Friday, 28 February 2014

Live from Friday Night


Jed's previous promises to get regular have turned into something for which you should be tuned in. He's calling it Friday Night Studio over at the Tubes. At this present time it's a mix of the covers that he does so well, and new versions of 'Misty Promises' and 'Marching Along' that appeared on his The Lost Years, and 'Blank Stares and Photographs' that did not. It's kind of a turn taking situation. They're taking turns. Covers went first, but they're even for the moment, but that'll change. That's how taking turns works. Unless you're playing some sort of game with a child. In my experience children are terrible turn takers.

It's not strictly speaking live. I mean it was when it was happening, but that is past before it's posted. The future will be different though, I'm told. Jet packs and all that jazz. Maybe even time machines, then the past will be different too. Would be? Will be? Is be? Was be? Can you imagine writing incident reports for some kind of time agency? You would have to be completely on top of your tenses. I'd invent new ones. I'd write a book called Advanced Grammar for Complex Temporal Perspectives. I would try to get it into university curriculums. That's where the money was going to be.

I've had far more straight forward grammatical experiences with Jed lately, in which we've mostly been able to rely on the grammar with which we were previously armed by the Australian education system. These discussions have predominantly been about what his plans for the future are going to look like.

'Blank Stares and Photographs' is the latest episode, and is going to have been around for a while by this stage. It was a Jed original when it was written, but that might change in our time machine riddled future. At present history has a different version, which conditions dictated be whispered in the din of predawn. Times were different then for the time being.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

It's not easy being green


I made a friend in high school. I suppose most of us did. And I made more than one too. This one that I am talking about though is more relevant to these things that I am talking about, which is why I brought him up. We fascinated ourselves with the way things got made. The way that some things were tricks, while others were craft from thin air. I remember sitting in his bedroom, or mine, while he showed me the things that were new for his brain. Techniques that had granted him new mastery over some recently impossible thing.  I would talk about the things that I had been taking out of mine to put on the page.

I remember lying on his floor and watching things we'd always seen a dozen times before, and we'd talk about the things we could create. We made promises about the stories and images that we were going to leave behind in the world. We'd talk about these things as though the only limitations that were imposed upon us were the paltry quantity of hours we had been granted in a day.

He was far better at keeping promises than I was.

Now I have friends who do this. More than one. And, like him, they do this for a living. This is an industry in which people work. Making the things that get imagined. They live where they need to live, and they work the hours that are put in front of them. Then they find the proper time for sleep when the final deliveries are done, and that is when they have to start figuring out where they are working next. While they're sleeping and worrying they are being forgotten.

Watch the video. It is their story, and they tell it better.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

He who controls the spice


Dune is an unbelievably good book. There are factions, and an empire that is mostly made up of jerks, and space wizards, the imperial guard wear red, and there are giant worm things living in the sand on desert planets. It's also about a teenage boy who after being hidden from the empire discovers that he is one of the aforementioned space wizards and proceeds to take back his legacy. It's basically Star Wars.

Spice is central to the plot of Dune and to my cooking. That's where I was going with this. It isn't about Star Wars. A comparison between these two science fiction epics is a tale for another day. They both even had prequels that were added years later. They both had genre defining classic PC games. But, I'm not here to talk about that. Not today, Galvatron! I'm here to talk about cooking with spices.

The key to Indian food is the spice, and the preparation, and probably some other things. I could discuss the preparation and go into those other things here, but that is not what I am doing. I want to talk about the spice, because I had that whole thing about Dune at the beginning, and I thought the title was a clever reference to Dune and the guy that sells me my spices. Look, I've pretty much ruined it now, but that's your fault. If you guys would just shut up for a second and let me finish, I could be doing this with something resembling the sort of grace and prowess you might be used to on other more gazellesque blogs.

This is my guy. His house has taken Arakis, and it looks like this, and it is here. He is not Indian, but that doesn't change what is in the packets. The packets are the same. They are from India, and are full of Indian spices, unless they are importing them before they package them, but that seems like a silly thing to be doing. I wouldn't do that. Nor should you, were you in such a situation. Just package the spices that they have there.

I visited recently and his range has expanded. He carries a variety of things now. He always did, but it is a wider variety of things. Paneer! That's a kind of cheese. I'm not meant to have dairy. I do though. It also has a great many other ingredients that you would use in an Indian feast. It's getting busy up in there. I'm so street. I'm not really. I'm not country either. I'm pretty soft. Very soft. I'm all soft toys and the great indoors. TV. Fridges. One TV, but multiple fridges. One would just be for sandwiches. And Indian leftovers. And the cheese I'm not meant to be eating.

The thing that is probably most appealing about this place as your Arakian supply depot is the price. It is not costly. Not costly at all. Cost effective blue-in-blue.

Also, I am pretty sure that the store has an 's' on its sign in the appropriate place. I think that is a Google Streetview related typo. That's where the picture is from. I stole it. I'm also pretty sure that the sign says 'indian grocery', and not 'indi grocery'. You can check for me when you go.

Am I helping him or am I helping you? Both. Everyone gets helped here. Everyone within a certain radius of his convenience store, which is opposite Victoria Park. 257 Broadway. There are other Indian grocers and carriers of Indian spices around, and I am aware of some really good ones in Canberra and Sydney's Northern Beaches, but this is where I go. This is my guy. He controls my spice.

Ezy Convenience Store
257 Broadway, Glebe
9518 4690

Monday, 24 February 2014

Still leaping after all these years


Panda and I have developed this theory that actors, especially those employed by the television, only ever play the one character across every show they ever appear in, as if all of television was a single ongoing epic from first broadcast to the day the satellites finally come crashing home. This theory is mainly driven by Kelsey Grammar's performance of attrition as Dr Fraiser Crane, and Kevin McCloud's repeated performances as Kevin McCloud MBE.

The theory assumes that a lot of the bridging plot elements that include time machines and witness protection programs happen off screen due to budgetary and pacing issues. Do we really want to watch the series of events that led Michael Knight to become a divorced lifeguard with a son and a deep affection for little red shorts. I'm okay where they picked up. Baywatch needed the mystery.

At the end of the day it is still kind of selective, and usually only includes multi season roles, but when we really truly get down to it, this is all about Quantum Leap and Scott "Dr Sam Beckett" Bakula. What it is that we are saying is that Scott Bakula has been playing Dr Sam Beckett in every TV show he has ever been in. Ever! Even pre QL roles. It's just him leaping from life to life. This will include his starring role on the upcoming pilot for NCIS: New Orleans. This is really the most enjoyment we get out of it. I'm not going to lie to you. We love Scott Bakula, and we're a little unstable for Quantum Leap. And by a little unstable, we wrote an outline for a sequel. And we love Quantum Leap. We are going to watch every episode of this new extension of the series thing, because we love Quantum Leap. We are going to watch every episode, and wonder if he misses Al. He does. You can tell.

The reason that he no longer has Al is that Sam changed Al's past in the last episode causing his first marriage to stay together. Al's, not his own. Thus removing Al's subsequent failed marriages, and even subsequenter lapse into liver abuse, and his even more subsequenter meeting with Dr Samuel Beckett at the vending machine. It's very complicated. Panda explains it much better than I do. He uses oranges and mustard. The mustard stays in the jars. It's mustard jars. It makes sense when he does it. Basically Sam gave up on his only connection to his home time, and potentially the entire friendship, so that that his best friend could be happy. He's alone out there.

Then at some stage following this he leaps into the body of Captain Jonathan Archer of the original Enterprise NX-01. Spent some years there, because who wouldn't. You'd be crazy not to. Turning down The Seat on any Enterprise is like climate change denier crazy. It's like you're broken inside. No one can fix you from that.

Wait. I forgot to mention that he didn't leap home at the end, but realised that he had the ability to decide when he leaped all along. Where was I? Oh. Yeah. He's all alone out there. Imagine what that would do to your psyche. You'd be literally only living other people's lives. No one is calling your name, and you can't talk to anyone about what's going on. That's harrowing. You would be harrowed. Your psyche would be harrowed down to a little nub. Or it would go the other way and you'd be deeply entrenched in the god complex side of just straight up bat shit crazy. I like to think I'd be a mix. Like boysenberry swirl.

On an unrelated note, Panda and I have a fantastic idea for a Quantum Leap sequel. It actually has boysenberry swirl in it. Damn it! Now I want ice cream.

Did you know that if you google image search  for 'boysenberry swirl' you get a lot of pictures of clothing made by people who've never seen boysenberry swirl? These are strewn amongst pictures of actual properly coloured boysenberry swirl. I've eaten the blue flavour that they call 'bubblegum', and I know that it is in reality the Gonzo flavour, and I'm happy not knowing what it is. I've accepted that it most probably smacks of Smurf. I can live with that, but if I was involved with ice cream that had more than a single shade of blue I would start to use my concerned face. Am I eating Smurf & Muppet Baby Ripple? Maybe I'm not ready for that.

Did you also know that this whole situation has done nothing but heighten my desire for ice cream? Live and learn.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Echoes of Yesterday's Tomorrows

During a time in which it was possible for me to accurately depict my age on a single hand I invested heavily in the sort of science fiction wonderlands that were often presented to me in the animated adventures of Captain Future. The whole thing is a fairly aged concept of what our distant futures were going to be like. We operated from a different sort of point of view.

Captain Future goes way back. Not like the Barsoom Mars scene in which the nudity was rife. That's ancient. A hundred and change. But Captain Future goes back further than most of us. If both my maths and understanding of the age range and make up of the current population is accurate, he goes back further than most of us. He'd be seventy four this year. Well, he is in the future as a fictional character so he wouldn't even have been born, but you know what I am getting at.

I had a deep love for this flavour, and some part of that has become deeply intwined with the sort of science funktion themes songs of Captains both Future and Harlock. I've made previous mention of my affections for this particular auricular experience, but what I have neglected to pass on was that the also previously mentioned Mark Mercury not only brought us the Space Pirate Captain Harlock theme, 'Take to the Skies', but also the Captain Future theme, 'Captain Future'. Good name that. The latter. Clear. Concise. To the point. Not easily confused.

The theme song, and as a result the greater body of Mark Mercury's work, is important to me. My introduction to Captain Future was through a trailer for the show, which was nothing more than the opening title sequence, resplendent with theme song (it can wear a theme song),  with a brief nugget of explanatory narration delivered at me through the Communications and Entertainment Limited VHS release of Space Pirate Captain Harlock. In hind sight this sort of thing might be considered evidence of their phonic relatedness, but that would be some pretty loose deductive reasoning on my part.


I can't actually find the exact advertisement with the narration, but it is a lot like the video above. This trailer was all I had to go on initially, but was enough for my fertile young mind to begin building upon. The fascination ran deep and polluted my later explorations of Edmond Hamilton's Captain Future stories, in which he was 'Captain Future, Wizard of Science', but also flowed through the entirety of that sort of exquisite space faring, time travelling nonsense that they epitomise. I bandied about the verb 'pollute' back there as though I take some issue with the lasting impact that this has had, but let me be clear: this is akin to 'polluting' an altogether pleasant romp in the hay with some post coital Grand Designs. It's a good thing.

Mark Mercury, the man who artfully captured my attention and piqued my interest in the Captains is still out there making his music. In much the same way that Kevin McCloud is still out there making Grand Designs. And, like Kevin with his show, it strikes me as the sort of thing that he enjoys doing. Even the briefest of encounters with his work will leave you with the distinct impression that this particular fellow is a little keen for space. I too am keen for the space. It's what I fantasise about. I could spend weeks telling you about my cosmic day dreams, but I don't yet have the requisite theme song. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy


Panda and I are dancers of a certain kind. We get down to bust a move in a particular way, and there are some things that sway us to the boogaloo more than others, and they are (in no particular order) comics, space heroes, and the anthropomorphised animals. That is pretty much the recipe for us. That is why we are looking forward to this. This Guardians of the Galaxy. These things we listed above are its ingredients. It also has some other things that we like, but they aren't required. We also like finding sandwiches, but that may also be in there. We don't know yet. It isn't in the trailer. We also like pre-chewing our food, but you know what we can't have everything. Anyway, we're excited.


Somewhere, back there in the archives to the right is a post where I am more than certain that I have brought these guys and their impending movie up before, but I couldn't find it. I'll be honest. I didn't spend a lot of time rummaging around back there before giving up. I sort of just gave up. Not 'sort of'. I just gave up as a part of the process of starting. It's a good trick. Useful for when you are at risk of being too productive. I'm not that. Not that at all. Still fun. I can teach you if you're interested.

Oh, it's also part of that Avengers thing that Marvel is doing. You know the one. That whole Marvel Cinematic Universe thing that has been happening. You've seen it. Does that make it more interesting to the rest of you? It's been pretty popular. It probably does. See this one for whatever reason suits you. I don't care what it is. I just want them to make another one.

EDIT: Hey, look. I found it.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

La-Mulana is a better way to wear the hat


Indiana Jones has a problem. Not one that you can really fix. It isn't like we need to have an intervention or anything else that requires any kind of organisation. People need to calm down. As a guy, he is okay. He isn't unwell or anything, it's just it has been a long time since Fate of Atlantis.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is not only the single best Indiana Jones game that has been made thus far, but it is also a standout title when compared to a great number of other games. It's highly regarded. I regard it highly. As do others. The problem is that it washed up on IBM compatibles in 1992. It's been twenty years. Well, twenty two, but, you know, we do this in decades. It's a rounding thing.

The franchise has offered up other fairly okay games in the intervening period, but it's a torch holding thing that they're not doing. It's not about not having hands either. It's metaphorical. The torch and its holding. Someone else has decided that it is their responsibility to amend this situation. And the product of that responsibility is La-Mulana! This is what Indiana Jones games should be like. It's exquisite. It's not an actual Indiana Jones title, because that would get them in trouble, and in a lot of ways it is the better off for it.

It isn't really like any other Indiana Jones games I've seen either. It is an entirely different genre to Fate of Atlantis. In fact the only things they share are the hat, the whip and the undeniable quality. The closest you might come within the bounds of officially licensed materials might be Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, but even then that would only be because they are both platform games. La-Mulana is a metroidvania kind of thing, whereas the SNES game was a more traditional platformer with levels and passwords in lieu of a save function.

Anyway, La-Mulana is different to those things, but still rocks out in a way that is pretty retro. Beyond the art, which is clearly a product of a pixel passion, they have really nailed a classic style of game design that I feel fell by the wayside somewhere down the track. It walks a very fine line between between challenging and deeply frustrating, and will often have you running madly around the temple figuring out what you need to do next, but there is a pleasure in mastering all the jumping and whipping.


It is hard. I should say that. It is hard in a similar sort of way that System Shock 2 is hard. This puts it in the realms of punishing. You aren't going to cruise through this game. I've had to start over once already. Something happened, and I thought, 'I'm never going back! I'm done! You screwed up La-Mulana!', but I was wrong. I went back to crawl the halls of the temple once again. I started from the beginning, and I am having as much fun playing the game as I did the first time. Probably more. Yes. More.

There is a Kickstarter campaign that is in the process of winding up for the sequel, so there is going to be a second one, which is good if you like the first one. In the meantime the first one is currently available over on Steam. Actually, while I am on the subject, Fate of Atlantis is also there. On Steam.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Call of the Octo-Hoff

It seems now that I have once again begun with great optimism to gather ballerinas at my creative maw without that due heed paid to those lessons of days I've already past. The Octo-Hoff lurks, and I must embrace him. I must know my own bounds, and I must find my hands a way to work within them. This is the only true forward facing course of prudence.

What shadows leech anew into our surrounds as we falter unbidden into our own selfish false fantasies? What given thief have we allowed to prey upon us in these wretched hollows we dig as our dreams? Without the strength of will to see through the arduous birth, they feed in lieu of nourish. Worse, these parasites are hewn of our own hands. Wicked are we.

We imagine ourselves too capable in the face of these sudden creative outpourings. Surely we can create with speed ever increasing, should the need arise. Were we but challenged, surely we would meet such challenge with both aptitude and grace.

Are our talents not liquid? Capable without the merest of hesitations of becoming unto any form with which they are presented? Is that not the nature of the art? Do we not engage The Great Tradition for this very purpose? Do we slosh wildly against the sides of the trough, or find new accomplishment in the artistry of adherence to its herring curves?

What obnoxiously flavoured panacea have we attempted to have wrought in order to bestow upon our own selves the sole governance of the name of that herring? Are the fish our's to name?

Woe is the one who turns their back to face upon the Octo-Hoff, for he is betentacled!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Sandwich on the Orient Express, and other Mysteries

Based on Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

Very loosely.

Loose is probably the most important word thus far.

I found a sandwich in my fridge last night. This isn't like the hotdog situation. I actually remembered buying it once I saw it. It was pretty special though, and I think I realised that right down in the very core of who I am, I am happiest when I am finding sandwiches.

Even though I had been recently responsible for the arrival of the sandwich into my life and the fridge, it felt like magic. It brightened my entire outlook on life. The key in this particular sandwich discovery was forgetting that it was there. I'm not sure how to guarantee this in the future, but I feel like finding sandwiches is something I could do for the rest of my life.

It was at about this stage that Panda decided that this was also his calling, and also something that he should go about as Hercule Panda, the great detective. I lost a little track of how we got to the bit where he spoke with a very bad accent and solved crimes around my granny flat for the better part of three hours, but it was amusing. I also lost track of how I managed to be both the client and culprit in a number of missing foodstuff related crimes dating back months. I also apparently started the Franco-Prussian War, and am personally, and criminally, responsible for the cancellation of Quantum Leap.

I say that I was the client, because I apparently am heavily in debt for the cost of the services of the 'world renowned' Hercule Panda. A debt that I am apparently required to pay in a variety of snack based currencies. There might be some sort of exchange rate investigation in the near future.

Now, if the adventures started as a loose adaptation of the works of Agatha Christie, they were somewhere beyond 'loosely inspired by' towards the end. Despite having seen nearly every David Suchet Poirot mystery, Panda became insistent that Poirot's, and thus his own, crime solving catch phrase was a variant of 'I solved the crime with my face', and then later 'faces', as a result of the 'language barrier'.

I tried to correct him on that, but I was informed that he was in fact 'a triple panda', which he explained as a result of taking the 'pandarocity' of two other pandas, which he in turn explained by  saying, 'Like that movie Highlander. Did you see that? I'm one of those. All pandas are'.

'You're cutting the heads off pandas?'

'They're all doing it.'

'You do know they're endangered?'

'There can be only one.'

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Magic of Sub-Zero Decision Making


After engaging in some of what the Australian broadcast of the Winter Olympics has had to offer two things have occurred to me: the first being that the countries that are good at ice hockey are also known for their bears. Proper bears. Not like Koalas, but the kinds of bears that are known for their dancing and their surly demeanour; and the second being that people seem to make strange decisions in the cold. Decisions that seem entirely set apart from any sort of useful understanding of physics, and the durability of the human body. As though parts of their brain just switches off once it drops below a certain temperature. Particularly the part associated with self preservation.

It just seems like there have been a great many decisions made that have lead to the whole existence of the Winter Olympics that involve velocities, acceleration and hard surfaces. There are also a lot of knives on people's feet and inordinate amounts of time spent away from the ground. And chutes! Have you had a look at those chutes games they play? Especially that skeleton thing? They didn't always do that face first. At some stage some guy thought to himself, 'I'm going to start with my face.'

There aren't many things you are meant to do face first. We generally reserve the term 'face-first' for when someone is doing something in a fashion other than what might be considered the general wisdom at the time. Or if we would like to ad an entirely additional level of doing something incorrectly. Except kissing. That is the exception. If you're doing it right, you're face should be employed at least somewhere near the beginning of the process. Perhaps it was inspired by kissing. Regardless of the thought process a decision followed. Then after that decision was the decision to keep at it. There isn't any face-first hurtling in the Summer Olympics of which I am aware. There could be. I don't pay a lot of attention.

The reason I bring all of this up is that I am concerned about the sort of life decisions these people might be making. The kinds of things that might fall into the 'Vodka Life Decisions' category. There is another one of those chute sports in which one guy lies on top of the guy that actually brought a sled with him. That seems like the kind of thing you think might be a good idea if you've been drinking vodka. Perhaps it is an example of the evolution of chute sports during an economic downturn. I'd believe that. I'm pretty gullible for that sort of thing. Perhaps there is a carpool chute. They don't use these chutes for commuting yet do they? Or anymore? I mean, it seems efficient. Two guys on a sled. It's low emission. Pedestrian casualties would be pretty low too. Just don't get in the chute if you're on foot.

I'm kind of excited about these colder climes now. I'm not really a big fan of the heat, and I've been to some cold places before, but I didn't get that whole Winter Wonderland experience that might be going on somewhere in the world. The kind of places where people say, 'Hey, nice dance bro. You should do it outside on that frozen lake!'

'I'll just grab my coat.'

'You'll be warmer in rhinestones.'

'Really?'

'Oh, absolutely. The thermodynamic properties of rhinestones are greatly under appreciated.'

How do these conversations actually go? Figure skating is high speed dancing on ice, which is commonly referred to as 'Winter's Concrete'. It isn't, but the potential for injury is insane. It is one of the far more brazen varieties of dance. Outstripped perhaps only by ambush tiger dancing of Southern India, which is both an increasingly unpopular pass-time, and entirely fictitious. It's unpopularity comes down to a combination of declining tiger populations, the fictitious nature of the activity, and that surprising a tiger is the sort of activity you only get to do the one time, and it is not often followed by dancing. This isn't a real sort of dancing, because it is stupid. You don't do it. Just about the only thing happening in the Winter Olympics that doesn't seem like you are going to do yourself a fairly serious mischief is curling, which has a whole other set of questions that need asking.

Friday, 14 February 2014

The time I was a dragon

I'm a dragon.
You didn't know that already, but I am. I sleep on a pile of gold.
I also eat the weak.
Once I even ravaged a town.
It was pretty bad.
I felt super bad afterwards.
I built some barns to make up for it.
I was going to build houses, but after I had built the outside of the houses I couldn't fit inside to build the walls and floors and shit, so I said they were barns and went back to my hoard of gold.
If I'm ever in that situation again I am totally going to think that shit through.
I also ate some livestock.
Like cows and shit.
It was full on.
I didn't realise that I would eat so many.
It totally caused problems for this village.
I basically ruined their economy by snacking.
I also felt super bad about that.
It's basically shit being a dragon.
I can fly though. Which is kind of awesome.
One time I flew south for the winter just to see what it was about.
I got lost and went kind of south west.
It was alright though.
I did find out though that in the Southern hemisphere the birds fly north for the winter, because it is warmer there, so I did that the next year.
It was nice.
I had a summer holiday.
It was kind of like Magnum PI, if Higgins was a dragon.
I was Higgins.
We had fun anyway.
When I came home from my holiday though, I found that some freaking elves had stolen my hoard. I ruined their shit.
I tore their woodland shit to the ground.
I didn't even feel bad.
You don't steal from a dragon. That's dumb. That is what dumb people do.
You're pretty much just saying, 'Hey Dragon. Ruin my shit because I'm dumb.'
I don't think I should feel bad about that.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Astute Observation of Daily Ritual

Is sauce a spread? I suppose it doesn't matter. I'm going to keep putting it on sandwiches. I'm probably also going to keep putting condensed soup on sandwiches too, which puts it in a similar sort of category. That category of things I will have on a sandwich that aren't really solids. Sandwich-grade pseudo-fluids. Some of them might be actual fluids. Sauce is a fluid. Nothing pseudo about it. It's been a long time since I've had a really in depth understanding of fluids, and their membership criteria, but I'm pretty sure about sauce. If you've got me scienceyness than me, feel free to chime and educate, but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter what they are when they make it onto the sandwich. That's their goal. It's a hall of fame. Of sorts.

You know what is kind of like a sandwich? A hotdog! It's just a basically an abnormally shaped wiener sandwich. It's more linear. It's not abnormal for a hotdog, I mean some of them must be, but it's abnormal for a sandwich. Well, your more traditional sandwich anyway. Your longer sandwiches are more and more common these days. A Subway sandwich is still a sandwich. We don't exclude it just because it has two ends. Square sandwiches don't have that. They're squares. Squares don't have ends.

I found a hotdog last night. It was in my freezer. I was looking for something else. I was looking for ice cream. At four in the morning. I don't sleep. I knew there wasn't any ice cream. I didn't remember that there was any, I just hoped there would be somewhere in the back. There wasn't. There was a hotdog though. It was a Seven Eleven hotdog. I didn't know that was there. I moved it to the fridge bit, so that it would be easier to zap should the time come that I'm going to eat it. When the time comes, you want to be prepared.

I guess there really aren't that many rules concerning sandwiches in this day age. The modern sandwich is a varied and wonderful thing. It has come down to stuff between bread. That's pretty much the rule these days. The open sandwich tries to flaunt this rule, but it is a lie. It is the lie, and who ever wrote the menu is the perpetrator of that lie. That person who served it is an accomplice. It's a lie to take up more of the plate without delivering on that more.

Imagine if I was selling you a house, and I told you that the roof was over there somewhere, and then tried to convince you to pay more due to the increase in square footage. That's what a peddler of open sandwiches is doing to you. And they always charge more. It's a kind of fraud. It isn't a sandwich. It's bread with things on it, which doesn't make it a 'pizzette' or automatically qualify it as bruschetta either.

I'm no longer sure in which direction I was headed here. It might not of even had a thing at all to do with sandwiches, which makes the way that I started this whole thing seem more than a little strange. Now that I think about it, I had originally planned to bandy some words about in an attempt to say something astute about The Flight of the Navigator, but, well, I've just cruised right through lunchtime.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Super Cooperation Defence Force


People have been asking me what a Voltron is. This is no doubt due to some sort of deviation from the mean childhood. Someone isn't normal. It's you. Regardless of whose parents dropped the ball on this one (it was yours), many to all of the previous Voltron related statements made by me were lost on enough of you that it would save me time and effort if I just go over it briefly. I'm not going to be brief. That's not my thing. I could also just give you the link to the Wikipedia article on the subject, but I'm not going to do that.

See what I did there?

You're trapped.

Doing it this way will also most likely stop the late night calls I've been making to your parents about the ball that they've dropped. Some of them. Some will still get calls. They'll know who they are when it happens.

I'm not strictly on top of why it is easier to ask me than google 'what is a voltron', to which the internet would probably reply 'this is a voltron' with pictures and words. You would be done by now.

Some of you might actually know, but are looking for reasons to start conversations with me. If it's for social charity, I don't need your help. I'm a salmon! If it's for you, I'm there for you buddy. Sssshhh. It's going to be okay. Jakey's here.

Moving right along. There were two Voltrons: The less awesome Voltron that was made of stupid cats and driven by colour blind pilots; and the super awesome Voltron that was made of vehicles and was full of teams.

The first Voltron was a giant space defence cooperation robot that was made of robot lions piloted by what appeared to be five colour coded teenagers who lived in a huge space castle. Their colour coding wasn't perfect though, with only two out of five having uniforms that matched their lions. They weren't even the hard colours. It's all preschool art stuff.

The second Volton, which was my favourite Voltron, was also a giant space defence cooperation robot. That's what a Voltron is. Where it differed though was that it was made of vehicles, and had fifteen crew members, and took part in the exploration of space, and it lived on a spaceship.

It lived on a spaceship.

Just like Han Solo!

It had been sent out in search of new habitable planets in an attempt to solve the overpopulation crisis back on Earth. The Earth meanwhile was involved in an interplanetary war with the Drule Empire who were also looking for new habitable planets. It was on a similar space page as Star TrekBattlestar Galactica, and Starblazers (Space Battleship Yamato). There were actual plots and things that happened opposed to the whole thing just being a framing device for the obligatory giant robot battles, which were all Voltron.


As a child I had a great deal of sympathy for the Drule. Their planet was going to explode because of global warming or something. EXPLODE! That is one of the worst kinds of thing. That's what can happen. They pretty much all drove SUVs, even their dolphins, and something about coal and phenylalanine. They never really went into it. They would always show you scenes of the people suffering as they burnt to death though. They went into that. It was pretty hard to hate them when all of this was the situation. I mean, you don't know how much they brought it on themselves with the SUVs. It might've been previous generations.

They don't cover it.

Maybe they do.

It's been a while.


It was also the richer of the two in terms of characters, who actually seemed to have lives and all of that jazz. It just never felt as isolated as the lion one. 

The first half of the show was made from a Japanese show called GoLion which is set on a post apocalyptic Earth, and as a result there isn't a whole lot going on outside the giant robot action. The apocalypse did that. This might've also been global warming. I don't remember if they went into it. A lot of the Earth scenes on the lion side were taken from the other show. The Earth scenes that didn't involve desolate wastelands. It feels a lot like there isn't really much at stake.

By comparison the crew of the other Voltron must continue their mission knowing that their home planet is constantly being attacked by the Drule, which they mostly did by spending a lot of time in the 'cafeteria'. The same way the rest of us deal with our problems.

One super cooperation space vodka at a time.


I'm kind of making it sound like I didn't like the lion one at all. That isn't the case. I was super fond of it, and got ridiculously excited when it was on, but the other one was phenomenal. At the end of the day it comes down to super isolated Power Rangers at the far end of space with a less diverse robotic menagerie, versus Battlestar Galactica with a giant robot. It's kind of hands down for me. At the real end of the day though a giant robot would make a sword out of light and get serious. Really serious. It wasn't super serious. They still did a llittle dance to make their swords, but it was about as serious as dancing gets. It was just the one boy band move, and they got a sword out of it.

You'd make that trade. I know I would. Imagine birthday parties. I'd do a whole dance and end it with the light sword making move and Voltron wreck that cake.

Best birthday ever!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

What is the connection?


I've been having this discussion on and off for who knows how long. You could have a pretty decent guess at how long if you had more information. It started when I was a child, which is a finite timeframe in which to operate. It is one of those questions that a great many children ask. What counts as a Muppet? Do they have to be in a Muppet show or movie? Is that the strict rule? Because there were the Tales from Muppetland TV specials, and apparently the puppets in that aren't Muppets unless they're also in some other Muppet stuff. I don't know who decided this, but I think that is dumb. It says 'Muppet' in the title. Both Sweetums and Kermit's nephew, Robin, started there, and they're definitely Muppets. Why can't the rest of them be Muppets? Well, not all of them. Some of them are very clearly people. Unless Jim Henson made some forays into flesh Muppets early on in his career. I think that would've been the kind of thing that we might know about though, and also the kind of thing that might have prevented him from becoming a creator of beloved children's television, which came later.

Jim Henson seems to have been of the impression that the cast of Sesame Street was predominantly made up of Muppets. He would know. They're his toys. This kind of blurs the lines for any argument to be made though. I know that a lot of them appeared in the 'Rainbow Connection' finale at the end of The Muppet Movie, but I think he thought they were Muppets before that. I think that is why they are there. I'm happy with this though. They seem like Muppets. What are the limits of Muppetdom? I've seen Labyrinth, and I've made other people watch it too. Is it a Muppet movie? I'm pretty sure that it is not, but they're also his toys? Are some of those guys Muppets? Is David Bowie a Muppet? Is his crotch? What are the rules? Where lie the Muppet boundaries?

I've also seen The Dark Crystal more than a few times, and I'm fairly certain they are not Muppets. The Skeksis can't be Muppets. That has to be a rule. I'm certain of that. If they're Muppets, we're all in trouble. That Fizzgig thing might be a Muppet. I had a computing studies teacher who looked like Fizzgig. I had a lot of computing studies teachers though. If you had him too, you would know which one I am talking about. You would definitely know. Most of the rest of my teachers couldn't really be said to look much at all like Jim Henson creations. This guy definitely did though. We used to call him Fizzgig, and I don't think he understood what we were saying.

Muppet logic as a rule is pretty loose. Lets face it, askew does not really cover it. It's just whatever it wants to be. Even from the very early days Muppets could have non-Muppet children, implying that there is perhaps some Muppet gene of some kind. It wasn't until later that Kermit's nephew, who was also a Muppet frog, was introduced that there was some suggestion for the possibility of not nonsense in the makeup of Muppet genealogy. Maybe it is some kind of dormant gene. Who knows? I don't. I am neither a geneticist, nor a puppeteer. I do know that Kermit and Fozzie once played identical twins, and their dad is some other thing, but he is not a thing with which I was previously familiar. That's real. That happened. It should be pointed out that the Muppets play characters in the films that often happen to share their names. The Muppets are actors in their films. It's kind of an extension of the show. They are performers in the show, and they are playing roles in the films. The films aren't stories about them. I'm not sure if this extends to all of the films that have ever been made, but I'm under the impression that it does. They pretty much do what they want.

Apart from the obvious, being the shows and films, Sesame Street is definitely in. They're Muppets. Labyrinth is probably out. So is The Dark Crystal. They are not Muppets. Not on my watch. Sam and Friends? I think so. The Storyteller? I'm not sure. Probably not. Yoda is not a Muppet. I know that. It's not a science really. You just kind of have to go with your gut. Unless your gut includes the Fraggles, then you are probably better off ignoring your gut. They're just puppets, and they're not welcome here. There is probably a list somewhere that sorts all of this out. It probably isn't very reliable though. There was a Muppet Workshop. Perhaps thats the connection. It's probably the best indicator anyway. I'm not sure how you go about finding out what went down in the Muppet Workshop. I feel like I could've researched this better. I basically watched the Muppet movies and then remembered things, and perhaps some of that was done incorrectly. If you want accuracy, go to the ABC, while it lasts. Then come back to me.

Save the ABC. They would've knocked this for six. It'd be all citations, and primary sources, and whatever else it is that people who are concerned with accuracy and integrity get into to make sure they're doing it right. It's not amateur hour over there. It's pretty amateur here.

I don't like Fraggle Rock.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

From West Germany to your nightmares


Did you know that The NeverEnding Story was a West German film? Well, it was. As a child I went to see it in the cinema with my mother and we had to leave before the movie started, because I took a far more literal reading of the title than the vast majority of the movie going public. My memory of this incident is vivid. The thought process in particular. I think it came to Australian cinemas in 1985, which means I would've been three. I don't remember a lot of things from when I was about that age. I remember my 'uncle' Marius letting me destroy a cheap flashlight to show me that they don't work underwater, and I remember forgetting the sound of my own voice, which is the kind of thing I wish I didn't remember.

It was probably for the best. By the time I actually saw it a couple of years later, I came to the conclusion that it was hewn from the nightmares of the broken. The West Germans made this thing for children. I'm not saying all the West Germans were broken. Just some of them. And some of those were involved in making this film. I'm not sure that children need a really distinct concept of nothingness. Kids watching this film are either going to go, "Wow, that's not good" or they are going to incorporate a deep seeded fear of oblivion into their day to day lives. That's about what I did. Then the horse dies as a result of his crippling depression. I don't remember it very clearly. That might not be what happened, but you do get the impression that you don't need to be afraid of dragons and nagas, because oblivion and depression are where the real fear lives. This is the kind of thing that may impact your decision making process in important ways. Safeguarding against dragons is both costly and mostly pointless. Not because dragon related loss and damages are covered by most major insurance companies, because they aren't. It's just that you don't get a lot of dragon related losses and/or damages. So, anything that pushes the decision making process towards prioritising just about anything non-dragon related over anything dragons related is a good thing.

Kids are pretty useless decision makers anyway. I used to get stuck in things. It was a decision that I used to make. Decisions really. It happened frequently. There isn't even really a story there. It is just something that used to happen to me. Actually, I did it to myself. I guess there is kind of a story. Well, stories. I'm not going to tell them. Not right now. I might later. Not later today, but at another stage entirely. You might be wondering now. Maybe. Probably not though. If it is the kind of thing that you are likely to get stuck on, causing you to not pay attention to the rest of what I wrote, I guess I can say that I've been cut out of a work bench. I also got my head caught under the front seat of a car while at a drive in cinema. I used to go to the cinema a lot, so statistically something like that was bound to happen eventually.

I've been to the cinema a few times recently. On none of those occasions did I see The NeverEnding Story, which is a combination of adult decision making on both my part and the part of the people who run the screens. Instead I saw that Secret Life of Walter Mitty one. The ad convinced me. I thought I might see a movie that would make me feel like anything is possible. Not eating lava though. Not while it is still hot anyway. You might be able to eat it when it has cooled down, but I don't think that eating hot lava is possible, nor is it implied in the movie. I saw the other one that they made right after that war that made the two Germanys once too. Not recently. I saw the new one recently. The one with Ben Stiller. The other one I saw a long time ago. I kind of feel like I have a secret life. Not like his in which it actually comes to fruition and he has an adventure and he gets a cinnamon bun. I just imagine things that aren't real, and then only occasionally get a cinnamon bun. I also imagine things that are real. Well, were real. I guess that is remembering though.

Friday, 7 February 2014

This is Falcon


Get ready for Falcon. They had a whole other name before than the one they have now. Now they are a raptor. A bird of prey. A band of prey. Sleek, predatory and awesome. There are moments when it feels like Dr Frankenfurter is the front man. Not all of the time, but some of the time. So, this falcon is probably a falcon in chaps and a corset. A falcon that is capable of inter-dimensional flight, and fighting whatever it might find on such journeys. They're Falcon awesome! That wasn't very good. I'll avoid some of that in future. No! You know what? I'll pun if I want to. This is my blog, and as a result they're my words, and I make the Falcon word rules here. If you don't like puns, write your own blog.

If you need to start somewhere on your Falconic journey, it should probably be with 'Awesome', which is a love song that you might sing if you actually meant it. The kind of love song you would sing when you just want to heft words at someone until they understand how you feel. Words that probably are not the same kinds of words that one often finds on cards unless you put them there yourself. It's a specific feeling with a specific phrasing. You most likely have had it and then said the words. Listen to the song, and you will be all like, 'Oh, hey. Yeah. I know what you're saying. I have felt like that right here in my heart, which is where I feel all of my biggest feels, and then gone on to say something like that with my mouth that I also used for alcohol.' That is a real process that I am not making up.

That song will give you a fair idea of what you're in for before you get into songs like '1982', 'Birthday', and 'The Girl Next Door', but at the same time is unlikely to prepare you for some of the other things that have emerged from the beak of the Falcon. I'm pretty on board with their whole scene. It is a scene on which I am keen. I am unfortunately nowhere near their scene. I am some thirty two hundred kilometres from their scene. They're in Perth. I am not in Perth. If they ever come to Sydney, I will let you know.

In lieu of having actual geographical access to the band, I started loitering in their SoundCloud habitat at some stage, which is where their music is living at the right now. The right now at the time of writing. It may not be at a different, later, right now, but that seems unlikely. It is more likely that it will still be there. I'm looking forward to the future of Falcon. Perhaps it will be like SilverHawks all spacefaring and chrome, but that will come later. This is now! This is Falcon!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Big Boy Dinners and Planetary Defence

I ate a can of spaghetti sauce for dinner a couple of nights back. I was sitting there with the sauce, and it occurred to me that it was probably going to be the tastiest part of the meal that I was about to eat. Why wouldn't I just have that? The pasta would dilute the flavour with its plainness. Why do we even make pasta? Pasta is just convention. Convention isn't the boss of me. I'm a grown up. I get to make all sorts of decisions now. Decisions like eating cans of Campbell's Spaghetti Sauce as stand alone meals.

Part of being a grownup is the responsibility to ask questions of what you are presented with  on an everyday sort of level. Should I cross when the man is green, or should I wait until he is red? You should go when he is green. That one is a bad example. It is a safety thing that comes down to everyone being on the same page. It isn't really open to individuality. Being your own person when it comes to traffic lights is how accidents happen. There are other things though. There are so many things. Things where you can safely be open to seeing the truth of that thing, or another associated thing. Should you eat toast upside down so that the flavour goes on your actual flavour receptors? I know Dr Seuss wrote a book that openly denounces a war over which side of your bread the flavour should live on, but I think it is because he would most likely favour public education, backed up by an efficient and thorough eugenics program. This is another bad example. Don't question this either. Just do what I tell you on this one. It's gotta be flavour to the tongue.

Another example would be the Voltron hedgehog in Western Australia, which is very clearly not a giant milk carton. People will tell you that it is a milk carton, but milk cartons don't have eyes. It's very clearly a giant robotic hedgehog that is ready to fly into space at a moment's notice to defend the Earth with its laser spines. Laser is way better for this sort of giant robot battle action than keratin. Keratin is fine for letting house cats know that you are not to be trifled with, but when you're defending a planet you need laser. Years of research have gone into this.You can't see the laser spines right now, but you can see where they would come out. It can't use its laser spines inside the atmosphere, because too much of the good stuff would be ruined. Not good 'good stuff', but parts of Western Australia 'good stuff', which is still something that I have been lead to believe is not something that one wants ruined. There are people living there. This is second hand. I don't know this from my own experience. I'll look into it.

I know it's not as visually appealing as the plug-and-play, robot-lion gestalt stationed out of Japan, but it's a lot more awesome than nothing. It would need to be thoroughly investigated, but I'm pretty certain that it doesn't form up with other giant non-native robots. I haven't seen any about. Not that I've done that thorough investigation that I mentioned earlier, but I like to think we'd notice. You know. As a nation. Perhaps now that you know to be on the lookout you'll find the rest. I'm not saying for absolute certain that there is in fact more of these things squirrelled away around the country, but if you see something, let me know. It would be absolutely like the Australian government to go for the 'most cost efficient' option. Japan has both Lion Force and Vehicle Force Voltrons, and the Power Rangers, and who knows what else. They're prepared. We are not. There is a budgetary committee that has left us in the lurch on the whole invasion front.

No one could ever accuse Australia of becoming involved in an escalating arms race that would lead to mutually assured destruction on an interplanetary level. No one!