Seminars

I just went to a seminar.

I like seminars. Seminars are good. For those of you who are still at university, or are otherwise not reputable hard-working citizens, here’s a quick description of how seminars happen.

First, some bright spark decides he can charge companies a few hundred bucks to get them to send their people to a glorified slide-show. For this he will hire at least one (1) Expert, and one (1) Prestigious Location, such as a five (5) star hotel.

(It used to be that the best hotel was three stars. Then it was four. Now it’s five. By midway through the next century, we may be at the ridiculous situation of not wanting to stay at a hotel with anything less than seventy stars. Why stars, anyway? Probably a throwback to the stars the teacher would put on good work. But my teacher used a rubber stamp elephant for this occasional occasion. Wouldn’t really work, would it? Imagine hotels trying to measure up against each other by giving their ratings in terms of number of elephants.)

Anyway, the delegates arrive for their seminar. At least, those who can find their way around the Hotel Labyrinth do. The others are sat waiting in the Lyndon Room instead of the Litten Room, or otherwise
roaming around in droves trying to find either their room or the way out.

But to those who make it, a bag or folder full of notes, and all the tea and coffee they can drink will be forthcoming (bummer if you don’t drink tea or coffee). As well as vital minutes of waiting around wondering why the hell they needed an hour to register everyone and Christ, what sort of time is this for a Monday morning and bloody hell I could have got another 45 minutes’ sleep. But at least you’re spared of going to work for another day.

You go into the theatre, and spot the control room guy halfway up the wall, watching from a booth. He looks like security, watching down on everyone. Wait. He gets on the radio. “Units 5 and 7 to the presentation area please. Third row from the back, man playing tic-tac-toe in his notes. Eject and eliminate.” But actually he works the lights.

When everything gets underway, you’ll finally spot the presenter/s: who are almost all internationally recognised experts in their fields, but absolutely unknown by anyone else.

There are good presenters, and bad presenters. There are presenters who make jokes, both good and bad, and those who don’t. There are presenters who talk interestingly, and others who drone on and on for hours. But none of that makes any difference in the snoozability stakes if the content is boring. If the content is boring, then the appearance of high-wire acrobatic man-eating lions won’t stop you falling asleep. (Which explains why they serve coffee.)

Thankfully, a lunchbreak will occur sooner or later. Generally around lunchtime. The less scummy seminars will have a catered lunch ready, the more-so will send you out into the CBD jungle looking to scavenge some food.

As the afternoon arrives, and wears on, people start to trickle out, obviously having come to the decision that it’s all getting too boring. But as each presentation finishes, the most dreaded part of all happens: Question time.

It drags on and on. And why? Because of the dorks who think this internationally obscure expert has come just to personally solve his/her problem. I usually feel like standing up and saying, “Excuse me?! Whatsisname has come all the way from fucking Greenland to talk about the future of gidgemythings, and you want to ask him about flange brackets?! Why don’t you take your flange brackets and shove them up your fucking arse? Fuck off!”

And then I get kicked out. And don’t have to listen to any more of it.

Warning

A WARNING TO ALL ATTACHED MALES:
Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. Forget this, and three of your objects may not stay attached for very long.

SuperPope!

The Pope arrives in Australia this Wednesday. Same day as Bill Gates. This may provide the opportunity to determine whether or not they are one and the same person. Think about it! You never see Bill and John Paul together at the same time, do you? For all we know, Bill walks out of his Redmond HQ, gets into a phone box and comes out wearing white robes… “Bringing affordable software to the mass home computer market and making a packet of money in the process? This sounds like a job for… SuperPope!"

Farewell to ’94

Well, welcome to the last day of 1994. I personally find it rather worrying that we’re going into the second half of this decade already… I mean, where the hell did it vanish to? Oh well…

Not to worry. Plenty has happened over the last year. Keeping in the tradition of world history, most of it has been bad
news, with a bit of good news thrown in just to give us a bit of hope and spirit for living.

  • Russia and Chechnya have a little tiff, because… umm.. well, actually it’s because a Chechnyan contractor did a really bad pebble-dash job on Boris Yeltsin’s driveway.
  • Yugoslavia continues fighting amongst itself… themselves… itselves… Anyway, they continue to fight, because… umm… they don’t like each other. And someone said something very nasty about Slobodan Malosovic’s haircut.
  • The IRA and British Government finally work out that bombing the crap out of Northern Ireland and each other probably isn’t going to get anyone anywhere, except closer to the next life. So they decide to call it a day and be friends at last. Well, perhaps not quite friends, but you know what I mean…
  • The Pope (you know, that sad lonely guy in white who drives around in a really tall car, and knows too much about aircraft safety for his own good, hence his kissing the ground whenever he lands) publishes "Crossing The Threshold of Hope", a romantic 400 page adventure novel. Sadly, it fails to make it into the Top Ten, causing disappointment amongst readers who were expecting it to be a realistic moral guide to living in the 1990s, rather than an idealistic work of fantasy.
  • Rwanda draws the short straw, and has this year’s African famine. And everyone who gives money to help feels really good about themselves, and swears they didn’t do it just to claim a tax deduction. And everyone who doesn’t give feels very guilty every time an ad comes on the telly about it.
  • North Korean leader Kim Il Sung dies after being very Il
  • United Nations Population Conference concludes in Cairo with all countries agreeing that they were resolute in not getting around to mutually agreeing to actually do anything
  • Telecom hits an Australian record corporate profit of A$1.7 billion. Of course, the cynic in me says no way will they reach that next year, now that I don’t work for them anymore…
  • Up and coming airline pilot Frank Corder fails his navigation test, when he flies his light plane into the White House. Oops!
  • The Order Of The Solar Temple, certified YABORLs (Yet Another Bunch Of Religious Lunatics) all decide to commit suicide to achieve spiritual well-being. They’d obviously failed to realise that physical very-deep-shit-being would also result.
  • What begins as a practical joke of gluing down the accelerator and locking the steering wheel ends in anger, as Ayrton Senna hits the wall.
  • Another Asian Pacific Economic Committee (or whatever the hell APEC stands for) meeting takes place in Indonesia. World leaders from the Pacific Rim arrive to see how bad the painted pictures of them placed on public buildings by their Indonesian hosts are.
  • The Achille Lauro sinks after catching fire off Somalia. That’s one ship that’s probably better off sunk. Let’s face it, the damned thing was doomed. It sounds like one of those Swamp Castles in Monty Python And The Holy Grail… "was hijacked, burned down, rolled over, and *then* sank into the swamp"…
  • South Africans finally catch up with the basic concepts of democracy. Which is that everyone gets to play.
  • Kurt Cobain finds a novel way of hiding the oil on the garage floor when he blows his head off. Actually, let me share with you the best Cobain quote I’ve heard so far: "I think it was Kurt… in the garage… with the shotgun." – Cam Winstanley, Amiga Power magazine

And I’ll leave you with this little thing ‘ere, created by me and Brian Smith, which I never got around to finishing off completely. And I have a nasty feeling that someone else came up with the same thing… but oh well, here you go. It’s to the tune of Cocaine, if you can’t work it out:

He’s got shredded jeans
Don’t know what it means
Cobain

Said he don’t have a gun
But he must have got one
Cobain

Was it somethin’ we said
Now he’s blown off his head
Cobain

He’s in bits
He’s in bits
He’s in bits
Cobain

The fly

The fly. Useful though it is, it can be very embarrassing when forgotten. Just why is it that selective amnesia can so often cause one to forget to do up one’s fly? This is a question that has vexed scientists ever since it was invented. There’s meant to be a routine that we all do as we walk out the door. You know the one. The mental checklist: "Keys?… wallet?… handkerchief?… watch?…" and of course the one that every few of weeks falls off the mental check- list: "fly done up?"

So I’ve come up with an alternative strategy. If the fly beats the Primary Zipper Status Check, a secondary check is carried out in a quiet street on the way to the station. God forbid if anyone regularly looks out of their window at about that time of morning. Every day they’d see a reasonably neatly dressed young man on his way to work, who appears to have an unhealthy obsession with the upper section of his trousers…

But any of that is better than last week’s effort, when I was beaten by the Secondary Zipper Status Check, and got all the way into work, and sat through a Christmas breakfast and a meeting before I noticed the rogue zip at half-mast.

Things could be worse. About a week ago, I was walking through one of the city’s busiest streets, Elizabeth Street… and there, in a parked car, was a man doing one of the most elaborate nose-pickings I have ever laid eyes on. This wasn’t just the casual "pick, yep, nothing there, just checking there was nothing hanging out…" No. This was a fully-fledged seek-out and destroy mission, obviously done in the hope that absolutely anything in there would be scooped out. The sort of probing that picks up individual snot molecules. For anyone else contemplating it: Don’t. Don’t pick your nose in the car. Why? Because the windows are SEE-THROUGH, that’s why. (That’s why they’re windows, in fact…)