Monthly Archives: March 2007

The cold water thieves

The whole issue of water is pretty fraught in Australia right now, taking into account the annoying fact that we simply don’t have enough of it.  But I’m not writing about big water issues today, I’m writing about smaller, more personal water issues.

Namely, the cold water dispenser at work.  The kitchenettes where I work all have this thingie (a technical term – I can’t help myself, I’m a nerd) that dispenses filtered water.  It has two little levers; you press one and you get boiling water (a lawsuit waiting to happen if you ask me), you press the other and you get chilled water.

I like really cold drinks.  Eagle-eyed viewer may notice that there is often a drink next to me in my videos.  This is a large glass, usually stacked to the top with ice then the gaps are filled with my beverage of choice.  There are no freezers at my workplace so I can’t have ice (I can tell you’re asking yourself, “How does he survive such hardship?  Surely he’s the reincarnation of Mother Theresa”).  So when I get a glass of chilled water I want it to be really chilled.

Not everyone feels this way, for some people the water that comes out of the dispenser is too cold.  Boo hoo.  Stop complaining about inconsequential things you whiners.  The real injustice for me happens when someone gets to the dispenser just before me and they fill up a really large bottle or jug.  The dispenser has a reservoir of chilled water and if the person before me takes all the chilled water, my drink isn’t as cold as I like it.  The injustice!

Someone almost earned a punch in the head today for their water gathering behaviour.  My first inward sigh of disappointment came when they started filling up a large container, thus depriving me of the most chilled water.  Then, they topped off the container with boiling water because the chilled water was too cold for them!

What the fuck?!?!?!?!

So they took all my fucking chilled water and then wasted it by adding boiling water.  And they think that’s acceptable behaviour.  There ought to be a law against that sort of thing.  And when I’m supreme overlord of the Earth, there will be.

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Filed under General Angriness, Work

Return of the toilet vampires

The toilet vampires have been at it again.  Those evil incorrect toilet paper handing bastards are trying to mess with me because of the public stand I’ve taken against them.  Like most clandestine organisations, the Society to Hurt Innocent Toilet-Paper (or SHIT) don’t take kindly to having their secrets exposed.

I have it on reliable sources that the heads of the SHIT conspiracy (known collectively as the SHIT Heads) have launched a vendetta against me.  They spy on my toilet habits and try to find ways to fuck with me.  At work today they got particularly nasty.

I have of late taken to using the wheelchair-accessible toilet at work, simply because it’s private.  There aren’t actually any wheelchair-bound people at work so I’m not making life hard for any disabled people.  The privacy is important to me – I’ve sounded off frequently in the past about how gross I think communal toilet cubicles are (what’s worse that sitting next to someone doing a stinky shit?  Sitting in the middle of six people doing stinky shits!)

So the bastards knew which toilet I would be using and they sabotaged the toilet paper.  They’d weakened the toilet paper somehow so it tore in vertical strips rather than coming out in sheets.  And because the paper is hidden away in a dispenser designed by satan himself, it was a bastard of a job to try and get the strips that hadn’t come off and were still attached to the roll.  Without evening the roll out like this the problem got progressively worse so I had to spend ages struggling with it.

The end result was basically me being forced to wipe my arse with confetti.  It may surprise you to learn that confetti is not the most efficient of arse-wipers.  But those SHIT Heads won’t get me down!  I’ll keep fighting the good fight.

And just to show how great my commitment is to toilet issues, here are a few of my video rants on toilet related issues that you may have missed the first time around:

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Filed under Video Blogging

The myth of history

One of my favourite running jokes in the animated series Futurama is their depiction of history. As Futurama is set around the year 3000, our time is history so we get a representation of how these future people imagine our lives. Much like we try to piece together ancient history from fragments, the future people have no reliable record of our era (“The Stupid Ages”) because of alien invasion and various other catastrophes.

The reason I like their history jokes is that they are broad and subtle at the same time. Broad because their guesses at our lives are always absurdly wrong. The have one piece of evidence and from this they extrapolate our entire lives, usually with surreal results. “Primitive” car assembly robots are depicted like Flintstone cavemen, complete with leopard print leotards, clubs and saying “ooga-booga.”

When an ancient pizza place is uncovered, it is surmised that the scoop used to get pizzas out of the oven was actually for paddling delivery boys. The main character, Fry (who was a pizza delivery boy in the 20th century), corrects the museum and tells them paddling him was only one of the uses it was put to (“It was also used to move pizzas and crush rats”).

The jokes are subtle at the same time because they are pointing out that our understanding of ancient history are probably just as screwy. Very little history is based on “fact” – it’s nearly all guesswork. Sometimes there is a lot of supporting evidence but there’s no getting around the fact that, educated or not, guesswork is the dominant feature of history.

One of my favourite examples of this is the so-called Venus of Willendorf. This paleolithic sculpture of a well-rounded woman has produced many theories, usually geared to fit in with the political agenda of the theory’s proponent. The exaggerated sexual characteristics have led many to believe that it is some sort of fertility object or it is evidence of a strong matriarchy existing in a prehistoric culture. Yeah, either that or it was made by a teenage boy with a thing for big titties.

There’s also a storm in a teacup being brewed by certain historians over the new film “300″. The film is based on the graphic novel (i.e. comic) by Frank Miller, which in turn is inspired by the famous story of the stand taken by 300 Spartans against an advancing Persian army in the Battle of Thermopylae. It is by all accounts a visual extravaganza and if you happen to like watching large numbers of semi-naked men with impressive abs get disembowelled, then this is the movie for you.

But a number of historians are up in arms over what they perceive as the gross inaccuracies in the movie (what, you mean there weren’t really obese guys with swords for arms working as executioners in ancient Persia?) Their self-righteous prattle is completely pointless for two main reasons:

1. It’s entertainment you fucking idiots. For god’s sake, it’s a movie based on a fucking comic. A classical story is being used as a vehicle to explore themes. It has no pretension of being a history text. And it’s hardly the film-makers’ fault if anyone takes it such.

2. Your precious “history” is bullshit. What are so-called historical records of the Battle of Thermopylae based on? Third hand accounts, self-serving memoirs and poetry for fuck’s sake! There is no evidence whatsoever that any historical version of Thermopylae is any more accurate than the imaginings of people from the year 3000 in Futurama. Opinions are not the same as evidence.

For anyone who feels like getting all huffy about the sanctity of history, think about this: how often have you been to some sort of performance (a concert, a play or maybe a movie) that you absolutely loved then later you heard someone else savaging it, saying it was the biggest load of shit ever? And how many times have you witnessed some significant event then heard someone else report it totally differently?

Maybe their physical location was different to yours and so they literally saw it differently. Maybe their personal or political outlook is different to yours and so they saw it differently metaphorically. Or maybe they’re a liar. Or maybe they’re just a dick. But when you can’t trust someone to accurately report on something you witnessed yourself yesterday, how the fuck can you trust accounts of what may or may not have happened thousands of years ago?

In short, if you feel that it’s necessary in your professional role to get worked up over a movie (whether your a historian or maybe a politician) you’re not a professional. You’re a fucking joke.

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Filed under General Angriness

An Unwise Decision Part 3 – The Horror Revealed

Well, I think I milked the tension for all it’s worth.  I might as well show you what my self-inflicted haircut looks like.  On the plus side, one of my regular YouTube viewers reminded me that I’d worn a hat once while doing a character called Mac.  So I dug the hat out just for this occasion.

Imaging how much I’ll milk it if I ever decide to take my mask off.

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Filed under Video Blogging

An Unwise Decision Part 2

While I was trying to decide what to do about my self-inflicted haircut I decided to post a video I’d made earlier with my kids.  Check out how screwy my hairline is and you’ll see why I felt compelled to attack it myself.

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Filed under Video Blogging

An Unwise Decision Part 1

I had a fairly stressful week at work.  It got to the point where I was blowing  little things out of proportion (hard to believe I know).  One thing that started to really piss me off was the fact that a hairdresser had fucked up my haircut.  I had this weird uneven sticky-up bit that nobody commented on but I thought was really obvious.

In the end, I decided to do something about it.  Some people would have gone back to the hairdresser and asked them to fix it.  Not me.  I decided to fix it myself.  This experience has provided three lessons for me:

  1. Don’t let work get to you too much
  2. Pay more than $5 for a haircut
  3. Don’t cut your own hair

Judge for yourself:

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Filed under Video Blogging

Great Moments in Spam Irony

Akismet continues to hand spammers their arse on a platter, much to my delight.  Their approach seems to have changed a while ago, instead of letting me see the hundreds of spam comments it was catching each day, they seem to be blocking them at the server with a few slipping through to be caught and a very small number actually reaching blog posts before I delete them manually.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can imagine dealing with spam without a tool like Akismet.  To give you a sense of scale, I reached 1,000 legitimate comments and 1,000 spam comments at about the same time.  Currently, I’m at about 4,000 legitimate comments and Akismet is reporting that it’s blocked 43,000 spam comments.  Based on the rate spam was arriving before they started blocking them at the server, the real number Akismet has blocked would be over 70,000.  Forget outnumbering real comments, I thought at one point that spam was going to outstrip actual views.

Every now and then, the comment spam gets put into a moderation queue and today the combination of spam and post in the moderation queue gave me a bit of a laugh.  Back when I started getting really assaulted by comment spam, several hundred a day, I decided I wasn’t going to always check through the massive list of blocked comments looking for false positives.  I announced this in a post titled “I deleted your comment because I hate you.”

You guessed it, today (for the first time as far as I can remember) I deleted a spam comment that landed on the “I deleted your comment because I hate you” post.  I know it was sent by a bot but I really was tempted to send a reply saying “Hey fuckwad, in your case, I deleted your comment because I really, really fucking hate you.”

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Filed under Blogging

Transcript of secret Google/Viacom negotiations leaked

Teh intarwebs are a funny series of tubes. By now, everyone who even remotely cares (and millions who don’t) know that Viacom have launched a US$1 billion lawsuit against YouTube. The legal heavy hitting is all handled by Google lawyers who have been preparing for this battle for years – well before they bought YouTube.
It seems that one of Google’s lawyers has a bit of a thing for foreskins. And as I’m one of the web’s renowned experts on the subject of foreskins he became a reader of my blog. And now he’s passed me some very interesting information.

“Hey,” he emailed me, “you’re a heavy YouTube user and you hate the maximalist approach to copyright enforcement, right? Well, you’ll be interested in this: we record all our negotiations without the other party knowing. Here’s the audio from our final discussion with Viacom before they launched their lawsuit.”

And what a revelation that piece of audio was. Because not everyone is able to listen to audio, I’m posting a transcript here. That, and the fact that it’s way easier for me to make up a transcript than it would be for me to fake the audio. The transcript starts at a pivotal point of the negotiation, when dollar amounts are being discussed.

- – - – - start transcript – - – - -

Google Lawyer: Look, we still say that your best option is to establish your own channel on YouTube. Promote the clips that you want to promote. Run competitions. We’ll work with you to help you reach the community. This is a demographic you’re desperate to reach. They’re watching TV less and less. This is a golden opportunity for you to regain some relevance and maybe still be around in ten years.

Viacom Lawyer: But you’re making money. And we’re not getting any of it. You HAVE to give us money.

GL: We don’t think that argument holds up legally. Plus, it’s really gross the way you drool every time you mention money.

VL: You smug bastards! Do you know how much it pisses people off when you act like you can do whatever you want without asking? Even when you’re right? Our legal opinion is that when you make ad revenue from a page that displays our content you owe us money. We think our argument is right because we make more money that way!

GL: Why do you not understand that this grows your audience, it doesn’t take away from you? Some of your highest profile creators like the makers of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and South Park are on record as saying more distribution is better for them even when there’s no direct remuneration. The bigger their audience, the more opportunities they have.

VL: Creators? Who gives a fuck what they think? We’re the owners! Those bitches are bought and paid for. It’s just as well they don’t want any money from you because we aren’t planning on giving them any. This is about VIACOM not those fuckers. They can’t afford lawyers.

GL: OK, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. I’m about to show you a confidential document. We’ve developed a revenue sharing plan based around how Adsense works. If your content is really as valuable as you think then you’ll make a packet from the ads that will feature on the same pages as your content. From our experience, these revenue projections are very accurate.

VL: But we demanded eleventy-squillion dollars! That figure is nowhere near eleventy-squillion.

GL: Well, first, eleventy-squillion isn’t a real number. Second, that’s our one and only offer. You take that or you take nothing.

VL: You can’t talk like that to us! It’s your arrogance that pisses us off as much as our content being stolen. That’s why we’re suing. We’re going to prove you make your money by stealing from us.

GL: Sue all you like. Our arrogance is commensurate with our intelligence. Your aggressiveness is commensurate with your greed. We’re going to defend ourselves based on law, not a sense of entitlement. Try actually reading the DMCA – we respond to any and all takedown requests and we’re protected. It’s there in black and white and it’s backed up by legal precedents.

VL: You’d have nothing without all the copyrighted material on YouTube!

GL: That’s a matter of opinion. Here’s a statement of fact: you work with us on our terms or you get nothing.

VL: (walking out the door) We’ll see you in court.

GL: Yeah, and we’ll see you begging on the street in ten years after your company collapses into ruin because you couldn’t adapt. And you know what? I’m going to piss in your begging bowl.

VL: (response not clearly audible – sounds like “you bitch”)

GL: (shouting after departing Viacom lawyers) Here’s a business plan you can have for free: develop a site more compelling than YouTube and you won’t have to worry. Everyone will abandon YouTube and come to you instead. Good luck wrapping your head around that, you chump!

- – - – - end transcript – - – - -

I’ve always thought lawyers were boring but it seems that sometimes they get to have some real fun.

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Filed under Google, YouTube

A Quandary

When I started this whole blogging lark, I didn’t know how well it would go or how much I would enjoy it. I’m within a few weeks of my one year anniversary now and I think it’s fair to say I’ve been far more successful than I dared hope and enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.

While this is all well and good, the quandary it places me in is that the more interesting and enjoyable blogging becomes, the more boring work becomes in comparison. This may seem to be neither surprising nor a particularly big problem but to do my job well I need to be quite engaged mentally. I have a recurring problem in meetings or even sitting at my desk where I totally zone out while thinking thoughts along the lines of:

“Wow, this is boring. It would be way more interesting to be blogging or making videos. I wonder what I can write about next. Wait, was he talking to me? He’s looking at me like he expects me to say something intelligent. Oh crap.”

So I’ve found something that really engages me and makes me feel rewarded but pays me close enough to nothing (gettin’ paid by the Fizz though – woohoo!) Then I have a day job that pays well but hardly inspires me.  This wouldn’t feel like a quandary if I didn’t feel a sense of commitment to the people I work with/for.  They treat me quite well and I’d feel pretty bad if I didn’t do the right thing by them and, you know, do my job properly.

They want me to stay until the end of the year which could work out quite well.  I might have saved enough money to take a few months off work by then or, better still, have lined up some sort of deal where I can make a living doing silly things online.  Even a modest living would be fine.

So in the meantime I just have to make sure I don’t act too bored at work.

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Filed under Blogging

Melbourne Comedy Festival preview – Dave Bushell in “Dirt, War…& Why I Don’t Eat The Fishies”

For your viewing pleasure I give you another interview with a very funny person. In this video I chat with Dave Bushell who is performing his one-man show “Dirt, War… and Why I Don’t Eat The Fishes” at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It’s a wide ranging conversation that includes Dave’s admission of his personal responsibility for the death of Princess Di and our plan for how to deal with a police siege.

For show details and to find out Dave’s favourite colour, check out his MySpace:

http://www.myspace.com/dave_bushell

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Filed under Comedy, Melbourne Comedy Festival