Thursday, February 24, 2005

Moral Dilemna: Update.

It was the cord.

So, we have a rating of "poop" for early presentage, but a rating of "hot dang" for XBox's customer service.

Moral dilemna.

Or, at least, a potential moral dilemna. I have a package waiting for me at the Narrabundah post office. Now, it's possible it is my new XBox power cord, given that mine could potentially explode into a ball of fiery death. Or something[1]. However, it is also possible that someone bought me a birthday present online or something and had it shipped directly to me. If it is a birthday present, am I allowed to open it now or do I have to wait until the 9th? Is it a case of "yippee! Early prezzies!!" Or is it one of "D'oh! Now I have to stare at the unopened box for 2 weeks".

I throw it open to the floor; What should I do?

Of course, using my friends for a moral compass may illicit some amusing results, but what the heck.

[1] Not that it's really my problem at this exact moment, what with Matt and I having swapped our consoles so I can play GTA:San Andreas.

Monday, February 21, 2005


Check this shit out!

You'll need to read down to the "News" bit and click on the link for 10-08-04. Yes, I know it's taken me six months to find this out, but it's still awesome!

For those that can't follow the link, the story I had published in "Elsewhere" recieved an Honorable Mention in Datlow and Windling's "Year's Best Fantasy and Horror". As far as I can tell, the collection features a bunch of stories by prominent authors (this year including Terry Dowling and some other names I half-recognise) as well as a refence section that looks at what happened during the year in various fields. It also includes the Honorable Mentions bit where my story is, well, mentioned. It's not actually in the book, what with my not being, y'know, Neil Gaiman or anything, but it is mentioned. Yippee!!!!

Let's hope this one works...

Your Brain is 53.33% Female, 46.67% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female

You are both sensitive and savvy

Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed

But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

Age 4 Begins.

Please, help Snori The Stoic destroy the ravening hordes of whatever.

Every time you guys click on my link I get a new guy, so please click frequently...

Book 9

"The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by Alexander McCall Smith

My Mum has been reading lots of books herself recently, and she chucked me this one with her usual admonition of "You'll love it". And I did. The writing style is concise and simple, without being simplistic. Although the subject matter is often very serious (marital rape?), overall the book is light and enjoyable, with a strong feeling of joy in the writing. It centres around Precious Ramotswe who opens the eponymous detective agency with money from the sale of the herd of cattle inherited from her father. She is a woman built along traditional African lines (she's a big, black lady) who takes no nonsense, but is still compassionate and discrete when she has to be.

The book is divided into chapters that are essentially self-contained mini-stories, all tying together the overall themes and story of the whole novel. McCall Smith obviously loves Africa, and his love is directly conveyed through Mma Ramotswe. Also, he seems to have a strong understanding of traditional African life and moral values and these values are as simple as they sensible. On more than one occasion I found myself tempted to look up airfares to Botswana. Maybe I could find a nice small village to adopt me. :)

In case I've been ambiguous, I very much liked this book and have already started the next in the series.

Four large, black African PIs.

Bloody hell!

Who'd've thunk it? Of course, 250,000 or so settlers are still staying in the area, with the biggest areas suitable for settlement still on the Israeli side of the Wall Of Peace (or whatever the hell they're calling it this week), but at least it's a start.

End of an Era...

Or an Age. Age 3 of Kings Of Chaos to be precise. And my final ranking? 11,856 out of... well... I don't know, actually, 'cause I can't find a final number of players listing. However, there were upwards of 120,000 people playing in the end, so I don't think I did too badly. Oh, does anyone want to join up for Age 4 and be part of my posse?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

You can never go home...

One of the cheap-ass DVDs I bought t'other day was The Pirate Movie and, well, as much as I loved the movie as a kid, I have to say that it's kinda crap. Actually, it's not kinda crap, it's a large collection of absolute shit with about two deent gags thrown in to shake things up a little. Very disappointing.

Not very subtle, but..

At ReP Happy Hour on friday, I was talking to Nick about the fun and cheap DVDs that are available at the moment. I was complaining that I can't really buy myself anything until after my birthday (which is in about two weeks, by the way, on the 9th of March). He then suggested that I put a list of the DVDs that are out at the moment up on my blog so people can know which ones I don't have and what to get me. His words.

I reckon that's a good idea, so here we go...

At this stage, I don't have;
Brazil, Big, Romancing The Stone, Navy SEALs, Dawn Of The Dead (Original and 2004), The Godfather Trilogy, Scarface, Tombstone, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish.

Oh, and I'm still after Scrubs on DVD too. :)

Friday, February 18, 2005

They're Ba-ack!

Mum and Dad have returned from their England trip bearing many gifts, including the "Big Train" DVD and lots of pommy snack foods. And themselves in full health, which was also nice. :)

We had a slap-up dinner to celebrate their homecoming and filled their fridge with beer. Of course, I would've liked to keep the Integra, but I guess it is Mum's car, after all. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Could we be witnessing the birth of a new artform? Blogs as fiction? The creative psycho behind Parking Lot Is Full has turned his hand to this, a fictional (one thinks) Blog from a man who thinks he's under mental attack from the Dalai Lama. Oh, and we have a countdown until July 1 2005.


KoTOR (Contains swearing)

Finally finished Knights Of The Old Republic and I gotta say, despite the hundreds of awesome things the game has going for it, the final level shat me to tears!

I understand the need to make the Big Bad[TM] at the end of the game very tricky, and I also understand the need to have a specific way of dealing with him/her that involves a knack or a doing of certain things at certain times, but when beating the villain literally requires timing down to the last second, maybe having a control system that overrides your selected action whenever you encounter something to interact with, and then littering the fucking level with things that have to be interacted with but once you've done them once you can ignore them but THEY STILL OVERRIDE THE FUCKING CONTROLS... *ahem* All I'm saying is maybe you should be able to ignore them once you've done what you have to do. And you should also not have the player's character randomly stop doing what she/he's and just fucking stand there for a few seconds like a fucking pudding to be cut down by the Big Bad[TM]. That's all I'm syaing


I had coffee with my American friend this morning and he told me one of the best stories I've heard in a long time.

He was travelling around the US during December '04, and on one trip (I think he said it was from Nowhere, North Carolina to Chicago) he and his luggage got separated. He took his little barcode, bag-tag thingy up to the baggage help desk and asked the lady behind the desk if she could help him.
"Certainly, sir," she said.
"Great. My name is David and my luggage is on a different plane, I was wondering if you could tell me how far out it is and what plane it's on."
"I'm sorry, sir, but I don't know where your luggage is."
My friend smiled for a moment and held up his tag.
"I understand, you probably don't know where every piece of luggage your airline has in the air is, but if you could just look up my luggage on your system, I'd appreciate it."
"I'm sorry, sir?"
He held up his tag again.
"On the system. Could you look up my luggage. With the tag?"
And, apparently, the lady behind the counter looked at him and said (in what one imagines as almost a Sir Humphrey Appleby voice);
"Oh, sir. Those tags aren't real. We print the same barcode on each tag because we've found that people are happier if they think their luggage is being individually tracked."

Pure, fried gold.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

D'oh! and Woo-hoo!

Well I didn't get into that Graduate Program, unfortunately. The rejection letter was very nice, and apparently they could see that I had some real talents, but not what they were after. Oh well.

On the plus side, it looks like the odd monkey work I've been picking up at the Canberra theatre is going to become a livable wage in March. Yippee! No more hospitality for me! And in case any of the Gaudi gang are reading this, I don't mean that as having a go at them - in fact, I'm going to miss them all a whole bunch - but it really is time for me to leave the industry and I've got a chance to move onto something I know I can do and that I enjoy doing! Yay, me! :)

And on a side note, it's good to see that the Aussie Queer Eye's food and wine guy is chubby. Never trust a thin chef.

Book 8

"The Seeress Of Kell" by David Eddings

That's the Malloreon finished. And how did it end? Pretty well, I reckon. The Angaraks have their new God and the characters we've come to know over the course of the two series get more or less what they deserve. Of course, Eddings still needs to reach for his thesaurus from time to time ("cooly" used 3 times in 2 paragraphs for 2 characters). And he also needs to accept that we realise a) that Silk is rat-faced, b) that sorcery makes a noise and a rush when used and one or two other points that really were belaboured beyond the pale. Now, I know that repetition can be a useful tool in some forms of writing (especially fairy tales and fables), but it needs to come across as an active device, rather than lazy writing.

Again, that said, I did enjoy this book and there were more than a couple of giggle moments, as well as a couple of genuinely touching ones too. Also, it gave me the inspiration for the story I wrote Carmen for Valentine's day, and that has to count for something.

Three and a half fulfilled prophecies (with half a prophecy coming from the inspiration).

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Book 7

"The Melancholy Death Of Osyter Boy: and other stories" by Tim Burton

And it's a short book. And more than a little messed up, but it is quirky and snappy and cute in a sad, too-much-foundation-and-whiny-poetry kind of way. One of my favourites goes something along the lines of;

"Santa offered James a teddy bear, unaware that he had been mauled by a Grizzly earlier that year."

And the picture is special, too.

Three and a half deformed, melancholy children.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A few things...

A small selection of amusing timewasters that I've found in the last couple of days.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Mrrrrrr.... Brains.... Again....

And this time it was the 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead and it was brilliant. I mean, it didn't give me a gut-wrenching portayal of the human condition (although some guts were, in fact, wrenched). Neither did it offer a searing insight into important political issues. There were, however, a great many zombies and a fair number of humans for them to eat, and what more do you really want from a zombie movie?

So, a plot summary? The world is overrun with zombies and a group of people hide out in a mall. That's all you need to know. People. Zombies. A mall. People are barricaded in the mall. Zombies are outside the mall. Got it? Oh, and there's a pregnant chick, but more on that later. The producers of this film knew precisely what their viewers would want and we get it in spades. There's creepy child zombies biting out people's throats, amusing violence involving zombie death and general carnage and mayhem aplenty.

They also manage to slip in a few surprises here and there. Like making you care for a character who - for the first twenty minutes of our acquaintance with him - is kind of a dick. We're using fast-moving zombies, which still hasn't been done that much[1], and there are a few genuine scares and genuine laughs too.

Oh, and then there's the Moment. The Moment that led Sam and myself to invent a recurring character for horror and similar movies. But back to the Moment. It involves zombies. And a pregnant woman. And it's not as wrong as it sounds, but is in fact wronger, and here's where the character comes in. Most horror films have the moment where something really, really manky happens. The disembowelling in Dog Soldiers, the hanging babysitter in Scream etc, etc, and we think that would be the perfect time for our recurring character to show up. He's an Australian, and in that moment where we get the reaction shot of the cast to the unpleasant event that has just occured, this Australian will look at the carnage, point an unsteady finger at it as he walks away and say "Awww... no way... that's fucked" in a really thick Ocker accent. It'd be priceless.

So, getting back to the film, Dawn of the Dead rates four headshot zombies that bear a striking resemblance to celebrities (just watch it, you'll see what I mean).

[1] Side note (paraphrasing a good point from Ratti): Mr Boyle, if you didn't want people to call your film a zombie movie, maybe you shouldn't have put so many zombies in it. (or, at least, zombie-like things)


This new time waster is brilliant! And probably almost as much fun for people listening to you play it as it is to play itself.

Actual things I have said this evening include;

"Oh well, time to go to the dealer and buy some smack."

"I love disciplining my hoes!"

"Ooh! I've got 30 lowriders!"

"Wow! This guy has millions of hoes!"


Sunday, February 06, 2005

Um... yes... hooray... I think...

And on to our second film of the evening, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Now, I really, really enjoyed this film, but for the life of me I couldn't quantify exactly why.

The basic plot - if those words can be used - is that Joel (Jim Carey) finds out that his ex girlfriend Celementine (Kate Winslet) has her memories of him and their entire relationship erased from her memory. He decides to have the same procedure, but in the course of going back through the memories of the relationship remembers why he hfell for her in the first place. Sounds simple? Oh how little you know.

I thought the acting was superb all round, especially from Carey and Winslet (and also a great supporting cast including Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Wilkinson), and the camera work and clever use of effects to simulate the erasure were also excellent, it's just that the whole thing was more than a little weird. I don't know what Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry (the writer and director respectively) are/were on, but if I could get a few grams of it to help me finish my masters, that'd be tops.

4 and a half heads scratched in confusion.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Carmen's Book Reading

Book number 6; "Dragon Claw" by Kate Forsyth.

Rating: 4 cows out of 5

That had to hurt...

Last night was an evening of indolence and the viewing of hired DVDS, and so I present for your reading pleasure my review of our first film for the evening, and boy was it a doozy!

Man On Fire was, like most Tony Scott films, a tad over-directed and - like Spy Game - is also a tad over-edited, with Mr Scott a little too in love with rapid cuts, moving cameras and tricky angles. That said, it was an extremely atmospheric film where Creasy (Denzel Washington), an alcoholic, ex-"counter-insurgent" (read assassin), is in Mexico City to visit his friend Rayburn (Cristopher Walken) and gets offered the job of protecting young girl Lupita (Dakota Fanning) from kidnapping.

Of course, Lupita shows the jaded Creasy that there's more to life than Jack Daniels and suicidal ideation and of course Lupita is kidnapped by a professional gang of kidnappers and of course Creasy is seriously wounded in the shootout (while still managing to take down four of the kidnappers and of course some of the kidnappers are crooked cops and of course Creasy staggers out of his hospital bed vowing revenge. All this can probably be accepted as bound to happen.

However, Creasy isn't your average "beat up the suspect and get the information" kind of a guy and so, with the help of a sexy reporter and a crusty old anti-corruption cop, he proceeds to work his way through the kidnappers in new and interesting ways. A little finger removal and C4 insertion later and he's talkig to the man who took Lupita and he is really not happy.

The principle cast do extremely well in this film, with Washington especially believable as a crusty, burned-out shell (as opposed to his usual polished charm). Walken is for once not the creepiest thing in the film (which in many ways is creepy in and of itself) and Fanning is surprisingly good as Lupita. They managed to produce a film featuring a cute 8 year old girl and not have us want to strangle her, no mean feat. The violence is graphic, but not omnipresent and the games Scott plays with his subtitles are extremely slick. They appear in time to people's speech, get bigger when people start to shout and fade out gradually, leaving characters' words literally hanging in the air.

With frequent wincing from the audience and more than a few snappy lines, Man on Fire has been added to my Must Buy List.

Four severed kidnapper's fingers.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


To cement my geekiness (like there was ever any doubt), and because I think it would be interesting to track, I have created a LiveJournal in which to document my quest to get published and become a stupidly rich author. Those that want to read about the dull day I had, whether I liked a new film or who I want to kill on any given day can still come here, and if I do get published I'll probably say something about it here too, but anyone who wants to find out how I'm going, what I've submitted etc. can just pop on over and check out me LJ.

Book 6

"Sorceress Of Darshiva" by David Eddings

And the Mallorean keeps plodding along, at times crackling and pacy, at others distracted by it's own intricate plotting. The characters remain the primary reason I'm still reading them, especially the growth of Durnik as he learns to be a devious bastard and Sadi and Silk's double act of sneakiness. Also, this is the book that had Carmen asking me if I'd read "the bit where Durnik does his thing" yet, and when I did read it I was well impressed. Very cool.

I do think that maybe the Grolim machinations could've been either toned down or explained over more of the book. Getting the run down in a major chunk in the middle got a little bit confusing, and - again - Mr Eddings needs to realise that we now understand that sorcery makes 'noise' other sorcerers can hear and feel, so he doesn't need to rub our noses in it every time.

3.5 out of 5 again, this time with an extra half for Durnik "doing his thing".

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Tasty Food

A quick recipe from a culinary experiment that really worked!

You'll need about 1.5kg of beef mince, 1 medium size white onion, 1 cup peas, 1 diced carrot, about a kilo of potatoes, 100gms of butter, 1/2 cup of beef stock, 1 cup of pine nuts and some ginger and curry-like spices.

Dry roast the spices (about 4 tspoons each of tumeric, cumin and ground coriander, about 2 tspoons of nutmeg and about 3 tspoons of cinnamon + some hot chilli if'n you want) until they're all aromatic and stuff. Then dry roast the pine nuts until they're brown.

Put the spuds into a big pot of boiling water and cook for at least 30 minutes (they're going to get mashed). Cook off the onions and ginger in sesame oil until the onions are translucent, then cook off the mince. Once it's mostly all brown, add the roasted spices and cook for another few minutes then add the pinenuts, carrots and peas and cook for a bit longer

Once your potatoes are ready, mash 'em with the butter and some milk until they're creamy, then put the mince in a big oven-proof dish which will fit it and the potatoes. Pour the stock over the mince and then top with the potatoes. Put into an oven set at about 210C for about 30 minutes, or until the top gets nice and brown.

Let it stand for a bit after you take it out of the oven, and thee you have Euan's Curried Not-Quite-Shepherds Pie.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

They've done it again

There's more loopy, get-in-head-y randomness from the Weebls gang, the guys what brought you badgers and lions in Kenya.