Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hey guess what I completly forgot about?

May was New Zealand Music Month!
I've had my nose to the grindstone so much that it almost slipped by without even a mention.  So now that I've mentioned it I've got a little story for all of you out there in Internetopia.

The story:
Once upon a time I left my country to do the big OE.  I had such plans then but eventually I found myself sitting in Delhi Airport for two days before I was permitted inside.  During that time I found my MP3 player which I had thought to be lost or stolen.
I fired it up with excitement and started listening to the songs and as the music filled my head I started playing along with air guitar, air drums, air piano and eventually an air 300 piece orchestra.  When I opened my eyes at the end of Dominion road I discovered that I was the center of attention for a small group of interested Indians.

I explained what I was listening to and for the next 3 hours we passed the headphones and rocked out to the following songs with me explaining some of the English and them smiling and nodding  and then the battery ran down and we all went our separate ways.

The best of my MP3 player:
And just for laughs here's some Billy T James.  This is the one that took the most translating.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Join me in general schemery (moustache for twirling optional)

Recently I had a meeting at work which was even more of an endurance test than usual due to very heavy traffic and a lot of construction noise. But we soldiered on because “We don't know the meaning of give up” [1]

Some nights this job is so very noisy with not a moment to yourself and everybody after you to open/lock/find mystery person X [2].
These are the nights that I find myself contemplating the solitary life of a lighthouse keeper. A position that I would jump at were it offered as long as I still had Internet access and nobody minded that the lamp of the Jolly Rock might not actually be lit every single night. because, c'mon all those stairs.
I wouldn't mind the isolation and would welcome the absence of mankind's insistence that we envelope ourselves with noise [3]

Do you have a solution? [4]

Call me crazy and I'll do the mad scientist laugh but here's my idea. Obviously we're not going to be able to stop the noise because, lets face it, half the fun of working on these big machines is making the “Brrmm Brrmm” sounds. So lets approach this from a different angle.

Currently there exists clothing that displays pumping music equalizers so that people know that you are walking AND listening to music at the same time.
If we take that idea to the next step then our version would be a shirt with a small microphone artfully hidden in the collar. While wearing this anything that was said would show up in a scrolling marquee on the clothes. This would finally allow people to understand each other in those very very noisy situations where nobody can hear a darn thing because everybody is shouting because nobody can hear a darn thing [5]


Talky Clothing [6] is only the fist step in this master plan because once it is in mass production and everyone is wearing the label then we'll introduce a range of clothing that changes colour with the mood of the person.

This is going to be the big one. Everyone in the world is waiting for the kind of Star Trek universal communication thingee where person 1 says “Bleedle bleedle bloop” and person 2 hears “Hello and welcome to McDonalds”

But if everyone is wearing Colour Cloth [7] then we'll instantly be able to know if someone is pulling the wool over our eyes because his suit changes colour to match. [8]

  1. Apparently we didn't know the meaning of perforated eardrum either
  2. Give him this message “The brown owl hoots at the significant fox”
  3. Beethoven had the right idea when he decided to go deaf. As a much wiser man than I once said “Deafness doesn't prevent you hearing the music. It prevents you from hearing the distractions”
  4. Other than everyone sitting around going “Om” I mean
  5. Unto infinity
  6. Marketing will be working on the name
  7. So far we seem to be moving in the opposite direction where person 1 says “hello and welcome to McDonalds” and person 2 hears “Bleedle bleedle bloop”
  8. Again, talk to marketing
  9. Emos will be able to see which of their number really is sad and which of them is a reporter trying to get a hip and edgy story. This will make them happy which means that they'll have to turn in their membership cards and with the world free of their self inflicted melancholy, not to mention their blatant mascara abuse, the master plan will have succeeded!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

03:05am 22/05/2011

Well the hour hath cometh and the hour hath goeth.  I am happy to report that my groove remains unharshed.

It will be interesting to see what comes next and how it is dealt with.

In closing here's a quote from Bill Hicks

"You never see a positive drug story on the news. They always have the same LSD story. You've all seen it: "Today a young man on acid … thought he could fly … jumped out of a building … what a tragedy!" What a dick. He's an idiot. If he thought he could fly, why didn't he take off from the ground first? Check it out? You don't see geese lined up to catch elevators to fly south; they fly from the fucking ground. He's an idiot. He's dead. Good! We lost a moron? Fucking celebrate. There's one less moron in the world.

Wouldn't you like to see a positive LSD story on the news? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition? Perhaps? Wouldn't that be interesting? Just for once?

"Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather."

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A book review - My first one since primary school!

Now theres been a lot of talk and worrying about the end of the world lately with people getting everything ready for the big bosses big inspection.
Personally I'm not worried and it's not because I'm Buddhist. No it's because I've got a massive student loan and if it does turn out that this is it then I'll make sure that I moon the tax department as I go past [1]

But I didn't write this post simply to poke fun at people who don't believe what I do because they are free to believe what and how they want. Although I will say that I hope they are the ones that end up with egg on their face because the alternative is seriously going to harsh my groove.

No the subject of todays post is a rather good series of books that I picked up recently. The LEFT BEHIND series. There are 16 books in the entire arc which is set in the end times when the Antichrist comes into power, the rapture takes place and everything, quite literally, goes to hell.

On the whole this is a well written series although, having said that I don't think that they are going to be looked at much now that I've finished them but that's just me.  Each of the books can easily be read in any order without the need to check the other volumes to get the back story about this or that particular characters motivations [2].
A definite point in their favor is that none of the books are simply one particular book of the bible with the names changed and everyone shifted into the 20th  Century as with other books that I've picked up and then thrown through a window that I thought was open.  Of course the Bible is a large part of it with The resistance using it to figure out what the Antichrists next move is going to be but while the messages are there the reader is not bombarded with them at every turn.  

The Villain:
The Antichrist himself, Nicholas Carpathia [3] is a truly dangerous opponent who knows exactly how to manipulate the system and the people in order to get what he wants rather than as a bumbling Dick Dastardly type who can only gnash his teeth as the goodies get away once again.
Note: This is a bad guy.  Not THE bad guy 

Through politics he rises to power on the world stage and it isn't long before everyone is singing his praises and his every command is followed.

The Heros:
Except for a small group of people that saw the light and were saved. They work hard to put the message out to the masses, who naturally refuse to see that anything is wrong, that we're living in the end times and Mr Carpathia is the Antichrist. [4]

One of the main members of the resistance is high up in the ranks of the Carpathian Cabinet having been brought in for a specific task and Mr Carpathia sees him as a loyal and trustworthy minion. He works undercover to pass intelligence along to the resistance which is a move that I approve of because it allows the reader to see the villains scheming [5] and victories [6] without resorting to the old Batman style of “Meanwhile, in his nefarious lair....”

The only real gripe I have with the series is how the resistance handled death. Some of the situations that they would get into ended with one or more of their number paying the ultimate price but almost ever time this happened the general reaction was along the lines of:
“Oh Tom's just died by the way”
“Meh, we'll see him again when Jesus returns”
“Yeah, not long now. Lookout! Here comes the plot!”

It isn't a big thing but the fact that they'd always remind each other that Tom was now in heaven and that the second coming and his triumph was assured grated a little and made me wonder why they were even bothering to fight the good fight.

  1. This demonstrates the importance of being prepared but to be fair I moon the tax department every time I go past it.
  2. Devil = Baddie. Now read on
  3. Appropriate but still a groaner
  4. Insert Count Von Count style thunderclap here
  5. Much
  6. Few

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Grandiose World Changing Theory Time - The Horseback Revolution

There was an article in the paper that caught my eye yesterday. According to this the world was fast running out of oil which was why the megamegacorperations were being forced to pass the prices onto us at the gas pump. There's been quite a large uproar about this latest increase and today saw the price suddenly go down due to bad press and presumably finding a few extra barrels behind the couch.

But that isn't the point of this post. The point of it is to highlight the fact that too many newspapers interview scientists who announce [1]

“The global supply of 'X' is going to run out in 'Y/M/D' time and everyone is going to die horribly” [2]

Just as humanity is either repenting wildly or getting in a few extra sins real quick the scientists add

“of course this isn't going to happen for another 2.6 billion years” [3]
Now I don't know about you but, if humanity is still kicking around on one single planet after 2.6 billion years then it might just be time to get out of the big boy chair and allow some other species a turn [4]

Now to return back to the opening paragraph I'd like to imagine that the world really does run out of oil tomorrow. It isn't totally unexpected due to the large amounts of scientists that are sitting around looking pretty damn smug about having predicted the whole thing ages ago [5]
Unfortunately because we've gotten into the habit of saying “Pft, Whatever” any time anyone pops up and foretells doom for everyone. This means that now that it has finally happened there is going to be riots, deaths, an escalating series of wars and at least one zombie apocalypse over the last remaining deposits until those too are empty and there is no oil left on the entire planet. The military will attempt to cache their dwindling supply but someone is going to need to destroy it for some noble purpose [6].

Global implications of a sudden and total loss of oil:

The disaperance of the oil, combined with the wars that follow will plunge the world into a massive depression. Thousands will be recruited into the massive armies only to be downsized as the wars come to an end, this will pump a massive number of out of work people into the communitys that will not have enough jobs to handle them, governmental coffers will be bled dry as they attempt to deal with the influx of people that claim the current equivilent of the unemployment benefit.

As transport is something that everybody needs the automotive industry is going to be the first to recover to any degree of its previous levels. With the new automobiles out being powered by solar the process of building or converting the existing vehicles is going to be extremely labour intensive , time consuming and very costly. Thus they will at first be available only to those rich enough to afford them until the economy is able to stand on its own again

The average person:
So where does this leave Joe Average? He's going to need some kind of transport to and from the autoplant or the unemployment office. Now most people, especially those who live in the cities will obtain bicycles. But those in the more rural areas will simply saddle their horses [7] The Horseback Revolution, as the media will call it no doubt being somewhat disapointed that they are unable to name it something-gate, will start off small with perhaps the majority of a small town going back to the horse and cart as it is more efficient and less tiring than bicycling or rollerblading or any of the other ways that people have devised to get around. Over time it will spread to the cities especially when celeberities, who have always been supporters of the latest trends, give up the solar cars that they spent all that money on and instead invest in a clydesdale built for two.

The advantages of the horse will spread throughout the world and the cars will be relegated to emergency vehicles, where getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible is going to mean the difference between life and death

Global effects of The Horseback revolution:
With the people of the world riding horses the following is bound to happen. Road deaths are going to plummet to almost nothing. Road rage will be almost totally forgotten as the world moves at a slower and more laid back pace. More and more people will disvocer that they are able to do their jobs from home, over the internet or performing their jobs there and putting the finished product onto the company cart which makes the rounds every week. There will be an increased sense of community as people see more and more of each other and are able to chat while riding their horses to whereever they are going rather than just giving a terse wave to their nieghbour as they used to when they drove the car.

Of course I can accept that this world of mine is seen through largly rose tinted glasses. Were I to take them off I might see that things might just be continuing as they have done in the past. War will continue, poverty will affect areas, Jean Claude Van Damme will still make movies [8] etc.

But since this is a visiono of a world where mankind has by and large managed to put aside their differences in order to deal with a global situation and has come out of the experience with a renewed sense of brotherhood and a shared goal of looking forward into a unified future I trust I'll be forgiven if I keep the glasses on for just a little longer.[9]

We're running out of notes” [10]
  1. in the kind of voice that would do Charlton Hestons Moses proud.
  2. Especially you.
  3. Gotcha!
  4. Lets see some hyperevolved lions. On the one hand it means buzz cuts for all the women but thumbs up for the eradication of baldness for men (There's no downside!)
  5. We'll make certain that they will be the first up against the wall come the revolution.  Lets see them predict their way out of that one.
  6. Probably to make sure that those gosh darn zombies stay gosh darn dead this time
  7. Or do as one Otago farmer has been doing for years and ride your prize highland cattle.
  8. After all this time he's going to be some kind of zombie that's been turned to the path of virtue. Then he'll lose his brother and everything will go to hell yet again.
  9. Please, feel free to poke holes in my theory even though in doing so you help to bring down my uptopian vision of they eventual fate of humanity. No really, go ahead
  10. But not for 2.6 billion years

Monday, 9 May 2011

Reworking Star Wars (with some cute animals in case you don't like Star Wars)

This is going to be a long post.  Mainly due to the heavy nature of the subject but also because it was a slow night at work.

George Lucas has declared to the world that he is going to be rereleasing [1] all 6 Star Wars films in order and this time in 3D. This is more or less an open invitation for the Internet to let loose with both barrels about how this will ruin/improve the movies in the charming way that that they tend to do whenever anyone makes an announcement like this.

 He's left himself a loophole by saying that each film will be released a year apart starting with Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and this is a flop then the project will be canceled and never spoken of again.
This means that everyone can breath a sigh of relief because Phantom Menace is never going to be counted amongst the greats of cinema

My own theory is that he has spent so much time at the top of the world and nobody is willing to tell him “No”
Back when he was a young and hungry film maker people said “No” all the time.
 “No you can't film like this” “No these films will never work” “No you can't have another slice of chocolate cake”

 Determined to prove them wrong he pioneered new camera techniques and in making Star Wars he pushed all sorts of envelopes in all sorts of directions.  Now in all fairness he still pushes the boundries of what can be done but now that he depends so much on the computer departments skills it has cost him in the humanity that actors project into their characters.  Don't get me wrong, they still do the job well but nobody in the prequels really gives off an air of confidence in their role, the believability just isn't there.

Personally I think that when he decided to finally release the prequels he should have have invested some time on his old 16mm cameras, perhaps even going so far as releasing a black and white film and labeling it as “Art house”
This would have reminded him of the old days when it was just him and a small crew that nobody thought was ever going to get anywhere. Thus, armed at at last with the proper mindset, he would have been able to tackle the prequels. [2]

So without further ado I present my suggestions for improving the plot of Star Wars, which you could compare to rewriting Shakespeare but only if you were prepared to withstand the thespianic onslaught of Crazed Caliban, Outraged Oberon and Mad Macbeths “Curse this” Paratroop brigade

Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

  •  Basic Story:
    2 Jedi, Qui Gon Jin and Obi Wan Kenobi are sent to Naboo to negotiate a blockade that the Trade Federation have put in place. They are ambushed and make their way down to the planet just in time to catch the invasion.
     Escaping with the Queen they crash land on Tatooine where they meet Anakin Skywalker, a slave.
    With the help of some fancy flying Anakin is freed and taken with the them to become a Jedi. The blockade of the trade federation is broken and its leaders captured. 

  • What needs to change:
    Anakin Skywalker - For a slave he was just a little too happy. [3] Considering what is going to happen to him he needs to be kicked around by life a little.

    Darth Maul - Instead of being killed off at the end of the movie he should have been rescued by Palpatines minions [4] and slowly rebuilt into General Grievous.

    Padme Amidala - She was incredibly wooden. Perhaps she was attempting to display royal austerity but a little bit more emotion on her part would have gone a long way.

    Jar Jar Binks - An enormous amount of potential lies in this character [5] but the main problem was that he was supposed to be the annoying cute thing. [6]Then they tried to make him the comedy sidekick but that failed at all levels except for the most basic. [7] What he really needs is a slightly tamer role of sidekick and also the displaying of an ability that he is able to do with confidence.  
Episode 2: Attack of the Clones

  • Basic Story
    Obi Wan Kenobi and his padawan Anakin Skywalker are detailed to protect Padme Amidala who has been targeted for assassination. In his investigations Kenobi discovers a clone army being built for the republic. He informs the Jedi Council and finds that Count Dooku, a former Jedi turned Sith, is the leader of the growing separatist movement and his captor.

    Anakin and Amidala rush to rescue him but are captured themselves. Just as it seems all hope is lost the clone army suddenly appears. Dooku fights everyone with a lightsaber and then runs away. 

  • What needs to change:
    The Growing Arrogance of the Jedi - Mace Windu, Kenobi and Yoda have a slight discussion about it and in the bar scene Anakin displays a small touch of it but aside from that there really is no feeling that the Jedi are growing more arrogant.

    Padme Amidala - Still teams up with Anakin to investigate the fate of Kenobi but ends up falling for Kenobi rather than Anakin.

    Count Dooku - He is still the main bad guy and the apprentice of Palpatine. But he is planning to take Palpatines place and has an apprentice of his own, the twisted wreckage of the thing that was once Darth Maul, which is now a cyborged mockery of what it used to be.

    Shimi Skywalker - Still taken by Sand people but not kept alive for no apparent reason this time [8] Anakin still slaughters them and turns to Padme Amidala for comfort which she gives but as a close friend. It is only in Anakins mind that the gesture is meant as something more.

    Darth Maul - At the very end of the movie, even after the credits, we see the systems finally come online and the cyborg steps out of the construction bay with much snapping of wires. A fury filled cry fills the air and the camera rises, playing with the light so that it teases the audience and offers only the slightest clue as to who or what this thing could be. [9] 
Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

  • Basic Story
    The war rages on between the Separatists and the Republic. Palpatine emerges as the emperor and rides a wave of public support against the Jedi who are ruthlessly exterminated [10].
     Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side and kills everyone but is defeated by Kenobi. Luke and Leia are born. 

  • What needs to change:
    Padme Amidala - She has married Obi Wan Kenobi in secret and is now pregnant.

    Anakin Skywalker - Eaten alive by jealousy at Kenobi and Amidala, he goes before the Jedi council demanding to be recognized as a full fledged Jedi Knight. He is rebuked because it is Kenobis place to put him forward.
    He then goes to Kenobi and threatens to reveal his secret marriage to the council but Kenobi refuses because he, rightly, feels that Anakin is not emotionally ready for the trials.

    Finally Anakin goes to Palpatine, who has always been a father figure to him, he reveals that the Jedi Council have refused to recognize him as a Jedi Knight and also that Padme Amidala and Kenobi are together. Palpatine easily convinces him that Padme would want to be with him if Kenobi were not around.

    Darth Maul - Operating under the name, General Grievous. He is a tactical mastermind against the Jedi. When Kenobi tracks him down it is revealed that he no longer has access to the force and instead has a range of droid abilities allowing him to replicate this. However it is not enough and Maul is forced to retreat or be destroyed.

    Obi Wan Kenobi - After coming face to face with General Grievous who is revealed to be the cyborged Darth Maul Kenobi receives word that Amidala has been abducted. Analysis of the evidence reveals that it was Anakin Skywalker who took her.
    With the assistance of Yoda who knew about the marriage the whole time but didn't say anything he tracks Anakin down and they begin the final duel.  At the end of the fight Kenobi has to make a decision on who to save, Anakin or Padme. He chooses to save Padme and leaves Anakin for dead on the surface of the planet, but he is too late to save her life as she delivers the babies. The children are split up to prevent for their safety. [11] 

    Yoda - After assisting Kenobi on his way he makes his way to the senate buildings to confront Palpatine about his handling of Anakin. Palpatine attempts to bluff his way out of it at first but it ends up with a climatic duel between Jedi and Sith.  Eventually Yoda is badly wounded and escapes. Palpatine uses doctored footage of the fight and pure propaganda to turn the tide of public opinion against the Jedi. The clone armies are ordered in. [12]

    Count Dooku - With his usefulness s at an end he is discarded by Palpatine. He moves into hiding quickly to avoid being captured or killed. The attacks on the Separatist movement increase and he realizes that he has been played for a fool this whole time. He swears vengeance on Palpatine. 
 Episode 3.5: Final Stand of the Jedi [13]

  • Basic Plot:
    There is an epic three sided war being fought across the galaxy. On one side is the Republic, led by Senator Palpatine. Although it is not yet the Empire it is starting to show signs of what it will one day become.
    The second side is the Separatist Movement, led by Count Dooku, he has abandoned Palpatine but not the Sith teachings.
    Finally there are the Jedi who are led by Master Yoda, they are the smallest side and, for the most part, are fighting simply to stay alive. 

  • Character Motivations:
    Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader - Has discovered that Padme is dead and blames Kenobi for it. He hunts Kenobi with a passion in an effort to find the children that, in his madness, he believes are his. It is on this hunt that he makes the necessary bounty hunting connections that will serve him well in later years. [14]

    Obi Wan Kenobi - Is hunting General Grievous/Darth Maul because he has proved to be an outstanding general that has managed to decimate the Jedi forces. Although he doesn't want to admit it he also seeks revenge for the death of Qui Gon Jin, something he has never really gotten over.

    Yoda - Is number one on the hit parade and on the run from almost everyone. He fights off bounty hunters and clone troopers alike until he comes to Dagobah. The planet is extremely wild and very dangerous and after his own vision quest at the dark side tree [15] he stays there quite safe and quite alone.

    Count Dooku - Divides his time between leading The Separatists and searching for ways to destroy his former master and his new apprentice.

    Jar Jar Binks [16] - At the start he is living happily in the Republic. He has money and power. But when he discovers something big [17] his eyes are opened to the reality of what he has helped to bring about and he escapes.
     He finds few friends amongst the Jedi Order as they see him little more than the architect of their misfortunes [18] It is conceivable that he be given a cameo appearance in “A New Hope” [19] as an officer of the rebel alliance. But if this happens we can expect that he would have been kicked around a lot during the war and he would now be confident in handling his weaponry. His character to be very much changed from the years spent fighting the war. [20]  
  • Specific Plot Points
    The death of General Grevious/Darth Maul - In a deserted separatist base Kenobi and Vader reluctantly work together and Darth Maul is finally defeated once and for all. But Kenobi is badly wounded in the fight and Darth Vader takes the opportunity to torture the information about the location of the children out of him. Kenobi is strong enough to give him false information but the effort of doing so saps his strength and will almost utterly.

    Darth Vader leaves him clinging to the last few breaths of his life in a moment of irony that is too good to pass up and just as it seems that things are at their darkest the ghost of Qui Gon Jin appears to take care of his apprentice.

    Kenobis fate - Disillusioned with the war Kenobi leaves the tattered remains of the Jedi Order. He feels that all that has happened is his fault and has had enough of the war. In secret he moves to Tatooine in order to keep an eye on the young Luke Skywalker. [21]

    The attack on Palpatine - Using his contacts inside the fledgling imperial center Count Dooku infiltrates the palace and fights with his former master. Although he loses it is a noble death and he is the one that scars Palpatine so very badly. 
  1. And in some cases Re re releasing.
  2. He could also have hired the biggest Star Wars Geek he could find and use him as a sounding board for his ideas. 
  3. “Yippee!” 
  4. We've gone over the minion thing before. You try and take over the universe without minions and see how far you get.
  5. I know that to say anything other than “he should have been killed off quickly” is grounds for being thrown out of an airlock while in hyperspace but bear with me on this. 
  6. But they overlooked the fact that Anakin Skywalker already had this part down pat 
  7. Prat falls and not much else 
  8. All we've ever heard about Sand People is that they are so very dangerous and yet here they are conveniently keeping her alive. Damn you Lucas!
  9. This reveals that the technology necessary to do this sort of thing exists. The Robotized Darth Maul is essentially the prototype Vader.
  10. And, I would imagine, in need of a doctor. But who?
  11. "Lets name him after the dark lord of the sith"  "Yes lets!"
  12. Something that needs to be shown is the Jedi orders increasingly futile attempts to keep a lid on this situation that is rapidly spiraling out of control.
  13. Yeah it's a new movie. There's now so much stuff unresolved that you get an extra movie out of it. If Joss Wheedon were taking notes then perhaps we'd all be watching Serenity 2: River Tam beats up beats up even more Space Cannibals.
  14. Possibly he could come into conflict with Palpatine over the time he is spending on this hunt. This would contrast nicely with Count Dooku allowing General Grievous/Darth Maul more or less free rein 
  15. And who wouldn't want a look at a Dark Yoda?
  16. Yes he's still alive. Don't look at me like that 
  17. He'll be investigating some discrepancies in the finances and come across the Death Star expense account. 
  18. He was manipulated, fairly easily, by Palpatine into proposing that the chancellor be given power overwhelming. 
  19. Even if this means we'll have yet another release of all the films.
  20. He can still die horribly if you want. All it means is that this time it would be for a purpose not just because he was some annoying toad thing.
  21. Seriously? Did Vader even bother looking in the Galactic Phonebook?

    Friday, 6 May 2011

    Trains and Libraries - Not quite as exciting as Dungeons and Dragons but I'm working on a budget here

    Why is it that whenever I go to the library I seem to spend half my time reading comics?
    It's because they trick you by labeling them as Graphic Novels which I'll admit sounds all hip and cool but you're 5 books in when you think
    "Hang on ! I've read this before. When I was 10"
    Another 5 books in and you're taking entire shelves of comics into the dark corners of the library and drooling over the art, the flow of the writing and the fact that Wolverine has the mutant ability to join every superhero time on the planet.

     That being said.  Usagi Yojimbo and Groo remain forever cool.

    Trains are nice, Steam trains are the best but even the electric ones possess a quiet charm.
    It's always nice when you have a whole car to yourself but this is a very rare luxury, for in these hectic days we are squeezed in to rub shoulders with noble and base alike. [1]

    Most people bring along something to serve as a distraction. Some of us read [2]
    others text or appear to be busy on mobile phones while some of us use their earphones and escape into a world of our own.
    and thats all fine.

    As I write this a fellow passenger who didn't bring any kind of distraction with him is eyeing this notebook with what can only be called an undisguised longing. But the joke is on him for if he managed to get hold of my notebook there is no way he'd actually be able to decipher the strange hieroglyphs and scribbles that make up my handwriting. [3]
    The point to all this is that train journeys used to be a kind of event with passengers trading witty banter and pithy remarks whilst adjusting top hats, monocles and making certain that their mustaches were properly waxed [4]
    But in these modern days train journeys have become as dull as doing a particularly boring laundry

    "Do you have a solution or are you just moaning?"
    Here's my proposal. Train journeys have become tedious because nothing ever happens on them. So lets get a small troupe of young and hungry actors together, put them in fancy turn of the century clothes and have them ride around on the trains all day.
    It would be a talking point almost instantly because of the costumes but that is only part of the plan. When two or more of the actors get together they will talk about how their day went with much improvised dialogue and humor will prevail.
    This will have the double bonus of teaching the actors to properly think on their feet and also entertaining the passengers who will talk about this with their friends
    Their friends will ride the trains in the hope of seeing the actors but, and here is the extremely cunning part, the actors don't take the same trains every day In this way the modern day railroad barons can guarantee themselves a steady supply of passengers and we'll have made riding trains something to look forward to again.

    Da Notes:
    1. It depends on when you leave but if you catch the last train of the evening then you generally manage it)
    2. If the car is full don't attempt to look important by reading the newspaper. It is the path to sadness and a broken nose if you keep on invading other peoples space [5]
    3. And if he did it would probably drive him mad. So take that unprepared notebook envier
    4. Quite frankly the men weren't much better
    5. Off the topic here once a teacher attempted to teach the class about personal space, for reasons that were never made clear although I think that there had been a confrontation or something similar between a few students. She instructed us to rearrange ourselves in a way that would allow us our bubble of personal space remain unbroken. Dad was very surprised when I arrived home so early and quickly sent me back to school.

    Tuesday, 3 May 2011

    A tale of happiness and some poetry (Don't worry it's not mine)

    Ive just finished a particularly annoying shift, where almost every time I sat down someone would be calling for something incredibly urgent, which usually wasn't.  Then someone angling for a longer break pulled the fire switch and this meant that the whole place had to be evacuated until the fire department had arrived and reset the alarm panel.


    It is now officially my day off and here is an account of my day so far:
    • On the way home the radio, feeding off my USB stick, was pumping my absolute favourite songs which meant that on the insanely crowded road my vehicle was karaoke central [1] I'd like to think that everyone else on the road was stuck on talkback radio or listening to the traffic report.
    • When I got back home I had my first coffee in a long time [2]
    • I've just sat down to watch an episode of The Muppets on Youtube [3] and discovered the "Working at the Carwash Blues" by Jim Croce [4] which I am now listening to for the twentieth time in a row because I already knew he was great but this song is just so cool.

    It looks as though the rain is going to clear up which means that laundry will be able to be done and as soon as it's on the line I'm heading into the city to spend the day in the library because with the noise of the modern world it's incredibly relaxing to settle down at a table and attempt to read every book they have in a single day.

    For the first time in a long time I'm happy with Children of the Revolution and am doing some much needed fleshing out of each chapter a bit more.  Of course this will end up with me rewriting vast sections but that's pretty much par for the course! [5] 

    So yeah, life is awesome and I love everyone! [6]

    And for no reason at all last night my brain was kept on coming back to this poem. I have no earthly idea why but here it is for your pleasure.

    Written in 1861 and still going strong.  Er, that is to say, Cunning Plan! 

    by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson

    ‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
    He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
    He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
    He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
    And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
    The grinning shop assistant said, “Excuse me, can you ride?”

    “See here, young man,” said Mulga Bill, “from Walgett to the sea,
    From Conroy’s Gap to Castlereagh, there’s none can ride like me.
    I’m good all round at everything as everybody knows,
    Although I’m not the one to talk – I hate a man that blows.
    But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
    Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
    There’s nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
    There’s nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
    But what I’ll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
    I’ll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight.”

    ‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
    That perched above Dead Man’s Creek, beside the mountain road.
    He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
    But ‘ere he’d gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
    It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver steak,
    It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man’s Creek.

    It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
    The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
    The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
    As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
    It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
    It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
    And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
    It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man’s Creek.

    ‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
    He said, “I’ve had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
    I’ve rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
    But this was the most awful ride that I’ve encountered yet.
    I’ll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it’s shaken all my nerve
    To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
    It’s safe at rest in Dead Man’s Creek, we’ll leave it lying still;
    A horse’s back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill.”

    The Notes:
    1. At the present time it's packed full of The Pogues, Flogging Molly and Fraggle Rock and if you must know:
      Fairytale of New York. Devils Dance Floor and Every Dog Has His Day.  Let me be your song and Listen to Convincing John.
    2. Cappachino with a shot of vanilla and I'm strictly rationing them because otherwise I'd have no money left
    3. Series 5 Episode 7 - Glenda Jackson
    4. As sung by Gonzo the Great and his amazing backup chickens
    5. Horrible the dog, in addition to being an ex fighting dog that Evelyn rescued, now has a pegleg and I can't for the life of me remember why.
    6. Especially you

    Monday, 2 May 2011

    Only a few days late but here it is

    So now the wage of sin is paid / The blameless dead, the black steed grazes /
    The only sound across the glade / Is Edmund pushing up the daisies

    Black Adder, Black Adder, a shame about the plan /
    Black Adder, Black Adder, tha' worked, you horrid man.

    Sometimes its a choice between work and sleep or work and stay surfing the net [1] But the final posting is here and thus I present for your approval.

    Z is for Zombie Contingency.

    Way down here in Aotearoa we have little fear of a zombie invasion [2] If documentation and cinematic footage is to be believed then the initial outbreak will happen in Smalltown USA or New York, if it is caused by shadowy government department and/or unethical megacorperation and London or Haiti if it is caused by more arcane means.

    But somehow, the undead manage to get into the country, presumably disguised as tourists [3] and gain a decaying and rather disgusting foothold.
     Understandably it is chaos all over with everyone working at cross purposes, the emergency band, in a continuous broadcast, gives us valuable information and some nice, if eventually dated, music [4]
    1.  Know your enemy

      while the undead hordes may seem to be easily dispatched and have a turn of speed rivaling a mildly athletic  turtle they do seem to be capable of deceptively advanced tactics and while a person is holed up in their bolt hole concentrating on mowing down the ones in front of them there will be others that will be seeking entrance in any way that they can.

      The zombies do not care for throwing away dozens of their ranks to get to you so do not make the mistake of being forced into a room with no other way out. 

    2. Avoid large groups
      Although there is strength in numbers when dealing with the undead remember that any group larger than 10 is going to be traveling slow, making noise and putting out a stronger scent than a smaller group or someone who is traveling by themselves [5].  The sound of the group fighting off the initial attack will attract more and more zombies until they are mobbed.

      in those few moments of calm the group will be fighting amongst themselves about where to go and what to do.
    3. Areas of safety.
      High Ground:
       Pros - wide open spaces mean that the zombies have zero chance of being able to sneak up on you and your specially trained hunting kiwis.

      Cons - You may encounter, or even be responsible for, Zombies that manage to adapt thier hunting to the terrain.  While the vast majority will be the traditional shambling hordes of "Braaiinnss" statistically speaking there will be a small number that learn that tactic isn't working and they will realize that if they want to have "Braainss" then they will need to use "Sssteeaalth"

      On the Water
       Pros - Safety and enhanced movement.
      Cons - Fresh supplies, especially drinking water [6]. The seaworthyness of the vessel dictates how far you can travel.  At risk of other survivors attempting to shanghai you.

      Somewhere cold
       Pros - It is a generally accepted theory that Zombies will not do well in colder regions and if there is one thng that Aotearoa is famous for it's cold spots
      Cons - At the date of writing this is only a theory and has not being tested with an actual zombie subject.
      The necessary temperatures would mean that this is only ever going to be a short term solution. Also it might only work with the Zombie (virus) rather than Zombie (magic). [7] 
    4. Conclusion
      If you do manage to find an area where you are safe then be wary about revealing the location or even it's existence.
      Make it a rule that, If others do manage to stumble onto it then, before you allow them inside, they are required to strip totally so that you can check for any zombie bites that they may have been hiding. Refusal to follow this instruction should instantly throw up a red flag.
      Once they are inside be friendly and polite [8] but stay on guard for 24 to 72 hours in order to make certain that they haven't been followed.

      If you must join up with a group of people try to choose one whos objectives match your own.  Be honest and upfront about your goals and ambitions and always be prepared to leave if the group dynamic turns into the group stagnant [9]  the others remaining in the group may be angry or disapointed at your leaving but will ultimatly respect you for your honesty.

      Particularly astute readers [10] will note that the strategy outlined here is general rather than specific and there are two reasons for this.  The first is that this is a case of being prepared for anything and you never know just where you will be when the shambling hordes appear.  The second is that, were I to speak of specifics I would be taking the risk that somewhere out there in our Zombie ravaged world there is a fiend who is A) able to read B) and comprehend and C) be on the Internet [11]
      Now if he can do all of this there is the chance that he might make his way to my country, ignoring the many and varied tourist attractions and stunning natural scenery solely to seek out my place of concealment on the basis that this is one brain that he wouldn't need to hunt.

      You may argue that the chances of this happening is miniscule at best but if there does happen to be some one out there that is that detirmined to eat my brains then I'll gladly stay one step ahead.
    which only leads to diverse alarums and much wailing and gnashing of teeth
    1. Maybe we should,  It does seem to be the out of the way places where things like this start.
    2. Here to visit the plaaiinns
    3. But since it's Spilt Enz and Crowded House nobodies complaining except the zombies and they don't count
    4. Although that carries risks as well
    5. Unless you happen to be on Lake Taupo and then you're pretty much set for life.
    6. Because magic has a strange way of turning the natural laws of the universe on its head and then laughing at them. 
    7. Especially if they are tourists because we want them to have a good impression of the people here 
    8. and especially if it becomes the group shambling horde of the undead 
    9. especially you 
    10. We're already got trolls, Noobs and Lurkers.  Zombies should fit right in.

    Sunday, 1 May 2011

    Y is for why is work ringing now? they know I'm oficially asleep

    Such activities are totally beyond my mother. My father only got anywhere with her because he told her it was a cure for diarrhea.

    Y is for You blew it!

    Cosmic : the finale
    I report that his washing machine gin has failed, not because he came to his senses but rather because el landlord arrived to hammer in some shelving and one of the other tenants asked him if we were going to get a new washer to replace the broken one.

    After a few cunning questions the missing washer was found underneath its camouflage of wood and since Cosmic wasn't there to explain the whole mess was dumped onto the grass before the tub was loaded into the trailer with the promise of a new machine in a couple of days.

    He finished the shelving and was just leaving when Cosmic arrived and had to face a big interrogation to find out exactly what was going on.  The first that I knew of all of this was when the landlord rang me and told me everything that had happened and also that Cosmic had tried hard to pin the blame on me.
    "Uh no. I said we should make some bathtub gin" I told him "as a joke. If I'd helped him we would have done it properly
    "But you're Buddhist are you allowed alcohol?"
    "I might want to serve some to guests and I'd have to test it out to make certain it was good enough"

    So Cosmic has gotten a big boot up the bum from the landlord and has been told that if he wants alcohol he has to walk down to the bottle store and get some from there but now he's claiming that he doesn't drink at all and it was (A) an experiment and (B) something for everyone in the house. He hasn't tried talking to me so far but that's more a case of our paths not crossing rather than him actively avoiding me.