Category Archives: Rant

Bastard Backpacks

Dear the bastard backpack wearing fraternity of the world.

I’m sure some of you are very nice people who enjoy tickling kittens under their chin, love unicorns, and liking everyone of your Facebook friend’s posts, but some of you are absolute bastards. Seriously.

Seat 12A on your next flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I refer to “bastard backpacks”, I’m not talking about the noble types who trudge around Kathmandu et al taking-an-undisclosed-period-of-time-off-to-travel-the-world type of backpacker, or kid-wrangling parents on a trip to the zoo lugging little Trevor’s favourite toys and his organic quinoa treats, or school kids struggling with their textbooks. That is if kids still have textbooks.
I remember having to wield the “Web of Life” biology textbook in my schoolbag – heavy as an absolute mofo.

But I digress, I’m taking aim at the commuting corporate warriors — I’m sure you know the type — the women, but mainly men (who most likely work in the financial industry) who infect trains, buses, ferries and planes with their massive cancerous growths on their backs, not giving
a tinker’s cuss for you and me, as they take out innocent and unsuspecting citizens with every entitled swivel of their shoulders.

Credit: the very amusing @WeFixYourAdvert

A question for you bastard backpack expletives, so when you put your backpacks on, does your spatial awareness suddenly evaporate along with what was remaining of your fashion sense?

Don’t you realise that when you have your laptop and other geeky apparatus strapped to your back like a dork baby koala, you may, just may, be slightly inconveniencing the rest of the world? No? Didn’t think so.

A friend of mine was catching a bus the other day and had a bloke resting his backpack on his head. As one does. As my friend said, “Words were exchanged”.

A friendly suggestion – take the f*cking thing off before you get on the train / bus / ferries / plane. There. That wasn’t hard was it? It’s called “consideration”.

The next one of your kind who almost dislocates my shoulder as you bump your way down the aisle of a plane with your backpack because you’re too much of a tightarse to check in your luggage… (but that’s for another serve of randomswill).

Words ©Steve Williams 2018

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The Recorder – The sound of Satan

So Australian insurance company AAMI has finally realised what we all have known forever, that the recorder is an instrument of Satan. “Yea, Lucifer forged a musical abomination in the scorching pits of hell with his cloven hooves” : Book of STFU.

The Prince of Darkness was working double-time

After a concerted campaign, AAMI thankfully edited a TV commercial that featured a brat kid blasting some ear-piercing “notes” from her recorder while her parents were broken down in the middle of nowhere. Just what they needed. Personally I would have abandoned her.

Harsh? Not at all. My hatred of the recorder was resurrected a few days ago by enduring the tormented tones of a recorder being “played” by a kid in a nearby apartment.

It’s always kids playing the recorder. I’ve never been to a concert hall to witness an acclaimed recordist, recorderer recorder player performing a stirring virtuoso rendition of Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata No. 1 Op. 666… for recorder.

Likewise, I’ve never seen a massive arena show with a leather-panted megastar out front of a wall of Marshalls wailing out a nine-minute scorching riff… on his recorder.

Why is it compulsory for every kid on the planet to learn the recorder?
I’m all for a musical education, but why this sonic assassin?

I did it — I remember in my first year of high school we had a rather highly-strung music teacher. These days he would be described as having “issues” and would be sitting by the pool at a Thai rehab centre favoured by rugby league players and D grade celebrities. Mr H. (name abbreviated to protect the psychopath) would make you perform a recorder solo in front of the class. To this day, it’s the most terrifying experience of my life. Not the playing part — but his reaction.

After Mr H. bellowed my name, I would gingerly stand up, shaking, all trembling fingers and asthmatic breaths attempting to play my reworking of Smoke on the Water (it was 1977) while waiting for the inevitable catastrophic critique. If you weren’t up to the maestro’s exceptionally high standards (which was always), he would scream at you — not in said arena concert fan style, but seriously full-on, hysterical (yes I used that word) frothing-from-the-mouth-ranting.

No wonder I f*cking hate the recorder… I’ll be by the pool at that rehab resort.

©Steve Williams 2016

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Yulin Dog Meat “Festival”, Brexit, Trump… #FFS

“I turned another year older recently, and in light of recent global events I have been thinking of the poignant Queen song “Is This the World We Created?” A fair question.

In no particular order, these are just a few of the random things seriously disturbing me.

Thankfully not on the Yulin menu

The “Yulin Dog Meat Festival” in China. For once, words almost fail me with this one. The name is sickeningly self-explanatory, however the word “festival” is a total misnomer. An annual event, the mind-fucking barbarity these poor animals are subjected to before the inevitable is forged from the utter bowels of depravity. It takes a hell of a lot to shock me, but the images I have encountered researching this cannot be unseen. These bastards need to be stopped. Ricky Gervais has been a champion in attacking the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, using a five letter word ending in “s” to describe the perpetrators. I couldn’t agree more.

Donald Trump.

The sick bastard in Western Australia who was jailed for a pathetic twenty-two years for raping his daughter over two years starting when she was only 11. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl, he also pimped her out to six other men. There was video and bondage gear involved. How do you even begin to fathom this? As a father, you can’t even start. He told police, “I’m going to be honest, it was fun while it lasted but it went way over the line.” A bullet to the brain would be too good for this monster. Twenty-two years is nothing compared to the life sentence the girl will have to endure. I hope she is getting all the love and support she needs. I hope the father only lasts an extremely painful 3.7 seconds in prison.

Donald Trump.

That nut job in Orlando — again a wannabe zealot hijacking religion and using his twisted fucked up beliefs to justify his slaughter. The blood-soaked scene of carnage du jour was a gay nightclub, however as we have tragically seen over the years, the killing grounds have included schools, shopping centres, cinemas, concert venues, even a chocolate branded cafe in Sydney. A flow on subset of problems here. Bleedingly (literally) obvious question… How can anyone walk into a gun shop and buy a military style weapon with no questions asked? Why does anyone NEED to walk into a gun shop and buy a military style weapon? It doesn’t make sense. Those mad fuckers at the NRA bang on about the Second Amendment, but that was ratified in 1791. Back then, massacre-inducing automatic weapons would have been some gunsmith’s wet dream.

Donald Trump.

Brexit. So much anger so little time. The ignorant racism, the xenophobia. The shame-faced lies of politicians and lobbyists. Mostly, the morons who, hours after voting to leave it were Googling “what is the EU?” Google reported that the search “what happens if we leave the EU?” tripled AFTER the vote. This woman needs to get in the sea…”Even though I voted to leave, this morning I woke up and I just — the reality did actually hit me, If I’d had the opportunity to vote again, it would be to stay.” Face palm. The right to vote is one of the greatest things we have, and these people are just pissing it up against a wall. Be careful what you wish for…

<rant ends>

©Steve Williams 2016

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An open letter to cigarette smokers

Dear smokers. I know you and I don’t get along that well.

This bloke has the right idea (image: www.ecouterre.com)

I’d like to ask you some genuine questions, from someone who has never had a cigarette.

1. Why do you throw your cigarette butts on the ground? (#notallsmokers)

I know you very thoughtfully then stamp on it, grind it into the footpath / road / grass / beach
in case a random passerby treads on it and bursts into flames, thanks for that. But, pun intended, why don’t you pick it up?

Congratulations. You are adding to the several trillion cigarette butts discarded each year.

If I threw my empty bottle of whatever on the ground, trod on it and walked off, would you think that was odd? If yes, then what’s the difference?

But what am I supposed to do with it? 

Good question. That is your problem. You’re the one who is smoking. Find an ashtray, a garbage bin or preferably put it in your pocket. However, throwing it on the street / beach / pot plant / garden / drain or wherever, like everything else with your smoking – including the disgusting smell, risk of cancer etc – becomes my problem.

The street is the worst option. Street = drain = harbour or beach or river, causing untold damage to marine life for the simple fact butts are obviously not biodegradable. Surprisingly, they don’t magically evaporate in water, in fact all that lovely cadmium, lead and arsenic leaches into our environment within an hour of contact with water. They also don’t evaporate in air, evidenced by bushfires started by some moron lobbing a butt out of a car window.

2. What do you think happens to that cigarette butt you have just thrown on the ground?

A rhetorical question, because you obviously don’t know and / or care. Do you think the magical Cigarette Butt Fairy appears and spirits it away to whimsical Cigarette Butt Land?
More likely a bloke with a bastard leafblower blows it down the drain and then see above.

3. What do you do at home? Is your floor / backyard / balcony a Great Pyramid of Butts?
Hopefully you dispose of cigarette butts properly, well, as properly as one can…
so why don’t you do that when you are out?

I know, I know… you non-smokers don’t get it, it’s an addiction, smoking is not illegal,
the government makes a fortune out of us smokers… 
blah, blah, blah.

Again. I don’t care. You have no rights as a smoker. Perversely, actually you do.
You can sit outside a nice restaurant “enjoying” your cigarette, the view and the “fresh air”,
while I have to endure your recycled smoke and that stench. Why should I be forced inside?
I know Australian state governments have acted on this to their credit, but this doesn’t go
far enough. I’m talking to you, Europe.

If smoking just stayed your problem, I’d be happy. Butt it doesn’t. So I’m not.

©Steve Williams 2016

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post Australia:
I Wish Smoking Was Just Your Problem. Butt It’s Not

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Robot Rugby League – No Dramas

Hugh Jackman got me thinking. Well, he is the “thinking man’s sex symbol.”

You won’t find this fullback doing a thing in Schlossy’s shoe

Remember Real SteelHugh’s futuristic movie featuring robot boxing? With the rugby league season about to kick off, I believe Australia’s National Rugby League should run with this concept immediately — simply do away with human players and replace them with robots. Think about it. No more alcohol-fuelled 4am Kings Cross incidents. It really will solve all the off-field dramas,
as there will be no off-field, you just hit the off switch.

How good will it be? No more nightclub groin-groping and flashing, no shady betting scandals,
no delightful alliteration of “I just shat in Schlossy’s shoe”, no mid-season inter-club or other code defections, and an end to on-field proctology examinations, which apparently have even spread to the netball court.

For once, the only rugby league stories on the back and front pages of the newspaper will be solely about what happened on the field — the skill, the drama, the match-winning sideline conversion as the full-time siren sounds, the edge-of-the-seat 90 metre intercept try — with no mention of steroids, peptides, sports scientists, gazelles, or moron players scrawling sexually offensive aliases in a school visitors’ book.

Okay, you may be concerned the play could become a little bit, er, robotic — I am across that — occasionally you could program a bit of rogue robot action, just like when Yul Brynner went all random in that classic film West World. It would be quite easy to ramp up the “bring back the biff” setting for State of Origin, or fire up the “traditional softening up period” program for Grand Finals.

The league and TV bosses would love it, Kings Cross police would love it, and Schlossy’s shoe would forever be empty.

Thanks Hugh.

©Steve Williams 2014

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WTF is a phablet? When stupid words attack

Yes. I do know that a “phablet” is a frankensteined hybrid of a phone and a tablet, but I am assuming whoever came up with that name had obviously taken a handful of them.

A stupid word, and they are everywhere — I was reading about a “wriblet” today — with the advent of wearable technology, a wrist-bound tablet will become a thing — Dick Tracy style.
That name definitely puts the dick in it.

Try wearing that on your wrist, geekboy

It is not just new technology that was on the receiving end of clunky nomenclature, take shoelaces — that metal bit on the end is called an “aglet”. You’re welcome.

An affliction. Stupid words are like a rather nasty rash — they are spreading and are extremely painful — one can only hope they’ll scab over and drop off. Here a few off the top of my head: “cronut”, “crowdsourced”, “bromance”, “thought leader” and anything with the prefix “man” i.e. “manscaping”, “mancave”, “manorexia” and “manflu”. Stupid.

Social media has a hell of a lot to answer for. I’m an avid 140 character writer on Twitter (@randomswill), but can’t bring myself to use the word “tweet”. I may have inadvertently used “twitterverse”, but never again. I can guarantee I have never travelled to the dark edges of the “twittersphere”.

“Selfie” is also a very stupid word — I always assumed it had something to do with masturbation, which in a sense it is. Sadly, you can’t escape the scourge of the selfie, it was even a political tool much loved by a not so much-loved former Australian prime minister — see previous sentence.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Foodporn — It’s already been shot, just eat it

When Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce shot the world’s first photograph in 1826, it was of the view out of his window, thankfully not of his coq au vin.

A restaurateur’s deterrent against food photography

Speaking of such meaty subjects, I’d like to discuss foodporn — amateur photographers recording their food for posterity instead of merely eating it. Today, if your phone isn’t equipped with a camera, you’re using iTroglodyte. That means basically everyone is a photographer — and this isn’t a good thing, especially when you’re trying to eat.

Amateur restaurant food photographers should be skewered, basted and lightly roasted. Instagram and Twitter have a lot to answer for. Why do you need to photograph your food before you eat it? Who are you going to show these badly composed, badly shot and badly shit photos to? Is the plan to bore your Facebook friends into a coma?

It is always a dining delight when the couple at the next table is photographing their fettuccine or shooting their shark fin soup. This is often undertaken with a ginormous SLR, emitting strobe flashes that illuminates the food and everyone in the vicinity like an atomic bomb has just detonated. If I wanted to book a table for two in an epileptic-fit-inducing lighthouse I would.

That’s just the entree — for main you get to sit back and marvel at the elaborate production of the couple photographing each other eating said food. Are we talking foreplay to some 9½ Weeks inspired erotic food-feeding-frenzy? Hope the shark fin comes to life in the bedroom.

There was a hallelujah moment last year when New York restaurants started banning food photography. The usual “freedom of everything” suspects choked on their amusebouche in predictable outrage, but f. them — they should be skewered as well.

I’d take a photo of that.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Still Sons of Beaches

Ok Lisa, you win. If your article was written purely to provoke a reaction… I’m reacting.

I took Be rude and I’ll unleash my kids on you as satire… especially the lines, “The life lesson here is if your kids are driving you nuts, they will drive others nuttier. Use it to your advantage.”

Hilarious. I think.

The issue / problem / living hell of other people’s kids f’ing up your / my holiday is well documented.

I wrote Sons of Beaches a couple of years ago for an Australian news website, and the comments were quite fascinating. Yes, I call abuse fascinating.

Many readers didn’t quite get my point, which was and still is: I don’t want to be disturbed at an über-expensive, obviously not kid-friendly resort / hotel by kids. Mine is 27, so that would be quite a concern.

Lisa seemed somewhat proud of her kids driving couples on romantic weekends out of communal pools, which would have driven me to… Damn. I reacted again. Two nil.

In case you missed it, following an auto-Heimlich manoeuvre, here’s a rerun of Sons of Beaches:

“Dear people of the world. I don’t hate children.

Yes, actually I do, when I’m trying to chill out at an exclusive resort or expensive hotel. “Hate” is slightly harsh, maybe “vehemently dislike”.

Years later, the Child Catcher is still meeting his KPI’s

In fairness, it is not the kid’s fault, the blame should be laid firmly at the rapidly sunburning feet of the parents. Most kids have the attentive span of a gnat with ADD and become bored quite easily, unless they’re constantly entertained and catered for. What gets me are these selfish parents who take kids to resorts that are obviously “couples retreats” and then proceed to retreat from being a parent. Bored / ignored kid = pissed off other guests.

Hate to break it to you mum and dad, but things do change when you are a parent, you may not think it is très cool to be staying at a resort boasting “Kaptain Krokodile Kidz Clubz” but that is the life you created — literally.

What also gets me are intimate, boutique resorts, or the funky hotels with bars that turn into nightclubs, which say, “we don’t cater for or encourage children”. They may not have the Kidz Klubz, but they often have kids’ menus, kids’ pool toys, happily provide fold-up beds, high chairs etc. Come on, show some intestinal fortitude and simply ban kids, it’s not like your food and beverage profit will take a major hit. How many fish fingers and babyccinos can little Trevor consume? The positive PR you will generate from your real target market will be worth its weight in mini-burgers.

There are an increasing number of “child-free” resorts around the world, even websites nobly dedicated to listing them, though I find it surprising there are not more adults only destinations. I’m not talking about those resorts where you get hit on by sagging, amorous, 75 year old nudists — not that there’s anything wrong with sagging, being 75, amorous, or a nudist, I just find that quadrella somewhat disconcerting.

Interestingly, when I embarked on painstaking, exhaustive research — i.e. Googled “child free resorts”, number four trumpets how “kids stay, eat and play free”. (*it’s now a link to another rant)

Oh, the humanity.”

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2014

*This piece was published in the sadly now defunct The Punch by news.com.au

 

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Abercrombie & Bitch*

You have to love media / entertainment / corporate types — ok, anyone who makes an outrageous public statement or is quoted in an interview and then, faced with a blast furnace of (justified) public outrage, bleats “I was taken out of context”.

An uncool A&F customer searches for an apology (and a shirt)

The current Abercrombie and Fitch imbroglio (as opposed to Imbruglia, Natalie — the Australian singer) is quite hilarious. The company’s CEO Mike Jeffries is facing a firestorm (again) for his mind-neuteringly odd comments that his clothing brand is “absolutely exclusionary” and he doesn’t want fat and “not so cool kids” wearing them.

Jeffries made those comments in 2006, but they have come back to bite him on the arse (presumably clad in one of his “prep fit shorts”). He issued a statement this week, saying he believes the quote was “taken out of context”. Then this — “I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense.” So it’s the interpretation that’s the problem?

I’ve only been in an Abercrombie and Fitch store once. It was a new store in Singapore and for days leading up to the opening, ridiculously ripped shirtless guys, with eyebrows manicured by a topiarist, were (presumably) paid to stand out the front. They didn’t look overly fat and they definitely weren’t “not so cool” given Singapore’s humidity. This parade of pecs was possibly a ploy to keep people like me out, but ignoring that, I braved the beefcake, ran the gauntlet of gleaming white teeth and entered. I’m not sure whether Jeffries had been tardy paying his power bill, but It was so dark in there I couldn’t see a thing — let alone clothes. I needed one of of the mann-equins to come in and smile. So I “exclused” myself and left.

Maybe they should release a range of designer miner’s hats so at least you can see what they’re selling and Jeffries may also be able to see his head that’s so far up his…*

*taken out of context

©Steve Williams 2013

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My First Rifle? Another WTF About Guns

So. Where do you start with the total WTF-ness of the tragic story of how a five year boy shot his sister with his own rifle. Yep, his own rifle — a gun aimed at (pun intended) kids.

Iver gun – and know how to use it. An ad from 1904.

You have to feel for the family, but what sort of parent buys their five year old a gun that shoots anything more deadly than a foam Nerf-style pellet or water? What sort of company makes these guns?

That one’s easy — Keystone Sporting Arms  — who manufacture a range of Crickett rifles and pistols for adults and rifles for kids. “My First Rifle” is conveniently available in a choice of blue or pink. Lovely. Can’t wait for the Hello Kitty or One Direction models.

I’m sure they are not the only company to offer a kids sorry, “youth” range of firearms, but have been thrust into the media glare with the recent shooting. Their website makes for interesting reading — the “Kids Corner” is worth a look. There are photos of kids holding up targets and the occasional dead animal who I assume was on the receiving end of “My First Rifle”. The photo of a baby in camo gear “holding” a rifle is somewhat disturbing. I hope that was submitted to support a Parent of The Year nomination. The beaming little girl holding up the box containing her new rifle complete with a Disney-esque cartoon cricket also caught my eye. I hope the cricket isn’t the next target.

It seems little has changed, guns have been pointed towards children for over a century — the photo on this page is an ad from 1904. Good to know the Iver Johnson revolvers “shoot straight and kill”, but reassuring that “accidental discharge is impossible”.

The whole gun debate  / right to keep and bear arms etc is far too complex to be covered in any detail here, though you have to wonder about the logic of manufacturing and marketing guns for kids as young as five. Sadly, the two year girl who was killed by her brother won’t be able to.

©Steve Williams 2013

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