Wednesday, 31 August 2005
Via Making Light.
Title: The Grays
Log Line: An alien race function as the “United States of the cosmos” and they run things on Earth as well as on other worlds. Operating in secrecy, the aliens are unwilling to reveal themselves for fear of altering mankind’s development.
More: 75 page treatment, which was based on Whitley Strieber’s unpublished novel.
Er, seeing as the aliens are sort of 'running things' on Earth, aren't they already altering mankind's development? Obviously they must have some type of goal for running things. Certainly no alien that I know of runs things in the hope that things run as normally as possible.
Nothing to see here, folks. We're just your friendly, non-altering aliens that are running things. Go about your business. Oh, and buy shares in cocoa beans.
I guess we'll be seeing that movie sometime in late-2006.
Found an interesting link over at FARK. Seems a pub in England discovered a strange insect trudging around, and thus far its identity has been somewhat of a pickle.
As the title suggests, it looks very much like a weta, or at least some grasshoppery-style insect. However, seeing as wetas are found only in New Zealand, how one managed to find itself in Shropshire is strange. Any New Zealanders working behind the bar?
I'm not saying that it is a weta, mind ... but it kinda looks like one.
Link to article.
Well, one answer to that insightful question could be that we live 200 km from the nearest barbershop and our electric car only goes as far as the next farm over. But that would be a lie.
The real answer is that, owing to some distant Scotsman's blood sliding down my double helix, I'm too cheap to pay for a haircut. Yep, I figure that by the time I pass the buzzer over my scalp for the third time, that baby would have paid for itself. And then some.
Oh, and I also lied about several people writing in. No one wrote in. I'm talking to myself ... and the bouncy pink moon hoppers hopping of their own accord.
I just love the bit about 'spirit' of the game, spoken several times without even the thinnest trace of irony. I guess the underarm delivery back in '81 doesn't ring a bell. Or the various examples of Australian cricketers spitting at opponents. Or that whole sledging thing. Or the deliberate wide bowling when faced with potential defeat.
Spirit of the game? Fuck off.
Tuesday, 30 August 2005
Unfortunately, while these events often bring out the very best in human nature, they also bring out the very worst in the form of looting vultures.
So I'll be accentuating the positive and focusing on the continuing efforts of the rescuers, and hoping the already high death rate doesn't climb any further.
Guardian Special Report.
BBC News story.
It was a confusing phone call as I made the appointment, mainly because the person on the other end seemed convinced that I needed to have the Whole Package all over again. I tried to explain that, seeing as I had the Whole Package less than a year ago, all I need is to have a blood test to confirm my immunizations for those luminaries of the disease world, hepatitis, TB, et al.
I love those types of phone calls.
In normal circumstances I would consider myself to possess a level-head in most situations: except when it comes to do with anything medical and me ... like a medical exam. I'll be the first to admit that I don't like them, often attracting annoyance from people I know who maintain I am silly for not liking them.
Yes, I know I'm silly but I cannot help it.
Anywho, I think it'll be cool as I've got all my stuff from my last medical, so we'll have a lovely conversation at the doctor's tomorrow and all will be dandy, minus a vile of my blood (which I can live with).
I haven't had a haircut since the beginning of March, so that's about 6 months of excellent hair growth, I guess. Anyway, I long anticipated a time in the future when my hair would need to have at least a trim, so I decided to buy a haircutting kit from Target a month ago.
Well that future was today, and trim my hair I did.
I won't say it was professional. I will say it's a work in progress. Let's just say it's okay.
Seriously, it needed to be done -- it was the bastard offspring of a mullet and an afro. A sort of mullfro. Yes, I know that's not very clever but it's the best way to describe it.
So I've made an attempt on it, and all that's left to write is that I can only get better with practice.
I've heard that there is plenty of 'evidence', bobbing around like crap in a sewer, that suggests a circumcised wang is more hygienic (don't people bath?); that it reduces the chances of a man being infected with HIV from a woman; and that it allows a star pilot to make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, etc.
Do you know what I say to that? Bollocks. Massive piles of moldy bollocks on your plate.
So I was very disturbed when I read about a particular circumcision ritual called oral suction, or metzitzah b'peh, as it is known in Hebrew. This is an Orthodox Jewish ritual whereby, after the circumcision of the infant, the wound is then cleaned via a sucking motion as applied by the mouth of the practitioner (called a mohel (please no puns, like mohelester ...)) on the infant's genitals.
Is it me or does this seem a little, well, fucking wrong?
Of course I'm not an Orthodox Anything, so naturally my position must be that of the Unenlightened Barbarian. But I'd much rather be an Unenlightened Barbarian than a member of any of the so-called enlightened sects in society.
It's time to cut the practice of circumcision out.
Oh, you can be sure the Flying Spaghetti Monster's Noodly Appendages never come within an inch of an infant's genitals.
The New York Time's story on this ritual.
Christopher Hitchen's Slate article.
And, for good measure, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Sunday, 28 August 2005
Actually, all kidding aside, we were quite fortunate: the hurricane had been making right for us but at the last possible moment swerved to the south, toward Miami. And while the damage there was quite significant, I don't think it's too much of a stretch of the imagination to say it will pale when compared to what New Orleans is going to experience.
One of the most striking images I've seen today was of a freeway in New Orleans: a long convoy of cars, roofs strapped with possessions, heading north and away from the approaching storm; and, opposite, a deserted southbound lane into an emptying city.
Thursday, 25 August 2005
So what have I been doing inbetween? Well, I baked scones. Kinda had a hankering for some scone, so to the stove I went. I think I put a little too much milk and egg in at first ... I ended up fighting back sticky scone mixture as it made a bid for freedom. I don't know how some mixture found itself on the ceiling, but I guess it'll stay up there until it's good and ready to come down. Or else I'll get a mop.
Anywho, the scones turned out great, they're cooling as we speak. NBC 6 news is on in the background, with its bevy of fearless reporters braving nature's fury. I think it must be a right of passage for all tv journalists to attempt a live! wind tunnel move ... I've seen large numbers of them leaning into the front of the storm, showing us indoors how the wind is, in fact, strong enough to hold them up.
I seem to be forever holding out for one of them to take a slash into the storm, so we can see how a steaming stream of pee is no match for a hurricane.
I'm sure it'll happen one day. Maybe Geraldo will be the first to do it.
So most of this morning has seen your fearless author trudging around outside in the rain, rescuing at-risk potted plants and various other garden items from the approaching storm. Being outside in the wet gave me the opportunity to throw on my spiffy Islands of Adventure rain poncho. One should never turn down the opportunity to wear a poncho.
And now we play the waiting game, accompanied by wall-to-wall coverage on the tv stations. Oh, the NBC station said if you're wondering when Days of Our Lives and Passions are going to be shown, they'll be back on air from 1am tomorrow morning. Unless the power goes out ...
Wednesday, 24 August 2005
And if it hadn't been for my wife picking up the little booklet I would never have known it was there, owing to my deliberate avoidance of the Fiction section. You see, even though I have a tonne of books that I am working through at home, I seem to suffer from an almost rabid book-buying addiction. So a big thanks to my wife for venturing into the DMZ and bringing back the excerpt for me.
So what was it about? Well it was titled 'The Captain of Guards', and it gave a neat little insight into the situation in Dorne following the events in the previous book, A Storm of Swords. Dorne is something that hasn't been seen prior to this novel, so it was great to see some of the political machinations of that particular kingdom.
Now all I have to do is hold out until November 8 when the book is released.
Tuesday, 23 August 2005
The film in question, Where the Truth Lies, has a frisky more-than-two-less-than-four-person scene with Colin Firth, Bacon, and Rachel Blanchard getting jiggy wid it. The film's director, Atom Egoyan, didn't believe there would be a problem, but now suggests that the scene's use of more than a few thrusts might land the film in hot water.
P. Rob's qualification for this exclusive award comes from his belief that the time is nigh for assassinating Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez. According to Pat, Chavez has his mind set on becoming a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."
Goodness knows when these Marxist Muslims are expected to make landfall on the continental United States, but Patty clearly isn't waiting around.
Mr. Robertson, you are indeed a champion cocknocker.
Link to Wired story.
Monday, 22 August 2005
What am I talking about?
First, a song:
One of these things is not like the other
One of these things just doesn't belong
Can you tell me which thing is not like the other
Before I finish my song?
Did you guess which thing was not like the other?
Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
If you guessed Intelligent Design is not like the other
Then you're absolutely ... right!
Intelligent Design is, basically, creationism dressed up in drag and designed to slip through under the pretence of science when it’s really nothing more than a pseudoscience. It's all terribly amusing except the part where ID proponents (all members of the Flat Earth Society on weekends) have hissed and hollered for ID to be taught in public schools. It probably doesn't help that the President is all for it, giving this wacky idea some sort of legitimacy in the eyes of those who think it's all that and a packet of chips. What a load of bollocks.
The best way to counter such lunacy is to embark on a carefully manicured mission involving extreme silliness with a splash of panache. Here's where the Flying Spaghetti Monster comes in. He's just loaded with noodly goodness.
Here's the challenge vs counter-challenge post on Boing Boing that I mentioned earlier. Note letter to BB from a humourless reader.
Wikipedia's page on Pastafarianism.
And there we have it.
Erm, basically what you do is grab your cell phone, make an electronic paging sound with your mouth, and say something like this:
'Captain's Log, stardate 2367.3333 recurring. We've ... landed on an alien planet that ... orbits a distant ... star. There seems to ... be, mister Spock, a ... surplus of green-skinned alien ... women for me to ... seduce. And that makes me ... a happy camper.' Etc.
Notice that the pauses (as represented by the ellipses) are intentional, mimicking the staggered delivery style of the actor portraying Kirk.
So what's this got to do with anything? Actually it has to do with something, and that something is the Star Trek Communicator Phone. Yes, you no longer have to pretend your cell phone is a communicator because you can have a phone that is the communicator.
See Wired for the scooper. See!
Friday, 19 August 2005
2) Richard's dinner last night.
I'm pretty much your classic omnivore, really. I like bacon, and I find that it goes well when combined with lettuce and tomato between two slices of bread lightly kissed with mayo ...
But I also dance between two worlds: the world of the baconvore; and the world of the strict herbivore.
You see, many years of eating have led us into two distinct factions that are locked in a perpetual ideological struggle over what one masticates and ingurgitates. It doesn't have to be this way. Indeed, last night my dining experience proves that we can all get along. Why? For I dined at Sublime.
Now, Sublime is a vegan establishment down in Ft. Lauderdale, and thus far we have visited it thrice. On each single occasion that we had dined there previously the food was, er, sublime. Last night was no exception.
So is your fearless author a sort of Kwisatz Haderach of the culinary world? Er, most likely not, but I will go on record as saying that vegan meals are some of the most flavourful meals that I have ever eaten. And if I can flit between those two worlds then perhaps you can too, Constant Reader. ;-)
Thursday, 18 August 2005
Wednesday, 17 August 2005
Interesting article from the New York Times on web comics. I dunno, I've never been that into web comics; there's something about them that is not as intimate as a printed comic. Yes, I know that's the hoary old chestnut that people served up in the ebook vs book argument a while back, but I can't help it.
This is a rather bizarre story about one woman's attempts at dampening the fire that was her former fiancé's rampant-sexual-hunger-that-could-not-be-satisifed. I guess the guy wasn't that into having a strop when the hunger came upon him? Has he not heard of cold showers or picturing Dame Edna naked while she sits at a pottery wheel with her hands and arms covered in slick, sloppy clay? You almost want to say to him, 'Yo, stop thrashing it, otherwise there'll be no tread on them tires!' It'd be like throwing a dill pickle down a tunnel ...
Sunday, 14 August 2005
So what songs did I download? Well I've mired myself in a malaise as to which songs to grab, although I did decide on one. Yep, I've been listening to Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz, which is most excellent and very catchy, owl.
What about the other two songs? I don't know, I'm still uming and ahing. But I'll let you know first thing what songs I decide on. I'm leaning a little to the White Stripes, but then I twist back to Violent Femmes, before seeking a spot of the Jam or possibly some Joy Division. So many choices!
A group of American psychologists who have been researching this phenomenon, believe that viewing a sexy billboard could lead some motorists to not respond quickly enough to a change in the road's environment or another car, resulting in an accident.
Spirit thyself with this magic link to read the full story.
I picked up the latest issue of WIRED from the drugstore (amongst my drug and confectionary purchases) and I must say what a fantastico read that glossy mag is. They had a particular story about bone wedding bands that seemed to invoke both a 'hm' and an 'ew!' from me. I see WIRED.com has the story online as well. Click to read.
Saturday, 13 August 2005
Friday, 12 August 2005
'Actually, I am objectively pro-France. You know, France blew up the Rainbow Warrior, that Greenpeace ship in Auckland Harbor in the '80s. And I've always respected them .... [i]t won me over.'
As you can imagine, Greenpeace are rightly pissed off. Anyone who can label the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985 as an act of vandalism is clearly not right in the head. By that logic I suppose Carlson thinks 9/11 was an act of vandalism? What a cock.
Via Majikthise and AmericaBLOG
Ah, you can always rely on the Canadian and Yugoslavian judges to give you a good score on the hot dog.
In what might be a premonition of midlife crisery, I have decided to download a C64 emulator so I can play the computer games of my youth, seasons 1982-1990. Why? I don't know, why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Who has all the answers?
If you're interested, the emulator I downloaded was the VICE emulator. It even includes the VIC-20 and the C128! Yep.
So it was with great interest that I followed the little squabble between TV3 and a couple of MPs about the former's decision to exclude the latter from a live! televised debate concerning the upcoming election. Hm.
As far as I can tell, TV3 said the line up of their debate would be dictated by the outcome of their most recent opinion poll. This reason was given in consideration to the network's one-hour timeslot dedicated to the debate.
Yes, I suppose this is all well and good. However, the opinion poll results one sees on a news channel usually have a large margin of error, often wider than the gap seperating some parties in the standings. It's a flawed way of deciding on the guest list of their debate, and it was always likely to attract some gatecrashers: and so it proved.
Anderton and Dunne have been in parliament for a long, long time. Almost as long as I have been trudging terra firma, I think. Both of them entered parliament as Labour members, but along the way decided to venture into various new entities. Both are from so safe it's silly electorates as well, so the likelihood of them buying stationary for the new parliament term is high. Both realise that the only way to survive is to win those seats, as the parties they represent do not cut any mustard nationally.
So was TV3 right in excluding them? And was The Judge right in ordering them re-instated into the debate?
Well, I can see myself swinging both ways. TV3 could have enlarged the debate to fit a longer timeframe, thereby having all the leaders involved and guaranteeing them a little more telly exposure. One hour with ads is rather tiddly, don't ya think? And honestly, with some of the shit TV3 have broadcast over the years (I'm looking at you specifically, Off The Planet), an extra hour for a debate once every three years is hardly going to stretch the budget. Besides, from what I've read and heard, the debate's host, John Campbell, sopped up most of that hour like an errant sponge set loose in a swimming pool.
However, for a court to order a privately owned company what it can and cannot show (essentially organising its editorial content) is a dangerous precedent. All manner of little parties that have perhaps as little as .0000001% support nationally could go crying to the court about the mean TV station excluding them from the cocktails and canapé. In fact, I see the National Socialist Party -- oops!, I mean Destiny New Zealand, are threatening legal action over an upcoming debate. Sigh.
It's all getting rather silly and there's still a month to go until the election. Maybe some of the parties should forget about television and venture into webcasts, podcasts and other groovy little tools. All parties represented in parliament qualify for election campaign funding, and television advertising is usually the most expensive road to travel, especially when one tries to get an ad in during Coronation Street. The future is online, people!
Thursday, 11 August 2005
So around about 4pm my wife and I set out, with your fearless writer sporting this year's summer collection of a fine yellow life preserver adorned with an orange whistle. The water was placid today, not angry like times past, and we skimmed atop the faintly poo smelling lake with great abandon. Various critters accompanied our travels, from the blue and white herons wading at waters edge, to the common cooter turtle tracing through the ferocious wake of our bow like its unrelated cousin, the porpoise. Nature is a fine, fine thing.
It would be quite simple to resort to tasteless jibes concerning this particular story. Things like, ‘Horseplay’; ‘Riding Your Horse’; ‘Eat a Horse’; ‘Put the Cart Before the Horse’; ‘The Horse Has Bolted’; Get On One’s High Horse’; etc, take on whole new meanings. But I won’t do that, because it seems like a very painful way to go.
Via Boing Boing.
Wednesday, 10 August 2005
What's that?, asked the constant reader.
Well the I-693 is the Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status. I'm an alien who is just trying to make his way in the world and adjust his status ... but for some weird reason I neglected to hand in the aforementioned form. D'oh!
However, the USCIS are being terribly good about it, and have given me 80'odd days to get it stamped and signed and posted so they can continue to process my application. Hurrah.
The medical is not really much of a medical, really. Since I had the Delux version of the medical exam back in Auckland, I'm good to go as far as that's concerned. All they need at this end is a confirmation of the various immunization jabs I had administered to me. Probably involves one or two blood tests. Maybe a swab. Wonder if I can get them to test my cholesterol while they're at it?
Monday, 8 August 2005
Incidently, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that, according to the Australian government, Google Earth posed no security threat despite an internet company suggesting that pesky terrorists might use it for means most foul.
Anywho, go check it out ... if you dare.
-- Update --
I'd just like to add Google Earth is so cool that I now have to change my undies ...
-- Second Update --
There was probably too much information in that first update.
I've been playing around with the blog for the last couple of days. All terribly exciting stuff, naturally. I finally joined the RSS world and downloaded a news reader. The one I chose is Awasu, and thus far it seems quite spiffy. Having all of my news sites in one big, constantly refreshing mash of media goodness was just too hard to pass up. If Mohammed cannot go to the mountain ... etc.
Wednesday, 3 August 2005
Things are getting silly down South Island way. Now before I continue, I would like to go on record as saying that I humbly believe most local body politicians to be prats ... they also tend to go all loopy and lala once they've ascended to the lofty heights of the town hall. Indeed, most rate payers tend to believe their elected officials don't do much; conversely, said elected officials have a preternatural yearning to debunk said belief. It seems the official in this story is trying to get noticed.
Sure, a whole lot of brassieres on the classic Kiwi farm fence may not be every person's cup of tea, but then artistic expressions rarely are. Worrying about something like the bra fence because it may have caused offense is pathetic. And I don't wish to be harsh, but so what if students from Asia or
I suspect the person who has raised the issue is being disingenuous. The whole 'foreign students offended' line may have come about from one of these so-called offended visitors saying they don't particulary like the fence. Not liking something and being offended by something are not synonymous.
Monday, 1 August 2005
Naturally there are exceptions to the rule, and there is a sprinkling of excellent sportsmen-cum-sports journalists out there in Medialand.
Sports journalists can be very harsh in their criticisms; the corollary of this is they're usually effusive in their praise. Indeed, regular reading of a particular journalist's writing can see bouquet one week and brickbat the next, suggesting the journalist is suffering from some sort of bipolar disorder. However, like any public endeavor be it artistic or sporting, criticism is as much a part of the landscape as praise.
Now all this is fairly obvious, wouldn't you think? What is interesting, though, is gauging how various people handle this environment of extremes. Some people tend to not give a shit either way, knowing all to well that some media like to build a person up only to tear him down again, like a manic child intent on constructing a fantastic sculpture out of his Lego with the sole purpose being to see how much mess he can make when he destroys it.
Then there are others who read their own press and seem to take most or all of it to heart. They will soar high with the accolades and hints of greatness re-born; then they will crash in a fiery heap, screaming bloody murder and seeking revenge when something written about them does not jive. This particular method has proven to be folly. Case in point has been the reaction of English cricketer Ashley Giles, following on from the Ashes debacle against Australia. Nothing new there, though: England have routinely jumped on the train to mediocrity when it comes to playing Australia. It was always a possibility that the hype surrounding the build-up was going to burst, leaving egos bruised and squishy. And so it proved.
Statistically, Giles's contribution in the test was innocuous; but that's cricket, to borrow a cliché. Only 12 months ago he was the toast of the England cricket team with his series haul against the West Indies, soaring very high. Less than 12 days ago he was vilified by sections of the media, crashing to earth.
That it was harsh is undoubtable; but then again, it's hardly new. So how to handle criticism? This might be too simplistic, but perhaps it's best to ignore criticism and get on with one's particular job. Definitely this option is not the way to handle it, in this writer's opinion. This is especially so, considering the player in question is in the middle of a five test series. If one's grey matter is occupied on things outside of what it should be occupied on, then mentally the player is focused on something so ancillary he should be told to pull his head in. Engaging in a war of words through the media is really precious.
If, at the end of the series, Giles wanted to give his critics a roasting (especially if he was instrumental in England regaining the Ashes for the first time in a generation) then that would have been understandable to some. As it is the series is not decided and everyone associated with the team should be letting their deeds on the cricket pitch be their statement for now. Mouthing off in the manner of some players looks spectacularly stupid, especially when backed up by actions that do not justify the bluster that preceded those actions.
And there we have it -- a whole post devoted to sport.