Category Archives: technology is so weird it makes my brain hurt

HBO: why don’t you want my money?

Dearest HBO,

Why don’t you want my money? Is it a moral thing, are you worried that my income is derived from heinously unethical sources like contract killing, drug dealing or writing for Newscorp? Because I can assure you, all of my income is legitimately earned (well, assuming you can call art ‘legitimate’…)

Would you like me to pay you in bitcoin? Dogecoin? Maybe fucking DRACHMAS? And yes, I do know that Greece hasn’t used Drachmas in many years it’s just that 1) ‘drachmas’ is a funny word that sounds as though it might describe a Grandma Dracula and 2) Paying with an obsolete currency makes infinitely more sense than going to great lengths to prevent people from paying you.

“But silly Australian consumer!” you might say. “It’s easy to watch HBO in your weird, kangaroo filled country! Why don’t you just pay for Foxtel?” Let me answer your question in the form of opening a second window in my browser and searching ‘mercenaries located within walking distance of HBO headquarters.’ Screenshot 2015-10-13 20.33.42

To sign up for the Foxtel package that includes ‘high quality’ content (why is there any other type being offered on a premium paid service?) including installation fees is $665 – a number so tantalisingly almost satanic that it suggests a bunch of board members sat around and said “Can we make it less than $666 because we don’t want to give away the fact that Satan is our lord and master but only very SLIGHTLY less because, I mean, you know…we love money.” This pricing is bullshit on a cosmic scale. For that kind of money, according to Ebay, I could buy the skull of an extinct Merycoidodon. I don’t even know what that is, but I know I’d rather pay for that than a bunch of crappy reality shows where they put models fresh out of rehab in charge of the economy of a small island nation or whatever dross comes packaged with the handful of decent shows on offer.

Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and had a conversation like this:

barista

“Hi there, what can I get for you today?”

businessman

“Cappuccino to go thanks, I’ve got a busy day of not letting people buy my company’s services ahead of me!

barista

“Sure thing! That’ll be $3.00 for the coffee and $662 for the piles of bagels, donuts, muffins, ylang ylang smoothies, vegan cheese souffle, kale flavoured paleo cronut and gluten free cheese puffs.”

businessman

“But I don’t want any of those other things, just coffee!”

barista

“Well you don’t have to eat them, but you DO have to pay for them and take them with you.”

Do you know WHY you’ve probably never had this interaction? Because it is a batshit crazy business model that would only be cooked up by an obscenely wealthy oligarch at the nasty end of a six day coke binge. Last year, some of us were hopeful that the streaming service HBO GO would offer up some assistance, but instead you had served up a big old digital middle finger to the world and had everyone outside of the US screaming HBO GO FUCK YOURSELVES when they read this:

Screenshot 2015-10-13 20.38.25

It’s well documented that piracy rates are extremely high in Australia. And look, I understand why you might be annoyed about that. I currently lose money to piracy even though you can literally get my books for free from the goddamn library, and that stings. Especially because my landlord refuses to let me pay in dramatic monologues or haiku for some stupid reason. It would probably break my heart, if not for the fact that I just have a fat black lump of coal where it used to be. But one of the reasons the piracy is so prevalent in this country is because Australians are sick of being constantly and consistently screwed on both the pricing and the availability of digital media. You might as well let Pirate Bay put up banner advertising on your homepage, given how much traffic you drive their way.

I want to like you HBO, really, I do. I even want to give you money. But you just make it SO. DAMN. HARD. I shouldn’t need to use a quasi-illegal ‘greymarket’ workaround to achieve this. Netflix finally figured this out last year, surely you can do the same. Or you can keep rolling along using your heinously outdated business model and people will keep stealing your stuff forever. Why don’t you ask your buddies in the record industry how that’s working out for them?

In conclusion:

arya-stark

Sydney Airport: Please Tell Your Robots To Stop Sexually Harassing Me In The Bathroom

Dearest Sydney Airport,

I like to think we know each other pretty well. You’ve made me remove various items of clothing and screened me for explosives many times. I’ve slept in your chairs, consumed your Krispy Kreme products with jet-lagged jaws and recently you’ve even been kind enough to stock my latest novel in your bookshops. Now, I’ll grant that over a breadth of time and experience a certain intimacy develops, but there are boundaries to such a relationship and one of those boundaries should very clearly be the bathroom. The shitter, the lavatory, the outhouse, the thunderbox, the bog, the porcelain wonderland. Whatever euphemism/dysphemism you want to employ for that tiled little collection of cubicles and piping where humans go to accomplish the natural – and completely disgusting – process of expunging waste. Our relationship is important to me, Sydney Airport, so let me state this clearly: When I am in the bathroom, LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.

vivid

Recently I visited your fair city in order to attend the Sydney Writers’ Festival. How was it you say? Why, it was wonderful, thank you for asking! I spoke on some panels, signed some books, performed some poetry and got to meet many of my favourite writers. I did accidentally smack someone’s microphone out of their hand as I exited one performance but I’m going to pretend that the audience thought it was just a sort of hip-hop ‘dis’ move rather than the clumsy flailing of a terminally uncoordinated man. Plus, I got to see the Vivid festival and the luminary Sufjan Stevens. What a magical couple of days, what a grand, kaleidoscopic adventure, what a shame it had to end with a robot asking me “Wanna get naked?” in the airport bathroom.

I applied Occam’s razor to the situation and logically concluded that someone had slipped me a drug from a Phillip K. Dick novel. It turns out, however, that a video vending machine was attempting to sell me Four Seasons Naked condoms. You’ve crossed a line Sydney Airport, the bathroom line. You see, the problem is, I’m unable to boycott the use of these repugnantly invasive machines. Sometimes, I have to use airports, and during my time in said airports I have to use the bathroom. There’s no ‘ad-free’ option. There is no opt out.

Also, Four Seasons, what the hell is wrong you with you? You have a product that prevents diseases AND is directly related to sex, surely that’s got to be a marketing agency’s wet dream? Whatever agency landed your account must have wept into their champagne and sacrificed a few goats in celebration when that deal got inked. How hard can it be to write some ads that move product without invading bathroom privacy? Look, I’ll write some ad copy for you right now:

crying-baby-1

“The cost of raising a child in Australia is $300 000+. This costs $2. Enjoy your flight.”

“Hi. Buy one of these for $2 and it could stop you from dying of AIDS. I like your outfit, have a nice day.”

“If you don’t have one of these s/he won’t have sex with you. Thank you.”

Seriously Four Seasons, most ad agencies fall over themselves trying to tenuously connect sex to their products. Just look at this:

hearing aids

You can just imagine the conversation that preceded it can’t you?

“Morning Terry, what’s the new account?”

“Hearing aids! Dumb, stupid, bloody useless hearing aids! I mean, how are you supposed to sell a technological marvel that does nothing but restore one of your vital senses?”

“Sex?”

“Yeah, I reckon I’ll go with sex.”

It’s worth noting that condoms can also be purchased from pharmacies, at a better rate and with a superior selection. I wouldn’t dream of discouraging anyone from using such a vital and important product, so I’ll just politely remind people that you’d have to be a complete moron to buy a single condom for $2 from a robot with no sense of bathroom decorum when you can buy a whole pack for just a couple of dollars more from an actual person.

Whilst shopping for reasonably priced prophylactics sold by humans who haven’t harassed you in the bathroom, you might also want to pick up some chewing gum. It’s an inexpensive and delicious treat that if chewed during takeoff helps reduce that irritating popping in one’s ears. Also, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but once chewing gum is jammed into a small space – the coin slot of an outrageously invasive video vending machine for example – it serves as a surprisingly effective adhesive that would likely be very difficult and expensive to remove.

fake-chewed-gum-1

Now, I know what you might be thinking, if it was so bloody awful and invasive why didn’t I just take a video of the damned thing to prove it? And the answer is BECAUSE RECORDING ANYTHING IN BATHROOMS IS A DISGUSTING THING TO DO (much like using sexualised robots to solicit you to buy products.)

We’ve had a long history together Sydney Airport, so I have every confidence that you’ll rectify this error soon. I look forward to shitting in peace next time I visit your otherwise fine facility.

Kind regards,

J. M. Donellan

______________________________________________________

PS I’m very curious to know if the vending machines in the female toilets have been displaying equally aggressive behaviours. Visitors to Sydney Airport drop me a line if you have a similar story to tell. 

I want to give you synaesthesia

Dearest Person Reading This,

I would like to give you synaesthesia. No, don’t worry, it’s not a sexually transmitted flesh-eating fungal infection. You have to go to some really dodgy Ecuadorian bars to get those (or so I’ve heard). Synaesthesia is a neurological blending of the senses. The lead character in my newest novel Killing Adonis is a synaesthete, and my publishers came up with the wickedly clever idea of making this internet tool.

 nabokov     monroe     Wassily-Kandinsky

Vladimir Nabokov, Marilyn Monroe and Wassily Kandinsky all had synaesthesia. 

Basically what it does is match each letter and number on your keyboard with a corresponding sound and colour, mirroring the way in which a synaesthete experiences the world. You can write whatever you want and share it as a synaesthetic sound/colour/text  experience. Feel free to jump straight in and have a play and write whatever you want. You might even just want to tap out a few tunes. You can write some witty/snarky things and share them around the internet (I believe that is the internet’s primary function after all).

colour blur

However, if you’re not very good at being witty and articulate don’t feel bad. Neither is Tony Abbott and he somehow managed to become PM so clearly it’s no biggie. Perhaps you have other talents like frisbee golf skillz or being very good at finding the best avocados in the pile. Whatever the case, I’ve made a bunch of presets for you that you can tailor as necessary. There’s a selection of threats, insults, pickup lines. Just the usual stuff that a normal person uses a couple of dozen times a day. Click on the links to see and share them synaesthetically. Have fun, make up and share some your own and whatever happens definitely do not send this message to ASIO under any circumstances.

LOVE

My dearest darling honeyknickers, I have always loved you, despite the fact that you smell exactly like old cheese wrapped in sweaty socks.

Dear Mum, thanks for squeezing me out of your vagina. I hope my annual gifting of a $20 gift card serves as adequate compensation.

Dear [person I am attracted to] I dislike not dating you and would substantially prefer to do the opposite. I do not have chlamydia (at least not according to WebMD).

THREATS & INSULTS

Dear [coworker], if you continue to eat my yoghurt out of the fridge I am going to start flavouring it with industrial strength laxative. And no, I don’t know what industrial strength laxative is but believe me I will find out.

Dear Neighbours, when you have sex it sounds like a pack of rabid wolves playing in a screamo band. PS Do you want to join my screamo band?

 If your personality were an album, it would be Chinese Democracy.

If your face were a film, it would be The Room.

The-Room

POLITICS

Dear Tony, the rumours are not true. There is not going to be a G20 afterparty in Obama’s room. Definitely don’t go there because there will be nothing going on, if there was we would definitely invite you because everyone thinks you are great despite what the polls, commentators etc. have to say. PS Putin says he will meet you on the oval at 4. Come alone. – DC

Dear Mr Pyne, I’m contacting you here because my work email has been hacked. Can you ask Malcolm how to delete emails from the cloud? Cheers. – B. Spurr

MISC

 Future novel idea.

PS I’m just shy of my 1000th twitter follower. If you become number 1000, send me one of these synaesthesia messages using #KillingAdonis and I’ll write you a lil somethin’ somethin’ special in reply.

Quotes

I just found out that someone made one of those ‘quotes as images to share on social media’ things from something I wrote in Zeb and the Great Ruckus. Apparently it’s been used on a dating website as a ‘this is a selection of words that encapsulates who I am and if you are of a similar temperament we should high five with our tongues’ kind of deal. I can’t tell you how much this pleases and amuses me. Maybe I should start using online dating and employ my own quotes as tags to express my personality, sort of like an existential ouroboros of self-expression.

zeb quote

How To Do Your Xmas Shopping Without Losing Your Will To Live

I hate shopping. And not just because I'm an 'anti-consumerist hippie.' I hate trying stuff on, I hate waiting in queues and I hate the fact that stores play insufferable techno music with a high BPM that is specifically selected to impair your impulse control systems. 

 

"You know, I thought that $149.95 for a polo shirt was a little pricey, but now that I've had a Bleach-blonde German guy yelling at me for a few minutes over the sound of what appears to be a few dozens synths being massacred by a chainsaw, I realise it's actually a really great deal!"

Around Christmas time, shopping transmogrifies from a mild ordeal into a kafkaesque nightmare soundtracked by horrendous carols on incessant repeat and a horde of holiday shoppers who, I'm quite sure, were friendly, muffin baking, herb-garden-planting suburbanites just a few weeks ago but have now become furious, salivating bargain hunters who occasionally use capsicum spray.

I'm no scrooge though, I like giving presents and bearing witness to that heart-warming half-smile that just screams "Are you kidding me did you seriously think I would like THIS?!? Witness the wrath of my obviously feigned gratitude and appreciative hug!" This year, however, I decided to do 100% of my shopping online through ethical retailers. This means that not only do I skip the queues, irate holiday shoppers and twenty minute search for a car park, but the gifts I get give a little something back to the developing world.

Think about it, if you buy a $120 Adidas handbag for your sister, extremely effeminate dad, or horrendously anthropomorphised poodle and they don't like it, you've not only blown your hard earned cash, you've also contributed profits to a corporation that uses child and sweatshop labour and has a history of sexually harassing its workers.

Ridiculouspoodle

"OMG! Are you, like for real! ?! That TOTES does not go with this outfit!"

If you do your christmas hopping at an ethical retailer and your loved one throws their gift in the bottom of their cupboard for all eternity, at least you've given some money to working communities in the developing world who will be paid a fair wage and use environmentally sound practices. Doing it online means you can even shop in your underwear whilst listening to the Ramones. Which I suppose you could do in the store as well, but it might come across as a little weird. 

Iboxer

 

"Yeah I'll take one of those wallets, a diary, these candles…oh wait! GUITAR SOLO!!!"

Here's a list of some of the leading ethical gift stores, feel free to suggest others.

UNICEF

OXFAM

New Internationalist 

Ethical Gifts

 

AND A MERRY WHATEVER THING YOU BELIEVE IN TO ALL!!!

 

 

My Dearest Target

My Dearest Target,

How are you? I trust you are enjoying the start of the Christmas period, which I imagine major retailers look forward to with all the anticipation of a sex addict awaiting a holiday in Ibiza.

Newyork

Yesterday I was perusing your shelves in search of a toiletries bag that I had believed I would require for my planned trip to New York. As it turns out neither the toiletries bag nor the trip to New York will now be necessary as my girlfriend decided to break up with me a few days before our one year anniversary and thus reduce me to an irrational, quivering wreck engaged in peculiar behavior such as writing elaborate complaint letters to department stores, but that’s neither here nor the other place.

Whilst waiting in line to make my purchase I was subjected to your holiday promo clip. Now, aside from the fact that this insufferably saccharine commercial featured lots of sickeningly elated blonde white people and storks carrying babies (when was this thing written, the 1950s?) the ad and its ridiculously loud music were repeated and repeated over and over again and again and again. It was interrupted by only the intermittent PROCEED TO CHECKOUT FIVE announcements, making me feel as though I was alternating my time between some Kafkaesque consumer hell and some Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare (Kafka really was the king of literary misery wasn’t he?)

Kafka-drawing
If I had to listen to a Target ad on infinite loop my writing would have been even MORE despressing!

I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but incessantly repeated music is actually one of the most popular modern forms of psychological torture. During the Bush era two of the favourite bands used at Guantanamo bay were Nine Inch Nails and Massive Attack. Quite ironic given the fact that both of those bands despised the Bush administration. Do you think they got paid royalties for public broadcast each time their song got repeated? 

Once in India I took a 20 hour jeep ride from Srinagar to Leh, and the MP3 player kept skipping back to the start of whatever song it was playing. We asked the driver to just turn it off but he told us that without music he would fall asleep and at this point we were on a tiny Himalayan mountain road with a steep ravine right reaching ominously out beneath us so we let him have his way. Just before we finally reached Leh, we heard the first ten seconds of the song Gimmie More featuring the delightful opening line “It’s Britney bitch!” over and over and over (and over). By the time we reached Leh we had been reduced to giggling, hysterical lunatics.

 

Try listening to THIS 500 times in a row…

So as I’m listening to this syrupy commercial on infinite repeatrepeatrepeat, I’m thinking, what effect is this having on the staff here? Surely this can’t be psychologically healthy? Finally the all-commanding screen interrupts the commercial and instructs me to move to the checkout. I always do what television tells me, so I dutifully obeyed and handed my soon to be redundant travel toiletries bag to the young man behind the counter.

“That’s a total of five cents.” Says he. I looked at price tag, which quite definitely stated $9.05, and I thought to myself, surely I must have misheard him? It can’t possibly be some sort of 99.45% Christmas discount? I passed him $20, and he handed me back $19.95. I took the money in my hand and was open to say something along the lines of “Whaaaaaaaaat?” when the all-seeing monitor demanded that I vacate the checkout so that it might be utilised by another obedient consumer.

In conclusion: perhaps you should reconsider the all-seeing monitor playing your advertisements on infinite loop, not only for the effect it has on your staff, but the effect it has on your profit margin.

Drunk_santa_train-550x379

AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS OR WHATEVER THE HELL ELSE YOU BELIEVE IN TO ALL!

Swarm regards

J.M. Donellan

 

Eighty-Nine teaser trailer


 

Did you know books have trailers now? Yep, it's the 21st century. Although…um…this one is all about 1989. But set in the future, if that makes sense. Hey it's speculative fiction, we can do whatever the hell we want! This is a teaser trailer, full one coming soon.

 Eighty-nine features my contribution The Story Bridge guaranteed to be the most hilarious story you'll read about attempted suicide all year.

 

Jerks vs. the internet

 Good morrow to you Sirs and Madams!

If you are reading this, then you are clearly the owner of 1 x internet. Congratulations! You now have access to an incredible information network featuring 231 million pictures of cats and a tumblr site that documents Buffy outfits! Not only this but the magic of the internet allows to connect and communicate with your fellow humans conveniently and instantly.

01  

Any further questions?

Excited_man_160w     Can I comment on someone else's

        ideas and opinions?

01  

Most certainly!

Excited_woman


 Can I, in turn, share my own carefully formulated

opinions based on verified information from

a variety of reputable sources?

01

Be my guest!

Excited_man

 Can I go onto a missing person's report and whine

to the police service about legal semantics thereby impeding

the search for a missing person who may well be in grave danger?

01 

Well, erm, I mean…I guess you could…

but why would-

Excited_manGREAT! Brb.


Screen shot 2011-08-28 at 11.34.27 AM
A few days ago a friend posted this missing person notice, alerting the community to the fact that a 17 year old man had gone missing. Now, I have to admit that I was previously unaware that under QLD state law a 17 year old is classified as an adult. However, unlike one particularly insensitive facebook user I did not respond to this new information by posting "since when has a person under 18 been classed as an adult…this is a child missing……..not a MAN!!!!!!!!" Colour me prudish, but this strikes me as being about as rude as vociferously criticising the floral arrangements at your grandma's funeral.

Flowers and a Bear

Oh fuck seriously? Pink and mauve held by

a cute white teddy?!?! Grandma would just DIE of embarrassment!

You know, if she wasn't already dead…

The notice wall quickly degenerated into a series of arguments about the law in question (COUPLED WITH AN OBSCENELY EXCESSIVE USE OF CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!) followed by rebukes and rebuttals. What those posting failed to remember is that the missing person (boy, man, whatever the hell tickles your Sid and Nancy) is an actual human who is possibly in serious danger and unquestionably has a family currently undergoing severe emotional distress. The problem with the internet is that users forget that despite the physical distance and lack of eye contact, bad breath and body odour that occurs during conversations, these are actual people who deserve to be treated with the respect that this particular DNA sequence is supposed to accord an organism.

For instance; reading this post you might be fooled into thinking that it was composed by some manner of incomprehensibly brilliant and witty blogging program. However, the author of this article is in fact a human with emotions, desires, a bad credit rating and a weird rash on my upper left thigh that I should probably see a doctor about.

Despite that fact that you can transmogrify into grandwarrior wizard Archimedes Lothorius on the internet, you still remain the same geeky human in real life. But if you are a jerk on the internet, you are still the same Jerky McJerkface with the face of a jerk when the computer shuts down. Here is a series of diagrams to demonstrate:

FIG 1

Wizardwarrior         VS         Geek
           internet                                           real life

 FIG 2

Jerk       VS     Jerk
       internet                                              real life

 If you have any information about Matthew, contact the Queensland Police. If you want to rant and rave about legal semantics and generally be an insensitive arsehole why not try standing on the table of your local pub and talking in a LOUD VOICE!!!! and see how well that works out for you in the real world.

 

Dearest spawn: words of wisdom for the future

Recently I was requested to write some words of wisdom for the as yet unborn child of two of my very dear friends. Having a great deal of words but a rather appalling dearth of wisdom, I soon found myself overwhelmed by the grandiose responsibility of providing the literary form of a guiding light in the darkness to a not yet fully downloaded human child foetus. I ended up crying in the corner in much the same manner of a new born babe for several hours before consoling myself by thinking about breasts (again, much like in the manner of an infant).

20070525_baby My life is so freakin sweet! People lavish attention

on me constantly and everyone thinks it's adorable when I burp or

defecate! I hope the rest of my life is exactly like this!

This whole ordeal got me thinking; if I were to one day be so cruel as to decide to subject the world to the burden of my offspring, what words would I give the little bastard to send them on their way before I suffer an untimely death by turtle mauling or fireworks and pogo stick incident?

Here's what I came up with. Feel free to cut and paste this for your own use.

Dearest spawn,

Congratulations on being selected from millions of potential sperm candidates to become my progeny!

I have decided to bequeath unto you some words of wisdom for the future. However, the future which you will inhabit will doubtlessly differ greatly from the present. Hence the best advice I am able to give you has been obtained primarily from science fiction novels.

Time-machine4web
This is what people in the past thought time machines

would look like. What a bunch of morons.

It doesn't even have an ipod dock!

1 If you ever get sent back into the past DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. Not even breasts. (Sidenote: Infancy is the only time in your life when you will be able to gain access to breasts by merely screaming and crying. ENJOY IT.)

2 If you ever get sent to a gorgeous utopian future TOUCH EVERYTHING because you are obviously dreaming. The future is going to be a horrible, horrible place. Really, it will be just awful.

Daft_punk_1_500

3 Just because everyone else in the world is wearing tight fitting silver suits doesn't mean that you have to. In fact, by wearing a variant outfit you substantially increase the likelihood of being the star of the piece.

4 Big Brother is watching. And he is fucking bored.

5 Soylent Green, while delicious, is no substitute for a healthy balanced diet.

6 Soma, while delicious, is no substitute for a healthy balanced diet.

Terminator-the-sarah-connor-chronicles-20090416021624940_640w  

7 Don't do it, she's a robot!

8 Don't do it, she's a clone!

9 Don't do it, she's you from a parallel universe where you've had an extremely convincing sex change operation!

10 When all your human parts are eventually replaced by cybernetic enhancements, make sure you shell out the extra bucks for the extended warranty. No one wants a future where you have to buy a replacement prostate every three months.

11 Floss

 

Pocket Hipster app

Hipster_02 Have you ever been walking down the street, thinking about messaging that enigmagnetic boy/girl when suddenly the thought "I WISH I HAD AN IPHONE APP THAT MADE FUN OF MY MUSIC CHOICES!" assailed you like a blunt instrument to the solar plexus?

If the answer to this question is 'yes ma'am!' then boy have I got news for you! The brand new POCKET HIPSTER app is now available. I provided the voices for 'Sebastian Fowler' the pretentious English hipster and 'Atticus Jackson' the too-cool-for-any-kind-of-educational-learning-facility Californian hipster. I also wrote some of their ridiculous one-liners. The app makes fun of your music, and also you, and guides you to music that is better than yours.*Note: neither of these voices is my actual voice. I am using my magical superpower known as 'voice pretending', also known to layfolk as 'acting.'

You can get it from the itunes app store or just click here.

Amusingly I don't own an iphone, so now in addition to not owning a device that can read the digital version of my novel, I also can't watch and enjoy this app that I voiced. Oh great and sage-like Alanis Morrissette, what are your thoughts on this matter?


 

 

PS thanks to the kids at JosephMark for having me on board for this project. I had twelve kinds of fun.