Sunday, March 16, 2014


So vividly that I wake into a state
Halfway down the hallway between
Two rooms; One me texted the other
A message asking "Can you read this?"
I could not, yet somehow scrying
Into the blank screen, comprehend
That he wrote to me from beyond life:
So, I am left to think, is life itself
Not beyond life, a military two-step
Upon our own grave, to a string theory band,
And do we not merely shuffle the steps
Like playing cards, seeking a kind of order
In that which lacks it so entirely?
So that finally I forget about all it all,
Rise, make tea, and die another day.
That the elements will blithely erase
Our very names in a half beat offends
The one in time, prompting us to note not
Our presence, but life's perfect absence.

- Larry Buttrose

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Last week for Literacy Week I set my Media undergraduates the following exercise.

I asked them to come up to the whiteboard in threes, and, without peeking, write one of the following sentences, which they had not seen but had only heard spoken by me:

1. They're going to stay with their relatives who live over there.

2. In this economic climate you're going to find it hard to keep your job.

3. It's too early to give the dog its dinner, but the cat can have its.

4. The best bananas are at Joe's shop, but the best apples are at Pete's.

5. Whether the weather is rainy or sunny you're fine with a jacket.

6. Sometimes it feels like every day I run into everyday little problems.

The exercise was not to embarrass students, but to make them think as they wrote out their assigned sentence. When they had finished, the class looked at the three versions of each sentence on the whiteboard, and voted on which one(s) they thought correct. Sometimes they themselves were incorrect, as well as the students who had written the sentences.

I always make the point that growing up in an English-speaking country is such a gift, it being the de facto global language, but the tragedy is that so many of us don't bother to speak and write it correctly.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Here’s the pitch, right? There’s this, like, cop. He’s kinda like a good cop, but bad too, cos he’s totally tough on the bad guys and doesn’t play it by the book. He has this chief who might or might not be in the pay of the mob, and this buddy he’s teamed with that he hates but who is actually OK and watching his frigging back.

Then there’s the serial killer. He’s a total like drug fucked whacko… lives in this derelict block of apartments someplace and murders chicks for the fun of it, or so it seems... But when he murders the wife of the cop, and the cop, you know, really really like, loves her, the shit totally hits the fan.

The cop is hard on the tail of the killer, but goes totally over the top and the chief who may or may not be in pay of the mob orders him, like, off the fucking case and his buddy gets blown away in a gunfight with the killer. Now the cop is totally pissed. Although he’s off the case he goes against orders and keeps the heat on the killer, and gets fired by his boss.

The killer keeps on killing… and the cop, now out of a job and 
down on his luck, seems finished, until in this downtown bar he 
runs into this, like, really old, old but wise cop, who teaches him all this special martial arts, and, like, yoga and mind control shit.

Now he’s ready… and in the industrial wasteland factory ruin on the edge of down he and the killer run kaboom! - straight into each other, and there is this massive fucking showdown.

Now it gets revealed that the cop is actually a starshipwrecked alien space lord. Which is good, because he has these really powerful secret weapons. But the bad guy turns out to be a zombie vampire corpse-eater, with a whole, like, fucking zombie army behind him, including the chief, nach.

Luckily, in this case, rock beats scissors, good triumphs over bad, and the cop goes on to become chief himself, and live happily ever after in some leafy and law abiding precinct of LA. Except on clear starry nights he still wishes he could somehow get back to his, like, home planet, to be with his concubine Xygrnteuipoqz, and their drooling brood of gremlins. But then that is just all in a day’s work for an honest cop.