Breakfast

The most important meal of the day.

THE STARS

When I think of my idealised self, number one, my hair is thicker. Then place me and my tousled hair in a contemplative breeze, overlooking a canyon or the Eiffel Tower or an ancient Mayan ruin on the top of a mountain that you can only access by climbing over the back of an unbroken string of mules. I’m wearing a fashionable yet utilitarian parka, and i’m taking photos to send back to my model friends who are on shoot in Milan. My eyes are crinkled with humour, and you know that the faint webbing of wrinkles each represents a personal triumph. Because I am a worldly man, who travels the globe with hair so thick that it can speak.

That’s meant to be the Eiffel Tower, not a power station.

But there’s a reason why I will never be my idealised self. And that’s because my idea of a perfect day is not hang gliding off the coliseum into an art gallery to high-five the ghost of Renoir. No. My perfect day is sitting in my house with a good book and eating breakfast ALL DAY.

There is nothing so fine as the multi-part, segmented breakfast. You start off with something bland, like weetbix, because I find it hard to deal with complex tastes early in the morning. Then some fruit. Then exorbitant amounts of coffee. Then you go crazy – yoghurt, or perhaps some kind of waffle. This far-out lifestyle continues all the way through lunch, or as I like to call it, the working mans breakfast. The poor cousin of breakfast. The unfulfilling Pokemon evolution – Breakfast has evolved in Lunch? It is wildly disappointing.

LUNCH uses SANDWICH. It has become UNCOMFORTABLY LARGE. 

If you have exactly what it takes to fully commit to breakfast, you can continue all the way into night-breakfast, commonly known as dinner. Night-breakfast is great, because you can drink breakfast wine. Then again, breakfast wine can happen at any time. True story, me and Bridget once spent a week asking wineries what they would recommend for a breakfast wine. Most of them recommended sparkling wine, anything with a fizz.

TOO MUCH BREAKFAST

LACK OF STARS

My love of many breakfasts means that even on the most pedestrian, working day, I usually have at least a second breakfast. And that makes me a hobbit. And I don’t want to be a hobbit. I want to be an elf. But they probably don’t eat breakfast, they probably absorb sunshine and music through their ears in lieu of poptarts.

THE SCORE

 4.5/5 stars

THE SIDENOTE

So i’ve managed to fuck up my wrist through drunken shennanigans somehow, and using the keyboard pad to draw that piss-poor Eiffel Tower felt like rubbing broken glass into my bones. Apologies to the thousands of readers who are here only for the awesome paint art.

Busking

Trading talent for money on street corners.

THE STARS

Every morning I have to walk through the Elizabeth St tunnel at Central station to get to work. Anybody who has ever traversed that tunnel knows that every three footsteps is a busker. I don’t mind buskers, but they, in collusion with the tunnel, have began to form a complicated superstitious system about how my day is going to be. If I’m walking along and there’s the old couple playing Stairway to Heaven and then some loud guy doing a recent soul hit, I know my day is going to be pretty average. Add in the awesome accordion dude, and it’s going to be pretty kickass. But wait, what about the wild-card that is the blind soprano lady? If I’m hungover, she is a banshee. But things can be far more mutable.

Once, every single busker was singing Stairway to Heaven. I’m fairly sure that’s the apocalypse right there. But nothing can really compare you for the sheer horror that is creepy grinning Chinese man and his creepy Chinese puppet. This guy only ever appears in the early hours of the morning, when things feel dislocated enough anyway. He plays that weird twangy Chinese music on his CD player, and just bounces the puppet around with that same, fixed, maniacal grin on his face.

This can only mean one thing:
I’m going to be murdered by the ghost of a flying bear.

And he is the only one I ever consider giving money to, as i’m so goddamn scared of him that I think maybe I should appease the angry puppet thing. But then I consider that maybe by giving money, i’m getting its attention, and then the rest of my life will be spent fleeing from its evil eye, like a Hobbit to Sauron. It’s just not worth it.

LACK OF STARS

Once I went busking. Yeah. Back when I was in ‘The Bracket Creeps’, Australia’s only Poetry Boyband, we were doing a bunch of travelling around NSW. We basically travelled to anyone who is strange enough to hire a comedy group who tells jokes via verse and wears purple suits. Our manager at the time was like “Woo, I got you a gig in Thredbo!” which is where the snow lives. This seemed like a fairly awesome place to take our absurd poetry/comedy blend, so we were all up in it. Only to discover later, that we’d been entered in the ‘2006 Thredbo Street Buskers Competition’.

The Bracket Creeps present: Lachie.

Our brand of performance is fairly reliant on three things: A stage, a stationary crowd and a steady supply of red wine. We thought that maybe there would be a central stage in the middle of the town, so perhaps we could get one of those points, and then the sheer awesomeness of our act would bring the next, and sure, there wouldn’t be wine, but we could buy schnapps or something.

We got none of these things. Instead, we discovered after being given a helpful little map, that we were set up in the middle of the snow, somewhere near the proximity of a chairlift. After conferring to the other street buskers – musical acts, jugglers, clowns etc, we discovered that we were probably as far away from a stage as could possibly be. In fact, icy snow fields are probably the anti-stage, and if you for some reason had those categories in paper, scissors, rock, then stages beat snow.

So I need you to picture this. Four retards shivering in their flimsy purple suits, screaming poetry into the howling arctic wind, while skiers zoomed past us, spraying us with ice chips, before hopping on to the chairlift. Every so often if they clumped together into groups, we would attempt to CHASE THEM DOWN, but our leather dress shoes would slide wildly, and we really couldn’t afford to get any wetter, because we were in the snow, and I was starting to actually think we were going to die of hypothermia. Yeah. Ever had a performance so bad that you might actually die?

The only time we got even the hint of an audience was when a group of parents decided to plunk about eight of their children in front of us. Hilarious in many aspects, we all started yelling in protest to the parents as they began to ski off. The look of bafflement on their faces was priceless. Surely, all street performers and buskers were trustworthy child minders? Who did these purple clowns think they were? They actually protested to us, and only relented when Lachie, shrugging his aubergine shoulders, stepped forward and began the first line of our ‘Syphilis quartet’.

Watch out, Wiggles!

We are not child friendly.

During the weekend, we almost came to blows, found out that schnapps doesn’t have a high alcohol content, and spent about seven hours throwing rocks at a frozen lake. After many similar performances, we gathered at the end to discover that we didn’t win.
And that’s why I don’t like busking.

THE STARS

1/5 stars

Mosquitoes

Flying blood sucking insects.

THE STARS

You’d struggle to think there’s anything positive about tiny buzzing things that spread Ross River Virus, aka the worst river of them all. And there isn’t. But my personal story about mosquitoes is filled with dizzying highs and chemical lows. Great heroes and terrible betrayals. And a naive young man who some call Patrick Lenton…

Like many young men of his generation, Patrick was vain and effete, worrying more about his looks than going to church or fighting on the western front. Yes, and Patrick was very worried about his skin, which suffered from terrible blemishes. So he started to take Roaccutane, a fearsome drug. After a month or two of looking like BUBOES the Bubonic Plague Mascot, his skin become a smooth and white as marble.

Can’t wait to see them in the finals against The Black Death.
(Was that a sports joke?)

But there was a terrible side effect. Yes, he was beautiful, but the drug made him very, very sad.

So sad.

So he stopped taking it, and went back to being blemishy and psychotically happy. But unknown to science or medicine, the drug gave Patrick a tiny super-human power. Mosquitoes were no longer interested in biting him. They hated the taste of his chemically-altered blood.

LACK OF STARS

We all know my difficulties with sleeping. We probably all know the horror of having a mosquito in the room while trying to sleep. I wear earplugs when I sleep to keep out the sound of trains and planes and screaming murder victims. Due to an oddity of SCIENCE when earplugs are on, they filter out every single sound EXCEPT the high pitch of a mosquito buzzing. Thus making them my arch-nemesis. It seems like an endless war – they can’t bite me, I can’t stop hearing them. But recently the stakes have shifted to the mosquitos side, with the terrible discovery that they can bite me. I woke up in the middle of a very hot night recently, to discover my chest and arms riddled with giant mosquito bites. I was itchy as all hell, and very depressed at the terrible turn this ancient rivalry had taken. I felt powerless. I felt un-special. My one minor super power had worn off.

I’m sure they’re lovely individuals,
 it’s just their blood sucking views that i’m against.

Then in the morning, I was completely unblemished. Not even a minor itch. I passed it off as heat-rash or heat-delusions or just Old Yeller getting one in while I was weak, until it happened again a few nights later, and this time I had witnesses! Turns out that while mosquitoes can now bite me, I can still resist their effects. The war is far from over.

Yeah, mysterious marks that disappear the next night.
Dracula is such a mosquito wannabe.

My next counter-offensive is going to consist of me drinking a bucketload of gin, hopefully making my blood too alcoholic.

THE STARS

0/5 stars

Poseidon

Greek God of the ocean, earthquakes and horses.

THE STARS
You know, it occurs to me that i’ve been a little bit down on the divinities in this blog. In order to remedy this, i’ve decided to dedicate a post to a deity I really admire, old Poseidon. You know what I like about Poseidon? It’s the fact that you can rely on him to be as completely changeable as the sea. Unfathomable. Tempestuous. You get the theme.
It’s completely awesome that much of the time everything is super fun happy in the sun. He’s the god of beaches and Mediterranean cruises and Coke ads. 
I FUCKING LOVE YOU DOLPHIN,
AND YOU TOO, STINGY RIBBON DUDE!
And then for no reason at all, IT’S EARTHQUAKES AND TSUNAMIS. And isn’t that a much more problem free faith for you faith-having people? What do you do when little 7-year-old Jane asks 
“Daddy, why was Grandma killed by a cancerous pig on my birthday? Why did Jesus let that happen?”
And instead of you having to make up some bullshit about ‘God’s special plan’ or ‘Grandma was too good for this world’ (she must have finally reached vintage), you can just tell her honestly that Poseidon did it, because he is very powerful, very angry and very mad. 
I’M SO ANGRY ABOUT… CORAL.
But you just know that having a batshit insane god would be so much better than simply having a malicious trickster lurking behind the mask of a charitable, good god. For one thing, you have to admire the sheer kick-assness of a wild, vengeful god.
TAKE THAT, GALLEON!
And it wouldn’t be all bad. He just isn’t stable enough for that.
HEY GUYS I INVENTED HORSES FOR YOU!!!!
WHY? WHO THE FUCK CARES, THEY’RE FUCKING HORSES!
LACK OF STARS:
While this is all sheer awesome, there was a particular instance where Poseidon in one of his other incarnations made me really sad. No, i’m not talking about the planet Neptune, that’s a BRILLIANT planet. No, i’m talking about when he was King Triton.
I HAVE A GREAT IDEA: SHARKS!
If you’re not familiar with the story, King Triton had a lot of beautiful daughters, and the fairest of them all was Ariel. But she wasn’t happy, and King Triton was to blame.
You see, she wanted to be where the people are, she wanted to see, wanted to see them dancing. Strolling around on those, what do you call them again? Oh yeah, feet.  Flipping your fins you don’t get too far, legs are required for jumping, dancing, strolling along on the, what’s that word again? Street.
She wanted to be up where they walked, up where they ran, up where they played all day in the sun, wandering free, she wished she could be, part of their world.
But King Triton wouldn’t let her, and i’ve never forgiven him.
THE STARS
4/5 stars

Stars

Giant gaseous explosions that live in the sky.

THE STARS

Sure, they’re hell pretty I guess. Plus they help me rate things.

LACK OF STARS

Stars get a lot of positive press, but you have to ask, what have they actually done for us? I believe a star may have led some shepherds to el baby Jesus, but I can’t remember why they needed to be there anyway. Probably, after following the cruel, interstellar peer pressure of the star, their sheep wandered off and they were ruined. Their children starved, the lamb market plummeted and a whole bunch of moneylenders jumped out of the temple windows in despair. But it was all ok, because they have briefly glimpsed their messiah drooling near some oxen.

C’mon, all the lifestock handlers are doing it.

I had my own personal pain with stars earlier in my life. For those that know me, the notion that I am in any way ‘scientific’ or ‘methodical’ would probably cause people to wheeze out their own clavicles with laughter.  However, I did have a very systematic approach to superstition and religion. Basically, I periodically went through every deity and custom, such as ‘Buddha’ or ‘Making a wish when blowing out your candles’, and asked for the same, simple thing. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, that i’d ask for a giant cat made out of fire to ride and magic powers and the strength of a thousand warthogs.

I tell people I always wanted to be a writer,
but what you see above is how I envisioned my future,

No. I realised that maybe there are divine rules about that sort of thing, so I just asked for something simple, pedestrian, and obviously simple for the supernatural to bring about. A sword and a crown. That’s all I wanted in life. A sword and a crown.

Anyway, when I got to the ‘wishing upon a star’ thing, I was in the family car looking out the window, and concentrating really hard on it. And to my surprise, as I’m wishing the heck out of things, a big green meteor flashes past me. Clearly a sign.
Oh and that’s the other thing. I realised that maybe it would be a bit too much for the sword and crown to appear in my hands/on my head, respectively, so I asked that they would appear in my underpants drawer. Cause I was strange.

So I ran home and looked in amongst my unmentionables, and there was no sword OR crown.

And that’s when I realised there is no magic, wonder or purpose in life.

THE STARS

2/5 stars.

Humanitarian Juggernaut

There’s a great initiative happening at the moment to raise money in aid of the Queensland floods. At the moment (and i’m watching ABC News 24) the death toll is at 20, and over 50 still missing.

The Authors for Queensland auction is basically where writers donate something and people bid money for them. The proceeds go to the Premiers Disaster Relief Appeal.

So i’ve donated a personalised blog post. It’s been a nail-biting, whirlwind of generosity over there. I’m very pleased to announce that as it stands, I’ve gone from $2.50 to $5.97 to a grand $5.99.

That shit’s going to be building houses.

Insomnia

When there is no logical reason why you’re up this early on a Saturday morning, but you’re so bored with your own inner monologue and have been awake all night.
THE STARS:
So I started off with a two hour hypothetical about which of the characters from Seinfeld would last longest in a zombie apocalypse. I won’t bore you with the details, but after being firmly in the Elaine team, I decided to go with Jerry. He is the protagonist, after all.
I then started panicking because I realised if Michael Bay approached me and asked me to pitch the trashiest film concept that I could think of, I wasn’t automatically prepared. 
Therefore I came up with two ideas:
Twi-Bot
*SIGH* I KEEP TELLING YOU HUMAN, I AM A TRANSFORMING
MOBILE BLOOD UNIT. THAT FIGHTS CRIME.
Turtle-Wizards… who race!
This summer, when sometimes the smallest packages hold the biggest surprises
and the true journey lies within us all. Turtles.
LACK OF STARS:
At the beginning of the night, I had ‘Terrible Love’ by The National stuck in my head, which I’ve been enjoying the wuthering shit out of. The lyrics devolved from ‘It’s a terrible love and I’m walking with spiders’ which is strange enough I suppose, to ‘It’s a terrible love because she’s made out of spiders.’ Which while giving me an amusing image, became a really annoying cycling set of lyrics. Over and over. So I desperately endeavoured to move on to the next song on the album (in my head, remember), aptly named ‘Sorrow’ and I realised I couldn’t remember any of the lyrics, just an old man’s gummy humming version of it. Eventually, however, I got the lyrics ‘cover me in Reagan bones’ to circulate through the old noggin.
The original hipster.

 Finally, through puffy, slitted, hateful eyes, I watched dawn seep inexorably through my curtains, the slow morning proctologist. And now I type away, knowing that I have work in an hour.

I AM INEXORABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE STARS:

I’m giving this insomnia two stars for being mildly amusing. Usually I just lie awake thinking of my problems! Lame. Then again, I haven’t even been to work yet, so I’m assuming this bout will just get worse and worse. Ok. Deducting another half for fearful expectations.

1.5/5 stars

Coffee

The process of turning beans into PURE LIQUID BLISS.

THE STARS:
I love coffee. I love coffee eighteen times. Sometimes I lie awake all night thinking about the coffee I’m going to have the next morning. The sleeplessness makes it extra delicious. My brain does not actually work until coffee has been inserted into it, and people who know me don’t tell me anything important until this is so. For example, this has happened so many times it’s not even remarkable anymore, where I ask the ticket man at the train station for a large flat white. 
The extra delightful stages of my caffeine buzz go something like this.
1. Peaceful happy nice nice.
This song IS MY LIFE!
I remember once I detoxed from caffeine and alcohol and sugar for about two months, due to a) rampant excesses and b) wild tonsil flu, and I was heading off to my shitty job at the airport. It was 4am, I was on a stinky train filled with sleeping commuters from the south coast, I hadn’t slept at all the night before and I took a sip of my large coffee, and I realised I’d never, ever been so happy before. This sublime feeling of perfection of course wears off after about 15 minutes, replaced by…
2. Jitter, jitter, jitter, jitter, jitter.
This is what it feels like:



Not much to say about this, except that your thought patterns stop flowing, or really forming patterns for that matter. Instead… they swarm. I find myself solving about ten different problems, forgetting them and then thinking about zebras.

3. ENERGY
TAKE THAT, DEADLINE!
I WILL COMPLETE EVERY TASK!
LACK OF STARS:
What goes up, must come down. We call it the Hindenburg principle. For me, this is usually characterised by a distressed bafflement at basic tasks or procedures.
“Explain… yourself. Stop. No. I don’t want this now.”
This is when you start weeping quietly when trying to work out if you have enough change for a train ticket, or the sullen anger you get at the computer which keeps rejecting your password because you are continually typing ‘Patrick’ into the box. 
But you know what – i’m not deducting stars because of this. You know why? Well, because I’m drinking a lot of coffee right now, and I CAN’T HELP BUT BE EXCESSIVELY OPTIMISTIC. And also because the simple cure is YET MORE COFFEE.
THE SCORE:
5/5 stars

Brown Snakes

Pseudechis australis, the common King Brown or Mulga snake, is a species of venomous snake found in Australia. It is one of the longest venomous snakes in the world and the second longest in Australia. Despite one of its common names, “King Brown”, it is part of the Pseudechis (black snake) genus.


THE STARS
They eat rats?


LACK OF STARS
Back when I was at university, I found myself, how shall we say, a gentleman of leisure in between semesters. In other words, I was unemployed, lived with my parents and had about two months with nothing to do. My family all went on holiday (without me?) and left me in the house to slowly go crazy. My chosen form of madness that month was watching all the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In Inception terms, I was going deep. Really deep. I started eating all my meals in their basic components. I’d eat a sandwich in its individual parts, too lazy to actually put things on bread. Clothes became a concept of the past. The lounge was a scattered mass of wine bottles, Oreo boxes and Doritos bags, all cushioning the dread lord of sloth that was me. 


Well played, ladies.

Also, fun fact, because it was Buffy that I was watching, I became scared of vampires and carried my sword around everywhere with me. My dad bought this sword home from Oman for me, and it’s a ceremonial cavalry sword, ie blunt in every direction. Still, it’s fun to swing around.


Next in line of things I need to tell you to set up the premise of this story. I was probably left at home so I could mind our pets, Charlie the banker dog, Bella who was too special for this world and Lily the homicidal bitch-cat from hell. We adopted Lily from the nearby graveyard, where she had survived for years by eating rats and fighting vampires. She was hardcore. For some reason, she also loved me LOTS AND LOTS. In order to express her love for me, she would leave decapitated animals on my pillow. Hardcore. 


So as i’m watching Buffy, upstairs in my parents house, I begin to notice a strange sound coming up the stairs, distracting me from all the witty quips. THUMP, and I decide to ignore it. THUMP, and I start to wonder what the fuck the date was, and if this was my parents coming home who would probably attack me with a bat because I look like a meth addict who was wearing their sons skin. THUMP and I remember I’m naked. 
Last THUMP, and whatever this fucking thing is, is at the top of the stairs. So, tentatively, sword unsheathed (in more ways than one) I get off the lounge and turn the corner.


To discover that Lily has dragged up the stairs a FUCKING King Brown snake.


Gee thanks, but you know diamonds are forever.

Lily see’s me, and releases her tentative death grip from behind the snakes head. It rears up and begins lunging at my hardcore kitty. The cat is freaking out, yowling like Satan’s orgasm, and the snake is making this terrifying hissing/dry rattle sound. Clearly you can see what comes next:

I’ll never let you die, Angel! 

Remember that after weeks of Buffy indoctrination, I was fairly certain I was the goddamn slayer. So when my sword didn’t neatly slice through this enormous snakes head, I was rather surprised. I was even more surprised when the force picks the snake bodily off the floor and flings it across the room into the kitchen, where it hits the walls with a bloody splat.


It then proceeded to writhe in an ever expanding pool of blood under our kitchen table, as I watched in dumbfounded horror as it BLEEDS TO DEATH.


Now, if I hadn’t already convinced you that both me and my feline companion are seriously deranged, it’s what comes next that really takes the cake for me. Because like with anyone who has just taken their first life (i’m ignoring the crab massacre of ’93) I panic.
Despite the fact that i’m a bonafide war hero, who saved my families life with a SWORD, I freak out and start sweating like a naked, lanky humidifier. What am I going to do with the body? 


So I grab one of my empty Oreo boxes, stuff the snake corpse inside and CHUCK IT INTO MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOURS BACK YARD.
The perfect crime.
Of course, this story was eventually beaten out of me, when a month later Lily dragged half a decomposing snake cadaver into the kitchen.


THE SCORE:


0/5 stars. 5 stars for Patrick.

The Universe

The swirling cosmos, vast expanse of everything.
THE STARS
At my job, we’re working on a TV show called ‘The Mighty Uke’ which is a documentary about the ukulele, and its undoubted importance in the grand scheme of things. Since we’ve started captioning this show, some strange, unexplainable coincidences have started happening. First, Bridget worked an entire day on nothing but the ukulele show, and then came home and stepped on her ukulele, breaking it into three pieces. Insert gasps here. And then my colleague, Dave, captioned a segment about the importance of the ukulele in Hawaii, and you’ll never guess, he’s going to Hawaii in March. You can’t make this shit up people. So naturally I said ‘It looks like the universe is telling you to buy a ukulele’ and he was pretty into the idea.
You too could be this happy. 
So then I started thinking about the universe, and its meddling ways. I’m not here to debate the veracity of the universe and its tendency to meddle in the insignificant details of peoples lives – let’s take that for a granted. What i’m here to do is find out WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE UNIVERSE.
And this is where things get a little shocking, ladies and gents.
LACK OF STARS
It seems like a bit of harmless prodding from the fundamental energy of life, this little hint that my colleague should buy a ukulele. Ukuleles are fun and festive, and will undoubtedly improve Dave’s life. But let’s not forget the mishap which happened to my foxy girlfriend/colleague, Bridget – different method, but same result. She needs a new ukulele now. And instead of happy ‘la la i’m going to Hawaii’ The Universe stepped on her perfectly good ukulele. That’s standover tactics. You just know that somewhere in the world, The Universe has put a decapitated ukulele in someones bed.
The Godfather was originally all about ukuleles. True story.
Clearly The Universe has a high stake in the ukulele business. I won’t claim to understand the motives behind this – you’d think that existence would have enough to do without investing in fringe instruments. Then again, maybe this is what The Universe has been waiting for in all its millenia of existence. It came onto the scene, big bang and all, created the planets and the stars etc, life evolved from primordial sludge yadda yadda yadda, ice age, blah blah blah neanderthal man, etc etc etc Oprah and 3d movies. Now finally The Universe can kick back and run that little ukulele store that it always wanted. Of course, after the GFC and recession, things have been a little lean for ukulele sales, and baby Jesus wants to go to college because carpentry and messiahing are dying businesses, so it’s up for The Universe to give things a little nudge…
And The Universe isn’t the only one in the business.
Darkstar? Great, so now Anti-Matter has its grubby,
 negative energy paws in the music business.
THE SCORE:
1/5 stars (I’m giving it a single star, because despite its creepy stand-over tactics and conspiracy theory business plan, it’s still kinda a mum and pop set up.)