Dork Geek Nerd

"Rational romantic mystic cynical idealist"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Grains of sand

Did the laneway cafe thang (cinnamon in banana smoothies - must remember that). Couldn't resist a squiz inside Dungeon Crawl, an independent new'n'old videogame specialist that'd enjoy my patronage if I lived here. At a book exchange, I settled on "The Interpretation Of Murder" (2006) by Jed Rubenfeld. Ordinarly, I'd baulk at two killer fictions in a row, but the cover reminds me of Caleb Carr's "The Alienist", it bears glowing quotage from "The Guardian" et al, and 'twas a mere $3.85 when I traded in "New England White". That novel, although precisely literate, is twice the length its plot can sustain and ultimately had me asking, "So what?" Long-term political gain requires short-term individual sacrifice - yeah, knew that. I won't bother with Carter's "The Emperor Of Ocean Park".

Still-to-do list:
* Maritime Museum (Update, 4.44pm - spied the barque Polly Woodside in the "maritime park". If there's a museum, access was denied to this pedestrian by construction.)
* Wining and dining with AZ and her boyfriend R., who've promised me fine Italian cuisine on Lygon St.

** Note: You won't hear from me tomorrow as I'll be on a Greyhound bus, lost in an alternate history where Sigmund Freud pursues a serial slayer in 1909 Manhattan. **

(If anyone's curious, this week's entries have been composed at a tour office and the adjacent backpacker hostel, both of which use the Global Gossip Internet system.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In titles: too many colons

I won't stay at the Enterprize again for the simple reason that it doesn't have internal laundry facilities. Guests are directed to a self-service place around the corner that's graffiti-covered, fly-ridden and generally filthy. I wouldn't tie a misbehaving dog there. Politely enquiring as to the next-nearest laundromat, I was sent halfway across town on a fool's errand. The concierge's info was outdated and it had ceased to be. Having lugged my bag of dirty clothes that far, I decided to keep walking until I found *somewhere*. Trust me to home in on the nerdily handled Polaris Cyber Wash in North Melbourne. Cleaned, dried and folded my gear and jumped in a "silver top" cab to Spencer St.

Didn't wanna be late for the matinee of "Shane Warne: The Musical" at the Athenaeum Theatre, written and directed by Eddie Perfect and directed by Neil Armfield of "Keating!" fame. After the perfect polish of "Wicked", my first impression was that it was rough bordering on amateur, but it soon became clear the makers were deliberately emphasising that Warnie was an average bogan who just happened to have a freakish talent for spin bowling. By the end, of course, the songs had won me over. However, you need to be a cricket tragic to really appreciate the story and an Aussie to understand references to stuff like Simone's stint on "Dancing With The Stars". There's a firetruck-load of swearing as well.

The Melbourne Victory/Sydney FC derby was amazing! How to describe the Telstra Dome to a Sydneysider? Imagine if ANZ Stadium was plucked from the Homebush wastes, deposited in the vicinity of Central Station and a roof was added. Then double the standard A-League audience (on this occasion, it was 25k), creating a tangible buzz in the city. Within three minutes, the visitors had scored a pair of stunning goals. But the Vics stabilised, pulled one back by half-time, equalised, then netted a winner for the gutsiest of comebacks. Four yellow cards were awarded and Melbourne's Danny Allsopp may be retroactively busted for barging into SFC coach John Kosmina on the sideline and knocking him off his feet. My lone moan: it's an AFL oval, so even eight rows from the fence, as I was, you're a fair distance from the field of play.

Friday, December 26, 2008

At last, the MCG

Spent a chilled, conversation-filled day with my cousin GH2, watching the Baggy Greens versus the Proteas. Above the throng but below the nosebleeds, we were mostly in the shade and neither of us got burnt. I was surprised to discover Red Rooster outlets within the ground - a better class of junk food :-) As randomness would have it, our block of seats was chosen to create a TV moment for Wolf Blass wines, so we all received matching yellow caps. Cricket-wise, the milestones were S. Katich passing 50, R. Ponting making an overdue century and O. Stralia finishing at a disappointing 6/280. Despite having consumed no alcohol, I took a tumble on a staircase while exiting the stadium. No damage to person or property, somewhat miraculously. [Attendance: 63k]

Keen to maximise my Melbourne sporting experience, I kicked on to the Hisense Arena, where the Souths Dragons smashenated the Gold Coast Blaze, 117-87. A scuffle on the siren was the only unprofessional aspect of an engagingly atmospheric night. OK, and the razzing of ex-Dragon Shane Heal. The Ds, with their tall timber, supercoach Brian Goorjian and rabid fanbase, are the No. 1 basketball team in the nation - sorry, Spirit - and give me hope for the continued existence of the NBL. [Attendance: 9k]

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cool Yule

For only the third time in 36 years, my Christmas feast wasn't prepared by Mum. In fact, it was cooked by an Indian chef at the Gourmet Curry Hut in the CBD, where carols were replaced by a Bollywood dance routine best-of on the wall screen. I had pappadums, aloo tikki, dhal makhani and peas pulao, washed down with Kingfisher lager.

The closest I got to turkey was the penguin rookery at the Melbourne Aquarium. (I couldn't believe it was open, either.) While smaller than its Sydney counterpart, it's very well laid out. The "Indiana Jones"-ish Lost Lagoon wing was cute, and the jellyfish exhibit an unexpected, hypnotic highlight. Swimming in the main tank was a monster of a smooth ray, looking like a black cloak to fit a giant.

Whatever I may have said in the past, Crown Casino is much more impressive than Star City. I didn't feel like a flutter, but I engaged in some casual spectating and checked out their poker room, which is separate from the other forms of gambling, in a semi-seedy basement. When I'd had enough of that, I strolled the eatery-lined banks of the Yarra River in the mild sunshine.

Back at my room, I phoned Japan, rural Queensland and Sydders and wished my immediate family members a merry Chrimbo. Saw out the 25th reading "Top Gear Australia" mag, which, frankly, struggles to emulate the charm of the program. (But was worth buying for the supercars calendar.) Eventually, I was lulled to sleep by FOX8's comedy animation marathon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Addster's Eve

Spanish restaurant Movida, recommended to me by LA, wasn't operating, so I had my midday meal at Beer DeLuxe. Sounds like a Belgian cafe, but it's more general than that - a temple to brews from the four corners. My choices were decidely Anglo: Scotch fillet with fries, fennel herb salad, horseradish cream and red wine sauce; bread-and-butter pudding with vanilla ice-cream; and 500ml bottles of Fuller's London Pride, F. ESB and F. Organic Honey Dew.

At the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), I was introduced to an Oz snapper of uncommon skill. In the posthumous exhibition "No Standing, Only Dancing", the photography of Rennie Ellis captured my country (right or wrong), in decades gone by, with the eye of a social historian and the soul of...not a poet, more like a pornographer.

Outside Flinders St Station, a piper piping and a drummer drumming were making traditional South American (Andean?) music a la the band Illapu or, if you prefer, the theme from the cartoon "Seven Cities Of Gold". I stood swaying for a few songs, then threw a fiver into the instrument case.

Browsed Minotaur - a massive range of pop-cultural treasure and tat, with massive prices to match - and Hobby Japan. Came upon an arcade with a videogame I had no idea existed: "After Burner Climax" (2006). Hydraulic cabinet, level "map" and tune select similar to "Out Run", great graphics and a seatbelt you have to wear or the thing won't begin! The "climax" part of the name refers to a flashy turbo mode activated by jamming the throttle full forward. The learning curve wasn't too steep. After five goes, I had the measure of the first six or seven stages of machine-gunning, missile-launching and twitch-dodging action. Didn't make the high score table, though.

Printed mutters: "Tangent #12", "Mixtape #7" (not my bag, but I predict AK will dig it) and "Vice (vol. 6, no. 12)", on account of the Martin Amis and Ursula K. Le Guin interviews.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Brunched at local vego chain Lord Of The Fries - cunningly simulated beef burger and chicken nuggets, real hot chips. Returned to base camp for a beanie 'cos the cold wind was freezing my ears off. In late December. Perused periodicals at the Sticky Institute, a subterranean devoted to fanzines, and triple-decker magazine emporium Mag Nation. Whiled away the remainder of the arvo at ACMI (the Australian Centre for the Moving Image), whose current installation is "Setting The Scene: Film Design From 'Metropolis' To 'Australia'". Then... Got spruced up for the Broadway musical "Wicked: The Untold Story Of The Witches Of Oz" at the Regent Theatre. Utterly fantastic! They put a spell on me that can never be reversed.

Triv: The IGA near the hotel has electronic price labels on its shelves. Do any supermarkets in Sydney do this?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Old Melbourne Town

The 12-hour coach ride was marred by a couple of annoyances, but that goes with the (cheap) territory and I mostly read in peace. For the next seven nights, I'll be staying at the Hotel Enterprize in Spencer St and exploring the city.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yotian Soldier

Went to the soccer with CM, AM, PB2 (visiting from China) and T. (visiting from France). As the lone neutral in our quintet, only I remained unmoved by the 1-4 drubbing Sydney FC received from Perth Glory. When Aloisi missed a sitter with the opposition goalie beaten, he was booed by his own supporters - not something I'd previously witnessed at an A-League match. I hope it doesn't start an ugly trend.

Retro gazer II: "The Day Today" (1994). This is the six-episode fake news show where Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge character was born. Brilliantly surreal skits and an abundance of background detail. The lack of topicality is almost irrelevant. Ta for the disc, PG.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My new games machine cost $24

The Bluetek Plug & Play Controller - which I found in a Harvey Norman bargain bin, reduced from $40 - is powered by three AA batteries, connects to the television via long AV cables and contains within its light, yellow'n'black shell a miniature console and 120 games. I suspect its guts are the equivalent of a Nintendo Entertainment System and that the "analog" stick is merely a second rocker pad in disguise.

Unlike multi-game carts of yore that artificially inflated their counts with minor tweaks of the same thing (eg. "Red Mario Bros", "Green Mario Bros", "Blue Mario Bros"...), I haven't struck much repetition on the P&PC so far. The titles are unmistakably 8-bit and many appear to be NES classics with their filenames changed, attract screens removed and graphics redone - badly, I might add - for the Chinese black market.

So "Tetris" becomes "Russia", in which the puzzle pieces tumble over a garish waterfall. And "Excite Bike" is redubbed "Risker", and has you driving a sports car around a motocross track - while illogically retaining the handlebars in the HUD. Bizarrely, the shooter "Super Fighter", possibly based on "Contra", bestows infinite men without being asked (C64/Amiga crackers would say it was "trained"). I persevered through eight areas alternating between horizontal and vertical scrolling to see... a flickering helicopter, squashed sunset and congratulatory message "The End". Other games, however, seem to have been coded from scratch. One such is "Jewelry", a relatively pretty "Columns"-style affair.

I'm quite impressed with the design of the device itself - not just the compactness, but the fact it has a proper on/off switch with red LED and turbo versions of the "A" and "B" buttons that actually work. I know 'cos I tested 'em on "Aether Kavass", an original cross between "Gradius", "Uridium" (superficially), "Yar's Revenge" and a steaming turd.

While checking the spelling of "A/K" just now, I had a quick go on "Street War". Can you guess what it is? If you responded, "An unofficial port of 'Final Fight' where scoring has been replaced by XP and skill levels that are surely redundant in a scenario where you alone must defeat every single enemy in order to progress," yer absolutely correct.

I love my Bluetek Plug & Play Controller - so wrong it's right!

Retro gazer: "The Office - The Christmas Specials" (2003).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Close of business

I'm officially on holidays. Ninja vanished (SC term) from staff drinks before I reached my physical limit of Coopers "green". Swung by Sushi Train, then Kinokuniya. Bought "Bleach: Official Character Book - Souls" and, hoping to score a calendar, the January edition of Japanese mag "Newtype". Instead, the freebie was a boxed Haruhi Suzumiya figure. Hear me complaining? No, no you don't.

Beware the cellar dwellers!: My Newcastle United Jets 4 - Melbourne Victory 2. Hat-trick by Matty Thompson. The Vics' first goal shoulda been disallowed for handball.

Peyton Manning on fire: Triumphing 31-24 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville sends my Indianapolis Colts to the NFL playoffs for the seventh straight season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mark your calendars

On Wednesday, January 21 at 9.30pm, ABC2 will broadcast the award-winning doco about live-action role-playing, "Monster Camp". It focuses on a mob in Seattle and a game that spans 48 hours. Plenty of time to get lost in the steam tunnels :-)

Back to "Eventide" theme deck solitaire...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Movie review: "Yes Man" (2008)

The gist: Scarred by a failed marriage, Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) spends his nights watching DVDs, refusing further social engagements. When an acquaintance goads him into attending a self-help seminar, he's initially sceptical of the "just say yes" philosophy espoused by guru Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp). But after it pays an immediate dividend in the form of a smooch from an attractive stranger - Allison (Zooey Deschanel) - he begins agreeing to any and every request with a convert's zeal. Whether it's learning to fly a plane or volunteering at a soup kitchen or fighting a bar thug, our boy's up for the challenge. And he soon runs into that girl again.

Selling points: High-concept hilarity that isn't delivered at the expense of a balanced plot. Carl's unknowingly ultra-unhip boss Norman is played by Rhys Darby, aka Murray Hewitt from HBO musical sitcom "Flight Of The Conchords". The eclectic soundtrack makes awesome use of Journey's 1983 rock masterpiece "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)". Blokes will want to be Carl and be with Allison. I can't speak for the ladies.

It's kinda like: One of those flicks where the people who don't do the Harold Holt for the exit when the credits roll are rewarded with a bonus scene part-way through.

Final word: Affirmative action/comedy/romance.

[Australian cinema release date: January 1]

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's 10 days?

Had tea with my sis AK, bro'-in-law VK and niece CK - and by "tea", I mean umpteen tiny, tasty vego spring rolls, dipped in sweet chilli sauce and washed down with Carlsberg. I'll be absent on December 25, so we took the opportunity to exchange pressies. While theirs were carefully wrapped, mine were lazily taped inside an opaque plastic bag, but the point is we didn't open 'em early like dirty cheaters.

"M:TG Worlds", Day Four wrap: Oz finishes second to the US in the team final and Sydneysider Aaron Nicastri wins Rookie Of The Year. Fantastic results both.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Last Saturday was a stutter step. Today, I gave my Christmas gift-buying a proper go and, apart from a pair of stocking stuffers I'll easily pick up tomorrow, it's "gripped, sorted, let's off-road". Sure, there's a bit of delivering/mailing still to be done, but the worrying about what to buy and where to buy it is over.

The idiot box's pixel palette temporarily restabilised, so I chucked on the surprisingly meaningful animated spin-off "Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs" (2008) and its good mix of extras, then Japanese period fantasy "Mushishi: The Movie" (2006). The latter was strangeness only a David Lynch fan could love.

"M:TG" Worlds, Day Three wrap: Highest-placed Aussie - 17th (top 8 finals); team ranking - 4th (top 4 finals).

Saturday, December 13, 2008


At the firstdraft Gallery in Surry Hills, the unique creations of NH and "Chill" PS adorned a room. There was "Friendship Island", a utopia described by a large map, plus head sketches and whimsical bios of the inhabitants (who I gather all have some basis in reality). And then there was "The Budchen", a replica of a type of heavily decorated German kiosk selling booze, smokes, confectionery, nick-nacks and such...very similar to the budchen PS operated on the sly in his Hamburg lounge room, and which did a roaring trade! It was rare fun to hang with this cool dude and dudette, quaff cheap Beck's and hear the unpretentious stories behind their art.

The next 556 pages: "New England White" (2007) by Stephen L. Carter. Murder in a university town is ho-hum, but the affluent African-American perspective of this novel piqued my interest.

Stay of execution: "Album Of The Year" (1997) - Faith No More. I've never cared for this disc and would likely have offloaded it had the guys at poker not convinced me to give it a fresh listen.

"M:TG" Worlds, Day Two wrap: Highest-placed Aussie - 8th; team ranking - 10th.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Plan B

Three of us fronted for a screening of new actioner "Transporter 3", but a caretaker had neglected to unlock the building. Fortunately, one of my fellow exiles was a rep from the distributor, so at least I came away with a copy of the production notes. Given that I also own the previous instalments on DVD, it shouldn't be too taxing to cobble something together to meet my brutal Chrissie deadlines. It won't be posted here, though. Fake reviews - usually glorified previews that fall into either the hyperbole or levity camps - are a necessary evil of which I'm not proud.

Denied screeching tyres and gunshots, I buried myself in Wizards Of The Coast's as-comprehensive-as-ya-want-it-to-be coverage of Day One at the "Magic: The Gathering" World Championships in Memphis ( will get you there). As a patriotic sort, it's my pleasure to report that after the six-round Standard portion, two of the four Australian team members were undefeated. Justin Cheung was 1st/357, Rookie Of The Year contender Aaron Nicastri was 4th on "resistance", Glenn Shanley was 56th (vindicating his rogue deck choice) and Brandon Lau was 163rd. The day closed with two rounds of multi-format team competition that left us sitting at 4th/57* in the standings. I'll resist jinxing our efforts with optimistic predictions at this stage. Go Aussies!

* If this number seems low, that's 'cos there are avenues of qualifying for Worlds besides national selection (eg. DCI rating) AND not every country sends a full squad.

MMA FYI: "The Ultimate Fighter 8" commences Sunday, 9pm on FUEL TV. DL has been following online response to the show and assures me it's the most out-of-control season yet. [Record-button finger itching]

Movie review: "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" (2008)

The gist: The remarkable character of the title is born with wrinkled skin, arthritis, cataracts and all the other typical wear'n'tear of an 80-year-old man. Not expected to survive, he somehow continues to grow and, over the years, his body gradually becomes more youthful. He is aging in reverse! From his queer anti-childhood, Benjamin has a connection with a girl named Daisy, and in the prime of their lives, for the brief period when it doesn't matter that time is dragging them in opposite directions, they find love.

Selling points: From BB coming bawling into the world on November 11, 1918, as New Orleans celebrates the end of WW1, to Hurricane Katrina hitting that area late in August 2005, viewers are treated to a helluva lot of faces and places in 159 minutes. The gripping, kill-or-be-killed encounter in WW2 between an American tug and a U-boat deserves a mention. And the leads... Benjamin and Daisy are (predominantly) played by Brad Pitt and Cate "The Great" Blanchett, who as well as possessing the physical gifts and acting range to portray their characters across the decades, have a definite chemistry. You can't blame 'em for going at it like rabbits. The supporting cast's terrific and regular comic relief is provided by an unlucky human lightning rod.

It's kinda like: A substantially altered version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story of the same name, the brushes with history of "Forrest Gump" (1994) and, above all, a reminder of why life happens in the way that it does.

Final word: The unnatural order of things.

[Australian cinema release date: December 26.]

Thursday, December 11, 2008


(Because I wanna restrict "Blogs I read" to 20 links.)

OFF: Rod's $0.02c, which has lain dormant for the past 10 months. Sorry, old mate.
ON: Fabulous, frequently updated, local foodie journal Grab Your Fork.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marco Polo

Whaddaya get if you cross an Italian restaurant with a beer garden? Soprano's in Surry Hills. We - 13 of us - lunched there to celebrate my coworker RS2 reaching the quarter-century mark. I eated crumbed chicken smothered in prawn'n'avocado sauce and a separate plate of steamed vegies, and I drinked Carlton Draught. I must say it was served faster than multiple posters on Eatability had led me to expect. Middling VFM.

My friend AZ and I sheltered from the rain at Uighur Cuisine in Haymarket. While we were there, we thought we might as well scoff a three-course dinner. As we established that any arthouse fillum one of us had seen the other automatically hadn't (thank heavens for the borderline "Into The Wild"), I polished off a gherkin "salad"*, sizzling champignon dish and 48% of our barbecued lamb skewers. Excellent VFM.

*There were no other ingredients.

Back-tracking: "One Fierce Beer Coaster" (1996) - Bloodhound Gang. Cheers, SC.
In B&W: "Dan Cruikshank's Adventures In Architecture" (2008) on BBC Knowledge. I hope they repeat the eps I've missed.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tolerance levels

It was 35^C yesterday. I made an unsuccessful attempt at doing my Christmas shopping, returning home with but a single item. Buses packed, constantly thirsty, uninspired.

The colour on my venerable CRT television is flickering in and out, so I've had to change it to black-and-white. The aspect ratio is unfixably screwed, too. Gotta get me a replacement.

This arvo, I saw the Oscar De La Hoya/Manny Pacquiao fight at the Coach And Horses. Pac-Man's smashing of the Golden Boy was mercifully halted prior to the ninth. Retire, Oscar.

Words: "Hyper #183", "Bleach #25", "The Tales Of Beedle The Bard" (2007/08) by JK Rowling, "A Most Wanted Man" (2008) by John Le Carre.

Monochrome pictures: A-League, ICL, Heineken Cup, EPL (my Liverpool remain top o' the table), "Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo" (2007).

YouTubin': Badr Hari's disqualification against Remy Bonjasky in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 Final. Head stomps *are* rather unsporting...

Neo-prog majesty (CD): "Live At NEARfest 2007" - Pure Reason Revolution

Friday, December 05, 2008

Doc Five in Oz (possibly)

Piked on a colleague's birthday. Unwound after my 50-hour week by reheating pizza (sausage, pepperoni and mushroom), activating a sixpack (James Squire's limited-release Sundown Lager) and jellyfishing on the couch to watch soccer (Adelaide United 6 - Wellington Phoenix 1*) and read the revamped "Data Extract #198". Inside the zine was a flyer for a function entitled "Peter Davison: The Fifth Doctor Downunder", to be held somewhere in Sydney on March 22 next year. As PD bailed on an earlier convention (work commitments) and I'm not familiar with the organisers (Culture Shock Events/Friends Of Science Fiction), they won't be receiving my $60 for a while yet. Gimme a venue and confirmation from Davo closer to the date.

*5/7 goals scored by Brazilian imports, trivia buffs.

I've only just begun: "Doctor Who: SnowGlobe 7" (2008) by Mike Tucker. And already I know I'm not gonna enjoy it half as much as "Wishing Well". Sigh.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Foxtel thralls...

Before I forget, there are a couple of beaut-sounding documentaries on this weekend that promise root causes and historical revision:

* Saturday, 7.30pm, How To Channel - the first episode of "The Trees That Made Britain", AND
* Sunday, 8.30pm, National Geographic Channel - world premiere standalone special "Herod's Lost Tomb".

Be there and revel in being square!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Not long ago in a museum not far away...

The ed was nice enough to allow me to skive off and attend the launch of the "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, which opens tomorrow and runs 'til April 26. Designed by the M/O/S, Boston in conjunction with Lucasfilm, it's ace: loads of models, costumes and props from the six flicks; the obligatory dedicated monitors showing mini-docos; and hands-on scientific demos that range from blocks and magnets to a steerable hover chair! For the event, the phm (as they style themselves) had enlisted the help of a Sydney costuming group whose outfits were uniformly great. Crap pun intended. I'd have liked a better look at the Twi'lek lass, but it's rude to stare and drool. Ultimately, my favouritest thing wasn't the full-size landspeeder or the droids on the lower level, it was the Wookiee display. Being towered over by Chewbacca and his even taller buddies, admiring the organic design of their weaponry and an intricate diorama of a tree city, and watching a vid on Kashyyyk (and a second on its earthly inspiration) gave me a newfound respect for the walking carpets. No, honestly, I dug the Wookiees. Catching up with AC, who was also part of the media circus, was a bonus.

Further enlivening this week: "UFC #91" (ta, GH), "Wallace And Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death", "An Aussie Goes Calypso" (Gus rules!), new Heaven Dark Chocolate Truffle, lunatics on public transport.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Movie review: "Gumby Dharma" (2006)

The gist: Yank children's character Gumby has been claymationing across our screens since the '60s, going from mainstream hit to cult icon and back again, enjoying genre-hopping adventures with colourful pals Pokey the pony, Nopey the dog, Prickle the dinosaur and Goo the...whatever she is. "Gumby Dharma" clues you in on all that, but its real purpose is to profile his creator, Art Clokey.

Selling points: If you thought Gumby's life was surreal, here's a brief summary of Art's – abandoned as a boy, adopted by richies, studied to be a priest, quit to become a hubby and father, ditched his marriage to experiment with sex and drugs, turned to eastern mysticism, met the love of his life, learned the hard way to be a decent dad, struck by tragedies. Now a wise, funny old codger, he's interviewed at length.

It's kinda like: Visiting your larrikin grandad in a nursing home where the set in the corner's tuned to kids' TV and people keep dropping by to tell you he's a bloody legend.

Final word: At 54 minutes, it's a short but sweet treat for disciples of the little green dude.

[Australian DVD release date: December 8]