Monday, March 26, 2007


Over the weekend I bought myself a new mobile phone. My old one had long ago run out of credit, and I wasn't prepared to give those scumbags at Telstra more of my money, so it could only receive calls. In addition, it was hardwired to the CDMA network, which is being decommissioned early next year, so in a few months it wouldn't even be able to do that. I had a bit of cash and some spare time on Saturday, so I made the effort to get a new one.

The one I chose is an LG KG245. I bought it because I wanted something inexpensive with a camera and a clamshell design, and I liked the quiet masculinity of its glossy black and silver case. As we men are wont to do, I bought it with a minimum of fuss. I basically walked into the shop, said, "I want a phone. That is a phone. Give me that phone." then paid for it and walked out.

Little did I realise the horrors that awaited me.

Like I said, it looks like a man's phone. It's black, shiny and simple:

LG KG245

But appearances can be deceiving. I had to spend four or five hours going through all the menus and subdirectories, carefully de-Japanese schoolgirl-ifying the damn thing. With every single action, every keypress, it emitted annoyingly cheerful high-pitched chimes. Actually completing an action, such as adding an address book entry, made it warble and chirp like Hello Kitty on ecstasy. After five minutes I was screaming "Shut up Shut up SHUT UP!" at it. "Why is a hokey version of 'Every Breath You Take' the default ringtone?" I demanded. "Why are 'Uptown Girl' and 'Singin' in the Rain' programmed in at all? Why does every single ringtone sound like Gay Night in the karaoke district of Osaka?"

I've managed to get the damn thing to shut up, but I don't know what I can do about the icons. Deleting something brings up a (now mercifully silent) dancing pink garbage can. The calendar system has orange gerberas on it. Worst of all, you can assign an icon to the groups in your address book, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM is about as manly as 'The Babysitter's Club'. You can have a gold star, or a love heart, or a flower, or a teddy bear with a red bow tie. I do not want any group of people in my address book to be represented by a teddy bear with a red bow tie. I want cars, and skulls, and guns. I want my address book to be something that I wouldn't be ashamed to show Henry Rollins, in the unlikely event that he asks to see it. Yes, I admit that this is not a probable scenario, but I can imagine my mortification if Henry Rollins scorned my address book. I'd never recover.

henry rollins

I have judged your mobile phone and FOUND IT WANTING, MOTHERF*CKER!

Maybe I should download some Black Flag ringtones, just to be on the safe side.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I think I speak for all of us when I say that if all airlines had flight safety cards recounting the adventures of glowing red ghost terrorists, we'd probably read them more.

tajikistan terror

My Russian is a little rusty, but I think I've managed to translate some of the more straightforward panels...


If your flight is hijacked by glowing red ghost terrorists, just ignore them.


If you're a single woman in a short red dress, attempt to chat up the terrorist. He's probably not such a bad guy, and let's face it, honey; you're not getting any younger.


Men react with alarm, women with curiosity. It's one of those Mars/Venus things.


Hijackings can be, like, super boring.


If you're a gay man and your boyfriend has recently given you an engagement ring, show it to the terrorist. Everybody loves diamonds.


When escaping the aircraft, let the members of The Wiggles go first. They're richer than you, and probably more important to your children.


Once you are off the plane, run away from the glowing green ghost soldiers. Do not stop to wonder why your plane doesn't have any wings.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

AndressFest (addendum)

If (for reasons too obscure or perverted to mention) you wish to hold your own AndressFest, you may like to try the cocktail I created in Ursula's honour.

the golden ursula

The Golden Ursula

1 part gin
1 part vodka
1 part Galliano
2 parts tonic water
2 parts lemonade

Pour chilled ingredients into ice-filled shaker and gently swirl to blend. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of white nectarine. Consume until the average Ursula Andress movie starts to make sense, or until you pass out, whichever comes first.

AndressFest (Part 3)

It was after midnight, we were all hammered on wine and cocktails, and we'd eaten all of the snacks... but there was still one movie left to complete our AndressFest '07 trilogy. And that movie was 1981's 'Clash of the Titans'.

Saints preserve us all.

'Clash of the Titans' is the last "significant" film Ursula made, before lapsing into TV movies and guest appearances on shows like 'The Love Boat' and 'Manimal'... although its significance is due to its contributions to cinematic cautionary tales, rather than due to any inherent quality.

It was a bloated, inane, fatuous mess of a movie, plundering Greek myth for a story about the hero Perseus and the trials he went through to rescue his beloved Andromeda from the wrath of the gods. The sets looked cheap, the lighting was dull, the script was as leaden as a fishing weight, the characters were listless and the camera work was bland. The actors ploughed their way through the dialogue like icebreakers trying to conquer the Arctic, then, just when they seemed to be getting somewhere, they were interrupted by yet another lumbering burst of stop-motion animation. The much-vaunted special effects of Ray Harryhausen, possibly the greatest special effects man Hollywood had known up to this point, would have been spectacular if 'Clash of the Titans' had been made in 1961. But it wasn't. It was made in 1981, when the cutting-edge work in 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' made these old-school efforts look laughable.

On the acting front, Harry Hamlin wasn't so much an actor as a pectoral delivery system, while Judi Bowker made Andromeda about as exciting as a Toyota Camry. Laurence Olivier chewed so much scenery on the Mount Olympus set that it's a wonder it didn't collapse on him. But, as Jar Jar Binks would prove twenty years later, the worst actors aren't human. The goddess Thetis gives Perseus a little gift to help him on his quests; a whimsical simulacra owl named Bubo... quite possibly the most cynically-created character in the history of cinema. Bubo is a shameless amalgam of Muffit, the robot pet from 'Battlestar Galactica', and R2-D2 from 'Star Wars', right down to the cute/clumsy movements and the unintelligible bleeping. However unlike these two earlier robot creations, Bubo is utterly devoid of charm.


Until this movie, I'd never wished for an alternate-reality time-travelling anti-owl rocket launcher. Then I met Bubo, and everything changed.

But enough about the wretched Bubo. There's only one reason why we watched this awful, awful movie in the first place. Let's get back to our Ursula.

'Clash of the Titans' is always one of the first movies mentioned when discussing Ursula's oeuvre, but that's not because of her performance. Although she was reasonably high up in the credits, she only had one line that contained an entire sentence, and spent most of her screen time just hanging around the halls of Olympus looking sultry. I'm pretty sure that standing still and being beautiful isn't as easy as it sounds, but frankly, if the hood ornament on a Rolls Royce can do it, then it can't be that hard. And unlike Ursula, at least the Spirit of Ecstasy reacts to outside stimuli.

For AndressFesters, 'Clash of the Titans' is really only memorable because that's where the 44 year old Ursula met the 30 year old Harry Hamlin and, being Ursula, had a torrid affair with him. Given that they didn't share a single scene in the entire film, this was quite an achievement. She must have met him in the catering queue, then cornered him later behind the wardrobe trailer. As a result, nine months later, her only child Dmitri was born.

And when you think about it, that's kind of touching. Regardless of how the rest of the world remembers it, there's at least one person who looks back on 'Clash of the Titans' and believes that something good came out of it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

AndressFest (Part 2)

During their nine year marriage, actor/director John Derek used his power and influence in Hollywood to boost the career of his then wife Ursula Andress. Quite why he needed to do this is unclear, since by 1965 Ursula had made a number of big-budget mainstream films with everyone from Woody Allen to Elvis Presley. But do it he did, and one of the results was 'Once Before I Die'. Needless to say, Ursula's career was never the same after that.

It's 1941, and on their way to attack Pearl Harbour the Japanese decide to make a test-run on a polo game in the Philippines. Among the survivors are Army Lieutenant Bailey (John Derek) and his fiancé Alex (Ursula Andress). Having lost radio contact with his base in Manila, and realising that war is on the way, Bailey orders his platoon to hit the road and head for the capital. He advises his fiancé to do the same without delay, before the roads clog up with refugees. He warns her not to go home first, but Ursula protests.

Ursula: But what about my puppies! I have to go back for my puppies!

AF'07: We can see your "puppies", Ursula, and trust us, they're fine.

Of course Ursula does go back for the puppies...

AF'07: Oh, she meant beagles. Dang it.

... and of course, she then gets caught in the crowds of refugees. When the platoon catches up with her they find her sitting in her convertible Mercedes in the middle of a throng of Filipinos, trying to hide her naughty puppies under her sweater.

AF'07: (juvenile sniggering)

Bailey and his platoon have no option but to take her with them.

The long march starts well, but unfortunately while gathering supplies from a local village Bailey manages to set off a hand grenade while salvaging a teddy bear for his beloved out the wreckage of a burnt-out house. Although we are not actually shown his splattered remains, we know what has happened thanks to Ursula's big reaction scene. It's obvious she is witnessing the horrible, gory death of her betrothed... either that, or noticing a dead cockroach in the corner of her local Chinese restaurant. Not to cast any aspersions on Ursula's acting skills, but I've shown more distress than that when confronted with a paper jam in the photocopier.

In any case, the platoon is now stuck with an unattached hot blonde Swiss bikini babe, and she starts to exert a comforting feminine presence over the men. The new commander of the platoon is protective towards her, and their relationship seems to have the potential for more than just platoon commander/hot blonde Swiss bikini babe. His second-in-command, baby-faced psychopath Lt. Custer (Richard Jaeckel), resists Ursula's charms but nevertheless begins to open up to her, as he bathes naked in a handy river.


But Ursula's compassion is tested when one of the soldiers admits to her that he's only 22 years old, and has never known the touch of a woman. He believes that death is just around the corner for all of them, and he wants Ursula to... er... ease his burden.

Ursula isn't too convinced, but her heart has gone out to the younger man, and she decides to give it the old college try. I don't know which old college that would be, but whichever it is, I wouldn't mind attending their graduation ceremony! Wowrrrr!

Ahem. Sorry.

In a fair and reasonable world, there should have followed a lot of slo-mo, soft focus writhing with a little tasteful nudity (if only to rinse the sight of Richard Jaeckel's pale butt cheeks from our collective eyeballs). However, for reasons only known to himself, John Derek cut the scene before any action got underway, with Ursula looking blank while Private Virgin strokes her cheek. The next time we see her, she's fully clothed and running off into the woods, with tears streaming down her face.

What is Private Virgin to make of that, one wonders? "I had sex with Ursula Andress, and then she ran away crying." I don't think that this was quite the reaction he was hoping for.

Eventually the platoon is hemmed in by the advancing Japanese, and the big climactic battle scene occurs. Even though she doesn't have a gun, and spends most the battle tottering from one piece of cover to the next like a tin duck in a shooting gallery, Ursula is the only one who doesn't get killed. Just think - if a whole battalion of these apparently invulnerable hot blonde Swiss bikini babes had been available in 1941, the war might have been over before it even started!

The film ends with Ursula standing on the beach, with dead soldiers in all directions, looking just slightly concerned at this development in her fortunes. Possibly her distress was caused by a sudden, psychic vision of her career in 16 years' time, when she was caught up in the fiery train wreck that was our final AndressFest '07 movie.

once before i die

The shapely, well-honed buttocks of one of these actors were flashed during this movie. Guess which one? Okay. Now guess again.

Monday, March 19, 2007

AndressFest (Part 1)

Now that the empty liquor bottles have been cleared away and the memories of the truly awful movies have dulled, it's time to revisit the pain and the passion that was AndressFest '07.

Our first movie was 'Casino Royale', the 1967 Bond spoof that aimed to take the mickey out of the burgeoning Bond phenomenon. Its conceit is that the original James Bond was a gentleman spy of the old school; courteous, resourceful and highly disciplined. So successful was he that, after his retirement, the British government continued to codename one of their best spies "James Bond", just to keep their enemies from realising that the real one had retired.

However, as the original Bond laments in an early scene, the new breed of James Bonds are all about driving fast cars, using flamboyant gadgets and shagging beautiful women (who more often than not end up dead soon afterwards). That is not the original Bond way. So when MI6 calls him out of retirement, after the evil SMERSH organisation kidnaps or kills most of their other spies, he resolves to deal with things in a more gentlemanly fashion.

It's a clever premise for satirising the Bond franchise, but unfortunately the film suffers from having five directors and ten writers, and it ends up as a gorgeous but confusing mess. The various set pieces are entertaining in themselves, full of sumptuous 60s design and acidic 60s colours, but they bear little if any relation to each other. Frankly, the whole thing looks like it was edited together by Coleman Francis.

But it wasn't a complete loss. One of the best things about the movie was its concentration of mid-60s icons. Woody Allen plays Bond's nephew. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass play the title theme. And there's a wonderful scene in which Ursula Andress lures Peter Sellers into her vast modernist apartment, while Dusty Springfield sings Burt Bacharach's 'The Look of Love'. The vibe couldn't have been more 60s if Lyndon Baines Johnson had been go-go dancing on the coffee table.

The other best thing about Casino Royale was, of course, our Ursula herself. In a movie full of beautiful women, she dazzled like a spotlight in a field of candles. I'm developing a theory that her performances waxed and waned according to the quality of her co-stars, so when she was teamed up with the genius of Peter Sellers, she was never more engaging, or more ravishing.

casino royale ursula

Ursula Andress uses her mysterious powers of sex to control the world, or at least cinema-goers.

The only problem with 'Casino Royale' was that it wasn't quite bad enough. While it wasn't actually good, it was good enough to keep our minds on the story and not on MST3K-style riffing. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for our second AndressFest '07 movie.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I really, really, really want one of these. It would poke passers-by in the eye, gather dust, serve absolutely no purpose and bite deeply into my MST3K Acquisition Fund, but sadly all this just makes me want one more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


There's a legend (apparently) in the fetid swamps of Arkansas about a fearsome, yeti-like creature who decapitates deer, beats up yokels and drags the good name of Arkansas through the mud. Oh, wait, no, that's Bill Clinton. My bad. Anyway, like the sprawling saga of the Corleone family or the convoluted twists and turns of the Matrix, the Legend of Boggy Creek was too complicated and intricate to be covered in just one movie. Hence the existence of 'Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues...'

It's 1985, and four deeply unappealing people go on an expedition to learn the truth behind the rumours of the Boggy Creek Creature. Or maybe they just want to escape yet another tedious college football game... it's hard to tell. They are a mixed group, but they all share one passion: ruining the lives of moviegoers everywhere.

One may question why Doc is as smug and annoyingly self-important as he is. Being a professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas isn't exactly a plum position. Let's face it, in terms of academic prestige, he's probably outranked by the janitor who cleans the blackboards at MIT.

A grad student of Doc's, Tanya is notable as the "nice" girl, meaning she is marginally less shrill and obnoxious than the other one. Quite how she got into Boggy Creek studies remains a mystery, one far more compelling than any guff about sasquatches.

Shirtless Tim
With his narrow shoulders, thin arms and complete lack of spine, Tim is not so much beefcake as tofu patty. Even so, he is the closest the movie was ever going to get to a sex symbol, so his wardrobe mainly consists of disturbingly short cut-off jeans. Sadly, we will never know how many women looked at Tim's pallid, ill-defined chest and thought, "I wonder if I am... or perhaps should be... a lesbian?"

Too much make-up, too much shreiking, too much perm; Leslie is a girl who knows how to generate despair. Between Shreiking Leslie and Shirtless Tim, one gets the suspicion that the makers of Boggy Creek II hated physical attraction in all its forms, and wanted the audience members to look on all of their fellow human beings with disgust and loathing.

Further proof of the producers' misanthropy comes with the two creatures our "heroes" find. It's hard to tell which one is scarier.

A picture is worth a thousand words...


... but can be summed up in three: sweet merciful crap.

The Legend
Unfortunately for The Legend, Crenshaw is a far more terrifying monster than it ever could be. For most of us, given the choice between stumbling into an isolated mountain cabin and encountering a) a bedraggled yeti or b) a sweaty, horny, obese, half-naked hillbilly, we'd choose the former option.

With alacrity.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Thursday is International Eat an Animal for PETA day, an ancient and holy holiday during which right-thinking people devour the sundered flesh of lesser creatures, like chickens, cows, prawns and hippies, for the express purpose of pissing PETA off.

There are many ways to observe International Eat an Animal for PETA day:

- Instead of making a boring salad for dinner, impress your friends and family with a luau.

- Replace the chocolate chips in your cookies with bacon bits.

- Planning to visit a fortune teller during your lunch break? Save time and money by slaughtering your own chicken, reading the gizzards, then roasting it with sage and garlic. Hmmm... predictilicious...

- Three words: venison meringue pie.

- Get hammered on Bullshots rather than wimpy vegan Bloody Marys.

- Ladies! Give your husband a sexy and delicious surprise by making a bra and panty set out of pancetta rounds and proscuitto slices.

Further suggestions will be gratefully received in comments, and remember, the sky's the limit! Which reminds me; where did I put my duck call?

Monday, March 12, 2007


The invitations have gone out. The booze has been purchased. The movies have been sourced from the finest video libraries and DVD clearance bins. AndressFest '07 is go!

I'm very excited, as any right-minded person would be when anticipating an evening of performances by the star of 'The Secrets of a Sensuous Nurse' and 'Slave of the Cannibal God'. I have even created a unique cocktail, the Golden Ursula, especially for the occasion. And a delicious little minx it is too.

If you are going to be in Perth on Friday March 16, and you would like to join in the fun of AndressFest '07, email me at the address in my profile. As long as you aren't expecting anything you see to be, you know, good, then it should be a blast.


I haven't posted much lately, as I've been rather preoccupied and listless.

About a week ago I read in the newspaper that cancer strikes 10% of the population at some time in their lives. The use of this statistic was probably intended to cause sober reflection and concern in the reader... but in my case it had the opposite effect. If 10% of people will get some sort of cancer, I reasoned, it means that 90% won't. Imagine that! Not a single melanoma, brain tumour or bowel growth! I'm nine times more likely than not to avoid all these things! I should go run around in the midday sun and take up smoking, just because I can! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Of course, it was only a few days later that I noticed a lump on my person where no lump should be. I won't say where because it's embarrassing, although that in itself is probably all the information astute readers will need to work it out for themselves.

I have occasional bouts of hypochondria, and I recognise this, so I did a bit of googling before I started crying and running around in circles flapping my arms ineffectually. I found the detailed and rather specific checklist for what I thought I had, and went through and ticked all the appropriate boxes. Every symptom I had suggested the worst possible diagnosis.

Still, I held my fears at bay until I could see my doctor, since time has taught me that extrapolating too much from too little information usually ends in disaster. While I carried on with my usual activities - watching bad movies, going to parties, working on the half-finished wisteria trellis in my garden - I did them with a grey, amorphous weight on my shoulders.

I finally got to see my doctor this morning, and although he asked me to get an ultrasound to confirm his diagnosis, he believed that it was a thrombosed vein, not a tumour. He also checked me for melanomas, and didn't see anything suspicious. Apparently in his opinion I'm still one of the 90%.

It's scary little situations like these that encourage you to reappraise your life and focus on the things that are truly important. Just in case the worst comes to the worst at some point in the future, I'd better hurry up and reach my one goal in life... watching every single episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever made.

Monday, March 05, 2007


If you have a little over half a million Australian dollars lying about, I heartily enjoin you to go out and purchase 39A Westminster Street, East Victoria Park.

(Click on 'Click Here For More Photos' at the bottom of the page, and remember, nothing says class like faux-metal paint finishes)


There are two kinds of people in this world; those who understand why buying this for $20 at the salvage yard made my day, and those who don't.

pedal car

pedal car front

pedal car wheel

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Cor' blimey, guvner, it's...


AndressFest '07!

Yes, it's back! The annual Blandwagian festival of all thing Ursula, this year timed to coincide with Ursula's 71st birthday. She may look like a piece of beef jerky now, but back in the day she was the dream woman of every red-blooded man, the aloof and sophisticated ice maiden who could thaw into a white-hot sex kitten given just the right combination of manly charms. How can you doubt the allures of the only woman ever to be cast as a Bond girl in two separate 007 films?

AndressFest '07 is scheduled for Friday 16 March. More details soon, once we all calm down...