Saturday, July 31, 2004

Packing revelations.

Considering the amount of traveling I have to do with my job, you'd think that I'd be a pretty capable packer.

Yet, as I'm frantically packing for my 8-day trip to Canberra (starting tomorrow, ending next Sunday, I've had something of a revelation - I'm not a particularly fugal packer.

For example, I'm only going for 8 days, so why, during my first attempt to pack, did I include 14 t-shirts, 9 pairs of pants, 6 pairs of shoes, and 13 pairs of socks?

14 T-shirts? Apparently it's been -8 degrees in Canberra recently... Why on earth did I pack that many t-shirts?

And where are the jumpers, thermals, overcoats, long-johns, scarves, beannies, gloves and pretty metallic hypothermia blankets that I'm going to need to deal with the cold?

I don't know, but I'm currently undergoing a rethink/repack in an attempt to ensure that my luggage doesn't breach the Virgin Blue baggage weight limit.

I guess I don't really need my blue worn-through runners, my "lion in the bedroom" boxers, or my entire Encyclopedia Britannica... Do you think that'll free up enough room for another t-shirt?

Friday, July 30, 2004

A case of slow translation.

My latest article for In The Mix has been published.

This time I caught up with house music legend DJ Blade, one of the producers responsible for the group known as Jestofunk.

It's not one of my best interviews, a little too rushed, but I blame that on the fact that I sent the questions two and a half weeks ago and, apparently due to the need for a translator (Blade doesn't speak much English), I only received the answers yesterday.   Makes it a bit tricky when the deadline was meant to be last Monday.

Still, if you're a house music fan then it's probably worth a look.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Can you show me how to get to Memory Lane?

I just read Jared's latest post and it brought back a flood of memories.

For those of you who weren't aware, a few years ago Jared and I (and Nick, Marcus, Fran and many more) used to share a house in Canberra.

Well... perhaps house isn't the right word... We used to share a dilapidated rabbit warren which we suspected may have been a foreign embassy during one of it's many incarnations.

That house/mansion/junkyard was demolished a couple of weeks ago.

Jared has made a pretty comprehensive list of some of the memories he had of his time spent in 61 National Cct, Forrest, ACT.  Reading through it almost brought a tear to my eye.

It's only appropriate then, now that I'm sitting here with a beer in hand, that I add a few more things to that list.

So, mimicking Jared's stream of consciousness, I remember-

The night Jared's room suddenly gained a water feature (but only because it was raining).  The mammoth laundry. The lock on the outside of my wing.  The night Nick shouted the following at Jared and I, "I don't care what's on TV! Just shut up and go to sleep! I need to be at work tomorrow!" (the date was September 11, 2001).   The day Fran phoned me from the kitchen (I was in the bedroom) to tell me she had collapsed, followed by a frantic trip to the hospital and my attempts to tactfully inform her parents that she was about to have a spinal tap.  The fence I was always going to build.  The fence that got built (not by me).  The dog that came to live with us.  The dog that escaped.  The dog that was found and sent back to live with my parents.  The fence that became redundant.  The 40 year old ex-residents who turned up to one of our parties.  Lunch and Rob being security for Abode.  The Abode T-shirts.  Fran finding Marcus' old year-books.  The many cocktails that were forced down my throat on the night after the day I had been in a car accident.  The cranky guy across the street.  Having the Swiss embassy as a back fence.  The constant Protective Services drive-bys.  Walking to Manuka for breakfast.  Cooking dinner with Fran but not telling the others because we knew they'd mock us.  Nick, my bed, the cyclone fencing and the tantrum.  Waking up one morning to find Merryn and Phizby in the loungeroom.  Waking up one morning to find Cyzilla helping himself to our beer.  The silence that descended on the house on "comic pick-up day".  The coffee table books.    And, finally, many (and I do mean many) relaxing afternoons spent in the back yard with good company and a beer.

Ahhhhhhh.... The end of an era!

Here's to 61 National Cct and all that sailed in her!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

It starts with an N, but how does it end?

It's been three posts since I mentioned that shadowy organisation I've become embroiled with, which must be cause for severe withdrawal symptoms for many of you clandestine hi-jinks junkies out there.  So, to prove that I'm not completely heartless, I've decided that it must be time for an update on the latest intriguing developments.  The only question is - Should I call the organisation Neurocam or Nautonier?

Xade still appears to be referring to it as Neurocam, or at least whilst he does so whilst out leaving their mark in Melbourne's art galleries.  Then again, he still appears to be in contact with Robert Henley, my original contact within the organisation who seems to have disowned me. 

Oh Robert!  What hast I done to offend thee?

Someone who hasn't disowned me is Iocus Severus, to whom I recently sent the following e-mail:

Sender: Graham Henstock
Subject: Recovery and Reflection
Date: Monday 26 July, 2004.
Dear Iocus Severus.
More than a week has passed since our rather exciting gathering! 
A week in which recovery and reflection have been foremost in my actions. I can't help but wonder if you may have spent at least some of that time also reflecting on our meeting, though I would imagine your choice of mirror would be remarkably different to mine.
One week!  One week in which to reflect on two and a half minutes, and yet, somehow, I suspect that many aspects of the evening remain a mystery.
In your most recent e-mail you asked me if it was, to parrot your own words, worth it.  That is not a question I feel I can answer fully as I am not privy to the minds (and goals) of many of the other participants.  It is fair to say that I found the experience worthwhile, just as I find most new experiences worthwhile. I do not, however, know your mind, or that of Egotript, and so am unaware as to whether or not either of you share that sentiment.
Despite your assertions the nature of the slide remains obscured from me.  Although I can see that there is an image contained upon it, the details remain beyond my grasp.  Never fear, I have not yet thrown in the towel.  I am in the process of securing a carousel slide projector, and it is my fondest hope that such an arcane technological device may help me in my quest for understanding.
Your invitation for me to explore my inquisitiveness is intriguing, although I suspect any answers I received would be cloaked in symbolism and masked with metaphor, as is your characteristic manner.
Do I have a raft of question?  Indeed! Of course, the real concern is - Which ones should I ask? 
I could inquire as to whether or not you and Fiat Nox are the same person, or I could query about the well-being of Robert Henley and the reasons why the Neurocam website is currently offline. I could attempt to discover the true nature of the "Robin Hely matter", or I could simply ask you to help me decipher the meaning of SAPPHIRES and RUBIES.  I suspect, though, that patience will prove to be a virtue, and that you may offer the answers to these questions when you feel it is appropriate to do so.
Instead I will return to my usual form and ask you just one question - In regards to the organisation known as Nautonier, what do you envision my role to be?
I look forward to your response, and hope that we will have the pleasure of meeting again soon.
Kind regards,
Graham Henstock.


Iocus Severus is yet to respond, but as soon as he does I'll post his response on this site.

In other Neurocam/Nautonier news,  Egotript has posted a report on the contents of his folder.  All in all, his files seem remarkably similar to mine, although he did get a slightly different slide and he has had some further correspondence with Iocus Severus which raises some interesting questions about the presence of the Police on that fateful Sunday night.  Worth a read, if only so you can see where his documents differ from mine.

The only other news I have at present is that Korgmiester from Bullet Holed Messenger claims in a comment to one of his own posts that he too has joined Neurocam.  To date, he hasn't posted any sort of follow-up on his site... I wonder if he ever heard back from them...  Is it possible that we have a slightly more covert participant?

That's all the N-word news for the moment, so I hope that all you junkies have had your fix.  If not, then I suggest that, to relieve your withdrawal symptoms, you try cutting out random parts of Egotript's, Xade's and My blogs and out them back together in an order dictated by Fibonacci numbers.  Perhaps you'll discover a new insight that will help us unravel this sordid mystery.

Then again, maybe you won't.  I'm not making any promises.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A New Look!

As you are all no doubt aware, I've spent the last few weeks experimenting with the design of my blog.  After a constantly changing array of colours, an ever-moving side-bar, and a few other additions and hiccups here and there, it's finally starting to look the way I'd like it to.

Everything seems to be in the right place, my reading and listening lists have been updated, and most things seem to be easily readable and decipherable (my meandering posts not included). Yep!  Definitely starting to look the way I'd envisioned.

So, without further ado, I'm proud to announce the launch of the redesigned "Jumping On The Bandwagon".

Please do, however, let me know if any of you have any suggestions for improvements, or are having any trouble viewing this site.

It's been 8 months of blogging since I got this baby started and I suspect that, like most babies, it's still learning how to walk.    I hope that most of you will hang around long enough to see it start to run.

It's music Jim, but not as we know it...

I was just having a poke around on the blog of one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman, when I noticed a link that I just had to click.

In my last post I wrote about a song which changed my life, but, although this post keeps with the music theme, I'm pained to admit that I don't think Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Ben Folds covering Pulp's 90's super-hit "Common People" will make it into that list, but it sure as hell made me have a fine old chuckle.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Music, Hornby, Henstock, and some inspired plagiarism

In a previous post I mentioned that I have recently read Nick Hornby's book "31 Songs".

I was surprised by how deeply it touched me.

In "31 Songs" Hornby discusses the 31 songs that have most changed his life.  Each of the essays/stories within the book centers on a different song, with the author explaining how the song reminds him of/connects him to various moments of his life.

I think the reason this touched me so much is that it's something that I can relate to.

Anybody who knows me reasonably well will know that listening to music is a major part of my life.  My CD and vinyl collection has reached near leviathan proportions and that doesn't even take into consideration the fact that no less than 20GBs of my computer's hard-drive is currently devoted to storing Mp3s. 

Like Hornby, my fascination with music means that I constantly associate certain songs with aspects or moments of my life.  There are many songs which, somewhere in the depth of my brain, are permanently wired into particular memories.  I suspect that it's the same for many of you.

When I explained to Sharn what "31 Songs" was about she said to me, "I'd like to see your 31 Songs."  I realised that I would like that too.

So I've been inspired to try a little experiment. 

Each week I'm going to put up a post about a song which has changed my life.  Will I reach 31 Songs or will I get bored long before then?  I don't know, but there's only one way to find out.

We'll see where this journey takes us, but along the way I'd love to get your feedback on some of these songs, or even some feedback on other songs which have changed your life. 

So, without further ado or explanation let's get to it -

Graham's 30 (or so) Songs (with apologies to Nick Hornby) #1 - "ABC" by the Jackson 5.

"A, B, C.
It's easy as 1, 2, 3
As Easy as Doh, Rey, Mee.
A, B, C.
1, 2, 3, Baby you and me girl."

Before the scandals, before the accusations of underage sex, before even the freaky friends and the pet monkeys, Michael Jackson and I were both living in more innocent times.

He was part of the legendary Mo-town group the Jackson 5 and I was at St.Monica's Primary School.

During this period of innocence, my exposure to music had been limited to my parent's Slim Dusty records and the odd hymn at my primary school's church.   The furthest my musical exploration had so far taken me were my attempts to "Sing Me A Rainbow" in Year 1.

Then I fell victim to one of the man-kind's  most insidious inventions.  An invention which could only have been created by baby sacrificing, goat-wearing satanists... That's right, I fell victim to that most evil of evils - Cross Marketing.

Although the Jackson 5 cartoon was only produced during two years of the early 70's, due to the delay caused by sea freight, and the complete lack of a quality Australian equivalent (The Johnny Farnham cartoon never really took off), it was still playing on television screens across Australia every Saturday morning in the early 80's.

My parents, duped by the belief that all cartoons must be wholesome, turned a blind eye each Saturday as I was slowly tainted by the evil that was the Jackson 5.  Each episode their singing slowly indoctrinated me into the religion known as modern music.

For those of you who managed to avoid the Jackson 5 cartoon, each episode went something like this -

  1. The Jackson 5 would sing a song.
  2. A dilemma would occur, and the group's fans would get worried.
  3. Little Michael (sans glove and monkeys) would get into strife.
  4. Little Michael, with the help of his brothers, would save the day.
  5. The Jackson 5 would sing a song.

At the time, my underdeveloped sense of narrative allowed me to believe that these stories were without equal.  Although I don't actually remember dancing around the loungeroom, singing along with this African American family who (at the time) seemed the perfect picture of normality, I have no doubt that's exactly what occurred.

When you consider the way the lyrics of many of the Jackson 5 songs had now been permanently etched into my brain by the TV's picture tube, it's not surprising that "The Jackson 5's Greatest Hits" is the first cassette tape that I can remember asking my parents to buy for me.  Because I was something of a slow-starter and, at the ripe old age of 5, still hadn't secured myself a job and income of my own, I was still reliant on the purchasing mercies of "Mummy" and "Daddy".

My parents must have been distracted by the unprecedented excitement of a "5 socks for $2" sale that day in K-mart, or else they assumed that the signpost on the front cover meant that the tape was educational, and they bought me my first cassette of modern music.  It's a decision which, in retrospect, I'm sure they have long since regretted. 

Over the next few months I played "The Jackson 5's Greatest Hits" constantly and "ABC" was my favourite song on the album.  I played it so much that I suspect both of my parents probably still know the words. 

Eventually the cartoon was taken off the air and I became interested in more mature cartoons such as "He-Man" and "Astro Boy", but I never forgot the "Jackson 5" cartoon because of the way it marked the beginning of my long, and sometimes rocky, relationship with music.

I still own "The Jackson 5's Greatest Hits", but I don't play it anymore... 

Well... At least not that I'd admit to...

Sunday, July 25, 2004

I'm not alone!

Wow!  I write just one slightly morose post on a blog and the next day I receive no less than 3 phonecalls from distant friends... Maybe I should try being morose more often,  at the very least it might help me save some money on MY phonebill (although add considerably to the rest of yours)... 

Thanks for the calls everyone.  It wasn't really an S.O.S, I was just feeling a little down and forgot that my blog wasn't in fact an agony aunt.  Still, I hugely appreciate the fact that so many of you felt inspired to call and check that I was OK...

Just remember though, if you're feeling like we might be alone, you're only going to have to wait 20 years to find out for sure

Whilst on the subject of "not being alone" there are a few other things I should mention, and they all have to do with another blogger (and sometime commentator on this site) known as Xade.

It seems that Xade has embraced the core "Jumping On The Bandwagon" philosophy and done just that... in more ways than one. 

Confused?  Let me explain -

In a recent post, Egotript paraphrased Nietzsche and declared that Neurocam was dead.  Well it appears that it's obituary may have been a tad premature. 

Yesterday I was partaking in a long overdue read of Xade's blog and discovered that Xade has joined Neurocam.  Not only that, but Xade still appears to be in contact with that mysterious troublemaker known as Robert Henley... Mmmm...  It appears Tript and I have been disowned in favour of fresher blood. 

Neither Robert or RJ have contacted me for quite sometime, I guess that means I am now, somewhat by default, firmly aligned with the camp of Iocus Severus...

While I'm talking about alliances, there's yet another example of Xade's bandwagon jumping that deserves a mention.

Xade has heard my plea and succumbed to my ongoing Kings of Chaos recruitment drive, together we shall go forth and destroy the other armies...  And it's still not too late for YOU!   Captain Coincidence's Army wants you!  And if you're a little uneasy about being  in an army run by me, then perhaps you should join Xade's army...   Together we might triumph!  Ummmm... but I'm not promising anything, because together we might also get trampled into the mud.  At the very least I am prepared to promise that I won't make you eat urine soaked field rations...

See? I'm still absolutely shameless!

Anyway - Welcome to the party Xade!  Did you remember to bring some beer?

Friday, July 23, 2004

But who will save us....

... from bloggers who turn introspective at the slightest taste of red wine?

Just read my last post... ummm... Quick lesson for the kids - Don't drink and blog!

That said, the post's sentiment remains true, but it was probably a little bit more gushing than I would have, in retrospect, liked.

Oh well, no regrets and all that...

To change the subject - Let's talk music!

In a previous post I commented on the fact that I hadn't updated my blog's sidebar for quite sometime.  I promised that I would get around to it (and that promise stands... Just as soon as I can convince the sidebar to appear where I want it to) and as a stop gap I discussed some of the books that had passed in front of my eyes over the last few weeks... Now it's time for me to tell you about some of the music which has entered my ears.

Due to financial constraints I haven't purchased much music over the last few weeks, but there have been some notable exceptions.

The first exception is Fabriclive 16- Adam Freeland - Adam Freeland is one of the most innovative and inspiring DJs currently mixing broken beats, and this CD is the recording of a set he recently performed at London uber-club Fabric.  Put simply, this is what DJing should be about.  An eclectic mix of songs (he begins with a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club track and ends with one by Radioactive Man) melded together seamlessly in what amounts to a high-quality listening (and dancing) experience.  Buy it!  Play it loud!  Dance around you bedroom!  You have been told...

The second exception is the Handsome Boy Modeling School - So... How's your girl? This one's probably not for everybody.  It's solidly grounded in Hip-hop, with a slightly grunge edge...  There's a few standout tracks ("The Truth" which features Roisin of Moloko and J-Live, and The Runway Song which features DJ Kid Koala) but there are times that it becomes a little too inaccessible...  Still, worth a listen if you're a die-hard hip-hop fan, or just looking for something a little different.

As I said before, I haven't purchased much music over the last few weeks.  That hasn't stopped me, however, from checking out some great sets on-line.  The first set that I recommend you point your browser towards is James Zabiela at Lot 33 in Canberra.   Smooth, progressive beats, that are just the ticket when cruising around the wide world web...

The second on-line set worth checking out is by Brewster B (the mix is at the bottom of the page).  Brewster B is currently one of the biggest names in the Melbourne broken beat scene, and this mix is a good example of what he is capable...  Mind you, I haven't seen him live for quite sometime, so finding this on-line set was like re-meeting an old friend.

That's all from "Graham's School Of Musical Appreciation" for today...  Although I will sign off with one more thought...

How excited was I to discover that the next CD in the Back to Mine series is going to mixed by none other than British legends Lamb?   Well let's just say it was lucky I wasn't standing near a live power socket... 

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Old Friends, New Friends, and Mysterious Pen-Pals..

I've just returned home from work.

Tonight's performance ran exceptionally smoothly, which made a nice change from last night where we had one of the actors throwing up in the wings (although not on stage, and, to his credit, he did get through the show without the audience being aware). After the show some of us retired to the stagemanagement office, opened a bottle of red, and talked shit to each other for a few hours... Just what I needed...

Part of the reason it was exceptionally lovely is that I've been feeling a little disconnected over the last few weeks.

I have become used to the fact that many of my friends are either incredibly busy, scattered around the four corners of the globe, uncontactable, or anti-social, and, perhaps due to my regularly fitting into at least one of those categories, that hasn't really been a cause for concern in the past. Over the last few weeks, however, I've been acutely aware of how little time I actually spend in the company of those people I consider my friends.

This heightened awareness may be in part due to fact that I've been working evenings and have had lots of days off. Most of the people I'd normally catch up with in Melbourne generally work days, as do many of the people that I'd normally call for a chat, and so I've had to find a way to fill time before going to work. It's not something that I'm overly good at. Add to that the fact that Sharn has been working nights, and thus has been sleeping through the days, and you'll probably understand why I've been feeling a little isolated.

Hence why tonight was so lovely. A glass of red, some good conversation, old friends and new, and suddenly I feel 100% better. It's amazing how beneficial a bit of human interaction can be.

Whilst on the subject of friends, there's a couple of things I wanted to mention...

Firstly, I'd like to say a big "Welcome to the Army" to Chaos Butterfly who has recently signed up to be part of my Kings of Chaos army. Together we will go forth and crush any who stand in our way... At the very least, it's got to be better than us fighting amongst ourselves.

By the way, you can still join my army if you want to... Be warned, though, it's highly addictive!

Secondly, I'd like to put all of my Canberra friends on notice - I'll be visiting Canberra in two weeks time!  

Amigos is going to Canberra and I'm heading up to bump it in.  The first half of my week I'll be working, but I'll be hanging around until Saturday August 7th, so hopefully I should get a chance to catch up with most of you.

Thirdly, and lastly, and not really so much a friend-thing as a pen-pal-bane-of-my-life sort of thing, I was delighted to discover the following e-mail waiting for me when I arrived home last night:

Sender:  Iocus Severus
Subject: Recovery
Date: Wednesday 21 June, 2004.
Dear Graham,
I trust you've recovered from our little party on Sunday evening. 
The duration of our meeting, from the moment I greeted you, to my request of Tiny that you be escorted away, was all of two and a half minutes.  Every second lingers an eternity though doesn't it?  I know what you went through, I've been in a similar position myself.
Was it worth it?
I'd like to encourage you to pose those questions that proved so elusive when you were on the spot, so to speak.  Never mind what I said at the time.   I expect there will be a raft of queries following your investigation of the documents. 
What do you make of the slide?  There's more to it than meets the eye.
You know where to find me if you'd like to chat.
Yours sincerely,
Iocus Severus

I've got to admit that I had suspected my correspodance with Iocus Severus may have reached it's conclusion with our meeting - I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that I was wrong.

Any questions?  Damn right I've got some questions, but I'd also like to give those of you who have been following my Neurocam adventure a chance to have some input. Do you have any questions I should pose to Iocus Severus?

I'll be composing a response to Iocus over the next few days (I'll probably send it Sunday) so get your questions in quick and I'll add them to my e-mail.

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough, so I'll sign off with a big hello to all my friends (new and old, old and young, near and distant) and wish good evening to you all. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Neurocam File -

Sitting here in my room, the contents of Iocus Severus’ manila folder strewn around me, I am suddenly seized by the desire to buy a fedora and a trench coast, rent a dingy office in downtown Melbourne and change my name to Sam Spade.  At least then I’d have an excuse for referring to women as dames, hanging out in dodgy jazz bars, and often forgetting to shave., which has gotta be a good thing, right?
In total there were 11 documents within the folder and one indecipherable slide.  4 of the documents are reproductions of passports, whilst the others appear to be a collection of letters, reports, and memos pertaining to Neurocam.  Every document is stamped excessively with the words “Classified” or “Top Secret.” In addition, many of the documents have words, names, or entire sections which have been blacked out by persons unknown whom obviously have a high degree in the ancient skill of "black texta censorship."
Throughout this post I’m going to attempt to describe the contents of these documents to you.  For the moment I won’t draw any conclusions about their validity, or their role in the greater Neurocam mystery, instead I’ll just try to lay it all out so you can make your own assumptions.
Document 1 The Transcript:
The first page of the Neurocam file appears to be the transcript of a conversation between Robert Henley and someone known as Kissinger.  They are discussing an upcoming conference and the role of someone referred to as Fiat Nox.
In regards to Nox, Henley says: 

“Soon mothers will start frightening their children by saying, “Neurocam will come get you.”  Fiat Nox.  If they said, “Nox will get you,” that would be the cult of personality.”
Henley then asks if Kissinger has ever seen Nox.  Kissinger replies that he hasn’t, but does go onto say: 
"We want him to join the Ruby Treaty; we’d never have any conclusion."
The conversation then degenerates, with both sides complaining about the excessive number of boring speeches that occur at Neurocam and Yellow One meetings. 
Document 2 The Digital Telephony Memo.
The second document contained in the file is a formal memo written on Neurocam letterhead.  It is from Robert Henley to an unknown person (the recipients name has been blacked out).  It reads: 

On December 30, 2001, I sent to the Nautonier a memorandum seeking his approval for a legislative strategy for digital telephony.  The substance of that memorandum is attached.  On January 15, 2002, he approved the following course of action: 
Neurocam should go ahead now to seek a legislative fix to the digital telephony problem, and all parties should prepare to follow through on the encryption problem in about a year.  Success with digital telephony will lock in one major objective; we will have a beachhead we can exploit for the encryption fix; and the encryption access options can be developed more thoroughly in the meantime.
The memo is signed by Robert Henley.
Document 3 The Fr. Fiat Nox memo.
The next document seems to be page 4 of a memo which comes from the desk of Fiat Nox.  It is addressed to Iocus Severus and dated April 28, 2002.
In the section of the memo I've been given, Fiat Nox seems to be enquiring as to whether the Nautionier is willing to allow Fiat Nox to question Neurocam personnel.  The reason for requesting this questioning is unclear.  Most interesting is Fiat Nox’s closing paragraph, which reads:  
We and the Elemental Quadrants believe the information from Neurocam is important to ascertaining the true facts of the Robin Hely matter.  As these issues demand expediated resolution, kindly apprise me of the answers to these questions.
Document 4 Robert Henley to Fiat Nox.
This document appears to be a memo sent by Robert Henley to Fiat Nox.  Here the nature of the dialogue starts to take on a slightly more occult tone, but I can’t help but wonder if this is all just a cover, perhaps, even, a sophisticated use of code words?
It reads: 
Dear Sir.
Salutations on all points of the triangle.
I continue to perform the rituals, Star Ruby, The Middle Pillar (twice daily each) and the Mass of the Phoenix (as the sun sets.)  I have made considerable progress in equilibrating the Elements but continue to strive for that singular point of which the Master speaks.
Eng. report slight delays in the successful calibration of the F-class Halcyon units.  Suggested ETA: nine (9) days
Q.A have resumed testing of the RUBY unit.  The SAPPHIRE unit has demonstrated a particular vulnerability to Fabry crises and is being returned to Eng. for Alpha Galactosidase sluicing.  I recommend caution in the mobilization of this unit.
See attached reports for further details.  Please advise.
The memo is signed by Robert Henley.
Document 5 The Security Directive.
This is yet another memo, but this time it's author remains unknown.  It is entitled “Neurocam Security Decision Directive Number 192 – The Ruby Treaty and The SDI Program” and is dated October 11, 1999.
As it is quite long I will attempt to summarize it, if, however, any of you feel like seeing the whole thing then feel free to e-mail me and I’ll send you a scan of it (the same goes for the rest of the documents).
The author of the memo seems to be discussing the way in which the organisation could creatively interpret something called “The Ruby Treaty” so to enable the continuation of the development of what they refer to as the SDI (Neurocam Strategic Defense Initiative).
The most interesting aspect is the final paragraph, part of which reads: 
Our assertions about this portion of the Treaty were not, at the time, shared by our negotiating partner.  Rather, the record indicates that they were resisted by YELLOW ONE.
Hmmm….  The plot thickens.
Document 6Sapphires and Rubies.
The last text document included in the file seems to be an official report on a business meeting held between Robert Henley and a group of unknown persons.  Due to it’s length I’ll also only summarize it’s contents.
Once again, code words (in particular the words RUBY and SAPPHIRE) seem to be used to great effect, but it appears that they are discussing the Neurocam headset.  One section reads: 

“… the present bill for 47 million was calculated on 25 hours a month per RUBY, and would amount to 23 million dollars a year; the remainder was for research and development and simulators and headsets.
Mr. (name blacked out) said that you must decide the policy first.  Do you want the RUBUES, and then we can argue about price.
Mr. (name blacked out) stated that they were told two years ago that the SAPPHIRE UNIT was on the way out and that is why they cancelled the (word crossed out).”
The memo then goes on to discuss the fact that there was an expectation that the SAPPHIRE threat would be lessened, thus the need for less RUBIES, but that it appears the expected lessening had not occurred.

The entire final paragraph of this page has been blacked out.
Document 7 The Organisation Flow Chart.
This appears to be a chart of the management structure of an organisation named “Nautionier”.
At the head of the organisation seems to be some named “Nautionier (Navigator)”, who has received a mention on a number of occassions in the above documents. 
Directly below Nautionier is “Fiat Nox (Yellow One)”, which I guess might go someway towards explaining Neurocam’s recent change of e-mail address.
Below Fiat Nox, on the chart, are three phrases that are awfully familiar – “Neurocam”, “Innocence” and “Splint”.  All three of these then link back into something called the “Elemental Quadrants.”
Documents 8, 9, 10 and 11.
The last 4 documents contained in the file are reproductions of passports from a variety of different countries.  4 different passports, just one face, but what’s his name – Robin Hely?  Robert Henley?  Or Chan Joo Jang?
The Slide:
The final thing contained in the file was an indecipherable slide - 
So there you have it!   One hell of a long post, and the details of the contents of the manila folder handed to me by Iocus Severus, but what does it all mean?   I’ve got some thoughts, but for now I’m going to rest my tired fingers and give you all a moment to digest all of the above… 
Any theories you may have, however, would be more than welcome.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Last night I was fortunate enough to catch two amazing interviews on the ABC.
The first was on Andrew Denton's show "Enough Rope" where Denton was interviewing none other than Ex-American President Bill Clinton. 
I am firmly of the opinion that Andrew Denton is the best interviewer we have in this country,  and his work last night supports that proposition.  His questions to Clinton were intelligent, probing, and revealing, as were Clinton's answers.  One of the most interesting half hours of TV I've seen in a long time.  
You can read the whole interview here.

If I hadn't been watching "Enough Rope" then I probably wouldn't have caught the second amazing interview of the night.

The ABC's hard-hitting late night current affairs program "Lateline" came on whilst I was still loitering in the lounge room.  They immediately launched into an expose on Opposition Leader Mark Latham's time as Mayor of Liverpool Council - discrediting the description of that time that Latham has recently delivered to Parliament... Quite damning stuff!

If that wasn't enough, "Lateline" came straight out of the story into an interview with Mark Latham himself. 

Tony Jones went in hard, and Latham looked noticeably shaky.  In the end Latham handled himself quite well, but I'm sure he would have been checking for bruises once he got home...  A Labor bias on the ABC?  Not if that was anything to go by...

I don't watch very much TV anymore, but it's a relief to discover that we still have such high quality current affairs programs on the air-waves.   My only question though - Is anyone actually watching them?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Assignment - Meeting Iocus - Part 2.

Here I am, back from after what Egotript has described as my "patented cliff-hanger".  Never fear Tript, I'm not about to do an ALF-style disappearing trick...  Considering the circumstances, an Agent Dale Cooper from the final episode of Twin Peaks' second series would be much more appropriate...
So where was I?  That's right!  Sitting in the rotunda in the middle of Clifton Hill's Darling Gardens, holding a now drinkable coffee, not speaking to Egotript and waiting for events to unfold...  Caught up?  Good!  Let's continue with the story...
It's a good thing I didn't have to wait long since my coffee wasn't doing much to combat the cold.  At least I had a coffee, though, as Egotript was doing a great impression of one of the guys from "Touching the Void".  Of course I'm assuming that his shivering was being caused by the cold, if not I'm going to feel like shit when I discover he's suffering from early onset Parkinson's.
I'd only been seated for a couple of minutes when I noticed movement in the park behind Egotript's shoulder.  He must have noticed me looking, because he turned around to check it out too. 
Walking towards us across the park were four figures dressed entirely in black.  As they drew closer I realised that each of them was wearing a white kabuki mask.  On the forehead of each mask was a symbol (which I'll unashamedly admit I've now stolen from Tript's blog) -
The four figures stepped up into the rotunda.  One of them, a small slender woman, took charge of the situation.  She approached us, removed a crumpled brown bag and read what was quite obviously a prepared speech.  It went something like this:
"Good evening Gentlemen.  I am Sapho.  From here I will be taking you to another location where the meeting you are expecting will occur. 
It is important that you do not speak during tonight's activities unless you are directly spoken to.  To ensure a level of secrecy we will be asking you to wear a bag over your heads.  If at any point you wish to leave just say so and you will be allowed to go, but be aware that this will mean the end of your involvement with Neurocam and Yellow 1.
Now, do you have any questions?"
I had no questions, and neither, it appeared, did Egotript. 
"Good!"  Sapho exclaimed and then started to approach us so she could give us our bags.  It seemed that instead of having to dive through rubbish bins I was instead going to have to do my best 2 Many DJ's impersonation.
On that note, it was around this point in the proceedings that the slightly odd looking fellow whom I'd spotted rummaging through the bin earlier returned to  do more of the same. Still, I guess I shouldn't be judgmental about how someone chooses to pass the time on a Sunday night, after all I was the one that was about to voluntarily put a paper bag over his head.    The bin-diver took one look at the assembly in the rotunda, seemed about to say something, then bit his lip and promptly turned around and left the park.   The Yellow 1 figures stared after him and then at each other, but I was unable to garner what they were thinking as a Kabuki mask does a pretty good job of hiding any expression.

As the paper bag went over my head I had one thought - "I should ditch this coffee."  By the time the thought had crossed my brain though, it was too late, I was already being led from the park.
The experience of being led across uneven ground, whilst deprived of sight, by a group of people you don't know, is not necessarily one I'd recommend for everyone.  It was intense to say the least, especially once they decided that I wasn't moving fast enough and so increased my speed with a firm hand on my shoulders.
Throughout the experience I was thinking just two things - "Please don't let me trip" and "I really should have ditched this coffee."
We reached the edge of the park and I was forced into what felt like a van or truck.  The seats were a nice leather finish and the cabin seemed quite spacious.  A pair of hands helped me with my seatbelt.  I heard someone jump in the front seat.  The car started and then we were traveling.
The first leg of the car trip was extremely bumpy, something that I clock up to the propensity for Melbourne's innercity shires to install speedbumps.  Everytime we went over a bump I spilt a little more of my coffee.  Great!  Not only was I being kidnapped, but I now had scalding coffee in my lap.  The forensic detectives were going to have a field day... Good thing I was wearing clean underwear.
Playing through the speakers in the van/truck was a strangely familiar circa 1920's song.  The gist of the lyrics was- "Maybe baby, he's waiting for you. The man waiting for you right now..."   Of course I'm sure that's an extreme example of my ability to paraphrase, but you get the idea.
After a while the song changed to a track that sounded like it was off a "DIY Hypnotherapy" tape.  "You are at peace.  Everybody here loves you.  You are safe.  Do not worry."  Good advice, but it didn't help much whenever we turned a corner and another splash of coffee hit my groin.
We'd been traveling for around 5 minutes (although it seemed a hell of a lot longer) when the van/truck suddenly screeched to a halt.  The engine was turned off and I heard the door next to me open.  A pair of hands carefully guided me out of the van/truck and, in the process, took my coffee.  "Good!"  I thought, "I'm glad to get rid of it."
I was led along a sidewalk and then forced into another car.  Once again I was assisted with my seat belt and then, damn it, someone forced my coffee back into my hand.  This new car felt much smaller, a hatchback perhaps.  The seats were more cramped and when I sat up straight I could feel the roof pressing against my paper bag.  Someone climbed into the front seat, started the car, and then we were once again speeding through the streets of Melbourne.
In retrospect, we must have been quite a sight for anybody who passed us on the street.  A car full of people wearing Kabuki masks with a coffee stained, paper bag wearing, buffoon in the back seat.
The music in this second car was much less interesting than what was in the first - It was merely a down tempo, slightly spooky, electronica track.  The other passengers in the car, however, were much more interesting.  Every couple of minutes the driver would chant/sing in a wheezy, slightly disturbing voice "Hey, hey, hey, yeah baby!" and then laugh.  The person sitting next to me (female... I think) would then reply with a series of gasped breaths, a small clap of the hands, and a laugh...  Not quite as terrifying as the round-robin renditions of "Kumbaya" I used to be subjected to at scout camp, but still pretty disturbing.
We continued driving for around five to ten minutes, and then the car stopped.  The engine was turned off and I heard at least two people leave the car.  It seemed that I was then left in the car alone for quite sometime.  I could hear a coversation going on outside the car, but couldn't make out any of the details.  Finally, the door next to me opened and once again I was helped from the car.  For the second time in the night someone took my coffee cup, but my relief was shortlived as it was quickly forced back into my hand.
I was then led quickly across a road.  I sensed an air of urgency in the people around me.  Once across the road I was directed into a doorway.  After I passed through it became apparent that I was standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs... There was someone ahead of me on the stairs wearing a leather jacket-  Tript? 
If you think the walking across the park would have been harrowing, then I suspect you really shouldn't try being led up three flights of stairs whilst blind.  Harrowing doesn't even begin to describe the nature of the experience.
Somehow we managed to reach the top of the stairs without incident, neither I, nor my coffee cup, took a tumble.  Mind you, I was pretty sure by this point that the majority of my coffee was either on my crotch or in the back of the cars.  As we reached the summit I noticed that there was  loud, but slow, music playing.  Lot's of deep, spacey, organ sounds.  I was taken into a room, made to stand still, and then the hands which had been leading me disappeared.
I almost leapt out of my skin when a deep voice behind me exclaimed - "You may now take off your mask."  I did so and found myself staring at a white wall. 
"Turn around!"  The voice ordered.
As I turned, I took in my surroundings.  I seemed to be in an unfurnished, semi-renovated apartment.  There were building scrapes around the room, timber, rolls of carpet, and the overwhelming smell of fresh paint.  More importantly, at one end of the room there was a table, behind which stood the four Kabuki mask wearers and another larger, rather intimidating figure who also wore a mask.
"Gentlemen!" He boomed, "I'm sure that I need no introduction."  I assumed at this point that I was looking at the mysterious Iocus Severus.
"Neurocam was once a game," he explained, "but that is the case no longer."
Iocus Severus (I presume) then asked me to step forward.  He picked up a manilla envelope and handed it to me.  I returned to my spot and then the process was repeated, this time with Egotript receiving an envelope.
"Do you have any questions?"  The figure asked. 
Did I have questions? You bet I did!  Could I think of any of them whilst in the presence of this imposing figure and his gang?  Not a chance.
The fact that neither Tript or I had any questions seemed to unnerve Iocus Severus a little.  "Think hard." He exclaimed. "This is the last chance you're going to get..."
The test pattern in my brain continued.
"Fine!" He finally stated.  "Put your masks back on! By the way, there's a film on Channel Seven tonight.  The last line of the film will be relevant to your next assignment." 
I did as I was told.  Hands grabbed hold of me once again and I was led from the room.  After an even more harrowing descent of the stairs, we reached the bottom and seemed to stop for a while.  I could hear a whispered conversation was occurring between my escorts.  Finally a female voice (Sapho?) addressed us.  "Due to unforeseen circumstances we will not be able to lead you away from here.   Instead we will be taking the bags off your heads now and ask that you leave this building in an orderly fashion.  Please do not look back." 
Unforeseen circumstances?  My mind began to race with the possibilities.
The bag was removed from my head and I was shoved out onto the street.  The unforeseen circumstances became immediately apparent - The street was filled with Police cars.  There were at least five or six cars, and quite a number of police officers roaming up and down the street.
At first I had no idea where we were, the other side of the road was just a large concrete wall, as I looked along the wall, though, I soon realised that I was staring at the side of the Richmond train station.
Egotript and I, glanced at each other briefly and then, without a word, began to walk down towards Hoddle Street.  As we walked down the alley we were passed by a pair of police officers who were leading a flannelet shirt wearing gentleman back up towards the squad cars.  Due to the fact that we were both doing our best to look inconspicuous we probably looked as suspicious as hell.   Luckily we were able to leave the alley without being questioned (what would I say?  Sorry Officer, I've got no idea how I got here. I was wearing a paper bag at the time...  What's that?  Why yes, I'd love to come down to the station for a psychiatric assessment...) . 
Just as we reached the end of the street, however, we were approached by a young gentleman who was awfully keen to find out if we knew what was going on.   We didn't, but luckily the helpful fellow decided to fill us in.  It seems that there may have been a brawl which at the local pub between some regulars, some overly friendly women, and some neo-nazi skin heads...  Although our walking news service couldn't be one hundred percent sure...  Both Egotript and I seemed to have difficulty holding a conversation with this guy, our brains still reeling from our recent experience, but he didn't seem to notice (he was quite happy to talk at us).  He eventually said farewell, wished us a safe evening, and went in search of someone who might be better informed than we were.
From there it was a quick tram ride into the city, a quick walk to my car, and then a quick drive home.  I walked in the door with plenty of time to spare and immediately turned to Channel Seven.
Whilst waiting for the movie to end I examined the contents of the envelope.  I won't go into what they were just now, as this post has gone on for long enough.  Instead I'll finish my account with the some details of the end of the movie.
The movie?  Kiss of the dragon!
The final line?  "My daughter?" 
Not very exciting, although somehow I suspect that Iocus Severus may have been referring to the final conversation had in the movie, which seems much more appropriate:
"Have I been asleep long?"
"Just a minute!"

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Assignment- Meeting Iocus... Part 1.

It's been an eventful (if somewhat confusing) evening. 
Did I meet the mysterious Iocus Severus?  Perhaps... Although, as you've no doubt deducted,  one can never be entirely sure of anything once Neurocam is involved.
Were my predictions correct?  Not by a long-shot... Although I still believe that the signs I noticed may be indicative of a major shake-up in the Neurocam ranks.
So what actually occurred during my nocturnal adventure? Quite a bit, but to tell the story I need to backtrack a little.
I spent most of yesterday in a state which fluctuated between eager anticipation and general annoyance.   I was eager to find out what my instructions were, but annoyed that it seemed to be taking so long.  I was determined to plan my day,  but due to the lack of information was starting to suspect that I was about to spend most of the day killing time, waiting for Iocus Severus to contact me.
I did, however, after being pointed to an article in The Age, spend sometime suspecting that Iocus Severus was merely going to suggest that we meet for coffee...  Once I got home from work though, I quickly discovered that it was a unfounded suspicion.  The following awaited me in my in-box:
Sender: Tiny Qual
Subject: Sunday 18 July
Date: Saturday 17 July, 2004.

Follow these instructions to the letter. You will be under observation. Any deviation will result in termination of the meeting.
1. If you are driving, park your car in the Central Business District. That is, the area bounded by Spencer, Flinders, Latrobe and Spring Streets.
2. Catch public transport to Darling Gardens (Clifton Hill).
3. Walk to the Rotunda at the centre of the gardens.
4. You will need to be at the Rotunda at 8:00 pm sharp.
5. Wait for further instructions.
6. Do not talk.
7. Sudden, unpredictable, violent or subversive behavior of any kind will not be tolerated.
8. RSVP at before midday Sunday 18 July 2004

Good luck

Yours Sincerely,

Tiny Qual

A letter from Tiny Qual ordering me to respond to Iocus Severus?  Suddenly a whole series of suspicions were confirmed for me.  Vaguely disappointed (and perhaps mildly disillusioned) I fired off the following as an RSVP to Iocus Severus: 
Sender: Graham Henstock
Subject: RE: Sunday 18 July

Date: Saturday 17 July, 2004
Dear Iocus Severus.
I have attached below an e-mail I recently received from "Tiny Qual" whom I have on good authority is the new contact for Neurocam.
The most interesting aspect of thid e-mail is the way it instructs me to reply to you.
As eager as I am for our planned meeting to occur, I am disappointed that it now appears your connection to Neurocam in undeniable.  Such a shame, I had imagined you to be more substantial than Robert's regular smoke and mirrors...  Then again, perhaps that may still prove to be the case.
I'm not sure what your game is, but I will be at the rotunda at 8pm.  I hope I will see you there, but, considering recent revelations, will take nothing for granted.
Kind regards,
Graham Henstock.

Another cause for disappointment was the fact that I was required to park my car in the city. It seemed strange to do that considering the park I was going to was about 2 streets away from where I live, but I interpreted this instruction as an indication that we may be traveling as part of the assignment and thus accepted that it was most likely essential.

Instructions memorised, I went to bed, had an uneventful sleep, and awoke refreshed and ready for what ever challenges Neurocam might throw at me. 

Abiding by the old Scout's motto of "Be Prepared" I seized a spare moment during the day to walk over to the Darling Gardens in order to scope out the location of the meeting.  Sure enough it was exactly as I expected it to be - A reasonably sized inner Melbourne park with (surprise, surprise) a rotunda in the middle.  The only fact that really stood out was that there was little in the way of trees and shrubs in the park - Opportunities for onlookers to remain hidden were going to be scarce.

After a lovely Mexican Burrito for dinner, I drove my car into the city.  I parked it, locked it and promptly jumped onto a tram directly back to where I had come from.

I arrived in Clifton Hill a touch early (around 7.30pm) and, due to the fact that I was starting to feel the cold, walked up to "Cafe Olive" and ordered a take-away coffee.  It was a decision that would plague me for the rest of the evening.

A quick window shop and a few tongue scolding sips later, I decided it was time to head on down to the park.

I reached the edge of the park at around 7.50pm.  My coffee was still far too hot to drink, and the park appeared to be practically deserted.   The only things moving were the possums scurrying from tree to tree, and my legs shivering in response to the cold.

Tentatively I began to make my way to the rotunda in the centre of the park.  It wasn't the anticipation of the Neurocam encounter that was making me feel anxious, but merely the concept of wandering alone through an underlit park in innercity Melbourne.  Intellectually I realised I was quite safe, but I seemed unable to explain that fact to my nerves whenever a possum ran out in front of me.

I was about half-way to the rotunda when I noticed a figure standing next to it.  I was still some distance off, so was unable to make out any real detail, but the figure seemed to rummaging through the bin next to the rotunda.  My first thought was a sarcastically cynical "Fantastic!  I bet I'm gonna have to rummage through a bin to get the documents Iocus has promised me..."  I held me ground for a few seconds and watched as the figure left the bin and headed off out of the park (in the opposite direction to me).  I then continued on to the rotunda.

It wasn't until I was about 5 metres from my destination that I realised that someone was already sitting within the rotunda.  Even from that minimal distance I couldn't make out the features of this other figure as he had cleverly chosen to seat himself in the most shadowy area within the structure.  It was only as I stepped into the rotunda that I was able to discern the other attendee's identity - It was none other than Egotript who I had encountered at the last Neurocam assignment.

We both nodded in acknowledgement and then I took a seat.  My coffee was finally cool enough to drink, so I took a few sips, sat back, and waited for any further developments to unfold...

And unfold they did!  But, due to the fact that it's quite late (and the fact that I love to build some semblance of suspense), I'm going to leave the rest of the tale until tomorrow's post.

Sorry if that causes any undue heartache, but I have no doubt that you'll all agree I need my beauty sleep.

See ya tomorrow for the rest of the adventure!

Dancing, drinking and a moment of the surreal...

Before I charge full tilt into this post I'm going to offer up one important tidbit of news which may, I suspect, answer at least one of the questions on everybody's lips-  Yes, I have received my instructions about where (and how) I am to meet Iocus Severus tonight...  Due to the clandestine nature of our meeting, however, I'm going to wait until after the event before giving you all the details... Sorry...
So, instead of making this yet another Neurocam-related post (if you're really hanging out for Neurocam news maybe you should read my last post again, stop, then read it backwards.... Who knows, you might find some satanic messages or something) I'm going to use this post to discuss some of what I've been up to over the last few days.
Friday night was the 100th show of "Amigos" (since it began it's run in Sydney... I've only been with the show for the 30 or so shows it's done since getting to Melbourne) and, because any excuse is a good excuse, the cast and crew went out for drinks and nibbilies at EQ.  Sharn came along and met some of the people that I've been constantly mentioning over the last few weeks. 
All in all it was an entirely pleasant affair.  Good conversation, good wine, and, unfortunately, an ordering experience that occasionally resembled an Abbott and Costello skit ("Would you like a drink sir?" "Yes, I'll have a red wine." "And what would you like to drink sir?" "Ummm... A red wine?" "No problems sir. Would you like something to eat?" "No thank you." "Ok sir, and what would you like to drink?" "Grrrrrrr...."). 
I think it was especially nice that Sharn was able to meet my work colleagues, although she did point out how immune I seem to have become to the presence of celebrities.   In my line of work every second person I encounter has had their own talk-show/woman's magazine scandal at some point and it's reached a point where that all ends up seeming quite mundane.
Mind you, I did have a vaguely surreal experience during last night's show that pushed a little beyond the mundane... At least it was surreal for me.   Please excuse me while I follow this tangent... 
I was sitting at the side of the stage during the show, waiting for my next cue.  To pass the time I was reading "31 Songs" by Nick Hornby, a fantastic book in which Hornby discusses the 31 songs which he feels have most changed his life.  Hornby also muses in quite some depth about the nature of songwriting and songs in general. 
My surreal moment occurred when I was in the midst of a passage where Nick Hornby was discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the "cover song".  As an example he refers to a rendition of Liza Minnelli's signature tune "I'm Liza with a Z" which was once performed by Australian comedian Norman Gunston.  Norman Gunston is none other than the alter-ego of Garry McDonald,  one of the stars of "Amigos", who happened to be standing next to me at the time.  So there I was, sitting on a stage in Melbourne, reading a book about modern music, which was written by a British author, who refers to an Australian actor, who just happens to be standing next to me...
I'm currently battling the urge to launch into a chorus of "It's a small world after all", but I have no doubt that Disney would sue my arse if I did, so I'll spare you that little torture.
Following our celebratory drinks on Friday night, Sharn and I went off to see Krafty Kuts at the Metro.  I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to most of you that Krafty Kuts is one of my favourite DJs and so I was hanging out to see him perform.
He played a technically amazing set, although it was a little more downbeat that I expected, and there were a few moments of pure brilliance.  A definite highlight was watching the entire club do a doubletake, and then go crazy, when he dropped AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" into the middle of a quite techy set.  The experience of being in the midst of a thousand or so clubbers going "Thunder! Ner Ner Nerr Ner Ner Nerr Nerr.  Thunder!" is one which I'm sure will stay with me for quite some time.
Sharn and I left towards the end of Krafty's three hour set, after we decided that it was time to head for home (I wanted to be at least vaguely rested before my Saturday Matinee show), but we were very satisfied with the gig. 
Interesting, though, is the fact that I find it harder and harder these days to spend long lengths of time in smoky clubs.  I love to dance, and would quite happily dance all night more often, but after about 3 hours in a smoky club my throat starts to hurt and I find my energy's considerably drained... Does anybody else experience this, or am I just getting old?
In other news - Age 3 has begun in Kings of Chaos!  I've mentioned before just how addicted I am and so now I'm going to shamelessly play pusher...  With the beginning of Age 3 everything has reset, so it's the closest to a level playing field that it's ever going to be.   If you haven't done so, then you should join Captain Coincidence's army and fight alongside me as I snot the other armies around the world...  See?  Absolutely shameless!

Friday, July 16, 2004

The writing is on the wall...

...but do you know how to read it?
It's two days until my scheduled meeting with Iocus Severus and there's one question on everybody's lips - What's going to happen?
As I'm not a fortune teller I am significantly disadvantaged when it comes to answering this question.   Thus I'm going to try a slightly different tact.
Throughout biblical and medieval times there were many oracles and prophets who were renowned for being able to foresee the future.  If you take a closer look at the stories that mention these mythical seers you'll discover that most of them did not claim to "see the future", instead they would most often "see signs".  It was through clever interpretation of these signs that these oracles and prophets were able to frequently predict future events.
Now, with the meeting with Iocus Severus drawing near, I see a number of signs on the periphery of the Neurocam mystery.  Signs which I think will allow me to predict some of what is about to occur.   Let's see if you agree with my conclusions...

Sign 1 - The Neurocam billboard near my work has been destroyed.  In fact I haven't seen any Neurocam advertising for quite some time.  Has anybody else?  It would seem that the organisation no longer feels the need to advertise their presence.

Sign 2 - At the time of my writing this post, the Neurocam website has been offline for two days.

Sign 3 - As of last Wednesday it has been six months since I first saw the Neurocam billboard that inspired me to send my initial e-mail.

Sign 4 - When I began my involvement with Neurocam any information about the organisation/project was extremely hard to come by.  Over the last month that has changed.  I'm referring mostly to the two exposes that were sent to Egotript.   Either Neurocam has spawned a group of much more highly informed enemies or the architects of this mystery no longer feel the need to hide any information which relates to them. 

It's particularly worth noting that the second expose sent to Egotript contained many photos from what seemed to be previous incarnations of Neurocam... Incarnations which have all (presumably) come to an end...

Sign 5 - Despite being aware of my forth coming meeting with Iocus Severus, Robert Henley has been extremely quiet of late.  In his last e-mail he recommended that I cooperate with Iocus Severus, but since then Robert hasn't been in contact to inform me how I should approach the meeting...

Sign 6 - In the last few days I've received a number of e-mails from other Neurocam participants (who wish to remain anonymous).  All of these e-mails had a similar theme.  Here's one of them:

Sender: *********** 


Why is Neurocam asking you to re-register at  And who is Tiny Qual?



I don't know the answer to either of those questions, but I can inform you that I have not been asked to re-register at, in fact the first I heard of this development was through the e-mails sent from other participants.

Sign 7-  For me to explain this sign I must first make a small confession -  I know who is! 

That's right, I have been deceiving you all for some time when asking for information on this mysterious trouble maker.  The reason I did this?  Well that's simple - is me!  Or, to be more exact, was me...

I created the account a couple of months ago when I was in the initial stages of my dialogue with Iocus Severus.  At the time Robert Henley was displaying his typical sporadic response behaviour and as Iocus Severus was asking me for Robert's reactions to things I decided to create the account so that I could falsify some Robert responses.  It was my intention, at the time, to use the account as a way to probe the Neurocam mystery from a slightly different angle...  It was an idea at least partially inspired by "The Analyst" by John Katzenbach, the book recommended to me by Iocus Severus.

The RJHenley persona was working quite well.  By sending e-mails from I was able to converse with a number of different Neurocam participants and I found myself receiving quite different responses to those I had received in my previous attempts.

Then, two weeks ago, the account appeared to stop working.  No matter what I tried I was unable to access to the account.   At the time I wrote this off as a technical fault at Hotmail.  

I decided then that I would slowly fade RJHenley out.  To do this I put a few comments on my blog along the lines of "Where's RJ?"  and "I hope nothing's happened to him...", it was intention that I would then imply that RJ had never contacted me again and, henceforth,  the persona would be absorbed into the greater Neurocam mystery.

Imagine my surprise then, when I received an e-mail this week from  That's right!  It appears that someone has managed to hack the e-mail address and has now taken on the persona...  Their e-mail to me reads:

Subject: Neurotic

Dear Graham,

Sorry about the delay,

I must have missed your last email.

Forgive me for forgetting that we were in the midst of a dialogue.


Needless to say, I have sent a response and am eagerly awaiting one back.

Conclusions - Well that concludes the signs as I see them...  Some of you may see other signs that I have missed, if so, then please let me know. 

So what conclusions have I drawn from these signs and what do I predict will occur this Sunday?  I think that one of three things is occurring... 

The 1st possibility- We know that Neurocam has apparently closed it's doors and changed cities in the past and, judging by the removal of the website and billboards (as well as the establishment of a new e-mail address), it's possible that they are about to do that once again. If that occurs the Melbourne chapter of the Neurocam mystery will most likely come to an end.

The 2nd possibility - It's possible that Neurocam has decided to reinvent itself.  It's therefore possible that they are shedding some of what they may see as liabilities.  For the record, I do include myself as one of those potential liabilities.  I imagine the extremely public nature of my blog (as well as egotript's) would not fit with an organisation which is attempting to become MORE clandestine...

The 3rd possibility - Is that, after 6 months, the personalities behind Neurocam have decided to reveal all and cease any further Neurocam activity... 

Of course I could be wrong, and none of these scenarios may be correct.  If I am right, however, one thing is certain, anything that occurs this Sunday is going to be big...  I can't imagine the Neurocam hierachy settling for anything else... 

I'm aware that all of these scenarios mean that my involvement with Neurocam may be about to come to an end, but I've got to admit, I'm still incredible eager to find out what happens...

Here's hoping that I'm wrong and that the Neurocam mystery still has some legs, but I suspect that I'm right...

What do the rest of you amateur oracles think?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Anyone else feeling a touch exposed?

Well, well, well... It seems that I was wrong about Egotript's sources...

After seeing the first Neurocam expose on his site I had mused on the possibility that the creator of the expose was perhaps someone a little more amateur than the other Neurocam architects... Perhaps even Egotript himself... Now I've seen the second expose, however, it seems that I'm going to have to re-evaluate my theories.

It's quite apparent that whomever is responsible for these two works is much more informed than I had previously assumed. The inclusion of pictures from what appears to be the New Zealand incarnation (and maybe even a Perth one although I see no proof that the photo was actually taken in Perth) of Neurocam adds weight to this theory.

A mole within the organisation perhaps? Or maybe another party? Iocus Severus?

My date with Iocus Severus draws near, but I still have very little to report. Both Iocus Severus and Robert Henley have been awfully quiet of late...

I have no doubt that things will heat up over the next few days... I'll keep you informed of all developments as they occur.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Kings of Addiction!

I blame Euan!

It's all his fault!

Well, that's not entirely true... Perhaps it's only mostly his fault since some of the blame should at least lie with Chris...

Ultimately it doesn't matter who's to blame because the outcome is still the same - I have become completely and utterly addicted to Kings of Chaos.

A long time ago I promised myself that I wouldn't play internet games, as the demands on my time were already extensive enough. It's a promise I broke when I established The Holy Empire of The Penguin Army on Nation States, and a promise I well and truly deserted once I signed up to play Kings of Chaos.

KOC is a pretty cool text based online game that's reasonably straight forward to play. You start with almost nothing, you slowly build an army, then you go out and fight other armies and steal their gold... And the best thing is, due to the fact that you only get one attack turn every half hour (and it's not worth doing anything without at least 10 - 20 attack turns), it only takes up about 5 minutes of each day to play... Very cool... Doesn't alter the fact that I've become addicted though.

Another cool element is the way that you can recruit other players to your army, thus creating alliances that can work together to snot others and steal their gold... Kinda cool.

So here's the recruitment pitch - Come join Captain Coincidence's army! Travel the world, smash some skulls, and get to play with all sorts of cool weapons... Oh... and help me feed my addiction...

Peace is for the meek!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Stacks On!


This pile is getting awfully big, but I'll see your Conservative Punks and I'll raise you some Militant Buddhists and some closely related Aggresive Buddhists.

That'll show you who your messing with...

Just be thankful I stopped short of playing my Militant Pacifists.

Developments from the Neurocam front line...

There's been movement on the Neurocam front and so that means it's time for an update.

It seems that Egotript has been receiving some pretty interesting mail of late...

The Neurocam expose he has on his website is quite fascinating. For the record though, it doesn't seem to be up to the quality of the other multi-media bits that have been part of the Neurocam mystery, which leads me to believe that it wasn't made by the normal Neurocam participants... Perhaps it's someone else's creation... Could it be the work of Iocus Severus?

I've got to admit that I find it extremely odd when I see my photo on someone else's website. It's all vaguely unnerving... I always find myself wondering how many photos there are out there that I'm just not aware of... Anyone seen any I should know about?

The other question I have after viewing the expose is - Who is Shaun?

I've never heard of a Shaun before (except for in a vague e-mail Egotript posted on his blog). Is there another player in town?

Also on the Neurocam front, yesterday I received the following e-mail:

Subject: Neurocam
Sender: Iocus Severus
Date: Saturday 10 July, 2004

Dear Graham,

Sunday 18 July, 2004. Await further instructions.

Yours sincerely,
Iocus Severus

I couldn't help but realise that Sunday 18th is also the day that Iocus Severus has hinted that he'll be meeting with Egotript... It seems that events are in motion that may come to a head in a week's time... I'll keep you informed of all developments as they occur.

BTW, I haven't heard from RJHenley for sometime now... I wonder what's become of him? I sent an e-mail to the hotmail address about a week ago but still haven't received a response... Anybody know what's happened?

I hope nothing terrible has become of him...

Friday, July 09, 2004

Doing it for the environment...

Jared, I see your fornicating liberals and raise you some slightly more environmentally aware sexual activists...

Money, money, money.

Money might make the world go round, but it is also quite capable of turning mine upside down.

All this week I've found myself increasingly preoccupied with thoughts that centred around money.

When you consider that I'm working full-time, and doing quite well for myself, you'd think that money wouldn't be so much of a concern, but it seems that sometimes life has a way of ganging up on you.

For those of you who are sick of my whinging I suggest you stop reading this post now! For the rest of you here's a little insight into where my funds have been going over the last week.

I always knew it was going to be a tight couple of weeks. Due to having worked a few half weeks at work, the bank balance was looking a little low.

I thought I was showing good foresight when I paid my mobile phone and credit card bills earlier this week. Next week rent is due and I wanted to get ahead... Also, I knew that I had to drop my car off for a service.

Then I had an unexpected medical cost... A friendly doctor informed me that what I thought was just an ingrown hair on my neck was in fact an infected cyst. So suddenly, apart from paying the doctor's bill (Bulk billing common, Mr Howard? Yeah right!) I suddenly had to dish out for a course of antibiotics...

At that point the financial situation was still all good. The friendly voice of a Ford representative on the other end of the phone had informed me that my car service was only going to be about $250. It was going to make things tight, but not dire.

Imagine my surprise then when the Ford representative phoned me back and we had something like the following conversation:

"We need to replace your brake pads..."

"Fair enough."

"And we need to fix your wheel alignment."


"And we need to flush your brake fluid."

"Ummm... Ok..."

"And you've got an oil leak..."


"And one of your windscreen wipers isn't working properly..."

"(gasp) (cough) (wheeze)"

"And your model of car has been recalled because there's a fault in the steering..."

"(gas...) Wait a minute! Recalled? Do I have to pay for that?"

"No, that bit's free!"

"Oh... (sigh of relief) Well how much am I looking at?"

"Well, all up it should be around $1400."

"(cough) (gurgle) (gasp)"

The conversation promptly ended with the sound of me collapsing on the sidewalk.

Hence my current slight preoccupation with money.

All in all it's going to be fine, it just means that the next few weeks have become super-tight...

I can only hope that the karma see-saw will tilt back my way and I'll soon discover that I'm a descendant of Genghis Khan. At least that way I might be able to get a free meal.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Make... ummm... Love (?) not War!

There are a lot of people in our society who are anti-war...

Some of them protest in the streets.

Some of them write to newspapaers.

Some of them act as human shields.

And some of them demand that we "Make love, not war!"

There are, however, some people who attempt to stop war in a slightly different way.

Is it purile? Hell yeah! But, no matter how much I tried, I couldn't help but laugh....

The poems and haiku section is particularly priceless.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Recent Reading - An Update.

I was just taking a look at my sidebar and realised that, despite (or perhaps because of) all the Neurocam activity, I’ve been remarkably slack about keeping my blog up-to-date.

A closer look at the recent readings and current listening lists confirmed my fears. Everything on those lists is at least a few months old. Due to this I thought I’d use this post to update you on a few of the books that I’ve read over the last few weeks.

Firstly I’d like to tell you about “Gonzo Marketing – Winning through worst practices.” by Christopher Locke (better known in some circles as RageBoy™). Locke works predominately as a business consultant and is well known for his off-the-cuff (but surprisingly down to earth) observations about current business practices. The book is highly entertaining (in true gonzo style) but occasionally seems to stray from a coherent path (another gonzo trait), ultimately, however, it’s a fascinating wake up call aimed at big businesses who still believe they can make money from spam and direct-marketing in the current information age. Well worth a look!

Another piece of literary input that I’ve experienced lately came in the form of Quarterly Essay Issue 14 – Mission Impossible: The Skeikhs, The U.S. and the future of Iraq. Written by Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Paul McGeough, this 100 page offering dissects and examines the nature of tribal politics in Iraq and what those politics may mean for any future government of that country. I found it to be extremely informative and incredibly interesting.

The next book that I would like to turn your attention to, has got a little story attached…

Not so long ago, during what may have been a rather intoxicated conversation, I said something along the lines of “Capitalism sucks, but Communism and Socialism, although they look good on paper, don’t work. So it seems like we’re stuck with Capitalism.”

My housemate, also potential feeling the effects of the demon drink, reproached me by saying “You can take your ignorance and go and get stuffed! There’s a thing called Natural Capitalism. Go and get educated and then come back and talk to me.”

I decided to take his advice and so went and purchased a copy of “Natural Capitalism – creating the next industrial revolution” by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L.Hunter Lovins.

I’m glad I did, because it turned out to be an amazing read. In a nut-shell the authors are proposing a new form of Capitalism where Nature and People are recognised as a resource and thus given a value (not monetary). Their suggestion is that, if you can’t balance out the use of the resource, you shouldn’t be allowed to use it. I could go into enormous detail here, but instead I’ll just point you to their website as I’m sure they’ll put it much more eloquently than I ever could.

There also exists an interesting afterward to my reading of this book...

Upon completing “Natural Capitalism” I re-approached my housemate to discuss it, only to discover that he hadn’t yet read it… Go figure!

I guess I’ll just sit here in the corner and be educated all by myself.

The final book I’d like to mention is one for all the Neurocam aficionados - “The Analyst” by John Katzenbach.

This book was recommended to me by none other than my mysterious pen-pal Iocus Severus.

It starts as a pretty standard crime/suspense novel, but quickly morphs into an intricate and intriguing tale of murder and mind games. Saying any more than that would ruin it for you, but I have no hesitation in recommending it to any of you who may be interested in that sort of thing.

So there you have it - A plethora of interesting books you should all seek out.

At the very least, you now have an idea about some of what has been going into my head. Maybe it might give you a better understanding of some of the stuff that’s been coming out of it!