Monday, April 26, 2010

A good round number

As of Thursday 29th April, 2010, I will be officially 13000 days old.

These first 13000 days shall, from here on, be called "The Time of Miracles".

So mote it be...

Please place all presents, idols and obsequious gestures outside my front door.

Thanks to Wolfram Alpha for pointing this out

Monday, November 23, 2009

Xena v Buffy

Xena Vs Buffy

Who will win the sing off?

Go to and Disco Stu (He doesn't need to advertise) to find out!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Bedtime Nightmare Endeth

I suppose it was inevitable that this day would come.

After many years of faithful service its time is at an end.

The metal monstrosity of a queen sized bed I have slept on for 12 years is about to be put out to pasture.

Weighing a hefty amount- it takes three men to move it - the black iron bed with the steel slats has been shifted from hither to yon for far too long.

It has been my main place of slumber here Spring Hill, Milton and the infamous share house, Lilley St for over a decade, but its story is older than that!

The bed originally belonged to my older sister in the late eighties. Back then it was the height of style and sported light weight wooden slats. She had it installed in her bedroom in Emerald, Western Queensland. Being an adventurous girl she quickly broke the wooden slats that held up the mattress and the fate of the bed seemed sealed. But her paramour at the time came up with a most ingenious plan. He welded steel bars to a steel frame and attached the entire massively heavy structure to the bed frame. All seemed to go well, and sister mine could be as adventurous as she liked. When she left Emerald the monstrously heavy bed was lugged back to Brisbane where it did the rounds of share houses until Sis left for Mother England.

The iron bed sat and waited in the darkness below the Parentals house for a few years, forgotten, biding its time.

In the mid nineties, I moved into Lilley Street. My old wooden single bed just didn't convey the worldliness I was trying to present to the lovely young things I attracted to my fetid basement . Somehow, I remembered Debbie's demonic metal bed, it called to me, and I knew I must have it.

And so it has followed me for 12 years. Different mattresses, a new lick of occasional paint, but the same steel frame; Herniating discs, crushing fingers and sapping the will to live of all that carry it.

But now, its end is near. GirlClumsy has ordered a new, lighter King sized bed! It will be delivered soon. The metal monster crouching in the bedroom will soon be taken away.

But the bed will have a few more victims. The delivery company offer a service; when they deliver the new bed they will remove your old bed for only $20. GirlClumsy and I almost couldn't keep a straight face when we agreed to the paltry sum. I feel sorry for the workmen who will have to remove the Steel Slumberer; $20 will not be enough their medical bills...

So, Hail, Mighty Bed! Oh, Steel Sprung Pallet! You have borne my weight for more than a decade and I, in turn have borne yours. You will be carried down the stairs in a hero's procession and you will sup on the pain of the youthful deliverymen.

Vengence shall be yours.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Three Nights in Bangkok...

... and the ping pong ball is your oyster, apparently.

After spending a night in Battambang. (Translates as Disappearing Stick.. Magic stick helps raise a humble cow herder to kingship, then the stick vanishes when he needs it most and the king gets it in the neck. Moral of the story "Don't trust Magic Sticks") we made our way to to the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Oh, how I love ridiculous bureaucracy and paperwork. I love even more GirlClumsy's and my steadfast refusal to jump the queue even though the tour guide, a local Cambodian named Pheap (Pee-ip), urged us to move ahead past others. I think queueing is genetically encoded into the anglo-saxon genome.

Finally we arrived in Bangkok. Venice of the East. Grimey city of 11 million. Many many tuk-tuks (taxi motorcycles that try to take you to shops you dont want to go to) and many many people desperate to get me to the dreaded ping pong show.

Now, I am as red blooded as the next man but I really have no interest in this sort of melarkey. One of the eager men that wanted me to follow him to pleasures both genital and sport related was so confused that I didnt want to go. He kept following me asking again again "You want Ping Pong Show?" The more I rebuffed him the the more confused and eager he became. Thinking I might believe it to be a boring ping pong match and not a young lady showing her mastery of genital hydraulics he started miming the actions from the show and gleefully yelling "Ping-Pong.. banana.. COKE BOTTLE!" ... Oh, the hilarity. I was approached so many times in the first evening I am worried I must look like "One of those Ping Pong Guys (tm)" brrrr.

Had a good look at the Grand Palace in the centre of the city (Very Cambodian in style.. I'm just saying that to piss the Thai off. Thailand was originally a Cambodian province that broke away about 800 years ago. For the rest of my life intend to point at things that look thai-ish and say "Cambodian?".. and then duck) and the Reclining Buddha statue (46m long, 15 high, gold plated from head to foot) at the WatPho temple. Biiiig Buddha.. smiling in that calm way that seemed to say to me "Hey Atheist, I could crush you like a bug. I won't... but I could".

GC and I are off to the Tiger Temple tomorrow and then off to the River Kwai for some more dark tourism.

The fun never stops!

Monday, July 27, 2009

You Siem Reap what you sow

I was 311 kilometres outside of Phnom Penh, sitting in the Foreign Correspondents Club in Siem Reap, dressed in my ridiculous Vietnam war era cloth hat, nursing yet another Angkor Beer when I started wondering "How did I get here?". Why was I here? What was the reason? Why was I becoming a bizarre Hunter S Thompson parody?

I could feel The Fear start to wash over me in waves but i wrestled the demon back into its box by slamming down a pint of the 75 cent local beer. Soon I could feel the warm fingers of dutch courage reinforce my testicular fortitude.

Then it all came clear...

The last time we chatted, dear reader, was back in Central Vietnam. I could regale you with tales, tall and true, about the journey south but I will leave that to the highly accomplished Girl Clumsy.

My story begins aboard a public bus heading out of Vietnam into Cambodia. Blasting in my ears from my portable music magic box is the Dead Kennedy's "Holiday in Cambodia". It is important, gentle reader, to have the right music for each country you travel. Vietnam has a massive range all going back to the American War. I chose "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and "One Night in Bangkok" from the musical "Chess" will play me into Thailand.

The music sets the mood... and the wailing guitars of the Dead Kennedys pumped up for this unknown destination.

The first thing i noticed was comparative poverty of Cambodia compared to Vietnam. Now, don't get me wrong, the average Vietnamese is not wearing Gucci and buying this season's Prada bag... well they are but they are all cheap Chinese knock-offs - but i digress. After Pol Pot's little 4 year soiree through this land they lost nearly 50% of their population either from having their faces ripped off for being educated, related to the educated or standing upright at the wrong time or from dying from starvation after the glorious Year Zero. Let me tell you, Year Zero it was... everything was razed to the ground... schools, universities, hospitals - you name it. It has taken these people all this time to get off the ground.

But they have their sights aimed high and a spirit to match. It will be interesting to see how much this place grows in the next ten years, as long as their cold war tussle with Thailand over "who-owns-what-province" doesn't go hot.

The capital Phnom Penh is a bustling city, all mad asian energy and anarchy. They want to build a 75% scale replica of the Sydney opera house on the banks of the main river... mad! GC and I drank at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh (It is the places to be seen, donchaknow) and wandered the Russian Markets. I discovered GC was the world's worst haggler.

Cunning Cambodian Stall Woman - You give me 3 dolla, I give you shirt
GirlClumsy - NEVER! You give me shirt, I give you.... 2 dollars, fifty cents!
Cunning Cambodian Stall Woman - *Stunned* Um... OKAY!
The Wah - *Face Palm* DOH!

Not as amusing as watching GC single handedly stimulate the Cambodian economy was our visit to Pol Pot's S-21 secret prison. The fact he turned a high school into a place where thousands were incarcerated, mutilated and murdered makes my blood boil. I never realised we had an Auchwitz so close to our shores. From there the fun continued with a visit to the Killing Fields.
Holy Crap in a bucket. 17000 killed.. not with guns but with crowbars, axes and other blunt instruments of delight... and don't even ask me about the babies... If Pol Pot wasn't dead I'd kick him so hard in the groin his ancestors would wince.

Fun Fact - Pol Pot was a very charismatic man. Supposedly, all that knew him personally thought he was erudite, charming and friendly. You'd be grinning all the way up to the point he had his hired goons remove your face with a sharpened shovel. How do these bastards get loved so much... is it sort of mass murderer's cologne?

Anyhooo.. enough of the ugly past. GC and I blasted out of Phnom Penh and wound our way to Siem Reap (Another Fun Fact - Siem Reap translates roughly into "The Death of the Thai".. its good to see that even in Asia people fight, squabble and steal land from their neighbours.. huzzah for humanity). Siem Reap is a touristy (as far as that term applies to a place with only 11 years of stability since the Vietnamese pissed off) town that supplies eats and sleeps for the nearby Angkor Wat (and the more impressive complex Angkor Thom) temples.

You all know Angkor Wat... Buddhist/Hindu temples, one thousand years old, in the middle of the forest... Angelina Jolie played Lara Croft - Tomb Raider and shot up many of these temples in the name of Mom, Apple-Pie and the Almighty Dollar (actually I think Lara is English but I just don't care). GC and I were at Angkor Wat before dawn to see the sunrise be reflected in the pools in front of the main temple complex. Unfortunately my Sun God powers failed me again (missed the total solar eclipse by TWO days). I am starting to think my Sun God powers are euro-centric. Buddha and Shiva might be tagging teaming against me to deliver a Buddhist/Hindu Smackdown to my secular testicles. It didn't rain but the cloud cover was thick. No sunrise for us! We spent the next 7 hours wandering through literally kilometres of temples and ruins. Angkor Thom is a staggering 9km square!

Had the absolute time of my life.. and that was before the Elephants! We bought a hand of bananas and fed the Elephants as quickly as they wanted to be fed.. we had no choice :) I was in awe of these beautiful creatures. I kept giggling like a school boy. I think GC might have video evidence. I was enthralled by the way it would suddenly contract its pupil and really LOOK at me... mainly when I stopped feeding it bananas. When I ran out of food for it I showed the mighty beast my hands were empty. The elephant looked at me for a long moment and then took one large step forward. Its huge trunk came out and I was effectively frisked. Obviously these elephants are no one's fool!

Oh, don't get me started about the monkeys. They jumped our bus and refused to get off. Fun!

This is turning into a massive tome, and so, gentles all, I will leave you with this thought from the deck of the Foreign Correspondents Club here in Siem Reap. The local beer in Cambodia is cold, cheap and the best beer I have ever tasted.

I dip my ridiculous hat to Cambodia for that alone...

Monday, July 20, 2009

From Hue to Hoi An

With the brutal jellyfishing behind us, GirlClumsy and I moved onto Hue (Hway... actually, if you want to pronounce it properly you have to say Hway as if it was a question "Hway?". The upwards inflection at the end is the correct way to say it in vietnamese. Scary tonal languages!)

Hue is the old capital of the Champa kingdom and also of Vietnam in the past. It is biggish city with all the fun and frivolty a big city can provide, but more importantly it still has the walled imperial city at its heart. Our wonderful hostel/resort was in the middle of the imperial city. Oh, how the vietnamese ancestors must be rolling in their burial pots knowing that decadent capitalist westerners trample their ancient soil. Even more exciting we can get into the walled "Forbidden City" of the walled Imperial City. This was where the King and his 500 concubines used to hang out.. it is good to be the king, it seems. Most of the Forbidden City was bombed back to rubble during the "American War" (yep, not the Vietnam War.. but that makes sense here at ground zero) but now is being restored and rebuilt.

When Vietnam went over to communism with Colonel Sanders.. um, i mean Ho Chi Minh (He DOES look like the Colonel.. deny it!) the King stood down peacefully (at first). This means that many of his family still live in Hue. They are considered "small potatoes" in the glorious revolution but they are affluent potatoes.. with heads still attached to shoulders. Hue was the first city to south of the 17th parallel to fall to the north vietnamese after the americans decided to cut their losses and skedaddle.

We went on a fabulous motorcycle ride through the Hue countryside has all the gory details on that little piece of madness.

We then took a slow bus to Hoi An (Hoy Ann). Hoi An has a beautiful old town section with delightful little buildings and many markets pushed into the streets. You can buy everything from dead fish to dead flowers ;) I pointed out to Natalie that all the shops here are very similar. It is all "Dead Chickens and T-Shirts". I think that might sum up Vietnam's shopping entirely.

Fun Fact! Cat (Small Tiger) tastes like rabbit and Dog tastes like goat.. so now you know. Yes, they do eat anything made from meat, excluding people. You better be careful if you order a "small tiger beer". You may just end up with a plate of mysterious meat and a local brew instead of the small can of chinese beer you were after... sinister. The best beer by far here in Vietnam, so far, is Hudas. Oh, the hilarity in hearing the joke "Those are the biggest Hudas I have ever seen". My sides nearly split. (GirlClumsy has a pic with her Hudas showing.. and if you ask her nicely she might just post it!).

Not everything in Hoi An is dead chickens and tshirts. The ancient town is well known for cheap and fast, good quality tailors. The 2km square area has 400 tailors or different costs and quality.
GirlClumsy nearly blew a gasket when she realised she could have anything made from photos or internet pictures, and it would be tailored to fit her measurements. She has been a one woman shopping dynamo terrifying the population with her enthusiasm for shopping and her cheery "You give me another shirt/pants/suit for free because I am a nice person" (it even worked).

I had no interest in this coutre madness but GirlClumsy will not be denied. I was flung into Yali (the number one tailor in Hoi Am, supposedly) with but one mission "Get thee a suit, Mr Wah"

I had to brave the feminine terrors of the tailors. Lovely vietnamese woman ask "What cut do you want? What colour? What fabric?" HOW THE HELL DO I KNOW?! I am a colour blind man built like a belligerent potato and you think i know about fabrics?!

After much cursing, swearing, sobbing and pleading (all from me) I managed to have made a rather natty black suit with purple lining.

Oh yes, I am The Fashion Wah.

GC left me today to my own devices after we came back from seeing the Hindu ruins of My Son (Me Sun). They were very interesting and well worth a visit if you are ever in this part of the world. It is amazing how 70 temples to Shiva and Vishnu can be lost for hundreds of years in the Vietnamese jungles... well, actually it is amazing they dont lose more towns in these jungles. Very Jungly.

GC has been off having more jackets made up and threatened me with the phrase "I am going for a full body treatment at a day spa"... sounds positively filthy!

Anyhoo.. having a marvellous time here in Vietnam. This country has everything. History, food and enough different wars to keep you interested for decades.

Finally, Happy Birthday to my Mater!

and well done to the Americans for putting men on the moon 40 years ago...

Wah.. Out!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good Morning.... Hanoi

Well, GirlClumsy and I have arrived safely in Vietnam.

Hanoi is a mad mad city. 6 million or so and they all drive scooters.. anyway they want to. When you want to cross the street you just have to step out and face the madness. In the end the imminent vehicular death becomes rather blaise!

No Fear!

GC and I went to Ha Long Bay. Full of limestone islands jutting straight out of the ocean, and huge caves within those islands... and jellyfish.

Both GirlClumsy and I were stung by jellyfish when we were swimming. It hurt, a lot. Even better, the boat didn't have any vinegar... mmm burning pain.

But we aren't dead... so nyah to you Vietnam!

The Wah adds jellyfish to things that can not kill him! BOOYAH! Take that gelantinous terror!