Wednesday, 23 May 2007


Tuesday night Trivia at our local is always tops.

You must remember that this is a pub where the highlight of the week is the Thursday night drag show. An interesting corollary to this is that they don't tend to have a lot of sports questions (otherwise knows as FBQs*) in their trivia night.

There might be the occasional "who is the coach of such-and-such AFL team" (which I still don't know, but someone on our team usually does) (Thanks Shannon) (Thunt). They don't however, have stupid questions like "name the athlete who won three gold medals in different events at the Munich Olympics".

Your ability to recognise snatches (ahem) of Madonna songs and your knowledge of the Eurovision Song Contest is much more useful.

The upshot of this is that when Kate, Shannon and I play, we tend to win. In fact, we've won every time we've played.

But last night was a close-run thing. Even with the added intellectual muscle of Eliza (and her awesome knowledge of Ben Harper and Hinduism) we thought we'd lost. We were convinced that the winning streak was over, and that the $50 drink card and LED-flashing big plastic crucifix (seriously) would go to someone else.

But we prevailed. We came through by the skin of our teeth and our ability to recognise "Tonight, Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins even though the CD was skipping.

And most importantly, the big plastic crucifix is ours.

Well, Eliza's.


On a completely unrelated note, I came across this spoilerific T-shirt.



* Fucking Boxing Questions

Sunday, 20 May 2007

RIP Jericho 2006-2007

It's only when we hit the US off-season that we truly understand how crappy Australian television actually is.

It seems like every time I turn on Australian free-to-air I see whitebread bogans whinging on Big Brother, or "stars" showing how multi-talented they're not, or shameless product placement and political spin trying to pass itself off as journalism.

While I'm as fond of throwing crap at US TV as anyone, as far as scripted drama is concerned, it's where the good stuff has been coming from for the last few years.

The success of shows like 24 and Lost has very effectively done away with the antiquated notion that TV shows need to be episodic. These shows heartily give the finger (sorry . . . "flip the bird. Ayuh.") to anyone who just wants to dip in now and then. You gotta watch regularly. You gotta keep up. And you gotta pay attention.

Since then, we've had a run of great shows operating like this . . . The L Word, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, and Jericho.

The unfortunate thing is that right now, in the US off-season, they've all finished. That means we have to amuse ourselves with repeats for the next few months. Or go outside and get some exercise . . . Nah, they'll be back soon.

Except for Jericho. CBS has decided, in its infinite wisdom, that there'll be no more Jericho. Ever.

In spite of the legions of loyal fans (your humble correspondent among them) and in spite of the mother of all cliffhangers, apparently a second season of Jericho just isn't worth the effort.

In case you're not familiar with it, Jericho was a cheery little tale about a small US town isolated after a series of unexplained nuclear blasts decimated the rest of the country. It was a nice dramatic setup with lots of interesting characters, interweaving plots of government conspiracy, profiteering and powermongering, and how good ol' reggerler folks stick together.

It ended with a juicy government conspiracy plot half-articulated, the town of Jericho in a shooting war with the next town over, one of the main characters being very unexpectedly killed, and the army about to descend and do whatever it takes to shut the whole shebang down.

And now it's over.

There are 58,952 signatures (at last count) begging for its return, so here's hoping that the good people at CBS are listening.


Late update:

There's a rumour circulating that because cancellation was anticipated, a final episode was filmed for DVD release. Here's hoping . . .

Friday, 18 May 2007

The Great Firewall

So both Budge and Paul's blogs are illegal in China.
Mine is too. So says this little site here.

Which got me to thinking . . . just what does get through the Great Firewall? Let's try a few.

Starting simple:
Hmmm. This takes a while . . . not sure I can be bothered doing too many of these. And . . . . No! "Your URL is blocked!"
No big surprise there.

Although I'm not sure the exclamation mark is necessarily required. It's almost like they're pleased.

What about the Chinese version?
That's blocked too? I'm getting suspicious now.

Let's have some fun with
Hooray! Success! They need to be careful with this one, though, especially after this little debacle.

Let's try some serious(ish) media.
Nope. Must be all the boobies and turkey slapping in Big Brother.
Or Rove.

One last try. I'm getting bored. What about that bastion of Aussie left-wingism . . . ?

Yes. Available. Well, it's nice to know that for all the restrictions, our Chinese comrades can still see Your ABC.

Go figure.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Tintin in glorious 3D

Word is that two of Hollywood's biggest (arguably artistically; certainly physically and financially) are going to do Tintin.

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are teaming up to produce a photo-realistic, motion-captured, CGI interpretation of three of the classic books.

(Which three hasn't been announced yet, but I'm tipping The Blue Lotus, The Black Island and The Crab with the Golden Claws . . . the latter because it's where we meet Captain Haddock, nicely setting up some sequels.)

Is photo-realism appropriate for Tintin? Do we really want to see Tintin's pores? The details of Snowy's muddy feet? Captain Haddock's rheumy eyes?

Part of the appeal of Tintin (for me, at least) is the simple ligne claire drawing style . . . all dark lines and flat colours. That probably wouldn't work on the big screen, but making it too real will just make it creepy, a la The Polar Express.

I'd like to see it done with a real background and 2D animated characters, Who Framed Roger Rabbit-style, but I can't see that happening, sadly.

And just who are they going to get to do the voices? Johnny Depp as Tintin . . . Geoffrey Rush as Captain Haddock. That'd be good.

I know it's Spielberg, but if anyone even mentions Tom Hanks' name I'll fucking scream.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

SciFi v Fantasy

One of my favourite nerdy podcasts recently gave some nice definitions for Science Fiction and Fantasy:

• Science Fiction concerns the human consequences of science and technology.

• Fantasy concerns the creation of alternate universes separate from our own.

The point was that the dipshits getting dressed up for conventions are Fantasy fans trying to immerse themselves in their alternate worlds.

I quite like these definitions; mainly because they put Star Wars, for all its abuse of SciFi tropes, clearly in the realm of Fantasy.

Most literary SciFi and Fantasy from the mid-20th century would fit snugly into one or other of these categories, but your modern genre piece can be a little harder to define. Star Trek sits somewhere in between, being an alternate universe filled with the consequences of scientific and technological development. Same with Stargate. And Battlestar Galactica.

Based on these definitions, I think the purest modern SciFi is Firefly. It's the only one set squarely in our universe, in our potential future, arising from our technological advances. And there aren't any aliens with crinkly foreheads.

But apparently the number of browncoats seen at recent conventions really blows the "Fantasy fans are the kooks" argument out of the water.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Notes on Eurovision 2007

• Lots of glitter and very silly hats may (Ukraine) or may not (UK) translate into big points

• The Greeks think Ricky Martin is still cool. The Spaniards have similar feelings about N*Sync.

• Lithuania should stick with being funny. Arty silhouettes and dopey music won't win you any friends.

• Moldova is apparently a world leader in Brazilian waxing and low-cut jeans. The combination of these things can be quite mesmerising, let me tell you.

• Russia has decided that chicks in school uniforms is the way to go.
They didn't win with two (t.A.T.u. in 2003) so they decided to try three.

• There has been an exponential increase in the number of hard rock acts entering Eurovision.
The technical term for this is The Lordi Effect.

• In 2008 we can expect The Marija Effect . . . which means a lot more lesbians singing power ballads.

And finally . . .

• Ireland should just give it the fuck up. Seriously. That sounded like a bad Seekers album track circa 1974.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Fracking with Bagactica

Thought this was amusing.

Which tells you something about the kind of guy I am.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Webbus Bloggus Premierus

The first one. Had to start somewhere. So here it is.

And if it's less than impressive I can simply tell no-one about it.
A plan perfect in its devious simplicity.

The first question people will no doubt ask (as I did of my friends who have begun this malarkey) is . . . why? Why subject the unsuspecting world to the rantings of a self-confessed nerd and all-around slightly boring person?

Surely there's enough of that sort of bollocks on the net already?

It's a question of morals, really. I tend to pick on my rarely-posting blogger friends for not posting often enough. Calling them slackarse sons-of-bitches and whatnot. It's just general humiliation and shaming behaviour on my part. Nothing too serious. And nothing with which I should have a problem . . . except a little ethical/philosophical dilemma, which is this:

Unless I myself am a regular poster on some sort of blog, then surely this amounts to hypocrisy?

I imagine it does.

The first step towards absolution, of course, is to try it myself and see if it's an easy task to update this more than once a week.

After a burst of energy resulting in two posts in the first twenty-four hours (prediction only at this stage, but I'm optimistic) will it peter out into a chore that must be attended to only when I am reminded (shamed/humiliated) by my (hyper/hypocritical) friends?

Or, will it become a joyous and pleasurable fulcrum for my artistic expression? A place to vent, converse, muse, philosophise and rant?

Or just to post amusing photos of my willy?

Time will tell.