I talked to a bunch of folks about it ahead of time, none of whom could make it out. Fair enough. Zach’s a nice young man, and was kind enough/self-promotional enough to post the video on Vimeo. Here it is, see for yourselves:
In early 2004 I was an assistant to a kangaroo shooter in the Australian Outback. Pretty much the only experience more bizarre and terrifying would be if I were to have worked with a kangaroo shooter at the National Zoo.
Before you go getting all fired up, remember that kangaroos are pests in Australia, and people eat their meat all the time. And meat does not just cheerfully lie itself down on the burger bun, either. Kangaroo meat is as free-range and organic as it gets, but you’ve still got to do a fair bit of old-fashioned killing to make it happen — and the process is disturbing, gory, and pretty hideous. Not unlike the rest of nature, the parts they don’t show you on the television programs.
But not a day goes by that I don’t think of that experience in some way or another. It taught me a lot. I learned to get tough, how to do some hard, hard work, and how to put aside all my pussified city liberal ideas and face the realities of the food chain.
I told this story at The Moth on October 22, 2009. I’d told it at the Moth last year, as well as at The Liar Show, Risk!, and Seth Lind’s Told. I’ve also told parts of this story to pretty much anyone that will sit still in my presence since early 2004. I think D.Billy, my co-blogger here, has seen me tell the thing each time, too.
I’ve pitched it to This American Life twice now, and had Ira Glass personally tell me to my face, that while he really likes the story as long as he is a broadcaster in the United States of America, it will not appear on his show. He was actually really nice about it – and he’s right. The story, in its original and best incarnation, has tons of appalling gore in it, the killing of defenseless baby kangaroos and uses the word “cunt” more times in ten minutes than most Americans have heard in their entire lives. And cutting that stuff out kinda neuters the whole enterprise.
If I’m this sick of telling this story, I can only imagine how tired my friends are of hearing it. And I’ve sure made a lot of hay off the experience on this blog.
Unless something tremendous happens, I feel like I can safely say that this story’s been done to death and put to bed here in New York City. It feels good to be all the way through this one and kinda wipe the slate clean for a batch of new stuff.
On the other hand, I’m about to go to Australia again for two weeks starting Saturday. And if I can claw my way in front of a microphone after a couple or six VBs, this thing might rise again. If any of you know of storytelling shows or reading series or something similar in Adelaide or Melbourne, please let me know. I’d love to try this or other stories in front of an Aussie audience.
If you’re in the middle of an existential crisis, this video by artist Jon Rafman of the Kool-Aid Man meandering through various user-created realms of Second Life might be just the thing to shake you out of it. Or conversely, if your life is boring as hell and you need a little existential crisis up in your bizness, this might get that process kick-started. Really, I’m pretty sure it can work either way.
While the video queues up — and it’s kind of a long one — you should know that after some zen-like gliding through various naturescapes and running through empty cities (and engaging in a robot battle) Kool-Aid Man gets raw (NSFW) at about 7:50, right after he does some tai chi with a couple of refugees from a Renaissance Faire. So, fair warning.
If you’d rather get a more Cliff’s Notes version of the Kool-Aid Man’s shenanigans in Second Life, you can click on the image below (or here) to go to a slide show (also periodically NSFW) wherein Kool-Aid Man:
- Visits faux-NYC, climbing the Empire State Building and dangling from the Statue of Liberty’s face
- Poses as one of the melting clocks inside Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory
- Makes his way through ancient city ruins, haunted underground caverns, and a desert harem
- Charters a steampunk submarine at some vaguely Mediterranian port, and is smilingly abducted by a UFO
- Spies on a tattooed couple having sex in a shower stall that has been inexplicably built in the middle of a jungle, and then dances with a white fox-man in bondage gear at a gay furry club
..and much more.
(click for slideshow)
Now, in case you haven’t gone through Jon Rafman’s site and discovered this for yourself, the video and slideshow are actually promotional materials for Jon’s project where he gives tours of Second Life with a Kool-Aid Man avatar. And last we heard — meaning as of this posting, it still says so on Jon’s site — you can schedule your very own Kool-Aid Man tour of Second Life by emailing koolaidmaninsecondlife [at] gmail [dot] com.
(That is, if you have any kind of inclination to use, or working knowledge of how to use, Second Life. Which I do not. I created an avatar two years ago, and I’m pretty sure he’s still hovering uselessly in the air above a desert island where I left him.)
Tip o’ the hat: Art Fag City posted about this project a while back, and it’s been stuck in my brainpan ever since.
Few things are sadder than when someone takes something intrinsically whimsical and attempts to surgically remove all of its joy and innocence, subsuming it to a cold and calculating corporate structure. With a mission statement to “…unite and support businesses that offer value-added balloon designs featuring Qualatex products,” it sounds like the Qualatex Balloon Network does just that.
Lucky for those of us who still have souls, they have provided us with a whole new type of joy in the form of this bizarre vintage balloono-facist training video: