December 2006

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 744.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 72.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.

Inspiration

If you ever need inspiration for writing, the media during the Christmas season provideth.

Not only are there TV shows on during prime time that didn't quite work the first time they were aired (very good lessons, all of them) but the newspapers run stories like P-plater caught drunk with bathtub and Paris Hilton's Parents Enjoy Watching Her Sex Tape.

There are also people writing actually quite interesting things, although hardly any of these people are Australian, unfortunately. For instance, this, which is essentially a gossip column about Freud, and of course it is riddled with hilaaaarious freudian references and double meanings, but Freud is more interesting to me personally than a front page story about a country singer arriving at an airport (see here).

Also, anyone who has read Patrick Suskind's Perfume and is interested to hear it is being made into a film: read this.

I wish I could read more. In the meantime, I will read what little I can, watch bad TV, listen to good music, and wait for inspiration.

But inspiration, like everything else in my schedule at the moment, has a due date. The deadline for inspiration is the third of Jan. If I'm not writing on the third of Jan, I am firing myself.

It's official. I've been warned.

The Space, Man

Today we went to check out "the space" (that's dramaspeak for the stage) at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne. It brings a whole new frightening realism to the pending deadlines of having a show on when you can actually see where the audience would be sitting (if it existed yet).

I wonder what it's like for a doctor to meet the patient s/he's about to perform brain surgery on. Probably just something you get used to, right?

Right?

Guys?

Er...

Is this thing on?

Definition of writer

A writer is defined as one who:

- writes (books or stories or articles or the like) professionally (for pay)
- is able to write and has written something

... this is very depressing because it is ten past two in the morning and the above description not only fails to mention "stays up all night fiddling about with images in photoshop" but it also seems to imply that an ability to write or proof of having written is necessary in order to claim that one is a writer...

I must enrol in a course of some kind.

Deadlines

I was at university for six and a half years. I studied a variety of things, from the Australian Constitution to the formulation of a social jurisprudence in the Bridget Jones books.

While studying at the university, I honed one skill in particular. I became very good at working to deadlines. I can feel a deadline. I can sense it. At the start of the semester, I would write down the deadlines in my new diary with my new pen and I would know when they were and I was certain that this year I would start studying, researching, or writing several weeks before the due date.

There's a scene in the upcoming movie Happy Feet, which a group of us saw yesterday at a charity screening, where a penguin is terrified of jumping off a cliff. "It's okay", he says to himself, "Trick yourself". Then, teetering on the edge of the cliff face, he shouts "Look over there!" at which point he looks backwards while walking forwards, saying "Where?" and topples over the cliff.

The joke is funny because you can't trick yourself. You can't tell yourself the deadline for your essay is two weeks earlier than it actually is. You can't tell yourself the exam isn't on the 30th, it's on the third. You get really good at knowing how long you're going to need and you leave it until then. Then you research and practice and study and write and then on the Friday of the due date you submit your work and you go to the pub and by Monday you don't remember a single thing about the entire subject matter you've been learning about for the last six months.

So I've been trained like this - the bad habits of a tertiary education often come in the form of caffeine and nicotine, but in my case it's definitely an inability to work without a deadline, and a habit of leaving everything up to the last minute.

The Comedy Festival is in April. In university lingo, that's getting close to the time where you ask for an extension.

Better get myself down to the library.

Also, why is this conversation happening? (Or in the stupendously irritating Age)? I know why. It's because these kinds of people are so loathed and detested by women with any self regard whatsoever that they don't actually know any, which is sad because there is no better feeling than laughing tea out of your nose because your friends are the funniest people on earth. For the record, two of the top three funniest people I know are women, and the other one is frankly just an unfortunate product of genetics.

There's Panicking to be done

So now it's official.

Standing There Productions is doing a theatre show during the Comedy Festival!

This is foolhardy and terrifying and those of us in charge of writing said show had frankly better pull a rabbit out of our hat fairly quickly.

At the moment, the show consists of a draft script and a series of hand drawn "maps", kind of like family trees, demonstrating what the show is intended to become (always good to keep by way of hilarious retrospective comparison with what the show actually ends up being). Some of these maps are on napkins. Some of them are on the backs of invoices from places like the physio where I went to get my wrist looked at. One of them is written in a crayon. (It was down the back of the couch).

In the next five months (yes I am counting December shut up) the show will become three dimensional and will develop a life of its own. Rita has drawn up a budget that, if it were a person, would be very intimidating and already would have done its Christmas shopping.

Any advice, support, love, affection, cash, and potential bums on seats would be most welcome at this point.

Also, anyone who can read my handwriting from when my wrist was broken might be able to help me decipher the previous month or so worth of not very helpful "notes" I've been taking on the show. What do we think "[indecipherable word] could be hilarious" might mean? What could be hilarious? What dammit!?

Let me know. Quickly.

Just while I'm on this point, quote of the year so far goes to Rita (as usual) for her assessment the other day that we did not need to panic about a certain aspect of the production "at this stage". I expressed my relief and Rita considered the position for a moment. "Although", she said soberly, "There's panicking to be done".

This, I think, shall be my mantra until May 2007. There's panicking to be done. How exciting.

Fashion Faux Pas

Check this out.

Bloke's found himself in trouble for wearing a political T Shirt on an aeroplane.

Pretty funny when you consider that John Howard is allowed to wear green and yellow parachute tracksuit pants IN THE OPEN AIR.

I know what I think is the bigger magnet for terrorism.

The World Wide Web

The internet leads you to some interesting places doesn't it?

Tonight I have read an article about Courtney Love in The Scotsman (go here), found several extremely offensive websites while looking for an Australian flag (now there's a good sign) and bumped into this rather delicious nerdalogue of series one through to three of the BBC comedy series Black Books (I didn't know that Manny's character was based on Bob Dylan, but as I've always said: nerds shall inherit the earth). I particularly enjoy the "Chalkboard" section of this entry.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: tank de lord for lady internet.

Now shoosh, I have work to do.

When writing is hard

Check this out.

It's the comic timing that's so perfect. And the use of the word "like".

Who needs writers? We'll always have Paris.

Hot

It's the worst fire season in the history of Victoria at the moment. We went to Lakes Entrance on the weekend and we had to get the train back through the smoke. It was eerie, cruising through the brown, flat, smokey, empty land. Melbourne was clogged with smoke when we got home. Anyone who doesn't believe in global warming is:
a) entitled to their own opinion
b) a complete tool
and in my opinion there is a right answer.
Anyhoo, in Standing There Productions news, we are as busy as little bees with a plan or two for some new projects, none of which we can announce at this stage because they're "in development" - the least exciting stage for a project to be in, for everyone other than the writer.

And here's the "IF I STILL WORKED IN COMMERCIAL RADIO" story for this week here for your enjoyment.

Back to the two hands thing again

When I broke my wrist, my doctor told me that I would have to learn to write with my other hand.

He told me that when he was in year twelve, he had to do all his exams with his left hand instead of his right because he'd broken his right arm the week before.

And THEN he told me that BY THE TIME HE GOT HIS PLASTER OFF, he could write two different words AT THE SAME TIME with two different hands.

Try it. Two words, same time, different hand each.

Write "CAT" with one hand and "DOG" with another.

When he told me that, I thought he was joking. I thought he was being a smartarse. I thought there's NO WAY that is actually possible. That's like having TWO BRAINS nerdo!

Anyway so now I can do it.

Cat with the left hand, dog with the right hand.

I'll give it a week. Tops.

Arrive Alive

I just heard that hideous noise: the out-of-control screeching of tires and the final sickening thump, followed by car horns and frantic shouting.

I live on a main road, and sometimes I hear the screech and I cringe for the thump but get nothing. Today, it was the most godawful whack. I went outside and there were (why are humans like this?) instantly dozens of people on the scene, frozen in a mixture of confusion and genuine horror.

There was a motorbike on the road, hurled into the traffic, and - after a ghastly couple of seconds - a man scrambling up from it, limping, swearing, lurching around in circles while a terrified bloke in a pink shirt sprinted from his offending vehicle and copped a serve. Whatever else he's feeling now, relief that the bloke was yelling at him rather than dying on the road must be up there in the top three.

Anyway, the point of mentioning this is that I cannot for the life of me remember what I thought was so important about only having the use of one arm for the last six weeks. Given that I, as a driver of a car, could blind-spot a motorcycle and end up in thirty degree heat blowing into a breathalyser and explaining what went wrong to the cops, I'm pretty sure a broken arm and inability to write is a fairly unimportant non-historical event in the scheme of things.

So I hereby retract... actually no I don't, I just acknowledge. I acknowledge that life is fairly random but sometimes not very random. When I was out the front of my house, swearing I would never drive a car again and watching the firemen sweep up the glass, I reached into the letterbox and got the mail. In it, a letter for me congratulating me on my driving record over the last three years and awarding me with a discount on license renewal.

I'm fairly sure that if that entire episode was a short story, the editor's note would be: too obvious.

Anyway, I'm off to renew my license, with a bit of trepidation and a thirty-six dollar discount. The "Arrive Alive Scheme" letter could not have had better dramatic timing.

In other news, anyone wanting to read the gorgeous Anthony Lane on the genuinely bizarre Walt Disney (and I count myself among you) go here.

Huzzah!

It's true!

Two hands ARE better than one!

Today I got my very attractive "brace" taken off my arm. Life is good, life is grand, life is so much faster and easier with two hands.

Excuse me while I tie up these shoelaces without calling for backup. Yay!