Saturday 30 November 2013

2 years the Octopus

It's been just over two years. I drew this octopus to celebrate, because the second anniversary is the cephalopod anniversary. Honestly, I drew the octopus, and then later realised that it was my blog's cephalopod anniversary, AND both of these things happened two weeks after the the actual anniversary. The day just kind of came and went. I didn't write it down at the time. Google did that for me. It happened automatically. They built it into the site. It's very technical. It probably isn't that technical, but let's leave it where it is.

It's strange to think that some things have changed, some things haven't, and some things changed and then unchanged. Actually, not that strange at all really. Pretty straight forward as far as life is concerned. I'm not really saying anything of merit here in this paragraph. You could skip ahead, but I don't know where you would come back in. I haven't written that bit yet, and it's unlikely that I will come back and mend this once I have. You might just have to stick with me for a moment.

What is weird is that I was convinced that I would end up writing less and less, and eventually get to a point where I posted once every few months, which very immediately looked like that was what was going on. United by Glue was, in my mind, the kind of place that my words would come to die. I wasn't expecting to get to a point where I was writing as much as I have ended up writing for this thing. It waxes and wanes, but it doesn't ever really drop off to nil. That is weird to me.

That was the fate of the original United by Glue. There was another one, years ago. I never had the url before, but there was a United by Glue that was kind of a blog, but also kind of a deliberate navigation nightmare. There was this whole thing about forcing the user to explore the site to find things, and it would get more and more advanced the deeper you got. I found the html files recently. Some of the other original files are missing. Part of me is interested in re-exploring that idea with the things I have learned since then, but that is a fairly epic project. The kind I couldn't really find the time for these days. I t was going to be my major work for my final year of art school, which I never completed.

It's a different scene now. The internet is less abrasive as an entity. It has definitely mellowed. The tools and the rules have changed, and it seems to be far more about opinion info dumping these days. Selling things, and counting visits and visitors. I like the idea that people are reading my opinio-dumps, and they do, but in the end I'd be here anyway. I enjoy the sound of tapping, and the nearly total lack of accomplishment while doing so.

Somewhere along the way Twitter entered the scene, which is kind of a non-event for me. It works a bit. It would work better; I'm using it wrong, which is something I should change. I probably not going to do that, realistically speaking. I kind of like the way I use it. Occasionally I think of a thing that could be expressed as words, and when I think of it I send those words out to people's devices via the tubes.

Everything is just kind of bits and pieces right now. I want to try some other things, but they take time to plan and set up. I'll see what I can do. I hope you enjoy the octopus. It might be the Octo-Hoff; I haven't decided.

Friday 29 November 2013

Regeneration in the 800th for Christmas

So, as is prone to happen on Doctor Who, there will be a New Guy. This is different to the whole James Bond situation, which is more of an ongoing 'screw you' to continuity. The whole premise of Doctor Who, being some historical larking about during its more mundane moments, and crazy-arse space shit the whole rest of the time, kind of lends itself to a sort of 'anything goes' approach to just about everything. The Doctor rolls on regardless.

I like that this happens. If this kind of thing never happened the show would've ended with William Hartnell, and as much as I love Hartnell's Doctor, it is unlikely I would've become a fan of the show had it not survived to infect my childhood. Maybe I would've, but we certainly wouldn't be in the situation that we are in now.

I quite liked Matt Smith's Doctor. As a matter of fact, during his tenure as the Doctor he was my favourite. This is kind of how I get down as a fan. I have my favourite classic Doctors, and occasionally I get involved in some ranking behaviours, but for the most part the incumbent is my Doctor, which for me started with the fifth. I go through phases in which different Doctors are fancied more than others, but I couldn't honestly say that there are Doctors that I don't like.

This regeneration has a little something in its back pocket in that it will be the last of his natural lives. I have discussed this before, but I'm bringing it up again.

He has a name this New Guy; you probably know it, because it has been in the news. The actual news, not just the nerd news, but the regular people news. It's Peter Capaldi. That's his name, this New Guy. I've seen this New Guy in other roles, including a previous foray on Doctor Who in the 'The Fires of Pompeii'. He also appeared for a handful of seconds (as if you could hold time. I can. It's incredible) in 'The Day of the Doctor' as The Doctor, which is what he is doing next. That's what I'm talking about right now. Whether or not you're ready for a new Doctor, there is going to be one in just under a month when Matt Smith hands over the reigns in 'The Time of the Doctor'.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Jed has mixed the cowboy

Around the time that I wrote this, I said:
Give me a heads up when you put up new stuff on YouTube and or SoundCloud, and I'll totally pimp your shit on my thing that I do with the words and that.
to the man himself. Not right to his face, but right to his facebook. He has complied, and this is his new thing that he has done for the rest of us. He did it for us. It's a remix, so it is a new version of an old thing, and I think that he may have actually done it for himself, but you know what? Fuck him. It's ours now. That's what the internet does to your things. Especially if you make them free to download from SoundCloud for a limited time, which is something that Jed did actually do for us, so perhaps we will be less aggressive about it.

'The Cowboy Song', which he still insists on calling 'Marching Along', is one of my favourite Jed Hutchinson tunes, and this remix is the better version of the two that currently inhabit the digital ether. This is one of those songs that when you hear live there is this whole other layer to it, and that is something that you get from it being there with you in the room. Not the singer, but the song. It really takes up room in the air around you, depriving you of oxygen. This is something that won't happen on a recording, but this remix gives you a better sense of the hollow place that you would find yourself in were you there with the song moving about you, thinning the air.

The other version, with which you may be familiar, appeared on the The Lost Years EP with a handful of other tunes, which is still available from a number of reputable online vendors. Really, it's just iTunes and Google Play. You can also pickup an early demo of 'The Space Between Us' from SoundCloud as well. It is also free. Perhaps for a far less limited time though.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

If you still haven't watched Growing up Gayby yet

That show I mentioned previously, Growing up Gayby, is something that you should've watched by now. I didn't really say what it was about, but I thought that the title kind of gave it away. If you didn't give it a look-see and the title wasn't informative enough, it is about gay parents raising kids who have gay parents. The gay parents that are raising them are their gay parents. It's kind of complicated. Also, the kids are not necessarily gay.

One of the kids really likes wrestling, which is something his parents are worried about. I used to like wrestling, but I grew out of it. One might even say that it was just a phase. See what I did there? Wrestling, not really like being gay. I mean for the most part they are same sex activities, but I think that might be about it. This same kid makes a comment on gender roles towards the end of the piece that is worth its weight in gold.

At the risk of appearing as though I am harping on about this, you should take some time out of your busy schedule to watch it. There is only a week left at this stage until it will no longer be available on ABC iView.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline

I came to Valerian et Laureline comics through The Fifth Element, which might be a whole other story. The first few that I had access to were in German, and in the end most of the rest of the ones that I read were in German too. This was partly as a result of so few being translated into English, but it was mostly the result of the apparently minuscule print runs of the English translations. In the end it was easier to make use of the eleven years of German I endured and just order them from Germany.

It probably would've been even easier to order them from France, but I can't read French. I've had about two hours of French, and this came way after the whole thing had already happened. I like to think that my parents chose German over the official language of the UN because they foresaw the establishment of the European Union, and its eventual transformation into the Germany & Friends Club. As related as second language choices are to this particular tale, this is more about other things.

The other day I was all like, "Hey! take a look at this looming Space Dandy thing!", and there was something about its "crazy pulp science-fiction" that reminded me of Valerian et Laureline, and their animated adventures in particular.

Now, the trailer for Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline included above is in English, but I have never personally witnessed evidence that the series is actually available in English. I've read reviews, and seen the shells of once active streams that assure me that it is a real thing that really happened, but I've only seen it in French with German subtitles. I also haven't seen all of it. What I have seen is quite good. I like it. It's about this time travelling guy who breaks the timeline with a redhead. Sirs and madams, I shit you not. That is the actual plot from which they extract forty episodes. The time travelling guy (Valerian) finds this redhead (Laureline) in the past, and then takes her into the future. When he gets back to the future he finds that he has done the timeline a fairly solid mischief and the Earth is missing. He then opts to keep the redhead over restoring the Earth to its rightful place. This is some fine opting. Honestly, I think we've all been there. If we're being honest though, I should point out that there isn't really any opting. His time machine won't do its time machine thing, so he is just kind of stuck with her, but he doesn't complain much. He does actually complain a lot.

Shut up! I forgot where I was going. It was something along the lines of: Read the comics and/or watch the show, because they're great. Except I would've said it in a clever way, but you might have to do that for yourself this time around. I'll do my best to pick up the slack next time, but this one is on you. I was also going to work in this whole thing about this guy I met in India who named his daughter after the heroine from these comics. That's how good these comics are. He seemed like a really normal, straight-forward kind of guy at that. He was French. I'm not sure how I would've worked it in though, but that's your responsibility this time. 

Monday 25 November 2013

Growing up Gayby

Growing up Gayby is a fairly important documentary. I think it is important. I think it is a part of a another debate that is going on right now. At the same time though, it is also it's own independent debate. Definitely a discussion that people seem to be having. I have made my opinions on these kinds of things pretty clear already. I am on a side. I'm pretty happy with the side that I am on. I believe in things.

There isn't really a whole lot that I should say about it, as it does a fairly thorough job of speaking for itself. It's good like that. I will say that I've watched it a couple of times now, and I think that you should also watch it. I can say that, and I can also say that I think that everyone should watch it. It's over on ABC iView for at least the next week or so. I think it will be there until Wednesday, December 4th.

Sunday 24 November 2013

The Day of the Doctor

It all went down. I'm pretty sure I've done my bit as a viewer. I viewed. They, and by they I mean Aunty, are doing an 'encore screening' tonight. It is basically a very early rerun. Why wait years like they did with the old series? That's old hat these days. Practically antique. You've got to roll it out within twenty four hours or you're doing it wrong. Extending their new-fangularity, Aunty has also webbed the episode in their usual manner.

The episode was a lot of fun, and despite my concerns, it had a plot, and there were things happening, and I'm pretty sure that I squealed on more than one occasion. Actually squealed. Little delighted squeals of ecstasy, like some sort of leaky joy-pig. Much like the previous episode the fan service was rich and fatty, which is par for the course for this sort of activity. It's been fifty years. What else do you do? You make a documentary about the beginning of the show. They did that too. It is also airing tonight. It is also good. It is good drama, and it has all the fun sixties costumes and misogyny. Well, the misogyny isn't fun, but it is in the story. You could learn something about the early years of the show. I did.

I don't rally want to ruin either of them, and I think it might be less fun if I got into it in a really serious and detailed way. Watch them. They're good. That's all you really need. An Adventure in Space and Time is well cast, and is a good bit of drama. It's pretty well written too. If it was just a made up story, you would probably question the pacing, but you'd probably still see something in it. The Day of the Doctor is a fiftieth anniversary special that is worthy of being on the shelf with The Three Doctors, and The Five Doctors, which were themselves multi-Doctor anniversary specials in their day.

The Day of the Doctor will be reaired at 7:30 tonight (Sunday 2013-11-24), and will be very closely followed by An Adventure in Space and Time at 8:45.

Also, there is this, which is for what will be coming next.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Space Dandy is a dandy guy in the space

I've been assured that "Space Dandy is a dandy guy in the space", which is about what I would have assumed. I found this out recently. I clicked a link, and it gave me this video, and you know what, I am intrigued. I'm not sure if this is in my wheelhouse, but somebody's wheelhouse is definitely inhabited by this kind of thing. I have no doubt of that. It appears to be a sort of crazy pulp science-fiction meets crazy pulp science-fiction. Yeah. It's one thing. It's pure.

This Space Dandy guy also seems to have a cat, which makes him a cat person. I mean, it's a space cat, so I don't know if there are lines that get drawn concerning the terrestriality of cats when determining such things, but cat people tend to like other cat people. If you're a cat person, you might like this show. I'm not making any guarantees. It's a stretch. You might not. Generally speaking though, as a cat person you might be more concerned with trying to figure out how many cats would be too many cats than you would be about the Japanese impression of futuristic space-cat people.

It's directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, who did the same thing for Cowboy Bebop, Macross Plus and Samurai Champaloo. Empirically speaking, he rolls deep with success. Space Dandy is his new thing, which means that there is a high likelihood that I, and others, will find this thing on the lists that we make from time to time. Actually, for me it is far more frequently than just suggested.

It'll hit Japan (Tokyo MX, TV Osaka, TV Aichi) and the States ([adult swim]) this coming January, but I'm not sure how or when it will be available in other regions. Except Australia, because that's where I am from. I looked into that. Madman Entertainment is looking after us. It'll be available through the Madman Screening Room at the same time as it airs in Japan. So, we have that.

When the time comes, I'll probably review it. I'll also remind you when the time comes before it actually comes. Hopefully. I'm fairly notorious for not staying on top of these sort of things. I'll do my best, and if that isn't good enough I hope you're getting your dates and figures from somewhere else. Actually, I don't. Don't do that. I would reward your loyalty, but I don't have anything of value.

Friday 22 November 2013

Special concerns

It is reasonable to soon begin measuring that temporal distance until airing in hours. I'm excited for the approach, as I always am these days. It's odd now to think of the wait between the end of the original series, and first airings of the revived series, because I gave up. I didn't watch the first episode, instead preferring to remember those Doctors who'd populated my youth, rather than risk what could have possibly come out of whatever the BBC had become.

There are expectations this time. Not that we have experienced the hiatus that came before, but it would be fair to say that most of the truly exceptional episodes of the revived series have been the regular series episodes, and not the specials, which for the most part seem to suffer under the weight of the belaboured spectacle. There is the expectation that the 50th anniversary will somehow be immune to this. I'm not sure how or why, given the track record.

There is this whole other thing that concerns me. Traditionally the format of lots of crazy nonsense going on requires the establishing of a setting, usually all supporting characters, and whatever you need for the plot to get going, which generally takes some time. In the past stories that have gone down the ensemble route, have ended up a little light on plot points and actual story, in order to let everyone involved get enough screen time and dialogue to justify their presence. This issue plagued the early adventures of the 5th Doctor who wheeled about with three whole companions, and is most apparent in the "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" two-parter, which is possibly the most plot-lite story to appear in the revived series, with the possible exception of "Planet of the Dead", in which they run out of time for anything of any substance to actually happen. In defence of the latter, it struck me as an incredibly half-arsed backdoor pilot for a show about the two-dimensional walking cliche-monster, Lady Christina de Souza. Did you like how I said it was a defence an then it clearly wasn't? I did. I enjoyed that. It is hands down the worst Doctor Who story that has ever been televised, bar none. Bar none.

Those are my concerns, and in some ways this has left me more excited about An Adventure in Space and Time, which I have mentioned before as some sort of prolific box ticking monster. I also feel like it might have a little more going on in the story department. Plus the box thing. I like it when boxes are ticked.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

The one and only 8th Doctor in his one and only

A few days ago I spoke a little bit about the Doctor Who television movie in the context of the recent mini-episode. I said some things that can't really be taken back. I mean, they could. I could edit the post, and then, in a way, they would be taken back. I'm not going to do that. I stand by what I wrote. So, in a way it is about my integrity, but I think it might also be a lot about my laziness. Let's say that it is a combination of the two, also there is a slippery slope right there, and I probably want to stay away from that. So, it's three things. Except the first and third are really just about integrity, but one is about an immediate sort of integrity, where as the other is sort of an ongoing dishonesty. I think there is a distinction.

Anyway, where was I? Right. It isn't a great story, but Paul McGann is fantastic in it. In a lot ways he is the first of the modern Doctors, as distinct from the classic Doctors. He is definitely more in line with the Doctors that followed than the ones that came before.

As I also mentioned previously, I really like the 8th Doctor, and the way he is portrayed. Paul McGann does a really good job, even in the television movie, of making you like his incarnation, which is why I think you should watch it. No, seriously. I know what I said earlier, but if you like the show you are probably going to like this to some extent, and seeing the bridging Doctor in action in his one and only televised story is worth the one hundred odd minutes of your life it is going to cost you. Also, it's a regeneration story, which are nearly always worth the format they are stored on. Not every Doctor gets bookending regeneration scenes. At this stage most of them have gotten them (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, and now 8th, AND 11th by the end of the year), so it isn't really rare.

You might be wondering at this stage how I suggest that you get your face around Doctor Who, the Doctor Who television movie. Well, if you're an Australian, and happen to be in Australia, or not Australian, and happen to be in Australia, then you can watch it on ABC iView right now. Once again, this is at the time of writing. If it isn't there later, I mean, that is hardly my fault. Maybe if you read my blog more often, this wouldn't keep happening to you. If you're Australian and aren't in the country, or are one of the many foreigners who aren't in Australia, you might have to get it on DVD or VHS. I believe in you.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Free Working Sofa!!!

No relation to the previously mentioned fridge. They don't look much alike, but they did sit next to each other for about eighteen months. So, they know each other. As far as inanimate objects get to know one another, which isn't at all really. They don't know each other. They don't know anything. Furntiure doesn't know things. Not yet.

The sofa is comfortable. It is one of those deep sofas that feels like it might eat you starting with your bottom, but in a comfortable way. It's not as long as a person, but it is still easy to sleep on because of its comfortableness, but you have to curl up on it like a cat, or a dog if you aren't a cat person.

It is leather or pleather, I haven't checked on its heritage, but they feel the same anyway. I'm not really sure how I would go about checking. I suppose there are tags on it somewhere that might say. I could investigate if you are interested.

It's sort of a dark green-grey, like the colour of the ocean. Some parts of the ocean. I wouldn't describe it as water coloured. Water is clear, unless it is dirty. The sofa would need to be made of glass or plastic in order to be water coloured. There are some inflatable sofas that are water coloured. It would be fair to say that the sofa is similar in colour to at least one colour of paint. I don't know the name or brand of the colour of paint. I have a picture of it somewhere. The sofa. Not the paint.

It has two cushions, but I would say that they are wider than the average bottom, or even most larger bottoms, so it is probably a two and a half seater, or some other part measure of bottom. I'm not really sure how long it is, but it does come out from the wall a fair bit so that it can be as deep as it is. Those two kind of go hand in hand. Bottom depth, and away from the wall depth. A sofa that could swallow your bottom would have to come out from the wall at least a fair way in order to be convincing.

I would prefer that you came and got the sofa yourself or sent someone on your behalf, because sofas are not the kind of things that move themselves. They are not goats. Even if they were goats you would probably want to come and get the goat, and at least lead it to wherever you were going to keep it. I wouldn't trust a goat to make its way from one place to another on its own. Not that goats are inherently dishonest. It's more of a competency thing. They can't read maps.

I suppose that some sofas could've been made from goats, or utilise parts of goats in their construction, but I don't think that this one is one of those sofas, and even so it wouldn't grant it the autonomy of a regular goat that was yet to be converted into a sofa.

I'm not unhappy with the sofa, and its removal has nothing to do with how comfortable it is, or its colour, or anything about the sofa itself. I needed the storage space, because I have too many things that shouldn't be stored on a sofa.

Friday 15 November 2013

The Night of the Doctor

I've always liked Paul McGann as The Eighth Doctor. I wasn't big on the TV film, which is the kind of thing that fans feel the need to make excuses for, but McGann is an outstanding actor, and I have truly enjoyed the majority of those audio adventures that I have encountered in which he appears.

Anyway, Paul McGann holds the rather unfortunate records of appearing in the least televised stories, and the lowest total screen time. This is made all the more unfortunate by the fact that Doctor Who (The unfortunately titled TV film) is at best, more or less, total garbage.

Look, I'm kind of just rambling here, but there is a point to where I am going with this, and that point is 'The Night of the Doctor', which is a mini-episode that offers a little insight into the previously aired 'The Name of the Doctor', as well as the upcoming 'The Day of the Doctor'.

If Doctor Who is your scene, or it is the scene of people with whom you chat, you should probably take the seven whole minutes out of your life and take a look-see. If nothing else, this will bring the total individual Doctors to have cannon appearances this year to five. This hasn't happened in a very long time.

EDIT: There is a fantastic quantity of classic series Doctor Who on ABC iView right now. Clearly this is at the time of writing. I'm not going to update this later to make it say that it was on iView, because you can check the date of the post for yourself.

EDIT: Also, look, there is this too. I'm excited about this, but it kind of ticks a lot of boxes for me. Doctor Who, making of, dramatisation of actual events, British 1960s period piece, history of television. It's all there. Sunday, 2013-11-24, 8:45pm on ABC1 in Australia. Friday, 2013-11-22, 9:00pm on BBC America in the States. Probably other times and channels in other countries. Those two account for about 93.6% of my regular readership, so forgive me. If you want me to consider the needs of your nation in future posts, send me an e-mail.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Jed's lost years

I've known Jed Hutchinson for a fair number of years, maybe eighteen. Anyway, we crossed that boundary when it became most of my life some years ago. There was a particular period in which we both lived in Sydney's Inner West. Actually, we even lived in the same building. There were times when we discussed running cables through his floor into my apartment for whatever it was that we got up to at the time. For Jed, this was the arse end of what he would later refer to as The Lost Years.

I spent a lot of time sleeping on his sofa, even when my own bed was only a few metres away, which afforded me the opportunity to be there 'where and when the magic happened' a lot of the time. He had been in the area for a number of years before I came along, and had become something else other than the person I had known before. He'd grown in someways, and had been hurt and worn down in others.

The story is longer than that, and I feel like you might need a starting point for the comparison, so I'll say that his capacity for speaking to the point of things concisely and poetically is equaled by few that I have met in my life. In this I am not talking about the way that he writes songs, which is a separate matter, because a lot of people can tap the vein when they put the effort in, but in his day-to-day when he reaches for words to tell you how he is feeling, or what's happening in his life, he often comes out with the way that I would hope to write it after editing. By that arse end of the lost years this only really came out when he was writing songs. The stress and exhaustion mentioned in the bio on his website had dug a hole, and that place where the words came from became a place that he only visited in private.

He has recently released an EP named after that period of his life, which is comprised of a handful of songs from that period of his life, and In those six songs manages to cover most of the more salient points of what was going on. They're songs that are about the things that we do to each other, and the things that we do to ourselves, just because we don't really know how to be better. They resonate because they are a part of our own stories, and describe in detail the way that we operate or the way that we have been operated on, and we understand because the message is clear. Often so simply put that you wonder why it hasn't been put like that before. There are other songs that are waiting to be released. Songs that I know are there. I've heard them. Some of which are available here and there. Some of them are the rest of that particular story, and some are the stories that have happened since.

I talk to the guy now, and I hear the familiar cadence and imagery rolling again in the way that he converses. He has easier access now to wherever he gets those words from than he did some years ago. Like all artists he still wants more though. Which is healthy. We should always strive to create more than we do, whatever quantitative and/or qualitative measures we choose to use. Right now though, the stuff is good, and there is more on the horizon, and I think it will get better. Sometimes we talk about his creative process, and where he is at, and it is clear that he has his own Octo-Hoff, but the momentum is forward.

If you are interested in the bandwagon, and aren't sure where to get on, I wholeheartedly recommend Rapunzel, The Cowboy Song (Marching Along), and this fantastic Elliott Smith cover.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

The Polishing the Sacred Monkey Competition

I know this guy, and he has an IMDb profile, which I think is fantastic. The initial plan was to get him an acting credit, but the new plan is to get him any kind of credit that is outside the 'Visual Effects' category on IMDb.

The guy has a number of skills, but the one that I like most is the single eyebrow raise thing that Thomas Magnum does. He's quite tall. Taller than me. I'm 178cm. He's taller than that. I don't know how much taller. He also impersonates dinosaurs. I do that too. I'm not sure how useful that is, unless it is a really low budget Jurassic Park 'homage', but it's there if you need it. He can use chopsticks well, so he could be good as an extra in a restaurant scene. His facial hair is pretty even when it grows in too. I think it grows quickly. I've never really put a lot of effort into measuring its growth, but if you really need to know I can find out. I'll send him a ruler, or a tape-measure.

He is an anime fan, enjoys spicy Asian food and is 30, but that is time sensitive, and may change by the time you read this. I am fairly certain that he is currently single and living in the Singapore area. It's Singapore. He is living in Singapore.

The rules:
1. The credit should be in category other than "Visual Effects", because all of his credits are for visual effects.
2. It has to be something his mum can watch. I'll have to check with her about what she is willing to watch her son engage in, but I'm pretty sure any sort of sex scenes are probably out.
3. It can't just be a bogus credit. He has to actually do or participate in whatever the credit is for.

We haven't sorted out prizes yet, but when I know what is going on, I will get back to you on that. Needless to say that I will relentlessly whore whatever the project ends up being right here at United by Glue, for whatever that is worth. Probably not much, but look this competition is only going to be bigger next year. How does "inaugural winner of Polishing The Sacred Monkey" sound? Good, right? That could be you and your project. You could polish the sacred monkey before it was cool.

If you're interested, you can contact me through the contact form on the right.

Ready. Set. Polish!

Sunday 10 November 2013

Packaged for your easy consumption

As I was trying to convince you to watch Dredd recently, I made it pretty clear that there is something to be had in a particular generation of science fiction films. Films like Predator, Total Recall, RoboCop, and Escape from New York, and a pile of others are entertainment first and foremost, but they don't fail to deliver on the philosophical nutrients that one generally associates with science fiction. This is the history of sci-fi. It's a fucking infiltrator. They suck you in with the sex, and the violence, and the spaceships, and the test-tube spandex-monkeys with the ray-guns and cybernetic breasts, and all of a sudden you're engaging in something that makes you think, "well, shit. Society, man". It's a fantastic fucking con.

Traditionally, science fiction has been a pretty full on cock-fiesta. For nearly its entire history it's been predominantly made for boys, by other boys, and as a result it's full of boy stuff, and I'm not presenting this as some kind of breakthrough or anything of that variety. The conscious effort made to actively market this stuff at the testicle-club is a well documented practice within the industry. This isn't to say that girls don't get down with science fiction, or that they don't make it. I know tons of girls who roll deep in the flavour, and Mary Shelley invented modern science fiction. That's a lady name, for the time being. It's just that there hasn't really been a conscious effort to market it at women until recently.

It's just, I guess where I'm at on the whole marketing of sci-fi agenda is that it is a good thing. I mean pure science fiction is kind of like pure engineering or pure mathematics in that it is interesting, and it really does have its place, but I really like to see really clever applied mathematics and engineering. They're much more awesome. So, you watch a science fiction film that is actually a horror movie, or a drama, or a romance, or a war movie, or whatever else is the flavour of the month and you're getting something else. Well, sometimes you are, but other times it's just a setting in which the stuff happens.

I talked about Dredd being a siege movie, and it is. It's claustrophobic, it's desperate, it's got all that good siege movie stuff that makes them fun to watch. You really get to watch the scales tip, which you should in a siege movie. You know that bit where it is the bad guys who start to get desperate, and their capacity for unreasonable destruction gets way out of hand? It's got that. It's got more though, but you don't have to engage with that if it's not your scene. But it's there if it is. I really gyrate for this sort of thing. It's hard-wired into my pleasure centres.

I like that Predator and Alien are both your pretty straight forward cabin movies. One is set in a jungle and the other is set in a space truck. One has elite combat-veterans with big-guns and the other has space-truckers. It's basically the opposite of a siege movie. Everyone is trapped, and they're all going to die, and it's a lot of fun. There is more to it though, if you want it. It's optional. There's an invisible check-box.

The problem is that they don't do this as much as they should. Quite often I find my frontal lobe being repeatedly beaten with 'the concept' by heavy handed science fiction, or I am watching something that is the cinematic equivalent of that vapid chasm of an heir to some great creative legacy. The kind of film that writes cheques against its thematic DNA without the slightest understanding of what it's getting itself in to. AVP. Either of them. Minority Report. That first Judge Dredd they made back in '95. Bayformers. Most probably the as yet incorporeal American live-action adaptation of Akira.

Dredd isn't unique in being an exception to this trend, but the vast majority of the Twentieth Century history of the genre is more or less about flying something clever so far under the radar that eight year olds will read it, and get the philosophy for free in the box, and for the most part it's like they're not even trying anymore.  

Tuesday 5 November 2013


Smaller than regular, but not a small fridge. It comes up to my chin. I could measure it if you like, but I would prefer metric over imperial. It's too small to be accurately described as 'ominous', or 'looming'. Definitely too small to be involved in any sort of looming. Even if you tilt it towards you it's still just kind of there. You'll understand if you see it.

It has the freezer on top, and might not work if you use it upside down, so if you like to kick the freezer door shut when you get ice cream you might need to take up martial arts, or ballet. Summer Glau did ballet and she can kick pretty high.

Can be moved around by one person, unless you will it with something heavy. Then it would depend how strong you are. I suppose it depends how strong you are anyway. I'm not particularly strong, and I don't have trouble with it. I'm not suggesting I would be able to move it up and down stairs easily on my own, but you should probably get a friend to help anyway if there are stairs involved.

It's white(ish). It's had some years, but it isn't stained or anything like that. You could paint it if you don't like the colour, but at the moment it is fridge coloured which means that you can tell what it is in your kitchen. I've never had any issues with anything like that in my kitchen. I can tell it is a fridge straight away. I heard of someone once who lost a fridge, but it was during a complicated move.

If you want my fridge, you can have it. You'll need to get it yourself though. I don't deliver. Not fridges anyway. I could bring something smaller around, but that would need to be arranged separately.

If you want, I will throw in a signed, incomplete, early draft of my book. It isn't very good, or finished, but I might be famous someday, probably not for writing, and you could show people at dinner parties, when you tell them about how you lost the accompanying fridge during your last move, which was particularly complicated.

Monday 4 November 2013

Before you see Ender's Game

I saw my first poster for Ender's Game yesterday. I've said my piece on that movie, and for those of you who have read it it is pretty clear that my piece has nothing to do with the quality of the film, which I couldn't possibly have seen at the original time of writing, or the quality of the book, which I loved. The short version is that the guy, Orson Scott Card, is openly opposed to the same sex marriage and the "homosexual activist agenda."

Since my last diatribe on the situation, I have spoken to a person who when first coming across 'the kiss' in Ender's Game as a child, was so excited that they thought kissing other boys might be something that they might want to get involved with themselves. Later they grew up and became a kisser of men, so if there is a scoreboard somewhere for this kind of thing, surely that could be chalked up as an own goal.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Legends/Lingerie Football League

I don't know how aware everyone is of softpornball, but it's growing in popularity. I think it is really important to consider the positive impact on the way female athletes are depicted in this country. I think that it is a big step in the right direction towards the de-trivialisation of women in sport in Australia. The 'uniforms'  are the key to this. They have the benefit of being light-weigh, unrestrictive, and seem specifically designed for 'wardrobe malfunctions', so there's that.

I played a short stint of that armoured American football thing, and it's a fairly serious impact sport. You wear the gear, because you need it. As far as anatomy and physics are concerned, those helmets are the arch nemesis of joints. Not to mention anywhere that you might have a bone. There is also the whole Australian sun thing, which I hear is doling out cancer these days. There isn't really a lot going on in regards to covering up the players. I can't wait to see how the first woman who wants to wear longs is treated by the promoters and the gold members.

The thing that strikes me as completely absurd about the whole situation is that between porn-sport, caged blood-sport, and mindless reality nonsense we've pretty much assembled the the broadcast media Voltron herald of a dystopian society as depicted by late Twentieth Century science fiction. Just an observation.

I understand the market for it. I mean, there are at least a few million men in Australia who struggle on a daily basis to decide between watching sport and twisting one out. The broadcast rights are the important part too, because live games would just be a bunch of genetically defective misogynists trying not to be the first to take his pants off in public, all the while staring at their sweaty, expectant palms to avoid the awkward obligation for conversation that comes with eye contact.

I feel like we are only a couple of years from televised, tits out, destruction derbies filling the midweek ratings slump. We could measure the home viewers arousal levels as we find previously untapped mediums to redress as soft-porn. We have the technology.


There isn't an awful lot to say about this film. It's a really good siege movie. It's about as true to the comics as I think you might ever want to get. It's probably about as true to the comics as you could get on $45 million. It isn't going to be one of those films that sits with you for the rest of your life, for some people it will, but for most people you will watch it and move on with your life. You won't forget about it, but there is a good chance it isn't going to blow your mind. It is a good film about crime, violence and drugs in a fascist state.

It's gritty, and it's dark, and there are a lot of things about it that make it very easy to watch. It's incredibly violent. I will say that. If you don't really go in for the good old ultra-violence, there are probably other movies you could watch, and they probably have Tom Cruise in them. That being said, the violence kind of plays a roll, and it always has in Judge Dredd stories, because it is about extremes, and the violence illustrates a point. The idea being that by 2099 humans have become a sort of social extremophile. We basically live in a world where fascism and crime have expanded to a point where there really isn't anything else in between. So, the extreme violence, and the extreme drugs, and the extreme fascism, and the extreme crime are all part of the driving concept, and Judge Dredd is pretty concept heavy as a franchise.

This film does this thing that is interesting, and I think it is important for a potential series of films. What it does is it gets you rooting for these incredibly unreasonable arseholes. The protagonists are the most ridiculous, self righteous,  hyper-branded ultra-fascists you are ever likely to see, and you're kind of on their side, but only because the other choice is ultra-violent psychopathic, mass murdering drug dealers who get involved in things like torture. The thing that is important about this, and I say this from my experience with the comics, is that later you are going to have to deal with these protagonists in situations in which barracking for them is less clear cut, and in fact sometimes you just won't be able to at all.

The comics themselves have a lot of time to really explore the Judges' alignments and affiliation. They really test your moral barometer. There are times when you totally agree with Judge Dredd, dispenser o' the most righteous justice, and then there are times when you just don't see eye-to-eye with Judge Dredd, super nazi of the near future. It's fun stuff. I especially enjoyed it as an embittered, juvenile, neo-righteous social-bemoaner. It was one of many hobbies I had as a teenager that contributed to a general air of smug ignorance.

For the most part they've stopped making science fiction films like this. That I'm aware of anyway. It's brutal and pretty much everyone is a dick. I mean, nearly everyone that you get to know for more than a few seconds is flawed to the point of being nearly devoid of anything that we might generally recognise as humanity. It reminds me of the original RoboCop for all the right reasons, and to a lesser extent A Scanner Darkly, which has a very similar theme (think about it). 

There was this whole vintage of science fiction, of which Judge Dredd is a part, that was about fascism and the extent to which law enforcement will go and the escalating quantity and severity of crimes, and we just don't really seem that concerned about it anymore. Not to the same extent anyway. Maybe it was the whole wind up of the cold war, and everyone was just looking for something else to give them that 'perpetual state of fear' fix. Maybe when terrorism gets harder to sell we'll get back to the whole rapid social decay thing. You know, who knows? 

Anyway, that's where Dredd is at, and I think that if the violence isn't going to grieve you too much you should watch it. Oh, actually I will also say that I think the art department did a fantastic job. They really managed to find a balance between the infrastructure maelstrom that you'll find in the comics and the world that we actually live in where governments don't really do the whole useful infrastructure thing.