Archive for March, 2010

I Got Robbed!!!

Posted in Rants, The Life & Times Of Me with tags , on March 23, 2010 by darthtanion

Good karma to you ladies & gentle folk,
In case you missed the title I GOT ROBBED!!!  Those of you who read my last blog might remember me speaking of the stealthiness of my newly refurbished car which was now as noiseless as a ninja monk’s vow of silence.  Well apparently, last night, someone was silent enough to sneak up on it, smash that back miniature window that doesn’t move & help themselves to the contents.  In my car’s defence the criminal did have the advantage of being sentient & independently mobile which does provide distinct benefits when it comes to art of sneaking.

OK So What Happened?

I was just getting out of the shower when the Police knocked on my door & informed me that my poor little Diahatsu had been violated.  Do you know what it’s like to answer the door in nothing but a bath robe & be staring straight at one of Moorooka’s finest?  It’s terrifying!  Suddenly I had all of these mental images of being arrested for some white collar crime & dragged from my house kicking, screaming & ultimately exposing myself to the crowd of neighbours who gathered to witness my fall from grace.  Fortunately I am too poor to commit any white collar crime & the officer said I could put some clothes on before I had to come outside.

Ooooh & Then What Happened?

I went outside & took a look at my smashed window.  Doing this in bare feet was not the brightest idea in the cosmos.  While my feet didn’t get cut I didn’t realise they got full of glass.  That is, I didn’t realise until I sat down & brushed what I thought was dirt from their soles with my hands.  The resulting cut in my finger was not big but it was salt in an open wound.  Making a stupid mistake like cutting your finger on smashed glass you have just walked though bare foot does precious little to lift the spirits of a man who has just been robbed by the guy who smashed said glass in the first place.  I kept getting the feeling that the burglar was watching from somewhere in the bushes going “hehehe I made him cut his finger!  My work is done.”

Ooooh Wow & Then What Happened After That?

This afternoon the police came around & dusted my car for prints.  I had never seen this done before so I ran upstairs as quickly as I could & grabbed a pair of sunglasses so I could make a CSI: Miami joke.  Just as I got to the bottom of the stairs however I heard the officer in charge of making my car look like Herbie The Love Bug impersonating Al Jolson say “Looks like this prints are done &… dusted.  YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!”  My heart sank a little.  On the plus side however she did find these:

Oooooohhhh

Someone's been messing up my car.

If they were at all visible you would see fingerprints.  Unfortunately however, they were made by these:

The culprits

In case you're wondering... they're mine.

Even more unfortunately, the only thing the police officer discovered was the fact that I have a very dirty car.  In situations like this I have always believed that there is nothing you can do but laugh.  I was wrong.  The other thing you can do is to write an open letter to the person who broke into your car.

An Open Letter To The Person Who Broke Into My Car

Dear Person who broke into my car,
Hi.  How have you been?  I haven’t seen you since forever.  I guess if I had seen you we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  Then again, in reality I’m just talking to myself so really we aren’t having this conversation after all.  Touché.  I was doing a stock take of the things you stole from my car.  I have found that your haul consisted of the following:

  1. An LCD monitor
  2. A laptop
  3. A GPS navigation system
  4. Approximately $1.40 from my ash tray

Let’s go through that list shall we?

  1. The LCD Monitor – It was & is broken.  Try turning it on.  It lasts about 5 seconds then shuts off again.  You can use it as long as you don’t mind turning it on repeatedly any time you want to move the mouse, click, type or watch another brief moment of a movie you undoubtedly pirated.  The only reason it was even in my car was because I wanted to throw it in garage at work so it wouldn’t take up my precious bin space at home.
  2. The Laptop – I hate to break it to you but it was even more broken than the monitor.  It wouldn’t even turn on for a second.  The only reason it was in my car was to keep the monitor from getting lonely during the night.  Not to worry though.  If you’re looking for a 17″ paper weight your problems are solved.  This thing can hold down tissue paper, wrapping paper, toilet paper & my personal favourite… loose leaf paper.  You obviously have a keen eye for desktop organisational accessories.
  3. The GPS – OK this actually works but in order for you to use it you need to actually own a car & lets face it.  The fact that you are rummaging through a car that looks like it is worth less than the dog poop sitting next to it doesn’t inspire me with the confidence required to believe you are capable of maintaining a stable income sufficient to keep a car on the road.  My only guess is that you are going to sell it.  I hate to break it to you but the battery life is less impressive than your grade 3 maths exams.  This might not seem like an issue until you consider the notion that before you can sell it to a pawn shop you have to turn it on.  It won’t even last long enough to boot up.  Maybe if you stick it to the top of your new paper weight you can draw a smiley face on it & have a tea party.
  4. The $1.40 – This should work perfectly.  Well done, Ronnie Biggs.

I do hope your enjoy the spoils of your labour.  I would also like to thank you for leaving my rather expensive miniature HD video camera.  I would have been most upset if you had taken it & would not have been able to take the pictures posted in my latest blog.

Anyway, I must be off.  I do hope to catch up with you some time soon.  If you’re not too busy tomorrow afternoon I’ll be down at the police station signing confessions.  It would be great if you could join me.  Shall we say 3pm?

Best regards,
Luke Venables.

Conclusion

While this may be another blow below the belt in the boxing game of life it’s not really the end of the world.  Even if it was I’ve never been very good at being sad & I’m far too lazy to learn a new skill so making jokes is really all I have left.  I also have the added advantage of being very good a looking on the bright side.  For example, I no longer have a GPS in my car, which now looks like it has been sneezed on by an elephant in a bushfire, so that makes the likelihood of it getting broken into very slim indeed.  I do hope you can all experience the same good fortune some time soon.

If you broke into my car please leave a comment at the bottom.  If you didn’t, comment anyway.  It will give me a shred of hope.

Unless there is a next time,
Goodbye forever.

Luke Venables
Monochrome Golf Pants Designer

Lord Of The Trips To Mackay: An Epic Journey

Posted in Rants, The Life & Times Of Me with tags , on March 20, 2010 by darthtanion

Good gravy ladies & gentlemen.  So, what did you do with your day?  I did a few things.  I played the latest Tales of Monkey Island game, I decided to try parting my hair on the opposite side,

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

It looks like a comb over.

I had my first rehearsal for my upcoming trip to Singapore, (expect blog updates about that) & I GOT MY CAR BACK!!!!!  For those of you who don’t know, all of this week, until this morning, I had been… without a car.  That’s right, carless, immobile, Ohne auto.  Sonder ‘n motor.  車を使わずに.  But this very morn I received my automobile back.  This in itself is not the greatest news received on planet earth today but it does bring to a close a small saga that has been going on in my life for the past few weeks.  That would be my trip home to Mackay.

The Fellowship Of The People In Mackay

Like all good stories this one begins on a bright summer’s day in a small, sleepy town where it’s best if people don’t go outdoors.  (In The Shire it’s because you never know where the wind might take you.  In Mackay it’s because you never know who’s waiting to hit you over the head with a broken bottle.)  My mother decided it would be a good idea for me to visit home.  I can’t deny I missed my family & was genuinely keen to spend a weekend with them so when Mum offered to book me tickets to fly home I leapt at the opportunity.  After a bit of deliberation we randomly decided upon the weekend of March 5th-7th.  Everything was going along swimmingly until, about two weeks out from heading back to Mackay I received an email about an audition for a show I really wanted to be in.  Those of you who are involved in theatre know that when an audition comes around you move heaven & hell to get there.  Only if they are in your way of course.  If they aren’t it just seems like a waste of time you could spend practicing.  I instantly called the theatre company to see if I could audition on another day but unfortunately they were only doing one day of auditions & March 7 was that day.  I called my mother & advised her of the situation.  We were both sad but it was a simple matter of booking flights for the following weekend.

I got through my audition & began looking forward to the weekend ahead.  Fate on the other hand had different plans in mind.  *Insert Suspenseful Diminished Chord Here*  A day or two after the audition I got an email saying we would have to come back in for callbacks… ON THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY!!!  Needless to say there was a flurry of phone calls & my mother & I decided we would have to change the flights again.  The only problems were that we had to find out how much it would cost & when we could change flights to & most of all… I’m incredibly lazy & always procrastinate about these kind of things.  This really posed a problem on Thursday night when there was only 22 1/2 hours left until my flight & I still hadn’t changed them.  (You need at least 23 hours notice to change a flight.)  Mum & I decided to keep the first flight as is & just fly back early on the Sunday morning.  Once again things were as they should be.

The Two Hours To Get To The Airport

The morning of my flight arrived & I just had to deliver some computers to Toowoomba & head back home.  Sounds simple enough right?  Wrong!  A couple of hours before I had to be walking through the airport security checkin I was driving home along the Ipswich Motorway & my gearbox decided it couldn’t take life anymore & exploded itself.  So there I was, two hours from needing to be at the airport, sitting 3 inches from cars & trucks travelling 100Km/hr & unable to move.  I called RACQ, who said I would have to wait for two different tow trucks, & proceeded to wait patiently as fast as possible.  A traffic response unit pulled up behind me & told me that the truck would be an hour.  Because of the dangerous position we were in he gave them a hurry up & I received an updated time of 20 minutes.  Finally, my luck had started to change.  They ended up taking an hour.

Return of the Good Luck

Here is where my luck REALLY started to change.  To begin with the first tow truck turned out to be the only tow truck.  Emergency tow trucks are only allowed to tow you to safety.  Fortunately the guy I got knew of an RACQ approved mechanic within towing distance.  Fortunately the mechanic had a staff member away at a wedding.  “But Luke why is that fortunate?”  Because the guy who was away was replaced by someone who lived out past… wait for it… THE AIRPORT!!!  That’s right.  I managed to bump into the only mechanic/human/thing in existence that was driving from Wacol to the Brisbane Airport to go home from work that afternoon.  I don’t think I need to tell you that I was excited.  OK so I didn’t have any clothes to take with me.  Fortunately I keep a few spare changes of clothes in Mackay with my family.  Dang it… how could I possibly prepare for my call back audition when I hadn’t been home to get everything I needed?  Fortunately I had my music in the car with me.  What about your camera?  You would not be able to take photos of things while you are in Mackay!  Fortunately my boss had recently loaned me his old Nokia E71 which takes great photos for a camera phone.

Just a little under an hour after I got to the mechanic’s I was at the airport just in time to get my boarding pass printed out & head through security.  Here I am celebrating.

Me celebrating.

I don't think this angle really captures my joy.

After I had mailed the 12 inch screwdriver I found in my bag back home, I kicked back, ate a fish burger, immediately regretted it, boarded my plane & made it to see my family

Relaxing at my parent's house

This lighting makes me look so slim.

& my #1 girl.

My #1 girl

Such a bad photo. You can't even see our feet!

& I lived happily ever after.

Lord Of The Rings Style Superfluous Ending

The mechanics who had my car got sent the wrong gear box which meant it was up in the air for much longer than it should have been.  I was really worried about being able to pay for the repairs until I looked at my savings account & found an extra $1000 in it.  Needless to say I thought this was a good thing.  It made me smile.  I got my new gearbox & my car went from sounding like a dump truck with a sore throat in a meat grinder to being so quiet it could sneak up on Jackie Chan having a Who-Is-The-Quietest competition with Jet Li.  I’m serious.  It’s basically a ninja assassin.

Lord Of The Rings Style Redundant Superfluous Ending

The End.

So have you ever had a crappy run of luck?  Or a great run of luck?  Or one then the other?  Why not everyone know in the comments section?

Unless there is a next time,
Goodbye forever.

Luke Venables
Half Man, Half Cartoon

The Lovers, The Dreamers & Me

Posted in Random, Rants, YouTube with tags , on March 9, 2010 by darthtanion

Good morning/afternoon/evening/grief are you really going to wear that hat? ladies & gentlemen & welcome to another exciting, fun-filled, laughter inducing edition of The Ninja Chicken or, as they say in Italy, non parla Inglese.  For some reason the stranger who taught me that phrase refused to translate it for me.  Today I would like to share with you a blast from my past.

Chapter I: Tales of the Tinkerdee
You know when you were a kid you always had that TV show you couldn’t get enough of? You could watch it a million times & even though it drove your mother away & your father was having a nervous break down in the corner of the living room, you were more than happy to watch it “just once more before bed.”  Usually those shows grow weary with age.  Suddenly a guy throwing pies in the face of a man who has just gotten his suit dry cleaned doesn’t seem as edgy as it did back then.  However, every now & then you come across one that will always remain priceless.  For me, one of those rare shows was The Muppets.  In my not so humble opinion Jim Henson was one of the last truly great writers of children’s entertainment.  Who else could give us brilliant moments like this?

Or this little gem?

Brilliant!

Chapter II: The Dark Crystal
A few years back I was working in a video store (to this day one of the most awesome jobs a nerd like me could ask for) & in a fit of nostalgia & boredom I decided to take the standard issue loop tape out of the store video display & put in a copy of the newest Muppet movie.  Many people thought the loud cracking noise was the sound of my heart breaking & while that sound was quite loud, it was over powered by the sound of the catastrophic destruction of my beloved childhood memories.  If you haven’t gathered from my ever so slightly over dramatised description of my emotions, I didn’t like it.  While the original Muppets were still & always will be a comic force to be reckoned with, the new shows lacked the punch of their now long distant forefathers.  The child inside me wept then kicked the neighbors cat & was promptly sent to his room.

Chapter III: The Paperwork Explosion
I had all but given up on the new Muppets but my good friend & stand-up comic Paul Costello recently asked me if I had seen their latest video.  I assumed he was talking about some new movie they had coming out & promptly told him how disappointed I had been with their newer works.  He then proceeded to point me in the direction of this.  For those of you too lazy to click on the link it is the Muppet’s YouTube channel & it has some absolutely hilarious work.  My faith in humanity has been well & truly restored.  Digitally remastered even.

Chapter IV: Pure Goldie
The discovery that one of my favorite things as a child has been given a new lease on life excited me so much it inspired me to do this blog post with one main objective; to spread the love of the new Muppets.

Cårven Der Pümpkîn
I’d like to start with a clip featuring one of everybody’s favorite characters.  The Swedish Chef.

It has been claimed that everyone favourite TV chef was based on a real life flesh & blood TV chef.  Several possibilities have been named but no one really knows.  In my mind that’s a good thing.  What if the real chef turned out to be American or French or even Australian!  I think we’d all be crushed.

Beaker’s Ballad
OK everybody loves an underdog but was there ever an underdog as under as Beaker?  This guy has lived through more explosions than Buster from Mythbusters… Let’s all enjoy one more shall we?

How can such an old joke that has been done so many times still stay fresh?  Perfection!

Bohemian Rhapsody
This is the pièce de résistance of new Muppets if you ask me & lets face it, it’s my blog so I don’t really care if you didn’t ask.  Finally, the combination of great rock & furry human sized puppets.  Enjoy!

Chapter V: That’s Life
As I said, Jim Henson was one of the truly great children’s writers.  There was a rare breed of artists that seemed to exist when I was young which just seems missing from kid’s entertainment today.  People like Jim Henson, Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl & Dr Seuss possessed an affinity with children that not only seems rare today but incredibly undervalued.  Perhaps being able to see the world through the eyes of a child with the hindsight of an adult is the true fountain of youth.

I will never forget the moment I found out Jim Henson passed away.  I remember it so well that I actually found it on YouTube by searching for direct quotes from the show I saw it on.  I was only 7 years old so I didn’t watch the news & I actually found out during the tribute show they put on for him.  To this day it makes me feel all goosebumpy.

Unless there is a next time,
Goodbye forever.

Luke Venables
Picture Book Reader Extraordinaire

Richard Dawkins Does Brisbane

Posted in Rants, The Life & Times Of Me with tags , , on March 5, 2010 by darthtanion

Last night (Thursday 4th March 2010) I had the distinct pleasure of being able to sit in on a talk by the one & only Richard Dawkins.  He was in Brisbane promoting his latest book The Greatest Show On Earth.  I would like to give a special thanks to my good friend Brad Ashwood who, without even having to be asked, informed me when tickets became available again so I could get in nice & early.  This event sold out faster than I could dial QPAC’s number so without him the whole experience would have been impossible.

Who is Richard Dawkins?
The fact that I have to include this section in my post makes me a little sad but believe it or not many people actually don’t know who he is.  In a nut shell Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist.  In a science lab he is also a biologist but he just looks cuter when he is in his nut shell.  He is perhaps more famous to most people for his crusade against religion.  He has hosted his own documentaries such as The Genius of Charles Darwin & The Root of All Evil & he spends a large portion of his time today supporting atheism throughout the world.  Here’s a clip.

How The Night Went
In spite of the fact that many people find it odd that a Catholic man would not only want to go & see such an anti-religious icon but be genuinely excited about it, last night I suited up & headed in to QPAC.  Although I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a Richard Dawkins crowd I don’t think I was expecting it to be as young as it was.  There were several older persons there but I’d guess the majority of the crowd was probably younger than me.

I have never been to a book promotion before so I was a little unsure of how the evening would flow.  Rest assured however, I was not disappointed.  They started out with the mandatory boring people waxing poetic about how amazing it was to have someone of Professor Dawkins’ stature at QPAC then made some jokes about praying the plane didn’t crash on the way over.  (They really weren’t boring at all.  I was just there to see someone else.)  Dawkins came out immediately after & talked for about an hour about his book.  It was a little weird sitting listening to him essentially give a sales pitch for a book I had already read.  I found myself thinking “oh yes I remember that part… now explain the next part.  I liked that part.”  Yes that’s right.  Silently in my mind I was telling a former lecturer from Oxford & best-selling author how he should promote his own book.  Define over opinionated.

Dawkins is not the best public speaker I have ever encountered but he is a very long way from the worst.  As anyone who has seen his documentaries & interviews can confirm, he is very direct.  He has the benefit of having positioned himself as someone who almost always speaks from a scientific point of view so for the most part when he is right he is right & there is just no two ways about it which leaves very little need for mincing words.

After his hour-long promotion of his book there was a very brief question time.  Unfortunately there was no real way of qualifying the questions before people spoke so while most of the questions were fine & all of the answers were very interesting a couple of times people tried to lead his answers in the direction of their point of view.  The first “question” wasn’t even a question!  Some guy just criticised Dawkins for being too harsh on religious people.  As a general rule all sentences have to end with a ? before they are considered questions.

The Book Signing
Finally the best part of the night arrived.  The book signing.  I have to take my hat off to Dawkins here.  He stuck around for well over an hour having a chat with everyone & signing their books.  I know a lot of people would criticise him for only signing books he wrote & not things like autograph books or cleavage but if you saw the size of the line I think you would agree they had to limit the numbers somehow.

Finally after about an hour of waiting I got to meet the man himself

Me meeting Richard Dawkins

I'm the guy with the black hair.

& get his John Hancock on my crisp new copy of The Ancestor’s Tale.

My autographed book

One of the more awesome autographs in my collection.

As an autograph collector this rates pretty high in my list of awesome things I own.  Perhaps not as high as my autographed picture of Nat King Cole but certainly higher than some others I have but don’t want to mention because those people were nice enough to sign things for me & don’t deserve to be put down.  As you would expect, I didn’t really get to have a conversation with Dawkins.  He would have been there all night if he’d allowed that but I did tell him what a big fan of his I am & he thanked me & smiled.  To be honest his sincerity was quite amazing after so many autographs.

The Final Question
As I mentioned earlier, some people must find it odd that someone who believes in God as strongly as I do would be so excited about meeting a man who actively goes around trying to quash one of the beliefs I hold dearest in my heart.   Aside from the fact that I most admire Dawkins for his work in the fields of biology & evolution I still have great respect for someone who stands up for what he believes in even though it has won him countless enemies.  In the words of Douglas Adams:

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? – Douglas Adams

Yes, perhaps I do believe in fairies (not exactly but you catch my drift) & Richard Dawkins obviously doesn’t but I think we both agree that the garden is truly beautiful & for me that will always be enough.

What do you think?  Love him?  Hate him?  Leave a comment to let me know.

Unless there is a next time
Goodbye forever.

Luke Venables
Cloud Miner

Edit: Special thanks to Ryan Mayhead for taking the photo of me with Richard Dawkins.  Bonus apology for messing your photo up so badly.  (Seriously, I tried to take a photo of him when he got his new book signed & it looks like it was taken in the middle of an earthquake.)