Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About Alastair

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    Nauseating Optimist
  • Birthday 11/21/1984

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    Brisbane, Australia


  • Biography
  • Location
    Brisbane, Australia
  • Occupation
  • Favorite Games
    Rock Band 3, Diddy Kong Racing, Jet Force Gemini, Gooch Grundy's X-Decathlon
  1. What a wonderful spectrum covered in this episode: from the harrowing loneliness of Nigel to the giddy delight of realising Important If True could follow through on their silly domain joke, turn commentary into action, and - in a small but genuinely meaningful way - save social media.
  2. Anyone else getting an Infinite Jest vibe from the way Cooper's real mission - Find Laura - only really begins as our time with the show ends? Or, for that matter, from the dread of seeing the ending draw nearer, expected resolutions unresolved, new threads forming... and realising that the artist has just about said all he needs and intends to say? It's 12:37am and I'm wide awake trying to process this show - trying to reconcile its strange, melancholic emotional aftermath with the word as I see it - just as that book had me doing years before. And once again, life feels messier and sadder in the very best of ways. ...I wish David Foster Wallace had been around to enjoy new Twin Peaks.
  3. The shift from Cooper to Richard was the hardest and most distressing thing to process of all of this. A dream where the world is not what we know can be hard enough; a dream where we are not ourselves cuts (beautifully, by design) down to a deeper marrow-level dread. Strangely, those last few seconds brought a glimmer of hope to me. A hollow, give-it-a-few-years-to-process, End-of-Evangellion-style hope, but hope nonetheless. Laura is in there; Cooper is in there. Sheryl Lee's scream gives form to something awful and slow-building, but something that can at last be grasped and understood. I would almost go as far as finding it touching that as of that scream, they're in this nightmare together, sharing whatever strange melancholy highway adventure follows. But I'm not sure I'm capable right now of seeing this as history overwritten or undone, which is too big and dreadful to comprehend. Just a fracturing; a sideways step. One reality/Cooper/Laura of many. I Want To Believe. I Need To. If you need help giving a shape to the shapeless - as we all surely do right now, I mean, you're shaking too right now, right? - this Vox write-up by Todd VanDerWerff goes into some absolutely beautiful introspective territory. If you're trying to find fulfilment from a feeling of emptiness, this is a wonderful start. <3
  4. After 15 hours of loving new Twin Peaks unconditionally, through good times and bad, I feel as if Twin Peaks at last looked me square in the eye and said "I love you too".
  5. Another very striking thing of many this week: the absolutely seamless transition from Monica Bellucci to young Gordon. Part of me felt, against all logic and reason, as if the archival FWWM footage were shot yesterday and for this exact purpose. It really helped ground Bowie's appearance as something beautiful and worthwhile and new.
  6. God, Freddy's superhero origin story just destroyed me. I love that (a) The Giant/Fireman was so literal and descriptive, and (b) we only get this as a cheery anecdote. I feel like the Fireman character's entire history - of cryptic clues mixed with weirdly matter-of-fact statements - was a 25-year buildup to this top-shelf moment. It reminds me of a running gag from, of all shows, Little Britain, where a character who rarely says anything more thoughtful than "yeah, I'know" gets his opinions quoted back to him by his friend in a ridiculously articulate, poetic way - something we never see on screen from either of them, which forces us to take it at literal value because there's nowhere else this information could have come from. A weird comparison (and by no means an endorsement of Little Britain), but something about that setup - being forced to accept something deliberately out-of-character through the inner logic of the world itself - is such a specific and powerful comedic trigger for me. (See also: the gym set conversation.)
  7. The Idle Book Club 16: Mr. Fox

    In recent years, I've shifted from a book-as-a-sacred-object-style reader to the kind who lovingly vandalises everything with pencil annotations. To be honest, it comes from a worry that words will just wash over me. As such, no good passage can be allowed to pass without a cursory mark; a bracket or scrawl to remind Future Alastair: this is something you once feared forgetting. I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself doing this with Mr. Fox as much as any "great" book - long after deciding this wasn't my kind of novel at all. Sentence to sentence, story to story, so many individual components felt immensely satisfying in isolation. That initial frustration broadened into a much stranger spectrum of feelings, not all of them readily identifiable. And as much as I disliked the meta-structure at first, it somehow softened the sharpness of each transition. Jumping between stories gradually felt less jarring to me than it would have in a traditional short story compilation. At times this felt less than the sum of its parts; I'm increasingly convinced it was more. Either way, those parts were very lovely, and Oyeyemi has left an imprint only a talented author can leave. Thank you for choosing this very odd book. I'm glad to have read it. :-) Edit: It's a little disorienting to realise just now Helen Oyeyemi is my age. It makes Sarah's recommendation of her new story collection all the more appealing; I think of my personal changes between 27 and 31 and wonder just how different a woman she is now. All authors mature and change as human beings, of course, but the same-age thing just put it into a suddenly-very-real perspective; one that wasn't quite there for me until now.
  8. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

    This is a fantastic read. Thanks!
  9. Jeff Goldblum

    Two years on, the Ian Malcolm painting (mentioned in page one of this thread) is still bringing joy to ordinary folks in Brisbane and Melbourne. We recently shot this video celebrating its strange place in our lives. We still routinely exchange it in public places. Here are a few more shots of The Goldblum Transfer in action. The number of owners recently expanded to five through marriage, and will soon be six through the miracle of childbirth. The soon-to-be parents have discussed - to what extent of seriousness, I cannot say - the possibility of bringing it to the maternity ward. (My own wife, for some strange reason, politely declined the opportunity to share the honour.)
  10. Plug your shit

    For the past five months, some friends and I have been making weekly video sketches. Some weeks it's genuine heart-and-soul material; others, a simple deadline exercise to avoid creative stagnation. I'll leave it up to you to decide where the below video falls on that spectrum. This week we decided to break form and mimic a generic YouTube gaming channel. The premise: a Super Mario Bros. speedrun by people who have never played Super Mario Bros. It's safe to say we owe the choice of end credits music to Idle Thumbs.
  11. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

    This reading experience started romantically, almost ridiculously so. I bought it in Paris at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore (the previous incarnation of which Hemingway frequented - and, more importantly, where Jesse and Celine reunited in Before Sunset). Pure, unapologetic pornography for bibliophiles. I sat outside, opened the first page, and the secondhand cigarette smoke around me instantly took on a weird benevolence. I dug the dialogue. It was rhythmic. It was effortless. Outright enviable. The economy is as every bit as good - startlingly good - as everybody says. All the same, I found this an emotionally very difficult read. I began it at the beginning of six months abroad (very much an existential course correction) still phasing out of an anxiety issue ultimately rooted in missed opportunities and long-buried relationship what-ifs. Not to overdramatise, but reading about jaded expatriates, unrealised love and people filling emotional voids with travel hit all the wrong nerves at all the wrong times. I found the whole business just achingly sad, twisted the heart into some unfamiliar and unsettling configurations. I spent very little of the the subsequent plane and train trips reading; a few pages would be enough to trigger either a thoughtful tangent or an outright panic attack. My time abroad was happily a lot more transformative than Jake's sad tale, ultimately taking me to a much better place. Six months later, on the flight back, I was delighted to find i could safely able to resume without fear of triggering crippling psychological responses. It was a meaningful bookend, bringing a lovely, measurable layer of personal growth and closure to the experience. In the interim, I started and finished Infinite Jest. I repeat: Infinite Jest was easier to read than these 122 pages. I have some issues with the book itself - particularly with the way Brett felt more like a projection of the author's frustrations than a real human being - but they feel oddly secondary and irrelevant under the circumstances. The story was good; the emotional imprint it left was far greater. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
  12. Plug your shit

    A couple of years back, I made a ridiculous faux corporate motivational song on the iPad. People responded weirdly well to it (weirdly as in "oddly specifically"; three separate listeners independently said "I sang this in the shower"). The idea of a music video was entertained and (as I seem chronically compelled to bring all high-effort, low-payoff, wouldn't-it-be-cool-if pet projects to completion) finally finished today. I couldn't resist a quick shout-out to some Thumbs fan friends with a token Weinhändler at 1:02. (You could also count the coincidental inclusion of the , which C. Remo recently embraced to great effect on Twitter.) Now the only thing left is to ask "why?"
  13. Oh my, yes. I'm also having this experience now with Infinite Jest. One of my first reading priorities when this is done (alongside reading a bunch of very short books) is to return to Pynchon and see if that resistance has softened. It's a wonderful feeling, knowing your brain has been rewired for the better.
  14. Episode 8... ?

    I assumed disappearing from the front page was only an innocent side effect of introducing a fifth podcast to the pantheon.
  15. Tone Control is a Podcast!

    While I understand the practical desire for mono, likely putting me in the minority here: I have to say the stereo in this was abnormally good. It brought a real sense of warmth and space and being there very few podcasts offer, and genuinely enhanced the experience for me. Perhaps narrowing the left-to-right balance would be a nice happy medium. Food for thought. May I ask what kind of mic you used for this? It's exactly what I've been searching for in my own podcasting projects. Steve, I really dug your interviewing - perhaps "conversational" is a better word here - technique. You have a good instinct for guiding the discussion along; more a social skill than a journalistic one. It really works. And Sean's talk of channelling anxieties into creative energy aligned perfectly with some personal thoughts I was trying to process at the time. I cannot stress how important it was to hear those specific words at that specific time. Thank you.