A fond farewell to my record collection

Pile-of-CdsI can admit now that my CD collection was assembled to impress women.

In my teens, I imagined the unwilling recipient of my latest crush letting her eyes play across the neatly arranged discs in my trendy IKEA shelves, slowly becoming convinced of my exceptional taste.

“You have all of the Cure albums,” she’d say, clearly impressed.

“I’m a fan,” I’d say, hinting at the intense inner turmoil that I shared with Robert Smith. The torrent of powerful emotions churning beneath my cool exterior that, if she chose, she could unleash. Continue Reading →

Twelve ways to celebrate Lunar New Year

baoziIt’s the Year of the Horse, of course, of course, and Lunar New Year is always a wonderful time to celebrate the many delightful elements of Asian culture that have made their way to Australia. Lunar New Year is celebrated in Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia and of course China (including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau), as well as across the region where migrants originating from these countries have settled in other places like Singapore and Malaysia.

So, in honour of the twelve different animals that lend their identities to the years on the lunar calendar, I’ve come up with twelve fun things you might want to do in honour of this equine lunar season.

Admittedly, many of them involve eating, but after all, what better way to see in the Lunar New Year?

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What does Christmas mean in 2013?

Today is the day when billions of people across the world eat, drink, open presents and generally make merry in celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday.

At this time of year, it’s common to observe that as with most major Christian festivals, the secularisation of society has made today just another occasion for indulgence rather than anything more profound. Which means that Christmas has largely returned to its roots in the winter solstice and the Roman Saturnalia.

It’s ironic that the church’s effective early marketing decision to co-opt existing festivals has been turned on its head, as the once-Christianised pagan festivals have been re-paganised by our own indulgent era. But part of me suspects it’s a pity that Christmas isn’t about anything more than spending lots of money on gifts few of us really need and food that most of our waistlines certainly don’t.

Since comparatively few of us are religious, and the tradition has never had all that much to do with its supposed theological theme anyway, what is the point of Christmas in 2013? Given the fuss we make over it, surely it must mean something more than that there’s 24 hours until the Boxing Day Test?

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The Godfather

Twelve months ago today, a child was born in the little town of Sydney, Australia. It did not happen in a manger, he definitely had a crib for a bed, and although a bright light was seen in the sky, it was probably just a passing satellite.

There were wise men in attendance, though, and wise women too – neonatal care is wonderful nowadays.

Now this child, whose name was certainly not called wonderful counsellor, everlasting father or prince of peace, and on whose shoulders the government will highly likely not rest (I’m quoting Isaiah via Handel’s Messiah, for you heathens), is almost certainly not the Messiah. Then again, he’s not a very naughty boy. Continue Reading →

I hope Amazon’s drones never get off the ground

amazon droneI love technology. I’m never one to write when I can type, and wouldn’t dream of doing analogue what could be accomplished by some fancy gadget or tricky app. Whenever technology is dangled in front of me, I don’t just bite, I megabyte.

And yes, I probably should have used a comedy app to find a better joke to put there.

But there comes a time when even a gadget freak like me must use his trendy aluminium stylus to draw a line on his tablet.

And I choose to draw it just short of the point where Amazon.com dispatches a massive army of drones to deliver orders by flying to your front door. Continue Reading →

James and Miranda and looks and stuff

Image: Eva Rinaldi (CC)

Image: Eva Rinaldi (CC)

Some things are destined to go together, like meat pies and sauce, or pokies and misery. Some things are so closely connected that it’s even hard to think of one without the other, like Boonie and his moustache, or Elvis and cheeseburgers, or André Rieu and nausea.

In the same way, billionaires and supermodels are drawn inexorably to one another, much as the media is drawn inexorably to another billionaire, Clive Palmer. Some billionaires get supermodels, while others get hundreds of animatronic dinosaurs – and I think it’s clear which offers the more fulfilling relationship.

So it made all kinds of sense when I read that James Packer was dating Miranda Kerr. It might just be the perfect match. After all, they undoubtedly have a great many interests in common, like Miranda Kerr, bikinis, and Miranda Kerr in bikinis. Continue Reading →

The dos and don’ts of office Christmas parties

xmaspartyThe silly season is upon us, and of course there are few sillier things you can do than getting together with all the people you work with and becoming so intoxicated that you lose your judgement, and potentially your job.

So how can you have a great time with your colleagues, impress the bosses on whose preference your advancement depends, and keep the underlings who’d just love to take your place the moment you slip nice and downtrodden like they’re supposed to be? This guide has all the answers. Continue Reading →

How is Adam Levine the sexiest man alive?

400px-AdamLevine2011Adam Levine is the Sexiest Man Alive, according to no less a source than People magazine. I know, right? Adam Levine. Not only sexy, but sexiest. I haven’t been this surprised since I discovered Clive Palmer was actually going ahead with the Titanic II.

If you’ve ever listened to the music of the bizarrely-named Maroon 5 – as opposed to Maroon 8, which would be Queensland’s state of origin winning streak, which I don’t like to talk about – he’s the guy with the voice so high that playing his music to dogs makes them hump the nearest available leg. And who knows – judging by the vote, perhaps it has that effect on humans, too?

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We are all in love with our selfies

20131121-181332.jpgWhen I discovered that the expert lexicographers of the Oxford Dictionary had chosen “selfie” as the word of 2013, as the best possible distillation of all the accomplishments by the six billion inhabitants of planet Earth, as the sum total of all of the staggering scientific discoveries and provocative, ingenious artworks, of all the dizzying glory of capitalism and touching altruism of the charitable; when I learned that all of this splendour could apparently best be represented by hastily-taken, poorly-composed, crassly narcissistic photos of ourselves, I wanted to punch myself repeatedly in the face.

And then take a photo of it for Instagram, because I too live in 2013.

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I was a good reader in kindergarten

20090128_worker_beeI am a good reader. I know what lots of long words mean. Words that you wouldn’t necessarily expect me to know, I do, in fact, know. And I can read pretty quickly, too. Because, as I mentioned, I am a good reader.

At one point in my life, it would have been extremely important to me that you knew what an excellent reader I was. I was reminded of this last week, when I attended the final of the NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee and ran into Barbara Ryan, one of my old kindergarten teachers from North Sydney Demonstration School who now teaches at St Ives North.

After we figured out the connection, she recounted a story that has had me laughing and wincing ever since. Apparently when I arrived at kindy, she gave me a standard-issue reader, and asked me whether I read books.

My reply was “I don’t read books, I read encyclopaedias.” Continue Reading →

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