Dork Geek Nerd

"Rational romantic mystic cynical idealist"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Secondhand kiss

Nothing out of the ordinary happened today - well, apart from the Australian and Indian cricketers prostrating themselves on the field to allow a swarm of bees to pass - so I'll recount an incident from yesterday.

DL and I were lunching at a pub that does excellent schnitzels at a competitive price. Sipping at my lemon squash (yes, really), I noticed a faint pink lip print on the opposite side of the glass. I went and showed the barman, while doing that Aussie thing of apologising for being a pain. He didn't seem too worried. "I'll have to stop wearing that shade," he deadpanned, and poured me a replacement.

Nobody I've mention this to has been surprised. I'm told lipsticks are stickier than ever. And that although dishwashers miss stuff, it's cheaper for pubs to give away the occasional drink than replace them with humans.

Listening: "Songs We Sing" (2005) by Matt Costa

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Wisdom" check

Andrew Zuckerman photographed 51^ famous men and women aged 65+, everyone from Desmond Tutu to Vanessa Redgrave to Bryce Courtenay to Billie Jean King, and asked them to define wisdom. The results became a coffee table tome with an accompanying short fillum and a roadshow that's currently parked in the State Library Of NSW (and advertised on bus sheds around the city). "Wisdom" is free and I recommend it. They don't shut the doors until 8pm from Mon.-Thurs., so don't tell me it isn't convenient. I like the portrait of "Miffy" author and illustrator Dick Bruna. He looks about to burst into warm laughter.

^Why 51? The official numbering goes to 50, but there are two 48s - husband and wife designers Massimo and Lella Vignelli.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A warm bath not a wombat

CM, AM and I descended into a funky cavern called the Oxford Art Factory to witness the pop stylings of Lenka. A shout was $26 - legalised mugging! - but Lovalls Pure Lager (no apostrophe) proved worthy of repeat samplings. Mmmmalty. Support act Missing Hours clearly shared a passion for asymmetrical haircuts. They botched a few gear changes before getting up to rock speed and leaving us energised. Off to the gents: a post-modern urinal where you literally pissed against a brick wall. Then back for the lady herself. Like all stars, Lenka is smaller in real life, though no less lovely than her photos. Captivatingly theatrical on stage, I reckon she has musical DNA in common with Missy Higgins, Macy Gray, Lily Allen and Bjork. The hubbub on the balcony saw us relocate to the floor, away from the rude people desperate to exchange inanities. Far from spoiling our gig, they indirectly sent us to where the sound quality was superior. I counted 10/11 album tracks (don't recall "Like A Song" - could be wrong), plus a cover of Modest Mouse's "Gravity Rides Everything". The live renditions weren't radically different to those on the CD, although the trumpet came to the fore here. Lenka played keyboards and tambourine, beguiled us with her velvet voice and breathy delivery, and even had us singing along "I want my money back!" at the climax of "The Show". It was so not true.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why I'm annoyed with ESPN

Firstly, they were running 1.5 hours behind schedule with the repeat of Colts @ Titans. Secondly, they truncated the fourth quarter by about five minutes - robbing me of touchdowns from both teams! Thirdly, they did it to make way for the drivel that is "Pardon The Interruption" (local edition). For a dedicated sports channel to operate like this is pathetic.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Movie review: "Monkey Magic" (2007)

The gist: While travelling to India in search of some speccy sutras, the priest Sanzo Hoshi and his three disciples – the Monkey King Goku, river imp Sandy and pig spirit, er, Pigsy – arrive in a land oppressed by badass goblin brothers known as Gold Horn and Silver Horn. A cute princess requests their assistance. Yes, it's another rough approximation of that Ming Dynasty blockbuster, "Journey To The West".

Selling points: Nostalgia for the oft-repeated '70s TV series "Monkey", which had kids belting out its theme as they belted each other with brooms long before "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". The first half of this film consists mainly of whinging and fleeing, but the second rewards your patience with memorable scenes including an inventor's gadget-filled cottage and an extended sky chase (yes, Goku still has his cloud). The showdown is an effects-o-rama.

It's kinda like: The aforementioned program – although in upping the production values, "Monkey"'s simple charm has been lost. Gone is the philosophical narration, the music ain't a patch on Godiego's classic tunes ("Gandhara" is covered in the closing credits), and Sandy and Pigsy are way underused. "Monkey Magic" is actually a spin-off from a 2006 Japanese show that never officially made it here.

Final word: Sorry, Shingo Katori, Masaaki Sakai is still the Monkey King.

[Australian DVD release date: November 5]

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cloud giants?

An excuse for a ramble in the radiant energy: the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition held outdoors along the rocky coastline from Bondi to Tamarama. The Addster Award for coolest artwork goes to two huge sheets of corroded metal "folded" into paper aeroplanes that appear to have landed nose-first in the middle of a public park.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"You've won this time..."

TC took the "D&D - Forgotten Realms" module "Scepter Tower Of Spellgard", pulled out a four-encounter sequence and turned it into a one-day (~7.5-hour) adventure for PB, LPO and me. Our fourth-level characters - Malphus the halfling rogue, Dagon the tiefling warlord and Tyrone the half-elf cleric - bashed, blasted and backstabbed their way through the heaps tougher and more versatile 4th-Edition versions of kobolds, wererats, undead and friends, while stumbling into the odd trap, until we reached the "boss": a vampire spawn on his crypt throne. We had the bugger 75% slain when the red tide turned against us. Our strongest powers were exhausted (2/3 dailies failed), our 20-sided dice had lost the ability to roll high and our enemy was rapidly regaining HP through a combination of standing on desecrated ground and clobbering the heroes with a Mace Of Life-Drinking. Worse - he'd bent the rogue to his will. Already past the agreed finishing time, we flew the white flag. It was fun, though, and as usual TC had put maximum effort into the preparation - dungeon tiles (and furniture); miniatures; character sheets with the powers on separate cards so they could be flipped over once used for ease of bookkeeping; additional cards explaining the rules for temporary effects suffered in combat, eg. blindness; and, of course, a fridge stocked with Potions Of Inebriation. I thought the booklet of scene-setting illos that came with "S/T/O/S" was neat and I continue to be impressed with the strategy and tactics demanded by 4E.

Friday, October 24, 2008

48 episodes later

"Great British Menu III" is done and Heston Blumenthal has hosted dinner for the finest international chefs (plus a bunch of Pom slebs from Ronnie Corbett to Sophie Ellis-Bextor) at London's "Gherkin" tower to mucho praise and applause. And yet, I feel it woulda been even better if they'd dispensed with the 50%-weighting audience vote and served the dishes marked highest by the expert judging panel. In which case: same fish course, main and dessert, except with Chris Horridge's brilliant cured wild pigeon instead of Jason Atherton's BLT in a glass for the starter. JA doesn't really lose as he's still responsible for the meat course (an awesome beef fillet cutting board arrangement), but you get four chefs, distinctive styles and regions of the UK represented rather than three with one doing double duty, however admirably. It's ridiculous for Joe and Jane Public to be rating food that hasn't passed their lips!

His 34th birthday is done and AM has hosted dinner for the M. clan, NW and myself at Glebe's Darbar Indian restaurant to mucho gladness.

Infectious pop(pet): "Self-titled" (2008) by Lenka

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flower power

The world's dying to discover whether I prefer the elderflower or hibiscus variety in the Tiro soft drink range sold at the posh cafe near work. Now at last it can be told. The former has an elusive natural (ie. non-sickly) sweetness that I'd compare to a perfumed honey. Hibiscus is more of your standard syrupy soda, its taste camped somewhere in the disputed territories between raspberry and passionfruit. The fact both beverages contain lemon only confuses the issue, so let's sweep it aside. Swish! In conclusion, world, I'd choose elderflower any hot, thirsty day of the week.

Retro 'spect: The Giant List Of Classic Game Programmers (, while not infallible, will help budding videogame historians fill in the gaps. I guarantee said souls a session of Googling/Wikipedia searching obscure titles and the keyboard jockeys behind them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Battle hymns

Finnish folk metal album "The Varangian Way" (2007) by Turisas is the perfect accompaniment to sailing longships to Vineland or attacking hefty swords & sorcery tomes... "Deadhouse Gates" (2000) by Steven Erikson, second slab of The Malazan Book Of The Fallen, which has 935 pages of dense type and about as many unfamiliar faces :-)

What was the big occasion?

I forget. But I will never again confidently declare, as I did while at the Civic with RB, DL and LA, that drinking a vast quantity of Hoegaarden does not result in a hangover. Chasing said brew with CC & dry at Pure Platinum was a...what's the opposite of a masterstroke?

Chook into it: The new Hungry Jack’s chicken burger, the TenderCrisp, has too many capitals but the coating of the fillet is satisfyingly crunchy. Furthermore, it comes on a "corn-dusted" bun with yer choice of mayo or generic tangy sauce.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Movie review: "Traitor" (2008)

The gist: Samir Horn (Don Cheadle) is so deep undercover, with such a convoluted political and military background, even he's not always sure which side he's on. Jihadist Omar (Saïd Taghmaoui) considers him a brother in arms. FBI Agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) thinks he's a terrorist bomber. But a mysterious security contractor named Carter (Jeff Daniels) knows different.

Selling points: It's topical, obviously, although the level of operational detail in these sorta films raises concerns about people watching them for the wrong reason. Samir is an intriguing and dangerously capable character, willing to betray everything but his Muslim faith in pursuit of a nebulous greater good.

It's kinda like: Where its fellow terrorist yarns "The Kingdom" and "Body Of Lies" take place mainly in the Middle East, "Traitor" hops from country to country a la the "Bourne" series. And it features the same "crossing the line" dilemmas to thrillers about blokes infiltrating the Mafia, drug cartels, football hooligan gangs, etc.

Final word: One man's traitor is another man's hero.

[Australian cinema release date: November 6]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Exercise and diet

Midway through season three of "Hard Knocks" - a grid iron reality show in the untainted sense of the term - I had a codec issue. PB advised me to download and install ffdshow from Gave that a whirl yesterday afternoon and it did the trick. By this morning, bleary eyed, I'd completed series four, which takes the viewer inside the Dallas Cowboys' 2008 training camp.

My verdict: just as enjoyable as experiencing pre-season with the Kansas City Chiefs, though a mite heavy on montages. Despite their celebrity status, "America's team" was revealed to be a very family oriented outfit. As PB observed when he gave me the disc, some players you might think are loose cannons - prime example Terrell Owens - turn out to be downright responsible.

On the menu: (Courtesy of AK, my locally based sister.) Roast capsicums stuffed with mince, rice and other vegies, and topped with melted cheese. These green'n'red fatties are bursting with flavour!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy trails

Just waved my mother goodbye at the airport. She's making her second trip to Japan, for the birth of my sister AC's second child. The journey entails spending a night in Tokyo (at Haneda?) before catching another plane to sis's prefecture. Phoned Dad to let him know she got away without a hitch, but he didn't answer. I imagine he was busy gardening - and missing Mum.

Manga of the moment: "Hikaru No Go #13". I wish this fascinating story about the steeped-in-ritual world of the boardgame Go went forever. Sadly, there are only 10 more volumes to be translated into English.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Changing colours

After the National Basketball League's 2005/06 season, the Hunter Pirates found they could no longer stay afloat, leading me to jump ship to the Sydney Kings. When they were dethroned prior to the 2008/09 comp due to lack of financial firepower (inside joke), I was unsure who to swear allegiance to. The Singapore Slingers would've been an amusingly eccentric option had they not been chucked out of the NBL as well. Then the Kings' former rivals, the West Sydney Razorbacks, rebranded themselves the Sydney Spirit and announced they'd also be catering for us Easterlings by playing some home games at the Entertainment Centre. Alas, when their schedule was released, "some" meant one. It was tonight, against the South Melbourne Dragons. CM, AM and I went along (via Ajisen Ramen). I purchased a sky blue, navy and white Spirit cap to make my switch official. The crowd, commentary and cheerleaders were inferior to what I'd grown accustomed to over the past two seasons. Just as well the team itself was OK, especially US import Derrick Low. As predicted, the visitors were too disciplined, but the 106-101 scoreline felt respectable. The lads and I even discussed driving to a weekend fixture at the Olympic Park Sports Centre. Here we go again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Better than nuffink

The bwan-noo "Serenity: Better Days" graphic novel (collecting a three-issue miniseries) is 28% as exciting as uncovering an unknown episode of "Firefly". And since that ain't gonna happen...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Comfort asterisks

* "The Pirate Loop" earns a second mention because it has real warmth - the party piece at the finish is wonderful. But my fickle fanboy gaze has now turned towards "Abarat Book Two: Days Of Magic, Nights Of War" (2004), written and with copious paintings by Clive Barker. It's alien, it's scary-beautiful, it's classic CB.

* You'll go crackers for new Paradise Veri Deli Double Cheese & Leek crackers. If you're a parrot.

* Socceroos 4 - Qatar 0.

An exercise for the reader

When a book's contents lists chapter headings, do you... (a) read them slowly and guess at their meanings? (b) skim through, picking out key words/phrases? (c) page past the potential spoilers to chapter one? Take a minute to analyse your choice.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Raining in my house

At 9pm yesterday, I heard a peculiar ticking from the gas hot-water system on the wall above my kitchen cupboards. Inspection revealed water was trickling down the tangle of grimy antique pipes. The origin of the stuff wasn't visible (note to self: replace torch battery). I moved the appliances underneath, wiped them and the counter clean, put electrical tape over the power socket, and positioned ice-cream containers to catch the drips. I resolved to call the real estate agency first thing and have them send a plumber. (Even if I'd been prepared to pay an exorbitant out-of-hours fee, my lot discourage you from hiring your own tradesmen.) It meant I'd be late for work, but that couldn't be helped. Little did I know...

Three hours later, as I was preparing to turn in, it began to rain - from the light fitting in the kitchen ceiling. I bolted for a bucket, placed it directly below the bulb-turned-showerhead, then mopped up the excess. Great. I had a serious leak to go with my merely incovenient trickle. Where previously I'd suspected that a pipe had simply worn through at some point, now it seemed the water might be coming from one of my nameless neighbours. But surely they'd realise if a sink or bathtub was overflowing? So could it be capillary action? Or cracked roof tiles? Nah, it wasn't raining and my flat's on the middle level. Whatever the source of this reddish, musty Nile, I wasn't about to go door-knocking at midnight to find it.

The best alarm clock is a tall glass of water. This technique served me well as I awoke three times during the night to empty a bucket that (along with my bladder) was dangerously full and to wipe/mop any splashings. I forgot to mention that I left the kitchen window wide open to assist with drying, so it was "nice" and cold in there - not to mention slippery and dark due to me not being able to use the light. When 9am came, I rang the agency and the fella said he'd have a plumber over right away. In the meantime, he asked me to check if the people in the apartment above mine were home, in case the tradie needed to investigate their joint. I thought I'd heard them creaking around, but there was no answer.

I was then rung by a dude at the strata management firm to say a second plumber was en route. He told me he'd phoned my door-shy neighbours and been assured they had no water problems. You can see where this is going... Both plumbers arrived, glanced at my kitchen and headed straight upstairs. It transpired that the fault was with *their* hot-water system, which had busted a gut, allegedly without them realising. To her credit, the wife came down and saw me, sympathised with the flooding and claimed she'd thought the building manager's call was a joke. (Yeah, but that doesn't explain why you ignored my knocks, mate!) Anyway, the tradesmen conferred and it was decided plumber A would fix her unit immediately.

On his way out, plumber B said to continue with my cleaning up and warned me that there could still be the occasional leak for the next two days! Indeed, the fitting didn't cease dripping steadily until after lunch. I'd kept in contact with the real estate fella who was concerned about long-term damage to the ceiling. It sounded like he really wanted to check it out, so I agreed to wait for him. I phoned my boss who was cool with me taking an annual leave day (silly to rush into the office for only a few hours). Of course, the agent never showed. Just when you think they actually give a crap for renters... Later in the arvo, I scrubbed tiles, benchtop and lino with disinfectant and they've remained bone dry ever since. Good job, plumber A.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Attention get!

* "Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop" (2007) by Simon Guerrier. Tenth Doc and Martha. "Groundhog Day" with nasty complications, e.g thicko badger-headed space raiders.

* Extended edition DVD of "Pathfinder: The Legend Of The Ghost Warrior" (2007), lent to me by VK. Bloody well made (and well bloody) Native Americans vs Vikings revenge flick.

* New Simon Pegg celebrity magazine satire "How To Lose Friends & Alienate People" (2008). Previewed with PB and CM. Rating: 7/10. Starts down under October 23.

Movie review: "Death Race" (2008)

The gist: In the dystopian future, privately owned prisons boost their incomes by televising cage fights between inmates. The Terminal Island correctional facility takes this a step further with an automotive duel between muscle cars driven by deadly male crims, navigated by spunky female crims, and armed with oil, smoke, spikes, napalm, machine guns and rockets.

Selling points: We Aussie blokes are genetically programmed to like anything that remotely resembles "Mad Max", and as car wars go, these are among the best. The characters may be shallow but they're well cast – Jason Statham as the reluctant hero, Natalie Martinez as his henchbabe, Ian McShane as the wise old mechanic, Tyrese Gibson as Statham's cocky rival, and Joan Allen as the ball-busting warden. Three words: "Release The Dreadnought!"

It's kinda like: A remake of 1975 cult fave "Death Race 2000" (whose star, David Carradine, makes a sneaky cameo). Maybe they shoulda titled this "Death Race 2033".

Final word: Auto-psychotica.

[Australian cinema release date: October 30)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weak rhymes

Paying to view: "BlizzCon 2008", via satellite from Anaheim, USA on Main Event. On one gauntleted hand, it's an elaborate, eight-hour* plug for Blizzard's forthcoming games "Diablo III" and "StarCraft II", and the "Wrath Of The Lich King" expansion for "W/O/W". On the other, it's v. slick and an interesting insight into company, pro-gamer circuit and obsessives. I'm archiving onto DVD if anyone's curious :-)

Straying to do: Shortly, I must trot across to the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Kensington for a graduating class performance of Neil LaBute's 2001 play "The Shape Of Things". By all accounts, it's a doozy.

Decaying to chew: Ultra-sugary Japanese green apple, grape and strawberry chewy lollies from SC. Better go brush my teeth again.

*And that's just today's half! I'm ignoring tomorrow's coverage (which costs an additional 15 quid).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Movie review: "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008)

The gist: As a contestant on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", poorly educated tea boy Jamal inexplicably reaches the 20-million-rupee question. He's detained by the police, who are certain he cheated. Did he have an accomplice in the audience? Is he a trivia savant? Or is it destiny? The answers lie in his incredible journey from slum to TV studio.

Selling points: Director Danny ("Trainspotting", "The Beach") Boyle excels at adapting unusual/difficult novels. Indian legend AR Rahman's fantastic thumping soundtrack drives events at a reckless pace. And underlying it all is the impossible, unstoppable romance between Jamal and his childhood sweetheart Latika.

It's kinda like: Jamal drawing the interrogating officers into his tale is oddly reminiscent of "Verbal" Kint in "The Usual Suspects", while his time on the program, especially what happens off camera, has a whiff of "Quiz Show" about it. The closing-credits sequence is pure Bollywood.

Final word: Every life is rich and every slumdog has his day.

[Australian cinema release date: December 26]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

You show 'em, Punter

Cemented to: First cricket Test between Australia and India, live from Bangalore. Evenly poised after day one, I reckon. Critics-answering century from Ricky Ponting. What was with all the birds?

In the breaks: "All-Star Superman Volume 1" (2007) by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, which I borrowed from DL. Superb in every respect.

Incidentally: Those new Grain Waves are like the offspring of potato crisps and Special K cereal. Make of that what thou wilst.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Kudos to UNSW's Faculty Of Arts And Social Sciences for organising the public lecture "American Empire - Past, Present & Future: The Uses Of History" by Professor Ian Tyrrell. Erudite and witty, broad and deep in scope; a gloriously overwhelming data dump and perfect example of why I pine for the academic life. I've no intention of mangling the central argument here. I just hope the important parts soaked into my skull sponge as easily as the complimentary reds did during refreshments.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


A CIA spy plane will surely have observed the movements of PB, CM, AM and your narrator at the Entertainment Quarter earlier this evening. Doubtless we were photographed entering Hoyts for a preview of "Body Of Lies", Ridley Scott's gripping, tech-packed, if somewhat unbelievable exploration of anti-terrorist espionage in the Middle East. And the eye in the sky can't have failed to detect our subsequent passage to the Bavarian Bier Cafe, where three of us signed up for the regular Tuesday eating trial. The Giant Schnitzel & Schnapps Challenge was a piece of...crumbed chicken. PB smashed his plate-covering schnit and the chips and rocket beneath, and I wasn't too far behind. CM, who lacks our gluttonous tendencies, did admirably well to battle through to the last bite. Satisfied we'd passed the test, the waitress half-heartedly rang a cowbell as she brought forth our reward: plum schnapps. It was so delish, we ordered more with the next round of beers. Funny thing was – and we agreed on this – the second lot of shots tasted *very* different to the first. This gave rise to conspiracy theories about the prize being watered down or the bottle of plum schnapps running out, forcing them to top up our glasses with another spirit, eg. tequila. Only the barman knows the truth. Him and the CIA.

Stobi Flips

...Are Macedonian snacks manufactured from corn grits. They're like Cheese Things, except peanut flavour not cheddar. I thought the percentage of real nuts listed in the ingredients might give a crunchier coating, but they're all mixed in and don't alter the texture. The taste's pretty bland. I'd guess there are less artificial additives, thus making S/F slightly healthier than their Strine counterparts. (The official site trumpets an "abundance of vitamin B complex".) You're not left with bright orange fingers, either. Then again...they’re still only one rung up the evolutionary ladder from packing foam, and they still turn to glue in your mouth. I bought mine at Woolies.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Notes on Newie

* Frontline Hobbies has an amazing display of "Star Wars" LEGO, including a custom-made hangar scene with oodles of stormtroopers.
* Children's entertainer Super Hubert has graduated to the Civic Theatre :-)
* The Hunter St building nicknamed the "World's Biggest Pigeon Coop", derelict for decades, is now a swanky block of flats.
* Showcase Cinema has closed, giving Tower Cinema the monopoly in the CBD. If they ain't screening it (ie. if it isn't mainstream), you ain't seeing it.
* The government bus service is a shadow of what it once was. It's pathetic!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Not-so-small press

Part of the Newcastle Young Writer's Festival, the Zine Fair was held in a restored railway shed behind Civic Station. It seriously dwarfed my expectations - tens of dealers and hundreds of stickybeaks. There were almost too many wacky homemade publications to choose from. I exercised restraint but still came away with 10 fanzines and a sticker or two. (Details in a future post.) Continuing a trend I've noticed at anime cons, a fair percentage of writers/artists had expanded into handicrafts. There were enough toy monsters on sale to populate a platform game. In the room adjoining the main hall was a presentation area where I stood through a tops slideshow on Rocket Car Day, an annual NSW event I'd love to attend. Among the alt.types circulating were assorted circus performers and a gang of shambling, groaning zombies. (Was that Baron Samedi among them?) As I was heading back to my oldies' to watch the NRL grand final with Dad, DL arrived late, but I'm glad we at least got to chinwag for 10 minutes. Were it not for him, I wouldn't have even known about the Zine Fair. The sheer amount of creativity - of art for art's sake - was inspirational.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

@ Ma & Pa's :-)

So nice to be around my two favourite people, dining on camembert'n'crackers and spag bog deluxe and stewed apple with ice-cream, reading "The Chrysalids" (1955) by John Wyndham - place saved with elephant bookmark from Thailand (ta, EM and TM!), watching the K-1 WorldMax 2008 PPV and "Jumper" (surprisingly intelligent). "The Mist" next...

Power pellets

"Data Extract #197" (an editorial regeneration); Quarter Pounders, now with bacon and avocado; "Galaga" on MAME on Xbox (as playable as ever); "Welcome To The NHK #7-8"; communal box of mini-Toblerones in our office; DL's new fanzine "The Only Honest Sport" (interviews with all sortsa folks in the wrestling biz); 2006 Shiraz by the name of "The Gaffer"; "Legion Of Super Heroes" 'toon on Boomerang; and RS and KS's entertaining phone blogging* from the the theme parks of Florida.

*See Robot Claw.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Movie review: "Brideshead Revisited" (2008)

The gist: Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) is a young man of small means, some artistic talent and considerable ambition. At Oxford, he falls in with Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw), a party boy of old money and titles, who invites him home to Brideshead. Charles ingratiates himself into the family, but resisting the advances of Sebastian and pursuing his hot sis Julia (Hayley Atwell) brings him into conflict with matriarch Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson).

Selling points: Period drama pomp. An interesting setting – the uncertain period between the World Wars. The religious conlict between atheist Ryder and the staunchly Catholic Flytes.

It's kinda like: Evelyn Waugh's 1945 novel and the 1981 TV series, hilariously enough. This'll take up far fewer hours of your life, but at 135 minutes still qualifies as epic.

Final word: Worth revisiting.

[Australian cinema release date: October 20]


Fed and watered at Sakae, SC, SK2 and I sauntered over to Stan Lee's favourite pub, the Excelsior in Surry Hills, to see three bands I knew squat about. Black Lion (the anti-Kimba?) failed to hit any highs, though the guitarist was good. He had his own distinctive style and that's rare. Death Mattel – acquaintances of SC's – were fast and furious, the frontman's fringe flying as he worked mic and keyboard; it was impossible not to be swept up in their punky indie rawk. SK2 bid us adieu at the end of the set. Swimming Underground had plenty of energy but failed to hook me. I remember thinking the drummer was decent, but I was distracted. Outside, DM were filming a clip for their new single, getting punters to recite the lyrics. I did a line. They had me turn my cap sideways like a goofball. Too drunk to care. Look for the dude in the "Blue trash" Smurfs T-shirt. We kicked on to the Sly Fox in Enmore. Another group was playing, except no-one could tell me their name. At the risk of projecting (and tarnishing my spotless rep), the lead singer resembled "Anna" from porn web site nerdpr0n :-) We didn't stay that long. Staggered back to Newtown and went our separates. Chatted to dissident cabbie about lack of journalistic freedom in China. He used an expression I liked, in relation to how the state influences journos: "They bend your tongue." So tired I actually dreamt about sleeping, as if subconsciously seeking to double the effect. No dice.