Monday, January 31, 2005

Curse you, Murphy!

For the longest time, every time I logged on to Kings Of Chaos I would see that someone had taken hundreds of thousands of gold from me about twenty minutes before hand, so if I had just logged straight on when I got home/got up I would've been okay.

Today I brought my laptop to work so I could fiddle around on the net during my break. Said break was about an hour delayed today, and when I logged on what did I find? That someone had stolen 795 382 gold 41 minutes before I logged on.


Oh, and want to hear another thing I want to hit Mr Murphy for? How about a group of 17 people that turned up - without booking - at 715 this morning. True, they actually weren't that painful to deal with, but still... Grrrr...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I'm vain.

So I added a counter to see how many people have read my blog. I got it from here, and it seems to work.

Formula 51

Have you ever watched a movie that knew exactly what it wanted to be and wallowed in it? Welcome To The Jungle? Dog Soldiers? Well add Formula 51, or The 51st State as it was known pretty much anywhere but Australia, to the list. It is the story of Elmo McElroy (Samuel L. Jackson). He's a pharmacist who made a mistake in 1971, and now works for a drugs Kingpin. He's come up with this formula for a superdrug and wants to sell it for a whole bunch of money. In order to do that, he blows up the people who he was working for (except The Lizard [Meat Loaf]) and scooting off to England. Enter Felix DeSouza (Robert Carlyle), a Liverpuddlian gangster who is brokering the deal so that he can get tickets to a Man U vs. Liverpool football match.

And then the shit hits the fan.

Lots of people die, mostly at the hand of the very yummy Dakota Phillips (Emily Mortimer) who, as well as being The Lizard's hitwoman, is also Felix's ex. There's a nutbar skinhead who gets to be everyone's bitch and a nasty, crooked cop (Sean Pertwee) who's in it for himself and is very mean to his partner.

The swearing, violence and blood are in fair supply here, as are the snazzy lines and tricky camera work one would expect from this sort of comedy gangster film. It's true that there really may not be anything new on offer, but what there is on offer makes use of the things we've seen before in a slick and well-realised way. We were literally clapping on more than one occasion and when Samuel L. gets his umbrella, you're going to be cringing. But in a good way.

4 very happy stars out of 5.

Carmen's Book Reading

"Nights Of Rain and Stars" by Maeve Binchy gets 5 cows out of 5 and takes Carmen's total up to 6.

Busy weekend.

So I'll divide it into of sections.

I. The Wedding

Which was in Bowral and a whole bunch of fun. The marriage-y bit only went for about 30 minutes and was - like the Bride's dress - a triumph of simplicity and substance over flashy design and redundant additions. The sun made sitting outside waiting for the wedding to start a little uncomfortable, but the brevity of the ceremony meant that we could manage. As for the reception, the food was good. Although the catering was a little light for the chicken legs, there was a shitload of this pasta salad with pinenuts and bacon and stuff, and the dessert included profiterole, so I was happy. The music was fun, and Carmen and I did both jointly and individually cut a rug. We even managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour, allowing us plenty of tme in the morning to get breakfast at a café in Bowral and leading us smoothly into...

II. Bowral

Which is an awesome wee town. The main drag has about a thousand restaraunts of various kinds (including African, fer cryin' out loud) and many groovy stuff shops. There's also a very good café called Palate Pleasures where we had an excellent and inexpensive breakfast and some really top notch coffee. We then wandered around the stuff shops, found the coolest lolly shop in the history of existence and I bought a book.

The motel/lodge thingy we stayed at was very nice. The room was cheap-ish ($98), but exceedingly comfy with it's own kitchenette thingy (well, a sink, a fridge and a microwave) and some really efficient air conditioning. It was also right next door to a golf course and country club where, upon our arrival on saturday, we had a drink and a great steak sandwhich. We also watched some golfers with varying levels of skill, and saw more than a couple of balls disappear into the dam. I think we're definitely going to have to go back there for a weekend or two.

III. The Drive

Although hot, it actually wasn't too bad. No one tried to kill me, and despite missing a turn off on the Hume Highway, we managed to get home in one piece.

IV. The Sad News

Today marked the passing of Agamemnon the goldfish. He will be missed by his hetero-lifemate Squishy and his Little Brothers(TM) Jake and Elwood.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I'm ready for my close up, Mr Prosser.

Just got home from featuring in my first short film! I played Dr Johnathon Bannister and I was shot in the stomach, hit with a baseball bat and tortured. It was a whole buncha fun! And fake blood is really, really sticky. Especially when they make it out of glucose syrup and coffee. But at least it didn't taste horrible when I had to put it all over my mouth. When I work out how to get digital photos out of my phone, I'll put some up so y'all can see me with my heinous wounds.

Too soon.

Spoke too soon. Yesterday I worked from 9am to 5:15pm. Between 2:45pm and close it was just Matt and myself working (him on machine, me on floor). We were hoping to finish up around 4:30. We did more coffee (probably around 1 and a half times) between 3pm and 4:30 when we switched of the machine. The people just kept coming! It was horrible!!

And then I got to Carmen's and I had beer and sat around just chatting with the gang and it was all better. Well, mostly better. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Still bored...

Still over it...


So it's Australia Day and I'm working and well, I'm over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it over it. Want beer and spa now. And BBQed meat. And just not frickin' workin'. *sigh*

Book 5

"California Fire And Life" by Don Winslow

Okay, so the first thing I have to say is that four years ago on a trip to Bateman's Bay I bought "The Death And Life Of Bobby Z" and then spent the interveneing years in an on again, off again search for something else by Don Winslow. And I found it!

Basic story? Former sheriff's department arson investigator is now a claims adjuster/investigator for a big insurance company (California Fire and Life, as it happens) and has to investigate a suspicious fire. And boy is it suspicious. And boy did the guy do it. But why? Well, ye'll have to read it, won't ye?

The writing style sizzles. Elmore Leonard on a good day would write like this. It's sparse, practically rushed, but smooth and polished to a shine that almost hurts the eyes. Did I enjoy this book? Fuck yeah! Violence, sex (a litte, anyway), the Russian and Vietnamese mafia, crooked cops and judges and a whole bunch of shit hitting various fans. This was an excellent book, well plotted and really, really well written.

Any issues with the book? I thought the ending may have been a bit of a fizzle, and that the main character deserved better, but any more would really spoil it.

4.5 out of 5

I REALLY liked this book.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Um... 'K...

What were they on? Seriously.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


And so it came to pass that the family of Bowens, with Carmen - the unofficial intended of Euan the Youngest Son - did journey in a rented Camry to the Great Sydney Airport so that the parental Bowens could begin their journey to the Land Of Eng.

And they did stop in a restaurant in Berrima wherein they dined hugely and well on a variety of foods and drinks, including an amazing spatchcock and a local ros(funny thing above it)e which, were it harnessed for the power of Sangria, might provide a means for controlling the Known Universe. After lunch, did they journey to Berkelouws', where before them had journeyed the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev, and wherein they did find many books - both old and merely used - that stimulated their minds and prompted them to relieve themselves of some filthy lucre. Following a modest search of the grounds for Carmen, and some mild sedative to rest her from the $450 folio edition of Milton's "Paradise Lost", the journey did continue.

Not without peril was their journey form hereon in, for they were met at all sides by Crazy Italian Women In Petrol Stations who appeared to Know Not that standing in front of a vacant pump while Going Through Their Garbage would vex and annoy those who wished the to use the pump. And set upon were they by Jacked Up 4x4s Driven By Morons who drove at speeds comparable to a snail until such time as one attempted to pass them, at which point they did deliberately and repeatedly speed up so as to make overtaking impossible.

But it came to pass that the Bowens - and Carmen - did laugh at these detractors and defeat them. Came they to the Port of Air in Sydney and deposited they their parents at the check-in counter, wherein many farewells were uttered and the young ones did return to their Camry and therein to Canberra.

All in all, not a bad day really. The drive didn't suck too much (4x4 dickheads notwithstanding), and lunch really was frickin' amazing. Perfect portion sizes and not bad coffee either. We didn't quite have to sedate Carmen to get her out of Berkelouws', but it was a close thing and as we left she seemed to muttering a mantra of "daytrip, daytrip, daytrip". Cal and I split the drive back and now it is time for me to go sleepies.

'Night, all...

Book 4

"Demon Lord Of Karanda" by David Eddings

More Mallorean shenanigans, and more of the same for feedback. Eddings needs to accept that we know there is a focussing of wills when people are using their power, or at the very least find another way of saying it that isn't 'Garion felt the focussing of her will'. Seriously, give us some variety in description, dude. And I don't care what he may or may not say in the introduction to the Rivan Codex, Ce'Nedra still comes across as a character of narrative convenience.

3 out of 5, with an extra half for Sadi

Friday, January 21, 2005

Special Guest Post

As dictated by Carmen, here are her four books read with ratings of cows out of five.

#1 - "War Of The Twins" by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman.

3 cows out of 5

#2 - "Test Of The Twins" also by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

4 cows out of 5

#3 - "Silverthorn" by Raymond E. Feist.

4 cows out of 5

#4 - "A Darkness At Sethanon" by Raymond E. Feist (again).

4 cows out of 5

Book 3

"King Of The Murgos" by David Eddings

And the adventure continues. In this instalment we meet up with Urgit the eponymous, half-barking King of the Murgos. The banter comes thick and fast again, and the interplay between Velvet and Sadi over the snake is very funny. There's more plotting and politics than you can shake a stick at and occasionally I felt like I needed a diagram to work out who was stabbing whom in the back and who was working with whom.

Of course, Eddings does continue to repeat himself on occasion when it comes to a few basic descriptions - it's not penons snapping anymore, and he's gotten over the Algar leather (possibly cause there ain't too many Algars in this one) - but a few phrases do keep cropping up. And he makes a mistake over the colour of a drug between this book and the next, but mayhap that's too nerdy to pick on.

All in all, my books continue to entertain and Gaiman is still winning overall.

Oh, and Carmen is now on 4 books read this year. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Wee have a wireless hotspot at Gaudi now, so I'm sitting here waiting for a staff meeting to start and posting to my blog. Yay, us. Of course, now my lunch breaks are going to go so quickly. I'll have to set myself a 'no logging on until you've eaten' rule, or I won't get a chance to eat.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Book 2

"Guardians Of The West" by David Eddings

After I finished the Belgariad, Carmen threw the first couple of books of the Mallorean at me. As someone who used to scoff at fantasy novels with subtitles like "book one of the twelve-book Saga of Bandasnootch", I really enjoyed the Belgariad, and so after reading a couple of non-fantasy books, I rolled up my sleeves and dove back into it. So, after Garion became King of the West, there was a few years of normality but then the Bear Cult started causing trouble and someone kidnapped his son. Oh, and the world is in danger.


The characters are fun, as in the first series, with the requisite amount of banter. The landscape is artfully described, and Eddings is very good at writing combat. There's some excellent battles and magic and stuff, but he does occasionally repeat himself. The plot seems a relatively standard quest, with a few twists lurking around the corner. Some of the motivation seems a little murky, and you do find yourself yelling at them if they take too long to work things out, but I get that in lots of books and films and TV shows and even sometimes in real life, so maybe people are just too slow in general.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Another quiz...

Another wee test thingy, this one found on Ratti's blog (although linked through Tim's).

It turns out I scored Buddhist (with about 75%), just above Christian (70%) and Catholic (65%).

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A challenge

A simple one. Read 50 books in 1 year. I heard about this just before Christmas and it sounded like fun. I figure I can manage that, so here I go.

At the risk of starting up an endless debate, I'm not going to count graphic novels in my total, if for no other reason as I see that as a bit cheat-y, given I can power through one of those in an hour or two. I also won't count the two books I have finished this year, because strictly speaking I did start them in 2004. I suppose I could count the year between christmases, but I think that'd just be wishy-washy. However, I have started and finished my first book entirely in 2005, and here it is (fanfare, please...);

50 Book Challenge Book #1;
"Smoke and Mirrors" by Neil Gaiman

As a collection of short stories, "Smoke and Mirrors" is a cut above the others I have read not just because of the variety of styles and even genres that Gaiman plays with, but because Gaiman runs through something of the background for each of the pieces (including the erotic "Tastings", which he had to stop writing every paragraph or so to cope with his emabarassment). But, even without the backgrounds, this would be an impressive collection.

One of the best things about it is - as always when I read Gaiman - he inspires me to write myself. Even though the ideas that spark and fizz in my brain aren't directly related to the story I've just read, I always get them popping up when I read Gaiman. The stories are awesome, with "Snow, Glass and Apples" being my favourite, I think, although the stories about Lawrence Talbot - of which there are two - were also freakin' cool. Go out and get this one, people, it's a keeper.

One exhibit to rule them all...

Carmen and I went to Sydney for a couple of days to check out the Lord Of The Rings exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum and it was brilliant. We got there at about 945 and we didn't leave before 1130. While the displays themselves might have benefitted from a more structured arrangement (possibly a limitation of the space, rather than the exhibit), there was ample room to wander around. Of course, this ample room didn't stop some fucktard old man with a red backpack from somehow always being right in front of me whenever I wanted to look intently at a display. But I was the better man, and followed him so that I was able to beat him to death with his stupid red backpack in the privacy of an underground carpark and not in front of a whole bunch of children. At least, I would've liked to, but Carmen told me this wouldn't be polite.

What did they have? Well, character themed displays of costumes and props, including a whole bunch of weapons and, if I can deactivete everyone's innuendo centres for a second; I want Haldir's sword. I was even able to tap Carmen on the back, point a thumb over my shoulder at the frickin' huge Moria diorama and in my best Sean Bean voice say; "They have a cave troll." They also had a maquette of the cave troll (which is a model used for scale comparison and computer scanning, for those not in the know with film-speak) that was about three feet tall and completely anatomically correct, and can I just say that for their size, cave trolls don't appear to be up to much.

They also had a whole bunch on the weapons, and the effects and the sets and man it was just so cool! Carmen and I also got a couple of forced-perspective photos taken (a link to which will appear in the not-too-distant future) in which we took turns being the hobbit to each other's human. The one of me cowering from her is extremely funny. What else? One of each type of racial armour and a whole bunch of swords and bows and stuff. There were a couple of swatches of their rubber-ring-chainmail stuff and wow. A little doco thingy (of which there were many dotted around) tells us that 12.5 million rings were used in the production of the movie, all cut from a 14 kilometre length of alkalene piping and then hand-cut and assembled to make the armour that looks exactly like chainmail, but weighs a fraction of what metal would. And because it's metal-plated, it even sounds right.

Oh, and they had the Boromir body double dummy in the boat and while the hands were a dead giveaway, the face was just creepy. I'll bet Sean Bean borrowed that one to freak his wife out with. :)

As for the rest of the trip, the hotel was excellent (especially the buffet breaky on wednesday morning, they had these little banana-y pancakes that were just...), wandering around the shops was fun and we were even able to meet up with some of the Canberra gang for a drink in a pub on Oxford street that - if not activley a gay bar per se, was at least quite heavily populated with men holding hands (and practicing their ballet, but that's another story).

Dinner on tuesday night was in an Asturian restaurant in the Spanish quarter where we ate hugely of excellent food and I got the waiter all excited by speaking some Spanish. He even asked where I was from, to which I had to reply "Canberra" in a definitely not Spanish accent.

All in all, it was a top couple of days spent with my beautiful woman that we shall have to repeat in the near future. :)

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Boo-yah! Still on the roll...

Guess what I watched yesterday? Explorers and Short Circuit, and you know what? They stand up. No Tron be they. They're just as much fun and laughter as they were when I was a munchkin. Hell, repeating the success of Ghostbusters, I even managed to get more of the jokes than I did the first time round.

When I was 8, I sure as crap didnae know what a character meant when they said; "I am sporting a tremendous woody right now". Of course, I didn't understand what a gross, offensive racial stereotype was either, but it was still funny then and it's still funny now. :)

Not a resolution.

I don't want to call any of my plans for this year New Year's Resolutions. If I call them New Year's Resolutions, it'll jinx them for sure. I mean, who among us has really followed a New Year's Resolution?

Nope, I'm just gonna do the stuff I want to do, quietly and without labelling it. I roller-bladed today for about 45 minutes (not including time spent fixing the wheel I broke). I did some lunges, and will do some crunches and push-ups before sleep. Of course, I should've made sure that I had more than two magnesium pills left. Now my legs're gonna kill me tomorrow, but there you go. And for some reason, whenever I fall I always land on my right buttock. Why is that? Anyhoo, I will be fitter this year.

I'm halfway through an application form for a public serivce Graduate program, and I've warned John and Maria. I'm not going to be working in hospitality beyond my birthday this year.

And that's really about it. There are my two not-resolutions. Here's hopin' that I can keep it up.