Saturday, December 24, 2005

Heigh ho! Who is there?



The people in the house across the road have had, of late, a lot of builders in, and an awful lot of wood delivered. No one seems to know quite what they're up to.

My theory is that the house is a nest of evil pagans and that they're building a wicker man in order to celebrate their winter festival by burning a hapless Christian.


Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hail HYDRA!



Hang on...

If everyone's favourite comic-book terrorists HYDRA are (is? Someone check that for me) named after the many headed serpent of Greek mythology, why is their logo an image of a skeletal octopus?




Monday, December 19, 2005

Fore!



From the Image Comics solicitations for next March:

COLOSSUS GN
March 8 o 224 pg o BW o $17.99

written by MARK ANDREWS
art by MARK ANDREWS
cover by DOMINIQUE LOUIS
forward by INCREDIBLES creator BRAD BIRD


It's foreword, cretins.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I Kick Arse For The Ape!



I read a review of Peter Jackson's King Kong that said it was "surprisingly heartbreaking". Now, the "heartbreaking" bit I get, but really, how "surprising" can it be? It's King Bloody Kong! It's not exactly an obscure film...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Obtuse



Has anyone ever seen a DVD that has the "multi angle" feature? Because I don't think I've ever encountered one...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

We Only Ask The Tough Questions



Who benefits from the greater level of famosity; Famous Amos, or Famous Dave?

Answers in the Comments, please.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs



Wondering who that blue fellow was in my Avengers line up? It was (the) Beast, Dr Henry McCoy (also called "Hank", because everyone named Henry in a Marvel comic is called Hank 98% of the time, which was somewhat confusing for the young 'Splurge), and everyone will know him next year because of this:


Oh my stars and garters!


Finally! An X-Men film where I have some interest in one of the characters!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Balls!



Has anyone seen any reviews of Mario Smash Football in the British gaming magazines? Because if there's one game I'm going to buy a GameCube for...

Avengers Assemble Again!



Because Dave sort-of-demanded it (time to full-screen your browser for full-on AvengerScope!):
She-HulkBeastCaptain AmericaCaptain Marvel/Photon/PulsarWaspSpider-ManThor



I did this once about a year ago too. As you can see, the roster has expanded, and Quasar's been retired for being naffer than I thought he was last year.

Images courtesy, again, of Micro Héros.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Tooth Bone's Connected To...



My wisdom teeth extraction was very easy, so much so that they didn't even need to stitch up the wounds afterwards. And I've suffered none of the usual after-effects, so I consider myself very lucky.

Except that about a week and a half after I had the surgery, a big yellow and red bruise appeared on my arm where they put the anaesthetic in, it hasn't gone away yet, and it hurts like a bugger, especially after I've been carrying all these boxes and bits and pieces around.

It's certainly not the after-effect I was imagining...

... On A Jetplane...



'Bye home!


That's our home for the past few years, emptied ready for someone else to move in. I'm actually surprised at how much I'll miss the old place.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Moving On



There haven't been many posts these past few days because we've been packing and cleaning. We're moving out of our flat in a day or so, and we've been working against the clock to get everything out in time.

Normal service will resume as soon as things settle down a bit.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wax Off



Mr Miyagi is dead. Did you know he was nominated for an Oscar for that role? Blimey. Haven't seen that film in years.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thank You Very Much For Being Our Postman



As Americans sit down to celebrate the anniversary of Jesus and his pirate army liberating Turkey from the English, I thought I'd give you, my lovely readers, a gift of my own.

Look! I have a proper website! Go and have a look, enjoy it, and tell me which bits don't work, as I'm sure there are many.

And in the tradition of this most hallowed day, thanks to Liam for hosting the site.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

TARDIS



It turns out that our tiny little one-bedroom flat has a great deal of hidden space. At least that's my assumption, as we seem to have far more stuff than we could plausibly have enough room for.

Yet another reason to take up an ascetic existence, I suppose. Alternatively, someone could buy me a Bag of Holding for Christmas.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Healing Factor



Thanks for your support everyone, it went very easily. Apparently the rotten monstrosities that were my wisdom teeth popped out without much trouble at all, so I shouldn't have much pain or any swelling. So that's good news, but I still fear the gangrenous encroachment of dry socket.

This bizarre stereotype Yanquis have about British dentistry really rubs me the wrong way normally, but after today, I'm starting to see their point; the knobend dentist I had in Blighty put fillings in them without even telling me that they were wisdom teeth, so the first time I even knew I had them was when my dentist here told me they needed to come out. Bastards.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Under The Knife



I'm having my wisdom teeth out a bit later on today. Given that normal dentistry fills me with fear, this operation terrifies me beyond human comprehension.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Well, that was uncomfortable...



While I may seem confident and outgoing to you, dear reader(s), I'm actually full of fears and uncertainties, usually concerning the smallest and silliest things.

Last night, we went out to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was a fun night; I met lots of new lovely people and surprised myself with my resistance to alcohol, even after more than a year without so much as a shandy. Anyway, said friend, specifically requested that I wear a comedic Guinness/drinking shirt I'd received for my birthday this year. And that's when the worry set in. Because the shirt has the name and address of the pub it was bought at emblazoned in big yellow letters (on black, of course) on the back. Meg told me again and again that I was being silly, and that no one would mind me walking into a bar with the name of another bar on my back, and she may have been right, but I worried nonetheless.

We later moved on to a real down-to-earth Irish bar, in which a little angry expat stood up on stage and started reciting a furious poem about the Easter Uprising of 1916. So I'm standing in a bar, wearing a shirt from another bar, squirming while a wizened gentleman on stage calls me a "tyrant" and an "oppressor". I know he's not talking specifically about me, no one there knows I'm English, and I think some of his complaints are legitimate, so I know I have no real reason to be uncomfortable, but I still am, because of all those little fears and uncertainties.

Musicians take the stage, and strike up some exciting fast-paced guitar music, and the room is getting hotter and stuffier all the time as people are wailing and spinning as they only ever seem to do in Irish pubs.

It's at this point, as the two fellows on stage are singing about spilling the blood of the English and how wonderful the IRA are, that I consider taking off my shirt, because it's just very hot in there.

It's okay; I have a t-shirt on underneath, something I just grabbed out of the cupboard, just a plain white t-shirt.

Except it's not plain. It's the England shirt my Mum sent me last Christmas. With the St George's cross across the chest and "England" in big red letters.

Bugger...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Harrowing



I'm dangerously at risk of turning this into a comics blog, which is not my intention, so I'll scale back on that soon, but I thought this might be the easiest way to get this little tidbit out there.

Seven Soldiers is comics writer extraordinaire Grant Morrison's latest high-concept project; a series of unrelated, yet intimately connected, miniseries telling the story of seven heroes (who never meet) facing the evil Sheeda in order to save the world.

Last week brought the first issue of the sixth miniseries, The Bulleteer. Lots has been said online about the art, but upon reading the issue, I noticed something I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere:


And this from Klarion the Witchboy #4, from a couple of weeks ago:


This "harrowing" has been mentioned a number of times during the various miniseries, and the project as a whole has obviously been constructed with great care so that every image and word means something.

So the Bulleteer's real name, as revealed here, can't just be a coincidence, surely?

Monday, November 07, 2005

European Filth Merchants Go Amerika!



It seems that French funsters Jean David Morvan and Philippe Buchet are going to be doing a Wolverine comic for Marvel. It has the potential to be a lovely piece of work, but we'll see whether mysterious black bars will pop up to cover Wolverine's hairy nipples.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Now That's What I Call Computer Music



In an excessive exercise in minimalist blogging, I'm going to base an entire post around that little bit other people put at the end of their blog posts.

Röyksopp's Only This Moment is lovely, although I think I'm only enjoying it so much because of the funky C64-style main melody, but then I'm a sucker for that stuff; Beck's Bad Cartridge has a wonderful mix that sounds like it's ripped straight from the old Commie's SID chip.

And the Blue Man Group are apparently proper musicians as well as being a weird performance artist group. Their Piano Smasher is a murky little tune which sounds a lot like Orbital in places, and is perfectly fitting for the end credits of a video game, which is fortunate, because it was used at the end of the latest R-Type.

So there you go; that's what I'm listening to right now. Proper postings soon, including news about my upcoming death under anaesthetic, most likely.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

European Filth Merchants



I was quite pleased to discover that my local library carried the Wake series of graphic novels by Jean David Morvan and Philippe Buchet, as I've been wanting to read them for a while, but being imports, they're hard to find and expensive to buy. They're fun little science fiction tales of the sort the US comics industry appears unable to do and are well worth a read.

Originally published in French as Sillage, these books display an interesting quirk of the localisation process, and one which perhaps points to the differences in how comics are viewed in the US and Europe.

Bloody gunshot wounds to the head?

Yep.

Graphic impalements on the ribcage of a dead animal?

Indeed.

Graphic impalements on the ribcage of a dead animal and foul language at the same time?

All present and correct, sir.

Boobies?

NAKED BREASTS ARE THE WORK OF SATAN, AND WE WON'T BE HAVING THEM FLOPPING ABOUT ALL OVER OUR COMICS, YOU SICK FRENCH BASTARDS!

Extreme violence and swearing are a-okay, but nipples apparently need to be covered up by magical black bars. The Americans are an odd people...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Stalking in the Key of X



Did you see tonight's Night Stalker episode, "Burning Man"? No? Have you seen X-Files season three episode "Grotesque"? That'll do then, as it's the same bloody episode! Gah.

I mean, I know that the two shows are going to have similarities, but the plot was literally the same, and they lifted a whole chunk of X-script for one scene (alone in their office, the brooding male lead and the brainy/sexy female lead discuss whether science can explain everything; she says yes, he says no). Gah.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New Worlds



Sorry, I have nothing interesting to say, so it's blog meme time!

I saw this at Prawn Bites; it's a list of the (allegedly) most important scifi films of all time, originally from here.

I'll follow Prawn's format; those I've seen are bolded, underlined ones are ones I think are among the most important scifi films ever made. I'm taking "important" to mean films that had some kind of significant impact on how scifi films are made or thought of; I'd say about 90% of the films on the list are essential scifi viewing, but I'm unsure of their importance.

Oh, and I'd love to see what Liam makes of this list.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!-I'm not sure this is an important movie per se; while it's a cult hit, and great fun, it's had little influence elsewhere, and I struggle to understand why it's considered important.
Akira-There are better examples of anime out now (Miyazaki made most of them), but the importance of Akira as a scifi film and as a gateway for the West to the world of anime cannot be overstated.
Alien-Good horror movie, but I'm not sure it's important.
Aliens-Good action movie, but I'm not sure it's important.
Alphaville
Back to the Future
Blade Runner-This should be important; it's pretty much the only decent cyberpunk movie out there (excluding anime), and it shows how perfect cyberpunk is for the medium of film. But hardly anyone (again, aside from anime) has tried to follow in its footsteps.
Brazil-I'd say that anything by Gilliam is important, but whether anyone notices that is another thing entirely. Has he ever made a popular film?
Bride of Frankenstein
Brother From Another Planet
A Clockwork Orange
Close Encounters of the Third Kind-Overrated tosh.
Contact
The Damned
Destination Moon
The Day The Earth Stood Still-Another that should be important, if only because it bucks the trend of 50's American scifi and actually has a positive message.
Delicatessen
Escape From New York
ET: The Extraterrestrial-More overrated scifi tosh from Spielberg.
Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
The Fly (1985 version)
Forbidden Planet-Conventional wisdom says this is an important film. I'm not so sure.
Ghost in the Shell-GitS is sort of the "next generation" Akira, a ten-years-later update that reminds the West of what animation can do. It's a beautiful film, but really not much good as a narrative, and again pretty much everything Miyazaki has made is better.
Gojira/Godzilla
The Incredibles-Why exactly is this considered important?
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)-50's paranoia about Communism and the Other, blah, blah. The 70's one is better.
Jurassic Park-In my opinion, this is Spielberg's finest scifi film, and I'd guess it's important if only from a special effects perspective.
Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior-Like The Matrix, this is important in that it opened up a new genre for filmmakers, but (a) most of the subsequent films were rubbish, and (b) I'm not sure "post-apocalyptic car chase" is an important genre. For what it's worth, I love the Mad Max trilogy, and my favourite of the three changes regularly, but it's most often this one.
The Matrix-Undeniably important, if only because it opened Hollywood's eyes to the possibilities of scifi cinema, and got scifi films as a genre out of a rut. Of course, they went straight into a Matrix-inspired rut, but oh well.
Metropolis-I'm not sure if I've seen the original or not. I think I have. But I've definitely seen the Tezuka remake/reimagination, which I (blasphemy!) prefer.
On the Beach
Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
Robocop-I'm not sure if this is an important film, or if I just want it to be, but it's one of the best satires of 80's America around, and I've always taken good scifi to be something that has a point, a message, to it.
Sleeper
Solaris (1972 version)-Better than the remake, even if it is six hours long and very boring.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope-Important doesn't necessarily mean in a good way...
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back-Is this any more important than RotJ? No. Is it the one that's trendy to like the most? Yes.
The Stepford Wives
Superman-Absolutely. Delivered on its promise that "you'll believe a man can fly". The sequel is better (and one of the best superhero movies ever made), but there wouldn't be a sequel is this film hadn't shown that superheroes work really well on film if you do them properly. And I don't even like Superman as a character.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day-Great action movie, and certainly important in a pushing the boundaries of technology kind of way. When it came out, all the talk was about the special effects technology, but in recent years, people have come to realise that Cameron might actually have something interesting to say about fatherhood and humanity in there somewhere.
The Thing From Another World-50's paranoia about Communism and the Other, blah, blah. Now, I love this film to bits, but I'm not sure it's important as such.
Things to Come
Tron-Oh come on. Tron? I can't fathom exactly how this is important. There's some proto-cyberpunk stuff in there, but you can count the number of cyberpunk movies on a hand and a half, and even so, they take after Blade Runner much more than this. And as a cgi pioneer, Tron is lacking, as it doesn't actually contain a significant amount of cgi...
12 Monkeys-See Brazil. And by the way, I'm not sure why he's put the numbers down here under 'T'. Isn't it more appropriate to list them before the alphabetised bit of the list?
28 Days Later-Huh?
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
2001: A Space Odyssey
La Voyage Dans la Lune
War of the Worlds (1953 version)

Thoughts? Omissions? I'm always tempted to put the underrated Stargate on these lists, although I'm not sure it's an important film. I've still not seen Donnie Darko, but I know enough about it to be surprised that it's not included. I'm similarly surprised that Night of the Living Dead (at least) isn't on the list, especially as 28 Days Later is.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Money For Nothing (Hooray!)



One of the reasons we moved to America was because we thought that the feverish capitalist economy would allow us to easily get jobs and make a start on our lives. However, we reckoned without Bush, and we've been no better off financially here than we would have been had we stayed in Blighty.

However, on the basis of this job ad, things aren't looking too bright back home either:


Blooarrgh!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Crocodile Hunter



We've all seen them, either languishing on the shelves of video shops, or in their natural habitat as "Original Movies" on the SciFi Channel; the modern American monster movie. With a cast full of D-Listers and/or complete unknowns and/or ex-porn stars and/or Bruce Campbell, an anaemic script and really dodgy cgi monsters, it's SciFi's decision to show these incessantly but not pick up Doctor Who that makes many a science fiction fan shake their head in bafflement and sadness.

But it turns out that these films are in fact documentary evidence of true events! Witness Alligator vs Python: Whoever wins, we get cheap purses!

Thanks to the gang at areyougoingtoeatthat for, er, that.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ten Ways to Improve the Quality of Life in the United States


  • The guy who comes second in presidential elections gets to be Vice-President.

  • Stan Lee goes on the $20 note.

  • Use the vast amount of money that is usually spent on blowing up foreigners to fund NASA.

  • Let British comedians go on Saturday Night Live.

  • Knock everything down and rebuild it so it's all much closer together, so you can actually walk to it instead of buying a car the size of Venezuela just to go and buy some milk.

  • Curry.

  • Put more women in charge.

  • Don't let the coaches anywhere near the pitch in Yankee football, ban advertising during games and restrict the teams to eleven players plus subs. Alternatively, replace it with rugby and/or proper football.

  • Get rid of that silly world map with America in the middle and use the one everyone else uses instead. Ditto paper sizes.

  • Replace the national anthem with the theme from Cheers.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Night Stalkin'



It's fairly well known that The X-Files was inspired and influenced by the original Kolchak, the Night Stalker, but they were never really that similar. So it's a bit bizarre to see the new remake of The Night Stalker coming across more as a remake of The X-Files than its actual inspiration. "Spooky" pre-credits sequence? Yup. Strange but brilliant investigator throwing away his promising career to pursue the weirder stories? Yup. Said career move prompted by the mysterious disappearance of a loved one? Yup. A sceptical female partner in a sharp suit? Yup. Little pithy voiceover at the end as the "case file" is typed up? Yup. It really is almost identical to The X-Files, to the extent that it was quite jarring when those little typewritten place/time captions didn't appear at the beginning of each scene.

And how bad is the WB's new Dawson's Creek-with-ghosts show, Supernatural, if the only little positive review soundbite thingies they could get for the trailer come not from newspapers or television magazines, but from the show's own message board? Egad.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

You can't! WE MADE YOU!



Last night's trashy film entertainment was a film I absolutely loved as a wee nipper (along with the mighty Krull), the utterly demented Maximum Overdrive. Imagine Night of the Living Dead, except set in a truck stop instead of a remote cottage, and replace the zombies (and presumably the social commentary) with murderous sentient lorries, led by an enormous lorry with the face of the Green Goblin!

Early screen tests determined that Estevez was perhaps too short to play Spider-Man...

You can perhaps see why my eight year old self loved it, and why my twenty-six year old trash movie loving self loves it too. It is utter rubbish of course, but how could you not enjoy a film that features Emilio Estevez and a lorry pushing each other around in that bizarre "no hands" way that drunk blokes do just before a fight?

A bit over ten years later, they had another go at filming Stephen King's short story Trucks, this time stripping all the "silliness" out in order to create a more gritty, visceral experience. Which seems to be missing the point, if you ask me.

The Bird is the Word



I've finally been hit by my first bit of comment spam, so I've turned on word verification. Sorry.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Funny Comic Panel Of The Week, Part 282

Trashing aliens is great!


The Mighty Thor gets The Mighty Round in, from Ultimate Secret #3 (2005).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It wasn't Mike and Angelo...



That was on ITV, and featured some annoying Yankling in big white 80's trainers. This was on the Beeb, and was just as bad, but had no embarrassing grabs at transatlantic popularity. Teenage lad makes friends with an alien who wore nasty shellsuits and who (either because it was a cheap way to make him look alien or because his race were shapeshifters and got bits wrong, like Odo on DS9) had back-to-front ears. He also had this weird amulet thing and if he lost it, he'd gradualy start to weaken and fade away, which of course happened every episode.

Any ideas?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Tumbleweeds

A full week without a post. Crikey.

And this one's just here to point out that I'm still alive. Not much else to report beyond that, really.


Oh, that's not quite true; I did get We ♥ Katamari. It is great.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

March of the Nutbars/Tastes Like Home



Some of the circumstances they experienced seemed to parallel those of Christians. The penguin is falling behind, like some Christians are falling behind. The path changes every year, yet they find their way, like the Holy Spirit.


The Christian Right in America sees a movie about penguins as the Word of God. Some days, I feel like I can't get out of here fast enough.

Which is a shame, as earlier today I had a nice chat with the bloke in the pizza shop about Kevin Keegan, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Crystal Palace, and I felt a little like I was at home.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Television Without Fear



When will I, will I be famous?The only new season programme we've watched so far is Fox's Head Cases, which is yet another lawyer show, but one that just about works, due to some quirky characterisation and good acting.

It also got me thinking (again!) about why there has never been a Daredevil series. The concept seems perfect for television; the goal seems to be to stick to established formulas (doctors, coppers, lawyers), but with a twist to distinguish them from other shows (the doctors are all students, the coppers are in fact the forensics guys in the lab, the lawyers are just out of the loony bin), and Daredevil seems perfect for that. The lawyer side can provide the case of the week stuff that these shows thrive on (and the stuff that was missing from the movie), and Matt Murdock is a character with enough angst to fill episode after episode with soap opera shenanigans. Then you've got the superhero stuff to add that extra twist that the television companies crave. And if you play it right (do it like Frank Miller did), you can present the superhero bits as realistic parts of this gritty crime-ridden world. Daredevil doesn't need any super expensive cgi powers either.

So Marvel, this is my proclomation: get on that please. Or at least get Bruce Timm in to do Daredevil: The Animated Series.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

In Affectionate Remembrance



I don't really follow cricket as well as I could, and many of the mechanics (particularly of Test scoring) remain impenetrable to me, but even I understand that today was a good day. Good job, lads.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sunny day, everything's not okay...



Monster, monster, monster!
So, not only have they made Cookie Monster go cold turkey because they think it's him that's making the little Yanklings fat, rather than the omnipresence of MuckDonald's, but I found out yesterday that the cascist funts that now run Sesame Street have gotten rid of that bit where the Count von Count (the Street's finest resident, bar none) would laugh maniacally as thunder rumbled and lightning flashed behind him, because it might frighten children.

Never mind that he's been doing it for thirty years without any significant negative impact on the world's youth.

ARGH!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

And we're back...



Rhode Island, or at least the Providence bit, is a lovely place. We had a pretty good time, although we didn't get many pictures, and I failed to take the opportunity to visit any Lovecraftian sites (his grave was too far away to walk to, and I only discovered how accessible his birthplace was after we left), but we got the important (and strenuous) work done, which was moving Meg's sister into college.


If I can find any interesting pictures from the trip, I'll post them. Subject to veto, of course.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm sorry, what type of book is it again?



From the Grauniad's rundown of the contenders for its own First Book Award:

To a Fault
Nick Laird
(Faber)

Poems of family and identity by a talented new Irish poet. Poetry

...

The Comic Spoiler

No, not this Spoiler...
From the top-notch comics reviews site The Fourth Rail:

It sounds ludicrous that the villains, or at least some of the villains, of this piece are a pack of naked girls, but their attack on the world at large this issue is bloody and certainly freak-out scary and disturbing, and the revelation of what motivates them on the last page is chilling.

I hate that. I have no desire to go and buy the comic in question (Girls #4), I'm not even motivated to download the thing, but that paragraph up there really makes me want to know exactly what's so bloody interesting on that last page. Someone should be doing a comics version of The Movie Spoiler, and if they already are, someone should be telling me where it is.

[UPDATE: it seems that someone has done a comics spoiler site, although it's focussed on this summer's big crossovers, and I have absolutely zero interest in those. It's an admirable effort to undermine the money-grabbing crossover psychology, though. I approve of that.]

Hey! I love your blog! I have a proctology blog here!



So far, I haven't been hit by the pervading sickness that is blog spam, which leads me to suspect that it's somehow tied in with popularity and number of existing comments, as I don't get any from real people either.

Anyway...

I had a look through Blogger's so-called "help" files and found a possible (although clunky) solution here, so consider this a public service announcement for all my blogging friends.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Trash talking



One of my great pleasures is watching trashy late night television, particularly the terrible movies that crop up past midnight. Now, seeing as a great deal of the nonsense I enjoy comes from America, you'd think that it would be a paradise for me, but not so. There is a lot of late night rubbish on, but it's usually dating shows or those celebrity judge things. Rarely is it a bit of low-budget scifi programming or a crappy movie. Most of the time, in fact, it's those three-hour long infomercial things. Blech. But last night was a bumper crop.

I started off with The Ring of the Musketeers, which starred David Hasslehoff (complete with mullet and moustache), the blonde Nazi scientist from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Cheech from Cheech and Chong, and some European fellow apparently cloned from Michael Bolton, playing the modern-day descendants of the Three Musketeers (and d'Artagnan). Assembled by Gimli (did he share any scenes with the blonde Nazi in Last Crusade?), who operates from a "castle" in the Los Angeles area which looks suspiciously like a hotel, they zoom about on motorbikes wearing matching frilly silk shirts and leather jackets (with TASSLES!), fighting organised crime in the musketeer way. Except there's no swordfighting, and certainly no musketeering, so they're not particularly musketeery. As you can probably tell, it was utter bobbins, but exactly the kind of stuff I enjoy in my trashy cinema; an utterly bonkers concept married to really dodgy production values. There was one bit where there was one of those fades that implies a stretch of time between scenes, but the next scene had the characters standing in exactly the same positions, as if musketeers have the magical ability to stand motionless for hours on end as they wait for gangsters to appear from nightclubs. Also, the big villain of the movie was killed, off-screen, by someone with no connection to the musketeers at all, a finale which must violate some law of plot construction.

All for one..

Because being a musketeer is my passion, and a life without passion is no life at all. - wise words from David Hasslehoff as John Smith d'Artagnan


I hung around after that in the hopes of more rubbish, but instead got the beginning of some three-hour epic about a hellish device that bleaches your carpet, so I hopped, and found Robocop 2 showing on a local channel! Hurrah! American telly scheduling is very odd to an outsider, and one of the strange quirks is how channels show movies; if a network has paid for the rights to show a film, they're damn well going to make sure that they get their money's worth and that the maximum number of people possible will see their acquisition. In practice, what this means is that the same film will get shown again and again in a short period of time; about a year or so ago one of the channels was showing Star Trek IV: The One With The Whales once a week for about three months. Anyway, Robocop 2 was on a couple of weeks ago, but for whatever reason I didn't watch it then. But I wasn't going to pass up such a sweet deal twice in a row! Oh no!

[UPDATE: as if to illustrate my point, The Ring of the Musketeers is on again this afternoon! Except it's on a completely different channel to the one it was on last night. Bizarre...]

I remember Robocop 2 being utter codswallop, which is why I was so pleased to see it on, but in fact it's a lot better than I recalled. As any fule kno, the original Robocop might look like an overly violent 80's American action movie, but in actual fact is also a biting satire on 80's America. Notice I said "also", because Robocop really is an overly violent 80's American action movie, just one with a brain. The sequel isn't as satirical as the original, but it's actually quite clever in its own way, and surprisingly subtle about it. It's also a much better action film than its predecessor, perhaps because it's much more honest about being a superhero movie. The original Robocop is quite obviously a superhero origin story (and incidentally the best Judge Dredd film that never got made) in terms of plot, but never really feels like a superhero movie, which is probably why most people don't recognise it as such. But Robocop 2 doesn't act coy about it and offers up some top-notch superheroic action. Which shouldn't come as a surprise, given that it's written by Frank "The Tank" Miller, he of good-Batman, good-Daredevil and pretty-much-consistently-good-Sin City fame. It's top-notch stuff, and as such probably shouldn't be counted as late night trash at all. It makes me wonder whether Robocop 3 (also written by The Tank, and featuring FLYING ROBOT NINJAS as I recall) is as bad as I remember it being.

After that, I was prepared to turn in, but the same channel followed up with an episode of Magnum, p.i. and you know I can't turn that down. It was from the seventh season, and I don't think I've ever seen an episode from that late in the run (I left Blighty before Channel Five got that far, and Channel 45 here shows them in a weird order, and at weird times apparently). The episode concerned an ex-cop's quest for revenge on the murderer of his eight-year old granddaughter, and it was dark. I don't expect an episode with such subject matter to be a barrel of laughs, but still, I don't think I've ever seen an episode of this show that's so grim. Most of it was filmed at night, in seedy neighbourhoods, with a soundtrack that had a dirty grimy feel to it, and the whole thing came across as really nihilistic. Still a good episode though, and the ex-cop was played by a thuggish Frank Sinatra, which was a bit bizarre.

On to less trashy stuff now, and gosh, I'm a lucky little boy! Not only is the best Batman film finally being given a special edition, but I found out this week that Transformers: The Movie is getting a special edition release too! Huzzah! There's a lot of talk over the technical specifications of the video transfer on this dvd because apparently the original film, although it was intended for cinemas (where I first saw it as a wee nipper), was made in a 4:3 aspect ratio (that's the almost-square shape of most tellies). That's just so strange and bizarre that I'd like one of the filmites (James? Liam? Monsignor Nagl?) to explain why that might be.

The Fundamental Mystery Of Being



I understand the phishing emails, the financial scams from Africa, and the ones with the fake attachments that actually download cyclopean horrors from the planet Yuggoth onto your hard drive, but those spam mails that don't ask you to buy stuff, or download stuff or anything, what are those for?

I mean, are those genuine, albeit completely unwanted, offers? What do the spammers gain from sending me this stuff, when there's no way for me to reply to (or buy stuff off) them? This mystery has been taking up an inordinate amount of my brain's processing time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Reed Richards is a C**T!



My ground-breaking and controversial article Reed Richards is a C**T! (or, Karmic Imbalance in the Fantastic Four) is now up at SilverBulletComics.

Actually, it's not that ground-breaking or particularly controversial, but I hope it's entertaining at the very least. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

When I say run...



I don't normally do this kind of thing, but it's Doctor Who, so...

The Second Doctor

You are the Second Doctor: Affable, impish, and
fond of simple pleasures as well as simple
pranks. Your mischievous exterior camouflages a
powerful mind and a great deal of courage.
Although you care nothing for appearances, you
place a high value on the bonds of true and
lasting friendship.

Which Incarnation of the Doctor Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla



I suppose that's broadly appropriate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Funny Comic Panel Of The Week, Part 410

Blooarrgh!


He's not lying either. Tough old bastard. From Hellboy: The Island #1 (2005).

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The War

The preliminary strike came without warning, and so subtle was it that even when we woke up the next day to find our lives shattered and changed beyond recognition, no one was really sure what had happened. All we knew was that we had been attacked and that Marathon was now Snickers.

The unknown enemy attacked once more, and Opal Fruits were taken from us forever. By the time of the third assault, and the brave but futile last stand of Oil of Ulay, we knew that it was the Americans that were doing this to us. How could we resist such a powerful enemy?

With the surprise liberation of Coco Pops, the tide turned, and our chiefs began planning a retaliatory strike. A similar attack on the enemy's foodstuffs would be obvious and difficult to pull off, so we looked elsewhere for a suitable target. Then one bright spark remembered that the one thing Americans loved more than their food was their television. With a new focus, plans began to form.

The operation has been so successful that I don't think the Americans have fully realised what's hit them. Their television networks have been dealt a crippling blow, and it's only a matter of time before the whole thing crumbles around their ears. With special operatives Tim Vincent, Vernon Kaye and Johnny Vaughan now in key positions, it looks like the end for American television.

All-New! All-Different!


I've tidied up a bit around here. Nothing major, but a lot of the functions and features I was emulating via half-inched jerry-rigged chunks of code and third-party plugins have since been incorporated into Blogger, so I've rejigged and updated things a bit. One of the casualties has been the comments system, so if you've left a message in the past couple of days, it's gone missing. Sorry.

Funny Comic Panel Of The Week, Part 317

And you thought it was just an amusing one-off. Foolish humans.

Call me Dan

Spider-Man and Dan Aykroyd appearing together on Saturday Night Live, from Marvel Team-Up #74(1978). Also appearing are Aykroyd's Ghostbusters co-star Bill Murray and the late John Belushi who, appropriately enough, has a fight with the Silver Samurai.

And I've just noticed while typing this up that I've spelled his name as "Ackroyd" all these years, when in fact it's spelled quite differently. Odd.

And I've also just noticed while typing this up that Aykroyd wore a jacket like that in Ghostbusters. Odder.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight?


Yeesssssss!

Batman Special Edition

  • All-new digital transfer

  • Audio Commentary by director Tim Burton

  • On the Set With Bob Kane

  • Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman - The Batman comic book saga as reinvented and reinterpreted over nearly seven decades

  • Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Parts 1-3


    • The Road to Gotham City

    • The Gathering Storm

    • The Legend Reborn


  • Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery


    • Visualizing Gotham: The Production Design of Batman

    • Building the Batmobile

    • Those Wonderful Toys: The Props and Gadgets of Batman

    • Designing the Batsuit

    • From Jack to the Joker

    • Nocturnal Overtures: The Music of Batman


  • Music videos by Prince: Batdance, Partyman and Scandalous

  • The Heroes and The Villains Profile Galleries

  • Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence

  • Theatrical trailer


No word on the reinstatement of the "is it Halloween?" deleted scene though (it was in the theatrical cut, but was mysteriously absent from all home versions).
This is probably my favourite superhero film (it's in a constant three-way tie with Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2), and one of my favourite films full stop, so it's great to finally see a decent dvd transfer, let alone one bursting with extras. October 18th 2005, for those interested in Christmas present ideas...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Boutros Boutros-Ghali


Meg moved all our furniture a while ago, and it meant that we had to retune the television. One channel that we didn't get when the thing was six feet from where it is now was the local Spanish-language channel. They appear to show three types of programme: soap operas (mostly akin to the glossy American ones), utterly demented entertainment shows (Noel's House Party on LSD), and football. Lots and lots of football. Granted, I don't understand a word of it, and since it's probably the the Mexican League or something, I don't recognise any of the teams or players, but it's free footie on the telly. I don't even get that at home.

There's also this bloke who turns up, apparently randomly, during commercial breaks to presumably report the football results. Again, I don't know if that's actually what he's doing as I can't understand a word of Spanish, but he talks over footage of goal celebrations and the like, so I assume that he's some sort of Central American Des Lynam. He pops up for literally about fifteen seconds, enough to talk over a tiny bit of footage from a game, and then signs off with a military salute. I can't help but think of Chanel 9.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A note for the proper author


You can be as clever and postmodern as you like with the writing; in fact I welcome it. It makes things interesting after all. You can have complex, ambiguous plots and characters. All of these are great. But please, please, try to remember that a story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. See, if you're being all clever about your writing, but can't actually put a story together, then you're just wanking in print, aren't you?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

We'll follow Mister Spoon...


The Google satellite map service now covers the moon. Zoom in at maximum magnification to get an... interesting look at the moon's surface.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Wanted A Kilt


So this is what Doctor 10 will look like:


Got 10p for a cuppa tea?


He looks like the bloke who drinks cough medicine in the park!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Is it supposed to look like that?


One of these things is my foot; the other two items are courgettes, both from the same plant. See if you can see which is which:


Bloody hell!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rings Around The World


So this morning, ABC had a live video feed from Singapore to cover the announcement of which city was going to host the Olympics in the year of the Mayan apocalypse. There was much gnashing of teeth and wailing about how New York should get it, despite being voted out at a very early stage, because of the terrorist attacks of 2001, the international sporting equivalent of a pity shag. However, the strangest thing about the coverage was that they were presenting their live feed forty minutes after NBC had presented the exact same live feed.

American television news isn't a joke, no siree.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Funny Comic Panel Of The Week, Part 654

Dick Cheney, yesterday


From The Mighty Thor #358. Some dastardly bank robbers have found out that their boss is in fact a nasty Communist villain.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I like to move it...


If you only see one Christian Bale movie this summer, make it Howl's Moving Castle.

No longer twice-nightly


Richard Whiteley died. Blimey. I'm not a fan, particularly, and I never got into that student-chic thing Countdown had, but the show is one of those things-I-miss-about-home-but-probably-shouldn't, and Meg was watching About A Boy (is Hugh Grant the "boy" or is the floppy-haired youngster the "boy"? Or are they both the "boy"? It's so profound!) the other night, and Whiteley was in that, so the news is a bit weird.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

You will obey!


Everywhere I go on the intervirtualmatrixweb, there are spoilers for the final episode of the mighty Doctor Who. The whole lot of you are evil demonic temptresses of the worst kind, and I shall avoid you until I've seen it myself. Do not tempt my wrath...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Naked Video


I really don't understand these things, but Rob batonned* me, so...

Total number of films I own on DVD/video:
Not a lot actually, I only started to collect films in the dying days of VHS, and haven't really caught up on DVD yet, especially since we're moving to another region at some point in the nearish future. Let's say about fifty.

The last film I bought:
Um... it's been a while. Titan A.E. I think, for something silly like two dollars. It's not worth much more than that, but it's fun enough.

The last film I watched:
That's a bit easier. Finding Neverland was on in the background the other night, and I occasionally took a peek, but the last film I actively watched was Meet The Fockers the night before that. Dustin Hoffman is brilliant in it. The rest of it is shite.

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):

Much easier to answer than the music one. I must be a visual person.

Transformers: The Movie (1985/1986)
Optimus Prime kicks the collective arses of the entire Decepticon army, then dies. The hero dies. In a kid's film. Akira is great, Miyazaki is a genius of godlike proportions, but nothing touches this movie. Nothing. Plus it's the only kid's cartoon referenced in Boogie Nights, which has to be a sign of quality.

Halloween (1978)
The Best Film Ever. Anyone who tells you anything different is a liar of the worst sort, and probably also an imbecile.

One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975)
Disney's finest hour-and-a-bit, I don't actually get to watch it a lot because the only place and time you can see it in this infinite cosmos is on ITV on Bank Holiday afternoons, but it mixes martial arts, a spy thriller, dinosaurs, and Victorian nannies all up in one film, which is the closest we're getting to a big-screen pirates vs ninjas vs monkeys vs robots movie in my lifetime.

Throne Of Blood (1957)
One of Kurosawa's second-tier movies that gets overlooked by people searching for the origins of Star Wars or The Magnificent Seven, this minor epic is an absolutely wonderful adaptation of my favourite Shakespeare play.

Batman (1989)/Spider-Man (2002)
I know, I'm cheating, but I can't decide between these two. The two best superhero films ever made by mortal hands. Probably the only thing that could shift these would be a full on epic Simonson-flavoured Thor movie done on a near-unlimited budget, or a similarly funded Avengers (no, not those Avengers) film, and those are unlikely to be made any time soon.

Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal/blog:
No. Although it'll be interesting to see what Rad, BilLy and Liam come up with. That's almost five isn't it? Well, let's chuck Nagl and the chaps from areyougoingtoeatthat? in there too to make up numbers.


*"batonned" is not a word. Do not use it in pedantic company.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

It's like Elite, but with chickens...

I had a SNES, but I obviously wasn't amazingly enthusiastic about it. Yes, it had the best version of Street Fighter II, the best Mario platformer so far, and the One True Mario Kart, so it certainly wasn't neglected. But I don't remember ever buying a single Nintendo-specific magazine, whereas I still have piles upon piles of Sega, Amiga and C64 magazines taking up space in a loft in East Sussex. What this means is that in these days of emulation and retro gaming, I'm discovering a whole new world of gaming delights on Nintendo's plucky little machine. Ogre Battle was the first surprise; a superb strategic wargame that I'd never heard of, apparently because it had no Sega or Commodore presence. And just this week, I discovered the delights of Harvest Moon, which is nothing but a farming simulator.
Yes, I understand that it's a tiny tomato patch, but I've only just started...

You buy seeds and/or animals from a nearby village, take them to your farm and set about putting up fences and tilling fields, and hope that you turn a profit at the end of the day. You milk your cows, pull up your turnips and collect your chickens' eggs, and that's it. It's slow, but amazingly compelling and addictive, just like plain old space trading is in Elite, which is why it reminds me of that classic game, even though they have almost nothing in common. You don't get to engage in piracy and theft in Harvest Moon, or go on murderous rampages in order to boost your Elite rating, but it's close enough. It's the complete antithesis of Grand Theft Auto while remaining within the same broad reality-based gaming genre. Wonderful.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Sunny Day...


When I said "no one comes here" in the previous post, I wasn't fishing for sympathetic testimonials. I honestly didn't think anyone read this blog. Now, of course, I know that to be incorrect, and I have to provide some content for my "legions" of "adoring" "fans".

How about this?

Team Spirit, page one

Yet again, I'm less than impressed with the final product, but you can decide for yourself by reading the rest, and some other fun stories too, in Sunny For Girls #2.

I really need to get a website sorted for all this stuff.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Re: ME MEME ME MEME ME MEME ME


Rad challenged me with this, and I've had nothing to post anyway, so this'll do. Not that I really understand these internet meme things, but...

Total volume of music files on my computer:
Oh blimey...

"My Music" is at 4.85gb at the moment, then I probably have at least another gigabyte of mids, mods and sids floating about in various virtual corners. Crikey.

The last CD I bought was:
The latest Lemon Jelly release. It's the same song done eleven or so times with different samples, and as such is a bit dull.

Song playing right now:
Nothing. But if I start up MusicMatch, it starts off with the newest Doctor Who theme, strangely.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:
Dunno. I just put the thing on random and just listen while I'm doing something else. Plus, my tastes are far too geeky to share...

Here's the first five on my current playlist:
(Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult (it's probably not trendy to like this but who cares?)
Life's What You Make It - Talk Talk (this is the only one that "means" anything, but it's purely nostalgic, as this seemed to be everywhere when I was a nipper!)
Ecco 2: The Tides Of Time Drift OC ReMix - SuperGreenX
Space Station Interior - Metroid Prime Soundtrack
Knives Out (Live) - Radiohead (this is a bit naff actually, not a very good performance by the gang)

In a strange bit of synchronicity with Rad, the player does seem to "randomly" play To The End by Blur an awful lot, and it is a rather cracking tune.

Five people to whom I'm passing the musical baton:
No one comes here, so I don't know.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Splat?


You know those joke items you can attach to your car? Like the fingers you put around the edge of your boot to make it look like someone's trapped in there, or the golfball you stick to your window so it looks like it's been smashed? Is there a similar thing that looks like a bird has been smooshed into your front grate, or did the car I just saw really have a dead bird stuffed in its radiator?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Clumsy Westerners Need Not Apply

"Nintendo surprised many by unveiling a new version of its best- selling GameBoy, called the GameBoy Micro, due to go on sale in the autumn.
The tiny game player is just slightly bigger than an iPod Mini, but two-thirds the weight."

Good to see that Nintendo are going for the hitherto-ignored market of video games for really tiny people...

The new X-Brick is even uglier than its predecessor, and has the wrong name (wouldn't "Next-Box" have been much better than the surreal "X-Box360"?), and I'm undecided about the look of Sony's new machine, but it promises to be backwards compatible with both previous incarnations of the hardware, and that's enough to sell me on it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

To Badly Go...


Enterprise got an absolutely wonderful series finale tonight, a poignant episode that really got to the heart of what the show was about. Excellent stuff.

Except it wasn't the real season finale, because that was the episode they tacked on afterwards, which sidelined the regular cast in favour of guest appearances by some of the Next Generation cast members. It says volumes that the best bit of the entire episode was the Picard voiceover clipped from the Next Generation opening titles. Tsk.

I think that one of the reasons why Star Trek has the reputation it does is because for every absolutely stonking episode, you get three or four terrible stinkers. Conceptually, it's never been a bad idea (even the abysmal Voyager had a great premise), but the execution is so embarrassingly erratic.

So it's farewell to Enterprise, a programme that didn't start off too well, but delivered two quite strong final seasons that were among the best the franchise has ever produced.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Jan Ken Pon!


So you've got eleven million quid in paintings you want to offload, and both Christie's and Sotheby's want the job of selling them. How do you decide which prestigious auction house to choose?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Keeping Clean Since 1935

DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, has acquired a new logo, for the first time in thirty years.

Sadly, rather than saying "exciting superhero stories within", it really says something more like "24-hour cavity protection" or "keeps clothes clean and colours bright":



Expect an ad campaign involving Danny Baker going door-to-door threatening housewives with copies of Superman in Action Comics...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Do not attempt. Again.


So there's this advert for some generic car in which it's being driven along some country road somewhere. It's not being driven particularly fast, and there are no obstacles in the way or flashy stunts being attempted.

And yet, there it is, at the bottom of the screen:

"Professional driver. Do not attempt."

Do not attempt what? To drive your car along a road? What would be the point of buying the sodding thing then?

Cretins.

Speaking of which, the election went pretty much as I'd expected, with Labour taking a pretty big hit over Iraq. I hope that this warning shot will wake Labour's leadership up a bit to just how much they're letting people down. Brown and Blair do seem to at least acknowledge the fact that some of their recent policies haven't been too popular, which is progress of a sort from Blair's creepy and arrogant attitude of the past year or so. Great fun was had following the events on US telly, too, especially the many and varied attempts made by the news programmes to explain some of the alien (to Americans) concepts involved. Three parties? How does that work then?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

That's The Spirit!


Gah! For the past couple of weeks, I've been struggling with drawing a strip for Sunny For Girls #2. It's been a right pain in the arse, but I got there in the end, and it doesn't look too bad either. I've also learned a few new tricks that I can apply to other work, such as the still-unfinished O Men Anthology piece, so all in all, while it's been a hassle, it's been worth it.

I can't rest though, as there's an ever-increasing list of projects to deal with!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Wasn't she in Leprechaun?


New game: pick any non scifi/fantasy/horror film and spot all the cast members who have appeared in scifi/fantasy/horror films. For example, bland smugfest Bridget Jones' Diary features the evil scientist from the new Battlestar Galactica, the lead from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4, Pussy Galore (you may want to appeal to an impartial observer regarding the validity of Bond movies-I'd count them), the Eleventh Doctor (one of many scifi appearances from this actor), a landowner seduced by a snake cult, and the bloke who looked after the Rancor in Return Of The Jedi.

The more embarrassing and/or obscure the scifi/fantasy/horror appearance, the better.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Wanted: Mr Tibbles - Dead Or Alive


Since they discovered that killing Hmong immigrants tends to lead to thorny civil rights issues, Wisconsin hunters have decided to set their sights (literally) on another target, and are applying for permission to allow hunting of stray cats. That permission has already been granted in Minnesota.

I'm not a cat person, but really, are these people so obsessed with killing stuff that they have to go after household pets?

Do Not Attempt.


America has no legal system. Instead of actual laws and punishments, everything seems to be about money. You don't prosecute, you sue. As such, adverts are full of disclaimers, especially ones for cars (and there are a lot of car adverts on telly here). I even saw one which featured someone daydreaming about his car being able to fly, with the not-a-hint-of-irony disclaimer:
Car does not actually fly.

So I'm quite surprised at a recent Jeep advert. Normally, these things show the vehicle of choice sliding about through gravel and mud, pulling handbrake turns and the like. Risky manoeuvres, certainly, but nothing over the top. Nonetheless, there's the ever-present disclaimer:
Closed course. Trained driver. Do not attempt.

Now, in order to tie in with the new Sahara movie, there's one of those half-advert-half-trailer thingies out. It features a Jeep sliding about in gravel and sand, and launching off of the top of sand dunes. It also features the occupants firing heavy automatic weapons at pursuing helicopters and lobbing hand grenades at other vehicles.

Not a peep.

So, apparently it's a big no-no to be driving a four-wheel drive off road vehicle through some deep mud, but using it in dangerous paramilitary operations is fine and dandy.

Still, I suppose the kind of person who'd be using their Jeep as a mobile weapons platform wouldn't be suing the manufacturers because the cupholders snap off at high speeds.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Cacophony


I know that iTunes does it, but I'm not sure I want to get involved with all that business unless I have a Mac and/or iPod, so is there any other way to standardise the volume of all the mp3s on my hard drive? I'm getting a tad miffed with having to interrupt what I'm doing to adjust the volume every other song.

In completely unrelated news, I notice that the Darth Sidious action figure also gives away the twist in Revenge Of The Sith. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given that the soundtrack album to The Phantom Menace, which came out over a month before the film, had "The Funeral Of Qui-Gon Jinn" on the tracklisting...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Controversy Reloaded


Who's going to argue with Wolverine?


The writer is Joss Whedon, an American. The character is Wolverine, a Canadian. Frankly, if Wolverine says it's "Lego", I'd go with that.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Scooby Doo In Space

Obviously, I've not seen the film yet, but the novelisation of Revenge Of The Sith makes quite clear something I'd suspected since I saw The Phantom Menace.

Darth Sidious is Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine.

No, that's not the funny bit. The funny bit is that this is supposed to be a big old M Night Shyamalan surprise.

Oh, George... and the trailer had me convinced that you weren't going to cock this one up...

Monday, March 28, 2005

Spot The Ball


Americans don't know the delights of the ancient game of spot the ball, but if they did, surely this image from Saturday's paper would be a contender:

Federal Theater Project


I've managed to secure a whopping 55mb of free webspace, but I'm told that I need FTP to get access to it, and I'm afraid I'm stumped. As with most computery things, I'm sure it's fairly simple, but I'd appreciate it if someone could walk me through what I'm supposed to do. Thanks!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Big In Japan


Does anyone know how or where I can get imported Japanese CDs in the US? I'm particularly interested in soundtracks from games and anime. Any ideas?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Liberal Bias In The Media


Now, I know that the Grauniad is a left-wing paper, but even I didn't expect this of them, from Saturday's front page:

That's not to say I don't approve, however...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

For Rad


I don't want to be left open to the nasty fondlings of spambots, so here's a screenshot of my Gmail address.





Quite why electronic communications seem to have completely broken down over this thing, I don't know. Clearly the fates have decided that I am to be denied a copy of my own Ben Bigby: Space Ace...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Lost In Time (or the King of Geek)


I'm still alive here, but all available bandwidth is being put toward dowloading the "leaked" Doctor Who episode. So, you see, everyone benefits...

Monday, February 28, 2005

Is it because the award itself looks like a yellow T-1000?


Does anyone know why the theme music to the Oscars this year was a Mexican cantina version of the Terminator theme? I certainly didn't see any malevolent cyborgs from the future...

Monday, February 21, 2005

it's snow problem


Anyone know how to get past this screen in Creatures 2: Torture Trouble?
Bloody Ballonist Bastard!
I can move that rock back and forth by shooting it, and my guess is that I need to somehow get it into the snow machine so it falls on the pink snowball chucker. Because, you see, he's chucking snowballs into the water and raising the water level, so that green thingie can bite my mate (hanging from the rope) in half. I'm the pink and grey thing by the rock at the top of the screen by the way. But how do I get the rock across the gap and into the snow machine? And what's the ramp on the left for? Occasionally, I've managed to slide down it and land on that flying bat thing, but then he collapses under my weight and we both fall into the flames. Gah!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

In all the video rental shops in all the world...

Given that I'm about 4000 miles away from the country it was broadcast in, the last thing I expected to see in my local Blockbuster was a dvd of Stella Street. Now I understand that they did a full-length film of it last year, and that's what's on the shelves rather than the original shorts that BBC2 used to put on, but still...

Blimey. I'll be on the lookout for a Glam Metal Detectives boxed set then.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Marathon Man

Apparently, I am some natural anomaly, an abomination, an abberation. It seems that it's impossible to anaesthetise me. Ouch.

Friday, February 11, 2005

A Blot On My Conscience


Well, all the inking is done for my O Men strip. With any luck, I'll have the lettering and colouring done by Monday. Hurrah!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Public Safety Announcement


There's a cover of Bjork's "Hyperballad" going around, by the Twilight Singers. It is absolutely awful, and may prompt you into self-harm, so avoid it at all costs.

The Blessing Of Nurgle


Oh great, another chuffing cold. That's the fourth in as many weeks, I think.

In better news, I made something of a breakthrough concerning Photoshop today, which has pleased me immensely, and probably saved me a few hundred quid too.

(No prizes for guessing the origin of the title. In fact, you may not want to reveal that you know where it's from, as it's a bit geeky and embarrassing...)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Does Alan Partridge Work At Fox Sports?


By recording the Superbowl, I've managed to avoid watching the actual "game", and still get to see the movie trailers they like to stick randomly in there. Sorted.
Nonetheless, we managed to catch a bit of the broadcast while flipping the channels. It was a montage of images and film clips of various players from the opposing teams, being all tough and manly and whatnot. They obviously wanted to emphasise the sense of conflict between the teams, elevating it into something more akin to an epic battle between mighty warriors than a sporting event involving overpaid fat blokes. What better way to do this but to play some classic bit of masculine tough-guy rock over the montaged images? And that classic bit of masculine tough-guy rock? The song that, more than any other, evokes images of tough sportsmen engaged in a rugged game of skill and strength?

Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2. Because it's "Superbowl Sunday" you see.

Oh dear.


As far as the trailers went, it was a pretty poor showing. Only two big-name movies, Batman Begins To Rebuild His Reputation and Spielberg's "re-imagining" of War Of The Worlds. Neither trailer was anything more than a teaser, although Spielberg's two-second snippet of unfinished footage looked the best of the two.

The most bizarre event of the evening must have been the advert for official England rugby team credit cards. During the Superbowl. Right...

Currently listening to: Astronaut Wife. They have an almost Dubstar-ey thing going on, except they're a bit less melancholy, which may be because they're jolly Minnesotans rather than grumpy English folk.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

But you're not fooling me, 'cause I can see, the way you shake and shiver


Up until now, I thought that the area of town that we live in was pretty quiet and safe. Now I'm not so sure. If these guys are in the area, then who knows what's lurking in the darkness?


Scooby Doo, where are you?


I know that from now on, I'm keeping an eye out for suspicious-looking property developers...

Friday, February 04, 2005

For BilLy


"Home From The Sea", the fourth season opener of Magnum, p.i., as described by TV Tome:
It's the 4th of July, and Higgins is playing in a polo match, T.C. is taking his baseball team to a professional game, Rick is out with his latest girlfriend on the King Kamehameha II yacht, and Thomas is observing his annual Independence Day tradition of a solitary day at sea -- until his surf ski is capsized in the wake of a recklessly driven speedboat and set adrift. Carried off further and further away from land by the powerful Molokai Channel, Thomas relies on childhood memories of his father's training him to tread water to keep himself afloat as he struggles desperately to stay above water and fend off a menacing shark. As the hours pass, Higgins, T.C. and Rick each have a sixth sense that Thomas is in trouble, and they team up to rescue him. Thomas approaches the twenty-four hour mark in the water recalling his wedding to Michelle and his father's burial -- on July 4, 1951 -- as Higgins scoops him out of the ocean, with T.C. in his helicopter overhead and Rick on the yacht nearby.

So while you and Cal may be mad, BiLly, your memories of this episode are not a symptom of that madness.
As I remember, this was an excellent episode, but then I would say that!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Grinding


Last week, with a lack of computer access due to a busted monitor, and yet another stinking cold (I'm getting a lot of them this winter, for some reason), I managed to get three and a half pages of my O Men contribution pencilled and scripted. Since then, I've managed one page of pencils. It's only a five-pager, so there's just one page left to go, but then I've got to ink, letter and "colour" them too. It certainly doesn't help that I still haven't decided whether I'll letter the strip by hand or on the computer, and that I'm deathly afraid that I'll cock the whole thing up at the inking stage.
Meanwhile, my Brad story seems to have died, although I'm sure I'll dive straight back in once this O Men thing is out of the way. I've also got a good eight or nine reviews to do for Comics International before Friday. I clearly need to develop some self-discipline.
On the plus side, I've found a channel that shows daily Magnum, p.i. repeats, although that probably doesn't help a great deal.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

American Local Radio In Not Awful Shocker!


Minnesota Public Radio has up until recently been a bit like Radio 4. It's worthy and interesting, but not what you're after if you want to listen to something that isn't classical or news. They've just started up 89.3 the current, which is an awful name, but is something of a Radio 2/6 Music/interesting-bits-on-Radio-1 hybrid. Finally I can listen to popular music of a more eclectic and interesting sort than the usual bland US radio fare. What's more, the late evening DJ is from Manchester or thereabouts, so it's almost like being at home.

Actually, with the death of John Peel and the departure of Mark and Lard, are there any interesting bits left on Radio 1?

Monday, January 31, 2005

I Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!


Our monitor blew, so we've been without internet access for a week. It was actually quite a nice change of pace, and I got some long-overdue work done.

More later.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

It Lies!


Look, I understand that the new Harry Potter is a big deal for you, but Amazon, please don't bring it up as a search result when in fact I was searching for the Doctor Who novel Lungbarrow. Also, I have never searched for the book, so it shouldn't be in my "recently viewed items" folder either. I don't care! I don't like the books! Leave me alone!

It strikes be as bafflingly desperate. Baffling because the book will sell shedloads anyway, even without such "promotion", and desperate because of the sneaky and insiduous way it's handled, making it look like they're worried that they're not going to sell a single copy. Like the insiduous AOL and Microsoft instant messengers, which you can't actually delete from your computer once you've got them, this just makes me want to flee from modern "civilisation" and hide somewhere remote until the inevitable apocalypse has passed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Broken Chair, Needs Fixing


John Carpenter has made a handful of excellent films, a few interesting but flawed films, and quite a number of train wreck equivalents. So why do the studios think that it's a good idea to remake the good ones?
I mean, do we really need a new Assault on Precinct 13 or a new Fog, when there are Carpenter movies out there that have interesting elements that failed to rise above slightly shoddy filmmaking?
Pah. Remakes are stinky arse.

Monday, January 17, 2005

With not a whiff of irony...


From yesterday's paper:
Journalism at its best!
If you'd like to print off a copy so you can have a go yourself (and why wouldn't you?), there's a pretty large 300dpi version here.
I should probably point out that this came from the children's section of the paper, and as such isn't indicative of the state of US journalism, although it's really not far off...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Big Questions...


Which of the following seems more right to you?

"I built a house out of Lego"
or
"I built a house out of Legos"

Meg uses the latter. I've always used the former. Is it a regional thing?

Monday, January 10, 2005

They Live Among Us!


It's our anniversary today (well, one of our anniversaries, but it's a long story...). I'd like to say that it's been a marriage without disagreement or strife, but that would be a lie. Case in point:
Meg adores this lamp. She loves it. However, I find it to be chilling and disturbing, and I'm pretty sure that it's some kind of alien vampire that stands motionless, mantis-like, awaiting a chance to reach down and pierce my skull, hoping to then siphon up my quivering brain jelly.



Thursday, January 06, 2005

Definitely not dead...


I hope everyone had a good Chrimbo. Not much to report from this end of things, hence the lack of recent updates. That is all. :)