Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Now this is good news...

Found this while trawling Ratti's friends on her LJ.

Seems that our maple-syrup-loving, fellow-colonials are doing pretty good when it comes to recognising gay rights.

It also seems that Canadians aren;t the only ones who approve of gays. Looks like Scott Kurtz might have the inside scoop on the big JC's take on things. :)

I can see my house from here...

Thanks to The RiotACT I found this little gem. I guess my main question would be; why is Canberra so darned important that it gets satellite imagery? Who's watching us? Why are they watching us? Are they connected with the little silver men who live in my fridge?

Ave Caesar!

Wanna experience a World Premiere production of a new piece by an award-winning playwright? Come and see "When In Rome", now on at Theatre 3. It's the hilarious, side-splitting story of that famous, fun-loving champion of mirth Emperor Gaius Caligula. You know the one? That giggle-meister that wanted to marry his sister and ended up eating a child he had with her.

Chock full of paranoia, intrigue and plottings, this is a great - if long - night of theatre. It goes without saying for a New Century theatre production that the direction by Stephen Pike is great. Caligula is played by Duncan Ley (also the playwright, talented bastard that he is) who is at his mouth- and brain-foaming best and everyone else is great too. Louise Bennett and Sam Sangston are both gorgeous and devious as the two women after Caligula - and the power being with him brings. I'm not going to go list everyone else that's in it, cause there's a big act, but know that they're all awesome too. Even I, as Sartorius Macro the commander of the Praetorian guard, manage to not be too crap on stage. It's fun to be in and, like all good drama, contains genuine comedy. On top of all this the set is, quite simply, phenomenal.

Opening night went off, and we managed to avoid most of the second night blues, although I did spoonerise a couple of times and nearly swapped an alive character's name around with a dead one which, given that the alive character wasn't on stage at the time, could've been confusing. We had a lines run last night that went smoothly and I'm actually looking forward to getting back into it tonight.

Carmen and Sass came to opening night and seemed to enjoy themselves. Sass was especially excited whenever I came on stage, and so was disappointed when I got killed off in the second act. The audiences have loved it and we've been getting rave reviews on local radio. Peter Wilkins's review in the Canberra Times was up to his usual standard. It was positive, generous and still managed to point out one or two things that could be improved. If only more local reviewers understood how to, you know, review theatre.

Come and see us! Wednesday to Saturday for the next two weeks. Tickets at the door or you can ring the Repertory office and book.

Oh! And if it ever gets published, I'm going to be in the Premiere cast list! Won't that be cool! :)

If only...

You know those stories you hope are true? Well here's one. I've been playing IMDB pinball tonight, and ended up at the trivia section for Batman Forever. It sounds plausible and at the same time unlikely. I really, really hope it's true...

"Reportedly, the role of Robin was narrowed down to two finalists: Chris O'Donnell and Leonardo DiCaprio. In order to decide who should get the role, the producers went to a comic book convention and asked groups of 11 year old boys (the target audience of the film) who would win a fight between the two actors. O'Donnell was overwhelmingly chosen by the boys as the winner of the fight and ultimately he won the role."

Please let it be true.

Hello? Hello? What's all this shouting? We'll have no trouble here!

There's this TV show. It's a very good TV show. I think. It's funny and well-acted. I'm pretty sure. It's smoothly written and very, very clever. That much I do know. It's called "The League Of Gentlemen" and I really like it, but I'm not sure why.

I was given the DVD by one of my "When In Rome" co-stars and sat and watched the first season over the course of a lazy Saturday. It really is a very clever show that I am fully aware I have been backward in discovering (given it's 1999-2002 air dates), and am glad I finally have.

It's set in the (I hope) fictional town of Royston Vasey and boy do some weirdos live there. There's Babs, the pre-operative tansexual who drives the local taxi, Edawrd and Tubbs who run the local shop (which is for local people) and Hilary BRiss, the butcher who's "special stuff" sets mouths watering and - in the 2nd season - noses bleeding. It's not always comfortable, and not always laugh-out-loud funny, but it is frequently wrong and definitely doesn't pull punches when it comes to going for the gross-out or shock-factor.

I'm not sure if I like the laugh-track (I hope they lose it for the 3rd season), but it does seem to have been recorded by showing an actual audience the episodes. In one or two bits the laugh track has a chuckle or two of the "I know this is going to end badly, but I'll laugh when it does" kind. I'm also not sure, strange as it sounds, if I like all the actual women who turned up playing women in the second series either. For the first series, it was almost entirely the core group of three comedians (Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith) playing all the roles - of whatever gender. Oh, BTW, the fourth Gentleman is Jeremy Dyson who mainly writes, but sometimes sneaks in a cameo.

I'm not sure if I'll immediately rush out and buy the DVDs, but once I've got all the West Wing, Black Books, Buffy, Scrubs and 24 out there I might just flick some pesos the BBC's way.

three and a half seriously fucked-up townspeople...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Does it come in black?

Best. Batman. Ever.

Creepy young villain, hardcore fighting and training, awesome and mostly plausible gadgetry and, well, just a whole bundle of coolness. Yes, I'm talking about Batman Begins.

Directed by Chris "Memento" Nolan, written by David S. "Dark City" Goyer and starring Christian Bale as simply the best Batman/Bruce Wayne combo ever and featuring a whole bunch of awesome peeps like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman. The acting power in this picture could power Sydney for a year.

As the title suggests, it's an origin story and told better than almost any other origin story I've read or seen, Batman or otherwise. Gus Lewis is excellent as the young Bruce and Michael Caine's Alfred was one of the best points of an awesome film. The reaction of young Bruce and Alfred to the murder of the Waynes had my eyes prickling and I think I heard a sniffle or two from Carms. Bruce's training in the mountains of China is handled smoothly and so we see a Batman that can believably beat the snot out of many, many baddies. And beat the snot he does. Of course, not all the villains are normal, and so we have the Scarecrow turning up and spraying people with a chemical that makes them hallucinate their greatest fear.

There's other stuff involving microwave emitters and water vapour, but that's just story. Where this film really excels is in it's production. A stunning and clear production design, deft direction and smooth editting match with - in case ye didn't get it - great acting and a couple of ball-tearing stunt and fight sequences. Go out and watch this film, people, it's really good! Hell, it's worth it to see Gary Oldman play a good guy. He's Jim Gordon.

True, I would've liked the fight sequences to be shot a bit more traditionally, but the jump cutting did add to the feeling of confusion one would imagine exists in a fist-fight against 5 people. It's also possible that I thought Bale's gravelly Batman voice was a little OTT. His physical presence as Batman was flawless, but I think the grumbly voice was a bit too much. That said, these are minor points in what I think is probably number two on my all-time favourite comics movies.

Oh, and the Batmobile is, quite simply, fucking awesome!

Four and a half black-clad vigilantes with chiropteran themes out of five.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Book 27

"M*A*S*H" by Richard Hooker

I've finally read the book that started it all and I loved it. Not the longest tome in the world (179 pages or so), it could've been twice that long and I still would've powered through it. The writing was slick, smooth and very very funny. "M*A*S*H" has to be one of the most readable books I have ever, well, read. I recognised many of the hijinx from the film, but there were also some I'd not heard of/read before, so it wasn't all revision for me.

A hugely enjoyable book.

Five dry martinis out of five.

Book 26

"In The Presence Of Mine Enemies" by Harry Tutrledove

For those not in the know, Harry Turtledove is probably the most successful alternate history authot in the world. His books are usually thick, well-researched, moderately paced and contain one or two sex scenes so needlessly tacked on that Sam and I are considering getting him a hooker so he can stop doing it. They are also usually interesting, enjoyable and pretty damn cool when you get down to it. I've read the first few books of the World War series, and some of his others and enjoyed them immensely.

"In The Presence Of Mine Enemies" centres around the premise that the Nazis won World War II. And World War III. They control Europe, North America and a few other places here and there and have been almost completely successful in wiping out the Jew, Gypsies and other untermenschen. They have also not been subtl about how they did it, so unlike similar works (like "Fatherland") the Nazis are open about how they've been exterminating people. The central characters of the story are a group of Jews living secretly in Berlin. Set in the early years of the twenty-first century, the old Fuhrer has died and a new leader with a mind to reform has been appointed. The events of the novel include strengthening protests seeking democracy, a general display of hatred toward the SS and lots of bridge playing.

Overall, this is a good book. The story kept me interested, the characters were sympathetic and the action was well-written. It looks to me like it was an analogy for the fall of the Iron Curtain, where civil pressures and unrest led to reform that maybe som eareas in the government weren't ready for. There were even one or two twists that I didn't see coming.

What bugged me about it was how much Turtledove laboured some of the his points in the writing. For the first two thirds of the book, barely two pages go by without one of the Jewish characters making some reference to how they can't get away with anything or bring any suspicion down on their heads or shouldn't say this or couldn't possibly do that because they are Jewish. Sometimes it would be only a single page, or twice in page. We get it! We understand that they have to be careful! I'm sure that we're meant to get a rising feeling of dread or something, but I just found myself getting frustrated with the repetition.

Apart from that, I'd recommend this book to all fans of historical or sci-fi books.

Three and a half Aryan Ubermenschen.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I got my NCIS nitpick into the IMDB!

How cool/sad is that?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Looking back...

I've decided to start making an effort to blog a bit more. And right now I find myself in a reflective mood, so that's what yer getting. Not maudlin reflective, necessarily, just reflective. So looking back, I gotta say that I regret not making more of a fuss of the poor young lady I took to my year 10 formal (which was much longer ago than I realise, probably). She looked stunning and just 'cause I was a late-blooming nerd was no reason not to spend more time with her that night and repeatedly tell her how gorgeous she was. Sorry.

I regret ordering the braised lamb shanks at Woodstock last weekend. I'm not saying the lamb wasn't nice, 'cause it was. It wasn't amazing, but it was nice. No, I just know that I would've enjoyed $16 worth of pizza a lot more.

I regret not developing a homework and study ethic until quite late in my academic career. Even now, if I was putting in a bit more effort, I would be further along in the drafting process of my Masters than I am right now. While I am infinitely better than I was, I know I could've got a much higher TER if I'd just bothered to do one or two more drafts of my homework in years 11 and 12.

I regret the time I wasted nearly watching Chicken Park. I had a suspicion how bad it would be, in fact Cal and I hired it because we felt like some fun shite, but it was just much worse than we could've feared.

Should I keep going? Probably not. I'm sleepy now, and I have two King Size chocolate bars to regret eating tomorrow. Time for some milk and Babylon 5. G'night, all. I'll try and be less random next time. :)


Carmen officially became a lawyer today! Yay for her!

The ceremony/sitting of the Supreme Court thingy that had them admitted was held at the Supreme court and, strangely enough for an official ceremony for and involving lawyers, it was pretty quick. Basically, once ye've done Legal Workshop, you need to submit some papers and then have a practicing lawyer submit that you be Admitted to the Bar (TM). What you get is a whole bunch of "Your honour, I would like to submit that 'X' be admitted to the bar and permitted to practice law in this honoured court" (or words to that effect). When everyone's had their name submitted, there's an oath. And the interesting bit here is that you get the choice of swearing on a Bible or making and affirmation. Carmen and her friend Sass made the affirmation, and it was all I could do not to scream "Godless heathens!" at them. Not that I believe that's what they are, but because it would've been funny. :)

Another interesting thing from this morning is that Philip Ruddock was there to put forward someone's name. Those of you outside of Australia might not know that Mr Ruddock - currently our Attorney General - used to be our minister for Immigration. If he didn't entirely design our current policies on detention and immigration, he certainly seemed to do fuck all to change them. And now he's in charge of justice in our country. Hoo-frickin-ray, right?

That digression aside, the Chief Justice who gave the speech welcoming the new lawyers (Chief Justic Connely, FYI), he mentioned not only Amnesty International but also the Baxter detention centre and how this is an interesting time to be practising law in Australia. I didn't actually hear Ruddock's teeth grinding, but I did find it amusing. :)

All in all, it was a pretty cool ceremony. Not overdone and not too slight either, there was a necessary solemnity, but also a lightness of tone that was refreshing for an official event.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fun shite

Just looked at Jar's blog and realised it's been a while since I gave pop culture a good pokin' (my NCIS nitpick notwithstanding), so here goes on a movie review...

Really, really fun shite. I'm talking about Blade Trinity. I saw it last night and loved it. Sure, the story was pretty much exactly the same as the last two movies; Blade has to deal with the latest Big Nasty[TM] that the vampires have dredged up to finally tip the balance of power completely in their favour, yadda yadda, but with Jessica "New Hotness" Biel as the sexiest Slayer this side of Sunnydale (I cannae believe I just typed that) and Ryan "HITG" Reynolds as some pretty slick comic relief (as well as being well ripped and good at the fighting) I was able to accept the crapness of the film and just dive in and enjoy it.

The fight choreography is better than the second film and the action sequences are shot much better than the first. They've ditched the cheezy and obvious CGI in favour of some genuine stuntwork that - while not exactly pushing the boundaries of the craft - at least give a couple of nifty moments. The Blade-mobile jumping out the back of a semi trailer and over a car chasing it is a highlight. Jessica and Ryan acquit themselves pretty damn well in the hand-to-hand fighting, and Jessica manages to pull off one of the slickest sticky hands exchanges I've seen outside of Hong Kong cinema. The new weaponry is also a lot of fun, with the "arcing UV laser cutter" - although physically impossible - one of my favourites.

Honestly, if you go into this film expecting anything other than a fun vampires and action flick, you will be sorely disappointed. As snappy and natural as some of the dialogue is, Shakespeare or Stoppard it ain't. As smooth and amusingly painful as some of the fight sequences are, Yuen Wu Ping they ain't. This a B grade movie, shading to C, that has no illusions as to what it is and wallows in it's tackiness with a glee I haven't seen since Welcome To The Jungle.

Four slowly broken arms out of five.

Oh, and Cal, I would be happy to link Clocktower for my movie reviews, but I can't find pictures and stuff of the DVDs. Sorry.


Was watching N.C.I.S on sunday and they stuffed up. The agents found a gun at a crime scene and referred to it three times in the episode as a Sig.

Unfortunately, it was in actual fact a Glock 17L (or possibly a 34/35).

What makes it worse is that the sidearms the agents have are all Sigs, so they should be able to tell the difference.

I know this is one of those "only a gun nut like you would notice that, Euan" things, but if the producers care enough about believability to have the cast tag and photgraph evidence before moving it (unlike many other crime dramas I could mention), then they could at least get the firearms angle right.

Of course, right now Carmen (amongst others) is reading this and shaking her head in sadness, but people get paid to avoid this kind of screw up. If they're not going to do their jobs, then give it to me. I'll do it for AU$800 a week and a chance to visit the set. :)


Your Deadly Sins

Sloth: 40%

Envy: 20%

Gluttony: 20%

Lust: 20%

Greed: 0%

Pride: 0%

Wrath: 0%

Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%

You will die with your hand down your underwear, watching Star Trek.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Fuckin' A!

Peep dis shit!

Sure, there are conditions. Sure, some people in the countries involved are worried that the money saved will just go into the pockets of dictators and corrupt officials, but for fuck's sake it's a good start.

Book 25

"The Full Cupboard of Life" by Alexander McCall Smith

Another 'cut and paste' review for a No.1 Ladies Detective Agency book. More fun and enjoyment from Ramotswe, Makutsi and Matekoni and friends. This time we have a parachute jump, a successful hairdresser who suspects her suitors may be just after her money and finally Mma Ramotswe and Rra J. L. B. Matekoni get married!

Smith has kept up his usual high standard of narrative, character and immersiveness in this, the fifth No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novel. I'm a little disappointed that my mum doesn't have the sixth novel for me to steal for a while, but I guess I'd better just bite the bullet and buy it m'self. :)


And I've also managed to find the red tea that they dirnk, and it's very yummy. It's called roibos and comes from South America. Also, it's caffeine free, so if you're feeling like a cuppa before bed, then it's all good.

Tears in Hollywood

Following recent developments, I've had to re-work my list. I know that some of those who have been ousted will be feeling bad about themselves right now, but I only have five slots. It was a tough decision, but on the whole I'm happy with my current line up. I guess those poor unfortunates who were cut will have to console themselves with their millions of dollars, huge talent and world-wide fame.

More musical mayhem

Another genre to explore and have some fun with. Ye can blame Byron for bringing this to my attention. Basically, we're talking nerdcore here and it's essentially hard-core hip hop for, you guessed it, nerds. So we have The Lords Of The Rhymes, MC Hawking and Optimus Rhyme. MC Hawking gives us game-themed beats and rhymes (amongst other thing) in a Hawking-esque synthesised voice. Kinda slack, but very funny. Optimus Rhyme has some damn cool rhymes, especially in Fuzzy Dice, and with - as you might have guessed - a transformers theme.

Grab some of this stuff, it's cool.

Eye opener

I recently worked backstage for a ballet production and I hafta say, although ballet dancers (male and female, but mostly female) may be lithe, talented, fit and coordinated but they are also crass, uncouth and smelly. On stage, they may flit about with perfect poise and grace, but as soon as they disappear into the wings, they're all about wiping off the sweat and muttering "shit, I fucked that up" under their breath.

Sorry if I'm shattering anyone's illusions here, but as gorgeuous and lissom as they may be on stage ballet dancers are just like all other performers off stage. Grotty, sweaty and gross.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Two or more heads (tunes) are better than one...

I know I'm out of touch with the pulse of the world, I know it takes me ages to get into things. I started reading Harry Potter when "Prisoner Of Azkaban" came out. I started watching Buffy in season 3. I started getting into the swing revolution a good year or two after the Cherry Poppin' Daddies' album came out. And now, to continue the trend, I've just got into mash ups.

Well about time, I here you cry. What took you? you ask. Well, I guess I'm just slow.

And what's a mash up? For those of you out there who are slower than me (and that can't be many), it's when one or more songs - usually from disparate genres - are remixed together so that they match up. Or even, mash up. Har har.

My current favourite is a combination of the Men In Black and Ghosbusters themes that I found here. It also has a link to the Nirvana/Michael Jackson mash up you may have heard.

Most of the mash ups that I've encountered have had all of the humour and self-awareness that fuels my addiction for dodgy punk and cross-genre lounge covers and, hell, a couple of them are just damnablly clever. You might also try checking out Party Ben, who appears to have a radio show where they play mash ups. And these peoples perform mash ups live. How frickin' cool is that!!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Carms Books

Book 16 "The Justice Game" Geoffrey Robertson

So I left my lil fantasy world for a while and read a real life thingy. It was good. You may remember Mr Robertson from the show we had here in Aus called Hypotheticals. I thought at that time that he was stupidly intelligent, after reading this book, I'm quite sure that the man is a freakishly smart guy. This book is basically a legal autobiography. he goes through some of his more entertaining and relevant cases from the point where he started at the bar in the 70's through til the middish 90's. He covers the public morality trials from the 70's, blasphemy and some dodgy cover ups in the 80's and goes through to the gulf war and issues of friendly fire. He also talks about cases he has tried throughout several other commonwealth countries.

The most amusing thing about this book is that Geoffrey Robertson had every intention of becoming a tax and broker lawyer - what a waste that would have been.

THis book was a very good read, funny, entertaining, and really very thoughtful and insightful into the issues facing the law from the 70's through to now.

Bloody good, 5 robed up lawyers out of 5.