Thursday, December 30, 2004


A couple of weeks ago I completed my last Neurocam assignment when I delivered a silver briefcase to Operative Meni.

When I first received the briefcase, courtesy of Iocus Severus, I had a brief moment when I thought it was quite odd that Neurocam was no longer attempting to pretend that Iocus Severus was a separate entity.

At the time I assumed that they had decided to do away with that sub-plot and that it would be relegated to the ever-growing list of "Neurocam inconsistencies".

It would appear, however, that my assumption was wrong.

Today I received the following -

Sender: Iocus Severus

Thursday December 30, 2004.


Thank you for taking such good care of my property.

Your generosity has saved me a great inconvenience.

I would now like my briefcase back.

When would you be available to meet?


Iocus Severus.

Oops... I think I might have some explaining to do...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

This one's for CCR.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Microworld - Megaquality - Minor Article.

As an ex-Canberran who considered himself remarkably well-informed about the minutiae detail of the Canberra electronic music scene, I was thoroughly surprised to discover that there was a considerable hole in my knowledge.

I'd heard of Microworld before, an acclaimed producer whose tracks have been played by the likes of Dave Seaman and John Digweed, but was completely unaware that he was, like myself, an ex-Canberran.

Luckily In The Mix gave me the opportunity to plug that hole in my knowledge.

You can read the micro-interview I did with Microworld here.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

So that was XMAS...

... and what did I do?

XMAS this year was a relatively quiet affair.

Sharn worked all day and my housemates have all retreated north to Canberra, so I was pretty much left to fend for myself.

The morning was spent making a Caesar Salad, which is something that you've got to promise not to let my housemates know since it would shatter their illusion that I am utterly unable to prepare food of any kind.

I then spent the afternoon/evening at an "orphan's XMAS" held in the abode of Robyn and Johnboy.

Various members of "The Canberra Mafia" (ex-canberrans who have escaped and migrated to Melbourne) enjoyed excellent food, excellent company and excellent conversation. I could succumb to temptation and say that an excellent time was had by all, but if I did that I might be accused of going through a Bill & Ted phase, so I'd best salvage what remains of my credibility and resist.

It was especially lovely to spend some non-work related time with DJ and Kelly (who are actually "townsville mafia" but were adopted by the Canberran refugees for this XMAS).

After many hours and a couple of bottles of red I headed home to bed, thoroughly content and stuffed with food and merriment. So here's a big shout out of thanks to Bobbi and JB for their fabulous hospitality!

Boxing day has also been a relatively sedate affair (so far).

This morning I immersed myself in Sharn's XMAS present to me (The Return of The King Special Edition) and then, head filled with images of hobbits and nazgul, went and enjoyed a coffee at the local cafe.

Now I'm busy surfing the net, alternating between listening to the latest Hybrid mix I've downloaded, and the absolutely amazing live Spearhead show that I've had sitting on my harddrive for quite sometime.

The result of all this rest and relaxation is that I'm beginning to feel slightly... well.... relaxed, which is actually quite an odd feeling since it's something that happens to me fairly rarely.

Anyway, that's all for now, time to go back to mindless surfing, book reading and music listening...

Friday, December 24, 2004

Training deficiency.

This year I've received a lot of training and have learnt a lot of things.

I've learnt to direct cranes, bandage arms, build work platforms, wire 3 phase sockets, treat burns and rig boatswains chairs.

Unfortunately I haven't received training in wrapping XMAS presents.

So as I sit here in my room with a multitude of paper cuts on my hands, scissor cuts on my fingers, selotape on my clothing and piles of XMAS paper off-cuts strewn around the room, I thought it might be nice to take a break from my extremely poorly wrapped XMAS presents so as to wish you all a Merry XMAS.

I love the idea (if not always the reality) of XMAS. The idea of taking a day out to remind everybody that you appreciate them and love them touches a spot in my heart.... and I like to remind myself of that fact whenever I'm feeling dejected about my inability to make a fold in paper without ripping it.

And so to friends new and old, absent and present, I wish you an amazing XMAS and a happy New Year.

Bah! That's enough sentimentality for one day... Back to the wrapping...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's still all about....

... Neurocam!

The wide world web has gone crazy!

The number of hits on this blog has been insane!

And it seems that Neurocam is taking everything in it's stride...

Here are a few more Neuro-links I found today -

Operative Aliask - A brand new blog from a brand new operative.

Hello? Is this thing switched on? - Another brand new operative.

The Nonist - Has a little piece on the 'cam...

... As does The Waya.

There's a neat discussion on Australian INfront...

.... And another one over at Atomic.

The She-Geek In Training has said a few words...

... And so have a few of the 23rdian crew.

Mmmmm.... It's all very interesting, although they all seem to be saying similar things...

One website which is talking about it in a different way is this one... Anyone out there speak French and feel like interpreting?

So, has anybody found any other refrences that I've missed?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Who are you calling yellow?

It's official! I passed my latest Aikido grading and am now 5th Kyu (green belt).

So does this mean that I am now a lean mean fighting machine ready to take on all comers?

Not even close.... But it does mean that I am more likely to roll in a straight line when thrown across a room by angry directors, which is a step in the right direction.

Seriously though, I'm feeling pretty chuffed. It's been just over a year since I began doing Aikido and I'm still loving every bit of it (although not every bit of me loves it... My knees are once again in discussions with a divorce lawyer).

From here on in the training will continue to get harder and harder, but I'm confident that I'm in it for the long haul... Black belt here I come!..... Provided a knee reconstruction doesn't come first.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Everybody's talking...

It seems that everybody's talking about Neurocam.

Firstly there's been a healthy discussion over at Metafilter.

Then there's another version of the same over on Live Journal.

Over at the Domain Name Forum there's been further debate about whether or not Neurocam in "Art".

The good folks over at the Whirlpool seem to think it's a bit of a joke.

Perhaps most interesting of all is the newly established blog by newly joined Neurocam lackey ICE. Welcome to the party Ice!

Is this all due to The Age article? I'd say the majority of it is, but the Domain Name Forum debate definitely began before the article, as did Ice's blog.

Is this just the beginning for Neurocam? Or are they attempting to go out with a bang not a whimper?

I'm not sure, but another hint may be provided by the following e-mail I received today -

Sender: *********
Subject: Illuminatus, 23 and Neurocam
Date: Sunday December 19, 2004.


I recently became aware of Neurocam, and reading your blog entry on the train station locker, it's obvious that whoever is giving you your assignments is a fan of the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Given the mindset of Neurocam and the obsessive if absurd numerology in the book, I guarantee you it is not a coincidence that the briefcase was in locker #23.

If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. At the very least it will help get you into the right mindset.

The Illuminatus? Could it be that Neurocam is just part of the oldest conspiracy of all?

I'll have to track down Hagbard Celine and ask him...

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A big day in the life of....

big (bg) -
big·ger, big·gest Of considerable size, number, quantity, magnitude, or extent; large.

There are big days and there are BIG days, and today has definitely been one of the latter.

It started with Mark Moncrief's mega-sized Neurocam expose which was printed in The Age today. Even though Mark had made me aware that the story would run today, I still received a considerable thrill when I discovered that there was a picture of me on the front page of the paper. Wow, I look good when I'm in the shadows.... Even if I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing...

For those of you who haven't yet read the article you can read an online version here, complete with a myriad of pictures (including one of my own "shadowy" countenance).

It's a shame, though, that the link to my blog is listed as "Delivery Boy's blog".... Hmmmmm.....

The moment I finished reading the article, however, I was forced to remove all thought of it from my mind. Why? Because at lunchtime today I had my latest Aikido grading.

This time I was attempting to move from 6th Kyu (yellow belt) to 5th Kyu (green belt). For the last two weeks I've been training extra hard for this grading (13 classes in 14 days) and today it all paid off. Although I won't get the official results until next week I'm positive that I passed.

Tonight, to top off my BIG day, I'll be going to my dojo's XMAS BBQ.

Neurocam, Aikido and Food - A great combination which has resulted in one amazingly big day!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Neurocam Assignment - Delivery Boy - Part 2

I’ve spoken in the past about the fact that I am, by nature, a remarkably curious creature. So it’s fair to say that being in possession of a briefcase, the exact contents of which were unknown to me, was quite a head-trip.

I’m sure, then, that you won’t be surprised to learn that once I got the briefcase home I immediately did what any other curiosity-ridden person would do – I tried to break in to it.

After about half an hour of the tried and true (but tedious and time consuming) method of trying each possible combination in numerical order (I got to 301 406) I decided to take a break and check my e-mail.

The e-mail at the top of my in-box was from Charles Hastings, Head of Neurocam’s Operations Division.

Sender: Operations Division
Subject: Neurocam Assignment NCI-4351/02
Date: Thursday December 9, 2004

Neurocam Assignment NCI-4351/02

Critical Information Couriering - Phase 2 - Delivery.


The secure delivery of a briefcase which contains an object of vital importance to Neurocam International's continued operations in the Asia-Pacific Quadrant.


Below are the procedural details for this assignment. Any deviation from the operational protocol described will result in a possible requirement of disciplinary action.

1. You are required to contact Operative Meni via the following e-mail address - *********

2. Arrange a mutually convenient place and time for transfer of the briefcase you have in your possession. During your correspondence DO NOT reveal the exact nature of the briefcase. At all times refer to the briefcase as "a parcel".

3. Upon delivery of the briefcase, you are required to obtain evidence of the transfer. This evidence must be provided in at least one of the following forms - Photographic, audio-visual, audio, retinal scan, bio-metric authentication, fingerprint imprint or any alternate form of definitive evidence you are able to procure.

4. Submit a report of the transfer to the Operations Division ( with transfer evidence attached.


In the interest of assuring the safety of Operative Graham Henstock it is essential that all operatives BCC all correspondence to Neurocam International's Operations Division ( If this does not occur, Neurocam refuses accountability for any detrimental consequences arising from the operative's encounter.

In addition, although the final location of the meeting is entirely at the discretion of the operatives, Neurocam International strongly recommends that the exchange take place in a heavily populated area, so as to further ensure the safety of both operatives.


It is the opinion of the Operations Division that a period of 72 hours, following the moment of initial contact between operatives, should be sufficient for the completion of this assignment.

Neurocam International, however, respects the potential difficulty of arranging a mutually convenient meeting time and so is prepared to be flexible regarding the deadline upon this assignment. Nevertheless, please be aware that the contents of the parcel are of utmost importance to our organization and thus the most expedient possible completion of this assignment would be highly appreciated.


Charles Hastings
Head, Operations Division
Asia-Pacific Quadrant
Neurocam International

As I finished reading the e-mail my curiosity levels increased exponentially. Who was “Operative Meni”? Why did he/she need the briefcase? Why did Iocus Severus give me the briefcase “for safe-keeping” if it was intended to be used as part of a Neurocam assignment?

There was only one way I would get answers to these questions so I promptly fired off an e-mail to Operative Meni (whose e-mail address I have censored for reasons which will soon become apparent). I then settled in for another attempt of “briefcase break and enter” (my patience for which lasted a whopping ten minutes).

The next day I was delighted to discover an e-mail from Operative Meni awaiting my return home from work. As I read the e-mail its tone and style reinforced a scenario that I had been entertaining all day – A scenario in which Operative Meni was just another Neurocam operative who probably had little or no idea about what was contained within the briefcase.

After a couple of e-mails (and a quick phone call) a time and place for our meeting was agreed upon. Due to conflicting work commitments, however, we were unable to find a time which fell within the 72 hour period suggested by Charles Hastings, so we opted instead to throw ourselves upon the mercy of the “flexible deadline” clause, contained within the assignment, and arranged to meet outside the Commonwealth Bank in South Melbourne at 1.30pm on Thursday the 16th of December.

For the next five days the briefcase sat in my room, tempting me with its mystery, but, despite considerable pressure from my housemates, I managed to resist the urge to crack the locks open with a screwdriver and hammer.

And so it was that at 1.15pm on Thursday the 16th of December I ended up telling my boss a lame excuse about how I had a “thing” to do as justification for why I had to leave for lunch on the dot of 1.15pm.

As I pulled up in South Melbourne I attached my Neurocam badge (sorry, signifier) to the collar of my shirt, removed the briefcase from my car and headed for the Commonwealth Bank, keeping my eyes peeled for a possible “Operative Meni”.

It wasn’t long before I spotted a well dressed business woman who was also sporting a Neurocam badge.

“Graham?” She asked.


She then looked down at the briefcase and her eyes bulged slightly.

“Is that it?” She enquired incredulously.


Looking thoroughly bewildered Operative Meni took the briefcase from me and turned to leave.
Before she could make a dash for it, however, I stopped her and explained that I needed to take a photo as evidence that the transfer had occurred. Meni seemed a little alarmed by the suggestion, but then agreed on the condition that I did not photograph her face.

Once I managed to perform the necessary rituals required to get my housemate’s digital camera to work, Meni and I said our goodbyes. She then promptly headed off back to whence she had came, briefcase in-hand and, I’m guessing, glad to be removing her self from what must have been a thoroughly bizarre encounter with a man who didn’t even know how to use a camera properly.

I watched Meni leave and then returned back to work, briefcase-less and none the wiser.

And so it was that I completed Neurocam Assignment NCI-4351/02.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if Operative Meni is currently sitting somewhere, trying lock-combinations in numerical order….

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Neurocam Assignment - Delivery Boy - Part 1.

It’s been over a week since I was given my latest Neurocam assignment and I’ve been itching to reveal what it was.

I think enough time has passed (and if it hasn’t, then I’m sure the Neurocam management will learn to cope), so let’s get stuck into it –

Neurocam Assignment NCI-4351/02 (or how I became a Neurocam delivery boy).

I was quite surprised, last Wednesday, when I received an e-mail from the mysterious Iocus Severus. Due to the ongoing absence of correspondence I had assumed that the peculiar pen-pall with the elastic vocabulary had disowned me completely and was now focusing his attentions on some other Neurocam lackey. It’s nice to know that I was wrong.

His e-mail to me reads:

Sender: Iocus Severus
Subject: I need your help
Date: Wednesday December 8, 2004.


I'm in a spot of bother. Something has come into my possession that needs looking after. I can no longer trust any of the others. Can you see your way to lending me a hand?

Signify your availability for any time during the week 6 - 12 December.

Kind regards,

Iocus Severus

I immediately responded with the details of my availability and didn’t have to wait long for a reply. A mere fifteen minutes later the following arrived in my in-box.

Sender: Iocus Severus
Subject: Details
Date: Wednesday December 8, 2004.


Thank you for offering to help.

Here are the details of what I require you to do. Please follow these instructions to the letter.

At 5.15pm on Thurday December 9, 2004, make you way to Spencer Street Train Station. Use the Spencer Street entrance. Make you way down the ramp, turn right and enter the first male facilities that you see (on your left). Go to the 2nd cubicle from the end. Wait there for 5 minutes.


Iocus Severus.

P.S: Remember the Atbash Cypher.

For those you weren’t aware, the Atbash Cypher is a form of cryptography that Iocus Severus and I touched upon during some of our earlier correspondence.

Since I drive nearly everywhere, I had never been to Spencer Street Station before. Even though I had assumed that a Spencer Street peak hour rush would be a little intense, I must admit that I was completely overwhelmed by the chaotic hustle and bustle that greeted me when I arrived at the designated time. Of course it’s possible that the adrenalin running through my veins added considerably to my sense of unrest.

As I ducked and weaved through the sizable crowd (displaying high-school football skills thought long forgotten) I couldn’t help but wonder how it was that Iocus Severus thought he was going to be able to conduct a covert encounter in so densely a populated area.

I quickly located the male toilets and, following the instructions given to me, made my way to the 2nd cubicle from the end. I entered the cubicle and locked the door shut behind me.

I considered taking a seat but, given the situation, decided that was just a little too weird and so decided to stand and wait. Outside I could hear a constant procession of bladder relievers, hair-do checkers, hand dryer users and crotch scratchers.

About three minutes had past when, without warning, a manila envelope was slipped under the wall of my cubicle (from the cubicle at the end). To my surprise a distinctly female voice then spoke – “Wait five minutes then open the envelope.”

Before I could respond, I heard the door of the cubicle next to mine open. Its occupant departed and the sound of her footsteps quickly merged with the myriad of other bathroom noises.

Once five minutes had elapsed I bent down, picked up the envelope, opened it and examined its contents.

Inside there was a single piece of paper which read (in thick black letters) –


Using my vast Atbash Cypher knowledge (and a cheat sheet I had prepared earlier) I immediately deciphered the message –


Things were quickly changing from being slightly weird to being thoroughly bizarre.

The person who designed cisterns for train station toilets obviously hadn’t intended for them to be easily remove. After about three minutes of grunting and groaning (which would have sounded delightful to anybody else who happened to be listening) I was finally able to remove the cistern lid.

Floating in the top of the cistern was a zip-locked bag.

Throwing modesty and hygiene to the wind, I reached in and removed the bag. I then replaced the cistern lid.

I opened the zip-lock bag and removed its contents. The only thing inside was a small cardboard ticket, about the size of a tram pass.

It took me a few moments to realise what I was holding, but when realisation eventually dawned I was filled with a sense of almost uncontrollable excitement – The ticket in my hand was a pass card for one of the secure lockers I had passed on my way into the station.

I made my way out of the male toilets and headed directly for the lockers across the walkway. As I approached the lockers I looked around. Was anybody watching me? Could I see anybody who looked familiar? To my relief, I couldn’t spot anybody who seemed to be paying me any undue attention (although it must be said that by this point I felt like I was acting awfully suspiciously).

I fed the pass card into the panel located at the centre of the lockers and heard a satisfying “click” as one of the lockers popped open. I walked up to locker 23 and looked inside… Sure enough, here was the “something” that Iocus Severus had intended for me – A shiny silver, combination-lock briefcase.

As I removed the briefcase I took one last look around. As far as I could tell I wasn’t being watched but, as I know from past experience, you never can be 100% sure when it comes to Neurocam.

All of the way home I was racked with curiosity – What was in the briefcase? Why did Iocus Severus want me to have it? What would happen next?

The last question, at least, was answered almost as soon as I got home. Waiting in my e-mail in-box was an e-mail from Charles Hastings.

Now I know you’re dying to know what it said, but it’s time for me to once again utilize one of my famous “cliff-hangers”. It’s getting late and it’s high time I went to bed. I promise I’ll post the rest of the details of this assignment sometime tomorrow night.

Until then, you’ll just have to live in suspense.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

With my next Aikido grading looming large (this Saturday, to be precise) attending five aikido classes in three days seemed like a good idea at the start of the week...

...Now I'm not so sure.

To be fair, I am, as a result of such intensive training, much better acquainted with the techniques I need to know for the grading, but it's the sharp stabbing pains in my hands and fingers that are currently causing a reassessment of my earlier theory.

No more typing for now. I'm too sore. Time for sleep instead...

And tomorrow? Another Aikido class of course....

Monday, December 13, 2004

Merry Meredith Musings.

It's the start of summer in Australia which means it's also the start of the music festival season.

Whether it's The Big Day Out, Summerdayze or Carols By Candlelight most Australians love a good music festival and I'm no exception to that rule.

I've already told you all about my recent trip to Earthcore (which officially occurred in Spring, but still deserves a mention) so now it's time to tell you about my second music festival experience of the season.

Last weekend Sharn and I packed the tent and made our way to the Meredith Music Festival.

I'd never been to the Meredith Music Festival before, so it was an entirely new experience.

My first surprise came when I discovered that Meredith only has one stage. I had imagined that, for a festival of it's size, it would have at least two stages. This fact ended up being one of the major negative aspects of the festival - If you didn't like the act that was on you had little choice but to endure them.

This issue was compounded by the fact that there was very little else to do at the festival. Where Earthcore had a bustling market place, swimming hole and drum playing workshops, and Summerdayze had six stages and a bubblebath, Meredith only had the one stage and a few food stalls. This led to a lot of sitting in the natural amphitheatre, waiting for the next act to start, contemplating how much time needed to pass before I could justify another ice cream...

It wasn't all bad, though, since I did like more than a few of the acts.

Some highlights were -

* Sage Francis. I've only discovered the work of Sage Francis over the last few months and I can't recommend him highly enough. A tough talking, globally concerned rapper from the US, Sage was at his best when he informed the crowd that "The Sun is merely reflection from the moon, stealing all the lime-light" and that "God is not a woman, he is a biatch!" Great Stuff.

* Young Heart Attack.
Yeah it's just rock, but it's DAMN GOOD rock... Mmmmmmm...

* The Unicorns. Weird Canadian Pop in white jump suits and sequins. Fantastic fun!

* Hilltop Hoods. Man! Can those boys work a crowd or what? One of the most energetic, enthralling live performances I have seen. It probably helped that, due to Triple J's recent choice of feature CD, I knew most of the lyrics. They rate a huge 9 out of 10 jumping dreadlocked party-goers.

* Watching an electrical storm slowly advance towards us. Nature is at its best when it's at its extremes, and a sky full of lightning is an amazing thing to witness under any circumstance.

Some low-lights were -

* The Mud. They'll be digging up tents and bogged Mazda's for years to come.

* The Dirty Three. It's a shame that I have to say this, since I absolutely LOVE The Dirty Three, but whomever decided that it would be a good idea to put them on straight after the Hilltop Hoods should be tarred and feathered. One minute the crowd is jumping around, happy and hyped, and the next minute they are being subjected to an hour and half of music more suited to a funeral dirge... Sloppy programming on somebody's behalf... Still, they did provide the perfect soundtrack for the arrival of the electrical storm.

* The rain. What amazing summer weather we've been having... By my count it's been raining for 10 of the 13 days of summer... Yeah.... That's what summer's all about...

* The sun. When it wasn't raining the sun was intense. A little bit more shade wouldn't have gone astray. Thankfully Sharn and I were well stocked with 30+ sunscreen, but I have no doubt that more than a few melanomas were conceived last weekend.

All in all, despite my whingeing, I had a pretty good time and I'm very glad I went.

Next up... Mmmmm... Not sure.... Maybe the Big Day Out in Melbourne...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

... But the word could not yet be passed along.

As I had anticipated in my last post, today has turned out to be VERY strange day.

Unfortunately I’ve been asked not to blog about my experience until such time as I am given an "all clear”.

I will, however, say this much – I am now in possession of an… item…which, it would appear, has some Neurocam significance.

I promise I’ll reveal more detail just as soon as I am allowed.

I can't help but wonder, however, whether Xade already knows some of the details.... Maybe I should meet him in the "cone of silence".

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

There was movement at the station...

Now I know that Xade has already commented on the fact that there seems to have been a dramatic increase in the amount of Neurocam activity of late, but I wonder if he's received an e-mail anything like mine.

This morning I received a mysterious e-mail from somebody whom I thought had disowned me...

I won't say anything more now, except that I suspect that tomorrow may end up being a VERY interesting day.

I must admit, however, that I find it dreadfully amusing that this certain somebody has chosen now to contact me... Shouldn't friends also contact you at times when they DON'T need your help?

Bah! Maybe I'm just being old fashioned.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Flying Blogs.

Are blogs like flies?

No? Well it certainly seems like they're dropping like them.

I must admit that I shed a small tear when I realised that I-Merge had decided to call it a day. A tear indeed, but, truth be told, I took some solace in the fact that I would still get to hear Chris' take on the world and world events any time I knocked on his bedroom door and forced him to come drink a beer with me.

It would seem, however, that being on my "Blogs Worth A Look" list is akin to a death sentence for any self respecting blog. Much to my horror, it would appear that CCR has also hung up his blogging shoes and retreated once more into the realms of anonymity.

And so it is that I now raise a glass to both of those blogs (and their respective authors) and say "Fare thee well fellow travelers. It was fun to travel alongside you for at least a little while."

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Afghanistan's Capitalism.

In 2001, following an intensive bombing campaign and remarkably short ground war, The United States Of America brought two of it's driving principles to Afghanistan - Democracy and Capitalism.

Three years on Democracy is still like the new, slightly nerdy, kid in the schoolyard. Everybody can see he's got some good ideas, but very few of the other kids are ready to admit to being his friend... Perhaps he'd be more popular if he lost the pocket protector.

Capitalism, on the other hand, is just like the handsome, charismatic rich kid who has been dropped off in his parents Ferrari. Everybody wants to be his friend.

The philosophy of Capitalism is quite simple - Figure out what you've got and then determine a way to make money off of it.

Unfortunately Afghanistan is a pretty desolate country and they're having a bit of difficulty discovering things they can make money from. In fact, to be perfectly honest, the only things they seem to have in abundance is Opium and Osama Bin Laden. Good thing, then, that they've found ways to make money off of both of them.

The opium trade in Afghanistan is booming and it would appear that it's going to continue to be that way for quite some time.

Osama Bin Laden, on the other hand, seems to have gone missing. Oh well, never mind, there's still plenty of ways to make money off of him. Osama world? Golly gee! Does that mean there'll soon be underpaid teenagers dressed in plush Osama Bin Laden costumes that kids won't be able to help but hug?

It's nice to see that capitalism is working out so well for the afghans... I'll be sure to visit once they've opened the rollercoaster in Osama Mountain, but in the mean time I'm going to allow myself to be distracted by "Where's Osama?".

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Song #16

Graham’s 32 Songs - #16 “Your Next Bold Move” by Ani Difranco

“coming of age during the plague
of reagan and bush
watching capitalism gun down democracy
it had this funny effect on me
i guess

i am cancer
i am HIV
and i'm down at the blue jesus
blue cross hospital
just lookin' up from my pillow
feeling blessed

and the mighty multinationals
have monopolized the oxygen
so it's as easy as breathing
for us all to participate

yes they're buying and selling
off shares of air
and you know it's all around you
but it's hard to point and say "there"
so you just sit on your hands
and quietly contemplate

your next bold move
the next thing you're gonna need to prove
to yourself

what a waste of thumbs that are opposable
to make machines that are disposable
and sell them to seagulls flying in circles
around one big right wing

yes, the left wing was broken long ago
by the slingshot of cointelpro
and now it's so hard to have faith in

especially your next bold move
or the next thing you're gonna need to prove
to yourself

you want to track each trickle
back to its source
and then scream up the faucet
'til your face is hoarse
cuz you're surrounded by a world's worth
of things you just can't excuse

but you've got the hard cough of a chain smoker
and you're at the arctic circle playing strip poker
and it's getting colder and colder
everytime you lose

so go ahead
make your next bold move
tell us
what's the next thing you're gonna need to prove
to yourself”

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I first started to take an interest in politics and world events. Nor do I remember exactly when it was that I started to notice just how many of the world leader’s ideologies differed dramatically from my own. I do, however, know that both of these things occurred and that they have both had a major impact on my life and personality.

Over the years an interest in politics has been both my passion and my bane. Like rubbernecking at a fatal car crash, I find myself inevitably drawn to newspapers, websites, articles and movies which reinforce my opinion that humans beings have forgotten (or, perhaps, have never known) how to treat each other with a basic level of respect, decency and humanity.

The truth of the matter is, as much as it pains me to admit it, that I feel remarkably powerless when faced with the apparent supremacy of right wing conservative politics in today’s world. I feel insignificant against the might of immoral multi-national corporations and ineffectual when challenged by the reemergence of fundamentalist religion.

A sense of righteous indignation has often hollered in my ear, demanding that I stand up and be heard on the issues that I feel so strongly about, but, no matter how many copies of Adbusters I may read, I generally find myself being internally horrified as I externally submit to the wishes of the politicians, governments, organizations and peers who hold differing opinions and priorities to my own. For years I have been quietly sedating myself with a mantra of - “Surely they’ll wake up to themselves…. Surely…”

When I first heard “Your Next Bold Move” it spoke to me in a way that very few songs have. Ani Difranco captures perfectly my feeling of helplessness and my growing suspicion that it is time for me to stop sitting on the side line.

When it comes to world events and politics I’m not sure what my “Next Bold Move” will be, but I’m currently contemplating it at length and I know that my time of quiet submission is almost at an end.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


It's been a big week of education here at Captain Coincidence HQ.

I spent Monday and Tuesday mentally daydreaming about Earthcore and physically attending a St.John's Ambulance First Aid course. To be fair, it was an interesting experience and my brain now contains a plethora of useful medical facts (such as the fact that severed limbs don't actually bleed very much). The result of the course is that I am now a qualified first aider which means, amongst other things, that I am now legally required to assist anybody I stumble across who looks like they require first aid... Hmmmm... I sense a "hermit" period approaching.

Wednesday was my exam for my next level of Rigger's ticket. I am now officially qualified to build tower cranes, install concrete paneling, use load equalization gear and plan and direct two-crane lifts. Great! It would have been nice if I had done ANY of those things whilst doing the course... Oh well...

Next week I've got the test for my Advanced Rigger's tickets. So I'll be head deep in the books until then. Interestingly enough, the advanced ticket actually seems to include information that might be relevant to my job at MTC (such as how to rig boatswain's chairs and flying foxes), so it would appear that there may be a point to my having done this course after all...

So until I get bored of studying and feel the need to blog, here's a useful medical fact - A "heart-start machine" will NOT start your heart if you have actually flat-lined. It only works if you've still got electrical activity in your heart.