Sunday, 17 November 2013

Getting told off by a random old person on the street

Two weeks ago, I got off the bus in the early evening and walked over to the traffic lights at the intersection near my house.  I had just gotten back from uni and I was starving for sustenance.  I crossed one street with a number of other former bus patrons and then stepped up to the next light and pressed the button to cross the other.  But then I realised something that I had never realised before.  As you all know, there would normally be a small 'red light' above the button to indicate that someone has pressed it.  As I drooped my head to take a closer look, the second light did not have the indicator function at all.  So in a moment of doubt, I thought: 'oh, that's weird. I better press it a few more times just in case.'  Like your typical fidgety teenager, I pushed the button three times in quick succession.  Just, well, you know, to make sure.  No biggie at all.  Nothing to get too excited or worried about.  Not like I was breaking the fucking thing.


A gruff, rusty voice with a tinge of belligerence:

"You only need to press it once."

I whipped around and because I had not heard properly, I asked, with a saccharine smile on my face, "Pardon?"

The old white man, with the hunchback, white hair, receding hairline, oxford glasses and shriveled face of irritation, lunges close like a bear and practically spat:

"You only need to press it once."

As he stomped off in the other direction, the lights turned green and a huge line of cars were waiting at the stop.  I had no choice but to cross.  And my erstwhile smile quickly turned into the gritting of teeth.  I was thinking - what the fuck?!??!?!?!  That was so rude.  Wow.  Jezuz.

So in a split second decision, halfway at the crossing, I angrily whipped my head back around and yelled:


And then I ran for my bloody lyf.

Also I'm kidding.  I did not say that.  I just took it like an international student and walked off fuming.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Movie: Thor: The Dark World

So yesterday night, I watched Thor 2 even though I had never seen the first Thor or Avengers.  And surprisingly, I enjoyed it. 

The acting was crap all round.
The editing was a major fuckery.
Continuity problems ravaged the entire movie.

And yet I still liked it.  It was great dumb action. The best thing about this movie was probably a sword-wielding Rene Russo, who is still pretty hot for a 59 year old woman, although we all know the hottest 59 year old woman ever is Christie 'you-can-never-be-this-fabulous' Brinkley. 

Kat Dennings, who played a beanie-clad sidekick to Natalie Portman's feminist-trollin' character, annoyed the heck out of me.  But that was probably not her fault.  Blame the writers of 2 Broke Girls.  Because every time I see this girl on screen, rolling her eyes, sucking in her cheeks and exploding with sarcastic 'wit', a bit of PTSD kicks in and I start to experience flashbacks of all the crappy promo ads that I've ever seen on TV for 2BG. 

Seedy looking guy: Welcome to my home ladies, dis is where dee magic happens. 
Laugh track.
Kat Dennings:  I'm sure you've made a few women disappear here.
Laugh track.

I punched myself in the face.

Natalie Portman really disappointed me in this movie.  Well, to be fair, she had nothing much to work with in the first place and an actress like her in a movie like this only means one thing:  $$$$$$$$$$$
It was like watching someone complete a chore.  Say this.  Do that.  Look scared here.  Complain here.
Most egregiously, Thor pretty much just risked losing the entire universe (Asgard and all the other realms) to protect her freaking ass.  I mean, he could have just destroyed the aether while it was in her, but of course, why the fuck would that happen.  They're lovers. So maybe Portman could look a bit more shocked/grateful/worried about the events taking place.  You know, maybe like whispering in a shocked voice 'The whole world might go to ruins because of me...' instead of stuff like 'well, I guess we're stuck here....'


Tom Hiddleston.  I was really looking forward to checking out how hot this guy really was.  I've heard things from both men and women so I was holding very high expectations of this double first Cambridge grad.  And I've got to say, I did not particularly like his character, Loki.  Yeah, he's hot.  But Loki is overdone.  That two second uber close up of his nefarious downward pointed face in front of Odin, with his narrowed eyes full of poison and lips seething with unspoken epithets, face plastered with white make up - I almost laughed out loud in the cinema.  It was a bit ridiculous how much they had to keep emphasising the fact that he was OH SO VERY BAD. YES I'M BAD I'M SO BAD AND HOT AND BAD.

Loki, in terms of character, is built like Jack Sparrow.  OTT wickedness, mannerisms and 'evil' stereotypes constantly reinforced through the explicit opinions of other characters.  But sigh.  Who can hate Tom Hiddleston. 

I did wish Malekith and his cronies had better things to say to each other instead of the boring 'WE SHALL RISE AGAIN AND KILL THEM ALL.'  Listening to Malekith speak to his elves sounded like Dumb and Dumber for a while. 

And then Chris Hemsworth.  Well................................ I congratulate him for graduating from Summer Bay.  He's come a long way. 


Friday, 1 November 2013


[Foreword:  this is a short story that I wrote at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013 (I've got a crap memory).  I recently submitted this to the annual Monash Creative Writers' competition and lo and behold - attained third place and a couple of free books.  FREE BOOKS.]


It was like seeing you for the first time in my lifeand in a way, this was true.  You were no longer you.  You were different, a complete stranger once again.  In fact, you weren't even human anymore.

"Hello," you greeted me, your voice giving off a monotonous robotic lull.  My heart bounced a little faster and my throat became painfully dry.  You couldn’t remember anything, could you?  You couldn’t remember what we were. 

Standing pathetically wide-eyed and speechless, I felt a sudden pang of vertigo.  Around me, the blue-grey hues of our ship’s walls blurred into a whirlpool of grief.  The real you only exists to me as a scattering of images in a distant mythological past that was no longer relevant.  The man standing in front of me now is a mere shadow.  A fake.  A flawed imitation.

It didn’t matter that you still had that jet black hair, those viridian green eyes and the same distinctive brush of freckles across your cheeks.  My insides lurched with pain as you flashed me his smile – because your gaze, however personable it meant to be, emitted a peculiar vacuous quality only seen among the machines.  There was no trace of your former humanity. 

"Hello," I finally managed to muster, coming off rather brusque.  Not that you would care about it.   

"I am John."  

So they changed your name too.  

"I'm… Lisa."  

"Nice to meet you Lisa."  

Your eyes perused our tiny vestibule, finally pausing at the MAC-10 on my desk, the weapon partially obscured by a black duffel bag carrying all sorts of contraband.  You glided over, picking up my pistol for a curious examination while I stood there looking at you in much the same way.  Maybe worse.  Like staring at an animal in a zoo, pitying a thing for living a life of controlled artificiality.   

"So are you a soldier too?" you asked coolly, green eyes darting back to me.  "Fighting the war against the Rebels? The R-nines?"

"Yes.  Ever since I can remember,” I say.  My eyes came to rest on your incomplete left arm.  A colourful array of wires, red, green and blue, ran across your fingers, convoluting at the wrist and spearheading into a mass of gold electrical chips at the elbow.  I felt sick again. 

I had to ask you.  "How much of you… How much of your body is… android?"  

"Eighty five percent."  

Your reply is immediate.  Clinical.  Unmistakeably robotic.  Registering the shock on my face, you let out an unnerving grin.  "It was a major breakthrough for Doctor Kio's team.  They had never attempted anything of such scale before and yet here I stand as proof of their achievements.  Faster.  Smarter.  Better equipped than any other android.  I am the first step of the solution.  With others like me, Lisa, we can win the war."  

Skin prickling. 
Spine tingling. 
Sense of disgust. 
Horror.  Anger.  Outrage. 

But you are not android.  
You are not.  

A glacial layer of sweat had formed on my forehead and I turned my face away, trembling like I had during the maze incident back on planet Orkos four years ago - he and I trapped underground surrounded by at least a hundred wandering guerrilla R9s.  Now I couldn’t meet your eyes.  His eyes.  Without being reminded of when I believed it was the end.  Bits of coagulated blood around his ears.  Vermillion speckles of dirt all over his cheeks, with the left side smarting from a fresh laceration.  He had reassured me.  Held my face with calloused hands.  Looked me in my eyes. 

I’d never leave you. Never.

Everyone lied to me.  I realise it now.  I realise that the brilliant Doctor Kio - the man people dub the saviour of mankind, the people’s hero - had played me and everyone else on earth for a complete fool. 

This had never been a rescue mission but an experiment transcending all ethical boundaries – an experiment which, despite the possibility of presenting us with victory in a century long war, could set humanity back eons more than the war ever will.  Tampering with bodies and messing with memories until humans are no longer humans but machines built to kill.  

We would be the price of our own victory. 

"John...” I say, but end up whispering.  He swivels around mechanically to face me.   “I need to see Doctor Kio.  Right now.”

 "Alright," he answers, eyes flicking immediately back to my gun, appearing fascinated by the way the polish shone under the lighting as he tilted it at different angles.  I linger for a moment.  Taking in the face of someone I once loved and trying to discern which 15 percent of him that was left.   

It wasn't there. 

I walked out of the room, not looking back.  And not intending to. 


Her behaviour was abnormal.  Not like the others.  

Emotional.  Rash.  Unbalanced.   The program taught me how to see their moods. 

Her tone was cold.  Her eyes were watery.  Her mood, visibly shaken.  She had wanted to cry.  


This gun is heavy.  Seems too heavy for a small person like her.

It gleams under this phosphorescent blue lamp. 

This gun has interesting features.  It has been altered in many places.  Fitted with new functions.  A silencer.  More stable points.  But not the best there is.

Her bag seems heavy.  It holds weapons.  I scan it and there are fifteen small to medium sized automatics.  Eight generation six grenades.  One old Heckler and Koch MP5A2 with a chipped handguard.

I scan across a photograph in the side pocket.  I slide it out, careful not to rip it as its edges are worn.   It is of her and a man.

That man is me from another time.  I am sitting next to a young looking Lisa at a bar.  Frothy drinks in front of us.  We are smiling at the camera.  She looks nervous, but happy.  We both look happy.  As the program has taught me to recognise happy

I turn the photograph over.


In a desperate world full of hate,
You gave me love and hope from the
very first day we met. 


I do not remember being David.  I do not remember Lisa from a time before.  

I return the photograph to the pocket, sliding it in carefully to avoid scratching its already abrasive surface.   I pick up another automatic.

Now this gun seems quite effective.  Good stabiliser and ...