I’m a big fan of hard rubbish. I love a good nosey at a pile of discarded gear out on the nature strip, remnants of days gone by.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” they say, sexistly. Well I agree to a degree. I can’t honestly say I have treasured an item from hard rubbish, but certainly there have been many objects that I’ve procured, nay rescued, from a nature strip that have been very useful: a perfectly fine fisherman’s stool, a large outdoor umbrella, various pieces of wicker furniture, a professional-style portable massage table, a houseful of high quality wooden blinds, a split system air conditioner… all these items have been well-used, and that was after I picked them up from the side of the road.
I don’t know if there is a written law in relation to hard rubbish (the only unwritten law I know is “First come, first served.”), but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t include “All crap left on the side of the street instantly becomes the property of the local council.”, which is what the Shire of Yarra Ranges tried to assert a couple of months back, when it charged a guy for taking a vacuum cleaner from a pile of hard rubbish.
In the end, the council was told to essentially “stop being a cock” and they backed down.
Hard rubbish is very seasonal, and like fashion, goes through trends. 2009 the look was TVs, big, small, plastic and wooden, but definitely three distinct dimensions. With the influx of flatscreens, all the fatscreens were getting the heave-ho.
In 2010, the look was soft, bulky and rectangular. Mattresses were high on the turfing agenda, looking like predatorial giant ice-cream sandwiches.
In 2011, I’ve noticed the “in thing” to be out are BBQs. On some blocks, you’d swear they’d only just finished hosting a sausage sizzle on every corner.
That’s not to say there aren’t hangers on after each season. Like any wannabe hipster sitch, there’s always those people who are only just climbing on the bandwagon two season too late, when any real hipster knows that they haven’t been throwing out bandwagons since 2004.
So while you’ll see plenty of BBQs hanging out on the nature strip, like 15 year olds waiting for a lift to a cool party they’ll never get invited to, you’ll also see quite a few fatscreens, giant ice-cream sandwiches and some of the saddest furniture ever to escape your grandmother’s good room.
The fun part for you is that you can make it a game. Fortunately, if you can’t be bothered, I’ve done all the hard work for you.
Simply print out the attached Hard Rubbish Bingo PDF, and you and your friends/fellow combatants can enjoy the thrill of racing past piles of castaways and bleating that you saw rolled up carpet like it’s the cure for cancer.
It’s fun for you, and three of your bored carmates (or walkmates, if you’re that 15 year old who decided that you can’t be bothered waiting for that lift, because he’s never coming!!! and you’re just gonna walk to that party, or at least hang out in front of the party house and drink Wipe Out, sitting on a broken wicker chair, while a mattress sizes you up).
Hunt on, and may the most eagle-eyed cheapskate win!


I managed to scar my child on the weekend.

In the hope of playing a new movie, rather than the thousandth repeat of Aladdin, Little Mermaid or Cinderella, I chose a different movie from our back catalogue, Over the Hedge.

While a wholly enjoyable romp through the backyards of suburbia in the company of small animals, it totally failed to maintain the interest of Little Miss Three. Mummy and Daddy ended up watching more of the movie than she did.

So when the credits finally rolled on that film, to the tune of another Ben Folds’ ditty, I started thinking about what I could use to stave off the Disney classics collective for a few more hours.

What would be an enjoyable movie that would entrance the littlies for an hour or two, some flight of fancy, bright moving colours and a few bouts of singing and dancing?

How about 1971′s classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”? Sure! You’ve got singing, dancing, candy, bright colours, chocolate, oompha loompas and crazy kids. What’s not to like?

As it turns out… lots.

For a start, I ended up fast-forwarding through the whole section from the end of the Candyman song to the entering into the factory.

While I’m at it: the Candyman. Not only does the image of a grown man with a dopy grin, carefreely sprinkling small children with handfuls of lollies, appear a little creepy these days, it’s just not good business sense. Here is his main target customer base and what is he doing? Doling out sweets like water, without any concern about payment and recouping of monies. It’s just not a sound basis for the business whose main source of income is the purchase of sweets, usually by impressionable small children. Also, as I previously mentioned, creepy.

Thankfully, fast-forwarding gets us past the scene of Slugworth’s giant face taking up the whole screen in moments. Which is great, because that face could freak me out, let alone a three year old.

So we get to the factory and everyone is signing contract and being surly, and Gene Wilder is being weird and otherworldly, then they climb into a cupboard and come out into the factory floor, where everything should turn around in terms of “Fun Factor”, because who doesn’t love a happy song about dreams and imagination and wishes, in a room that is completely edible?

OK, I almost had her back on that one. Until the “little boy fell in the water and went up the tube and got stuck in the pipe and couldn’t get out and then went up the pipe and where did he go?”

Then I remembered that I had the same response when I first saw the movie as a kid. And I was just as perturbed.

Little Miss Three wouldn’t let it go. She wanted to know where he went, and when the other characters moved off, she wanted to know if they were going to go and find him. Despite me assuring her that “He’ll be fine, I’m sure they’ll find him at the end.”, she wouldn’t let it go.

Fortunately our discussion about the location of Augustus Gloop kept her focus away from the manic boat ride, with Wonka reciting poetry with increasingly fevered glee.

Is that a chicken getting its head chopped off in the background?

So we get to the Invention Room, full of crazy contraptions and puffs of smoke and wonky bonky noises, and I think that maybe we’re getting back on track…

…until the girl blows up like a ball and goes all blue and they roll her away to find the other boy who went up the pipe, don’t they Daddy?

At this point it was decided that this was a Daddy movie, not a Little Miss Three movie, and she went off with Mummy to do… anything else.

But not before telling me that she would never watch That Daddy Movie ever again, as well as telling everyone to not watch That Daddy Movie, and That Daddy Movie should be thrown away.

Two hours later, she was still complaining about the fate of the boy that went up the pipe.

I foresee a long period of time before she comes back to any Wonka-related material.

In retrospect, I should have picked a different classic children’s movie to entertain Little Miss Three.

Maybe next time, I’ll go for The Wizard of Oz.


Dear Getaway…

I’ve been a big fan of the Disney Parks for many years, and I took my wife to Disneyland for her first visit on our honeymoon, so obviously it holds a special place in our hearts.

That said, I was very disappointed by your coverage of Disneyland in the March 24 show.

The two incredibly brief segments on the park did nothing to sell the magic of this particular park. Sure, you had the presenters getting their photos with Mickey and spinning the tea cups, but so have the other thousand travel pieces done about Disneyland over the years.

Indeed, a viewer in Australia who has never been to Disneyland would simply think, “It’s just walking-around characters and kiddy rides and junk food. Just like Movie World, or Dreamworld, except a lot further away.”

I doubt that’s what the California Travel and Tourism Commission would want to hear.

The intrinsic magic of Disneyland is the thought that has gone into the minor details, as well as the major set pieces. For every awesomely themed ride (like the Indiana Jones ride), there are small touches that a lot of people don’t notice, but add to the experience of being at The Happiest Place on Earth (for example, gum isn’t sold at Disneyland, so little chance of getting a shoe-full of sticky stuff).

For example, here’s a quick list of ten points that would have made a bigger impression on someone who has never been, or never taken their family, to Disneyland.

1. On first entering the park, the entrance is designed like a movie premiere. You enter the park through one of two tunnels, walking on red concrete (ie, the red carpet), past billboards for rides (ie, coming attractions), before arriving in Main Street USA. And what’s the first thing you smell when you arrive? Popcorn.

From there, the windows along Main Street display the names of people who were instrumental in the creation of Disneyland, like the credits of a movie.

And who has the last credit? Walt Disney, of course.

2. If it’s your first visit, go to the Town Hall and receive your “First Visit” sticker. Then for the rest of the day, you can receive special treats and treatments from the Cast Members, the occasional free item or escorting to the front of the line.

This is also the same if it’s your birthday, anniversary and honeymoon.

3. A great way to get a view of the whole park is to take the train, which circles the park. Walt Disney loved trains, to the point of having his own train setup in his backyard. The train leaves the Main Street station and travels through all the lands, stopping in New Orleans Square, Toon Town and Tomorrowland, so you can get on and off as you please.

Another effect of having the train running around the park on a raised berm is that once you’re in the park, you no longer see the outside world, adding to the immersive experience.

4. While a day at Disneyland can be chaotic, loud and frenetically colourful, there’s the occasional spot of peace and quiet. For example, the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square, or the Wishing Well and fountain in front of the Castle. But more importantly, there’s a spot of peace and quiet for babies. The Baby Care room is available for parents to feed, change and comfort their smallest children, an oasis from the noise and bustling activity.

5. You will see a lot of Mickey Mouse heads during your visit to Disneyland, but some aren’t as easy to spot as others. Known as “Hidden Mickeys”, these are little flourishes added by the park’s designers and creators. And they can be anywhere: on the rides or in the queues, in the shops, or even just out on the street.

6. If you have a multi-day ticket, or stay at the Disney hotels, you will get an Extra Magic Hour, which means you can get in an hour earlier than the general public on certain days, which means you can get an hour of rides in, then sit down for a leisurely breakfast while other people are still coming through the turnstiles.

7. If you’ve seen the fireworks over the castle from Main Street, surely it doesn’t get any better than that? Well maybe not, but for a different experience, try getting a possie in front of it’s a small world. Along with the fireworks, you’ll also get to watch an accompanying visual presentation displayed across the front of the ride’s facade.

8. A lot of work goes into making each of the lands inside Disneyland its own closed environment, but of course, there’s gonna be the need to link each land to its neighbours. The designers of the park put a lot of time and effort into making these transitions as smooth as possible, so next time you move from, for example Frontierland to Fantasyland, notice how the environment changes, from the footpath surfacing, building designs, trees and shrubs, and even the background music.

9. Sure, there’s a plethora of junk food: popcorn, fairy floss, turkey legs the size of your head. That’s great for the kids, but sometimes, you need something a bit classier. Why not go on a ride and grab some food? OK, maybe not quite, but The Blue Bayou offers the next best thing. Once you enter the restaurant, you’ve arrived at a southern style plantation from the turn of the century (or possibly earlier). Anytime of the day, it’s just after dusk in here, and your seat on the patio overlooks the swamps of Louisiana. And who is that floating past on a regular basis? Boatfuls of people just about to drop down a waterfall and experience Pirates of the Caribbean. You’ve become a part of their ride experience, so watch your manners at the table.

10. The Jungle Cruise is a favourite for a lot of people, and it’s one of the original rides from Opening Day 1955. A ride during the day is a lot of fun, but for a different experience, try jumping aboard after dark. The same applies for other outdoor rides, such as Big Thunder Mountain.

That’s just ten points of interest that differentiate Disneyland from other theme parks. I think these aspects would be a much better selling point for Disneyland than the standard “let’s get a photograph of us gurning with Disney characters” and “look, we’re going to vomit in the tea cups” footage.

We enjoy watching Getaway and having a bit of a dream about the places we could go, but on this occasion, I think you dropped the ball. It was much like having a five minute segment on Paris saying “Look, we’re up on the Eiffel Tower. Now, we’re eating baguettes and wearing striped shirts. Eww snails!”

Rant over.

(posted here because the Getaway site doesn’t like feedback over 1000 characters, or containing links. And I just had to get it off my chest.)


A Happy Place


Welcome back. Where you been? I’ve been sitting here waiting for you to turn up!
Look, we can argue about who’s not been blogging and who has, but the truth is: you’ve missed me, haven’t you?
I knew it.
It’s OK. It can be our little secret.
Meanwhile, I’ve kept busy adding to my portfolio of shirt designs at redbubble, in between my job as a Graphic Designer, my job as a loving husband and my job as occasionally-seen-and-therefore-still-a-novelty dad.
Also, we’re looking at housing options. In particular: we should really look at getting somewhere with some more space. Stay tuned for more info, but as the runes are cast presently, we’re selling up and moving, hopefully also up.
But enough about me, let’s talk about me.
Me and my dirty mind had this great idea which I thought was bloody funny, but probably wouldn’t translate to the general community.
I wanted to take the quote from Walt Disney, from the opening of Disneyland back in 1955 (“To all who come to this happy place, Welcome.”) and stick it on the front of a bikini bottom.
You see, because it would sound dirty, while appealing to Disneyphiles! Funny huh?
Well, anyway, I haven’t done that. Yet. Maybe I still will.
In the meantime, I thought about combining the famous quote with a bunch of Hidden Mickeys, so that while you standing in line for that next ride at Disneyland or Disney World or, at a pinch, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, people could stare at your shirt and try to find as many hidden mickeys as they can.
So that’s the background of this design: something to cure the boredom of being at that “happy place”.

or something to cure the boredom of staring at someone in the bikini.

If you’re up for it, grab yourself a shirt at redbubble. Buy it for yourself, or someone you like to perve on.

And if you want it on a bikini bottom, leave a comment down below…

Juxtapositions are fun

I love a good juxtaposition. Or even a cheap one.
Although, in retrospect, I should have given him bigger feet.

Harking back to the days of Mortal Combat. And pizza.

If you haven’t heard of The Toxic Avenger, this design will probably go over your head.
All these designs are available at redbubble.
So go there and get juxtaposed, bi-atches!
(Sorry, I don’t know where that came from…)

Tales of (Spanking) the Gold Monkey

I’ve been a recent convert to the Kevin Smith range of podcasts: “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old”, “Hollywood Babble-On” and the original “Smodcast”.

I’ve worked my way through the back catalogue of “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old”, which began as a place to tell the history of Jason Mewes’ addiction to drugs, and eventually as a public intervention, a way to keep him accountable for his actions in front of a weekly live audience, as well as a podcast audience of thousands. Jay’s story boggles the mind: he goes through highs and lows (oddly enough, usually while high) and is extremely un-self-conscious about it all.
Throughout his years of addiction, one thing has kept him alive: Kevin Smith.
If it wasn’t for Kevin Smith, Jay would probably be dead. I’d like to say “dead or eventually cleaned himself up”, but the truth of the matter is without Smith’s help, Jay would have continued to spiral down. Throughout the stories that Kevin and Jay tell, Jay is never the instigator of his salvation. Usually, he is the unwilling participant. It’s up to Smith, Smith and Mewes’ wives and their friends to intervene, drag Jay back from the edge, coerce him into rehab and generally straighten up and fly right. Which he does. For a while.
Alternatively, Smith muses that possibly he is the cause of the problem. By giving Mewes his break in “Clerks”, then following up with roles in other movies, making Mewes a genuine paid actor, Smith wonders aloud that maybe he is at fault for giving Jay a career in acting and not allowing Mewes to mature and find himself actual employment. The idea has some merit, that Kevin Smith is an “enabler” to all of Jason Mewes’ drug woes. No matter what happens in Jay’s life, Kevin is always ready and available to pick up the pieces, set Mewes up in rehab, or just in Smith’s own home, and try to straighten him out.
The question must be asked: when will he learn? The other question is: which one am I talking about?
Nevertheless, the podcast is enlightening, brave, honest and laugh-out-loud funny. Well recommended.
I’ve gotten a little behind on “Jay and Silent Get Old” because I’ve found my new favourite SModcast, “Hollywood Babble-On”. Hosted by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, it’s about Hollywood news and gossip generally – movie openings, celebrity deaths, charitable celebrities (“Hollywood Helpers, when you need a helping… ham…”) and the sort. Interspersed with their various celebrity anecdotes are impersonations by Garman, who works for KROK in LA, and stories about smoking weed and masturbating by Smith. It’s a happy balance.
The funniest thing about “Hollywood Babble-On” (or “HBO” as they abbreviate it… for now…) is that so many of the references are of my time, and would probably fly over the head of people under 30 years old. 80s TV shows, movies from 30 years ago, 1960s music icons. The impersonations in particular focus around the late 70s to early 90s, which is perfect for me.
An interesting point about this podcast is that Smith and Garman don’t have any concerns about some of the litigious statements they make about celebrities, which is surprising considering the neighbourhood they’re working in. For example, saying Arnold Schwarzenegger is a massive stoner or Chelsea Handler is a talentless c*nt is usually the kind of thing that has “allegedly” or “insiders say…” pasted onto the front, but Smith and Garman don’t seem concerned about setting themselves to be sued. Maybe it’s a case of “If it’s a lie, prove it!”
Indeed, like “Jay and Silent Get Old”, this podcast is also extremely honest about aspects of Smith and Garman’s lives. Smith is quite open about being a huge stoner, morbidly obese, and a chronic masturbator (even if he balances it out by saying he does the latter to naked pictures of his own wife, which of course goes with my own sensibilities). Garman is pretty open about his absolute disgust at people who have succeeded more than he has, for example the fore-mentioned Chelsea Handler.
Considering he’s got at least three podcasts to record a week, plus his daily regime of masturbation and smoking weed, I question how Kevin Smith gets anything done. But he does: he’s got a new movie in the can, his first horror movie, “Red State”. I’m looking forward to seeing it, considering I’ve enjoyed most of his output over the years.
And I’m certainly enjoying his current projects.

The “Birth. School. Kevin Smith. Credits.” T-shirt design is a parody of the famous Metallica Gig shirt. If you don’t get the joke about credits, I suggest you listen to the podcast. After you’ve bought a shirt, of course.