Thursday, July 26, 2012


Remember our Gather Around me podcast fundraiser, to raise funds for making our podcast bigger and better?

Well if you follow that link you'll see that Cam and I MADE OUR TARGET! Hooray! Thanks to the generosity of the early adopter GAM fans (thanks guys!) we hit $750 in the blink of an eye, and will now be able to upgrade our mobile studio to enhance the podcast experience.

BUT, you'll also see from that link that having hit the first target in about a week or so, we were left with three weeks of the campaign to fill, so we're shooting for the moon - our new target is $2222. Let's let my fellow GAMer Cam Smith explain what for:

The remaining money will be spent on video equipment to film a series of long form interviews with people both famous, infamous, and also not famous or infamous. But always interesting.

If you're anything like anybody, you probably long to see Ben Pobjie on the small screen, cracking wise with Tony Jones or passionately tongue-kissing Matt Preston. This will be the next best thing. You could even stickytape your computer to the television for the full effect. The magic of the movies.

Now, this won't be your run-of-the-mill, everyday, garden variety, Grandpa's Werther's Originals-type web series - this will be fascinating interviews, with fascinating people, and it will look like NOTHING YOU'VE EVER SEEN BEFORE.

"Wow, Ben," you're saying, "Does that mean we'll finally get to see you riding Shane Bourne like a mule, while firing a pistol into a flock of pelicans?"

Well like my idol Wayne Swan, I'm not going to play the rule-in rule-out game. But if it DOESN'T include that, it'll include EVEN BETTER THINGS. Laughter, tears, a little bit of inappropriate touching. The point is, you'll be seeing me entertaining you not just through your ears, but through your eyes - and in fact, through both at once!

Basically we're looking to create something super-special and original and fancy, to shake up this dead-end town we call "the internet". If you love me - you love me right? - you'll want to see this.

But we need your help. In the next 20 days, we need you, if you're behind us, to just chuck a few bucks - not a lot, just a LITTLE BIT - into our indiegogo kitty, as shown in the link above, and if we can hit the target we can get this beauty off the ground.

I'm excited. Are YOU excited? Let's be excited together! Remember, just like Andrew...

Monday, July 16, 2012

We work hard for the money

Since you read this blog you are no doubt avid listeners to Gather Around Me, the podcast I host with my associate/life partner Cam Smith, in which we discuss issues of importance to all generations in a humorous yet poignant manner. If you are NOT avid listeners, I am incredibly disappointed in you.

Probably as you have listened you have thought to yourself, "Gee I wish I could show my support of these wonderful men in a more tangible way".

Guess what?

Go on, guess!


OK, the point is, NOW YOU CAN!

Find the details here of Gather Around Me's special fundraising efforts to enhance the podcasting experience for YOU. And for us, a bit, but mainly for YOU! Basically we are looking for a bit of cash to upgrade our recording equipment and cover hosting fees, so that we can not only continue the podcast, but make it better, allowing us to go anywhere and bring in more special guests of the kind you love so well. Like, maybe one week we could interview Jason Donovan. Maybe the next week we'd have a chat with Senator Judith Troeth. The possibilities are limitless, if you support us through your generous donations!

And you'll be getting something out of it too. As the page linked to above explains, all donors of $5 and upward will get access to a SPECIAL DONORS-ONLY PODCAST! Only those who have donated will be able to listen to this podcast, which will undoubtedly be of a strange and juicy nature.

Also, donors of $15 or more have the opportunity to get a personalised poem written for them.

Donors of $25 or more can receive a personalised erotic fan fiction story OR personalised prayer just for them.

Also, donors of $50 or more can have a product of their choice plugged shamelessly on the podcast - we will shill for you, and we'll do it with a smile!

Not only that, but for the duration of the indiegogo campaign, we will be recording a short podcast EVERY DAY, to help promote our efforts. The subject of the podcast will be chosen by the Twitter follower who responds the quickest to our daily request for a topic suggestion. Thirty-one daily podcasts for the delectation of our listeners! You can't say we don't put in the hard yards right? The first daily cast is here and is on the subject of crocodiles. Mm, topical.

So there you go - we love our little podcast and we'd like to keep making it bigger and better. If you can sling some spare change our way that'd be lovely. If you can help promote the cause via social media, legacy media, telegrams, hand-written letters or shouting at people, that'd be lovely too. Thanks for your support!

Friday, July 13, 2012

How To Be Good

It is very, very easy to not be good. It's easy to slip up and let yourself be nasty, or rude, or selfish, or arrogant, or self-righteous, or mean, or unfair. It's easy to let yourself say the wrong thing, make the wrong decision, to carelessly upset someone you have no cause to upset. It's easy to forget, sometimes, that you're not supposed to be a dickhead.

And there'll always be people around to tell you when you slip up and stop being good, even for a moment. And there'll always be people who challenge your concept of what "good" even is, because I've found almost everyone has a slightly different idea of what it is to be good, and even when you think you're being good, there might be someone hanging around who thinks you're wrong. And whether they're wrong or you're wrong can be impossible to tell.

And maybe there's no such thing as "good" anyway. Maybe when we argue about it, we're not just looking from different perspectives, we're actually arguing about something that doesn't exist - an objective standard.

And I know there are people who don't even care if they're not good - who have other preoccupations and other goals and put "being good" way at the bottom of their priorities. And I kind of envy them, because it seems like I'd spend a lot less time worrying and looking at myself if I didn't think that being good was particularly important.

And I'd spend a lot less time worrying and looking at myself if I was absolutely certain what good is in the first place.

I have other goals too. I want to be rich and famous and admired and beloved and acclaimed and a great roaring success.

But those things would seem hollow if I didn't think I was good. To be a good person, to feel that you are doing good things, and that you're someone worth loving - without those things anything else I do is insignificant.

I want to be good. I think the vast majority of people walking on this earth want to be good too. It's easy to not be good. And it's hard to know exactly what being good means. But it's something we all have to keep trying at, no matter how many times we fail. And I think a good start is remembering that we're all together, tripping and stumbling through our lives, and we're all trying to be good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Unlikely Sequence of Events

Here is episode 103 of Gather Around Me, the podcast in which my associate Cam "the thinking woman's Nick Littlemore" and myself discuss matters of import and solve burning social issues of the day and yesteryear.

Why should you listen to this podcast?

Well just consider the ludicrous series of coincidences that led up to this episode:

1. I was born. Think about that. One precise sperm and one precise egg meeting each other at the precise time which would produce me, and not anyone else. Slightly different cells, at a slightly different moment, could have resulted in a completely different person being born. I might have even been...A GIRL! Ew, right? Vaginas and stuff.

2. I didn't die. Yes, I escaped SIDS, meningitis, measles, mumps, wayward drivers, carelessly-placed pillows, falling pianos, acid rainfalls, masked banditos, and dingo maulings, and survived.

3. I grew up. This means I was not only lucky enough to get bigger, and intelligent enough to complete a moderate education, but I gained the maturity to deal with other people in a calm and reasonable way without spitting at them. Hardly anyone does this - purest chance. What's more, as I grew up I was exposed to that unique combination of social isolation and sporadic bullying well-calculated to instil a desire to be a comedian and the concomitant sense of self-loathing.

4. I moved to Melbourne. Without moving to Melbourne I would never have become a GAMer. And I never would have moved to Melbourne if it weren't for my wife. And I never would have met my wife if she hadn't named herself Ausgirl_18 on Yahoo Chat, thus making me think, "Hello, she's in my country, here's a window of opportunity!" And I never would have been on Yahoo Chat if I hadn't become restless in my usual MSN chatroom, what with the guy who sent women wav. files of John Farnham claiming it was him singing and everything.

5. I met Cam Smith. I am not at liberty to divulge all the details, but suffice to say it involved poverty and desperation and hunger and sleep deprivation and multi-million dollar mergers and a wall of autographed cricket bats.

6. Cam didn't hate me to the point of physical violence. I don't need to elaborate how necessary/unlikely this was.

7. I began recording a podcast with Cam.

8. I kept recording a podcast with Cam.

9. Neither Cam nor I at any point during the podcast recording screamed "I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE YOU ARE SMOTHERING ME I NEED SOME SPACE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD" and rushed out sobbing into the night.

10. We kept this up for 102 episodes.

11. Neither of us fell onto train tracks before recording the 103rd.

12. We recorded the 103rd.

An amazing sequence, no? And now you realise how infinitesimally unlikely it is that we have reached this point, now you see the incredible nature of random chance and how it leads us to outcomes unexpected and delightful, now that you have been humbled by the tininess of all we cogs in the great cosmic machine...

Don't you think maybe you should listen?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Carbon: The Weightless Killer

A lot of people ask me, "Ben what is to be done about the carbon tax?" I often express surprise that they are asking me this, since I never told them my name and they were supposedly at the door just to deliver a package. But I recognise my civic duties and thus I do my best to answer.

The short answer of course is: nothing is to be done. It is a fait accompli: Juliar "Julia" Gillard and her mob of baying leftist tree-kangaroos have put the tax in place and we will just have to deal with it until such time as Tony Abbott, limbs flailing, double dissolutions us all to a better place, which may be in 2014 or 2015 depending on El Nino.

And obviously it is a problem, as already reports are filtering through that prices are skyrocketing like directionless petrels on the back of the carbon price. In some places bread is up 36 percent, and it also tastes worse because to cut costs bakers have had to put ground-up pine cones in the dough. Are you happy now, Steve Gibbons MP?

A short list of things that are now unaffordable:

- bread
- milk
- eggs
- some more eggs
- cars
- gondola rides
- rubber gloves
- petrol
- cans to carry petrol in
- diamond rings
- heroin
- legwarmers
- love

Life as we know it is over and so we must live a life as we did not know it but know it now unlike before. Confused? Not nearly confused enough, as Aragorn might say. But the carbon tax is not all fantasy novels and wordplay. It has real-life consequences for real-life Australians.

Take the case of Terrigal's Jean-Marie Hofspeck, who came home from work last Tuesday to find her prize-winning Pomeranians had been slaughtered and her eldest son was now a rabbi. The shock was enough to cause her to immediately build an in-ground swimming pool in her backyard. Perhaps the Australian Labor "Party" sees fit to wash its hands of responsibility for this, but we battlers know better. Do we not? Or is it?

What is a carbon tax anyway? Many people think it is a tax on carbon. But actually it is a tax on carbon dioxide, a colourless odourless weightless childless jobless gas which makes all life on earth possible. Fifty-eight percent of the human body is made up of carbon dioxide, and birds use it to grow wings. Scientists standing near the CSIRO estimate that a 20% reduction in global carbon dioxide levels will kill us all instantly. A dire warning indeed, and yet Julia "Vaginoplasty" Gillard sees fit to take this risk, simply to satisfy those to whom left-wing principles and Aboriginal land rights are more important than the air we breathe and steel refineries.

But what can you do to survive the carbon tax? First of all, hold your breath. Hold it...hold it...only let it out when you feel you're about to die. If you make sure every breath you take lasts this long you can cut your oxygen bills by 67% and have more money to buy solar panels, which will cut your electricity bills by 45% so you have more money to pay off your gambling debts which Labor wants to deny you the right to amass because of its nanny state agenda.

How will the carbon tax affect your everyday life? It will of course destroy it. In fact the legislation specifically mandates that life is no longer worth living. Political correctness gone mad? It seems so.

But still we must do our best. Carbon tax may crush us beneath its fragrant hoof, but that is no reason to give up hope. A far better reason to give up hope is this:

Thank you for your time.

It's been a while

I have not written a blog post for a while, which has probably caused you to get all in a lather, getting all judgmental and stuff. Typical.

But the reason I haven't is that I was on HOLIDAY. And on my holiday I learned these things:

1. If you drive for long enough, your foot literally falls off.

2. Luna Park in Sydney is overpriced and contains terrifying demons wandering around on stilts.

3. On the Gold Coast it rains all the time. Constantly. Any brochures to the contrary are a sick joke.

Oh right, I had a blog post to write. Um, I'll get back to you.