The mobile revolution

The mobile revolution has a problem. With over two million Australians now carrying mobile phones, one aspect of the technology is really creating problems. Not the cost, not the environmental impact of towers, or even the overloading mobile phone frequencies. It’s the phones themselves. They all sound alike.

Almost daily on the train, you’ll hear a phone ring. And a dozen people around the carriage will reach for their belts or bags to check if it’s theirs. There must be a solution to this. Maybe the phones can be programmed to play different tones, or tunes, or perhaps a sound nominated by the user. How about "Oi Daniel, phone call!" or your favourite guitar riff.

Job hunting

Over the past few weeks it has become apparent at work that our project has a limited lifespan. At the time of writing it is probable that many of us will need to go looking for jobs.

And we’ve risen to the challenge. Resumes have started popping up everywhere; on people’s screens, on the printer, on the fax machine. Management are aware of this. In fact, I think some of them are looking for jobs too.

You can tell who’s actively looking for a job. They look far neater than they need to. They turn up on Monday with a brand spanking new haircut. A couple of weeks ago about four people admitted to having had haircuts in one weekend. Dead giveaway. The new tie. The rarely seen suit. All these are signs of someone looking for another job.

Most notable are the absences. For a while people were making feeble excuses when they were going to be out at interviews. Doctor, dentist, family commitments, lunch… you name it, someone used it. Now nobody bothers, everybody will know they’re out job hunting. In fact nobody believed me when I had a genuine medical appointment to go to last week. So now people just say they’ll be out of the office.

"Yeah folks, I’m going to be in late on Tuesday… and.. umm.. I’ll be leaving early, too. And I’ll be having a kinda long lunch, if you know what I mean…"

So am I looking for work? Well, yes, I’m looking around to see what’s out there. So BLATANT PLUG TIME if you’d like to hire me, check out my resume!


Sometimes I wonder if I’ve told you lot things already. Most of the amusing things that happen to me get related in here at one time or another, with or without a little artistic licence. Thankfully I can usually take a spin through the files for a few choice phrases to ensure I don’t repeat myself. And, thankfully, I can usually take a spin through the files for a few choice phrases to ensure I don’t repeat myself.

After relating the following story to a workmate on the train home on Friday night I did wonder if I’d already told this one. I haven’t, at least not according to Mr Grep. So here it is.

I should probably add at this time that though this is an amusing enough anecdote, it is probably in no way worth a three paragraph introduction, building up the kind of expectation normally associated with a side-splitting, thigh-slapping classic story of hilarity.

A few months ago we decided to see "My Left Foot". It’s kind of got the status of a must-see movie, but we hadn’t seen it when it was originally released. So off to our local friendly video shop we trotted.

Our local friendly video shop is just the other side of the station – when we moved here we originally joined the one on this side of the station, but no sooner had we got our precious membership cards than they elected to give up the video rental business. Maybe it was something we said. Or perhaps the way we wrote "Ha ha ha" over the bit in the membership form about paying for any damaged or missing tapes. But I digress. Frequently. Actually it’s funny how often I digress at the most inappropriate moments, only to suddenly come back to the point I was trying to make.

`"My Left Foot"? Yes, we have it. But it’s out.’

Well no worries, we weren’t in a desperate hurry to watch it. It would only be a few days, wouldn’t it?

`Actually we’ve been trying to track that one down for quite a while. We think the people who borrowed it moved. We’ll follow it up.’

Ah. This doesn’t sound so good. But we decided to drop back a few days later and see if it’s back. It wasn’t. Every time we passed we’d pop in and check. Weeks went by. We could have easily gone to another video shop, or even forgotten about watching "My Left Foot" altogether, but customer loyalty and wish to find out what the hell has happened to the tape won over.

The image of a deadly video tape thief who has fled to South America rather than give back his copy of "My Left Foot" came to mind. Perhaps the cops have caught up with him.

"All right Kelly… come out with the video tape above your head!"


After several weeks, the memory of the movie we wanted to watch began to fade. Until about two months later, when walking past the video shop in question, we jokingly decided to ask again if it’s back.

It was back!!! So many moons later, we finally got to watch "My Left Foot". Good movie. Not sure if it was worth waiting two months to watch it, but yes, it was a good movie.

The worst thing is… we never did find out what had happened to the tape.

The Wiggles

My son Isaac likes The Wiggles. Actually, every Australian kid between the ages of six months and ten years like The Wiggles. No matter which way you look at it, The Wiggles are cool.

For small children, The Wiggles act as an instant sedative. Bung on the video and Isaac gazes up at the screen, transfixed. One night last week he just stood there, gazing, swaying, too busy gazing to even sit down. Alas, there are few things short of illicit drugs that would work this well on adults. Though I have seen similar effects from Mr Bean videos.

Toxic Custard turns six

It’s kind of scary when you think about it. Toxic Custard has been going for six years. That’s as long as I spent in the entire of high school. It’s a helluva long time. Where did all those years go? I guess I’ve been having too much fun.

In Australia, ABC viewers have a chance to spot TCWF on the telly. There’s an advert currently airing for submissions into Bob "Fairfax and I separated on amicable terms" Mansfield’s review into what exactly the ABC does with our eight cents a day. (Actually about 8.444802578566 cents a day according to my calculations).

The ad tells you how to get more information about making submissions to the review, by phone, mail, fax or email. Each shows various headless anonymous people using the appropriate bits of technology. For email, the shots they pulled out of the stock film cupboard consist of:

(a) me using our old 286 ex-PC (yes, I still have that shirt)

(b) my hands dancing over the keys of our old 286 ex-PC

(c) the amber screen of our old 286 ex-PC, scrolling through TCWF191

Note that in none of the shots am I actually using email! The footage comes from a "Hot Chips" story done in 1994. It’s a funny kind of feeling, spotting your headless self on the telly. "Wait a minute… I recognise that torso… that arm… that fast four finger typing style! That’s me!!"