd made a fire in Seaman's hut, and got to chatting with them. One of them had come the same way we had, except over the snow on the path6, and who now delivered another of my favourite lines of the day:

Hiker-girl: Yeah, if you lost the path you're gone.

Me: *pause* .....

Anyways, after a smallish break near a fire, we moved to make the final dash back to Charlotte's Pass, eventually seeing a pair of headlights in the distance which we rightly assumed represented the police who had come to pick us up. It was still raining at this point. We were freezing and hobbling/limping along the path now when Ads delivered what was, hands down, my favourite line pf the day:

Ads: I wish they hadn't come to pick us up.... now we can't say we did the whole walk.

Me: *long drawn out pause, then I point at my face* Ads, this is my unimpressed face.

Our trip back was spent being mildly lectured to, which wounded Ads' pride a little, but didn't bother me in the least:

Policeman: Did you have a first aid kit7? GPS? A map? A compass? Did you know that you we have the highest density of brown snakes in the country around here, and that they're prolific at the moment8?

Me: *singing* It's good to beeee alive, to beeee alive.....9

Anyways ... I guess the moral of the story is that if you're going to do a walk like this you should come prepared for the worst, and as the police advised us, be prepared to spend the night.

Also, if you happen to be in the Jindabyne tourist info centre...... say 'hi' from me.

1You think I enjoy getting angry about stuff and ranting all the time? You think this makes me happy? Honestly, you have no idea how much of a drain this puts on me psychologically.

2Around the beginning of Autumn.

3If you're friends with Ads on Facebook, though, it's actually been put up there.

4Readers who have actually met me may be surprised to learn that, owing to a regular fairly serious ride to work, I'm actually reasonably fit now. Honestly. No ..... really.

5My way had the upside of being such that, based on what we knew at the time, being certain to get us there, but the downside of being a lot more arduous. Ads didn't think she could have made it.

6We'd met various people coming the other way who mentioned what seemed to be, based on their tone, a smallish snow drift around Kosciusko also which simply didn't seem to gel with our experience of it. Either a large amount of snow was shifted and deposited there in the rain, or the rain ate away at the edges making it harder to climb on to.

7While we didn't have a first aid kit, we had betadine, bandaids, hand sanitiser and such-like... which, let's face it is about all that the average person could actually use in said kit anyway.

8Christ I'm glad we didn't know that.....

9I actually was singing this in the car....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mark Sharma talks in third person. Mark Sharma sulk now. Mark Sharma say everyone at Unleashed racist. Unleashed turned into bigger farce.

This post is probably beneath me.

Actually, who am I kidding here, of course it isn't. 

A friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous unless they choose not to be, quipped recently that I'd hit the big time by getting an Unleashed author to post a comment on my blog. One way of putting perspective on that is to point out that, well, I got the Unleashed author most likely to open a post with "So whats up fa-gots? How are things in ur lil Gay Land?". Another is to point out that that post is, as I type this, the second result to come up for a Google search of the man in question, after his own web site. So not exactly big time prominent writer, here....

However. This dude is apparently going to contest a state seat in the next NSW election. And it'd be pretty funny if I could maintain anything like that level of Google prominence when that happens, so.... let's just all take a quiet moment of appreciation for the following extract from his spirited and rational defense (a summary of which is written over the above picture in red):
But clearly this is not going well with Left Labor- Greens Communist alliance and their supporters. A quick look at the said article shows how every comment on the page is against me.
Oh dear..... 

If one then moseys on over to the original post one sees firstly that, well, commenters  have not been altogether kind to the unfortunate Mr Sharma. Happily, one also sees a few supporters bravely standing against that evil communist tide. Rather like King Cnut.... only with Margaret Thatcher underwear, an "I ♥ Mark Sharma" t-shirt and .... well, probably lobotomy scars. Take completely disinterested random bystander Jamie:

Well that certainly sounded natural and un-forced, didn't it? I found the "These questions have been raised by Independent Mark Sharma and people like me" bit especially convincing. Almost like..... Look, 'Jamie', I'll level with you.  It's not that I'm saying you are Mark Sharma, necessarily ..... it's just that I'd be very surprised if he didn't more or less tell you what to say in some way. If there were actually a way of actually settling the matter, yes I'd be quite happy to put up money there.

In any case, if one can believe his rants about the Indian/immigrant community of Strathfield needing better representation than they currently have I really hope, for their sake, they can find a better candidate to represent their interests somewhere and soon. Also, what the hell is with the publication standards at Unleashed?

 Mark Sharma for a regular friday slot!!!! 

Update (6/12/10): I have, sadly and rapidly, lost my place of Google prominence apparently after posting my latest. Suspect my prominence there (or anything like it) was only ever going to last as long as a Mark Sharma post was my latest. Woe :( ... I guess it's nice to learn a little about Google's search algorithm, at least. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

News just in: Sydney suburb of Strathfield uncovers dire existential threat to Australia.

Mark Sharma.

Mark Sharma. Maaark Sharma. Mark. Sharma. Repeat these words, dear reader. Savour them. Let the sweet, sensual, seductive sound of Shaaaarrrmmmaaaaa.... make love with your tongue, vocal cords, nasal cavity and lips to mark this fine day.

The day the prophet spoke to us.

Who is Mark Sharma, I hear you ask? Why, Mark Sharma is Strathfield, dear reader. And Strathfield is he1. He speaks its thoughts. He lives out its wants and desires. And today, dear reader, which some day will be recorded as the first day of year 0 in a newer, more enlightened calendar, Strathfield spoke to us.

It was not a message of comfort, dear reader. Rather, it was a terrible vision of the future. But fear not, my friend, for in this vision lies hope. If we can but heed this call, if we sinners can but repent, become conservatives and joint this great movement Australia may once again become a land of prosperity, heterosexuality and economic liberalism.

Why do Gillard, Swan and Brown hate freedom so? The prophet would not tell us. Perhaps it is because they are not conservatives, and as we all know, freedom is a conservative value. Perhaps it is because they are brainwashed vessels of leftist hate. Who can say? But hate it, they do. And as much as we might like to tear these hate-mongers limb from limb in the name of Australian freedom, dear reader, let us instead let the soothing words of the prophet stay our righteous hands: will be a waste of time if we spent our entire energy targeting them. Instead of that it would be more productive to focus on their hidden agenda.

Their hidden agenda? Why it becomes only too obvious if you are but willing to look with clear eyes. Consider, first, what they have already done.
If the shock of another tax was not enough for the Gillard Government, now there is a foolish debate going on in Canberra on same same-sex marriage. The ceremony of marriage might be different in different cultures but the institution of marriage is the same no matter where you live. Marriage can only happen between a man and a woman. There are no "ifs and buts" or grey areas to it. It doesn't matter whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or belong to any other faith. The concept is the same everywhere. Just because we live in the 21st century, it doesn't mean we should destroy our way of life for delusional people. There is no possibility of any debate on this issue and it should be kept out of our sacred parliament.
Why should we ruin our way of life for delusional people, indeed? For people so wrapped up in their delusional mindset as to disbelieve such manifest truths as the existence of bronze age gods, transubstantiation and his elephantine majesty Ganesha?


But why must they do this, dear reader. Why? My god, man, but isn't it obvious?
But despite all this, the Greens are relentlessly bringing up gay marriage and attacking Australian families. Why is Senator Brown doing all this? The only assumption one can make is that the Greens want to weaken our economy with a carbon tax and destroy our social fabric with gay marriage. A weakened nation would serve as a perfect launch pad for communism.
Don't you see? Don't you see you fools!? First they introduce flouridation of our very water suppy to dilute our precious bodily fluids. Then, using their cunning sham of 'global warming', they tax carbon to cripple our great nation's economy. Finally, to weaken our defenses by tearing the social fabric in two and turning our defense forces camp, they let gay people marry each other. Why else would you do these things? Isn't the next logical step that we find ourselves a satellite state of the Soviet Union communist UN world government?


1It's just a bit of a shame he isn't the rest of Watson, really.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In which I lose sleep over being called an idiot on Andrew Bolt's blog.

How can it have come to this? I only wanted to join in.... to take a small place amongst the intellectual giants who come to sit in awe of the greatest living Australian...

Instead I have been cruelly shot down. PWNED, if you will1.

I feel so small. How did I C You know I wasn't one of the idiots form some block of 200,000 he'd counted already? How was he even able to work that out? That's just the thing about people over at Bolt's blog I guess..... they really are just that friggin smart.

1Although, just quietly, and on a serious note to Mick. I would much rather that some random group of people dumb enough to take Andrew Bolt seriously on any issue at all think I am a 'soft touch' than to know with dread certainty in my more honest and quiet moments, that I am both a racist and a coward. I should also probably just say that it's been pointed out to me that 111 is the number of boats, not people. Just so you know I realise that now and that I still don't care (it's true, I'm afraid I don't usually bother to read Andrew Bolt's posts very carefully and this was no exception).