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Merry Xmas and It’s a Festivus For the Rest of Us! December 25, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging.
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I still remember this movie from when I was a kid. It sucked.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Can’t believe it’s been another year.  A quick one, full of writing, reading and movies.  Lately it’s been a lot more movies than the other two, but hey, it’s the festive season!

This year we did some charity work and had a big family BBQ with the in-laws.  Lots of fun, and a great time to reflect on how lucky we’ve been for another 12 months.  Now if I can just win that mega lotto draw…

Two things I want to discuss this Xmas because I feel like it.

The first — one of my favourite anti-Xmas holidays, Festivus.  I have nothing against Xmas personally (nothing against Jesus, the economy needs it and people feel good about themselves).  I just really like the idea of Festivus — the pole, the “airing of grievances” and my personal favourite, the “feats of strength”.

Here is a video.  Gotta love Frank Costanza.

The second, is Larry Bird’s Xmas present to Chuck Person.  The Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers played on Xmas day.  Bird went up to Person (they had a bit of a heated rivalry) and told him he had a Xmas present for him.  During the game, while Person was on the bench, Bird caught the ball outside the three point line right in front of the Pacers’ bench.  After Bird launched the three pointer, he turned and said, “Merry F*&@ing Xmas” to Person, just before the ball fell through the hoop.

Now that’s a great Xmas present!

Couldn’t find a video of it, but here are a couple of other videos in the same vein that display Larry Legend’s greatness.

Merry Xmas!

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Indian Journey Part VI: The Indian Head Wobble June 29, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in India, Travel.
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Before I visited India I had always thought the Indian head wobble was a myth.  A humorous stereotype.  But it’s so NOT!

I was shocked to find that just about every second person in India performed the head wobble at any given opportunity.  Hotel receptionists.  Taxi drivers.  Auto rickshaw drivers.  Shop assistants.  People attending the wedding.  They do it when giving thanks or receiving thanks.  They do it when talking or silent.  They do it in response to another wobble.  But what does it mean?  It’s not really a nod, nor is it a shake.  All I know is that it is insanely infectious and I have been doing it non-stop (much to the annoyance of everyone around me).

Thanks to the Internets, I found this article explaining what the Indian head wobble is.  In short, it is a multi-purpose body gesture usable for anything from “yes,” “good”, to “I understand”, but it may mean different things in different regions and the length of the wobble is also relevant.  What a complex art!

And now, for no reason other than there being an Indian head wobble in it (at around the 0:23-0:30 mark), here is a video of Seinfeld product placements.

The Fortnight of Pace! May 8, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in On Writing, Study.
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In the tradition of “The Summer of George”, I had proclaimed the last two weeks “The Fortnight of Pace”.

It was my two-week mid-semester break, and it was a time for me to thrive, to pound out those writing assessments, to enter into writing competitions, to submit articles to publications, to finally make some progress on my novels.  It seemed so perfect.  No classes, no disruptions.  There was nothing that could stop me.

But alas, The Fortnight of Pace turned out much like The Summer of George.  I tried, I really did, but the time just came and went like I was in some kind of time warp.  I remember just a couple of months ago when I was working, time seemed to crawl.  I wondered why the days would take forever to finish, and the week felt like it would never end.  Now, I have the opposite problem.  I do a couple of things here and there, and all of a sudden the day is over and my ‘to do’ list remains almost untouched.

So now, instead of having all the time in the world to work on my novels and accumulate writing credits, I still have 7 assessments due in the next 5 weeks.  Looks like I’m going to be busy!

Serenity now!

Review: Jason Alexander’s Comedy Spectacular! December 5, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Entertainment, Shows.
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George Costanza is back, baby!

In my humble opinion, George Costanza (Seinfeld) is the greatest sitcom character of all time.  And naturally, the actor that plays George, Jason Alexander, is my favourite sitcom actor (and probably TV actor) of all time.

And so when I found out that Jason Alexander’s Comedy Spectacular was returning to Sydney, I didn’t hesitate to buy tickets immediately.  The chance to see the closest thing I have to a hero was too rare an opportunity to pass up.  It didn’t matter to me that the description of the show stated that Alexander was ‘hosting’ a night of comedy, which made me slightly concerned that they were merely using his name to promote a show predominantly featuring other comics.

The verdict?  Pure gold! By far the best comedy night I have ever been to.

This was truly Jason Alexander’s Comedy Spectacular.  Alexander featured all the way through the 3-hour+ extravaganza, and he was in superb form from start to finish.  The show began with a hilarious long solo stand-up act from the man himself (much longer than I had expected).  It wasn’t just recycled material either – there were plenty of references to more recent events (from the death of Michael Jackson to Tiger Woods’ indiscretions to Australia’s new opposition leader to of course, the wedding between 66-year-old Geoffrey Edelsten and his 25 year-old-bride Brynne Gordon which Alexander was paid to attend) and was full of improvisation and spontaneity.

Following the solo act, Alexander began introducing a stellar cast of local comedians.  On this particular night, he had stand-ups Glenn Robbins, Mick Molloy and Julia Morris, music-comedy trio The Axis of Awesome, and improv specialist Rebecca de Unamano.  For those who know a little about Australian comedy, this is a formidable line-up.  Good enough to sell-out venues even without the headlining superstar.  Here’s a brief review of each of the secondary acts:

Glenn Robbins – by far the funniest comedian of the night not named Jason Alexander.  He started off a little slow, but was absolutely on fire before it was over and had the crowds rolling in the isles.

Mick Molloy – the fat lady beside me sounded like she was about to die from laughter, but Mick’s comedy really didn’t do it for me personally – though to be fair he had a couple of good one-liners.

Julia Morris – consistent, female-oriented comedy with some decent laughs, but nothing that made me piss myself.

Axis of Awesome – great talents, but compared to the experienced and polished comics, felt a little amateurish – that was, until their final song, which was a bloody masterpiece.

Rebecca de Unamano – great fun because she utilised Jason Alexander’s talents and got the rest of the cast involved – and not a bad comedian herself.

The greatest thing was that even though the night was split between various acts, it was well and truly Alexander’s show.  He was there from the beginning, he was by far the longest act, and he continued to throw in gut-busting lines and jokes (often at Michael Jackson’s expense) between the other acts.  My favourite parts of the show were (in no particular order):

  • the Q&A session with the crowd before the intermission, which largely circled around Seinfeld, of course.  We found out what Jerry Seinfeld said to the gang before they went out for the last episode, what Alexander’s favourite George Costanza line is, and we even saw Alexander sign the leg of some dude in front of me who had George Constanza’s face tattooed on his leg!  No joke;
  • Jason Alexander’s amazing Broadway musical medley to kick start the second half of the show; and
  • the improvisation session with the entire cast which finished up the night – Alexander was at his absolute best, even outdoing the master of improv Rebecuitca de Unamano.

All in all, it was indeed a comedy spectacular!  Highly recommended if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to see it.

5 out of 5 stars!

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