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The Public Ineffectual

For entertainment purposes only.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Doggy Poo Existentialism

"It's a complicated world. Everything has a purpose. But what would I be good for? After all, I am just a doggy poo."

I'm not making this "shit" up. Doggy Poo is a stop motion animation of a Korean children's story book written in the sixties by author Jung-Saeng Kwon.

Watch the teaser here and the promotional trailer for the DVD here.

Sometimes, I feel like a doggy poo too.

He's An Asshole

Animal Rights.
Originally uploaded by justinaugust.

Thanks to justinaugust for the photo

Thursday, January 27, 2005

True or False?

Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

I did this to myself by scrubbing too hard in the shower.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

UG BOOTS / Happy Australia Day

The Hairy Shall Inherit the Ug
Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

On this auspicous occasion known as Australia Day, I would like to express how very proud I am of what must now be known as our National Footwear - the UG BOOT. Now, when we travel overseas we are going to have to explain this one away too alongside Paul Hogan, PM John Howard and Steve Irwin. Do people realise "ug" is short for "ugly"?!

Yes, this seasons' must-have-take-the-world-by-storm is actually the secret shame of many of an Aussie who will absolutely not(!) be seen wearing them outside the corridor between the kitchen, bath and bedroom because they are as ugly as they are FUGLY! Please tell me fashion victim types in Australia are not wearing them out, are they?

They are warm, admittedly, and quite soft but utterly lacking...in...in....style. When Marx spoke of the "lumpen" proletariat, surely he pictured them in ug boots. They are and remain in my heart the preserve of the bogan (a Victorian term I prefer to the New South Walesianism Westie). The following is from Save the Bogan:

Both males and females have been known to cover their lower hind-limbs with furry pouches called "ug-boots." While the wild population of Bogans is dwindling, it is still possible to view them in their natural environment. The species has been known to congregate around regional "shopping malls", where family units often come to settle domestic issues using high-pitched wailing sounds.

What do you expect from a trend spear-headed by Pamela Anderson?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

News Flash: American Culture Sinks to New Low; World Not Surprised

The now infamous tsunami that killed nearly 250,000 people was the subject of a parody of "We are the World" on Hot 97, a Hip Hop radio station in NY. The target of the humour is people's suffering, the language is school yard received racism:

There was a time, when the sun was shining bright
So I went down to the beach to catch me a tan
Then the next thing I knew, a wave 20 feet high
Came and washed your whole country away

And all at once, you can hear the screaming chinks
And no one was saved from the wave
There were Africans drowning, little Chinamen swept away
You can hear God laughing, 'Swim you bitches swim.'

So now you're screwed, it's the tsunami,
You better run and kiss your ass away, go find your mommy
I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head
And now your children will be sold to child slavery

I would like to believe that ANY subject can be satirized but it must be politicised. Is that too much to ask? From these people, I suspect it is.

Compare and contrast....in Australia, Triple J's morning hosts Jason Whalley and Lindsay McDougall also wrote a parody song entitled "Tsuna-me". I've had trouble finding the complete lyrics but here's a snippet:

Well we killed them in cricket, turned back their refugees.
But now the time is right to offer help...
Linking arms together, sing aloud in harmony
So we can feel good about ourselves.

From what I've gleaned they take issue with the fact that it takes a tragedy of this proportion for people to pay any kind of attention at all and in the ensuing media hubub, they have criticised (rightly, I believe) the self-interested nature of Australia's aid efforts. You can read a really good analysis of the situation here.

Jason and Lindsay* should be congratulated for understanding what rights and responsibilities come with being on air.

Multimedia Bonus!: Click here to hear how the Korean-American entertainment reporter and fixture of the offending program is treated on air when she objects to the song, followed by the tsunami song. She's told that she' always "tries to make herself 'seperate'" and that she "thinks she's superior because she's asian." Um. No, its because she's smarter than you.

Thanks to Angry Asian Man for the lyrics, the updates and the link to the audio.

* Jason and Lindsay both are former members of an Australian band called Frenzal Rhomb. Jason was in my film studies class back at Sydney University - he smelled incredibly bad.

UPDATE: This is the apology from Hot 97:


HOT97 regrets the airing of material that made light of a serious and tragic event. We apologize to our listeners and anyone who was offended.

Both HOT97's program director and Miss Jones issued on-air apologies on Monday stating that the material was offensive and should not have been aired.

HOT97 takes pride in its community involvement and in the last few weeks has joined with broadcasters nationwide to raise money for victims of the Tsunami. Our relief effort will result in a substantial cash donation.

I read somewhere that the show's personalities are going to donate a week's pay each. The best retort can be found in Tsunami Response, a recording by Jin, a respected Asian-American MC. It goes a little something like this:

That bullshit statement
Has got to be
The world's most half-assed apology
Thousands are still getting discovered each day
How dare you compare a life
With a week's pay.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Regarding Cigarette Brand Preference...

Photo Courtesy of Sniffles
Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

Smoking is a habit, nicotine the addiction. I would define cigarettes loosely to be a commodity if you look at them outside of a pack. Gather a number of domestically produced cigarettes without their pack and they all look roughly the same, smell roughly the same and when smoked, taste roughly the same. Could I distinguish one from another in a blind test? With the exception of a Marlboro or a Gauloise perhaps, probably not. I attribute this in part to a kind of willful ignorance on par with my stupiditude regarding wine. More sensitive conoisseurs might disagree.

I would like to hear from you what you believe to drive brand preference in cigarettes. Price drove my preference for Gauloises in the late nineties because they were pretty much the cheapest you could get - $3.85 per pack! (Cue: Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end...

Distribution to my local pushers also drove my preference. B & H was my routine buy. They're available in King Size or Regular in denominations of 20 or 25 in any depanneur *.

But these Davidoffs were my favourite all-time brand of cigarettes. I discovered them in Havana, Cuba, of all places at the "dollar store". This store is nothing like the cheapo-peddling dollar stores in Montreal but rather is where almost anything could be bought in this tightly controlled market for US dollars. Naturally, it was located in the embassy district.

More recently, I would only get them duty free because to get them domestically might just be impossible (though I have to admit I never tried) and inconvenient to my habit, driven more by need than brand preference.

Just look at that elegant box. I love the font of the brand and the beveled edges. I love the pearly cardboard. The interior foil is white and shiny gold reminiscent of a chocolate box. I fairly screams luxury on every count. And they're not bad smokes either.

But for quotiden smokes, what drives preference? Is it aesthetic? A hang over from long gone advertising like the Marlboro Man or the "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" of Virginia Slims. Joe Camel always looked fun to hang out with admittedly...

Smoking update: successful in NOT smoking; lungs purging daily; cardio fitness improving; patch is keeping me awake and sometimes making me feel queasy...gonna go lie down for a bit.

* Quebecois word for "convenience store".

Un-Real Estate

cube houses
Originally uploaded by urbandiscount.

I caught just a little of the A Charlie Brown Christmas last year. The slew of TV specials tend not to induce the gag reflex so much because they're often beautifully animated like the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in stop motion or the touchingZiggy's Gift. They really evoke all that was good and right about childhood.

But back to Charlie Brown. As usual, Charlie is a bit blue (could he just be Ziggy as a child?) wondering, "What is Christmas really about anyway?" as all his peers display the materialistic instincts appropriate to the season. He consults Lucy in her capacity as a psychiatrist (The Doctor is Way Out) and the scene goes something like this:

Lucy: I know what you mean. Every year I get something I don't really want like new pillows or toys.
Charlie: What do you really want?

Just as I'm thinking, "I am Lucy. Lucy is me. She is me in a blue dress. Yes.", she provides the kicker:

Lucy: Real estate.

I am Lucy. Lucy is me. And this is the real estate I want. Its in Rotterdam and I have it on good authority that there are two currently for sale. Click link above for pics of the interior. Its sooooooo me...and only asking €186 000! (242 552 USD; 296 892CAD; 315 359AUD)

A dank je to Minister of Enlightenment for the use of the photo!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cry Me an iRiver

Jenna Jameson
Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

Chosun Ilbo reports that Korean OEM manufacturer reigncom (manufacturer of iriver) has enlisted adult entertainment star Jenna Jameson to snare the testosterone set.

Pornography can be an effective fuel in the uptake and advance of new technology (still photography, VCR, the Interweb) and can represent the shortest path to profitablity. This is no news. I find it interesting that they make the connection so explicit with their Personal Media Player (PMP) ads. Go on - use it for porn. We know you're going to anyway.

But the ad is a bit icky. The portability of the PMP has allowed this loser the freedom to watch and be with the rest of the world when really he should be doing his biz in his mom's closet.

And is that a look of utter disdain on Jenna's face? At least they got that part right.

YULblog* is the New Black

Setare and I met some of the YULbloggers at the Saturn Chamber Saturday night. Ooooooo-weeeeee! Its nice when these things that are hastily arranged come together well. The place was jam packed unlike the last few times we've been there on accounta the New Year and back to school enthusiasm, I reckon.

I got there early, took my place at the bar and ordered a drink. A good analogy for my detoxing state-of-mind comes from that scene in Being John Malkovitch when JM goes into his own head and his whole existence becomes one long muttering of "malkovitch, malkovitch". For me, it was all "cigarette, cigarette" - people lighting up, sucking back that sweet, rich tobacco smoke were blown up larger than life. I popped a nicorette.

Thing about going out with bloggers is that you're going to read about it whether you care to or not. Thankfully, I did nothing to shame myself but I'm sure the time will come when some deep disgrace will be richly documented. They're a sensitive bunch and will likely put the most positive spin possible on my eventual arrest for obscene drunkeness, lewd acts and possible nudity.

Splurge has an account of Saturday night and some photos. So does Nika. And, as I was putting the final touches on this post, Boris sees fit to make mention of it too...from Tokyo. (No trackback?)

Setare patiently indulged my self-involvement as I updated her on the minutiae of my interpersonal and intrapersonal travails. I do remember interrupting my own monologue with, "Why does every night turn into Eighties Night around here?" a couple of times. She's sporting a kickin' tan fresh off the beaches of Hawai'i. We did a few shots. At one point, Nika and I grabbed each other and started dancing to Le Tigre asking the question which vexes us all, "Who put the bomp in the bomp-ba-bomp-ba-bomp?" And, who, for that matter, "put the rama in the rama-lama-ding-dong?" This and Drop the Pressure was my only dancing but when I did, the hair went flying I tells ya.

We also took lots and lots of photos. I even take one where my nose looks good. Unforunately, for me to look like that to the viewing public, my face has to be viewed from the perspective of a third grader. No wonder children like me.

I got photographic evidence of Patrick's X-Ray Vision abilities. We're on to you buddy - you get away with nothing from now on.

Setare and I parted ways with the bloggers who went for pizza. We headed homeward on St. Laurent Boulevard and spotted T'cha at Blizzarts (whom I worked for on NYE). We made Peter unlock the doors for us so that we could demand to be served after hours. They didn't. For some reason, T'cha, Setare and I started singing "New York, New York" in unison in some of the flattest, most bellowingest tones imaginable. Others join in. Peter, the owner, just smiled his get-the-fuck-out-of my-bar-its-quittin-time smile. We leave.

It seemed a shame to waste the momentum we had gathered so the three of us went to a loft party. Here is a way to describe the vibe as soon as we walked in: you know how they say sharks can smell a single drop of blood from a mile away? We were that fresh drop of blood. It was palpable. We had walked into a parallel universe to the one we just came from. The cast of characters were all the same except that this was a Franco Montreal scene that moves in different, occasionally intersecting, orbit. It takes connectors like Brennan to make it happen.

AJ and I were discussing Patrick's post this afternoon and wondering why my photos don't show up on Technorati although they're on flickr. I don't understand it, AJ understands a little more than I do. He thinks it'll work if I just put this link in. Hmmm. Let's see.

Oops. Its nearly 4am. I forgot to take off my nicotine patch. I might be awake until Thursday.

* FYI: YULblog is a group of Montreal bloggers who meet monthly for reasons of idle chatter and inebriation. (YUL is the airport code of Montreal.) When I first heard this utterance YULblog, I thought it was "YULE blog" and this is what sprang to mind. I have since signed up as a member and summarily recruited two others. Now I'm just waiting on Patrickto make it happen. (no pressure)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Ambivalence? Maybe...

Misery Loves...A New Accessory
Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

Every decision I make, every day, accumulates into a notion of how I want to live my life. But my decisions are also often marked by a strong ambivalence - an ambivalence that is situated on a continuum of the important and the not-so-important - but underneath it is the desire to do something right - maybe even perfect.

Organic versus ordinary vegetables? Organic! FOX or CBC? CBC! These simple questions represent 'ideal' scenarios. I *try* but I'm human and I make less-than-optimal decisions that are driven by sometimes practical constraints. Organic stuff is expensive and supply can be unreliable. It doesn't really matter whether I watch The Simpsons on FOX or CBC.

Sometimes I am asked to take a certain course of action because that is the decision that I made...and having made that decision calls for a certain course of action. The ambivalence of not making this decision because of the possibility of failure or even being just plain wrong is fucking torture.

A case in point is smoking. I started at an age when I should already have known better. The reasons why I started and why I continued are banal in the extreme and are not worth recounting. The list is as long as church is boring.

I hate myself for doing things I know are wrong which only makes things worse and makes me less able to act. They say you only regret the things you do, not the things you don't do. I don't have a lot of regrets save for those occasions where I maintained a committment to something that I didn't continue to believe in and couldn't find it in me to draw the line and just stop. This is the point at which I am being driven by circumstance. Rather, circumstance is driving...no... riding me...like a pony at a county fair. The ambivalence is really the highest form of disregard. With it, I'm caught in a cycle of self-abuse and self-loathing.

I've always known I didn't see myself a smoker in perpetuity. There is the threat of disease which looms but doesn't loom large since I'm somewhat resigned to the idea that living seems to gives you cancer. In past attempts to quit, I've made appeals to my Higher Vanity hoping the chant of smoking is soooo bad for your skin; smoking gives you wrinkles around your lips - are you ready to watch your lipstick feather? might be enough to sway me. (OK, OK. It's funnier when I say it.) And, to top it all off, some of my best friends are smokers! It doesn't make one iota of difference to my opinion of them the way that, say, discovering they believe what Bush is doing in Iraq is morally justified might. The mere facts of the situation are just not enough. There was always something more in the mix to this habit.

And so, around midnight on Monday, I stubbed out my last cigarette and I went to bed early.

I've been quiet about it, yes. I suspect MD read through my actions - he has a habit of doing that - and saw that my recent gym efforts have been to institute a different habit before quitting the other nefarious (only marginally more smelly) habit. I haven't done anything social since that would otherwise call for a smoke like going to a bar or cafe. You will witness me bounce off the walls for craving a cigarette even as nicotine courses through my body by osmosis (gum/patch).

I am going to try NOT to be blog obsessed with this, I promise. I will ask for your indulgence in advance though when I need to vent. And if you see me start a nic fit in front of you, please, just take my hand and squeeze it for a second. I will likely register a look of shock for being so transparent and laugh. I so need to laugh.

I'm going to try this quitting thing again and you may watch me fail. But I'm going to try. The process of turning this ship around is going to be more like an ocean liner than a sailboat. This may take a little while.

**The image you see above is actually an 'imitation' Louis Vuitton cigarette pack holder I bought at a market in Seoul. What you see poking out is nicotine gum. If I have to look like a freak, I gotta be super-freaky.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Sleep eludes me, once again.

The mailbox had a welcome surprise for me this morning - the first issue of a subscription Georgina gifted me of Granta containing a most hilarious essay by Jim Lewis called "Notes From the Land of Nod".

Here are a few quotes I would like to share with you this morning at 4:11am as I post from my bed.

On Nod:
"The Bible says that [Cain] 'went out of the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden'.
In Hebrew, the word nod means 'wandering', which is apt to the occasion, and while Jonathon Swift was the first to use 'land of Nod' to mean sleep in the simplest sense, to me it means something more difficult than that: a place of both exile and sanctuary, where I lie awake and wonder what I've done wrong, or sleep as if I were courting oblivion, a fugitive and vagabond, exactly."

On disorders:
"What's galling is that sleep is supposed to be so natural, so easy - as easy as eating or sex, to name two other activities based on appetite- which risks perversion or failure for those who've somehow lost out on the opportunity to exercise them in health."

On dreams:
"The nocturnal fantasy of the world's most interesting man or woman is less interesting than the dullest person's recitation of what they had for dinner the night before..."

On the inhumanity of sleep deprivation:
"The ability to nod off is the ultimate exercise of freedom. The choice is not to be there: no wonder human-rights groups condemn sleep deprivation as a form of prisoner abuse. For almost every waking malaise-discomfort, depression, boredom-sleep is an escape. No one is bored by dreaming; no one is dissatisfied while sleeping. To keep a prisoner awake, then is to compound the confinement of his body with the incarceration of his consciousness."

On sleep after a night of recreational drugs:
"Ordinary people, whom you envy and hate, are just getting up now to go to work. The ass end of your night is a new beginning to them. Their normality is grotesque: your prodigality is disgusting."

On going into a sleep lab to be diagnosed:
"The creepy part was the room where the nurse led me, which had been made up to look like a cheap but clean motel room: polyester bedspread, flimsy night table, plastic lamp, and a TV bolted into a bracket hanging from the ceiling....I thought of the patients being attended to in adjacent rooms: it felt like I was in some particularly clinical whorehouse, and I wondered if the other bedrooms had been decorated differently as if in anticipation of clients fantasies...and if so, how and why had they decided that Motel 8 would work for me."

On napping properly:
"Long naps are a disaster...stay out of bed: napping on the couch is much better, or even on the floor, or in the passenger seat of a car while someone else is driving....you must wear more clothing than you do at night...if you sleep naked, some form of underwear is obligatory...if you sleep topless, a shirt; and if you sleep in pyjamas, I suppose you have to nap with your shoes on....If you own a dog, he should be in the same room as you: dogs are experts in the art of dozing and man and beast nod off twice as well together as either does alone."

On saying the unmentionable about sleep:
"Given how wonderful sleep is, imagine how pleasurable death must be."

And off I go. Good night!

Lewis, Jim. "Notes from the land of Nod", Granta 88, Winter 2004

Thursday, January 06, 2005

An A-Z of My Last Two Weeks Off-Blog

A is for apathy, anxiety and anger that are my steady, constant companions

B is for baking my own banana bread which i'm still trying to eat my way through

C is for taking more interest in cooking (recent triumphs include sticky date pudding and souffle) even if it is femme-ey.

D is for damage control in my life; and for the lovely Denisa, my co-door girl at the NYE party I worked at who saved the night by being the antithesis of my Creature From the Deep.

E is for the Iraqi election that Atomic is going to work on in Iran; hoping all goes well before it goes to hell; and for the e-cards I received this year!

F is for the friends that helped me to cook and eat a wonderful christmas dinner for the orphans/heathens/atheists among us.

G is for Georgina who called me from the future (i.e. Australia) to wish me a Happy New Year.

H is for a Happy New Year to everybody - may what you're looking for find you this year and for the hole I found in the ass of my pants as they came out of the washing machine (here's to hoping I haven't been running around town like that).

I is for the "I Love Kissing" t-shirt that Claire sent me (Claire loves Animals and Georgina loves Reading).

J is for joke: How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb? Whaaaat??? You mean you don't know???

K is for the Kiss Me brand mascara that is so amazing - its made of latex so it doesn't run.

L is for Love, Life and all the other big subjects best discussed over thai food.

M is for my masochistic tendencies.

N is for the nicorette/nicoderm regimen I will be embarking on shortly.

O is for being called "Auntie Oblivia" by human children and trying my best to be Auntie-like and "play".

P is for pfeffernuss that T.Lo sent me home with after a fabulous Xmas eve dinner at her house.

Q is for queueing at the SAQ (the crown corporation that sells booze in Quebec) because only a few outlets are open since their strike action mid-December which left me feeling terrible for crossing a picket line.

R is for the resolutions that I always say I'm not going to make to jinx things but do secretly anyway, never quite sure if it counts as a jinx if you make a resolution secretly; its also for the Roomies who are due back shortly from their respective overseas sojourns with, surely, many amusing stories to recount.

S is for the sighs that involuntarily escaped my lips as I made miso soup with udon noodles as my first meal of the year at 7:00am - so happy to be home, was I.

T is for the Tumour that you might have ("Its not a tooo-muh") and the frightening tsunami that made millions of hearts break worldwide.

U is for continuing to underestimate the time it takes me to do anything and everything.

V is for the vigilant watch I am determined to keep on the nature of the aid flowing to tsunami afllicted areas (How much of the aid that is pledged going to come through? Does it need to be in the form of credit lines as opposed to outright cash?)

W is for the W Hotel bar that had last call at midnight on Xmas eve - lame!

X is for Xmas that I'm trying to wean myself off of, even though I love the gift exchanging ritual.

Y is for having the strength to be you.

Z is for the "zzzzzzzzzzzz" status on my iChat for nearly 24 hours while I tried to sleep off the stupid flu

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Yes, its true...

...last post was Dec 24, 2004. I think I need a muse.