Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometimes it's a good idea to look on the sunny side of a bad situation. For example, the global credit crisis may be resulting in lost jobs, inflation and a collapse of property prices, but at least this means that subliterate real estate bimbos are earning less money. And that warms my flinty heart.

You, sir, are a moron. If that's a word.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This is what I get for putting my email address on the entry form in an attempt to win a new scooter:

Hi Blandwagon,

I hope you had a great weekend, we did!!

Congratulations to all of you that took part, helped or sponsored all the Fantastic people that took part in the Triathlon Pink this weekend in Perth.

There are fantastic people, and then there are Fantastic people. And then there are people who don’t know the difference between “that” and “who”.

Every fortnightly I'll be sending you a personal Success Tip, which will be packed with exciting news, new tips and techniques to help you.

Thanks! Every fortnightly I’ll be sending you a personal Grammar Tip, which will be packed with exciting news, new tips and techniques to help you construct meaningful sentences. We'll begin with "Proofreading: Your Gateway to Not Sounding Like a Dumbass".

This week, you can read all about how Siimon Reynolds one of Australia's best known advertising experts, has been able to Accelerate his knowledge of business and his understanding of life.

Meanwhile I'll continue your personal Grammar Tip with something I like to call “Adventures in Parentheses (Putting Your Commas Where They Count!)”. Then we’ll move on to “Dude, You’re Not A German: How and Where to Use Capital Letters”.

To read it, go to:

And every fortnight I'll be sending you another great new Success Tip, so you can continue learning new ways to get ahead in all areas of your life.

Success Tip #1: If you need to spam people to get your message across, your message probably sucks.

All the best,

Rob Orriss
Absolute Success Arena
PO Box 3016 Joondalup WA 6027
P: +61 8 9405 6927
F: +61 8 9405 7852

P.S. Remember, to take a look at all our latest uploads.

Go, to Hell.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


If you go to your local cheap salvage store, you’re sure to find boxed compilations of mediocre movies. They may be boxed together because they feature the same actor, or because they come out of the same studio, or because they cover the same genre. This was the case when I purchased ‘Space Fury’ a few weeks ago for $2, and found that the box also contained ‘Alien Intruder’. Both of them are from the early 90s, both are sci-fi, and both are worse than cholera.

To review ‘Alien Intruder’, it’s not necessary to go into what it was about. The story basically consisted of snippets of other films cobbled together, perhaps in the mistaken belief that if you put a lot of bits that worked in other films in your movie, your movie must work too. Suffice to say that some army guy arranges for a bunch of criminals to be released from jail to fly a spaceship into some sort of forbidden sector to rescue another vessel, only to discover that the other vessel is infested with Tracy Scoggins. Then everybody dies.

Most men look angry when they’re shooting someone, but this guy looks more startled than cross. Possibly it’s because someone has just jammed a carrot up his arse. Of course that’s merely conjecture on my part - it may just as easily have been a small cucumber.

In nakedly ripping off every movie from ‘Alien’ to ‘Easy Rider’ (including an absolutely horrific violation of ‘Casablanca’), ‘Alien Intruder’ falls into the trap of reminding the viewer just how much better all of these other films were. Whereas ‘Alien’ had a chilling sense of dread, ‘Alien Intruder’ merely has noisy action. Whereas Easy Rider had scathing social commentary, ‘Alien Intruder’ has cheesy exploitation. And whereas ‘Casablanca’ had tortured characters, fine actors, a clever script and a couple of memorable tunes, ‘Alien Intruder’ has a hatred of all that is good and holy.

Honestly, they should have known that if you remind your audience of much better movies, they are far less likely to tolerate the crap you’re showing them. Even the title instantly brought to mind 1984’s ‘Top Secret’ and the hilarious “anal intruder” scene… and now I’ve just spent half an hour laughing my head off watching snippets of that classic movie on YouTube.

When you’re making a film this bad, you tend to land a very particular type of desperate washed-up actor. On top of the feculent heap is Billy Dee Williams, who appears to be drunk a lot of the time, which would certainly explain how the producers convinced him to be involved.

We know how you feel, Billy Dee.

Then there’s Jeff Conaway, at that time best known for playing Kenickie in ‘Grease’… and yet still the most famous actor here other than Billy Dee. At least he managed to parlay his involvement into wrangling a role on that bastion of has-been sci-fi actors, ‘Babylon 5’. If only he could have taken Billy Dee with him.

Tracy Scoggins, who also graduated to ‘Babylon 5’ glory, is here playing some sort of alien who coalesces in men’s minds as the perfect woman. Unfortunately for the audience, she comes across as every man’s dream woman as played by every man’s dream woman’s mother. She was 40 when she made ‘Alien Intruder’, and rather outgunned by several younger and more nubile terrible actresses.

Billy Dee Williams was easily purchased with a bottle of cheap hooch and the promise of a snog with The Scog.

There were others, but in thinking about their performances I’ve already lost the will to live, so they can just sink back into the obscurity they so richly deserve.

Of course the actors are only a small part of the problem. Most of the time, when one experiences a very, very bad movie, one can tell that the people behind the scenes were idiots. In this case, however, the people who made it were not so much idiots as creeps. You know the kind: the spotty, skinny little creep you meet at a party who swears too much to show how hard he is, makes derogatory statements about any attractive women nearby, and displays a vigorous ignorance about pretty much everything. Basically the flotsam in the genetic pool.

These people shouldn’t have made a film. They lacked creativity, style or even resources. So why make it? Why not just use the little money they had to go to McDonalds and get a Happy Meal?

Until it’s proven otherwise, I’m going to assume that it was all just a pointlessly elaborate and convoluted ploy to briefly be in the same room as naked ladies.

A genuine, if extraordinarily gratuitous, scene from ‘Alien Intruder’.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


On Saturday afternoon I went to another art auction, despite the fact that I have no money, because it’s always interesting to see what’s around and get a feel for the local market.

As usual, 99% of the pictures up for auction were insipid. As I see it, you can paint a overused subject if you have something interesting to say about it, or you can paint an unusual subject without having to communicate a lot. But rolling out yet another vase of flowers or rural landscape in which nothing is happening isn’t good enough.

Judging by the bidding, it seems that I’m not alone. The only paintings that didn’t go for less than the action house’s estimate were the ones that had a bit of flair or confrontation to them. Of course the painting I eventually bought was one such picture… damn my excellent taste and artistic judgement!

I must admit to being conflicted about this picture. On the one hand, it’s a little gauche. It’s illustration, rather than "proper" art. It didn’t spring out of the artist’s deeply felt need to communicate a personal truth - it was probably commissioned to illustrate a magazine article about business ethics, or some such thing.

But on the other hand, there’s nothing to say that illustration can’t be art; you wouldn’t see galleries full of E H Shepard drawings, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec posters and Norman Rockwell paintings if this were not the case. I don’t know that it says a lot, but nevertheless it’s a picture that grabs your attention. It’s not something that you can just let your eye wander past.

This painting is also a marvel of technical talent, so flawless that you can’t believe it isn’t a print. It’s only when you hold it in at a certain angle, and just make out the fact that the individual brush strokes in the man’s hair reflect differently in the light, that you can prove that it’s an original.

So now I have even less money, but I guess I can just eat blogmeet dinner leftovers until the next pay day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


The Get On The Blandwagon! blogmeet dinner was a great success. We were eight in all: me, The Flatmate, TroyG, Matt Jarvis, An9ie, Jaymez, Shelley and Kim, and one couldn't ask for a more delightful group of people with whom to spend an evening.

Well, I guess one could ask, technically, but unless one's fairy godmother owed one bigtime I'm pretty sure that one wouldn't get jack squat.

I did my best to ensure that it was a memorable feast, which sadly meant that I had to jettison the Tripe Surprise. We started with pre-dinner aperitifs on the deck (the classic Americano - one part campari, one part sweet vermouth, top up with soda water and an orange twist), then proceeded inside once everyone’s tastebuds were suitably anaesthetized.

For entrée, we had individual goats cheese and artichoke tarts with a garden salad, served with a crisp new 2008 Eaglehawk chardonnay.

For main, we had Moroccan-spiced lamb with pear, accompanied by cous cous, brocollini and asparagus, served with a 2003 Garnacha dry grown Grenache as soft and billowy as vintage cotton sheets.

For dessert, dark Lindt chocolate and Cointreau cake with white chocolate marscapone, served with a delicious 2007 Brown Brothers Moscato – the dizzy blonde of dessert wines.

We then retired to the lounge for coffee and port, and to discuss mutual interests.

Oddly enough, though, blogging didn’t really come up in conversation. Travel, yes. Modern art, yes. Poledancing, yes. Cow porn, yes. But very little blogging. Even so, as you might imagine, with a number of people who spend a lot of time on the internet in the one room, I occasionally had to redirect the conversation with a subtle feint.

First commenter: How would a bull even go about masturbating?

Second commenter: Yes, don’t they have cloven hooves?


In the course of the evening we learned many other interesting things. We learnt that one of us speaks five languages. Another wants to kill every horse on the planet. Another is troubled by the hygiene implications of using your mouth to put money in a stripper’s G-string. And of course I spoke at considerable length and with great passion on the work of mid-century exploitation filmmakers, as is my wont, at least until I was unaccountably smacked in the face with a well-aimed occasional table.

For my part I’d be very pleased to do the whole blogmeet dinner thing again. I’ll just be sure to don a helmet around fifteen minutes into my usual Coleman Francis tirade.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Salary packaging: it's a great way to reduce your tax bill while still accessing the things you want and need in life.

My friend JB can claim his mortgage payments. The ex-The Flatmate can claim his car. And me? I've just discovered that I can claim income protection insurance premiums, financial advice fees, and trips to a nominated psychiatrist.

You may scoff, but I think that it's very kind of my employers to offer salary packaging to cover the services we employees need to deal with the fact that they don't offer any decent salary packaging options.

And now I must go and bang my head against my desk.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I grew up on a farm, and as such I have a fond but no-nonsense relationship with animals. Other people are not so fortunate, such as the author of this email sent around my workplace today.

Dear friends of Sheep

Are you able to provide a home for a sheep?

The sheep was found with his dead mate on a property and is now residing at the RSPCA, however they have said they need a home and if no home is found asap, the sheep will be euthanised.

There is a need for urgency in finding him a safe and caring home to ensure he lives.

Please telephone me if you are able to help.

I realise that it's a little "out there", but you know there is a traditional home for any sheep surplus to requirements. A delicious, minty home.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Flatmate has been on my case about entertaining more. Apparently he doesn't think that inviting the same few friends over on a Friday night to guzzle cocktails while watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 is enough. He seems determined to crowbar me out of my hosting rut and expand my hospitality repertoire.

So I've thought laterally about what I can do (ie taken MST3K out of the equation, painful though that was), and I've decided to host a blogmeet dinner this Friday night. It will be open to all Get On The Blandwagon! readers: commenters, lurkers, meatspace friends or creepy strangers.

The blogmeet dinner has a range of benefits. I get to meet you, and you get to meet me... I should preemptively warn you that the photo in my profile is a little out of date and I've changed species since it was taken. You can also meet The Flatmate, see my various follies firsthand, and experience the full and awesome might of Blandwagial culinary skill (my garlic and saccharine cupcakes are justly renown).

If you are going to be in Perth this Friday night and you would like to attend, email me at yevadwerdna (at) hotmail (dot) com for details. Significant Others and any children that you can't seem to shake are also welcome.

Now I'm off to the butcher to pre-order the tripe.

Monday, October 13, 2008


The Bible teaches us that the Devil sometimes presents himself as an angel of light, and the inestimable Sara at It's Lovely! I'll Take It! demonstrates that real estate does the same thing.

From the outside, it looks like a nice house. Calm. Genteel. Restrained.

Inside, however, all Hell breaks loose... or at least its minions. I have seen Evil, and its form is pastel-coloured and fluffy.

They watch you as you sit.

They watch you as you eat.

They wait patiently for the day when the baby comes, yearning to tear out and devour its soul.

Fortunately I doubt that that day will ever come. This house is a stronger prophylactic than all the condoms in the world.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I challenge any thinking person not to have a complete nerdgasm at these pictures of founder Jay Walker's private library.

Secondary nerdgasms are likely once you read the text. The library is comprehensively exquisite.

Only a few things spoil the utter perfection of this place. One, the LED-lit glass panels are a little tacky. Two, the rock arena-style stagelighting is a touch on the crass side. And three, only an internet billionaire would stick Post-It notes in a 15th century illuminated manuscript.

No doubt they all have "citation needed" written on them.


Emma Tom, one of The Australian newspaper's more irritating opinionistas, is living proof of the old adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Or, to be more accurate, that the loud and pushy wheel gets the newspaper column. It's hard to find another explanation for the fact that any number of witty, erudite writers have been passed over in favour of this alumnus of the "I have a vagina! Yes, I said 'vagina'! What do you think about that, fascists!" school.

Her columns are a little like the cheap biscuits in your office tea room: offering a sugar hit without actually being all that enjoyable. Although I've learnt to skip over her columns (and also to turn down offers of cheap biscuits), this caught my eye yesterday:

Here are a few other things that have happened before (paid maternity leave):

* Up to one-third of women dying during childbirth (Europe and North America in the 1800s).

* Attempts to ban labour pain analgesics because they were regarded as decoys of Satan (Europe in the 19th century).

* The expectation that little women greet their husbands in a state of perfectly ironed obedience before arranging pillows, removing shoes and not speaking unless spoken to (the good wife guide in the May 1955 edition of Housekeeping Monthly).

This last historical titbit is particularly relevant because it is exactly the sort of suffocating social oppression our mums and mums' mums endured when they were sprogging on.

"Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity," Housekeeping Monthly instructs. "Remember, he is the master of the house ... You have no right to question him. A good wife always knows her place."

Obviously our mums and mums' mums didn't get paid maternity leave.

"Historical titbit" my arse. While the spokesperson for modern, liberated womanhood apparently has access to the internet, it seems she doesn't have access to any part of the internet that espouses critical thinking. The invaluable refuses to catagorically state that the article is a fake, but it admits that it's more likely than not that it is. Anyone who doesn't automatically believe anything that reinforces her own prejudices could see that.

For example, one would think that any magazine with a readership of more than twelve would have left some sort of trace on the internet, if only an acknowledgement of its existance in a library database. However, it seems that all of the Google hits for "Housekeeping Monthly" refer to that one 1955 article. of course it's possible that Housekeeping Monthly was a very short-lived publication and that only this article has survived, but Occam's Razor would suggest that fakery is more likely.

Sadly, I suspect that Emma Tom's realisation that she wrote an entire colum based on her own thundering duncehood will not be an opportunity for quiet introspection and self-chastisement. Instead, I fully expect next week's column to be a noisy blather about how even the best, smartest and most enlightened of us can be taken in by internet hoaxes.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Furious (Addendum)

Scenes from ‘Space Fury’, featuring sarcastic commentary and more hot Door action:

“Sir! My monitor is unplugged, none of my controls have anything written on them, and an old guy keeps looking down my blouse!”

Rene and Yuri smile and wave through The Door’s window. Either that or they’re trapped in the tumble dryer again.

In any case, a shining performance from The Door.

Konrad in a hurry to see a man about a script. Notice how The Door plays this scene with a barely contained sense of threat.

Yuri, demonstrating the flawless looks and stunning physique that won him the heart and loins of the lovely Rene. The Door underplays the scene nicely with a vague sense of unease and disorientation.

Change the set dressing and The Door can play a completely different door, thus displaying more range than the rest of the cast combined.

Here playing the role of “Crashed Shuttle Door”, The Door proves its dedication to its craft by doing its own stunts.

Apparently Muscovites can now license their cars by writing a number on a piece of paper with a Sharpie then gluing it over the existing plate.

In space, no one can hear you LOL.

One of these characters is a mindless object with only two settings: open and closed. The other is… well, you get the idea.

Let’s not ask why there appears to be a calculator glued to the bulkhead.

A tracking shot of a helicopter, supposedly filmed at night with an infrared camera. Odd, though, that it casts a shadow hot enough to register.

Sweet merciful crap, these people were idiots.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Bad sci-fi movies are often thought to be a product of the 1950s, an era when rolling up an extra in tinfoil was considered to be enough to create a menacing alien monster. But experience has shown me that bad sci-fi movies know no specific time: when it comes to cutting corners, endorsing mediocrity or just throwing up your directorial hands and saying, “to hell with it!”, it makes no difference if it’s 1958 or 2008. This explains how, despite decades of examples of how not to make a sci-fi movie, 1999’s almost impenetrably bad ‘Space Fury’ came to exist.

It’s the near future, and the international community has banded together to build an orbiting research station called Tesla. Mission Control is based in a purpose-built facility just outside Moscow, and all seems relatively harmonious until Russian police detective Rostov investigates the murder of a local prostitute. He uncovers incontrovertible evidence that the murderer is one of the cosmonauts on the space station, and furthermore that the murderer plans to sabotage the station, knock it out of orbit and send the debris raining down on a major American city.

Mission Control frantically tries to determine who the murderer is, which is relatively straightforward since there are only four people on the station. Five if you include The Door.


Rene is a hot French astronaut. We know that she’s French because she describes a simple task as being “a piece of gateau”, and she suddenly says “merde” in the middle of an otherwise unaccented English sentence. Obviously the makers of ‘Space Fury’ were angling for war with France as a promotional tool.

The really odd thing about Rene is the choice of actress for the role. About all she has going for her is the fact that she’s hot, and yet for her big “incidental nudity” scene, according to the credits, they used a body double named Stacie. Is it really that hard to find a woman with a hot body who can’t act and is desperate enough to do a movie called ‘Space Fury’? I’d have thought that Hollywood was full of such people.


Max is a space tourist, with a large enough bank balance to buy a trip to the station thanks to a lucurative career as a golf champion and a sponsorship deal with a sports drink called ‘Zestorade’.

To demonstrate that he’s a champion golfer, the film shows him practicing his putting in the station common room. Unfortunately, the actor playing Max had patently never held a putter before in his life, so the illusion that he’s a champion golfer isn’t a strong one. One might also be moved to wonder why the space agency elected to spend millions of dollars putting a set of golf clubs into orbit, especially when their use was going to be limited to a space station the size of a Winnebago.

So Max isn’t really a golfer. Come to think of it, I’m not even convinced that he’s really a black man either, given that he dances like Rick Astley.


Yuri is the station commander. He’s also the lucky guy who gets to boink Rene, despite the fact that he looks like a walrus that’s been slathered in glue then rolled around on a barber shop floor. One can only assume that space does strange things to a woman’s preferences.

When not having hot, socks-on sex with a woman of dubious Frenchness, Yuri is a voice of reason and competence on the station. Obviously that’s why he has to die 36 minutes in.

The Door

The Door is by far the most versatile member of the cast, filling a variety of roles from ‘Main Common Room Door’, ‘Airlock Door’, and even a brief cameo as ‘Shuttle Door’. As the only cast member with acting skills and charisma, it’s inserted into every possible scene, delivering foreboding, lighthearted comic relief or pathos where the human actors can’t. It also knows how to underplay a performance, unlike Michael Pare.

The fact that it didn’t get top billing in the cast credits is an injustice to rival the 18th century slave trade and/or the cancellation of ‘Firefly’.


Konrad is a scientist of some sort, sent to the station to conduct experiments of some sort. He’s played by Michael Pare, a washed up actor of some sort. It transpires that he’s the sabouteur, and also as crazy as a coked-up chicken. Apparently some terrorists on Earth are blackmailing him after they videotaped him killing the prostitute, but even after they’re neutralized he still carries on trying to kill everybody. While I applaud his protestant work ethic, I wish he’d applied it to getting a better agent, or acting lessons, or both.

It’s difficult to tell how much of his woeful performance is a result of his atrophied acting gland, and how much can be blamed on the terrible script and nonsensical plotting. I like to be even handed and apportion blame equally.

But what, I hear you ask, is 'Space Fury' actually about? It’s a cautionary tale, I think, on the ill-advisedness of spending one’s entire film budget on some CGI, sexy red lingerie for your leading lady and a cool door.

Quite how ‘Space Fury’ manages to cram so much ineptitude in its 80 minutes is beyond my understanding. There’s just so much wrong with it, from the fact that the terrorists somehow managed to videotape Konrad killing his hooker from an angle that could only have been achieved by getting him to hold the camera himself, to the fact that a blonde in Mission Control reads information from a computer monitor that isn’t switched on, to the fact that the boom mike keeps bobbing into the top of scenes as if it’s trying to upstage The Door. How is this possible? Quantum encoding of crap? Wormholes channeling cinematic incompetence from a parallel universe? A time dilation effect caused by stupidity traveling at close to light speed?

Further study is needed. However it will need stronger minds than mine.