Cheeseburger Gothic

The failure of my savings plan

Posted February 19 into Blunty by John Birmingham

I used to keep a bucket by the front door. No. Not that sort of bucket, you moron. That bucket we kept on the coffee table in the lounge room of the share house, every share house, I Iived in. No, this other bucket came later, after marriage and children and the sudden but related decline in my readily available funds.
This bucket was my savings plan.
Every time I’d come home with coins in my pocket I’d toss them in there. It was a small, red plastic pail of the sort you’d take to the beach to make a sandcastle with children. If I did nothing to curate the stream of coinage, the bucket would usually top out at somewhere around seven or eight hundred dollars. But if I was smart and culled the fifty cent pieces, the final value could get up near twelve or even thirteen hundred bucks. Those old fifties seemed to offer the least value for volume.
I’d fill that bucket on average every nine months. It was a great way to pay for Christmas.
But I have not filled my bucket in many years. This is not a metaphor.
I just don’t get that many coins anymore...

At Blunty

4 Responses to ‘The failure of my savings plan’

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted February 20
Ugh. Change. I don't check it. I don't like it. Once it's in coins I don't even feel like it's money.

No, I'm not loaded. Yes, I need to check my bank account to make sure that I have been billed for things (Oz joke...). It's just that coins are annoying.

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Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted February 20
The symptom I've noticed is the office snack stash. You know, the one on the spare desk or on top of the filing cabinets with a change jar and some plastic tubs with chips, chocolate bars and maybe a little fridge with some fizzy stuff in it.

I've noticed that these days all the stashes I see have IOU sheets where people record escalating amounts they owe and then settle up every payday or two. The change jars now have just the barest scatter of coins except for payday when they're suddenly stuffed with notes.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted February 20
In our office we had a charity run box with chips and chocolate bars but in the end they gave up because so few had coins with which to purchase the items.

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted February 20
Our office does a collection each month for our charity of the month, and thankfully they give us a couple of days notice that it's that time of the month again because I have to make a special effort to go find cash money to donate EVERY SINGLE TIME.

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Conan Answers More of Your Questions About Modern Life

Posted February 18 into Funny by John Birmingham

Conan, what is worst in modern life?

Catching the wires of your headphones on a door handle and having them pulled out of your ears. This. This is to know murderous rage.

Really? Conan?

Also to catch the same door handle on another occasion but this time with belt loops of one’s pants. How is this even possible? Conan knows not. But it displeases him greatly.

Conan, seriously, what is worst in modern life?

To ride in one’s wagon to the secured carpark and find oneself barred from entry, without notice, by a changed PIN. No other such anger has Conan known.

Come now, Conan.

Great anger and frustration also comes unto he who is cursed to sit near the dread comic book nerd in a comic book film and suffer the endless lamentations related to the non canonical nature of the cinematic narrative. Woe unto he who must endure the whining of the nerds as they explain that Sabretooth is actually Wolverine's brother, and that the organic webbing that Spiderman has in the movies is really part of his powers, or that Wolverine and Jean Grey really loved each other, but in the end it was always her and Scott. Woe unto Conan who would simply enjoy the film without a public lecture about the failure of every Marvel movie, which were all disasters, except for Ironman, but only the first one.

Conan, is that really what is worst in life this day?

Conan is often vexed by autoplay video.

Conan, please. We must know what is truly worst such that we might meet and best it.

Sudden audio from an autoplay video in a mystery tab while Conan must record his podcast with Red Sonja. Great is the sorrow and distress of this.


Unreliable phone battery discharge too. From 52% to 3% in two minutes? Not even Thoth-Amon, the Stygian wizard of great and terrible power, can summon such powerful banes. And yet Conan must simply accept this as something that happens? This. This is barbaric, Conan tells you.

But what is really worst in modern life, Conan?

Status update meetings. Such weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth do they bring. Not just the meetings themselves, but the preparation forced upon Conan. The better part of a Hyborian Age do they waste.

Conan. What is truly worst?

Inadequate server capacity on launch day. When Conan singlehandedly fought and killed hundreds of mercenaries in the thrall of Salome, the witch queen, only to be overwhelmed by sheer numbers, captured and crucified, a night and a day without water he spent on the cross, but still did he possess the strength to pull the nails from his feet, to run ten miles to gather allies for a counterattack. Yet EA cannot plug another server in for Sim City on launch day? Give Conan a break.

Any more, Conan?

Doorway talkers, unruly children in Conan’s favourite restaurant, and a drinking straw that does not quite reach to bottom of Conan’s gourd or soda bottle. These must he endure with silent, killing rage. Especially the children. They are barbarians. And Conan would know.

Conan, is that truly what is worst today?

Great is Conan’s irritation with couriers who confine him to his redoubt for a whole day only to sneak lightly through creeping shadow and pouring dark as night falls, rap lightly, once, with velvet glove, then flee, cackling, Conan’s important parcel still tucked under their arm. Conan hates that.

But Conan, you have fought in battles and lost, you have seen cities fall, you have endured great suffering, surely you can tell us what is worst in this modern Age of ours, that we might prepare as of the champions of Old.

The accidental catching of Conan’s heel by another’s supermarket trolley would be the worst, were it not for the continual fraying of Conan’s lightning cables. And one floor elevator riders, the blatant abusers of 15 Items or less express lanes and pistachios which cannot be opened. All of these has Conan slain with his blade. Except for the pistachios which left him frustrated and out of sorts but were too small to hit with a large sword. Believe it that Conan tried.

From The Seven Stages of Drinking Martinis.

3 Responses to ‘Conan Answers More of Your Questions About Modern Life’

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted February 18
insomniac did but experience number two on the day of rest, hooking his pocket on the door handle while arms full with the basket of clean underclothes and other such frippery, followed by, in some unknown and mysterious manner, hooking some part of his shirt on same door handle after freeing himself from the first entrapment.
Also, particularly in insomniac's old office, carrying out business over two floors where no internal stairs were forthcoming, one was forced to do the one floor elevator ride, especially if one wished to imbibe the freely available craptacular hot beverages on the other floor, if only to avoid having to drink the even worse foul stinking fluid found on one's own floor.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18
For a generally monosyllabic barbarian, Conan is indeed wise int he ways of the Modern World.

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Rob asserts...

Posted February 18
even the comic book nerd has it wrong Conan. The best marvel movie was always the first. Conan, that movie was Blade.

Ironman was of course great, not as great as Blade, but very good. especially when Ironman was fixing his car whilst listening to Suicidal Tendencies.

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Taco; wonder dog and escapologist

Posted February 17 by John Birmingham

We did a long drive through the Gold Coast hinterland yesterday; a strange, contrary world of mist shrouded valleys, plunging rainforests, icey cold streams and tiny hamlets. Nothing like the plastic shimmer of Surfers Paradise.

The morning started with a rescue, however. Jane and I were sitting in a cafe atop Mount Tamborine when young Kelpie came bounding in, darting from table to table. It was quickly obvious the pup was over excited, super firendly and utterly lost. He dashed around looking for love and table scraps, found himself chased out of the kitchen, and was in clear and present danger of darting back out on the busy road where nothing good was going to happen for him.

Jane managed to secure him with her belt, stapped to a post on the verandah, and I hunted up a bowl of water. He may have had some scones. His handmade wooden dog tags were useless. Chewed off. And most people in the cafe were, like us, not from 'round those parts. We rang a local vet and organised to drop off the runaway, hoping he'd been microchipped. Also, it's my experience that vets tend to see the same runaways over and over again. Maybe they'd know him.

We were headed for our our car, about to whisk the brown devil 10kms away, knowing that his actual home was probably within a minute's walk, when his owners arrived to collect him. They had no idea how he got out. (Spoiler. He's a Kelpie. He jumped the fence no matter how high it was). We were glad to get him back where he belonged. It was a nice start to the day.

His name was Taco.

7 Responses to ‘Taco; wonder dog and escapologist’

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted February 17
Awww Taco! His poor parents though. You are a hero and a gentleman

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Bangar would have you know...

Posted February 17
Nice work JB

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Ceramic asserts...

Posted February 17
Aww so cute. Glad he got back home.

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jl would have you know...

Posted February 18
Glad that story had a happy ending. We've adopted a few strays out here over the years, people seem to think that dumping unwanted dogs on a country road is a good idea.

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Naut puts forth...

Posted February 18
Taco seems close to the perfect dog name. Although a friend's dog name is still my favorite. It was called Carpenter because it kept doing odd jobs around the house

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted February 18
I have a dog that is a perpetual wanderer. I live in fear that he will escape never to return, chasing a never ending supply chain of wallabies. Good work JB.

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Rob puts forth...

Posted February 18
you truly are a fisher of men JB. (and dogs)

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Thinking of flying ten thousand miles for fried chicken

Posted February 15 by John Birmingham

Tell me I'm wrong. I'm still going.

From The New York Times:

What inspires such loyalty? Long ago, fried chicken eclipsed burgers as Jollibee’s most sought-after offering. The pleasures of Chickenjoy, as it’s called, are immediate: The sheath of skin is as craggy as a thunderhead, crannies and crunch multiplying.

Underneath, the flesh is juicy, with its own generous measure of salt and secret seasonings, if not quite as potent as the skin’s. Online recipe hacks typically deploy garlic and Chinese five-spice to approximate the skin’s fervor. Spicy Chickenjoy is even better, both marinade and breading infiltrated with some form of chile — flagrant but not searing, just enough to jack up the pulse.

8 Responses to ‘Thinking of flying ten thousand miles for fried chicken’

jl ducks in to say...

Posted February 15
They need to open one of these in Pittsburgh. Now.

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Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted February 15
"The Pleasures of Chickenjoy" sounds like one of those 70s British fantasy novels with the psychedelic covers and sans-serif cover fonts.

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Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15
Silly fool, the only chicken worth flying that far for is Stroud's at Oak Ridge Manor. Ask Boylan.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted February 15
Fkn hell, now I'm thinking about fried chook for dinner.

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted February 15
I've done some research and they're allegedly opening in Australia.... BUT JB apparently they have stores in Vietnam! How could you have missed this on your recent trip?? You've let yourself down, you've let the Burger down...

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18
On the weekend i discovered the joy of running out of breadcrumbs for fish and needing an alternative . . . . .looking looking looking and finally found a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. Now i will never have breadcrumbs again.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted February 18
Holy shit. This opens up a whole universe to me.

Dave W has opinions thus...

Posted February 20
Where has this been my whole life?

Saying that, I would have died of a heart attack in my third year of uni..

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Posted February 12 into Telly by John Birmingham

I had no idea this was even in development, let alone as a six part TV series. Directed by George Clooney!

Also I have no idea where it'll run locally, but wherever that is, I'll be there. I fucking LOVED this book when I read it, and six or seven hours of peak TV feels just about right to deliver it to the screen.

10 Responses to ‘OMFG CATCH 22!’

she_jedi mumbles...

Posted February 12

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PaulC reckons...

Posted February 12
On Stan, apparently. 18 May.

she_jedi reckons...

Posted February 12
Hell yes, I've added that to my watchlist in Stan.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted February 12
I'm leaning back in bed with a cigarette pre-emptively.

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jl has opinions thus...

Posted February 13
This does look pretty good.

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Dave W reckons...

Posted February 13
I love this book every time I read it. It probably gets a run through every 3-4 years, like with The Stand. And of course the complete oeuvre of OLAM (Our Lord and Master- JB)...So a movie or tv adaptation scares me, TBH.

Besides, for my money, the ultimate adaptation of Catch 22 was MASH.


Will I try it? Dammit, yes, I will.

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted February 13
I recall trying to read the book circa late high school....and I just couldn't get into it. In fact I disliked it immensely. Some many years down the track I may like it better - I best hie myself to the local library methinks.

I'd try the tv version (having never seen the older movie adaptation either) but for not having Stan on the home telly. Might resort to piracy though.

Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted February 14
Give it another go. I tried at the same age as you and ground to a halt, but had another tilt some years later, roared through it and loved every page.

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted February 13
Right up there with MASH the TV series for how the Army actually operates. The only thing in the same realm is Kelly's Heroes.

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HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted February 13

Murph...McHales NAVY!!!!

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An Extraordinary Meeting of the Bounders Club

Posted February 12 into Blunty by John Birmingham

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover a structural inequity fashioned into the very apparel with which our ladies must enclothe themselves.

But I am also quietly relieved, having been originally quite concerned that the repeal of stern but uncompromising legislation prohibiting the escape of lady legs into the public realm would lead to all manner of distraction for any poor fellow momentarily deflected from his daily course by some unexpected encounter with the female undercarriage.

From the Archives of the Bounders Club. Minutes and Proceedings of an extraordinary meeting to address the threat of lady pants.

Gentlemen, it has recently come to my attention that lady pants do not have pockets.

At the Instrument...

9 Responses to ‘An Extraordinary Meeting of the Bounders Club’

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 12
When the revolution happens, the designers and tailors who were complicit with the patriarchy and denied us wimminfolk functional pockets in our ladypants will be the first to meet the firing squads.

There are no words to adequately describe the frustration of pants sans pockets, or the deep resentment we feel toward menpants with their voluminous and mandatory pockets, or the rage we feel when we're asked why we cart such enormous handbags with us everywhere we go. Honestly, I can't dress for work or a night out without bringing along some kind of reticule to hold my phone, wallet and keys. Total bullshit.

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HAVOCK21 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 12
Oi..Oi!!!!!!!! you lot, I must say gentlemen…and those of the coven. It is with a rather ample drop of trepidation I might add, for I find that trousers, pants, items out of lycra and all other manner of the fem fatal ensemble cladding thee coven members shipped lower extremities are for specific scientifica based or derived factoids. For without exposing myself too much, Its rather easy to define the benefits and you might say drawbacks.
Imagine no pocket bulges and optically tracking the opposite form, boning up and having naught pockets with which to have festooned within survival equipment and thus shrouding the expanding moment. I mean, how might one adjust one’s self in complete anonymity, or for that matter imagine the primary axels left and right wheels being somewhat exposed….my bad, I remember that being a seventies thing and the resulting lower than expected birth-rates.

Where was I?............ Oh yes, afternoons, evening and mornings wandering down the street with your hand in the pocket of the other half, obviously for no other reason than to aid their balance and protect them from nefarious persons. Ummm, “Cough’ not sure if that still PC even the days. How would it be if they worked out that tackle room on hot days has a distinct advantage, might they also discover the wonders of choosing which side you might “ dress on” that ability to swing left or right..such a wondrous thing.

And…… before any objectioners start their coven orientated dribble, I’ll have all know, its known, legislated in our minutes and constitution that giving them the choice is detrimental to male eyesight!.. Jesus…I mean. Imagine not being able to tail gate, look at the swanky Ferrari’s back end and only discover its clad in pockets, laden with rather pretty, but as we know ultimately useless stuff and the chassis is obscured. GAWD I WOULD BLOODY WELL HATE THAT.

I don’t think we should allow them stitched, it’s a slippery slope that one and far better that we have them continued as a mere thought of, built for but not with accessory never to be added.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 13
Rumour has it Mz Lorna Jane has been nominated for an Order of Australia, for packaging.

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jason ducks in to say...

Posted February 13
If women get pockets what happens to those of us whose only function is to carry the spare lipstick in our side pocket. I for one would have outlived my usefulness.

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted February 13
The no pockets policy also explains why most young women have a cracked mobile phone screen.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 13
Can I take off this dugong suit yet?
It's getting sweaty & stinky in here.
And not in a good way?

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted February 13
I was with my granddaughter and there was some thing she wanted me to hold, so I said put it in your pocket, and... there was no pocket. I recall thinking that even young girls can't have pockets in their lady pants.

she_jedi reckons...

Posted February 14
The repression starts early :(

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted February 15
Belatedly back from my mission. I can confirm that the Ladies Clothing Manufacturers Union carried a motion put forth by the Pants sub branch.
The motion stated

(i) This meeting calls on all members to enforce a ban on the application of pockets or other such deviations to female pants or pants-like clothing
(ii) This meeting recognises the efforts of the Bounders Club in exposing the corrupt practices of the imperialist oppressors who are demanding pockets.
(iii) This meeting commends the sacrifice of Mr Havock of the Bounders Club in looking at prototypes of be-pocketed female pants.
(iv) This meeting calls on manufacturers to cease their war on women and allow our female comrades to be pockets free.

The motion was unanimously carried at industry - wide workplace meetings of the members. And then we all fucked off to the pub and listened to Redgum and Billy Bragg songs.

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