I've decided to retire this blog — I don't really see myself updating it any time soon, and haven't for over two years anyway. I intend to leave the content on-line for the forseeable future, but have converted it to a static site. As a result, dynamic things like search and comments aren't really going to work.

You can find me on Twitter or on Google+ if you like. Alternatively, I'm usually on IRC as LawnGnome on Freenode.

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Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Not Fade Away

Monday, January 28th, 2008

A number of people have asked, so I shall state for the record that I’m not dead. Nevertheless, I’m extremely grateful to everyone for the concern shown for me after I was taken ill yesterday, and particularly to the guys — Andrew and Brian (I think; if I’ve gotten your name wrong come find me during the conference and smack me, just not in the head) — who came with me to the hospital.

Fortunately, today’s been a much better day. Since I’d already spent the money on a ticket, I decided to go to the Big Day Out for a little while this afternoon. I got there just in time to see Regurgitator and left after seeing Arcade Fire, not wanting to push my luck too far. It’s the first time I’ve seen Arcade Fire live, and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. Against that, Flemington Racecourse was warm, very dusty, and almost totally devoid of shade. I’ll just make sure I’m back in Perth for the Claremont Showgrounds show next year.

Tomorrow: Miniconfs! No idea which one I’m going to yet, but it should be fun anyway.


Sunday, November 11th, 2007

General catch-up post, since I haven’t blogged in a while:

  • Not dead. Just been busy.
  • Now done with uni, bar one exam and my computer science project, which is complete apart from a couple of bugfixes and some documentation which are due in Monday week. I’m looking forward to having some actual time to do things outside of uni. Who knows, I might even get Dubnium 0.2 out at some point.
  • Went and saw Muse tonight, who were good, but not quite great in the way they have been the other times I’ve seen them. In fairness, I think some of that was due to the crowd, who (at least in my area) weren’t quite into it the way I expected. Against that, they played Citizen Erased and Fury (the latter for the first time in almost three years, apparently), so I’d forgive them almost anything for that. Looking forward to seeing them in Brisbane in a couple of weeks.
  • Got my new MacBook Pro yesterday. It’s very speedy compared to the venerable G4 iBook it’s replacing (indeed, I’m pretty much certain it’s quicker than my dual core Athlon 64 desktop, too), but there’s a couple of things that irk me, most notably the fact that the Linux Atheros wireless chipset driver may actually be flakier than the Broadcom chipset in the iBook, and I never expected to say that. I suspect I’ll need to sit down with ndiswrapper at some point and look at getting that set up. On the bright side, suspend actually seems to be working, bar Atheros-related flakiness.

Hopefully it won’t be another three weeks before my next blog post. No promises, though.

Perthifornication: The Edge of Coherent Thought

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I wonder how many of the series being pitched in my university’s Television Scriptwriting unit this semester are edgy, sexy shows about the life of a struggling writer in a big city? Three episodes in, Californication does seem like writer porn of the highest order. It’s the life every young writer dreams of — babes, smooth talking, throwing up on paintings that deserve it, more babes…

Well, the guys, anyway.

(OK, some of the girls, too.)

In unrelated news, post-production for science fiction shorts less fun than previously expected. Damned bluescreens.

I Find Them To Be Very Reliable

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Every now and then, an advertising campaign starts running that’s so completely inept it’s actually entertaining to attempt to figure out how the hell anyone thought it was a good idea. The Federal Government’s Need Staff campaign is one of them. They’re all pretty bad, but this gem about the merits of older workers (Windows Media, recent versions of MPlayer should cope, although you’ve probably seen the ad by now if you watch any Australian TV) must win the prize for the most condescending ad of 2007, featuring such gold as the trick is not to pigeonhole people and I find [older workers] to be very reliable, with a hilarious emphasis on the very part that suggests that the subject is actually surprisingly reliable teenage glue sniffers instead of workers who (gasp!) might have a few grey hairs.

What I can’t work out is who the target audience for this ad is. Sure, I guess it’s aimed at employers, but the way I see it, you’ve got two types of employer when it comes to this ad: those that will employ the best person regardless of age (and hence aren’t the target) and those who will employ the cheapest person, which means the youngest. I’m not sure too many of the latter group are going to suddenly exclaim I’ve seen the light! Why employ fourteen year olds when I can employ these very reliable older workers for three times the cost! I’m going to call the Employer Hotline right now!

As for the thought process behind the ad, I can only assume that the marketeers were handed a brief and decided that instead of putting some actual work into making the ads appealing, they’d just reuse the draft they wrote the previous year for a series of public service announcements that went nowhere and find-replace a few words to make it fit.

Oh well. Just another example of our tax dollars at work.

Excuse Me, I Think I’ve Just Soiled Myself

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Apparently Portishead (aka the best band of the 90s, bar perhaps Radiohead — sorry Massive Attack, much as I love you) played two new songs a couple of weeks back. Who knows, maybe the new album will come out while I’m still in my twenties.

Also: Wandering Star from the same performance.


These are the Big Days of our Lives

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

There’s a lot of people out there wearing black T-shirts… and I don’t see any one of you being beaten up!

– Gerard Way, My Chemical Romance

Give it a couple of hours.

– The instant response from most people listening at the pavillion

Ah, the Big Day Out. Den of iniquity, music, and this year, emo kids galore out to listen to My Chemical Romance and be the subject of derision from most of the other patrons. Much as the Big Day Out of 2004 was seemingly defined by its visible minority of metalheads out to see Metallica, this year’s Big Day Out was defined by the increasing proportion of emo in attendance.

Still, the Big Day Out was not only big but a good day out, as per usual. The weather today was outstanding, the throng seemed generally friendly (occasional cracks about… er, cracking emo kids notwithstanding), and a good time was had by all. By all, I mean me. I can’t really comment for anyone else, in fairness.

Quick thoughts on each band I saw before I go to bed:

Spazzys: Really, really ordinary. I caught the latter part of their set while moseying around the main stage, and it did little to suggest that they’re anything other than a second-rate Ramones tribute girlband.

The Butterfly Effect: About what I expected. Wholehearted, passionate, with a crunching sound that occasionally verged on being vaguely melodic.

Birds of Tokyo: Went to this one not quite knowing what was going to happen, since I’d only heard Off Kilter. As it turned out, they were a very solid live outfit who got the Essential stage hopping. There’s maybe a bit of a sameness about a few of their songs, but it would be easy to argue that it’s simply their sound. Quite impressive.

My Chemical Romance: I watched the show mostly to watch the crowd, but there was an element of curiosity about the band, too. They’re reportedly having Muse support them for at least one gig in the US later in the year, which should be interesting, because on the evidence of today’s performances they’re going to get severely upstaged. Leaving aside their fandom, they seem to be a reasonable but unspectacular live band — Something for Kate with better outfits, if you will. Not boring, but nothing to grab you by the throat (or hips), either.

Eskimo Joe: Local bands playing big shows tend to put on a good show, and the boys from Eskimo Joe were no exception. I was a long way from the stage, but they sounded great.

The Killers: For the first third of their set, I was attempting to get into the D barricade (Note to BDO organisers: This really didn’t work this year. While the numbers inside the barricade were OK, the crush trying to get in was really, really bad — as the organisers seemed to realise very belatedly when Jet were stopped for several minutes.) and couldn’t hear it well enough to have an opinion. Once in there, I had a great time. I’ve heard variable reports about The Killers as a live band, but they really produced a good set. No question in my mind that the songs from Hot Fuss work better than those from Sam’s Town, though — which pretty much lines up with my opinions of the albums.

Jet: I was trying to get into a reasonable position for Muse when they played, so I can’t say much else than that the performance was not terrible, but also not particularly memorable, from where I was. Having to stop for the aforementioned D barricade entry crush didn’t help.

Muse: Outstanding. I’m never going to be an impartial observer at a Muse performance, but comparing the dynamism and musicianship of this performance to, say, My Chemical Romance left no doubt as to who the real stars of the day were. Still, I have to say that next time I see them I think I’ll try to be somewhere other than a mosh pit, just to get a different experience. The only disappointment was that they didn’t manage to slip a song in from Showbiz — I’d have loved to have heard the crowd’s reaction to Muscle Museum, in particular. (Another note to BDO organisers: Your security guys were generally really good, but they should have been hitting us with water a lot earlier than they did while Muse were playing.)

Violent Femmes: Unfortunately, I decided to leave just over halfway through the set to ensure that I was home by midnight, but I really enjoyed what I heard. A real change of pace compared to everything else I heard during the day — I just can’t imagine any other band at the Big Day Out saying and now we’re going to play some bluegrass and actually mean it.

So, that’s that. As usual, the public transport system coped admirably with the numbers (well, it does have to deal with the Royal Show), so two thumbs up to Transperth. And two thumbs up to the organisers, who apart from the fairly questionable handling of the D barricade entry, did an excellent job once again.

Now, time for bed and to rest those strained dance muscles.

House of 1000 Apostrophes

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Well, that could be a…

…wait, HOW are you using that apostrophe?

Well, thank $DEITY that those outstanding journalists at Sunrise know how to write proper English and can set us all straight.

Sorry, journalist’s.

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Watch Your Head

Watch Your Head is generally excellent (and, for my money, the best new strip for some time), but today’s really killed me. Simple concept, good gag, well executed. Plus, the look on Quincy’s face in the first panel is gold.

If only the West could get some comics of Watch Your Head‘s quality in to replace a couple of the incredibly tired strips that are run (Cathy, Ginger Meggs, I’m looking at you). Not that the West appears to care much about the funnies anyway — why bother when another insipid Sudoku takeoff can be squished onto the page?

OK, Now I’m Offended

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Apparently I didn’t make the list of Perth’s top 100 A-listers. What a terrible, terrible mistake! Why, I’ve been so busy rubbing shoulders with the city’s glitterati that I hadn’t even had time to read the article until now! There’s only one thing for it; I’ll have to call my social secretary to task.

Wait. What’s a party again?

Like Bending Spoons

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Last night, I went to The Big Shave, the graduate screening night for film students at super TAFE. (OK, that’s a little harsh. The film programme seems to be quite good, actually.) The best fifteen short films produced this year by graduating1 students were shown, with a vote at the end for the best film.

Sadly, with work today, I decided to skip the after-party and announcement of who won, but it was certainly an enjoyable night. As you’d expect from a set of student films, things ran the gamut. There were a couple of pretty straight-up drama pieces, some experimental stuff, some obscure mood pieces — pretty much the array you’d be used to if you watch Shorts on Screen.

In the end, I voted for — and I’m risking bodily harm saying this — The Heretic, directed by Shane Bransby, which was a hilarious and inventive stop motion film using, of all things, Lego. I won’t give away the plot, since it features a wicked twist, but should the film ever find its way to some sort of release, even if it’s just Youtube, I’d highly recommend it.

There were a couple of other films that made me wonder what the hell is in the water supply at ECU, though. It’s not a student film night without those! (Also, there was a disturbing amount of location shooting in toilets, and I still don’t want to know where the sound effects in Flush’d came from.)

It was genuinely good fun, and it was nice to do something university-related that doesn’t increase my exam results anxiety. Two weeks to go…

1Graduating is probably a misnomer, since there were definitely productions by people who weren’t actually leaving the university or graduating with anything, so far as we could figure out. Then again, the graduating classes lists were apparently wonky as well, so perhaps SCCA’s just using a different definition to everyone else for eligibility. Not really a big deal, particularly since I’m unlikely to do enough production work to qualify for it in any case, but curious.