Sunday, August 28, 2005

A bunch of stuff

If this was LiveJournal there'd be a spot here where I wrote:
Music: Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights

But there isn't so I'll just say, lovin' the album but I'm looking forward to getting into "The Sunset Tree" by "The Mountain Goats". For an album about such a depressing subject (childhood abuse) it has some pretty great and upbeat songs from what I've heard so far. Sounds quite "They Might Be Giants" only not so quirky.

Now, to business...


A week off work has come and gone. It wasn't quite as relaxing as I perhaps would have hoped, but I kind of knew what was comng when I went in. I just hope there isn't a pile of stuff to do when I arrive tomorrow. However, before I let myself think of that, I figure I'll get some stuff off my chest that's been bouncing around in my head.


Anyone wondering why the Australian television industry is in such a crisis at the moment? Wondering why audience numbers for local content are just not enough to keep it going? I got your answer right here!

The new series of "The Mole" is every possible reason for viewers staying away in droves tied together in what is quite conceivably the most disappointing half hour of TV produced in this country in quite some time. You know all those horror stories you hear about Hollywood executives that wouldn't know diagesis from a diuretic taking a round peg and a square hole and throwing marketing dollars at it until an unwary audience thinks they're going to catch the "must-see event of the year"? That's what we have here. I can imagine the office meeting now...

"So we've got the rights on this "Mole" show for two more seasons. Problem is, everyone knows what's coming."

"Well couldn't we try something different? Make the contestants actually do something worthwhile? Possibly get some people that the audience doesn't want to swat across the back of the head in the first five minutes?"

"Naah, I want you to get a new host."

"Grant Bowler won't be happy. He's pretty much made that part his own. I can't think of anyone else that could play the part that well."

"Yeah, but he's not so popular. What about that new kid, Tom Williams? The women love him and he looks great on screen."

"Well yeah, but he's got the screen presence of a block of wood and the acting ability of a wet sponge. How's he supposed to build tension?"

"Tension? Nobody cares about tension. That's why I want you to make the elimination live so that anything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong."

"It doesn't matter that your new host can't read an autocue to save himself even if we spelt everything phonetically?"

"I don't care if every person on screen laughs at him as he pathetically stumbles his way through the whole disturbing sequence."

"Well, you're the boss. Bowler's not going to be happy."

"Eh, who cares? Give him the voice over job for that "Border Security" show. He'd be perfect."

So what we wound up with was a half hour crying out for something that was just never delivered. A damn shame, because I really love the concept of "The Mole." To me, when it's done right, it parks itself a close second to "Survivor" for watchability. What I saw last Thursday is enough to make me give up after the first episode. Just disgusting.

While I'm on the matter of disgusting, what's the deal with Channel 7 and that crap in the ad for the series final of "Lost?"

"Everything you want to know will be answered!"

Well the only thing I found got answered from that show was "When am I going to actually get to see another series?"

February next year?!? Who's kidding who here?


This week's crappy bumper sticker is a contest. It's a close one between...

"Drive real fast, if you wanna pass.
"If you cannot pass, get off my ass!"


"Ankh if you love Isis"

And the winner is, "Ankh if you love Isis".

No one is more appreciative of crappy wordplay than me, but come on...


Current thoughts on narrative taken out of context.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is just a story. If you think of a story as a series of events that take place over time, then everything around you is just a series of stories; information waiting to be read. It's just that some stories are more interesting than others.


Robert Rodriguez. Sin City. Is there anything that man cannot do?!?


Thanks be to my Mother-In-Law for getting me reading fiction again. I've been so stuck with text books it's been draining me dry. The catalyst in question was an old pulper from 1984 by the title "The Grandmaster"; the writing was pretty average, but the story wasn't bad. The ending could be seen arriving from a mile away but I read it pretty much straight through.

To celebrate my newly rekindled love of fiction I went out and bought Umberto Eco's new book, "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loama." More on this as I get into it.


My darling wife made yesterday "Leonard's Day" to say thank you for everything over the last few months. I chose to spend the day driving up to O'Reilly's, one of the most incredible and magical places I know. I'm a strong believer that we imbue places with our own personal mythologies, and this place just has so many incredible memories that everything I looked at was coated in a thin haze of gold. Wonderful memories dating back to my early childhood, back when Mum and Dad were still together, back when everything was simple, all the way to modern memories of day trips and camping trips with good friends.

One of the great things you can do there is feed the parrots by hand. For some reason I was kind of popular.

Of course, it was all fun and games until one of the little bastards decided to use my nose as a ladder.

Despite that, an amazingly wonderful day. My wife is just the best. I even got to revisit the film version of "The Name Of The Rose" (despite how disappointing it is compared to the book) and the Buffy episode "Conversations With Dead People," which is perhaps one of the best Buffy episodes of all 7 seasons. All in all, a super day to almost wind up the holiday.


Is Mountain Goats. Is Good!


To finish up the week I went along to a character creation day for a Shadowrun game I took an interest in. It's been years since I've even run a game, let alone played in one (beyond as a single session reserve) so I was kind of stand-offish. I tend to be very picky about the people I play with. I realise it's kind of silly to be a gamer snob, but I figure life's too short to game with bad players. Besides, it was having to deal with the common unwashed and their stupidity that drove me away in the first place. However, as I continue my quest for narrative endeavour I'm finding myself returning to the RPG structure. I figure playing this SR game will be a good way to reacquaint myself wth the rules for when I finally run "Return to Bug City"; a story that I've promised too many people to allow go untold.

Ayway, I'm still unsure about this bunch. The GM seems kind of switched on, and there's some good people involved, but I have to ask myself where I fit in as a player? They have the well meaning GM bursting at the seams with ideas, the stalwart regular guy that likes to play leader, the quiet dependable guy that sits back and allows everyone else to do stuff, the token girl, the power gaming idiot that loves to shock for the sake of attention, and the guy that tries to make everyone realise that they're a serious gamer because they're playing a female character. Of course, that female character has to be a lesbian, ostensibly because it's empowering, but really because they don't want to have to play a character that likes guys. Where do I fit in? Smart ass observer and metagamer?

Then again, maybe I'm way off track here. I have some serious rules by which I play and if I have to melt and re-cast every gamer on the planet in my image then I'm ready to go one at a time.


Revisiting downloaded Underworld tracks from the Underworld Live site. There's one track from the Blue Mountain collection that's driving me to disctraction trying to figure out what it's a remix of. I can hear all these familiar phrases and samples, but I just can't quite put my finger on it.

Not a good state to be in before heading off to bed.


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