2006 - A Vauge Look Back At The Past Year Or So

20 December 2006
It's been yet another year. A year of highs and lows. A year of joy and sorrow. A year of gains - more clothing, six inches more hair, at least eight kilos - and we've had to say goodbye to those who are no longer with us, such as the microwave.

Of course, the biggest thrill has been learning I've been named (and I'm sure Xander is included) as Time magazine's Person Of The Year, and about time too. So let's take a look back and see how we earned it.

Nico starts the year as she means to continue - making promises she has no intention of keeping. Her job seems like a lot of work. She develops an enormous prejudice against bigoted people. Money is spent, therefore assuring the long term survival of Australian clothing and alcohol retailers. In the larger world, the obvious solutions to global warming and terrorism are rejected, which is bad news for the planet but not for Nico, as it ensures she has plenty to blog about.

Xander reasserts his dominance, but then gets fleas, and no one is happy. Nico is so exhausted by this she decides to abandon the work-related blogging, and runs a quiz. She actually follows through on mailing out a prize, then never runs a quiz again despite promising to. She attempts to become a well rounded, cultured sort of person, then gives up and writes a manifesto of the bleeding obvious.

Wild comiserations are held to mark the tenth anniversary of the Howard government. The Pod gets a major overhaul, as Nico panics about the slightest change to the routine. Nico gets a new look as well, then abandons it just as quickly when she realises no one wants to see her out of a caftan. Cyclone Larry devastates banana benders across the country, the Friday Follies are launched to overwhelming apathy, and Blogger continues to make life that little bit worse.

Xander and Nico have issues. N
ico is betrayed by company loyalty schemes and skin creams that don't fight the signs of ageing as vigorously as they should. A tribute is made to those unsung heroes of the modern world, the admins. Xander and Nico vow that this year they won't watch Big Brother, at least until after the winner's name has been announced.

The sheer stupidity of humans continues to amaze long after it no longer should. Labor leadership polls are an omen of things to come. Australia's political reporting is still an improvement over that in the U.S. The blogosphere is discovered to be still alive and kicking, as is Nico when people make fun of her new rollerskates. The Pod however has it's longest ever break, and nobody notices. Nico returns from her holiday, and realises she still hates everyone.

Nico feels momentarily sorry for offending people, then decides they're all a bunch of coconuts. Xander and Nico switch to World Cup mode, sailing through the month on sleepless euphoria, then crash back down to Earth as vengence is vowed against all the referees in charge of Australia's matches. The axeing of Big Brother Uncut is a great victory is a great victory for the forces who think parents are incapable of raising their own children.

Crisis is averted when an asteroid narrowly misses the Earth. The joy is short lived when Nico realises this means she has become another year older. The state of political satire in Australia seems upon reflection to be going nearly as well as the war on terror. Nico offers her tips for a good blog, then ignores them all. Celebrity is found to have more substance than it would initially seem - the substance of the trees chopped down to print celebrity magazines.

More Australians are taking drugs than ever before, and Nico should have followed their example before attempting to climb in the window. A Liberal election loss is envisioned and lefties dream of no longer living in fear. Politicians may be poor role models, no more so than Tony Abbott, who has convinced Nico to oppose stem cell research on the grounds that it may one day be used to help him. Mid-to-late year topor sets in and even shopping isn't fun anymore.

Nico has her last night out, which still holds four months later. She turns to skittle vodka instead. The notion of compulsory voting is discarded in favour of plans for a better Australia. Tribute is paid to a great lady. Nico complains of awful noises, both security alarms and the musicians who entertain the troops in Iraq.

Xander congratulates Nico on the 500th post. Nico is greatful that he doesn't know what plagirism is. North Korea may or may not have tested a nuclear weapon, as Hollywood wonders whether or not Kim Jong Il enjoyed their latest blockbusters. Brendon Nelson states Australian troops won't be leaving Iraq whilst the Liberals are in power. Xander doesn't want to let Nico out of bed either.

Psychics everywhere vow revenge on Nico after "picking up" on the post she wrote disdaining them. Nico's faith in love is shattered by the break-up of the Spears/Federline marriage. She is however delighted by the results of the U.S. elections, but feels Australian Idol could do with some improvement. The G20 summit seems like a riot. Nico gets contact lenses, and sees what a waste of time her blogging is.

There's a sense of renewed hope and vigour in the Australian Labor party... again...as the Rudd Gillard leadership team takes charge. Nico hopes they don't fuck it up, and so does everyone else. Nico does her bit to improve society's punctuation. The world is still a very strange place. Nico reflects that 2006 is ending in an almost identical fashion to that which it began. Xander is just looking forward to having her home for a while.

Well, that's all we have to say about that. We'll be on hiatus (mostly) till the New Year, so see you next year!

Monday Follies...and A Favour To Ask

18 December 2006

Monday Follies? Well, although it may cause the time/space continum to collapse, we all need something to get us through the last tough week before Xmas.

So go check out the
Poligoths. Quite tremendous.

Then the Onion presents
Xmas gifts you really don't want from your comapny and slogans you hope not to see when doing that last minute shopping.


All right, now the favour. (You didn't think you'd get something for nothing now, did you?

There's a number of collections of "best blog posts of 2006" being put together right now. I wouldn't get on anyone else's list, but in the spirit of the Xander and Nico Pod, I'd like to slap together a half-assed collection of my own...so if there's any posts this year which particularly tickled you, leave a comment and I'll post a list of the best five or so. Of course, finding your favourite posts, may be a challenge as, being a Luddite, I'm refusing to make the switch to Beta and thus have no tags, but hey, the archives are there and nothing good ever came easily, right?

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

14 December 2006

*Tumbleweed blows past*

Yes, the Pod's been pretty quiet lately. A lot of blogs are right about now. That's usually because their owners are on hiatus. One surfs over to a blog last updated in late November, and imagines its writer merrily trimming a tree in a cosy room beautifully lit by a crackling fireplace, whilst rosy cheeked children look on with delight; or else on holiday, floating on a lilo in a resort swimming pool, thinking "My blog? The hell with that."

That's not the case with me, I'm afraid. I have bloggers block. Now, as you have probably worked out by now, I don't work very hard on my blog posts, but that's because for the better ones, the idea will pop into my head at random, shortly followed by a few witty remarks, and all I have to to is transcribe it and pad it out a little.

But that hasn't happened recently, and I blame Christmas. Apart from the fact that it's socially acceptable to drink a lot more than usual, there's not a single thing about Xmas I like. I wouldn't mind if the rest of the world would just let me ignore the whole thing, but they won't. Everywhere you turn, from decorations in the shops to strangers on the bus asking what your plans are, Xmas is shoved down your throat (and not a good shove, with eggnog, which no one in Australia really drinks anyway).

I often think that Christmas is massive case of society kidding itself. Xmas is a hard time for many people. I'm not just talking about the obvious ones, like the homeless and the recently bereaved, but also the parents adding up the bills and wondering how the hell they're going to pay for their kids presents; the recently seperated couple who have to play happy families at the extended family gathering; the people who have lots of friends but no one close enough to spend the big day with...but the thing is, no one will admit it. Everyone puts on a happy face and makes the appropriate noises. Even I do it. Normally these days I'm a pretty cheerful sort of person, but Xmas is a time of pretty acute misery for me...and I just can't explain it to anyone.

Wouldn't it be a lot more refreshing if everyone stopped pretending? If people stopped feeling obligated to visit family they don't even like much, to spend money they don't have, to act like everything's just delightful, because it's Christmas?

It won't happen though, and it probably makes everyone feel worse. Last night I had a phone conversation where we discussed Christmas, and by the time I got off the phone I felt drained and fractious and depressed (though that wasn't entirely because of Xmas). I would have sold Xander to Satan for a beer, but having been overdoing it lately I instead ate a whole packet of fruit and nut biscuits and went grumpily to bed.

So that's why no good posts are coming to me these days. Still, I'm sure I can throw together some lame year-in-review thing next week to tide me over till inspiration returns.

Another Of My Insightful Post's

11 December 2006

I sometimes feel as though I am waging a one-woman battle against the poor spelling, inaccurate punctuation, and general incomprehensibility that seems to be taking over modern communication. But I'm very pleased to report a minor, yet very personal, victory.

In my local shopping centre, there's a shoe repair/engraving shop which featured signs saying "KEY'S CUT". This used to send me into a lather of indignation. These weren't handwritten signs you understand, but professionally made signs someone had ordered and someone else had made up like this. I would pass that stand a couple of times a week, and every time I did a voice in my head would exclaim, "KEY'S CUT? KEY'S CUT!!! It's a plural, not a possessive!" I mean, key's what cut? Does key know you're cutting their stuff?

Then last weekend I was out shopping with some friends, who wandered over to the shop to look at possible christening presents. I followed, saying in a voice that was just possibly a tad too loud, "Oh no you don't! Look at their keys cut sign. Until they learn to punctuate properly they're not getting one red cent out of anyone!"

So I can't tell you how gratified I was to walk past the shop again yesterday and see that the offending apostrophes have been removed. The signs now read "KEY S CUT"
but I'm sure that will be rectified shortly. It's a great victory for anal retentives everywhere!

Anyway, I'm sick of hearing that spelling and punctuation don't really matter, that the basic message is what's important. Compare these sentences:

A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.

I think we all know which is the truism here.

The Original Reality Television

06 December 2006

Idols may come and housemates may go, but the news remains the original and the best source for humour, stupidity and downright weirdness.

  • The new U.S. defence secretary has admitted the U.S. is not winning the war in Iraq. The breakfast news commentary this morning went on to say, "This puts him at odds with U.S. President George W. Bush, who claims that he U.S. is winning in Iraq". For a flash of the bleeding obvious, I suppose the next big news story will be, "Defence Secretary Gates has admitted the Earth is not flat. As opposed to George W. Bush, who still claims the Earth is flat."

  • In yet another example of prima donna-like sports star behaviour, Matt Rogers is threatening to sit out the Rugby Union season unless the Wallabies release him from his contract so he can go back to playing league.
    What is with this man? He starts as a league player for NSW, then switches to Queensland. Then he dumps league altogther and plays rugby for NSW. Now he wants to retun to league. I'd hate to be married to him - one week he'd be saying he's gay, then running off with his high school sweetheart, then threatening abstinence unless you took him back. Thank god I only have normal relationships.

  • If it's not the news itself that is farcical, it's the way that it is presented.
    The "tragic showbiz story of the week" is the
    death of George Clooney's pot bellied pig. This has been in the top news stories in three different news bulletins I have seen in the past two days. Now as someone who knows what it's like to have a special bond with a pet, I do feel sad for Clooney - but come on people! This isn't news!

  • Lastly, the good folk at Club Troppo have added me to their blog roll. That in itself isn't what's so interesting, as the fact they've listed me as a Centrist (as opposed to a Leftist) blogger. This is a little bit of a shock to my perception of myself - sure, some of my views are changing as I get older, but my image of myself is Up With People all the way!!!

    What Do You Think?

    04 December 2006

    Yes, it's offical. Kevin Rudd is now Labor leader, defeating Kim Beazley 49 votes to 39. As Tony Abbott memorably put it, Labor has chosen the potential disaster over the proven failure. Or even more cruelly, as a wag commenting at News Ltd wrote, "Ladies and gentlemen, the deck chairs have been rearranged, and Ms Dion will now sing."

    I don't think it's as bad as all that, but I'm surely not the only one with a very bad feeling about this (see my previous post for why. In fact, while you're at it, see the posts from October 2004). All the talk of Newspoll results fails to impress me; after all, Labor's standing in the polls improved dramatically during the early months of the Latham leadership. There's only one poll that counts - the one that Labor always loses.

    It's hard not to feel sorry for Kim Beazley. All those years of work, all that effort and it repeatedly gets taken away from him as he's on the verge of...losing another election.

    Okay, I'm going to shake this pessimism. I'm going to rally behind the new Labor leadership, and hope we can focus on the most important task: defeating the Liberals. And I'm going to offer this advice to Rudd and Gillard, the best and only advice I have right now: For the love of God, please, don't fuck this up.

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