Thursday, 27 December 2007
Ah, that's bollocks: it's all downhill from here so let's not kid ourselves, mateys. The first bottle of tequila is on me.
Incidentally, did you know that Judas Iscariot betrayed The Famous Carpenter for 30 pieces of silver? An ominous number indeed. Think about it.
Wednesday, 26 December 2007
However, since I have been working at Barnes & Noble I've discovered that a great number of persons ask me the question that should not be asked but often is.¹ I wish I could reply, "No I don't work here," but I have to restrain myself as I would get in trouble for being sarcastic. I just grind my teeth and nod my head like a good little boy.
Anywho, if you're not particularly bright and find yourself somewhere and aching to ask someone the Question, consider these factors before you open your trap:
One: the person in front of you is sporting a name badge that has their name along with the name of the store you are in. The chances are reasonably high that this person is an employee and not a concert attendee who needs directions to the backstage VIP area.
Two: the person in front of you is wearing some kind of apparel with the name of the store woven into the fabric in a convenient spot that lessens the chance of ambiguity. The odds are pretty good that this person is an employee and not some socially-deficient person who thinks it's cool to wear the uniforms of popular stores.
Three: the person in front of you possesses either a pricing gun or a portable data terminal. Now the pricing gun should be a dead give away, but the PDT can look like one of the those giant cell phones from the 1980s. I'm prepared to be lenient on the PDT provided it is not being used on a cart loaded with merchandise.
Four: the person in front of you has a morose expression and gives off the impression that her life is being sucked into one giant shit vortex of which there is no escape. This poor bastard is definitely an employee and the last thing she needs is you opening your retarded mouth to ask her the question we all hate. Seriously, you're a moron and you should never leave your home unless accompanied by a qualified caregiver who can guide you through that tricky obstacle course called life. Dumbass.
And there we have it, a nice and helpful four-point guide to avoid looking like a cock. Happy holidays.
¹I get asked about 3-5 times a day every day. After nearly two years it gets a little old.
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
The cats of course enjoyed rummaging around the discarded gift wrap, and they appreciated the cat nip toy in the shape of a lobster.
Off to my sister-in-law's place for dinner later today, but for now we're just chilling out and forgetting that we have to go back to work tomorrow [boo!].
Monday, 24 December 2007
I just got off the phone with my folks and I hear it is raining in Taranaki, which is unsurprising. I'm sure it'll clear up in time for the evening BBQs.
Friday, 21 December 2007
While I can't really argue with the catchy little number [I'll take Umbrella over Hey There Delilah any day of the week, mate] the song works for me despite Jay-Z's phoned in rap. It's a good thing it only comes at the start of the song as any more lame rhyming would have really waterlogged [heh heh] it. I mean, check out this line:
Really? That's the best they could come up with? It makes me wonder what a Jay-Z rap for Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry would look like....
Ahuh ahuh [Kid Incorporated now Woman Emancipated]
Ahuh ahuh [Pass Go collect some bling, yo]
An anticipation of ululation
Streamin' down yo pretty eye
It ain't no complication
Coz big hos don't cry
Don't wanna see you blubber
Wanna tap you widout a rubber
Can't play no crappy UNO
Buts I tell you what I dono
Big hos don't cry
Yo, Fergie -- where you at?
Hm, on second thoughts it's better if Jay-Z didn't do a rap for Fergie.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Okay, rewind a little. Our story begins with your hero waiting in line at the post office. As some of you out there might know, the post office is not a speedy organisation; glacial would be the right word when describing how fast they move. Anyway, common sense dictates that one avoids the post office at this time of the year if possible because it's bat shit crazy in that town. However, in my case I needed to be there to collect a parcel from NZ, whoo!
Cursing myself for not bringing a book, I whipped out my cell phone and attempted to beat my all time highest score in Bejeweled as the queue stretched out the door. As I was moving some diamonds around I overheard the couple in front of me bitching about something. Upon looking up your writer noticed a tattoo on the dude's neck that appeared to be the name of, one presumes, his current significant other.
As my eyes traveled past the lame cursive script I noticed the aforementioned hickerino. It was truly terrifying to behold; severe and infected looking with a collection of smaller hickies orbiting the main body like a bunch of debauched satellites. Significant bruising to the skin left a portion of his neck resembling a rotten plum, all squishy and weepy. I wanted to ask him if he'd lost an argument with a vampire because no human could have left such a mark upon the skin.
However, when I saw the hickey giver everything made sense to me. Indeed, this chick looked so harsh she would probably gouge your fucking eyeballs out if you looked the wrong way at her. In fact, she was arguing with an old lady in front of her and looked as if she wanted to rip the little old lady's face off. I put my head down and continued playing Bejeweled.
Now before signing off I'd just like to add that I'm not prudish about hickies. Hell, we've all given and received one [or two] at some time in our pasts so we know the game, homies. But this uber hickey was just wrong. I mean, at least try and put some concealer on it!
It's always fun at the post office.
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
From the News Most Unexpected department comes happy tidings concerning a moderately popular work of fantasy. Yes, apparently New Line and Peter Jackson have kissed and made up over their legal dispute and are now going to make The Hobbit.
Jackson and Fran Walsh will executive produce two Hobbit films, although it's not known at present who will be directing, who will be appearing, and where it will be shot. I'm thinking the sensible answers to those question would be Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, and New Zealand.
However, if Jackson were to pass on directing The Hobbit then either Guillermo Del Toro¹ or Alfonso Cuarón² would be fine candidates, both of whom have distinctive visual flair and are more than comfortable with the fantastic.
This is most excellent news and I'm sure everyone who loved The Lord of The Rings will be amped to return to Middle-earth.
Indeed, just last week I was chatting to wifey and bemoaning the lack of a Lord of The Rings to go and see during Christmas. It looks as though the Gods of Film & Entertainment have worked their movie magic once again.
//Link//<<-- From the Dominion Post.
¹If you haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth, please do so. It's one of the best films this decade.
²The Prisoner of Azkaban is still top of the Harry Potter film list, imo.
For me, the best portrayal of the Joker was not Jack Nicholson's in Tim Burton's film; rather Mark Hamill's work on Batman: The Animated Series was by some distance the uber Joker. However, Christopher Nolan was hardly going to cast Luke Skywalker in the new Batman film, was he? And after some interesting actors expressed their interest in the role, he chose Ledger to play Batman's greatest adversary.
While it's never wise to judge a film by its trailer [The Phantom Menace trailer was spectacular] and, using the same logic, an actor's performance, I have to say Heath Ledger looks like he has transformed himself into a fantastic Joker. Trailer's not too shabby, either.
Homer's video is a parody/homage to Noah K who started taking a picture of himself everyday back in 2000 and continues to do so as a work in progress. Some of the images were glued together with a soundtrack and posted in a popular YouTube piece.
//EDIT// <<-- Well, my first YouTube link was destroyed by Fox's OMACs so I've added a new one in its place. Not sure how long this will be up, but I'm thinking it'll fry sooner rather than later. Watch while you can! Or I'll try and find it on Hulu....
Saturday, 15 December 2007
For a whole year I've seen one of the great Archetypes, the Confused Trend Follower, amble in by the truck load looking for the book. They don't know what they're buying [since they're Confused] but they have to have it. When you place the holy text in their sweaty, trembling hands they look at you reverently and ask, "Do you know what it's about?"
What can I say? I've already mentioned that the bulk of The Secret buyers have no idea what they're buying, but buy they must. So I look at them and explain a little about it and off they go to the register, happily forking over their bling.
It does leave a bad taste in my mouth because I don't believe what I'm selling is of any benefit to the purchaser. But I suppose one can offer the counter-argument that it doesn't really matter a damn that I don't believe in The Secret, as long as the buyer is happy with their purchase.
But just when I thought it was safe to go back into the bookstore, along comes Rhonda with The Secret Gratitude Book. Well, calling it a book is misleading: it's actually a journal for you to write in, with a few pages at the front from Rhonda thanking you for the million squid in her bulging bank account.
Presumably you write in the $20 journal on a daily basis as one invokes the Law of Attraction. One entry might read, "Thought really hard about making my penis a little thicker today; chicks really dig the width. Got the measuring tape out and no, there's been no change in my todger's girth. Must think more positively tomorrow."
And thus the pimping cycle begins anew.
Most of the people out shopping seem to enjoy looking for that ideal gift to wrap and exchange, while others appear to be in the store under sufferance.
Indeed, these reluctant shopper are easy to spot as their eyes are scowled and their fists clenched while their mouths mutter the great injustice of having to find a gift for someone they only see once a year.
It's fascinating to watch their pain and I'm considering selling tickets. It would make for a great reality show, especially with the WGA strike entering its bazillionth week. Hey, if Kim Kardashian [she of the GIANT ASS and pron flick] can get a reality show, anything is possible.
Thursday, 13 December 2007
But it is fun to try and pretend the WGA strike helped to usher in the return of Gladiators, even though the two events are not related ... or are they?
Mind you, there was an article online today that notes the influx of reality shows about to hit our screens as the strike grinds ever onward.
//Link// <<-- Reality! Reuters article reprinted on Stuff.co.nz.
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
I have to admit, the photo leans toward homoeroticism especially with the legs slightly askew and the mouth all pouty with the nipples just so. One cannot help but draw comparisons to that other great work of homoeroticism, Saint Sebastian, by Carlo Saraceni.¹
Mind you, this is hardly a surprise as Beckham has plenty of male admirers to go with the hordes of women swooning after him so it's conceivable the pose was designed with a dollar each way in mind.
But really, is the ad worth the amount of copy newspapers have devoted to it? Not even Eva Mendes's arse generated that much excitement. I guess it must be a slow news day in the world and whatever Beckham does is guaranteed to generate excitement, even from male tabloid journalists who feel inadequate when compared to The Bulge.
¹Not really, I just typed in homoeroticism at Wikipedia and took it from there.
So far she seems to be having quite a nice day, and later this evening we'll be popping out for a delicious dinner with quite a few alcoholic beverages methinks.
Sunday, 9 December 2007
The adaptation is definitely not without flaws; pacing springs to mind as it felt rushed in parts and dragged in others. However, that issue did not detract from what is an enjoyable fantasy adventure. The film does not deserve the poor reviews it has earned from some critics, and Entertainment Weekly's C rating is harsh. I'm not sure what film Owen Gleiberman watched, but it wasn't the same film I saw.
Apparently the film took in $26 million for the weekend at the US box office. Most analysts say they're not Lord of the Rings numbers, which appears to have become the measuring bar for fantasy films. This is a little unfortunate as most films will never come close to matching the quality of the LOTR so any comparison to that series is unfair.
And what of the anti-Religion element? Well, people have nothing to fear from this Compass as the film touches briefly on the machinations of the Magisterium [and their belief in the Authority] and concentrates more on showing a group of characters embarking on an mission to rescue their friends and family.
It seems most of the frothy comments regarding the film has come from people who have never read the books and, one presumes, will never see the film. I overheard several customers the other day standing around our Golden Compass display making comments that betrayed their ignorance of the novel. One woman even wished the film to "fall flat on its face," which I found amusing. It makes one ponder the insecurity of some people and their faith. If the foundations of your faith are rocked so violently by something so insignificant as one writer's story, then you're not much of a believer. God, if she exists, is big enough to take care of herself. Debate should be encouraged, not quashed.
Besides, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass are way more fiery than the first book of the trilogy, so easily-offended people should keep their blades sharp for those films. Mind you, if TGC doesn't fare so well at the box office, the sequels might never get made. And that would be a shame.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church exhibit some or all of the downsides to inbreeding. Like too much water added to fruit concentrate, too much of the same spooge has gone into their wacko collective. It's the only logical conclusion one can come to after watching this little sing-a-long they call, "God Hates the World."
The creepy mutants are very sincere about their message, especially the Canadian dude in the back waving his flag. Mind you, these are the same fuckers who shamelessly picket the funerals of soldiers, so they don't do things by halves.
Saturday, 8 December 2007
Well, they didn't say bitch but they did invite me to create an account. So I did, and it's pretty cool, dudes.
I created this clip from a full length episode of Family Guy [Believe It Or Not Joe's Walking On Air] with their nifty embedding tool that allows you to isolate sections of the media. Since they're kind enough to create the code for you from your selection, all you have to do is copy'n'paste it to your site.
I'm not sure if you'll be able to see the clip if you're reading this blog from outside of the US, as I read something about them limiting viewing goodness to US IP address thingies. If that's the case then my two readers from Siberia are gonna be pissed! Hopefully Hulu wll be up and running for reals sometime soon.
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Thursday is a dirty Jezabel offering sweet promises of an end to your agony, before whipping away the mirage and laughing as you realise that no, there is still one more day to go before freedom.
I think Thursday was invented to test our resolve, to see if we have the stamina to make it through a five day week. Perhaps we should be like the French and work four days a week, and take a three day weekend. The French may be wine swilling surrender monkeys, but they know how to work the system, man.
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
Yep, apparently Beckham was dining at Nando's Chicken in Courtney Place, Wellington [ain't too bad, I've eaten there before and it's a step up from KFC] when he left, among other items, a partially consumed 600 ml bottle of Coke on his table.
Spotting a chance to make some bling, an enterprising person recovered from swooning to snatch the soda [and a corn cob] before you could say ka-ching and promptly listed the items on TradeMe. Naturally this has attracted plenty of media interest and speculation over the authenticity of the bottle's contents.
I'm worried that the sale of Beckham's backwash could spawn copy-cat sales, with people flogging anything from Beckham toenail clippings to Beckham belly button lint. I dare say someone is even contemplating suiting up in scuba gear to go swimming through the septic tank of Beckham's hotel looking for some used toilet paper. Beckham dookie, now that would make for an interesting auction.
//Link//<<-- TradeMe listing for Beckham's Coke.
While Graham Henry has a phenomenal record of 42 and 6 over four years, 2007 will probably go down as the worst season in New Zealand rugby. The reconditioning programme involving the mass exodus of players from the Super 14, and the numskull like play of a team who's lineup was constantly chopped and changed hamstrung the All Blacks reflecting in the lack of cohesion in their game play.
Couple that to Henry's insistence in his review that he would change nothing speaks volumes of his hubris. If he had mentioned, in hindsight, that perhaps he may have got things a little wrong then I would be all for his reappointment. Admitting one's fallibility is not a weakness and could have been used as a strength. By placing the blame for the quarterfinal exit to the most pathetic French team in existence entirely on the referee is the convenient excuse of one not willing to learn from one's mistakes.
Admittedly, Wayne Barnes sucked hairy balls and should never come within spitting distance of a major rugby game again, despite what Paddy O'Brien says. However, the All Blacks had so much ability and talent that the referee should not have been a factor. Ali Williams's argument that the All Blacks don't do dropped goals is evidence of a brainless player who doesn't have the nous to realise the ref wasn't going to give them shit so they should have scored points by any means necessary. Smart teams win when the odds are stacked against them, and to have smart teams you need smart players. However, above all else, smart teams need a smart coach. Henry proved in 2007 that he wasn't smart and that reflected in the results.
However, I don't think Henry will be dumped. The board who will appoint the coach for 2008 is the same board who approved Henry's radical plan for the 2007 season. If they were to dump Henry then they would be condemning themselves because they are equally culpable for the calamity that was the World Cup.
So sit back and watch the show. I think it will be very interesting, dudes.
//Link// <-- Henry's Hopes Boosted, article from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Edit. The chief sponsor of the Super 14 in New Zealand has come out and slammed Henry's decision to take players out of the competition, a move that affected the quality of the tournament. Could one of the moneybags have an influence on the outcome?
In retail I've noticed that customers also tend to fall into clearly-defined archetypes, and as such I've decided to list and describe four of the main ones for your viewing pleasure.
The Confused Trend Follower.
This customer is not entirely sure what it is they want, only that they need The Item because everyone else has it. Usually aroused by Oprah, they dash off on a poorly conceived mission to the closest store.
Once you have figured out what this customer wants you can often find yourself in the unfortunate position of not having any copies left. This is due to the immediate shortage of The Item as the sister archetype of this customer, the Not Confused Trend Follower, has snapped up every last copy of The Item in the country. If this is apparent, then the Confused Trend Follower is easily annoyed and primes itself for combat.
And no, they don't want to order The Item because they have friends coming around tomorrow and had planned to display The Item somewhere prominent [possibly in the living room or vestibule] so The Item would be a focal point for polite conversation while their friends succumbed to delicious envy. Mostly harmless, these creatures can be defeated with false sympathy for their plight.
The Religious Nut.
This archetype is most visible whenever there is a religious holiday on the calendar. This customer should not be confined to any one of the main religions; rather, this archetype is an amalgam of all of the worst features of the so-called spiritual person.The common identifiable feature of the Religious Nut is their rampant eyeballs. Indeed, these ‘balls bulge terrifically with rage at the grave injustice(s) done to their religious beliefs. Be extremely careful, because they are most likely to pick a fight over anything. For example, the lack of religious material regarding their -- and therefore more important -- religion is quite high on the list I like to call, Stuff to Guarantee a Shit Storm.
Also, the lack of appropriate gift items is a big one, as is the lack of appropriate gift paper to wrap the inappropriate gifts they buy under sufferance. Even the lack of suitable songs on the PA system regarding their religion will cause their head to explode and contribute to the monster chip on their shoulder.
Take heed, they really want to fight you, and they work themselves up into a lather when they do. Forget about reasoned debate, this is a bare-knuckled street fight that you will lose because you have no leg to stand on. If this was in your ‘hood, then you could light that mutha up, Dog. But at work, with the threat of anti-religious accusations hovering over your head, your best course of action when facing this archetype is to smile and whip out the number to corporate ASAP. Send their fury up the ladder, and expedite the departure of the Religious Nut from your store. Get that mutha out, Dog!
A vexing archetype, particularly if you’ve had a rough day. This person is usually, but not always, a middle-aged female of the stay-at-home variety. This archetype has a rich husband who works in futures and a hot Latino boyfriend who cleans the pool. They drive a Lexus or a Mercedes poorly, and a major crisis is the Whole Foods Market not having a favourite organic snack in stock.
The Superior Arsehole is snide, impatient, and most of all condescending when speaking to you, if they bother to speak to you at all. A common phrase used by this archetype -- and one familiar to all -- is, “I want to speak to the manager.”
They are quick to hold a grudge, and have no idea what an appropriate way to treat someone is because they spend most of their time looking down on others. Their costume usually consists of a face lift and lots of bling, while some have been known to sport a Juicy Couture tracksuit that costs more than you earn in a week.
The best tactic when encountering this archetype is to use sarcasm. But be careful you don’t push it: asking them if they would like you to summon a boy to carry out the new Danielle Steele book they just purchased is a no-no. While they’re not the brightest bulb, they could pick up on your sarcasm if it's extreme and ask to, you guessed it, speak to the manager.
The Harassed Parent.
The Harassed Parent is the saddest archetype of all. This poor bastard is afflicted with a procrastinating spawn who has managed to leave it's book report until the last minute. And, to make matters worse, not only has the idiot child not read the book they don’t even own a copy. This means they drag their parent all over South Florida in a doomed bid to salvage their education.
However, what works against the Harassed Parent is the slight issue that they’re not the only Harassed Parent pounding the sun-bleached roads looking for the last copy of the No Fear Shakespeare edition of Hamlet. Hundreds of idiot children have freaked their parents out and at all times of the day a convoy of them is invariably en route to your store.
The Harassed Parent exhibits the tell-tale behaviour of someone who is overwrought because they know their child is going to grow up and clean vomit from the toilets of subway stations for a living [or get a job in retail] if they fail their book report. They're frustrated that their hard-earned money is being wasted on individuals who are more interested in text messaging and drinking Jamba Juice than doing their school work.
You have to feel for them, and the best way to handle the Harassed Parent is with genuine empathy. They need someone to understand that their children are dim, and it’s not their fault that their cute little monkey babies have grown into lazy monkey kids. The Harassed Parent is highly stressed and it’s in your best interest to help de-stress them.
And there you have it, four of the main archetypes. There are many more, and I dare say you can come up with quite a few on your own or with a little help from your friends.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
[PS -- I'm not sure how long this will be up before NBC's goons track it down so you better catch it while you can].
Sunday, 2 December 2007
However, while that sounds like fun, could I table a counter-counter point? I would like to suggest that the learning curve for a guitar is considerably greater than the learning curve for Guitar Hero III. Unless you really suck arse at playing video games. So as my free time is limited, I think I might be leaning toward ... Guitar Hero III. And have I mentioned that Slash is very convincing?
And before I sign off, wouldn't you want to rock out in your own living room while "playing" Muse's Knights of Cydonia?
Lord, don't let me drive past a GameStop because my wallet will force me to buy Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock!
Yep, all I heard was this "Ahhhhhhh!" as the old person went past, missed me by inches, before crashing into a woman's cart behind me. Well, crash is a bit too dramatic; I would say bounced is a better description ... like a pinball.
And, just like a pinball, the mobility/shopping cart hybrid thingy continued careening up the isle bouncing off another two shopping cats before the tv dinner freezer checked its momentum.
The old person was perfectly fine, but it turned out the cause of the low-speed spectacular was momentary confusion over the break and accelerator by the driver.
It was surreal.
Oh well, there's always the Chappell-Hadlee trophy to look forward to. Uh huh, all we have to do is beat Australia in their back yard and victory shall be ours! It's almost too easy.
Saturday, 1 December 2007
Still, it's nice to actually win for a change.