Monday, November 30, 2009

Wake me up when movember ends.

Guess what today is? It's November 30th. And that means one thing. It's the end of the fictional month 'Movember'.

I'm sure you all know what 'Movember' entails. But if not, here is a quick rundown:

Step 1: Grow moustache.
Step 2: Get donations.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Profit!

I completed these steps. And let me tell you, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Firstly, and most importantly, you have to deal with the moustache. The first week is hard, because your moustache is in its first stage. You look like a pubescent Mexican child. It gets mistaken for either a shadow or a coffee stain. People laugh. The second week your moustache hits it's stride, and it's actually the easiest week. It's not long enough to be annoying yet not short enough to be confused for a dirt smear. At this point your commitment to Movember becomes evident, and people stop laughing and start paying attention.

Week three is without a doubt the toughest. Your moustache is now at a length where it is starting to catch food and sweat on your face. It's gotten to the itchy stage, particularly if the weather is unpleasantly hot. If you're lucky, you can do a bit of a trim, but everyone knows that isn't in the spirit of things. By now you will have received all of your donations, and the whole thing feels like a waste of time.

The final week is highlighted by a general numbness. You've got mere days to go, and your heart is set on shaving your unsightly facial hair off. But part of you has grown attached to the little guy. You're starting to think "I don't look so bad with a moustache, maybe it is something I could pull off in the long term." These thoughts are horribly misguided, but at this stage of the game, anything is possible. You get few stray donations rolling in, nothing to write home about though. People start to say things like, "I don't hate it as much as I used to." or "You know, you look like *insert famous person here* with that moustache."

I've worked through all of this, and I can tell you, the end is totally worth it. Knowing I'm going to go back to my normal self is great. Not feeling like I have pubes stuck to my face is going to be very freeing. Not startling myself in the mirror every morning will be fun. However, I will miss it. It was a great conversation piece. Plus, I got compared to the following people:
Check out my Facebook for some pictures of the big shave.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Guns kill people.

It's 'Literal Lyrics' time again folks! I realize we skipped a week, but I had a very good excuse. Not only that, but this awesome blog called 'nine summertime' liked my last 'Literal Lyrics' so much that they want me to write for their blog as well. So this is going to appear on both blogs. Hurray, new audience! Anyway, enough ego stroking, lets get down to business.

This week's song is 'Russian Roulette' by Rihanna. Don't get me wrong, I think she's great. But only at dancing and singing. And getting punched in the face by her boyfriend. OH NO YOU DIDN'T! The song opens with some basic instructions on how to live.

Take a breath, take it deep
Calm yourself, he says to me
If you play, you play for keeps

Rihanna, you're hanging with the right crowd. These people have their head on right. Breathing, calmness, playing for keeps. Good on you girl.

Take a gun, and count to three

Jesus Christ! Rihanna, what the fuck is going on here? I take that back, these aren't nice people. Guns are not toys. Get out while you can!

I’m sweating now, moving slow
No time to think, my turn to go

No Rihanna, there is most definitely time to think. It doesn't have to be a long thought. A simple "I don't want to shoot myself in the face and die" will suffice. Also, I hate to point out the obvious, but if you're moving slow, then you're probably buying yourself those few seconds necessary to think about how much of a bad idea it is to play Russian Roulette.

And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest

Now, either everyone is sitting too close or you're dangerously skinny. If people can see your heart beating, you've got some issues. I'm going to assume these same people that want you to play games of life and death are also encouraging your eating disorder. Rihanna, as much as I applaud you for leaving Chris Brown, perhaps you should reconsider your new choice of company.

And I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must must pass this test

How topical. Is this song a metaphor for something? Perhaps a destructive relationship you had recently?

So just pull the trigger

Nooooooo! Rihannaaaaaaa!

Say a prayer to yourself

Oh thank God you're still alive. Get out now. Either you're going to die or you'll be an accessory to murder.

He says close your eyes
Sometimes it helps
And then I get a scary thought

Only now? You've just nearly killed yourself and now you're thinking scary thoughts? You're crazier than I thought Rihanna.

That he’s here means he’s never lost

That doesn't make him a winner. Nor does it make him a desirable partner. It most likely makes him a killer. Or at least a cheat. While I don't know how many games of Russian Roulette he's played (he does seem to have a lot of handy hints), I'm guessing the laws of probability would prohibit anyone from becoming too good at it without some element of rigging.

As with all pop songs, the chorus begins its monotonous repetition about here. Rihanna "pulls the trigger" two more times, so either there isn't a bullet in this revolver or they're playing with a machine gun. She does offer one more word of... warning, I suppose you could call it.

As my life flashes before my eyes
I'm wondering if I will ever see another sunrise
So many won't get the chance to say goodbye
But it's to late to think of the value of my life

Once again, I must point out that there is always time to think of the value of your life. You don't have to write an essay, just a brief "I have loved ones" would pretty much cover all the important arguments. This whole song is making me question Rihanna's sanity. She really doesn't seem to care much about her own safety, or how her death (read: suicide) might make people feel. Instead she worries about seeing the sunrise. Never mind how her parents would feel, or her legions of fans, or her friends. As long as you're impressing a boy by gambling with your own life, it's all good.

You know, Chris Brown may not have been the nicest guy, but I doubt he would have made you kill yourself to prove you like him. He wrote a song called 'Kiss Kiss' after all. Maybe you should give him another chance.

Read the full lyrics here
Listen to the song here.

I've been your literal DJ, here's something less dangerous than shooting yourself:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Circle of life.

Previously on Pazzwizzle...

"NacBook is dead... my beautiful, black, second-hand MacBook... 'HAHA HAHA NACBOOK!!!'... I spilled its entire contents over my Mac... my Mac came crumbling down around me... the cancer had spread... I dropped it into the MacHospital again (this time Mac1 on James St)... what a mistake that was..."

I checked NacBook in on Saturday November 7th. The geeky Mac shop assistant assured me that their technicians would have a look at my laptop within the next 2-3 working days and get back to me, and if anything needed to be replaced, that'd take about 5-6 days. I was upset but I knew they were going to fix NacBook. Well, I thought they would. They seemed to think it was just a power button problem, and those are cheap and easy to fix. I thanked them for their time and headed home, Mac-less.

2-3 working days rolled past. Nothing. Not a peep. I began to worry. I spoke to some of my friends who also owned Macs. Some of them had used Mac1 before and none were impressed. Long wait times, poor customer service, high fees. I began to regret my choice of MacHospital.

Friday November 13th dawned and it was now into the 5th working day. I was pissed. I waited until lunchtime and then called Mac1 to see what was going on. A smarmy Mac techie answered. Put on your best "I'm an elitist MacTard and I'm better than you because I know about computers" voice and let's have a conversation. (Mind you, this is abridged for convenience.)
Tom: What's happening with my Mac? You guys said you'd call me within 2-3 working days?
Mac1: Hmm, let me have a look. No, we haven't checked your Mac yet. It usually takes 5-6 working days. We'll get to it.
Tom: Right, well, I kind of need my laptop back, so when do you think I'll get a call?
Mac1: Ahhh, probably not today, so definitely Monday, since the weekend isn't a working day. (Oh really? No shit, Sherlock. Did your Mac tell you that or are you just naturally gifted at knowing what happens on certain days of the week?)
Tom: Okay, I guess I'll hear from you Monday then.
I sat through my second weekend without NacBook. Tortuous stuff. I was using my mum's mini-laptop and it was like trying to make a phone call on an Etch-A-Sketch. Anyway, Monday arrived and still no phone call. Now I was mad. It had been 5-6 working days and that window had passed.

I didn't know what was so difficult about my problem. it's not like there was a program on the Mac that wasn't working, the whole thing wouldn't turn on. How long did that take to test? I can tell you, about five seconds. Once they'd identified the problem, all they had to do was solve it. Surely there are only so many things that can cause that problem. Yet somehow I was at the bottom of their list of things to do.

Tuesday November 17th and I finally got a call. Once again, get your "Elitist MacTard" voice ready.
Tom: Hey, Nice to finally hear back from you.
Mac1: Hey Thomas, we've had a look at your Mac and there isn't anything wrong with it.
Tom: Sorry, what?
Mac1: It's booting up fine. I've run a full diagnostics test on it. There is nothing for me to fix because there is nothing wrong.
Tom: There is, or else I wouldn't have dropped it in. It wasn't turning on.
Mac1: Well I've turned it on a number of times. It's working fine for me. (At this point, he is implying I don't know how to turn on my MacBook.)
Tom: Right, well I guess I'll pick it up then. So there is definitely nothing wrong?
Mac1: Nothing at all. If you do have any further problems we can look at it then, but for now it's good to go.
Tom: Okay, excellent, I'll pick it up as soon as I can.
I picked NacBook up the next day (well, my sister did as I was at work, bless her soul) and was excited to use it again. Due to prior commitments however, I was not able to properly test it until Thursday night. Thankfully, Mac1 had not charged me anything to look after my MacBook for 10 days, so I was not out of pocket. Lucky for them too, as what was about to happen would not have been so easy for me to handle if I'd given them so much as a dollar.

NacBook wouldn't turn on. I tried for at least half an hour, yet nothing worked. I did this thing that the Mac1 guy recommended, I prayed to various deities, I even got someone else to try just in cas I had actually forgotten how to turn NacBook on. Zip, zilch, nada. Not a sausage. I was furious. Mac1 had wasted ten days of my life. I felt like hunting the MacTard down and ramming my laptop up his over-clenching anus. Then I realised he probably already pleasures himself with Apple products so I'd just be doing him a favour.

I picked myself up off the floor and committed to getting NacBook fixed. I owed it to him. No doubt having to spend nearly two weeks in Mac1 would have been like shooting yourself in the face repeatedly. On Friday at lunchtime I dropped into Next Byte on Adelaide St. I explained to them the problem. I covered the whole Mac1 saga and pleaded with them to have a proper look.

They were great. I actually spoke to the technician who was going to look at NacBook. He told me what the problems might be and assured me he'd get to the bottom of it. In fact, within the 20 minutes I stood in that store I learnt more about what was wrong with my Mac than I had in ten days with Mac1. I did have to pay a $75 fee to get it looked at, but at that point, money was no longer an issue. They said they would get back to me in 2-3 working days. I believed them.

Two hours later and I got a phone call. No "Elitist MacTard" voice necessary this time. The technician informed me that he had opened up my MacBook and discovered water damage on the logic board. The logic board was basically the motherboard and it controlled everything in the MacBook.

It was going to cost about $1900 to replace, but I hadn't lost any data. He then suggested that a new MacBook would only cost $1300, so it'd be far more economical to just get a new one, considering NacBook had water damage. He even offered me the opportunity to turn NacBook's hard-drive into an external hard-drive for a small fee, and that way I'd have all my old data, as well as a shiny new empty Mac.

Once again, in two hours, Next Byte had done more for me than Mac1 had managed to do in nearly two weeks. Obviously I was upset at the prospect of having to pay for a new MacBook, but knowing that I was going to have all my old data made me happy. I did not want to have to re-download all my porn.

So here I am now, using my sister's computer to post on Pazzwizzle and check my e-mail. I am faced with the exciting yet expensive task of buying a new Mac this week. The moral of this story is fairly simple: Don't go to Mac1 on James St for anything Apple related. However, if you want to burn down a shop or rob somewhere, then its the place to be. I do, however, highly recommend Next Byte on Adelaide St. Not as an arson or burglary target, but as a place to get Apple things.

Smell you later!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Death of a salesman.

It is the end of an era.

NacBook is dead.

"What is a NacBook?" you ask? Simple. It's the name I lovingly gave to my beautiful, black, second-hand MacBook. After a solid 2-ish years of faithful service, it has finally shuffled off this mortal coil. It will never more play another iTunes track. It will no longer be host to my gigs of pirated TV shows. It has gone on its last Safari.

Firstly, a bit of history. A eulogy if you will. The name NacBook arose not too long after I bought the MacBook. I bought it second-hand off Facebook Marketplace. Having never purchased anything online before, I was terrified I was going to get played. So much so I actually had a nightmare in which my MacBook arrived, but when I opened it up, I discovered it was actually a cheap Korean knock-off, called a "NacBook".

In the nightmare, the keyboard had random symbols written on the keys. When I turned it on, it powered up and looked like a Commodore 64 and the screen stayed locked on an image of a monkey laughing at me as the tinny speakers pumped out the following on repeat:


I woke up in a cold sweat. It made the wait for my purchase brutal. However, when it arrived, the MacBook was perfect. A powerful, sleek, black machine that, once I got used to using the thing, was a dream to use.

The beginning of NacBook's demise was a few days before Christmas 2008. I was in London with my family, and they had all headed out to the shops. I stayed home, wanted to jump on the internet and catch up on the viral web I'd missed over the last few weeks that'd I'd been schlepping it around Ireland and Spain. I had a big glass of water at my side, and in what I can only assume was a fit of laughter, I spilled its entire contents over my Mac.

I'm sure they heard me scream across the English Chanel. I couldn't believe my stupidity. I turned NacBook off and wiped off as much of the water as I could. I placed it over one of the many heaters in the house and prayed it'd be okay.

Two tense days later and the big test came. I tried to power it up. And it worked! Oh joy of joys! I practically peed myself in excitement. There appeared to be no issues. NacBook had looked death in the face and laughed. "HAHA HAHA NACBOOK!!!" I assume.

Unbeknown to me, I had done more damage than I thought. Like a cancer that sits quietly in a man's testicles before it one day surprises it's owner with blood filled urine, the water slowly began to eat away at the inside of NacBook.

First to go was the hard-drive. In about April of this year as I watched an episode of Weeds, my Mac came crumbling down around me. It was running a marathon with a bad hip, and that hip had just disintegrated, taking with it all my music, movies and uni assignments.

I dropped NacBook into the MacHospital (Next Byte on Adelaide St) and hoped I wouldn't be apart for long. That same afternoon I got a call. They had the part in stock and would replace it for me right now. I peed myself for the second time in 6 months. $300-ish later and I had NacBook back. I rebuilt my music and movie collection, and restarted two uni assignemnts. Once again, I thought everything was fine.

Yet the cancer had spread. It hit NacBook's lungs (I've never felt a laptop heat up as much as mine could), brain (the logic [read: mother] board was slowly corroding) and liver (NacBook was a cheap drunk). It struggled on, like a rapper with a sore throat, but the audience know it was only time before this rap battle was going to end in a technical knock-out. Well, I didn't, but I was the ever-optimistic coach.

I began to notice that if I turned NacBook off, it sometimes didn't like to turn back on. It seemed that the power-button was faulty. Usually it would just take a few tries. But each time it took longer and longer. I was having to leave NacBook on permanently so I wouldn't have to boot up. This band-aid could only stick for so many showers.

Finally, on Friday November 6th, NacBook loaded it's last Facebook page. It seemed to be struggling so I turned it off, against my better judgment. And when I tried to reboot, nothing. NacBook was out. I tried all night but the poor thing was done. I hoped it was just a superficial power-button issue, and so I dropped it into the MacHospital again (this time Mac1 on James St).

What a mistake that was...

Coming soon: MacBook Medical Negligence

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hackers hack.

Right, so, avoiding my blog and focussing on study isn't going as well as I'd hoped. In my defence, I only have one exam, and it's not like I haven't been doing anything. I'm just pacing myself.

Anyway, I discovered today (during a procrastination adventure) that my old Hotmail account appears to have been hacked. Or at least it was hacked. On or about Wednesday the 6th of May 2009 at 9:0o PM. How do I know this you ask? Excellent question.

The hacker sent two e-mails from my account to a number of people in my address book. And it would appear that the hacker was a 13-year-old male. Once again, how could I know this? Let's review the sent messages.

Oooh, burn. Luckily this was sent to someone I barely know. Which did make it a strange choice. But who am I to question the motives of a twisted e-mail account hacker. The highlight of his activity was the second email he sent.

Brilliant, isn't it? This was sent to 6 people, all of whom are relatives of mine. Obviously the hacker found my contact group "Family" and used that as inspiration. Luckily, (somehow) it was marked as spam and never properly reached its intended audience. Although I did discover a reply from one of my cousins, sent about a month later, who expressed much confusion at my HIV e-mail.

The whole incident had me in hysterics. What an odd thing to do to someone. I have no clues as to who it was, and it hasn't been done since. None of my other online accounts been affected. I should probably update a few passwords though. I'm one of those people who uses the same password for a number of things.

It's given me a fantastic idea for some stand-up material. Evil spame. What if, instead of offering you penis enlargements and discount medication, spam went about destroying your life, telling family members you were HIV positive and e-mailing random acquaintances hate-filled letters.

Nigerians, eat your heart out.

And now, something that isn't spam.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sweat it out.

What up y'all?

I am entering the last Swotvac of my BA, and as such I will be hitting the books. Don't want to fail now, if I do, I won't graduate. And that would be shit.

Which means, sadly, that posts on Pazzwizzle will be sparse, at least until next Thursday.

I promise though, once I am through the veil, it'll be back to regular updates. No doubt I will have much to talk about.

As an interesting aside, according to the Wikipedia page for swotvac...
The term Swotvac derives from the Scottish word swot (or less commonly swat) originally meaning to sweat, which found use as a slang word describing a student paying careful attention to his work. Swot as a verb suggests acting like a swot, studying for one's exams. Vac is generally considered to be a shortened form of vacation, indicating the period free of classes. The use of the uncommon and outmoded word 'swot' has led to the backronym Study Without Teaching Vacation. There are many other different backronyms that can be derived.
Isn't that fun.

See you in a week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The times.

I'm introducing another (hopefully) weekly regular to this blog. Literal lyrics.

I'm going to suck the fun out of pop music. Well, whatever fun that hasn't already been pitch-corrected out.

To begin with, a song called 'TiK ToK' by Ke$ha. See what she did there? A dollar sign instead of an S. That means she's gangsta, I guess. I'm not sure. To me, a dollar sign would mean economist. She restores cred with the song title 'TiK ToK', because spelling mistakes and bad grammar are... cool? In her defence, she did drop out of high school at 17. That's well before they start teaching you how to spell in the US education system.

The opening verse:
Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy
(Hey, what up girl?)
Put my glasses on, I’m out the door - I’m gonna hit this city (Let’s go)
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back
So she wakes up and feels like P Diddy. I'm immediately concerned. Is that meant to be Diddy saying "Hey, what up girl?" Either she's got some serious schizophrenia happening, or her perception of what P Diddy's life is like is severely confused. But I digress. She puts on her glasses (reading or sun?) and she's off. But wait, before she leaves, she's going to brush her teeth. Psych! You thought she was already out the door.

Unfortunately, she doesn't know basic dental hygiene, because she's brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack. Her justification? Because when she leaves for the night, she isn't coming back. She plans on picking up with Jack Daniels breath. Good luck Ke$ha.

Her explanation of what makes a party girl (clothes, toes and phones apparently) continues until the chorus.
Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop no
Woah-oh oh oh
Woah-oh oh oh
Yeah, loud music, DJ's, popping. Whatever party Ke$ha is at, it's totally awesome. And she's starting fights. So my guess is she gate-crashed. Then she appropriately points out that as time progresses, so does the party. But the party never stops. How convenient, neither does time.
Ain’t got a care in world, but got plenty of beer
Ain’t got no money in my pocket, but I’m already here
Now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick ‘em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger
Ke$ha, not content with her previous efforts of describing what party girls do, elaborates. She has not a care in the world, but she's got lots of beer. It would seem she does have a care. It is about how much beer she has. Obviously, due to all the beer she's purchased, she now has no money, but its okay, because she's already at the party, so she no longer has any need for cash. She'll just steal what she needs from here on in.

Dudes! Finally Ke$ha, you're talking about something other than yourself. These "dudes" have heard "we (assumedly Ke$sha and her friends) got swagger". Nothing more appealing than a girl with swagger. But Ke$ha is no slut. Unless they look like Mick Jagger (really, this guy?) she's going to tell them she's not interested. I'm sorry Ke$ha, I'm confused, what are you trying to say?
I’m talking about - everybody getting crunk, crunk
Boys trying to touch my junk, junk
Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk
Now, now - we goin’ til they kick us out, out
Or the police shut us down, down
Oh, I see. Drunken attempted sexual assault. And this will continue, Ke$ha says, until the perverts get kicked out (I get the feeling that will happen sooner rather than later) or the police come and shut the party down (again, considering the sexual assault, probably won't take long).

Since this is a cookie-cuter pop hit, the chorus is repeated twice, and then we head to the bridge... Which is basically just the chorus run through a Microsoft Word synonym check. More talk of DJs and their music. She does make one more interesting claim, that "the party don’t start until I walk in."

In her defence, she brings all the beer her money can buy, dudes who grope girl's "junk", she starts fights and she brushes her teeth with whiskey. She knows where the party at. My concern is that she implies that she leaves her house in the morning looking for a party. Yet the party doesn't start until she arrives. So does she just chose a house and walk in? Not a good idea if you don't want the "po-po" showing up. Or is she insulting everyone else's parties? If it's the latter, she really just sounds like a jealous bitch. Start you're own party if you aren't happy with what's on offer.

As an interesting aside, this song is also known as 'Dolla'. Again, bad spelling. Very hip. I hope that title was the amount she was paid to make this awful song. The song is a "bullet performer", having risen from 28 to 4 in the ARIA singles charts. Australian music consumers, you disgust me.

Read the full lyrics here.
Listen to the song here.

I've been your literal DJ, allow me to play you out.