Monday, 25 May 2009

My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 7

This is the true story of how My friend Martin and I spent a holiday in Queensland under the influence of beer, weed, anonymity and Hunter S Thompson.
This should keep my blog full for a couple of months.

My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 7

*Road Trip*

The LTD was like a truck to drive in as much as it seemed to be as wide and as long as one.
I was constantly worried about side swiping cars that I may have inadvertently drifted into.

“We’re do we go to Marty?” I asked

“What are those mountains in the distance?” he replied

“Haven’t got a clue” was my answer.

“Well I suggest food, then we find those mountains and then Noosa sounds nice”

Now that sounded like Martin had some semblance of an idea of where we were heading, albeit everything he mentioned was in a northerly projection but that was about it.

I made him crawl over the back and get the street directory.
First we had to find out where the shops were then find the highway.

One of the beautiful things about Brisbane and South East Queensland is that there are really only two directions to go for any distance.

North and South or Up and Down as we liked to call it.

If you headed east you pretty much hit water, if you headed West you hit Mountain or desert.

We found a milk bar who after a lot of begging (and a large tip) microwaved some sausage rolls for us for breakfast, this gave me time to clear my head with coffee and plan a course with Martin.

We immediately realized we had a problem.

The street directory was 10 years old and there seemed to be whole sections between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast where no one lived or even had roads because they just skipped it. At least we knew what the Mountains were, they were called the Glasshouse Mountains and they scattered all over the place.

We decided to have a look at one of them and then head into Noose Heads because we heard that was nice and _serene_ (a word Martin found on a brochure)

We found a way onto the main highway but couldn’t for the life of us find a decent
AM station on the old solid state radio that was installed in the LTD.

We settled on a Country and Western Station because they played Johnny Cash every third song.

We eventually made it to the closest mountain, which were pretty easy to get to because of all the signs, not because of Martin who had the habit of turning street directories upside down to follow the road.

We left the main highway onto a gravel feeder road and really gave the LTD some stick, I was so confident that I started do fish tail down the empty road finishing with a complete 180 using the hand brake. Dirt and dust flew up everywhere and as it settled the confused faces of about 12 school kids appeared in front of us.
They must have been on a walk or something, I just took off when the teacher started towards the car.
The mountain was nice and we can say we had been there but so what?
We left for Noosa Heads.

The drive back to the highway was just as much fun with the wheelies and donuts, Martin eased the pain of me not letting him drive by smoking the biggest joint he could roll and refused to share.
The responsibility of driving he said.

We rolled into Noosa just before lunch and thought we’d have a look at the National Park that was attached to the town, a beautiful spot that over looked the town and beach.

Martin and I got out and walked around some tracks, I was following Martin down one track that we thought led to another viewing point when he abruptly jumped off the path without notice .

I was left face to face with the biggest spider I had ever seen outside of television. It was as big as my hand. I nearly walked straight into it, the fucking insects up here, what was this?

The Queensland small car eating spider?

Martin was in the scrub bitterly disappointed because I wasn’t covered in web with a spider eating off half my face. He did insist on bagging rights because he said I squealed like a girl.

We headed back to town to have some lunch.

Being a non holiday period and a work day the town was a quiet affair, so there was a air of relaxation and no need to hurry, we settled for a nice counter meal at the nearest pub.

Martin also thought drinking should also be a high priority since he wasn’t driving and started downing bourbons.

After a lovely meal in an empty pub with people giving us table service because they were bored, we headed down the Main street looking for souvenirs.
It was then that Martin realized he better take out some cash for the week.
We forget these days how hard it was to keep cashed up back in the 80’s. With limited ATM’s and credit cards not to mention the regemented banking hours.
As he went over to fill in his withdrawal slip he spent a good minute trying in his half stoned state to full his bank book out of his back pocket, it was fight the bank book was winning. I took this moment to write on the back of the slip.


I was sure he would see it and it would be a wasted effort, so I went and sat down near the door while Martin joined the queue.
I was looking out the window at some hot Mum when I was tapped on the arm by a man in a suit next to him stood a security guard.

“Excuse me sir will you just stand up for a moment?”

“What for?” I said . I didn’t like his tone or the guard’s proximity of his hand to his gun.

“We believe you tried to be humorous using your friend over there as a target.” He said

“Don’t know what you're talking about” I replied admitting nothing in tone or expression.

“Did you write this?” He held up the withdrawal sip

“Never seen it, it was probably done before we got here”

“Your friend over there says it’s your hand writing”

The suit pointed to Martin at the counter, Martin smiled and waved back.

“You prick” I mouthed so he couldn’t mistake it for anything else.

The suit who turned out to be the Manager then proceeded (with the security guard standing a little too close for comfort) to tell me how this branch was only held up last week and how childish gags like this aren’t tolerated., and how I could be technically arrested on intent to rob the bank.
I was really blanking out everything till he said the part

.” …..your friend there says you have a history of this and asked us to go easy. So I suggest you get in your car and go home”

“Can I go now?” I ask feeling rather foolish.

“Please” he replied. Martin had stood next to him.

“Can I take my pet idiot as well” I said pointing to Martin and turned and left.

“At least you didn’t squeal like a girl this time” Martin said as we walked down the street. I laughed.

Martin’s Mum must be working overtime at that church back home.

We headed for the beach and Martin for some unknown reason decided to take a route off the path, I was forced to follow like before. I was thinking the idiot’s going to try and make me walk into a spider’s web again.

Sure enough I saw his body stiffen and he leaped aside again, I was more than prepared and stopped well short. Martin however landed in a swampy area in his bare feet and discovered where all the Cane Toads hide during the day time.

He won the squeal like a girl contest by a large margin in a matter of seconds.

Not to mention the silly dance and “nearly–shit-in–your-pants” challenge.

After a relax on the beach and a general look around it was getting onto late afternoon and I thought we better move on. The twilight that we are used to in Melbourne doesn’t happen in South East Queensland due to being so close to the coast and it gets dark rather quickly.

We still had a bit of a journey back and I was getting tired.

I was about 15 kilometres from home when for the first time that day I actually paid attention to the fuel gauge, it was on zero.

Oops, I thought.

I woke up Martin who was drooling on himself again, and decided to make it interesting. Payment of the car hire if we make it back before we run out of petrol. Martin looked at the gauge and said “Deal”

I was gambling on the premise that these gauges were always faulty and the bet was on.

It was a hair raising journey and I rolled down a lot of hills in neutral pissing off people behind me, but I rolled into May’s driveway with the engine still running.
We went in to May and settle the bill and her first question was ”Did you bring it back with a full tank?”

“Oh Sorry I forgot” feigning total ignorance “We’ll be back in a minute”

Martin and I jumped back in the car and went looking for a petrol station , it probably would have been a good idea to ask May before we left..

We finally found one only to run out of petrol about 200 feet from the bowsers.
When we finally returned May had itemized the account.
Car Hire –
1 working day $30
Clean (outside) -$5
Clean (inside) - $5
Mail box - $12
Assorted Toys
& Pool $8
Total $55
Not to forget the $2.50 for the container to carry the petrol back so we could actually make it to the petrol station to fill up.
(if you times that by about 500% to bring it into days values, you start to get the picture)
So it cost Martin dearly in the end.
At least May didn’t charge us to use the phone so we could get Rob to pick us up.

picture reworking of a Ralph Steadman classic.

Next Week: Part 8 Lazin

Monday, 18 May 2009

My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 6

This is the true story of how My friend Martin and I spent a holiday in Queensland under the influence of beer, weed, anonymity and Hunter S Thompson.
This should keep my blog full for a couple of months.

My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 6

*Prelude to Road Trip*

Our first Sunday was a quiet affair spent mainly trying to hide from the brain penetrating rays of the Queensland sun again.

After a very slow lunch and a breakfast that was closer to afternoon tea I thought the only one way to fix this was to start on the beer again,

Hey I was on holidays!

Rob and Martin agreed.
The girls thought we were silly, they thought Martin was spooky.

I started a conversation about my HST book and Rob started recalling his younger years when he used to camp on the beach or even the side of the road in what is now outer suburbs back in Melbourne, the early sixties were a great time with less rules and less expectations.
This reminded me of the video and we all piled inside to watch _Animal House._

We had a good old laugh watching the movie and Rob asked what we had planned for the week?
We knew we wanted to head down to Dreamworld one day and then spend some time down on the Gold Coast. We knew we couldn’t afford long term car hire especially with both of us being under 25.

Rob said he knew a local who did Hire-A-Bombs and we could do that for a day, since everything heading south was gettable via bus, we could go on a road trip up North.
"What a great idea" we both said and rewound the movie to watch it again.
We ended up watching it three times and stayed up drinking while the others went to bed, they had school and work to go to.

Ahh! the life of the idle.

We were woken up with a loud “You’ve got 15 minutes”
It was Rob dressed in shorts and boots.

“You’ve got 15 minutes till I leave ,I can drop you off at the hire car place on the way, I’ve already rung and they’re fine with it”

This was delivered louder than necessary whilst he walked around kicking our mattresses.

“Come on, don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten what we talked about last night?”

I woke up to such a shock my head forgot it was hung over; it didn’t take long for it to remember again.

Rob kept hovering and continuously repeating

“Come on, I don’t wanna be late for work because of you drunk slack arses”

14 minutes and 59 seconds later Martin and I were in Rob’s car pulling out of the driveway desperately trying to pull on jumpers and shoes.

“You know this could have waited until tomorrow Rob” I complained

“Not by the way you guys were talking last night” he replied.

I looked at Martin and he just shrugged neither of us could remember going to bed let alone anything after dinner.

In a drive which took exactly 90 seconds we stopped outside an ordinary looking house.

“Here we are” Said Rob

I made inquiries about the hire car place but Rob just told us to follow him.

“We could of walked here” Martin whined still struggling with his windcheater.

We followed Rob to the front door and an elderly lady eventually opened the door behind her were half a dozen kids - all preschool age.

“Howdy May” Said Rob as he greeted her. “These are the two lads from Melbourne who want the car”

“Looks like you come to Brissy just in time, looks like that Southern climate has worn you down” She said to us “Welcome, come in and don’t let the little ones out”

My brain wasn’t working that well at the moment but even I could tell things weren’t right here.

Rob who was chatting away with May as we entered soon explained everything.
“OK guys this is May. May is our local crèche, day care centre and car hire, she also caters for parties on weekends”

“Hi” Martin and I both mumbled.

“OK who’s got the card?” May asked

More confusion. Then it clicked.

Credit card.

I pulled out my trusty Bankcard.

Martin didn’t have one due to certain problems in his past that dictated that he should not be trusted with one.

Those of you not familiar with Bankcard, it was the Australian forerunner to all those other credit traps that we have now.

Only it was more honest, it had 666 printed on the card as its logo.

May pulled out here Bankcard slider machine and swiped my card

“That’s in case you try to drive back to Melbourne” said May and followed it with a quick grin. “You go out to the car and I’ll make sure the kiddies are safely locked away”
Rob led us out the back door onto the yard where waiting for us was a big shiny Ford LTD one of those early 70’s monster that had a lounge for a front seat.

“Cool” said Martin

“Keep drooling Red, My money my drive” I said stamping my authority on the proceedings.
Martin and I walked around the beast rubbing our hands on the panels and kicking the tyres proving that we knew absolutely nothing about cars. Rob went inside and came back with the keys for the car.

“May said to be back no later than 7 o'clock tonight , the tanks full of petrol and don’t stack it” he said.

He threw me the keys and Martin and I piled in. There was a Brisbane equivalent of a Melways street directory in the back seat so we wouldn’t get lost. It was time to hit the road.

The car started without a hitch and as I reversed it out of the backyard down the driveway I kept hearing little pops. As we progressed further along I could see that I had run over two bouncy balls and a wading pool.


But that paled into nothing when I took out the old letter box with the rear bumper swinging onto the road.

We were hung over, we hungry, we had a powerful car that we were unfamiliar with, in a place we knew where nothing was, and to top it all off one of us was borderline insane.

Road Trip

Next week: Part 7 Road Trip

Monday, 11 May 2009

My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 5

This is the true story of how My friend Martin and I spent a holiday in Queensland under the influence of beer, weed, anonymity and Hunter S Thompson.
This should keep my blog full for a couple of months.
My first encounter with Hunter S Thompson and how he changed my holidays Part 5

*The Horror The Horror*

That first night we collapsed into our beds in the extension and slept like coma patients, though I do have some recollection of things smacking into the windows at various times.

Since there were no curtains in the building we were rudely awoken by the morning sun which rises a bit earlier and with a lot more intensity than down home, no matter how far I covered my head under the blankets it and my hangover were not going to let me relax, I decided to get up.

Martin on the other hand could have slept through the bombing of Dresden was contently sleeping a string of drool covering his chin.

I got up and played with the kids for awhile, reassuring them Martin wasn’t a goblin who would eat their dolls if they were naughty as their Father told them last night.

Rob and Lin were hosting a Bar-B-Que this night as a get together to introduce us to their new friends and just have a bit of fun, so the day was pretty much a lay back and do nothing affair.
It gave me time to read my book.

I was amazed the the Gonzo style of writing of H S Thompson was only a fraction of his works and he had traveled far and wide and put himself in some dangerous situations, but I was drawn to his weird, drug crazed adventures the most. I had already read the _Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas_ extract three times and thought I go look for the book in its entirety.

So I tagged along with Rob, Lin and the girls on their trip to the shopping centre to see if there were any bookshops.
No such luck but I did find a copy of the video of Animal House and as luck would have it, it was the video shop that my sister was a member.
I thought I could watch that tomorrow why recovering from another expected hangover.

I was a huge fan of the Nation Lampoon Magazine that was responsible for the movie Animal House.
Writers like PJ O’Rourke went onto stellar careers, Chris Miller and Doug Kenney were rude, crude and hilarious and John Holmes was probably the best of the lot until he went to Hollywood and wrote and directed some of the shittest but highest grossing movies of the 1980’s.

Animal house was how every male from 16-23 wanted to live just for a short time in their life.

Plus it had a road trip scene.

When we returned home Martin had risen and was sitting eating a bowl of Corn Flakes dressed in only a pair footy shorts.
It took me half an hour to reassure the girls AGAIN that he wasn’t dangerous.

That day we hung around enjoying the sunshine and preparing for the party.
Mine and Martin’s preparation was to continue drinking and get in the holiday spirit while sitting and wondering where all those Toads and Cockroaches disappeared too.

The people who came to the party were a lovely bunch all in their mid thirties with young families , the majority immigrants from down south looking for the Sunshine state lifestyle.

Both Martin and I got into lots of discussions with couples asking them our unsolicited questions of why would they want to live in a state run by a psuedo-dictator.
It just showed our ignorance, all we heard down in Melbourne was how Bjelke-Peterson beat the hippies and used the police to do his will.

These people were praising his State run health care system, how groceries , petrol and the general cost of living were cheaper and they had wonderful weather to back all this up.
I wasn’t convinced isn’t this what Hitler did (minus the beautiful weather) before he turned nasty.

Eventually we cottoned on to the fact that if we kept up this line of conversation no body would talk to us, so we settled into having a good time always mindful that just beyond the flood light nestled in the damp grass, hundreds of Cane Toads lay in wait for the lights to go off.

There would be no pissing in the bushes tonight.

Most of the families left before midnight due to their young children and as the numbers thinned I heard the tick, tick, ticking I heard last night in bed, looking round I discovered it was winged cockroaches flying into the windows on the unlit area or rooms of the house.

The bastards were trying to reclaim ground by hostile action with their slimey mates waiting in the shadows; nighttime was shaping up to be a scary time in Insect-town.

Later that night I fell into a drunken sleep to the sound of Martin snoring and a squadron of flying bugs searching for a weakness in the glass.

Next week: Part 6 Prelude to Road Trip

Monday, 4 May 2009

A quick return to some steampunk goodness

I'd thought I'd take a week off from the Holiday saga to inject a bit of steampunk goodness.

First some classic pictures and models.
The three following pictures and words were taken from
I strongly recommend you pay the site a visit.
It will have links to these artist responsible for these works and more.

Alex Broeckel's photorealistic rendering—of that all-too-likely scenario that we will soon battle giant robo-octopuses using the power of steam—well, it just made horrifying, paranoia-inducing sense

Judging from his uber-dark, mech'd-out artwork, Kris Kuksi probably had a disturbing childhood (or dropped acid in graveyards). But it doesn't make his pieces any less awesome.

I've had some harsh words for lesser Steampunk mods, and with good reason—it's getting tired, and most examples are massively boring. Not boring: the "Frankenstein Steampunk", an absurdly thorough PC mod built by Dana Mattocks.

This following piece is one of my own stories that appeared on
the sculpture is also my doing.

Displays from the Museum of Modern Science - The Biomechanical head of Lieutenant Hillary Stanton

The head of the late Lieutenant Hillary Stanton from the failed head and brain reanimation surgery attempted by the Her Majesty’s Royal Military Surgeons May 1896.

As stories go this one was one built on tremendous highs but finished in soul crushing lows.

Lieutenant Stanton was first mate on the Airship Prince Albert a front line cruiser in the service of Her Majesty’s Sky Force during the Anglo-Prussian upper atmosphere territorial disputes the preceded the Great War of Europe.

The Prince Albert had received severe damage and was left crippled over the channel due to the German Zeppelin Wilhelm taking out it’s rudders rendering the cavorite power system inert.
This enabled the Wilhelm crew to board the Prince Albert and in the ensuring battle Lieutenant Stanton received serious and life threatening head Injuries whilst stemming the boarding party’s attack.
A truer hero had never been seen in action.
The crew eventually repelled their attackers and Lieutenant Stanton was rushed to the military hospital at Brighton where hopes for his survival were thin.

By coincidence secret biomechanical experiments had been conducted at the laboratories at the base and Lieutenant Stanton’s injuries placed him in a unique position to receive special medical attention.
Medical reports that survived the disaster that resulted from Lieutenant Stanton’s operations reveal that he suffered a large caliber bullet to the left side of his face resulting in the removal of his left eye, cheek , ear and surrounding tissue as well as his skull cap and unidentified sections of grey matter. Hospital staff were shocked that Stanton had actually survived the trip back to the hospital.

As shown here the head was held together with surgical grade copper, brass and gold with treated rivets to hold remaining pieces of bone to metal.
Enhancements were used to help breathing and hearing (resulting in the removal of his right ear as well) and the use of heart driven pressure valves to stimulate areas of thinking and body motor action.
The intense pressure to turn on and off these biological signals caused the iris of Stanton’s eye to turn blood red due to flooding of the capillaries.
The procedure took six operations over three days to complete and during this time Lieutenant Stanton was revived from death twice through the Tesla inspired flapper system – an experimental device that was also lost with all of the records of Stanton’s operation.

Lieutenant Stanton showed signs of recovery almost immediately and witnesses who viewed him during this period said he had control over his extremities and often would have an erection in the early stages of waking. Though his voice box was made redundant due to the breathing apparatus that had the primary action of supplying oxygen for the blood system Nurses said his one eye was capable of supplying Yes and No answers through the system of one blink for one and two blinks for the other.

Survivors of the disaster that followed the day that Lieutenant Stanton was introduced to physical therapy have all concurred on the events that follow.
Confident that Lieutenant Stanton was capable of sustained motor actions and thought via the operation surgeons felt it important for the Lieutenant’s body be exercised and more so by Stanton himself if he was to be functional member of society.

Things were first noticed to go astray when Stanton was helped to stand up for the first time since his injuries.
Theories abound about what exactly went wrong but the most accepted are that the rush of blood due to the shift in equilibrium caused spikes in pressure and drove the brain to do fantastic things.
This coupled with the on going theory supplied by witnessed accounts of Stanton’s actions that he had the last vision as a true man constantly repeated in his head.
In essence to Lieutenant Stanton he was forever on the Prince Albert being attacked while he was in the upright position.

Sadly these variables were unknown to his carers who were unprepared for his actions.
Stanton with exceptional strength brushed aside his carers and proceeded to beat them with what ever he could lay his hands on in the process knocking over and upsetting many of the gas powered lighting system resulting in spot fires all through the hospital halls.
At one stage with nothing to strike people down with Stanton ripped off his own arm and proceeded to beat hospital staff with it.
Causing the optimal amount of damage was Lieutenant Stanton’s primary aim something his peers in the army were enthused to note was not of his character.
With the hospital in flames and quickly burning out of control it would have been a startling backdrop to the scene of him being gunned down by the soldiers of the sixth battalion who were stationed at the complex.
Due to the tragic loss of life and research the Biomechanical division of the Royal Military Surgeons was disbanded until further notice.


This is another link back to Gizmodo.

Steampunk Gets Officially Murdered with Horrifying Photoshops