Monday, December 18, 2006

RIP Van Smith

I just read in the newspaper that Van Smith died. He was the guy who created Divine's frightening look. You probably already saw Divine, at least in the John Waters movie Pink Flamingos (1972). That was the one with the infamous dogpoop-eating scene. That's dedication for you! The chicken scene also upset a lot of people, but as Mr Waters admitted in his defence, at least they ate the chicken afterwards.

Anyway, here's a quote from Van Smith about his make-up philosophy:

"I like to start with a freshly-scrubbed face. First I apply pimples made out of eyelash glue, and if they have any natural glow, I throw dirt on their face as a good base. Then I draw on blackheads, pencil on any age lines, shadow severe bags under their eyes, and crack their entire complexion by letting egg white dry on their skin."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Return To Sender

When I open the mailbag at work there are always a bunch of letters addressed to people who haven't worked there for years, so I have to Return it to Sender, but sometimes just for the hell of it I like to add a drawing, like this one.
Mostly it's one of these little dudes, crying his eyes out because that person ain't there no more, and it's so sad. Or maybe he's crying because he is the one who sent the letter, and he's gone to all that trouble of writing a letter and putting it in the mailbox, but that person ain't there no more.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

I just got back from the movie palace. I went and saw A Scanner Darkly, the film version of the Phillip K Dick novel about a young narcotics officer who infiltrates a ‘drug household’ and ends up getting hooked himself.
The movie was shot live action then animated, a very time-consuming process no doubt, but the result was awesome, in particular the scenes where the narcs are wearing their scramble suits. The scene near the end in the cornfield was pretty cool too.
The cast was terrific – Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr and Winona Ryder.
I can’t say how faithful the film was to the novel because I read that novel many years ago, way back when I had only just begun to bake my own brain. (What is that sizzling sound? Is there a barbecue next door?) The feeling I got however was that Linklater had been faithful to the spirit of the book.
This one will make it into my Top Ten for sure.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Recent Holiday Pic

That's a robot pose, in case you were wondering.
A robot at the beach!
Get it?
Ha ha!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Upside Down

A woman missing in the US for nearly two weeks was found dead in the home she shared with family members looking for her, wedged behind a bookcase in her room. Mariesa Weber, 38, who was found upside down, is thought to have suffocated after falling behind the bookcase when trying to adjust an electric plug. - AP

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

I went and saw this excellent documentary today. (Rest of review sucked so I trashed it. Time to slash the wrists, ha ha.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bicycle Thief Challenge

I got another bike today, finally. My last one got stolen while I was at a pub drinking beer with an old friend.
Well, I'll be damned if they gonna steal this one!

Monday, November 06, 2006


Last week I saw a doco that I neglected to write about, and that was an oversight I intend to rectify at once!

Wordplay is a documentary about crossword puzzles, and in particular the New York Times crossword puzzle, and in even more particular, the annual New York Times crossword puzzle competition.

As somebody who enjoys crossword puzzles, this doc was a must-see. I don't do crossword puzzles every day, but last summer I did the Sydney Morning Herald Quick Crossword every day for about a month.

That's pretty lame when you compare it to how dedicated some of the people are here.

One guy admits something he never told anybody before, that every day he writes down his time. He then flips through an exercise book with pages and pages of tightly packed columns of figures. He must have been doing it for years. He confessed that part of the reason he did it was to monitor the health of his brain. A pretty good idea, I think!

One of the most interesting parts of Wordplay was the insight into the construction of a crossword puzzle. Maybe it's just me, but I've never thought about these things as being created by somebody, they're just there in the paper, so it was fascinating to watch the scene where the guy starts with a blank grid and proceeds to put down a word, then colour some squares black, and so on. As to the black squares, they must be filled in so that when you turn the puzzle upside down, they are in the same position. I didn't know that, either, so I wondered if this was a general thing or unique to the NYT crossword, so I checked the SMH crossword, and yep, you flip it upside down and the black squares are in the same position!

Celebrity crossword puzzle fans are interviewed here too, like Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, Mike Mussina and the Indigo Girls.

The doco builds up to the the main event, which is the previously mentioned annual crossword puzzle competition, held in a hotel on Manhattan Island. The contenders here are regular people, outwardly, ha! ha!, but really they are absolute crossword puzzle wizards!

This was a really great documentary. You may think it would be tough to make a crossword puzzle competition exciting, but they succeeded here. It was real edge-of-the-seat stuff!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Grudge 2

One of the year’s most anticipated movies, for me, has been The Grudge 2. The Grudge (2004) was a remake of a Japanese horror movie, Ju-on: The Grudge (2003). Remakes, at best, can be ill-advised, and at worst, a really dumb stupid idiotic idea, but in this case the remake was ‘remade’ by the original Japanese director (Takashi Shimizu), and the result was one of the most chilling movies I’ve ever seen.

It was the awesome use of sound that was chiefly responsible for conveying terror in The Grudge. When I walked out of the cinema after watching that first movie, I had that ghastly ‘creaking’ sound stuck in my head, and over many subsequent weeks the sound remained there. It made me feel sick and disturbed, but I loved it!

The idea behind The Grudge is borrowed from ancient Japanese mythology, and can be summed up thus - “when somebody dies in the grip of intense rage, a curse is left behind”. In this case the curse was borne of a double murder/suicide in a suburban family home. (It still amazes me how the filmmakers managed to turn such a normal, plain-looking house into such a creepy location.)

Anyway, the first Grudge was excellent and I’ve watched it many times, so when I heard there was going to be a sequel, you can bet I was hyped for it.

Only one character from the original makes it into the sequel – Sarah Michelle Geller’s character. Everybody else is new. The movie begins when two mean schoolgirls take a third schoolgirl (who they take great pleasure in making fun of) to the original Grudge house, which was not quite successully burnt down by 'Buffy'. When the two play a cruel trick on the third by making her stand in The Closet and close her eyes, that’s where the frights and blue faces and long black hair and everything else get started.

You know ‘jump scenes’ in movies, where you know there is a big scare coming, but not exactly when - the director is laughing his ass off as he aims to shred your nerves, and make you jump out of your seat and straight up through the roof? In most horror movies there may be a dozen of those, tops. Well, in The Grudge 2, almost the entire movie is made up of those jump scenes. And in the theatre where I saw it, they really had the sound cranked up, so these were rather effective.

That ‘creaking’ sound is back again, of course, but this time, along with the original sound, there are some new variations. The audio department really had some fun with this one. Ha! Ha! Hats off to them! They did a superb job!

This sequel has been mercilessly trashed by critics, from what I gather, and I could see why. The story seems to take a back seat, and what takes over are scenes every five minutes where either the scary small blue boy peeks out from under a table (or from behind a door), or the scary tall thin blue woman with long black hair pops out of somebody’s collar (or their coffee cup) - either option accompanied by a bowel-loosening one million decibel creaking sound blasting out of the theatre speakers, absolutely guaranteed to make you achieve lift-off from your theatre seat.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed the movie, although not quite as much as the original. (By that I mean the American original – the Japanese is the original original, and shamefully enough, I still have not seen that one. ... *falls on sword*)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb

Tonight, just for fun, I read about the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb. I had heard of the Daisycutter, a bomb that was first used in Vietnam to clear a space in the thick jungle for a helicopter to land, then more recently used in Afghanistan to blow up terrorist caves, and to generally scare the fuck out of people there. Well, that bomb caused big damage. The blast radius was anywhere between 300 and 900 feet, or about 100 to 300 metres. If you saw that bomb coming down, you would have to run pretty damn fast to escape the blast radius, don't you agree?
Anyway, I found out that there is a bigger bomb than the Daisycutter, and it is called the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB, also known as the *Mother Of All Bombs*. The blast radius of this motherfucker is around one mile in every direction. If you thought you had to run fast to escape the blast radius of the Daisycutter, then forget about it in this case - just lie down and pray to your god; your ass is grass with this bastard. In fact, when they showed a video of a MOAB test explosion to a group of people, they all believed they were watching footage of a nuclear blast.
The MOAB: far more effective than the Daisycutter at inspiring psychological terror.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

I tried to start a review of this movie, but I can't write anything. (Correction: I can write plenty of things, but I hate every single one.)
The movie was excellent. It has zoomed into my Top Ten for the year.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Dungeons and Dragons

Readers with an interest in games (from paper & dice Dungeons and Dragons to modern computer and videogames) will appreciate this excellent interview with Ian Livingstone by the BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones. In the second part of the interview, Bennett-Jones hits him with the type of questions often used by people who believe gaming to be one of the great evils of our times. Livingstone's replies are smart and insightful, and often very funny.

Ian Livingstone interview (it starts after a short news briefing)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ad Uses Sex To Sell Product

I am disgusted at this jeans company using sex to sell their product? This billboard ad is offensive - it features a young woman in a sexualised pose, with a lollypop. Why have sexy people in ads? It inflames lust and encourages dissatisfaction with one's body shape. Let's have ugly people, going to the toilet, or hair in curlers (or both at the same time), with puffed up face following night of heavy drinking, or along those lines.
View more of these disgusting good-looking people here (not the tattooed photographer guy - he is an ugly motherfucker. Get your filthy hands off her, you sleazy junkie!):

Offensive Sexploitation Lolita Jeans Ad With Sleazy Junkie Photographer

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I didn't go to the movies today. The school holidays started this week and during these times the cinemas are packed, the ticket lines go out to the street, and it's a scene that I prefer to stay well clear of. There's mostly school holiday fare there anyway, so it's no big deal. Who wants to see Garfield 2 anyway?
Last week I did go to the movies but didn't write about it here. I saw Miami Vice and it was so long and mostly a snorefest that I didn't feel like writing about it. The only cool part was the big shoot-out action scene near the end, so if you go see it, take your alarm clock and set it for about 80 minutes into the movie so you can wake up and watch the big shoot-out, and listen to the excellent gun sounds. The audio department here gets my congratulations, as does Mr Michael Mann for his direction of the shoot-out. Alas, the movie was a sad step down in quality from his other fine work, such as Heat and Collateral.
If anybody wondered why I haven't been writing much here lately (besides the usual excuses of laziness, anxiety and depression) it is because I quit the cigs nine days ago. It's the third time I've tried to quit, the other two times I never made it past the first seven days, but those times I wasn't really serious about it.
Anyway, I'll get back to writing in here. One problem I had was the belief that I couldn't write anything without cigarettes. (Some readers might point out that I couldn't write anything even with cigarettes. Haw!) But, since I still have beer, it just might be possible.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lady In The Water

After work I went and saw Lady In The Water. I know the movie has been really bashed by critics, but I've enjoyed other movies that took such a beating (like The Rules Of Attraction), plus I saw the preview and was hooked. Also, Paul Giamatti stars in the movie and he is one of my favourite actors, so in the end it was a no-brainer.
Shall we have a brief overview of the plot here? By all means!
Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) is the caretaker, or handyman, or whatever you call it, of an apartment building. The place has a swimming pool and Cleveland suspects somebody of swimming in it against the rules, that is, late at night - there is a rule that residents must not use the pool after 7:00pm. One night he hears splashing in the pool and discovers a strange, naked young woman. The woman tells him that she is from a place called the Blue World. She is being chased by monsters that look like large demonic dogs covered with grass and sticks and leaves. According to some legend (actually a bedtime story), if a human makes contact with one of these people (I mean like the girl he found in the pool), then humanity can be saved, or something. (How am I doing with the plot? It's not easy, this one!)
Cleveland, being the apartment building's handyman, knows a lot of the residents and there are some real characters there. One of them, a young man, works out with weights but only building up one side of his body - his right arm and leg are huge, while his left are normal size. Another apartment is host to a group of, I suppose what you might call "slackers", who sit around smoking and drinking and talking about whatever comes to mind.
Cleveland is a man with a tragic past, and the young woman learns about this by reading his diary. I won't commit any spoilers, only say that this element of the story was affecting and well-handled.
This story in fact is a modern fairytale. It's difficult to make a definitive criticism of it, because I'm not sure I understood everything in it, and it seemed very ambitious, even experimental - a combination of fairytale, modern drama, and horror. It seemed to be alternatingly enjoyable and fascinating, then embarassing and self-indulgent. I feel that I need to see it again at some later time to resolve my opinion of it.
Anyway, if you are a fan of Paul Giamatti, you will see it and at least enjoy his performance, which is strong. And it's an M. Night Shyamalan movie. He might have made some misfires, but his movies are required viewing, in my opinion (in particular for his dealing with supernatural themes).

After I found an almost-perfect seat in the theatre, an odd fellow came and sat two seats away from me. He had wild, straw-like hair and sat perfectly motionless, intently watching the screen. I estimated his age to be around early 30s. He arrived with a distinctively peculiar smell, yet not so disagreeable that would call for a seat change, rather a smell of clothing piled up for months in a closed room. But within 20 minutes I was accustomed to it and forgot about it. I didn't notice him again until the movie ended and the lights went up. I looked across and he was holding his hands up in front of his face, but still looking intently at the screen as the credits rolled, looking through his fingers. It seemed to me that he was greatly moved by the movie, which moved me in turn. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him about his impressions of the movie. I didn't though. I got up and walked out before the credits finished. It was too intense sitting there near him with his hands up and his powerful emotions.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rush Newbie

Today I bought my first Rush album, Moving Pictures (1981).
Steve, if you are reading this, I remember you telling me about these guys a very long time ago. Well, I finally get it! Rush are FREAKING AWESOME! Right now I'm listening to the album for about the ninth time. It ends, then I immediately replay it from the beginning. It has completely mesmerised me. I want to stay up all night listening to this album!

*falls to floor in rapturous joy at having (even so belatedly - really should have taken cue from friend many years ago!) discovered such a totally freaking goddam AWESOME band*

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Silent Hill

Well, tonight I finally got to see the Silent Hill movie. As a fan of the video games, it was a very mixed experience. On the one hand, the movie was way too long, the story was weak when compared to the source material (particularly the excellent premise of the second game), scenes ran on too long with very little happening, and much of the dialogue was embarassing. On the upside, fans of the games will enjoy many scenes that simulate moving through the nightmarish locations wtihin the games, and the accurate recreations of monsters like Pyramid Head and the Dark Nurses (although the nurses seemed to be handled badly, in that they were comical and many audience members laughed at their actions - surely not the intended effect). However, the horror/gore scenes were a highlight, and horror fans (not to mention Clive Barker fans) who haven't played the games will find a lot to enjoy here, with a couple of scenes standing out in particular: the Pyramid Head woman-skinning scene, and the big barbed wire gore finale.
While by no means what a Silent Hill fan would ever call a triumphant film version of the series, the movie did manage to faithfully recreate many elements of the games, and could also be heartily recommended to horror movie fans.

As a side note, I really like Sean Bean but, sad to say, he didn't have much to work with in his limited role here. A shame. The movie would have been so much better if they used the Silent Hill 2 premise where James Sunderland receives a letter from his wife - dead three years - inviting him to join her in Silent Hill, the small holiday town where they spent some of their happiest times, with Sean Bean playing James Sunderland.
Also very welcome in the movie was the use of songs and music from the games. Akira Yamaoka rocks.
As another side note, it was cool to see the actress who played the Borg Queen from that Star Trek movie.
The audience report is a shameful one on this occasion - a group of teen jerks and jerkettes sat right in front of me, all loudly jamming chip and lolly packets in each others' faces. It was deafening. Only halfway through the movie did they shut the fuck up (although that was most likely the point where their stash of sugary and salty crap had been exhausted).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Through Hell and Back

I had the flu all last week. It really wacked me all over the place. It sucked when I had to go out of the house because then I started sweating like crazy, and got dizzy. When I walked into a shop and dealt with the shop assistant, I got the feeling they were thinking, "Ugh. You look terrible. If you die in my shop I'm gonna be very pissed off." But I didn't die, I beat that piece of shit flu and now I feel like a million dollars [some hyperbole used here for effect].
Now I'm ready to go and watch the Silent Hill movie tomorrow. At last! I've been waiting about ten months for this one! Will it have been worth the wait? Tune in tomorrow for the review!

Monday, September 04, 2006

R.I.P. Steve Irwin

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Steve 'The Crocodile Hunter' Irwin's death today. He was making a new documentary on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef when a stingray punctured his chest with its tail barb - the stinger apparently went straight into his heart and he died almost instantly. (Being struck by a stingray's barb can be likened to getting stabbed with a bayonet.)
The world has certainly lost one of its great characters.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thank You For Smoking

Two days ago I went and saw Thank You For Smoking. It was pretty good, but I wonder if anybody else noticed that not one person could be seen actually smoking a cigarette in the movie. Ha ha. That's amusing isn't it? A movie about cigarettes and no cigarettes in the movie? Eh? Eh? (Although you do get a scene where the main character is staring at his empty cigarette pack.)
William H. Macy was in the movie. (I have to see every movie he appears in... one of my life goals, you might say.) Robert Duvall was in the movie, and some trivia here for you: Did you know that the band Smoking Popes broke up when lead singer and songwriter Josh Caterer had a Born Again experience, but he later reformed the band as Duvall? Named after Robert Duvall's performance in the movie The Apostle.
Sam Elliott was also in the movie. I remember him mainly for his part as The Stranger in The Big Lebowski. Elliott plays the Marlboro Man who got cancer and was screwed over by the tobacco company.
The movie had some very funny moments, and got big laughs from many in the theatre. It seems that it was about time such a movie was made, especially for people like me who are sick of the anti-smoking lobby.
The movie will also appeal to enemies of the 'Nanny State'.
Thank You For Smoking is thus wholeheartedly recommended to my dear readers.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Basil's Sendoff

A good night tonight. A rare sociable one. Basil got another job somewhere else and he had his sendoff down at the James Squire bar/restaurant thingo at Darling Harbour, and since I always liked ol' Basil and since I once got a case of James Squire Strong Ale and it was so damn good, I went along to it.
It was a good spot because we were all sitting out the front near the wharf, at a long table with benches on either side, outside in the open air so we smokers could smoke freely and not be forced to go into some stinky gambling room like at so many other places. The beer was excellent - I was hitting the India Pale and Highwayman's, quite a treat compared to the usual Victoria Bitter (but at $6.50 a schooner, man, that's like nightclub prices. Oh well, that's Darling Harbour for you).
Other people from work came and went, but I was mostly sitting with Basil, Ryan, Terry, Mitch and Andrew. When I got there the conversation was going on about teachers from schools who were busted for fiddling with kids. Somebody also mentioned a friend's mother who killed her husband. Not the usual conversation; it was pretty cool. The best conversations I had, one with Mitch - a 45-year-old dude with long wild rockstar hair and always wears blue jeans and leather jacket. I always see him outside smoking, and ever since I flipped him the Metal goat horns he always does the same back. He looks like the quintessential Metal Dude and I can't help but get a big dumb grin whenever I see him. He's one of the IT dudes. He was talking about his favourite bands (like Journey and Yngwie Malmsteen) and his 800-strong CD collection, and I told him about the Japanese prog dude Motoi Sakuraba and his soundtracks for JRPG games like Baten Kaitos and Star Ocean 3. He was rattling off album titles and talking about musicians, dropping names, and I would say, 'Who?', and he would say 'Oh, blah blah from Journey' and naturally I was fascinated and impressed. His forte is mid-eighties melodic metal, but later he was talking to Terry about Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin like he knew all that stuff back-to-front and my eyes popped out, like, 'How about that? He knows about all that stuff too!'
I also had a big conversation with Terry and he told me that music for him was 1977-1980, then nothing, or something like that. He got into the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys, and nothing since. I've heard that he and Louise have a house that looks like time stopped at 1958 or something. They are like those dudes in my Eccentrics book who have a house with nothing after 1900 in it... well sort of like that, very dedicated anyway, really into older things, like Robert Crumb with his old jazz and blues records, rejecting all modern stuff (which doesn't seem like such a bad idea sometimes, ha ha).
A few of the women from work were there, one who I have had a massive thing for, but she is married anyway, I think, so what the hell. She looked at me and I looked at her and we said 'Hello', and I felt like saying 'Did you know that I am enormously attracted to you?', and she would say, 'That's funny, because I have been obsessed with you ever since I came to this place. Let's go. Right now.'
Over time, almost everybody left and then there were just Terry, Mitch, Basil and me. Basil said he had to split and catch the train and demanded Mitch scull his beer. Mitch said something like, 'Sir, I do not scull my beer - I am an expeditionary drinker!', or something like that, but he finished up before Basil got frantic (he had to get back out to the Mountains and if he missed his train he'd have to wait another hour).
We left and walked up to behind Wynyard where the three of them went off to catch trains. I walked across the road and down a bit and spotted a Krispy Kreme, went in and bought a Lemon-filled and ate it as I walked up through Martin Place, up to Elizabeth Street and got a bus home, making it back just in time and pissed like racehorse.

Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call*

Got this game in the mail today - a very unconventional JRPG - and can't wait to check it out. Now gotta hurry up and finish Silent Hill 3.

Busy busy!

[* known as Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne in the US]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

I managed, at last, to see The Devil and Daniel Johnston after work today. There was no nightclub-type party at the cinema, nor was there a mighty hailstorm/rainstorm to send water pouring through the roof. Everything was fine. The place was almost empty and dry. There were about a dozen of us in the theatre. A man and woman came in after me and sat in front of me and to the right. They looked to be interesting characters, with wild hay-like hair, and appeared to be in their fifties. The woman pointed at me and suggested they not sit right in front beacuse it might obstruct my view. I assured them they could by all means sit right in front since I could see the screen clearly, but they smiled and said they would be fine over to the right a little.
Anyway, to the feature presentation!
Daniel Johnston grew up in West Virginia (that must be in the Bible Belt because his mother often argued with him about his art, saying that he was serving the Devil since he drew cartoons of disembodied eyeballs). His best friend at that time, David Thornberry, admitted that he was persecuted by his mother during those teenage years but he often fueled the fire in that regard, so that he could tape record his mother's rants. He made thousands of audiotape recordings, as audio diaries. He also drew cartoons of such things as eyeballs and men with the tops of their heads sliced off. His main passion was music and he played the piano and sang and made tape recordings of his songs. Later he switched to acoustic guitar in emulation of his heroes. Problem was, he couldn't play guitar. Even in later times he appeared to play one chord with only minor variations, but his voice tone made up for it. Hearing Daniel Johnston sing, it was suddenly obvious to me where the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev got their vocal style.
The documentary examines Johnston's psychological problems and raises the fascinating connection between genius and madness, and the corresponding obsession that people have with such characters all the way through history. David Stratton on At The Movies a few weeks ago was saying that even after watching this documentary he had no evidence of Daniel Johnston's 'genius' or whatever you want to call it. It was certainly clear to me. Sure he can't play guitar very well, and sure you could say his voice isn't technically great - he's no Russell Watson that's for sure (ha ha) yet the evidence was plain to me (and obviously to many others, not least of which was the guy who made the documentary, Jeff Fuerzeig, who was inspired to make it after listening to a radio show where Johnston phoned in from the mental hospital where he was confined at the time to do an hour-long monologue, in different voices and characters.)
'The Devil' in the title refers to Johnston's obsession with fighting the Devil. It's unsurprising when you consider his childhood environment and battles with mental illness, which can easily feel like battles with demons or the Devil at times.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston was excellent and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Strangely enough, that couple I mentioned at the beginning got up and left halfway through, which really surprised me. Why the hell did they get up and walk out? I'll be wondering about that for a week!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Jerk Thompson

Only recently have I heard about an American 'Witchhunter' of the videogame world - the guy's name is Jack Thompson. (What a shame that he shares the same name as one of Australia's best-loved actors).
Anyway, I just read an excellent post on Bill Harris's blog where he totally rips the shit out of Thompson's idiotic accusations. You can read it here.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

You Must Be In A Mad Panic!

(...posted on GameCritics forum...)

Beat Baten Kaitos last night. 70+ hours, two game crashes, lots of terrible voice acting, too-long battles (really sucks that you can't attack all members of the enemy party, only one at a time), a million boss battles including one total bullshit WTF one where you beat the dude (Geldoblame I think) then there's some dialogue, then you have to fight the EXACT SAME BATTLE AGAIN! The card system also made me scream "CHEAT!" at the screen a hundred million times when you keep getting dealt cards you can't use and the enemy just keeps whacking you.
Wait a minute... why did I play this game to the end again? Well, it looked very nice, the music was excellent (Motoi Sakuraba and his wild prog style, love it) and the battles were fun when they were not annoying. Also, I grew to love the retarded battle taunts - "WATCH OUT! I'M NOT SO INNOCENT!" and, "YOU MUST BE IN A MAD PANIC!", etc.

I'll definitely get Baten Kaitos II: Origins when it comes out. ... It's a love/hate relationship!

P.S. One of the greatest things about this game - and something I wish all games had - is that once you have heard a theme, you can then go to the Options screen and listen to it. So by the end of the game you have the full soundtrack and can listen to any track, any time. Pretty damn cool.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hailstones Outside My Apartment Block

When I walked back from the movie house it looked like it had been snowing.

Movie Mission Aborted II

For the second Tuesday in a row I have been sabotaged from seeing The Devil and Daniel Johnston, the documentary about the crazy singer showing at the newly reopened Chauvel Cinema at the top of the hill. (If you like, you can read about last week's drama three posts down.) Here's what happened this time:
I walked out of my house and a hailstorm had started. That was OK, they were only small hailstones and they bounced off my umbrella. Half way up the hill the rain had become torrential. My pants were saturated up to the knees, and above the knees they were well on the way. What the hell, they would dry off in the theatre. I arrived at the cinema as great rivers swirled in the gutters around me. My shoes were saturated and the water had gone inside. Wet socks is not a nice feeling. I went into the Chauvel and up the stairs and around to the box office and bought a ticket. As I walked towards the theatre I took my jacket off because the left arm was completely goddam saturated. I heard the rain hammering on the roof. As soon as I walked into the theatre I heard a sound that made me feel like I had walked outside again. What the hell? Water was pouring down from the ceiling over near the wall. I walked over near the wall and looked up, it looked like one of those rain machines the movie studios use. Or it looked as though part of the roof was missing. It was really pouring in there. One of the cinema staff had pushed a large metal bin under it which had little effect - the water was pouring down along a ten-foot section of wall. I went and sat in a seat in a perfect position since I was the only audience member. It felt strange to be sitting there with the water coming in and more and more staff running around looking at the water. It was so loud I wondered if it would be possible to hear the sound from the documentary. The ads hadn't even started when supervising staff dude yelled, "Out!" What, me? Could he mean me? Then he shouted, "Out! Electrical danger!" or something like that. I looked around and there were two other audience members walking out the door. That was when I knew for sure that I'd been foiled again. What the hell was it with this movie? I walked back out to the box office and reluctantly got a refund. I walked home, back down the hill. The sun had come out and the rain had almost stopped completely.
Next Tuesday I will go back up there and have another go. Stay tuned for the final part in the trilogy!

Hailstorm Sabotaged Movie Viewing

Monday, August 14, 2006


Tonight I went and saw a movie called Jindabyne. It was an Aussie movie but for a while it was hard to tell because I saw Gabriel Byrne, I shouted, "What! An Irish movie! I thought this was an Aussie movie!" Audience members told me to pipe down. Then Laura Linney comes on so I yelled, "What! Is it Irish, Aussie, or American this movie?! What what what?!" Audience members threw their Jaffas at my head and it stung. But anyway, those are the only two foreigners, the rest are a solid true blue fair dinkum Aussie cast, mate.
In the movie, Gabriel Byrne and his three mates go on a fishing trip into a hard-to-reach river in the Snowy Mountains. Before they even really get down to business Gabriel comes across the almost-naked body of a girl in the water. After Gabriel freaks out and calls his mates, they have a meeting and decide to fish on, the logic being that the girl is dead, they can't do anything for her anyway. They hiked a long way from their jeep to go fishing, plus one of the mates twisted his ankle. So what they do is just tie her ankle to a log so she won't get carried away by the river then they have a fun two days fishing. But when their fishing trip is over and they at last call the police to report the body, the policeman tells them they oughtta be ashamed of themselves. To complicate matters, the girl was Aboriginal so that turns it into a race issue.
But what about the girl? How did she die? Who killed her? It's no mystery because that is shown right at the beginning, at least who killed her. But the focus of the movie is not who killed her but that these selfish fishermen didn't want to let a dead body ruin their fishing fun.
With a (semi) naked girl's body lying around the whole movie while people go about their lives, it reminded me of the 1986 movie River's Edge, but Jindabyne is actually based on a Raymond Carver short story So Much Water, So Close To Home.
Another problem is that when Gabriel gets home to his wife Laura he doesn't say anything straight away about the body, but wakes her up and seems hotter than usual for her, so when she later finds out about the body they found, and that it was a semi-naked girl, she accuses him of being turned on by it. Woah. Heavy, man. Yet one of the scenes where Gabriel pays a midnight visit to the girl in the river seems to lend weight to this theory. Well, you watch the movie and you decide.

[For some reason Blogger is not letting me upload a frigging picture to this review.]

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Movie Mission Aborted

For almost a week I have been planning to go up to the newly-reopened Chauvel Cinema to see The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Tonight was the night. Tuesday night is their discount night when tickets are seven bucks. Pretty good price, eh? Better than the big George Street cinema that has gone back up to nine bucks.
Anyway, I walked up the hill and there were a bunch of people outside on the footpath smoking. It struck me as a lot of people to be outside smoking. What the hell was going on up there? A party? Yes! That's exactly what was going on up there! I walked up the stairs and the sound got louder and louder. There were all these people up there with wine glasses. It was like a freaking nightclub! It wasn't a good sign, not good at all. What the hell was going on there anyway? They had remodelled the place and now the box office was on the other side - on the other side of all those cinema clubbers! No way was I gonna try to get through that crowd. No way. I really wanted to see this doco but that was too much, man. Maybe it was some post-preview party or something and they would be out of there soon, but I couldn't take that chance. All I could imagine was buying a ticket and them not leaving, but staying right there getting louder and happier, then following me into the theatre and sitting all around me, having a great time. No way could I enjoy the documentary in that situation, man.
I got out of there fast, shaking my head the whole way back down the hill. I'll have to go see it next week. It better still be playing!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Libertine

After work today I went and saw The Libertine. You know that big cliche that you watch a particularly sordid or squalid movie and immediately afterwards feel like you must take a shower? Well, I could use that one here. It would be appropriate. The movie is about the Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, an actual historical figure from the 17th Century. He's played by Johnny Depp. Depp has a lot of fun with this character, a cross between his Pirates of the Caribbean character Jack Sparrow, Oscar Wilde and Bob Crane. At the beginning he looks at the camera and tries to rev us up by saying, "You will not like me!" Why would we not like him? Because he's an alcoholic and can't keep his pecker in his pants when a woman is around? Who cares. Many people have those problems. And he's a witty guy, very funny at times, coming up with some cracking one-liners. There he reminded me of Oscar Wilde.
Anyway, the reason I wanted to use that shower cliche was that the movie is set in London, and that was back when there were open sewers, so the streets were awash with mud and shit. The people all looked pale and sick, red-rimmed eyes, greasy skin, so when one of the frequent porky scenes pop up you want to scream, "Don't touch that!". Then because the Earl goes out whoring so much, he gets syphilis. There was no treatment for that back then so he starts rotting, and at one point when he is forced to make a public appearance, he is wearing a metallic nose cover because his nose is either about to fall off, or it's simply so damn hideous and would make everybody throw up.
The plot of the movie is simple: the Earl disgraces himself in front of King Charles (by telling a porno story in front of some important visitors), he is subsequently banished to some big boring country house but then three months later gets called back to the exciting, sleazy, filthy city. He loves going to the theatre and one time sees a new actress who gets fruit thrown at her by the jeering crowd, however the Earl sees some talent in her and tells her he wants to train her to be the best actress in London. See? He's not a bad guy at all. Anyway, she says, "OK! That would be, like, totally cool!" He coaches her and she becomes the hottest thing in London.
Did I mention that King Charles is played by John Malkovich? Well he is, and he is very good. Some very nice, dry delivery of lines right there. King Charles commissions the Earl to write a play to entertain some visiting French aristocrats, but the cheeky Earl instead writes a porno show which embarasses the King so he sends him off to go and rot with his syphilis. But the Earl stumbles in and redeems himself in the end by standing up for a vote in parliament that was going to go against the King, so he gives an awesome and persuasive speech, and everybody cheers. So he did the right thing by the King in the end, after all. See! He's not such a bad guy. He just forgot to read the part about the Seven Deadly Sins.

Robot Blog

I found another robot blog. It's a robot adblog. The robots are learning, but a smart human will always beat them.
I think it's time for another Survey.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday Night Playlist

Dinosaur Jr - Little Fury Things
Dinosaur Jr - Kracked
Dinosaur Jr - Sludgefeast
Dinosaur Jr - The Lung
Dinosaur Jr - Raisans
Dinosaur Jr - Tarpit
Dinosaur Jr - In A Jar
Dinosaur Jr - Lose
Dinosaur Jr - Show Me The Way (Peter Frampton song)
Dinosaur Jr - Turnip Farm
Smoking Popes - Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground (Willy Nelson song)
Smoking Popes - Days Just Wave Goodbye
Smoking Popes - Double Fisted Love
Smoking Popes - Let's Hear It For Love
Smoking Popes - Stars
Smoking Popes - Pure Imagination (Willy Wonka song)
Smoking Popes - Let Them Die
Enslaved - Larger Than Time, Heavier Than Night

Video Game Dreams

Outside with a big group of people, I sat on the ground. We were there to watch a preview of something but the TV was facing the wrong way - it was facing towards Jonathan Archer (the Captain from Star Trek: Enterprise). I said to him, "Hey! Is this a special Captain's preview?" He didn't reply. We all had to move so we could see the screen. On the screen was a preview of the new Final Fantasy game (FFXII). Three characters came zooming up (actually flying) to a country ranch-type house then fired projectiles that stuck to various parts of the house. These projectiles then turned into lanterns. I recognised the characters and shouted, "Hey! It's the original characters from X-10!" (Of course, I meant FFX.) They were supposed to be Tidus, Yuna and Auron, but in fact they looked like Kalas, Xelha and Lyude from Baten Kaitos. No surprises there since I have been playing that game like crazy lately. No surprise Captain Archer turned up either since I've been watching a lot of Star Trek: Enterprise lately.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

16 Blocks

After work I went and saw 16 Blocks. Bruce Willis plays broken down alcoholic detective Jack Mosley who after pulling an all-night shift and just wants to go home and get drunk (or drunker) and pass out, his chief hands him some papers and tells him he's gotta go pick up a witness from another police station and drive him to testify at court sixteen blocks away. Sounds easy, but if it was easy we wouldn't be there watching it. Well, the dude he has to take to court is Eddie Bunker, played by Mos Def. Eddie is a motormouth - he won't stop talking, but he's likeable so that's OK. At least I found him likeable. Jack just wanted him to shut up because his head hurts.
They soon find out that the trip to the courthouse isn't going to be easy when people start trying to kill Eddie. He's off to testify in a case which will remove a bunch of dirty cops from the streets. These dirty cops intend to make sure he doesn't get there. The bad cops are headed by Frank Nugent (David Morse). On the way, Frank corners the pair in a bar and tries to get Jack to hand over Eddie and go home with his bottle, being all buddy-buddy (they are ex-partners). Jack does the right thing and says fuck you and they get out of there in the middle of a big Mexican standoff.
The movie is a redemption tale, where Jack has a chance to make amends for a failed personal and professional life, and Eddie has a chance to quit a life of petty crime and move to Seattle to start a bakery with his long-lost sister (he was a foster kid). This kind of stuff is often done in a heavy-handed, clumsy and sacharine way, but not here. We genuinely care what happens to these characters, and want them to get out of this mess alive so they can get on with a better life.
16 Blocks also has an 'old school' cop show feel about it, which I really appreciated. It's unsurprising considering that director Richard Donner worked on shows like The Streets of San Francisco and Kojak, not to mention the Lethal Weapon movies, so it's fun to follow the developing relationship between the white guy and black guy here.
Bruce Willis never looked so beat down and ragged as he does here. He's a wreck. A man staggering, red-eyed and hopeless at the edge of the pit. Great stuff.
Mos Def was excellent as the Flavor Flav-like motormouth. What a funny voice! I couldn't help wondering if that was how his natural voice sounded - could it be?
Well, I really enjoyed this movie, and so did the Asian kids sitting in the row behind me. I want to include what they yelled at the end: a cheering sentiment that gave me a big grin, but it would constitute a spoiler, so I had better not.

Note: If I'm not mistaken, this movie seems to follow 'real time', since at the beginning of the movie the time is around 8:30am and Jack has to get Eddie to the courthouse by 10:00am, and the movie is around an hour and a half long.

Postscript: I just checked IMDB for Mos Def and it says he is in another 2006 movie Journey To The End of the Night. What! Has a movie really been made of this excellent novel?!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Paul Reubens

Here's a Paul Reubens interview. Great to hear the Pee-wee stuff is going to be re-released on DVD!


Less football and more synchronised swimming please.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hard Candy

I had a halfday today and went to the movies. I saw a film called Hard Candy.
It starts with two people chatting online, all you see is the computer screen and the conversation. We quickly realise it's between a man and a young girl. It turns out that the man is in his thirties and the girl is fourteen. They have been chatting this way for three weeks and now they are flirting back and forth until it makes you wanna puke. The girl suggests that the man meet him at a local diner. What! Are they idiots?! Is she an idiot? She's fourteen, she's allowed to be an idiot, but this guy is thirty-something, he's not allowed to be that much of an idiot.
Oh well, naturally nothing good is gonna come of this misguided tryst...
They meet up and he (Jeff) is impressed by how smart she (Hayley) is. She's really smart for a fourteen-year-old! That makes it OK, right? They get along well, and before you know it she wants to go back to his place. Sure, why not?
We learn that Jeff is a successful fashion photographer. He has a new Mini and Hayley thinks it's really cool. Haw! These young chicks are easily impressed eh?
Back at Jeff's trendy mountainside pad (looks like the Hollywood hills) they get stuck into the vodka but when Jeff offers Hayley one she says 'Wait a minute! I was warned not to take drinks that I didn't see mixed!' 'Smart girl!' he says. 'We'll pour this one out and you can come and watch me make another.' See! He's a good guy really. Plus he's too young and handsome-looking to be a baddie. He doesn't have a pot belly and a big greasy combover like those real nasty men.
I should probably quit with the plot revelations about here since I don't want to fart out any spoilers, so I'll just make some spoiler-free comments and observations:
Hayley looks like Australian popsinger Missy Higgins.
Jeff looks like Kevin Bacon. (The casting agent probably tried to get Kevin Bacon but he probably said 'Look dude, I already played a nasty kiddie-goosing man in The Woodsman. Count me out.')
The movie is based on reports of Japanese schoolgirls luring pedophiles into traps where they attack them.
Maybe it's just because I'm a guy and a 'potential rapist' (hello Andrea Dworkin!) but for the entire movie I was convinced that Jeff wasn't such a bad guy at all, that it was Hayley who was the monster. For any thirty-something guy considering messing around with teen girls, this movie is the perfect antidote to such folly.
The movie is intense, and there's no way you will walk out and go "ho-hum", or "whatever". You will talk your head off to your friends about it, and if you walk out of the cinema alone you will collar people in the street and begin tormenting them with your theories. Hard Candy will probably end up being the most talked-about movie of the year. ("Woah! What a bold statement! He sounds like a real movie reviewer!") It's an uncomfortable movie to sit through too, especially for men with testicles.
I would say don't miss this one. It's no walk in the park, that's for sure. It's no picnic, to continue the analogy. It's not a Farrelly brothers movie, there's no doubt about it. But I watched Anatomy For Beginners Pt 2. last night, with Gunther von Hagens chopping up a real human body, so after that it was like Play School. Ugh!
One final word! There's a big revelation right near the end so pay attention.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I do still have some photos from when my computer cooperated in my quest to download pictures from my phone, and here's some of them...
Who is this delightful young woman? Why, it's Ensign Hoshi from Star Trek: Enterprise!

Sunshine: 1 Technology: 0

I went on a big adventure today walking around the place - it was a big adventure for me because usually on the weekends I never leave my room (anxiety, and all that jazz) and only go outside on very short missions for essential supplies, then hurry back. But today it was sunny and I read in the newspaper recently that sunshine is good for seasonal affective disorder (which I don't think I have because I can feel the same way in the middle of summer, ha ha!) and since I usually stay in this small dark room all weekend I thought I would try it. (I! I! I! Oh my God am I using too many I's again?! You see I will never escape fear of that criticism!) Anyway it did me a lot of good, I think. I think. I do, I am the one who thinks that. I. Me, that is. Anyway, it did work and I actually felt pretty good. I took lots of photos too, and sat near the duckpond in the park outside Fox Studios and watched a man come and feed the ducks. I took a photo of him and wanted to post it here, but guess what? My stupid phone won't download into the computer, it just makes the computer restart itself. It did that in the beginning, then my brother reinstalled the software and it worked, but now it's up to its old tricks again. (If you are in the market for a mobile phone, beware of the Nokia 6280 because it's a piece of buggy shit, from my experience.) Foiled by technology yet again! So I have all these photos but I can't show them to you because of cruel technology. Foiled by tiny communication robots! Oh well. I could try to reinstall the software, but I'm too depressed to try it now. It's very complicated. My digital camera is not that complicated - why does phone software have to be so complicated?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Forthcoming Horror Movie

Today I read about a horror movie that's gonna be released here next month, it's called Stay Alive and is about a group of teenagers who play a video game based on the story of a 17th Century noblewoman called the Blood Countess. When their characters die in the game, they end up dying the same way in real life. "This might be a good movie!", I thought. I checked it out on Metacritic. It doesn't look like it's a very good movie. Here's my favourite quote:

"Here's a movie that tries to be a video game but is less entertaining than a vending machine." - Jason Anderson - Globe and Mail (Toronto).


I'll probably still go and see the movie anyway.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Extreme Attack!

I had a halfday yesterday. Did I go to the movies? Do you remember when I used to go to the movies and then write about it? Do you remember when I used to write in here? Anyway, no I did not go to the movies, I went straight home and continued playing Baten Kaitos. Last year I stoppped at the 25-hour point and I can't remember why. Why did I stop that time? Was it because of the terrible voice acting? No, I grew to love that, especially at times like when Lyude uses a healing item on himself and says 'This is for you!', and when Xelha warns the monsters: "Watch out! I'm not so innocent!'
The picture above is Lyude doing his special Concerto attack. As he says when he does this: "Extreme attack! Concerto!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

Playing Baten Kaitos Again

Almost exactly the same time last year i was playing this game, but I never finished it for some reason. I started playing it again...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Aliens Next Door

Two or three months ago I saw a documentary on street art and wrote about it here. I said I would look for that kind of stuff when I walked around Sydney and take photos and put them up here. It took a while, but here's the first ones. I didn't have to go far - these appeared recently on the smash repair joint next to my apartment building.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Hey Answerman! #250

There's a regular column on the Anime News Network website, it's called Hey Answerman! It's very funny. It's the 250th column and he reprints some letters he got, plus his reply, then a commentary on, for example, the outrageous lies he told the poor kids in the early years. Great stuff!

Hey Answerman! #250

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hey, Is That Superman?

Hey, is that Superman across the road?
Fog brings out the superheroes!


Last Friday morning, walking to work, it was pretty foggy. OK, not foggy like 'the moors', but foggy for Sydney. It was great.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Flying Machine

I found an octopus, and some other items, and then as if by magic when they fitted together a flying machine was created!

The Women On Level Six

I was doing the mail run on Level Six and all the women were mine. I didn't recognise any from real life except G. One of these women seemed really low at her desk, but I soon realised it was because she was naked (or at least topless). She asked me to come around for some "touching", and I said something like, "Oh! That sounds very agreeable!" Then she popped up and jiggled her small breasts and giggled. I lunged at her.
Later, when I got outside in the hall, there was a man following me. He gave a disgusted jerk, bit his knuckles and growled, then dashed away. It was clear to me that he was infuriated and mystified that I had all these girlfriends.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

She Reads Books

Now that I have had my bicycle stolen, I am riding the bus again every day and can once again focus my attention on trying to find out what books people are reading.
When a man is reading a book on the bus I am interested, but in a different way to when I see a woman reading a book. When I see a man reading a book, perhaps I manage to see the cover and find out what it is. That is interesting to me because I like to know what people are reading. But when I see a woman reading a book and try to see the cover, I am also paying attention to how the woman looks. Naturally I am soon aware if I feel some attraction to her. I might be attracted to a woman on the bus or anywhere, but if they are reading a book and there is some attraction, this attraction is amplified by the simple act of their reading a book. What is it that makes this attraction burn so much brighter? Yes, maybe it occurs to me that I could have a conversation with her about books, because she likes books and I like books. That is something we would have in common. But I don't consciously think about all that, I just see the woman reading a book and must know what that book is, then if she inadvertently flips the book at such an angle that allows me to read the cover, I can find out what the book is. It doesn't even matter if I have never heard of the author because I will write it down on the spot and look it up on Amazon as soon as I get to a computer. I will have a burning and irresistible impulse to find out more about that book, that writer, as soon as possible, then proceed to wonder a million things about why that woman was reading that particular book. Is it by her favourite writer? The first time she read him? Does she only read historical romance fantasy, or whatever it is? Does she fantasise about a book-loving man interrupting her fervent reading to ask her what that book is, by any chance? Would she tell him to leave her alone and that it is none of his business anyway? God, I hope not. If a woman did that, it would break my heart into a million pieces.

The Night

'Why did God make this? Since the night is destined for sleep, unconsciousness, repose, forgetfulness of everything, why make it more charming than day, softer than dawn or evening? And why does this seductive planet, more poetic than the sun, that seems destined, so discreet is it, to illuminate things too delicate and mysterious for the light of day, make the darkness so transparent?
Why does not the greatest of feathered songsters* sleep like the others? Why does it pour forth its voice in the mysterious night?
Why this half-veil cast over the world? Why these tremblings of the heart, this emotion of the spirit, this enervation of the body? Why this display of enchantments that human beings do not see, since they are lying in their beds? For whom is destined this sublime spectacle, this abundance of poetry cast from Heaven to earth?'

- from the short story 'Clair de Lune' by Guy de Maupassant.

* the nightingale

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Protocols of Zion

I just finished watching an excellent documentary called The Protocols of Zion. It was made by a guy called Mark Levin and he got the idea for it after the 9/11 attack. He heard that there was a rumour going around that no Jews died in that attack on the World Trade Centre towers, and in fact the rumour went that *the Jews* knew it was going to happen, so none of them went to work. Well, this theory is crazy because hundreds of Jews died there. The really crazy thing however is that there are many people who still believe it.
The title of the doco refers to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fictional account of Jewish plans for world domination that was created in the late 19th century in Russia, and even though it has been exposed as fiction many times, it is still being distributed by groups like the National Alliance (a white supremacist organisation) and extremist black and Arab groups.
One of the most fascinating sections of the documentary was when Levin visited the National Alliance headquarters in West Virginia to interview the leader, an enormous guy whose eyes flashed like a maniac when Levin suggested that Hitler was part Jew himself, but recovered enough to show Levin some big black boots with swastikas on the soles, along with metal SS studs. This was in the National Alliance headquarters warehouse and they sell these boots online from their website, along with Nazi flags and copies of the Protocols of Zion book and Mein Kampf, and stuff like that.
The documentary also covered such things as Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ, and the hatred of Jews resulting from the belief that they were responsible for killing Jesus Christ.
There was another scene where Levin was interviewing some black dudes on the streets of New Jersey. They were carrying anti-Jewish signs, and the leader was telling him that the Jews controlled everything and he used the current mayor Bloomberg as an example, so Levin said Well what about Mayor Guiliani before him? What about him then, eh? So the guy shouts Aha! You said it yourself! What is his name? JEW-liani! JEW-liani!
Anyway, it was a very good documentary and I'm glad I saw it because I had heard about this conspiracy theory that the Jews warned each other not to go to work on September 11, and I had also heard of the Protocols of Zion when I was investigating the white supremacist movement a few years ago.

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Bicycle Was Stolen

After work today I rode up to the pub on Broadway and chained my bike to a pole outside the pub and went inside. A bit later Chris came in and we had some beers and talked and caught up since I hadn't seen him for months. We had a good time drinking beer and talking about all kinds of stuff, then it was time to go. We walked outside and Chris was going up to get the bus and I said well I got my bike it's just here, but when I looked over at the pole I chained it to there was just the pole there and no bike. Some scoundrel had made off with my bicycle! I made a joke about it to Chris, saying did I really put it here? Yes this was the very spot, no doubt about it! and pointed dramatically. Maybe I should have been upset, but I wasn't very upset at all. My bike was stolen, that was all. So what. It was kind of funny even. And it was surprising because I thought the worst that would happen would be that somebody may have knocked it over and it would be on the ground, but still chained to the pole, like I see bikes in the city all the time. But gone it was, really not there any more, completely vanished, and disappeared. There was nothing to be done but walk to the bus stop and wait for the bus. At least I still had my silver helmet. I can get another bike, but I don't think I could find another helmet like this one.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bloodshot Stars

Wow, look at this photo with Nicole Kidman! She has got bloodshot eyes! That is so great! I feel much better knowing that the st*rs get bloodshot eyes too!
*falls to floor flapping around in paroxysm of great joy and relief*

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Hills Have Eyes

I was totally revved up to see this movie, but from what I had read here and there it seemed like I was in for another sickening experience, similar to other recent horror movies like Wolf Creek and Hostel. I've always loved horror movies, but there were scenes in those that made even me feel sick. I guess that's what horror is all about, but it seems that the latest wave of horror on film is really pushing torture elements to a degree never before seen, and to a level of realism that can be hard to take, even for seasoned horror fans. But this one wasn't nearly as 'bad' as some people made out.
The movie starts off with quotes that during the fifties (or whenever it was) the government conducted nuclear tests in the New Mexico desert. Footage of nuclear blasts are intercut with photographs of horribly deformed babies and small children.
In the present day, a family are travelling through this desert, it's Bob and Ethel's wedding anniversary and Bob wants to drive through the nice picturesque desert, but none of the family seems to think it's a very good idea and they won't stop grumbling about it. Not only that but the eldest daughter Lynne has brought her husband Doug along, and there is some tension between Bob and Doug because Bob is a gun-lovin' Republican while Doug is a gun-hatin' Democrat. There are two other teenage kids, Brenda and Bobby.
They stop at a gas station and the filthy, surly, cigar-chomping attendant tells them about a shortcut that will take two hours off their trip. Ho ho! A shortcut, eh? A shortcut to HORROR, no doubt!
The shortcut through the hills turns out to pass right through the area where the mutants live. They were miners during the nuclear testing and refused to leave like the governemnt advised them to, instead they went down their mines and still ended up mutated anyway by the radiation.
Pretty soon one of the mutants throws onto the road one of those spiked things that cops use to stop car chases, and the family crashes into a big rock. The axle is broken and they can't go anywhere. Pretty soon after that the mutants begin tormenting them. They are a nasty bunch, and it seems that they have been doing nasty things to non-mutated folk for a long time, as we learn when Doug comes across a crater while he is going for help. There are dozens of abandoned cars in the crater.
The mutants terrorise the family, really making their lives a living hell. At one point we hear the classic line, You made us what we are! Boo hoo! You idiots should have got out of there when you were told about the nuclear bomb testing. Everybody else did. Why the hell didn't you, ya dumb retards? Plus they got superpowers anyway. When Doug shoves a baseball bat in the stomach of one of them, he pulls it out like it was nothing and continues beating Doug senseless.
But the cool thing about this movie that is different to a lot of other recent horror movies is that the victims fight back, and turn the tables. The transformation of Doug from a gun-hating hippy into a pickaxe-wielding, blood-soaked Viking of violent retribution was celebrated with loud cheering from the audience, and one of the highlights of the movie. OK, it's not very realistic. Wolf Creek was realistic, but Wolf Creek was also very depressing.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the movie. It was much better than the lame original. The acting was fine, the soundtrack was very good, there was real tension created, and most of all the bad mutants really got what they deserved after killing so many nice people who were only driving through the desert trying to look at the nice scenery.
I had a 'first time' audience experience: There were two goth girls sitting behind me and to one side and they must have brought something in to eat which had a strong smell. At first the smell repulsed me, but by the end of the movie I liked that smell, and even when I got home and was lying down reading my book I could still smell it. Even now I'm still wondering what it was they were eating.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

No Silent Hill For Me!

I just read on Kapreles's blog that he saw Silent Hill. I wrote in an earlier post that this movie was coming out this month here, April 24 or something, but it's not. It didn't. The website I happened to see had incorrect release schedule. I now learn that Silent Hill will not be in cinemas here until August 31. That is FOUR WHOLE MONTHS AWAY! Do you realise how depressing that is? You probably do if you read my blog. You know how depressing that is for me, don't you? Kapreles lives in Belgium. Why does Europe and the US get some movies and we here on the other side of the planet have to wait four months sometimes to see those movies? This is not the Stone Age, or even the Medieval times. It really sucks, man, because with the internet everything is as though it happens at the same time no matter what part of the world except for those stupid dumb retarded idiot Stone Age movie release schedules. And video game release schedules! That's depressing too!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Chips And Dips

He's fucked up on codeine again. The problem is it's so easy to get and you can buy big fat packs of 48 for $9.95. These are PAINKILLERS. You take them when you want to kill the pain. Take a few, some of the pain is killed. Take a few more, and more of the pain is killed. Take a few more after that and the pain becomes a different kind of pain. Keep taking them more and more day after day and before you know it it's like the old smack days, only milder, and much cheaper. But what the hell does this stuff in large and prolonged doses do to your guts? Whenever he walks into the pharmacist and asks for a big fat pack of panas they ask him,
You ever had these before?
You know you gotta eat before you take 'em?
Yep yep, I know that.
But that's where it gets tricky. You gotta make sure you have stuff to eat so when you pop another handfull you can do it without worrying that they gonna eat your guts like termites. So, he's got plenty of chips and dips. Oh yeah, he makes sure of that.

Everything You Need To Know?

Something I forgot but meant to note about Slaughterhouse Five was that Vonnegut mentioned The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky and how that book contained everything one needs to know about life. It's a pretty good quote, and I've been meaning to read The Brothers Karamazov, but in the last year I saw that book in the library about seven times and every single time I picked it up and saw once again how massive it was, and how small the words on every page were. Crime and Punishment was a tenth the size! I'm not Terry Goodkind, I don't have *The Magic*, sometimes I get intimidated by things. Yet what Mr Vonnegut wrote gave me a mad burst of confidence, so the next day I burst through the library doors windmilling my arms and went right up to that big fat Brothers Karamazov with the tiny writing, heaved it into my wheelbarrow and pushed it up to the desk sweating like a maniac, and borrowed it. Now, 223 pages in, I wonder what the hell I was worried about after all. What a great, great book. I'll try to write something about it when I'm finished.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Slaughterhouse Five

I read a book called Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It's set during World War II and the main character is a guy called Billy Pilgrim. He isn't a very good soldier, he doesn't even have a gun for some reason, he is very awkward and stumbles through the war in a kind of daze. He gets shoved around from unit to unit because he is a poor soldier, and then he gets put with a unit where one of them, a real psycho, bullies him and pushes him around, but then that guy gets shot, and then Billy gets captured by the Germans and put on a freight train with a lot of other prisoners of war. They go off to a prison camp. War is horrifying but the book doesn't depict much horror, it does it in very subtle ways though, I guess - something horrifying every fifty pages or so. But what happens is that it is revealed that Billy was abducted by aliens who told him that there is no past or present or future, that it is all visible at the same time. Billy then travels around to various scenes in his life. There is much made of the impending bombing of Dresden, and the statement that it was much more horrifying than the bombing of Hiroshima. Vonnegut should know because he was actually there. Anyway, the book doesn't really say anything about the bombing of Dresden after all - if I want to know about the bombing of Dresden, I will have to look elsewhere. There was one excellent passage in the book that depicted a bombing in reverse - the fires going out and the shells being sucked back in to the big artillery guns, and the planes sucking up the bombs and putting them back into the planes and flying them back to the base, where the bombs were sent back to the factory and taken apart and the chemicals and minerals removed and put back into the ground. That part was brilliantly done. But something not so brilliant was that every time somebody was said to have died, Vonnegut put the words "And so it goes." Bah! I got sick of that pretty soon, let me tell you. Apparently that's what the aliens who abducted Billy would say whenever they mentioned the death of somebody, but who cares, it was very annoying and went right through the book from beginning to end, and you know that many people die in a war, so this happened a lot. It was a drag and it spoiled the book, if you ask me.
But that passage with the bombing in reverse was excellent, and it was worth reading just for that.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Something I Learned Today

I just found out I don't like ratatouille.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Street Art

I saw an excellent documentary on TV this afternoon. It was called Rash and explored Melbourne's 'street art' scene - graffiti art, stencil art, homemade posters, all that kind of stuff. The artists have names like HaHa, Psalm, Prism, and Sync, and many of them wore masks while they were being interviewed since their art is technically illegal.
Apparently Melbourne is one of the world's leading cities for street art and street artists from interstate as well as from all over the world visit the city (often even moving there) especially for this reason.
Because of its illegal status, the people who create this art mostly do it at night time and they have to be ready to get the hell out of there fast if police or security guards spot them.
When you think of graffiti art, you might think of small, ugly, incomprehensible signatures kids write on walls or the sides of trains, but the stuff in this documentary was nothing like that. Most of it was very creative and appealing, at least to me, but obviously to many other people who would no doubt rather see that kind of stuff in the street than yet another advertisement for a car or a hamburger or a pair of shoes.
Besides more traditional forms of street art like that created on the spot with spraycans, there are more recent developments like stencil art and posters. The doco showed these street artists cutting out very fiddly-looking stencils, and some of them are created in such a way that there are four or five layers of colour. Amazing stuff. Also, posters are created at home along with buckets of homemade glue which they take out late at night and quickly paste up on the sides of buildings.
It was revealed that most people who are against this street art are the people who own a building that this stuff appears on. In second place, of people who don't like it, are some people who walk by and see it. Maybe those people would rather look at advertisements for cars or hamburgers or shoes.
I'm trying to understand how people can be against this stuff when our cities are being increasingly saturated with advertising. Do you want to know how ridiculous it has gotten? You probably know already. But since about three years ago, in Sydney, there have been these mechanical ad boxes right on the footpath, right there at eye level. And it's not enough that you see one ad, these boxes have a mechanism inside that rolls two ads back and forth behind a perspex window. Each ad is visible for a few seconds before it rolls up or down and you see the other stupid ad. Advertising agencies are always finding more and more ways to put these dumb ads in front of our tormented eyeballs all the time, and there are people against 'street art'?
Anyway, the documentary was excellent, and inspired me so much that I decided that it would be a great idea to, from now on, take photos of this stuff when I see it here in Sydney. I have seen some of it, like that stencil stuff, but now I want to take photos of it and put them up here on my blog. Will I really do it? Probably not. But this doco made me want to.

Image taken from Psalm website.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Holy crap, it's been a week since I wrote anything here! If I don't do something dramatic I'm gonna turn into one of those Blog Slackers. No sir, I can't let that happen!

I've been meaning to write something about David Langford's excellent Ansible newsletter. You can subscribe to it and it will be emailed to yourself every month. It's great for work too because you can get it sent as a plain text document, so it looks like a work email. Ansible is a science-fiction/fantasy newsletter. My favourite bits are 'As Others See Us' and 'Thogs Masterclass'. Here are some samples:

As Others See Us. Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, made a traditional Nice Distinction when defining `Landscapes of the Mind' on BBC Radio 4's A Map of British Poetry (6 Mar): `I don't mean science fiction poems. I mean poems which establish a manifestly invented world in order to advance recognisable truths about human nature.' Not like science fiction at all, then. [HS]
• Michael Jackson, of all people, has grasped the essential point that sf is fiction: he compares press coverage of his legal entanglements to `watching science fiction. It's not true.' [NG]

As Others See Us. Susan Mitchell knows what's fiction and what isn't: `Read any good novels lately? Read any bad novels lately? My guess is that if you've read anything, for pleasure or interest, it hasn't been fiction. Book sales of fiction, particularly literary fiction, are down. By fiction I don't mean fantasy, as in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, I mean a story about our lives created from an author's imagination.' (Weekend Australian Financial Review, 19-20 Mar) [DW]
• Mark Lawson, connoisseur of fantasy, reports the news that Ian McKellen will feature in Coronation Street: `The explanation for Sir Ian's soap debut may simply be that he wanted to speak some proper dialogue after appearing in all that Tolkein [sic] trog tosh ...' (Guardian, 12 March)

As Others See Us II. Further reassurance regarding Kazuo Ishiguro's rip-snorting space opera about rogue clones, Never Let Me Go: `This is not a book of science fiction. I doubt that Ishiguro is even particularly interested in the science or ethics of cloning. So don't go to the novel for a Peter Singer workout. What you will find is an intense, but undramatised exploration of the intricacies of human emotion and human interplay.' (Morag Fraser, The Age, Melbourne, 12 March) [MR]
• On-line sexual advice from `[Q] What do the following books say about a person's sexual characteristics: A man currently reading The Da Vinci Code? [A] This guy is going to be awful in bed. This is just one step up from a sci-fi reader, someone who thinks sex can't measure up to masturbation.' [HF]

As Others See Us. Suneel Ratan of Wired knows where to find true sf innovation: `While most sci-fi -- whether on TV, in movies or books -- remains aimed toward science geeks or overgrown adolescents, producer Ronald Moore and the Sci-Fi Channel have essentially reinvented the genre by giving it an edgy, current, broad-based appeal.' [JH]
• Janice Eisen is much amused that `people who dedicate their entire lives to a single movie [The Big Lebowski] should look down on sf fans.' Thus a spokesman explains the regular Lebowski Fest: `People have likened it to a "Star Trek" or science-fiction convention, but we have women and nobody speaks Klingon.' ( article)

As Others Profile Us. N. Lee Wood sends a depressing LA Times report on the work of the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes Unit: `On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: all but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core trekkie. / Det. Constable Warren Bulmer slips on a Klingon sash and shield they confiscated in a recent raid. "It has something to do with a fantasy world where mutants and monsters have power and where the usual rules don't apply," Bulmer reflects. "But beyond that, I can't really explain it."' (Staff writer Maggie Farley, 27 April.) This statistic became less impressive when checked by one Ernest Miller. From his weblog: `I called the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit and spoke to Det. Ian Lamond, who was familiar with the LA Times article. / He claims they were misquoted, or if that figure was given it was done so jokingly. Of course, even if the figure was given jokingly, shouldn't the Times' reporter have clarified something that seems rather odd? Shouldn't her editors have questioned her sources? / Nevertheless, Detective Lamond does claim that a majority of those arrested show "at least a passing interest in Star Trek, if not a strong interest."' [JN] Not quite the same as `all but one' of the last four years' 100+ offenders.

As Others See Us. Neil Ford reports another maker of ingenious distinctions: `Hal Hartley has made a movie set in the near future, when the US is run by a totalitarian corporation and is visited by an alien -- but of course it's not sf.' From an interview: `But, really, I don't think of "The Girl from Monday" as sci-fi. Not for real. It's more like a song about life now told AS IF it were sci-fi. Sometime copping the postures of a genre can allow you to address a broader range of topics and allow you to be a little more poetic without being too heavy.' No doubt.

As Others See Some Of Us. `Very much the Moonies of television cults, Doctor Who is second only to Star Trek in its ability to attract sociopaths, hobbyists, theorists, collectors, role-playing gamers, fanatics and, frankly, experts. There is little this encyclopaedia can put forward which has not already been the subject of a keynote address at some high-priced, stale-smelling conference in Leicester, called something like SADCON or TOTALCON.' (Richard Lewis, The Encyclopaedia of Children's Cult TV, 2002)

Thog's Masterclass. Revisionist Paleontology Dept. `The megatherium, the ichthyosaurus have paced the earth with seven-league steps and hidden the day with cloud fast wings.' (George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903) [ECL]
Genealogy Dept Revisited: `I died to keep you alive, and one day you will die to feed my ancestors.' (Larry Niven and Steve Barnes, The Barsoom Project, 1989) [PM]
Strangulation Dept. `Shock throttled a sob half spent in her throat.' (Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Farfetch, 1985)
Dept of Heavy Lifting. `He swung his white smile around the room like a lighthouse.' (Susan Cooper, Over Sea, Under Stone, 1965) [MMW]
Astronomy/Cosmology Dept. `If his calculations and instruments were correct, he was now outside the home galaxy of the Milky Way and in an entirely new universe, the universe known to him as the Crab Nebula.'
Dept of Preternatural Rigidity. `He raged and shouted at them from behind the bars which, as she shook them, held as firm as though a fly's feet were touching them.' (both from David Whitaker, The Dr Who Annual, 1965) [LC]

Thog's Masterclass. Biothermics Dept, or Why Polar Bears Do Not Exist. `It was evidently cold-blooded or nearly so, for no warm-blooded animal could have withstood that more than glacial cold.' (George Griffith, `Stories of Other Worlds', 1900) [AR]
Limits of Vision Dept. `"That," he said impressively, "is the blackest black you or any other mortal ever looked upon ... so black that no mortal man will be able to look upon it -- and see it!"' (Jack London, `The Shadow and the Flash', 1903) [AR]
• `Xavier closed his eyes, then forced himself to watch the terrible solution.' (Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, The Butlerian Jihad, 2002) [DL]
Dept of Motherhood and Stale Apple Pie. `He took an instant to gulp water from a dipper, stale and welcome as a mother's love.' (S.M. Stirling & David Drake, The Sword, 1995) [TMcD]

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Hot Bosom Action. `Her tits were like smoke detectors and it looked like the little red lights were flashing.' (Paul Meloy, `Dying in the Arms of Jean Harlow (The Coming of the Autoscopes)', The 3rd Alternative, Summer 2005) [MMW]
Ornamentation Dept. `Lan's own helmet was open in the style of dead Malkier, supporting a steel crescent moon above his forehead [...] The rider drew rein in front of Lan and Bukama. Remaining in his saddle, he eyed them uncertainly, no doubt because their armor was unadorned.' (Robert Jordan, New Spring, 2004) [TW]
Dept of In Space No One Can Hear Your Castrophony. 'Then there came a sound, distant at first, that grew into a castrophony so immense it could be heard far away in space.' (Gorillaz, Demon Days, 'Fire Coming out of a Monkey's Head' lyrics) [AR]
Spare Parts Dept. `Botha slipped out of his chair. It rocked briefly in his absence, then steadied to await the next set of perambulating buttocks.' (Alan Dean Foster, Diuturnity's Dawn, 2002) [GS]

Thog's Masterclass. Earth Is The Alien Planet Dept. `Driving north toward Albany on the Taconic Parkway, Parker watched both dawn and a heavy cloud cover move in from the west.' (Richard Stark [Donald E. Westlake], Backflash, 1998) [TMcD]
Colour Perception Dept. `Two incense sticks burned in a little brass holder in front of her, sending wisps of thin blue smoke upwards which were indistinguishable in colour from the rat's nest of gray hair ...' (Eugene Byrne, ThiGMOO, 1999) [CH]
Gastric Beyond Belief Dept. `Norman felt his stomach tighten, in a different direction than it had at the sight of Dr. Mitchell.' (Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold, `The Rivers of Eden', 2005) [DB]
Neat Tricks Dept. `The animal seemed to have no face until it twisted its head round. Then it opened two enormous lidless eyes.' (Paul Park, A Princess of Roumania, 2005) [TC]