Dork Geek Nerd

"Rational romantic mystic cynical idealist"

Sunday, December 30, 2007


We hit all the DorkGeekNerd stores in the CBD. RS crossed off several items on his wishlist. My comparatively meagre purchases were: new Fighting Fantasy gamebook "Howl Of The Werewolf", manga "Fullmetal Alchemist" #15, and subbed DVDs of the folk magical "Mushishi: The Movie" and arty biopic "The Go Master".

Whiled away the evening with Japanese telly (cheers, sis), specifically superhuman obstacle course "Sasuke" and "No. 1 Athlete", a series of head-to-head physical challenges. Oh yeah, and a sand modelling-themed ep of "TV Champions" in which the victors created a multi-storey Colosseum with surreal additions.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Look who just flew in

Retrieved a jet-lagged RS from the airport. We had a lazybones day, conversed on every topic under the stars, and gorged our bad selves on greasy fish'n'chips at nearby Salt & Lemon - his shout. In the arvo, I left my US-based guest for a prior engagement in the cit-tay: meeting MG, his girlfriend I., their mate E. and our mutual chum MB for Coronas at Paddy Maguire's, followed by tapas maximus at The Spanish Club. Love and war stories were traded and I urged M. to notify me when he makes the trip here from Singapore again. (Make sure ya do!)

Friday, December 28, 2007


I couldn't help noticing the tee worn by the young woman on the outbound 377. It said, "Dear Santa, define God...". Was she belatedly asserting the spiritual side of Christmas? Coincidentally, not long after, I was listening to Sarah Silverman sing "Give The Jew Girl Toys", in which she tells jolly ol' Saint Nick, "You've got as much to do with Jesus as you do with Scooby-Doo."

Scoffing: French "nougat aux figues", courtesy of EM.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Catching up

Boxing Day saw the arrival of my Sydney-based sis, her hubby and their daughter. We were also briefly visited by my maternal grandma, two uncles and two aunts. Alas, our number was reduced by six today - but not before the connoisseurs of biff had closure on season six of "The Ultimate Fighter" :-)

Reading: "Eon" (1985) by Greg Bear.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The religious bit

Accompanied Mum to Christmas Eve mass at St Columban's Catholic Church, Mayfield, which is attached to my Year 7-10 high school, San Clemente, and therefore to countless - mostly positive - memories.

Have a good day tomorrow, everybody.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friends and family

Yesterday began with me catching an earlyish train to Newcastle. The ninth and final volume of the manga "Genshiken" was as bittersweet as the rest. Had lunch with AP, PG, DG, GH, MB and AG at the Anatolia Turkish restaurant in Hamilton. Dinner was a barbecue at JH and SH's house, rejoined by AP, GH and MB. We huddled around the PC for the eight-minute "Doctor Who" charity special "Time Crash", in which the fifth and tenth incarnations spar amusingly.

Today was spent at the family home, with my parents, Japan sister and nephew, and Brisbane sister and brother-in-law. TM had Dad and I try boiled peanuts, which I found strange but not unpleasant. They're boiled in the shells and need to be peeled. The nuts inside have a slightly different texture to the dry variety and are extremely salty. A cold wet bar snack would take some getting used to! Meanwhile, we're halfway through season three of TV's "Deadwood"...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another staff function

This was the end-of-year bash for the publication as opposed to the publishing company (see "Christmas in November"). It was held at the Capitan Torres Spanish restaurant in Liverpool St. We were seated on the top level and that meant tapas wasn't available. I went for a hearty combo of steak, bacon, onion rings and other vegies. Mild ribbing ensued after I mistook the bright yellow potato pieces for squash. What would Jamie Oliver say? The sangria was $23 per freakin' litre, but the complimentary bread rolls were quality, so I guess it balanced out. I limited myself to two drinks (we'd already had self-congratulatory champers in the office) and made my excuses once I'd finished eating.

I then did the entirety of my Chrissie shopping in under four hours!

Newcastle nostalgia: Who remembers "TV Pow"? I know it was part of an NBN program, but I'm unsure which - probably not "Papa Ryan's Breakfast Club", maybe "Early Birds". Coulda been screened weekdays or Saturdays. I do, however, recall how it went... Viewers played a videogame live on air over the phone. Spaceships of various sizes and shapes passed through crosshairs and when the caller said "pow", lasers fired. The person with the highest number of hits (within a set period) received a prize. I always suspected it was faked, ie. the game was merely an Atari cartridge and there was a guy hitting the button roughly in time with the commands. Can anybody supply futher details?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another exhibition

Exercised my leg muscles walking to the art gallery, where I exercised my noggin muscles studying portraits by German photographer August Sander (1876-1964). His unrealised dream was to create a pictorial database of all social groups, from farmers to radical artists to beggars to Nazis to whoever. The thing that struck me most was the diminutive stature of many subjects. Were it not for their stern expressions, they'd look like children in fancy dress. Even in black-and-white, each burned with fierce life and I can see why Sander is so highly esteemed. Regrettably, much of his work was destroyed during wartime. This collection of 150+ images is on loan from LA's J. Paul Getty Museum. You have until February 3 to check it out. There's no charge.

Listening: "No World For Tomorrow" - Coheed And Cambria. Apparently, "the kids" are into these guys. LA isn't, which is why he gave me this, their latest CD. Ignore the sci-fi concept album trappings and you're in for an aural treat. "N/W/F/T" is crammed with uplifting rock catchiness. Evokes Journey and Queensryche in places.

Reading: "My Boring Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary Of Kevin Smith" (2007). Surprise - interesting! :-)

Watching: "Saxondale" (series one, episodes 1-3). DL and CM warned me this Steve Coogan suburban sitcom was no "I'm Alan Partridge". They failed to mention it still contains (a) brilliant bonkers monologues, and (b) excruciating moments a la "I/A/P". UK-TV viewers can begin forming their own opinions on January 14.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another screening

"In The Valley Of Elah" has plenty in common with 2005 western "The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada". A larger than life and twice as heartbreaking performance from Tommy Lee Jones. Austere settings. Uncompromising individuals. Cruel fate. Rough justice. And a cracking storyline... TLJ is a retired military MP searching for his soldier son, who returned from serving in Iraq without making contact then mysteriously went AWOL. Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron are difficult to fault in their supporting roles (as distraught mother and sympathetic detective). Four stars minimum. Hoyts tell me it'll hit Oz cinemas on February 21.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stayed indoors

None of us will ever leave a fingerprint on one of the seven copies of JK Rowling's handwritten, self-illustrated, leather-bound, silver-and-gem-encrusted fairytale collection "The Tales Of Beedle The Bard", a tome conjured straight from the Potter-verse. Thankfully, has set up a permanent page with photos of the copy it purchased from Sotheby's, London for nearly two million pounds, along with synopses of the fables within. Point your browser at

Listening: "R.E.M. Live". Their firstest live album, recorded in Dublin in 2005 and released a coupla months ago. Must admit I'd lost track with the group since my uni days. Getting reacquainted has had me foot-tappin' and leg-slappin'. Michael Stipe's voice remains a wonder of the musical world.

Reading: "Rigged: The True Story Of A Wall Street Novice Who Changed The World Of Oil Forever" (2007) by Ben Mezrich. Well, y'know, I really dug his exciting 2003 account of the card-counting MIT Blackjack Team, "Bringing Down The House".

Watching: "Code Monkeys" season one. Life at fictional, dysfunctional '80s videogame company Gameavision, rendered in the style of 8-bit console graphics. That sounds dull, but it's wild. Copious background detail that demands repeat viewing and laugh-out-loud satire of a "South Park" savagery.

Friday, December 14, 2007


The "StarCraft" boardgame (see previous entry) was assembled, admired, then disassembled in favour of simpler fare: tile-placing puzzler "Blokus"*, feudal power struggle card game "Oriente" and bar brawl simulator card/dice game "Inn-Fighting". I believe we made the correct decision. Also, my Mongolian lamb pizza was a revelation.

*Think the light cycles from "Tron" crossed with "Tetris" shapes.

Norse pantheon

Odin's day: Graced Hoyts EQ in Moore Park with my presence for a preview of "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story". I can honestly say it was the best spoof biopic in which ridiculousness is played straight and deliberately flawed songs are celebrated that I've seen this week.

Thor's day: At the generous invitation of PG and DG, did the train-taxi thing to Film Australia Studios in Lindfield for a cast'n'crew wrap party. Not sure I'm allowed to go into detail, but basically it was three trailers for a sci-fi movie that’s gonna rule in 2009.

Freya's day: The plan for tonight is to scab a lift with SC and LC to their tower-tastic new abode in Erskineville. BC, TC and LPO will be joining us there to sample the boardgame "StarCraft" (dibs on a Terran faction!), plus an authentic pizzeria SC raves about and, inevitably, grog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Similar but different

As Michael Clarke made his debut as (acting) captain of the Oz cricket team in a Twenty20 hit'n'giggle against New Zealand at the WACCA, my fat gut was facing fresh challenges in the form of Boag's Wizard Smith's Ale and Red Rock Deli Tzatziki Potato Chips. Pup marshalled his sloggers and quicks aggressively to bowl the Kiwis out 54 runs shy of their target. I'd like to think I was as methodical in dealing with the fine malty brew whose namesake swam into a flooded stable to rescue some gee-gees in 1929, and with the distinctive yoghurt'n'cucumber-flavoured crisps.

Have you seen the trailer for the "Prince Caspian" film yet? I thought 2005's "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" was a tremendous piece of escapism and this looks equally slick.

Listening: "CD86 - 48 Tracks From The Birth Of Indie Pop" by various artists. Double-disc accompaniment, 20 years down the track, to the now-legendary "NME" compilation tape, "C86".

Monday, December 10, 2007

Due date

Paid the balance on my South Pacific getaway. Withdrawing 3k from the bank this close to Chrimbo was agonising. Oh well, it's done and dusted. And when March rolls round and my coffers are restocked, I'm sure it'll feel like the cruise didn't cost a brass razoo.

Reading: "The Gum Thief" (2007) by Douglas Coupland

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Somebody set up us the Bombshells

Not last night but the night before, a gaggle of us from the magazine Maxi Taxied out to Rooty Hill RSL for a Bombshells burlesque show. Why travel 2973 miles (approx.) for a perv when there are several strip joints in the CBD? Because the headline hotty was our sex-advice columnist Jewell, who was also promoting her ace 2008 calendar. And we got free entry. And the editor had granted us Cabcharges to cover the trips to and from. That's why.

After a quick feed, we grabbed the first of many gotta-love-those-club-prices schooners and made our way to the grandly titled Tivoli Showroom, which was located up a set of stairs and past some pool tables. We were ushered into a darkened space where a rotund, goateed, brow-dabbing comedian was part-way through his routine. It was a combination of sound effects (remember Michael Winslow from the "Police Academy" movies?) and tired, often racist jokes that made me wonder if the cab had actually transported us back in time. I kept looking across to SC, who seemed to be shielding his eyes in horror.

A word about our fellow audience members: they were 99% male (4/5 non-performing women in the room were at our table), intoxicated from the get-go, very vocal about the anatomical regions they desperately desired to see, and a tad too eager to be involved with the onstage proceedings. But apart from a stern warning from the MC for emptying jugs of water in the direction of the wet T-shirt contest entrants, the rambunctious lads didn't do anybody any harm.

I won't dwell on the opening burlesque babe - blonde, curvy, moved with practised ease to Rammstein's "Du Hast", etc. - and the tee-drenching tourney (with RS and CM on sponge duty). Nor will I debate whether our photographer DM should have loudly informed the room which staff member had just had her nipples pierced. 'Cos I'm eager to tell you about Jewell...

Of Caribbean extraction, voluptuous, pageant-pretty, transmitting delicious mixed signals of gentle grace and extreme raunch. J. was under the weather in a non-self-inflicted way but carried on like a trouper. Her act combined stripping with magic tricks, and as cheesy as that sounds, it worked. To music that featured Rammstein's cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped", Jewell made silks disappear into her hands and reappear from her lingerie, poured water into a newspaper that remained dry and produced tiny flames (red lights, but let's pretend they were flames) that she dropped into her top hat. She also removed all but her G-string.

An intermission followed, during which our columnist hawked her schwingin' schedules for $20 a pop, personally inscribed.

At the risk of seeming disloyal, the remaining three Bombshells made an even greater impact. There was a pirate queen of such sauciness she could cure scurvy. Headscarved, thigh-booted, tastefully tattooed, guarding a treasure chest with only a pair of toy cutlasses and her dazzling natural smile.

Next came a multi-talented lass whose routine started in Dita Von Teese territory and ended on Bizarro World. Picture a near-nekkid stunner lying on her back, legs in the air, a full-tilt rock version of the "Mah Na Mah Na" song playing, and glove puppets of Ernie and Bert from "Sesame Street" competing to give her oral pleasure. Whatever you imagined, the reality was 50 times better and funnier.

The final stripper was Trinity, who moonlights as a valet in Sydney wrestling federation IWA (broadcast on Aurora Community Channel). Her character was a trumpet-blowing marching girl and she moved with "Bring It On" precision. It was obvious why T. closed the show as no-one worked the crowd as deftly and her energy level was amazing, leaving us on a huge high.

So what happened next? SC, CM, NP, his wife K., HS and I continued drinkininining in the downstairs bar. There was a live band. Members of our group began grooving. Worried about getting a return taxi to the city, I suggested calling it an evening, only to be pooh-poohed and told to enjoy the moment. I warned the others that once sufficiently inebriated, I would be hard to dislodge from the dancefloor. They didn't care. Four of us stayed 'til long after the band had left, discoing to Music Max on a giant screen. I got home at 4am :-)

PS. If you think there's a mistake in my heading, you need to duck off and read this -

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Lunch launch

DL and I attended the launch of cricket-tragic travelogue "An Aussie Goes Bolly" - a six-part series commencing January 7 on Fox8 - at Aki's Indian restaurant in Woolloomooloo. Kingfisher Ale was drunk, as we ate savoury wonders such as spinach leaves in crispy lentil batter. While he was taking a ciggy break, I interviewed the affable star, Gus Worland, and filled an A4 page with anecdotes. It would have been easy to spend the whole afternoon in the posh noshery, discussing sport and cable TV with other journos/Foxtel staff. Easy but utterly irresponsible. As DL and I tore ourselves away from the table, we were given goodie bags of Indian foodstuffs (including additional Kingfisher) and seen to a complimentary cab. We felt like rajahs.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Good enough for KP, good enough for me

Thanks to PG's cyber-sleuthing, I was able to follow one man's quest to discover if being smarter would make him any happier in the doco "Karl Pilkington: Satisified Fool", originally screened in late October on Britain's Channel 4. Celeb guests Germaine Greer and David Icke came across surprisingly well. Will Self was a sour prig. A uni professor called Heinz did nothing to subvert the stereotype of his profession as stuffed shirts. KP seemed the most balanced of the bunch, which I guess was the point.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh Ricky, you're so...cruel

Comedian Ricky Gervais' third live stand-up DVD, "Fame", is as big, clever and scathing as "Animals" and "Politics". If anything, he's grown even more confident in his delivery. However, the loudest laughs will be had from the extra "Living With Ricky II", which documents the star's ongoing sadistic torture of friend and opening act Robin Ince. There's an example of the latter's manic, almost apologetic routines in "An Incy Wincy Bit Of Robin Ince". And lastly, we get a short made by another of Ricky's mates, Karl Pilkington, entitled "Fame - I'm Gonna Live Forever". It's about a nutter named Howard who claims he's immortal and protected from serious harm by "the spirit world". Don't waste your time importing "Fame" like I did as the disc will be released here tomorrow.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Throwing to a clip (or 12)

Caught up with Mum, Dad, two sisters, one brother-in-law, a nephew and a niece over the course of this weekend. I don't wanna get sappy writing about family stuff, so I'm gonna point youse at one of my fave funny web sites, where there are vidz for the watching. About dogs. Doing judo. Or not, as is usually the case.

Start with "Power Date 1" and work up the right column, then the left. The animations may be laggy initially, so demand perfection and press "Play Again". Sic 'em, Rexley!