Category Archives: computers

Nigel is only a figment of a madwoman’s imagination …

When Rocco’s mother signed up to Facebook, it became apparent she would need friends. It is, after all, a social network. One needs to be social. And if, as in Rocco’s mother’s case, one isn’t particularly – it comes to pass that necessity must be the mother of invention.

Rocco’s mother’s friendless state wouldn’t have mattered a hoot if she hadn’t, in a fit of boredom and curiosity one random afternoon, started to play one of the online games. She was perfectly happy being insular and posting pithy status updates which nobody ever read or cared about. She could have continued this way ad infinitum – and indeed, should have done so with gay abandon.  After a while, however – or a few whiles, anyway – it also became apparent one needed friends and neighbours in order to progress in the games. And at that point, Rocco’s hapless mother lost the plot completely – which was the moment of madness resulting in Nigel’s birth.

There are probably rules and laws governing Facebook which state members have to be bona fide human beings, using their real names and identities and swearing blind they haven’t airbrushed their profile photograph in order to look like Alan Rickman or the female equivalent. Rocco’s mother normally would not break laws even as petty as these – in fact, she would sooner poke her eye out with a rolled up Food-o-rama junk mail catalogue – but because she was aware other people had signed up pets, favourite toys, deceased ancestors and aspidistras in order to appear popular and, most importantly, to progress in games, she decided an imaginary friend was equally as bona fide as anything or anyone else (except, perhaps, Alan Rickman). Which was the root of the problem, really.

For Nigel, who burst into the world as an alleged archaeology student with a wicked and flirtatious nature, quickly evolved as a life force unto himself. Before Rocco’s mother knew it, he was chatting up women old enough to be his grandmother,  making somewhat lewd and unecessary comments to Rocco’s sisters, and running virtually amok in cyberspace – untamed and untrammeled. Before very long, Rocco’s mother realised with desperation she had no idea how to trammel him –  even telling him he didn’t exist was met with loud har har hars and protestations from others, (who should have known better), that they much preferred Nige to Rocco’s mother anyway, and if anyone was to be banished and exterminated, it had better be she, rather than he. Rocco’s mother realised with horror she was actually carrying out online arguments with Nigel. If the first sign of madness is speaking to oneself, which sign of madness is speaking to someone else who is actually oneself? The line between insanity and idiocy was becoming alarmingly blurred. While Rocco’s mother dug herself deeper into a mire of unreality, Rocco flourished and grew, gaining momentum, friends and admirers by the minute. It seemed he could not put a foot wrong, while Rocco’s mother appeared more bitter and twisted by the day, harassing and taunting Nigel in order to make him disappear up his own fake curriculum vitae.

Maybe the cruelest cut of all was the fact Nigel was far better at the online Facebook games than Rocco’s mother. His cafe was flooded with happy customers even when his shambolic cooking efforts left his counters empty and his stoves dirty. His YoVille houses were quirky and disgustingly filthy and fun to drop in on. Strangers requested Nigel’s friendship and were happy to send him farm animals, scented candles for his spaceship and chicken pot pies for his cafe. Rocco’s mother has warned Nigel he is absolutely NOT permitted to engage in online dalliance of any type whatsoever with random strangers. He has been told he must be completely honest with anyone who asks – and must confess to being merely a figment of a middle-aged woman’s imagination. Rocco’s mother is frightened she might log in one morning and find Nige has spent the night behaving in a most laddish manner, leaving broken hearts and shattered reputations in his wake. It keeps her awake at night, wondering what he’s doing while she’s sleeping.

The moral of this story is that it’s far, far better to have no friends at all. And that evil having been done, cannot easily be undone. And Rocco’s mother is becoming disturbingly aware she might find Nigel is drawn in indelible ink – and that she herself might not exist at all …



People who live in glass houses should turn off Google before removing their trousers …

Thanks to Google Street View, we can now virtually stand outside other people’s homes and stare without them knowing we are doing it. Spooky. It’s the best thing ever you can do without a pair of binoculars and one of those cars with blacked out windows and fake numberplates. I’m loving it. And especially the fact that the view of my house does not show me in my nasty dressing gown, shuffling out to the mailbox with a mouth full of chocolate to collect my free sample of incontinence pads. Which I feared it would. Bonus.

So here I am in my office at home, looking at your agapanthus and your strange, elasticless knickers hanging on your Hills Hoist. It’s a rather nice garden. Well, it would be if you had someone tow those two old car bodies from beside the driveway. Surely it’s about time you laid down the law regarding Jaysen’s old bangers? It’s lowering the tone of the neighbourhood – and you wouldn’t want that. And the lopsided old caravan he’s living in looks a bit of a mess out front, too. Doesn’t he earn enough to move into a nice little flat somewhere?

You really should get someone to mow your lawn. Your lazy, good-for-not-very-much husband, for instance. But I’m guessing he can’t, because I just happened to notice his car parked in front of the flats down near the SkankyMart. You know those flats … where that fake-breasted, man-stealing, floozy from his work  just happens to live. Your Darren must be working overtime, then. Or weekends, seeing as the school carpark is empty, which means it’s not a weekday. Funny he’d be doing overtime though, seeing as you’ve always said he goes fishing with his mates on the weekends.  You think? Or maybe someone else has a car like Darren’s. A lime-green 1920s Crapmobile with personalised Dazza plates. Probably pretty common, you’re right.

And oh, look! If you have a bit of a hover with your mouse over the McFattyBuns carpark, isn’t that your BreeArne in the skimpy little belt skirt, talking to those bikers? She looks so happy, waving her cigarette and showing those men the tattoo on her left breast. (If you zoom in, you can see it’s a rather artful little scroll which says ‘Shag me and weep’.) You always said BreeArne was a poetic girl, and a friendly one, too.  She certainly looks friendly – those men can’t keep their hands off her. Maybe they’ll take her for a nice ride on their bikes. Maybe they’ll weep.

If you continue on to the park, you’ll be amazed to see your youngest, Dwayne. He’s with some other little mates, and they’re huddled around the picnic table which seems, on zooming, to have a contraption made of a plastic bottle and some garden hose set upon it. Dwayne and his friends look very relaxed and happy. It’s nice to see young people enjoying life and availing themselves of the fruits of nature. Trees and leaves are good. And grass is, too. I can’t help thinking that looks like my garden hose – some of which is missing.

BreeArne’s artistry obviously runs in the family, because down at the railway siding you might notice your older son, Jaysen. He has a spray aerosol in his hand … and look, he’s made a mural! My goodness, you’ve brought up some public spirited young people, haven’t you? Jaysen seems to have recreated some of Hitler’s insignia – obviously as a sort of protest thingie, maybe. It’s excellent he’s so interested in history – and art. And that he’s merged the two. And that it’s all recorded for posterity. Lovely!

I can’t see you in your garden, though. You must have hung the dodgy knickers and gone inside to make a nice cuppa. It must be lovely to be able to rest and relax, knowing your family members are all happily occupied and getting the most out of life. Maybe you are at your computer, checking up on your family – just like I am. Ah, the wonders of technology!

That’s funny … I’d never noticed before that you have a red light above your front door. Are you running an emergency medical centre? Surely not. Ooh, I wish we could have Google Night Street so I could see what you’re up to! Maybe you’re just partial to a pretty rose-coloured light flooding your agapanthus.

Or maybe half the men in the neighbourhood come around after dark and knock … and weep.



            What a work of art is the computer.

            You can type whatever you damn well please on that screen – then, if it’s not absolutely to your liking, you can highlight the text and press the ‘delete’ button. Great, eh? Like playing God. All clean and ready to start again. And while you’re waiting to think of something else to put on the screen, you can watch your screensaver. If you have a really nice one, this will fill in an hour or two and is nearly as good as meditation. Though not quite as good as medication. Whatever, it passes the time before you have to actually do something.

            In the beginning, computers were supposed to do great things for productivity in offices. The idea was, you could sack the typing pool and just have a couple of word processors. This would have been perfectly fine if such things as email and the internet hadn’t entered the equation. Once they did, workplaces became fun – and productivity … well, a thing of the past, really.

            All of a sudden, Nigel in Accounts found he could carry on an interesting little thing with Kaylene in Stores. He’d never really been brave enough to get into a bit of banter and/or innuendo when he bumped into her at the coffee machine. And she wasn’t the type to think up witty, throwaway comebacks off the top of her head. The office email system made all the difference to Nigel and Kaylene – they positively bloomed. It didn’t matter a hoot she was married to Jeff, manager of the local Foodplus – she bought new lipstick and started to look forward to Wednesdays, which were pretty quiet in Accounts and gave Nigel plenty of time for a bit of online dalliance.

            Harold in Marketing discovered chat lines back in August, and hasn’t surfaced since. Nobody noticed, because they hadn’t noticed he was there in the first place. Due to the sad fact he hadn’t had much luck with the talent around the office (especially not Tanya with the pneumatic breasts or Carla, who had decided not to waste herself on anyone without at least a medical degree or a very red Ferrari), Harold signed on as ‘Clint’ and inadvertently gave the impression he was a fighter pilot. Because so many girlies are clamouring to meet him in the flesh, Clint finds he is inconveniently posted to Venezuela tiresomely often – or other trouble spots which need someone of his calibre. Naturally, he has never mentioned eczema, or the grubby piece of Elastoplast twisted around the right-hand arm of his bifocals. And nobody has ever asked. The people he corresponds with, including Alyce the actress (who is really Shazza, a dental assistant from Moree), are too busy hiding their own defects without being particularly interested in ferreting out his.

            Down in Advertising, Malcolm and Derek are vying to be the first to get to the last level of Doom. They were hired for their creative talent, with which they are considerably blessed. Derek has managed to gain an extra 50,000 bonus points by typing in a special code he downloaded from a cheatline in America. Malcolm is working on it – he has considered wiping Derek’s hard drive next time he goes home early. Neither Malcolm nor Derek have done very much work on the new layout for the Stretchalot Condoms account, and the client is getting understandably tetchy.

            In the meantime, Managing Director Neville discovered a terrific little website called ‘Norwegian Night Nurses Do Dubbo’. After that, things were never quite the same around the executive washroom. Exactly what the Nordic Nightingales got up to at Western Plains Zoo is not our business – but they did it again and again, courtesy of Please do not attempt to log on to this site in the privacy of your own home. It is not for the fainthearted, or children, especially.

            With all this fun stuff going down, productivity is heading for extinction in a handbasket. It’s not a happening thing. The manager of Stretchalot Condoms is not going to get the advertising for his products any time soon – but what the hell – everyone’s far too busy to have much call for them. J




Apocalypse soon …


The end of the world will be … Friday. Or Monday. It depends who you’re listening to, really.

            The uncertainty of the whole affair makes it a tad difficult to organise one’s life. Like whether to renew your driver’s licence for five years or one. Or not at all. Whether or not you should send for a year’s subscription to Chow Down, bearing in mind you might not be eating anything at all after Wednesday. And it certainly seems a waste of time to bother cleaning the windows, considering the glass is going to be whirling around the universe in a trillion pieces and nobody will know who neglected it or didn’t.

            Most importantly, in these uncertain times, you should think again about how worthwhile it would be to build a fallout shelter, emerging like a mole when it’s all over, blinking in the fluorescent red sunlight or whatever – ready to start again in a brave new world. Pass. There wouldn’t be any exciting people left to start it with anyway. Only boring farts who’d built fallout shelters and stockpiled tins of Stagg beans for the past 10 years. All you’d get from them would be a lot of pontificating and flatulence. The exciting people will be in little pieces. Whirling around with my dirty windowpanes, not giving a hoot.

            Besides, there won’t be any malls. Or the Sunday Magazine from the weekend paper. Or terrific telly shows where you can gleefully watch people stuff up other people’s beige homes with a can of purple paint and six metres of orange fur fabric. Not to mention cowprint terry toweling stapled to the wardrobe doors.

            There won’t even be anything to take the Mick out of anymore, seeing as the Flatulent Ones will be busy taking everything far too seriously. They’ll be setting up insurance offices, accountancy programs and working out new calendars and stuff.

            Cries of, ‘Hey – let’s go get a cappuccino!’ will be met with glares of derision and indifference. They’ll be urging you to sign up for the bean-planting committee and warning you about the hazards of standing out in the sun. Which is a bit of a curly one really, seeing as everyone’s glowing in the dark and emitting little beeping noises when they walk too close to rocks. There you’ll be, in a barren landscape, wondering what in hell compelled you to duck into a fallout shelter in the first place.

            The Flatulent Ones will not have chocolate manufacture high on the priority list. It’s going to be mung beans all the way, and a Day-Glo alfalfa crop. Nothing is going to be funny ever again. You can forget trying to organise a bus trip to an underwear emporium, or getting anyone to sing Ten Green Bottles with you as you solemnly dig bean furrows in the atomically-charged earth. You can forget getting your teeth into a Sara Lee danish. Life as you knew it is now somewhere out there in the ether – and by gum, you’re going to be wishing you were part of it. Many parts of it, as it happens.

            Because, gentle reader, the kind of people you might even vaguely have wished to be marooned with were the ones who howled with laughter at the word ‘armageddon’. They were the ones who said, ‘Armageddon outta here before it blows!’ and then sat around slapping their thighs and ordering cappuccinos to go.

            They mined uranium, ripped up the forests and munched on genetically modified beef. They destroyed the ozone layer with their refrigerators and motor cars, and let their waste products swim merrily in the water they drank. They thrived on noise and packaging, and visual stimulation. They lived for caffeine and making fun of vegetarians. But now they’re gone.

            You too, could have been part of the Gone Generation – but here you are, hanging out with the Flatulent Ones. Sitting in on a discussion as to whether it would make more sense to have 13 months instead of 12 this time around, and the possibility of cloning cows from the one existing packet of powdered milk. But not for eating purposes, natch.

            There’s nothing electronic, nothing exciting, nothing to look forward to and nothing dangerous. Unless you count that dark red sky and the hideous, ticking soil.

            Ticking, ticking, ticking …