fatman Find the clues!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Why I Almost Got Fired From Another Job

The closest I've ever come to joining the French Foreign Legion was on the absolute worst day of my working life, bar none. Now, I've never actually pinned my hand to the wall using a nailgun or had my head shoved into a deep fryer but for most of that day I would have preferred either of those painful moments than to endure the horrors of that day.

This was back when I was working as a photographer's assistant (pre-requisites: opposable thumbs) for a nine-month stint. The life of which usually consists of:

-Having recurring nightmares about misplacing/ breaking camera equipment.
-Resisting the urge to smash the alarm with a hammer when you've only had four hours' sleep and was facing another 14-hour day.
-Putting up lights when asked by photographer.
-Carrying heavy equipment up and down stairs.
-Remembering to bring the film (back in the bygone days where cameras used film)
-Trying not to screw up the lunch order.
-Dodging sandwiches thrown at you when you screw up the lunch order.
-Spending an unhealthy amount of time in front of the computer re-sizing, contouring and converting images from RGB to CMYK[1].

What it doesn't consist of:
-Dozens of nude models vying for your attention.

Usually one gets to be an assistant photographer by doing years of diligent study, having good computer skills[2] and owning a camera. In my case it was because I used to drink at the same bars as the photographer and just happened to visit him the week his assistant left. And it was good for a while.

The photographer was a good-hearted, immensely likable guy named Ned. A sell-refrigerators-to-Eskimos-type who can tell the lamest jokes and still get people to smile for the camera. He used to be a carpenter in his teens and was one of those people who you can give a few planks of wood and some nails to and he'd build shelves, walls, rooms in a matter of several hours.

The day in question started pretty much like any other day (nightmares, alarm clock almost getting smashed to pieces, bumping into a wall that had been put up by Ned overnight). Little did I know that I would spend the day potentially auditioning for a snuff film. Photographer Ned asked me to remove all the images on the digital camera of a wedding we shot on the weekend so we could do a job that morning. I clicked 'Delete All' on the computer and watched the images disappear one by one. Checking the camera again I see all the images were still on there. Strange. I clicked the 'Delete All' option and watched the images be obliterated again. What I realised as the images disappeared for ever was that I had deleted all the images that was downloaded onto the computer when I 'Deleted All' the first time and now I was deleting all the images that was stored in the computer.


My God

I'd just completely vaporised the happiest day of a couple's life. It's not the same as absolutely screwing up a product shot or a model shoot which would be extremely costly but ultimately re-doable. I'd destroyed an event that could never be recreated. Ever. It was then that I decided I would go to lunch and never come back.

...Or so I was seriously considering. The reason I wasn't thrown screaming from a third storey window was that I'd accidentally copied the files on to another computer the previous day- a completely unnecessary procedure- but something I had done. A happy accident that had saved me from a savage beating and a lifetime of guilt.

I have beaten anorexia,

[1] I still don't actually know what that means.
[2] Which is obviously not something I posses. I have recently been banned from several internet cafes as I freak out when people use wireless internet. I go up to these people and yell 'Sorcery! Sorcery! Sorcery!' and try to drum up enough villagers with pitchforks to stone these ungodly vermin.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Death By Bolo Yeung?

The potential last day of my work was......a bit uneventful really. Here I was coming up with elaborate excuses that involved evil twins and red kryptonite to avoid being the subject of a brutal sacking but when I rocked into see "Roy" the bar owner he was too busy trying to get the email to work to pay much attention. "Bernie" (the manager of Gambit bar/ electrician/ janitor/ hitman) and I just explained to "Roy" that there's going to be a comedy event at the Amethyst and it's too late to back out of it. "Roy" looked up from the computer. No yelling. No objects thrown at our heads. No hidden buttons that would summon a Bolo Yeung-type Chinese behemoth to come out to rip out our organs and play yo-yo with our intestines. He just shrugged and said 'Okay.'

Anti-climactic to say the least,

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No Laughing Matter

I might get fired. Soon. There's that ol' familiar sinking feeling that you get after you crash into the BMW belonging to a well-known mafiosi/ a surface-to-air missile takes off one of the wings of the jet fighter you're piloting/ while you cower in fear on the bathroom floor as Jack Nicholson starts using an axe to hack apart the door from the other side. That feeling you get the moment you shoot a 78-year old lawyer with a shotgun while on a quail hunt and realise that this "just might" make the evening news.

For those who can't get enough of Dick jokes here is a jpeg of Vice-President Cheney looking perplexed as he hunts for "quails"

Last December I was approached by a few comediennes to host their show at the Amethyst Bar for the upcoming Melbourne Comedy Festival. It seemed like a good idea so I passed the details to "Roy", the owner of the bar. Now he was supposed to get back to the ladies in a week or two which in Royspeak usually means never so when they asked me again how I thought he'd reply I naturally thought: 'An hour of comedy between 7 and 8, won't cost us anything, we'd get extra customers- why the hell not?'. It would be a full 48-hours later when he'd say that he was dead against the idea after all.

I think I was hoping to change his mind somewhere along the line and had promptly forgotten about it until a week ago when Louise, one of the comediennes, informed me that all the press stuff was due to come out in the papers in about four days.

Cue: Slow Gripping Sensation In The Testicular Region.

Although I've worked for "Roy" for a number of years and generally he's a pretty reasonable guy, he does have a tendency of firing people depending on what he had for lunch that day. I remember that we had a guy called Shane who had been working at the bar for about two years who was likable, competent and intelligent. He broke a bottle of Midori while cleaning the bar one day and was sacked a week later [1]. I think arranging a three-week comedy gig behind Phil's back somehow tops that effort.

My other shirt is Mithril

[1]. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc!

Monday, February 20, 2006

A New Drinking Buddy

As of 8:25 this morning, weighing in at 7lb 5- the size of a small watermelon, young Oscar Danger Randerson, a.k.a. Yevgeny Randerson, emerged from the belly of Hayley making Clark a proud father-type figure. Sighs of relief all 'round when Oscar's skin is the same colour as Clark's and his features do not resemble that of the Pilates instructor. Much. I'm sure that he'll rant on about how cool it is to have a kid on his blog (until he gets bored with it and buys the dvd series of Ed) and I'm fucking dreading really looking forward to every tale of nappy changing and early morning wake-ups courtesy of the mewling poop-machine.

Strange to think that when I first began reading Clark's adventures that he was just a single slob of a guy wandering about in Singapore. Now look at him: married, a father, has his own company. It actually will be a joy to see the Randersons become the kind of people who order babychinos at cafes- because that's what cool parents do.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


'You are what you love, not what loves you.'
                                             Donald Kaufman
Valentine's Day. As the other Kaufman brother would say; "It's a holiday made by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap". Since there is no one currently in the life of Fat (due possibly to the fact that I'm hopeless at giving women a phone call. Unless they've just won the lottery) I'm going to rant about my first love. Why? Because everyone has fallen in love at least once. Had the feeling of stealing fire from the gods, declaring their love in wet cement, carved initials in defenceless trees and dedicated songs to their loved ones on local radio stations. That and I figured that talking about love was more topical than discussing my favourite bits of Kicked In The Nuts.com.
The first time I heard my heart go 'thump' was fairly late in life. High school was filled with girls uninterested in me. University (one year of) fared a little better since, if nothing else, girls actually understood what the Hell you were on about. It was a whole new world of rejections. I did learn that just because girls;
 a) watched art house films and,
 b) carried around bestickered and battered notebooks that they scribbled stanzas of poetry any time inspiration ruptured from their persons
...did not necessarily mean that they were "my type". That and people who take Psychology were deeply disturbed individuals.
After I flunked Uni I ended up dating girls who didn't chuck a hissy fit after every argument and throw red wine at you before storming back to their lecturer boyfriends in tears. There were girls like Natalya (technically my first girlfriend since she wasn't inflatable or made of fleshlight) and Mars (a Uruguayan lass who dumped me after one too many "Urugay...not that there's anything wrong with that!"-comments) who were more like friends that you could touch the rude bits of than girlfriends.
The girl that I think back to as My First Love (this may be because it's less romantic to think of the woman who read the Hungarian news that you used to beat off to as a teenager as your First Love) would be Kylie, simply because she's the most exciting girl that I've ever met. She used to work in the cafe next door to the bar that I worked at at the time. The day I saw her naked was the day I knew I had to ask her number.

Short, young and blonde. Depressingly beautiful. Follow the trail of broken hearts to find her. Make sure you have the suicide hot line on speed dial for when she ignores you. That kind of chick. Chaotic ball of energy. But funny and friendly, not one of those manic, mood-swings-to-the-phases-of-the-moon types. I'd known her for about a month and had conversations most people have with gorgeous cafe staff (ie fun talk but lasting only as long as it takes to make a coffee). So- snippets of conversation that only lasts the lifetime of certain moths essentially. How I came to see her nude was:

She'd been working a few shifts at the bar I worked at (owned by the brother of the cafe owner. White South Africans Jews) which gave me the chance to get into smelling proximity and chat to her. I'd used up every hilarious story I could think of and was scraping at the bottom of the barrel when the Owner informed us that they were running a 'Full Monty' competition. Customers were encouraged to remove all items of clothing and would be rewarded with a thousand dollar drink card. A raised hand. 'Can staff participate in this?'
'Kylie? You're getting up on the bar and taking your clothes off?' asked the Owner.
'For a THOUSAND DOLLARS! What's the catch?'

As she got up on the bar and slowly removed her clothing in front of hundreds of cheering people I knew that I could not draw another breath without asking her for her number. To this day I don't think I've ever felt that way about anyone.

Thus I'd opened a floodgate to random calls at 4 am over trivial reasons, just continuations of conversations from earlier that day. I'd slowly learn that Kylie (now dubbed Monty for her striptease act) was one of these people bereft of thought bubbles: she just opened her mouth anytime, any place (ie during films, which would drive me quietly up the wall). She owned a car we Christened "the Deathmobile" because it would burst into flames if you braked too hard. She also liked pressing buttons with 'DO NOT PRESS' on them just to see what would happen (Our answering machine at the time:
Kylie: Oops. I think something just happened.
Me: (in background) Stop touching things.
Kylie: Eep! It's recording! It's recording! Make it stop!
Me: .....)

The thing is we were never boyfriend and girlfriend (Is that an old school term? Sounds like an Archie comic reference in this day and age). We spent a lot of time together but I never did see her naked again. Months after she left the cafe (and eventually into the arms of another guy) I went in there to grab a coffee. The other staff asked me if we were still together to which I replied we were never actually going out. 'Really? She always referred to you as her boyfriend.'

I'm going to Kicked In The Nuts.com.
to cheer me up.

Meet me in Montauk,

Friday, February 10, 2006

Geeky But Good

You know those wacky guys that used to kick your ass in scrabble and knew how to spell words you never even knew existed? Well they've produced a map of the London Underground in anagram form.
(Courtesy of Boing Boing. As per usual)

The words I don't know could fill a dictionary,

Do Any Of You Vegans Want Something From MacDonald's?

The bed bugs that have been infesting my bed have recently begun to complain about my diet. These bugs have been growing to a disturbingly large size and so far all attempts to remove them (kerosene baths, setting the bed on fire, eviction notices, yelling at them, showing them rude hand gestures) have been met with a shrug from their shoulders and then they ignore me by turning up their stereos. The bugs usually find nourishment in my dead skin cells, the lead paint in the walls and some falling asbestos from the ceiling- their resistance to poisonous substances is actually quite amazing. Unfortunately for them their prime source of sustenance (Me) has not been eating well these days and they are looking quite sickly.

Bed bugs. Sometimes these suckers grow up to 300 times their normal size

'Look Bub,' explains the lead bed bug, 'We's beggin' tuh worry 'bout you. Yuh ain't eatin' too good.'
'I eat well.'
'Pal. Yuh ain't had a vegtuhble in, like a fortnight.' accuses another one of the mafiosi bugs.
'Pringles is not a vegtuhble yo!' a third bed bug chimes in.
'Are you guys worried just because I've got a mild case of scurvy?'
'Dude, that's like a disease that's been treated from the 1740's. How thuh Hell are yuh suffering from scurvy in this day and age?'

They have a point. Although collectively they only have the intelligence of a typical infomercial audience member they are smart enough to make me question what I've been eating these days. A passing by pathologist who suddenly decided to perform an autopsy on Yours Truly would find the following in my stomach:

-six stale pizza slices I found down the side of the couch
-Kentucky Fried things, MacDonald's burgers and other such junk foods that have been helping increase child obesity since the 50's and are sadly the only things open at 3 in the morning
-a t-bone steak that I burnt tonight
-Meg's ipod nano. Crunchy!

'Alright, alright I'll start eating the occasional carrot or something. Now will you guys return my collection of goofy hats?'
They huddle to confer.
'You gots yourself a deal.'

I wash my body with a rag on a stick,

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Trailer Trash

Making new trailers from pre-existing films seems all the rage these days. Here are two that are fairly entertaining. First up we have Sleepless in Seattle as a spooky thriller with a creepy Tom Hanks stalking Meg Ryan. And secondly we have the Back to the Future trilogy from the makers of Brokeback Mountain that questions the real nature of the relationship between Doc and Marty....it's Brokeback to the Future.

I love bored people,

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Learning the Language of James Bond Villains

'War is God's way of teaching Americans geography'
Ambrose Bierce

It also seems a terrific way for the Good Lord to teach various mortals the languages of the race of peoples trying to kill us at any given time. There seems to be no better teacher on our mud ball planet like Paranoia and many a fact can be learnt through sifting through garbage and following the movements of the various arch-villains that litter our world (hostile nations, parking inspectors, ex-wives and their lawyers). Currently Arabic, the Language of the Prophet, seems to be the thing to learn. Sounding like the cross between someone trying to cough up a foreign object lodged in their throat and the sound a handyman makes when he smashed his thumb with a hammer the passively xenophobic amongst us would claim that Arabic is the perfect tongue for declaring Jihads, commanding camels, haggling in Middle Eastern soukhs and making demands on a commercial airliner while you press the barrel of an uzi to the side of a co-pilot's head.

There was a time back in the 50's when Russians were thought to be the Klingons of the Modern world. Sure they'd been a useful ally during the recent set of misunderstandings that resulted in the deaths of 52,000,000 people give or take (known as the Second World War) but could they really be trusted? The language schools opened up one by one to train people to understand what the vodka-swilling heathens were saying so we could intercept their letters and blow up their missile silos.

How the West views Russians- drunk, bearded and smelly

Saturday morning I found myself in the CAE (Council of Adult Education) in the wrong classroom waiting to learn Russian. "Found myself" is a pretty accurate description as I'd had about four hours sleep and my brain wasn't properly functioning. I'd been a tad nasty to the cafe waitress ten minutes before (She:"How are you today?", Me:"It's 9:00 on a Saturday morning lady. How do you think I am?") and was not warming to the prospect of learning a whole new alphabet.

Another fifteen minutes later and we trudge off to the right classroom with our copies of Teach Yourself Russian that inexpiably has a guy in a scuba gear on the cover. The lesson begins with the teacher, Barbara, introducing herself and then asking the class why they'd sunk $330 bucks for the privilege of hauling their asses out of bed on a Saturday to learn a Barbarian tongue. A few of us (like Chris, Nick, a surfy-looking chick and myself) were off to see what Russia looks like, someone was marrying a Russian and wanted to know what kind of abuse her grandmother was yelling at him, a few of them had several languages under their belts and wanted another in their collection and some were doing it just for kicks. I love introductions- it's just like Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Cyrillic alphabet (named after St.Cyril the famous bantamweight boxer and celebrity chef) was a bit tricky to digest at 9:30 in the morning. Although a few of us had a fairly good understanding of it already having bought Teach Yourself Russian a week earlier (like Chris, who had already enough grasp of the Cyrillic alphabet to understand parts of the Moscow News) people like Nick and myself stared blankly at the board and tried to mouth the Russian verbs as they were written on the board. With fingers-on-a-chalkboard pronunciation we tried to sound out the ten Russian verbs- one that sounds a bit like the noise Jodie Foster makes in that film Nell and another that sounds like the noise an orang-outang makes. Damn Russians and their damn language!

Next Week: Fatman gets further behind in class and is asked to leave.

Not in a Hurry,

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day and I'm Feeling Repetitive

It's Groundhog day today. Tradition has it that if Bill Murray sees his own shadow there will be six more weeks of having that dream where you're making slide projections for a biscuit company and you suddenly discover you're not wearing any pants. Although it's more a tradition observed in the Americas, where people listen to ground-dwelling rodents about the state of the weather rather than high-tech satellite equipment, it's given me time to dwell on the repetitive nature on my life thus far.

Apart from starting to learn Russian this Saturday for my upcoming Trans-Siberian trip things have been a tad monotonous of late. Having a quick scan of my last dozen or so posts I see that my musings have a well worn groove- it is following a John Grisham-esque formulaic routine. This tends to be because I lurch at the computer every 3-4 days to write not because I have anything particularly interesting to say but because if I don't I'll forget how to do basic stuff like linking and turning on the computer without setting it on fire.

How I Approach Blogs:

1. Take pills to stop the inanimate objects talking to me and making me do weird things.

2. Turn on computer.

3. Put out fire that has somehow started on the computer.

4. Gaze at screen for half an hour.

5. Check emails.

6. Go back to "writing"

7. Think of what happened the last time I went drinking. Embellish.

8. Write venomously how only three people every read me, one of them being my mother (this is something I think everyone does at least once in their blogging career. It's almost a must. Anytime anyone deviates from the number of people reading (3) or the family member reading it (Mum) the humour seems to be less effective. If you bitch about how the only people read your blog is 14 guys and an estranged uncle it seems less funny. 43% less funny in fact based on a number I just pulled out of the air)

9. Link to Wikipedia a few random words just for the sake of it.

10. Remember a funny t-shirt that you saw someone wear (i.e. 'I f-cked the Olsen twins before they were famous') and put that in the post somewhere to claim as your own.

11. Add a jpeg of said comment.

Mary-Kate and Ashley today


I think maybe I should stop taking the prescribed pills. Maybe the inanimate objects have something important to say.

Wondering what penguins taste like,