Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Welcome To The Apocalypse

For many people in Victoria, Australia this week it has felt like the end of the world. The fires that have been ravaging the state have been crazy intense, and my thoughts go out to everyone caught in them

I was myself only recently very close to the fires, in Metung. When we drove through Sale it was the most bizarre and surreal experience. Ash was falling from the sky, the sun was red, the light was yellow, and everything seemed in a permanent haze.

Waking up on Tuesday morning we all found burnt debris, leaves, ash etc. coating the house and the vehicles. It had travelled for over 100kilometers to settle on the surrounding areas.

Kudos to the firefighters, many of whom are volunteers and are doing such a great job. Hang in there guys.

For you curious pleasure I now post some photos i've compiled of the fires from around the net. Enjoy (if I can use those words in wake of such a disaster).

Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Race of Skeleton People

AL JIZAH, EGYPT—A team of British and Egyptian archaeologists made a stunning discovery Monday, unearthing several intact specimens of "skeleton people"—skinless, organless humans who populated the Nile delta region an estimated 6,000 years ago.

An archaeologist examines the intact remains of a spooky "skeleton person."

"This is an incredible find," said Dr. Christian Hutchins, Oxford University archaeologist and head of the dig team. "Imagine: At one time, this entire area was filled with spooky, bony, walking skeletons."

"The implications are staggering," Hutchins continued. "We now know that the skeletons we see in horror films and on Halloween are not mere products of the imagination, but actually lived on Earth."

Standing at the excavation site, a 20-by-20-foot square pit along the Nile River, Hutchins noted key elements of the find. "The skeletons lived in this mud-brick structure, which, based on what we know of these people, was probably haunted," he said. "Although we found crude cooking utensils in the area, as well as evidence of crafts like pottery and weaving, we are inclined to believe that the skeletons' chief activity was jumping out at nearby humans and scaring them. And though we know little of their language and means of communication, it is likely that they said 'boogedy-boogedy' a lot."

Approximately 200 yards west of the excavation site, the archaeologists also found evidence of farming.

"What's puzzling about this," Cambridge University archaeologist Sir Ian Edmund-White said, "is that skeletons would not benefit from harvested crops, as any food taken orally would immediately fall through the hole behind the jaw and down through the rib cage, eventually hitting the ground. Our best guess is that they scared away a group of human farmers, then remained behind to haunt the dwelling. Or perhaps they bartered goods in a nearby city to acquire skeleton accessories, such as chains, coffins and tattered, dirty clothing."

Archaeological Dig Uncovers Ancient Race Of Skeleton People jump

An artist's rendering of what a warrior-skeleton may have looked like.

Continued Edmund-White: "The hole in that theory, however, is that a 1997 excavation of this area which yielded extensive records of local clans and merchants made no mention of even one animated mass of bones coming to town for the purpose of trade. But we are taking great pains to recover as much of the site as possible, while also being extremely careful not to fall victim to some kind of spooky skeleton curse."

As for what led to the extinction of the skeletons, Edmund-White offered a theory.

"Perhaps an Egyptian priest or king broke the curse of the skeletons, either by defeating the head skeleton in combat or by discovering the magic words needed to send their spirits back to Hell," Edmund-White said. "In any case, there is strong evidence that the Power of Greyskull played a significant role in the defeat of the skeleton people."

According to Hutchins, the skeletons bear numerous similarities to humans, leading him to suspect that there may be an evolutionary link between the two species.

"Like humans, these creatures walked upright on two legs and possessed highly developed opposable thumbs," Edmund-White said. "These and many other similarities lend credence to the theory that hundreds of thousands of years ago, human development passed through a skeletal stage. These skeletons may, in fact, be ancestors of us all."

"Any of us could be part skeleton," he added.

Other experts disagreed.

"The evidence of an evolutionary link between humans and skeletons is sparse at best," said Dr. Terrance Schneider of the University of Chicago. "Furthermore, it is downright unscientific to theorize that skeleton life originated in Egypt merely because mummies, another species of monster, are indigenous to the area. Spooky creatures are found all over the world, from the vampires of Transylvania to the headless horsemen of Sleepy Hollow."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Today's Horoscopes


Aries March 21 - April 19

While others frequently refer to you as a sex machine, the label is sadly based on your cold, almost mechanical execution of the physical act.

Taurus April 20 - May 20

Although doctors will suspect a brain tumor to be behind all the swelling, they won't know for sure until a wider MRI tube is built.

Gemini May 21 - June 21

Your correspondence course in applied chemistry will be terminated this week after the violent demise of nearly two dozen mailmen.

Cancer June 22 - July 22

You will finally leave your boyfriend this week after learning that he's been physically and emotionally abusing some other girl on the side.

Leo July 23 - August 22

A head-on collision with a bright red 18-wheeler will all but end this Thursday's game of "I Spy."

Virgo August 23 - September 22

You can cry all you like, but it's not going to bring back the 56-ounce carton of ice cream you just ate.

Libra September 23 - October 23

While alternate-side-of-the-street restrictions may ultimately help, it's probably not the most effective way of dealing with your town's recent wave of curbings.

Scorpio October 24 - November 21

Covered only partially in Vaseline and shrieking nearly coherent obscenities about the Jews, you'll be amazed by the amount of progress you've made since entering therapy.

Sagittarius November 22 - December 21

The stars strongly sense the presence of cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and possibly even some pineapple in this Tuesday's bowl of fruit salad.

Capricorn December 22 - January 19

You will find yourself siding with Islamic extremists this week after an eco-terrorist organization claims responsibility for several car bombings.

Aquarius January 20 - February 18

Hundreds of miners will lose their lives this week in a series of tragic and unforeseen lung collapses.

Pisces February 19 - March 20

Researchers this week will trace years of unjust and painful suffering among thousands of Americans to a pretty common skin condition.

Just Because It's So Damn Cute!


Thanks Shane for these gorgeous bunnies!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Against My Better Judgement...


Well, against my better judgment I actually sat down and read Dan Brown's first Robert Langdon novel Angels and Demons. Why, oh why, please God tell my why I decided to put myself through the excruciating torture. It was the most disgusting, disappointing drivel it has ever been my unfortunate decision to read. It was brainless, unbelievable and completely formulaic.

I am not alone in my contempt, hate and disgust for Dan Brown. Here are just some criticisms his writing has received in the past:

  • The acclaimed author Salman Rushdie called The DaVinci Code "a book so bad it makes bad books look good," and stated that "Even Dan Brown must live. Preferably not write, but live."
  • Stephen Fry has referred to Brown's writings as "complete loose stool-water" and "arse gravy of the worst kind." In a live chat on 14 June 2006, he clarified, "I just loathe all those book[s] about the Holy Grail and Masons and Catholic conspiracies and all that botty-dribble. I mean, there's so much more that's interesting and exciting in art and in history. It plays to the worst and laziest in humanity, the desire to think the worst of the past and the desire to feel superior to it in some fatuous way."
  • In his 2005 University of Maine Commencement Address, best-selling author Stephen King put Dan Brown's work and "Jokes for the John" on the same level, calling such literature the "intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese." (These are harsh words coming from the man who writes most of his books coked out of his brain! And there was no excuse for IT. Sorry Stephen King.)
  • The New York Times, while reviewing the movie based on The DaVinci Code, called the book "Dan Brown's best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence".
So you see, I am most certainly not alone. I had to laugh at the review the San Francisco Chronicle gave the book when it came out though. It read as follows: "A Breathless Real-Time Adventure; exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ."

I really hope they had a blind, deaf dumb crack team of monkeys at typewriters for a comparison to that statement of IQ. I'm pretty sure I have indoor plants with higher IQ than Dan Brown displayed in that novel.

My joy came however when fellow Llama lovers described Dan Brown as the Anti-Christ and compared The Da Vinci Code film to the travesty that was National Treasure. Check it out here at The Llama Butchers . ehehe, thinking about that film still makes me laugh. MacGuyver returns! He also made a brief comeback in Andgels and Demons, as we were meant to believe that Robert Langdon could survive a fall of kilometers out of the sky, beating an anti-matter explosion, and landing in the Tiber River, holding only a piece of tarp. Yes that's right folks, next time your plane crashes, fear not, as long as you have your trusty tarp! Yet still Robert Langdon comes up short, since we know MacGuyver would have needed nothing but a piece of chewing gum and a paper clip. Suck on that Robert. Your tarp is inferior.

Anyway, the conclusion to my story is simply this: Don't for the love of all that is holy pick up any of Dan Browns books if you wish to keep any semblance of sanity.

Instead, go out on the town for a night of binge drinking, take heaps of drugs and maybe step into an amateur boxing ring and get beaten around the head a few times. I'm pretty sure you'll have more brain cells left after doing that for an evening than reading any of Dan Brown's novels. I challenge you to prove me wrong!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Where did the llamas go?

Well guys, as you may have noticed (if you use blogger) they have just attempted to upgrade to BETA.

Unfortunately with all the new developments the old template that I designed didn't work anymore, so I've had to use this boring blogger one for the time being until I get around to making a new one. And lets face it, I'm lazy, so it probably won't happen any time soon.

Until then you'll have to deal with this boring blogger one...

The main problem I was having was that it simply wouldn't let anyone post on my blog. The blog itself worked fine, but if you tried to publish a comment it took you back to the comment form with some shitty popup about post-data.

So yeah, here it is. The new and unimproved llama pen.

I want my llamas back... :(

P.S. The colours are going to be pretty fucked up for a little while, since they saved the post colours from my old blog. Bah. Stupid blogger.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Welcome To Totally Lame Things to Put in Your Blog - O - Clock

Big thanks go out to Megan to introducing me to more totally lame blognesses...Even just the name gives it away. The website is named Girls-Only Blogthings. Honestly, who wants a girls only anything? I hate girls. Unless they're hot. Then they're ok. I like pretty things.

Just kidding, girls aren't so bad one on one. I just hate them in groups. (Yes Ben, you're very clever, it DOES sound dirty :P). I'm pretty sure that there should be some ultra evil sounding collective noun for whatever constitutes a group of women....

So anyway, this girls-only blogthings-thing tells me that I am as follows:


You Are Chocolate Ice Cream

Dramatic. Powerful. Flirty.
What Flavor Ice Cream Are You?

Ok, three cheers for you if you can tell me what the hell that means!!! How is chocolate Ice-Cream Dramatic, Powerful or Flirty? I was always under the impression that it was the favourite ice-cream of people who were too uninventive to think of anything else to try, or too boring and picky to stomach anything else. How can you pigeonhole people into the core ice-cream flavours? For intance they didn't say anything about me being fiery - ice cream with a dash of chilli perhaps? Come on people, get inventive. And EXPLAIN YOURSELVES? I still maintain there is nothing even vaguely dramatic, powerful or flirty about chocolate ice-cream; the favourite of the masses.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Too Much Metal For One Hand



VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER, ICELAND—In an emergency session Tuesday, members of the Supreme Metal Council strongly condemned the increasing use of the metal hand sign in lay society, claiming that its meaning has become perverted by overuse.

Enlarge Image Metal Council Convenes To Discuss 'Metal Hand Sign' Abuse

Elders of the Supreme Metal Council examine amateur-video evidence of what they are calling "a worrisome trend."

"The metal sign, or 'sign of the goat,' has all but lost its impact as a token of respectful recognition for something truly 'rocking' or 'metal,'" SMC president Terence "Geezer" Butler said. According to Butler, members are upset that their sacred gesture is being used to acknowledge and celebrate "favorable but clearly non-metal events."

"We have all heard the reports of people using it to greet their in-laws, or after starting their lawn mowers with a single pull," Butler said. "But recently it was brought to our attention that someone used the gesture in a Texas convenience store after snagging the last box of carrot cakes. This simply won't do."

Formed in 1972 and comprising 12 of the most revered leaders of the metal community, the council meets annually in its majestic hall atop Vatnajökull, Iceland's largest glacier, to discuss metal affairs. The SMC convened for a special session after Nikki Sixx, Overlord Of Glam Metal Affairs, was sent hard photographic evidence of metal-sign abuse across the nation. Sixx's fellow high priests said they were "shocked," calling it "one of the most serious affronts to metal's integrity since the rise of rap-metal in the late 1990s."

"I remember a time not long ago when the Devil Horns were reserved for only the most righteous of person, deed, or riff," Grand Elder Lemmy Kilmister said. "To see someone throwing the horns to his mate at the launderette because the clothes dryer came to a full stop just as he finished reading his copy of Circus... It breaks my heart."

Nodding in silent agreement were council members Adalwolfa, a curvaceous Frank Frazetta-drawn Teutonic she-warrior magically brought to life by the council, and the spirit of slain Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.

Compounding the problem, Sixx said, is the fact that many people who use the sign are not recognized members of the Metal Roster, the list of true metal acolytes engraved in medieval calligraphy on gleaming pages of steel.

"This man here, who invokes the sign merely to indicate his joy that his microwave popcorn is done: He is not metal," Sixx said. "We have it on good authority that he prefers the music of Tim McGraw and that the magic word of 'Zoso' has never passed his lips."

The council discussed several harsh punishments to deter further metal-sign abuse. Paulo Pinto, bassist for the Brazilian thrash-metal band Sepultura and Overlord Of International Metal Affairs, suggested that the hand of a suspected signer should be immediately cut off. A contingency of death rockers from Gothenburg, Sweden recommended that any sign abuser, or anyone who is not sufficiently metal, should be forced to eat his severed hand while having his eyeballs burned with a superheated metal crucifix, and then be slowly skinned alive.

More charitable members, such as former Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, suggested that "a helpful list of guidelines could educate others, allowing them to distinguish between metal and non-metal occurrences."

"A lot of people who incorrectly make the sign have traces of metal in their hearts and minds, they just need the proper direction," Mustaine said. "Remember that many are outcasts and losers. To punish them further is to destroy the future of metal."

Until the council decides what course of action to adopt, Butler said he believes that a simple rule of thumb will help reduce the incidence of metal-sign abuse.

"If your head is neither banging nor thrashing, you should not be throwing the sign," Butler said. "It's that simple."

Yet, in a later interview in his private, skull-bedecked chambers, Butler expressed the concern that the problem has grown too widespread for even the mighty SMC to solve. He said he worries that metal standards have been on the decline for so long that few have any clear idea as to what is metal and what is not. The SMC has experienced deep ideological rifts in the past that have affected its ability to make strong decisions, most notably during the lengthy trial and eventual sentencing of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who was indicted in 2004 on charges of cutting his hair, pussing out on Napster, and contributing to the original motion-picture soundtrack of Mission: Impossible 2.

"To this day, there are many on the council who deeply resent the presence of [Poison guitarist] C.C. DeVille,'" Butler said. "In fact, so do I. Despite our differences, the council still remains the sole arbitrator of all things metal. We must get through to those who wantonly abuse the sign of the goat. They must be informed that watering down the sign's meaning will result in serious consequences."

Should the abuse continue, Butler said the council "will defer the matter to Satan."

*****

Thanks to The Onion for this wonderful, wonderful article. If you get the chance, check it out. It's very, very funny!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hope Is Emo

It's amazing how much the meaning of a word can change, to take a page from Hope's book.

I'm one of the original Emo's. Yes, you may all think right now of a sad girl with black hair, dark make up, tight jeans and a black tee-shirt who may on occassion supplement the outfit with tacky jewellery and gaudy, flourescent colours intermingled with the black; with this in mind your thoughts would be erroneous.

We of the original Emo generation are simply vest wearing nerdy white kids. We did wear the stove-pipes, but we introduced the fashion of the diamond vest and the horn rimmed glasses. That's right folks, for the last two years you have been riding on the Emo coat tails for all your fashion needs.

These new Emo kids are just goths who couldn't go the whole hog and stole our genre. lol. But seriously, I'm not bitter at all. I still love my Emo music on occassion, and I still wear my vests, and if stovepipe jeans make me Emo then so be it, because you know what? My legs look fantastic in them :P

All that said, a huge thanks goes out to Nick for introducing me to this absolute Gem. Poor hope. I hope my life is never ever this dismal or, you know, "I could just go swim in fromeldahide with the squid."

Visit here, to see all the glorious Hope Is Emo Episodes. I guarantee, they will make you laugh...or cry....or, you know, whatever...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reliving The Music...

People don't give their old CD's enough of a spin any more. I have just rediscovered my love for bands that people hardly ever hear of any more but who have made some absolutely stunning music.
The first of these bands for me recently has been The Beta Band.

The Beta Band formed in
1996 around Edinburgh musicians Steve Mason (vocals, guitar) and Gordon Anderson. Their sound is very diverse. They mix a perfect blend of bubblegum pop, rap, and just good old rock with some ambient electronic sounds and instrumental interludes. It's a very raw sound, and rather whistful, but it's very effective.

What originally got me hooked on these guys was my favourite film High Fidelity. Their best album is without a doubt The Three EP's which is just what the title suggests, the coming together of their 3 ep's onto one disk. The Song Dry The Rain will blow your mind.

The second band that's on high roation on my CD player at the moment is another band from the 90s named Primitive Radio Gods. Nothing in particular got me hooked on this band other than the fact that they wrote a brilliant, brilliant song that you all have probably heard at some point name Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand from their debut album Rocket. Along with the song Spawn by the band George I think it's one of the most perfect songs ever written, and the rest of their music is certainly not disappointing, although perhaps a little more rocky than that particular song.

Not so happily, most of their commercial success relied solely on the success of Phone Booth in the Jim Carrey film The Cable Guy, but if you get the chance listen to some of their other stuff it is well worth it. They use a lot of samples, and use them effectively. Their sound is strong without being overwhelming, and for a change it's actually nice to listen to music that makes you feel good. This album (Rocket) really will. While many of the songs are heartfelt, the mood surrounding it is overwhelmingly good.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Honourary 'What Were They Thinking?' Awards


Attn: Entrepreneurs

Everyone knows that if you are going to operate a business in today’s world you need a domain name. It is advisable to look at the domain name selected as other see it and not just as you think it looks. Failure to do this may result in situations such as the following (legitimate) companies who deal in everyday humdrum products and services but clearly didn’t give their domain names enough consideration:

1. A site called 'Who represents' where you can find the name of the
agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name is:
www.whorepresents.com

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange
advice and views:
www.expertsexchange.com

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island:
www.penisland.net
(What really gets me personally about this one is that they didn't click after they realised that the name www.penisland.COM was already taken...)

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder:
www.therapistfinder.com

5. Then of course, there's the Italian Power Generator company:
www.powergenitalia.com

6. And then we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New
South Wales:
www.molestationnursery.com

7. If you're looking for computer software, there's always:
www.ipanywhere.com

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website:
www.cummingfirst.com

9. Then, of course, there's these brainless art designers, and their
whacky website:
www.speedofart.com

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website:
www.gotahoe.com


More funny business stories can be found here

Could we all be so unlucky?

Tell me this article isn't the most fucked up thing you've ever heard!!!

Woman forsakes her beautiful face

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-24 08:56

A young woman from Chongqing sought plastic surgery to make her face less attractive recently, after being crossed in love.

The 23-year-old woman's sweetheart left her weeks ago to stay with another woman. Although the two had been in love for six years, her ex-boyfriend feared that her too-beautiful face might lure many other men and thus he didn't feel safe staying with her.

She came to hate all men after being courted by many others, prompting her desire for the surgery. But the doctors refused to co-operate, saying she had a mental disorder and needed to seek help from psychotherapists.

Chongqing Times

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Pirates Life For Me

Avast, me hearties! This here be a piratey entry to introduce ye all to the wonderful world of the swashbuckling mains...

Thanks and praise be to Nick to sending me the link to this wonderful, wonderful website. The linkage be here. Let it be known from hence forth that this jewel is GREAT like the SEA. Once you watch it you'll know what I mean. And you'd better, or I shall run you through like the scurvy dog ye are!

I have also rediscovered the joy that is Puzzle Pirates. It's an online game where you are a pirate and you get to pillage, update your character, and mainly just pirate to your hearts content. Kasi and I are roomates and I've just bought my own sloop, so all is fine and dandy. My character's name is Faeorchid, so if you find yourself on the Cobalt ocean after downloading the client here add me to your hearty list and we shall pillage together. I may even invite you to join my crew.

Hehe, I am so nerdy, but I love it. What can I say. It brings me great joy.....Great, LIKE THE SEA!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Heil Kitler!

A huge thanks goes out to John for the heads up on the following Website.

Does your cat look like Adolf Hitler? Do you wake up in a cold sweat every night wondering if he's going to up and invade Poland? Does he keep putting his right paw in the air while making a noise that sounds suspiciously like "Sieg Miaow"? If so, this is the website for you.

And that website is www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com. A must visit for all you kitty lovers out there. I laughed for a full 10 minutes. You'd better laugh too at the sheer cuteness.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Penny Arcade is back with the funnies!


Check out this weeks Penny Arcade. They've come up with a corker!

The image here is just way too small to read, so you'll have to go to the source. :P

Or you know...you could just click on it so it's bigger...

It will only be there for a few more days, so if you're keen check out the archives and I'm sure that they'll keep you entertained. Happy browsing.

UnNews: North Korea invents the wheel, citizens rejoice.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Holy Crap, will you look at that wheel!

PYONGYANG, North Korea-- The invention of the wheel by Glorious Leader Kim Jong-Il has sparked nationwide celebrations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"I wish those capitalist pigs could see us now," said Glorious Leader Kim Jong-Il while proudly staring at the crude, roundish, wheel-like thing before him. "Do you have any idea what this means for our great nation? Certainly we can use this contraption to increase the efficiency of the hundreds of already efficient steel mills and power plants we have all around this Glorious country!"


In every major city, government-commissioned military parades were held with mandatory public executions of traitors being performed at each one. Said traitor Rang Hui as the executioner placed his neck into a noose, "I guess I'm kind of sad that they're killing me so soon, but at least I know our great people will be able to move faster then they ever have before. With any luck, electric light will make its way here by the end of the decade. Then the People's Revolution can really begin!"

Stated Korean weapons expert Ling Song, "We are very excited about this new invention. We believe that using this 'wheel' will allow us to drive our tanks much more efficiently, as the current idea of setting them on cinder blocks has severely hampered our war efforts. I'm not supposed to tell you this, but some brilliant young minds in the department have even considered putting wheels on our nuc--" At this, a stray bullet fired from a capitalist pig-dog hit Song in the head, preventing him from finishing his Glorious statement. With any luck, Glorious Leader will repay this pig-dog with the power of the Glorious North Korean wheel.
"Our freedom has been taken to new heights!" wildly screamed Glorious Leader Kim Jong-Il as the first ever prototype of the wheel rolled down a hill into the DMZ. "You see those soldiers on that wall? They're walking! When we adapt these to our military vehicles, we'll run them and the rest of the imperialist Yankees over!"

"Bullshit," said Donald Rumsfeld at a press conference. "We used to think Iraq was capable of producing and using wheels, but we really fucked that one up. North Korea does not have the wheel. This is obviously just another stupid morale-boosting scheme that Kim Jong-Il has devised to keep his people happy."

When asked how he felt about this critical military development, George W Bush replied with, "The American people will unite together to face this new threat. We shall not bow down before the Axle of Evil and its many, many wheels. We will not be brought down. We will not be defeated. The Department of Homeland Security will be raising the Communist invasion threat level to crimson red and all objects more round than an octagon will be banned from entering the country."

Spies report that research to build iron weapons is currently underway in The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, but such reports should be taken with a grain of salt. Until recently it was thought that North Korea had a vast supply of sharp sticks, but UN Weapons Inspectors have found that North Korean sticks are, to quote the report, "Not really that sharp at all."




For this and other stories visit Uncyclopedia! Your one stop for all your UnNews needs.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rock This Bitch!!

Ben Folds has captured my heart yet again!

I go through periods where my Ben Folds admiration peters off. His albums were on high rotation at my house for a little while, but in general his songs are very hit and miss. I love the songs of his that I like, but am completely indifferent to those of his I don't.

I've just come back from his Melbourne gig with the MSO, and that has completely changed my view on all the songs I thought I hated. Literally, any Ben Folds song that I previously didn't like he put in the playlist for the evening, but with the orchestra, and his enthusiasm it gave those songs a brand new lease on life. He was passionate, fun, quirky, and in all ways the most talented piano player I've ever seen - for his style of music at least.

If you get a chance to see this gig, if he hasn't come to your city yet (and there's an extra matinee show announced for Melbourne on Sunday, as well as the performance on Saturday for those of you interested) do! It is one of the most amasing things you will ever see, and completely unlike any 'rock' concert you have ever been to.

Ben Folds, you are a god!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Nacho Libre


This is of course Jack Black's new film. I saw it last night with a few friends, and I have to say it left me vaguely confused. I didnt' know quite how I felt about it when it ended. I couldn't even decide if it was funny or just plain silly.

The basic premise is this: The story revolves around Nacho (Black), an orphan with no skills, who is a cook — and a bad one — at the monastery where he was raised.

Nacho wants to earn money to buy better ingredients so he can cook better meals for the orphans and priests — as well as the newly arrived Sister Encarnacion.

Nacho decides to become a wrestler.

The humour in it is very juvenile, and Jack Black actually seems like he's holding back. There are moments when he starts singing where the true Jack Black comedy shines through, and at those points I was in stitches; for the rest of the film however I laughed mainly in the hope that there was going to be more. It has nothing of the black, mature, yet deprecating wit that made Napoleon Dynamite such a great hit, and this film only goes to show that cult classics happen by accident, and can't be made. Instead of playing on cliches and stereotypes it simply reinforced them, but in a juvenile and predicatble way. The cinematography didn't hang together, and the plot wasn't engaging enough to keep you interested. This is one of the only films where I got half way through and actually thought that I'd like it to end.

All in all a disappointing film, and I would only give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Sound Adults Can't Hear

The 'Mosquito' sonic deterrent device was installed by the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, England in an attempt to stop groups of up to 100 youngsters from gathering around Theatre Square.

It was named the 'Mosquito' because the sound resembles that of a buzzing insect. And it works by emitting a harmless ultra sonic tone that generally can only be heard by people aged 25 and under. In trials, it has proven that the longer someone is exposed to the sound, the more annoying it becomes.

School children have now turned it to their own ends by making it into a ringtone that can be used in class, and can't be heard by their teachers. Damn the man!! :D

As we get older, we lose the ability to hear sounds within a higher frequency. The ringtone is around the 17khz mark, and most ears over 25 can no longer hear anything over 13khz; although, like any rule there are exceptions.

Listen to the sound
here and let me know if you can hear it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Hungarian Suicide Song


Most of you may not know that my favourite song in the world is a song called "Gloomy Sunday" by the Hungarian composer Rezso Seress. Forget the fact that it's a damn depressing song, and you'll realise just how hauntingly beautiful it is. There are dozens of versions of it, and each remains individual yet beautiful. One of the prettiest is the version by Sarah Brightman on her record La Luna. Download it if you get a chance. Another really good one is Billie Holiday's. For those of you who have seen the film "The Man Who Cried" with Christina Ricci and Johnny Depp you might recognise it as being the song she sings on the ship at the end.

It is only later that I learned of the urban legend surrounding the song itself. It's largely untrue (although many British and American radio stations did refuse to give it air time because of how depressing it was) but it makes a damn good story anyway.



g l o o m y s u n d a y

o v e r t u r e t o d e a t h


D. P. MacDonald

In February of 1936, Budapest Police were investigating the suicide of a local shoemaker, Joseph Keller. The investigation showed that Keller had left a suicide note in which he quoted the lyrics of a recent popular song. The song was "Gloomy Sunday".
The fact that a man chose to quote the lyrics of a little-known song may not seem very strange. However, the fact that over the years, this song has been directly associated with the deaths of over 100 people is quite strange indeed.


Following the event described above, seventeen additional people took their own lives. In each case, "Gloomy Sunday" was closely connected with the circumstances surrounding the suicide.
Among those included are two people who shot themselves while listening to a gypsy band playing the tune. Several others drowned themselves in the Danube while clutching the sheet music of "Gloomy Sunday". One gentleman reportedly walked out of a nightclub and blew his brains out after having requested the band to play "The Suicide Song".


The adverse effect of "Gloomy Sunday" was becoming so great that the Budapest Police thought it best to ban the song. However, the suppression of "Gloomy Sunday" was not restricted to Budapest, nor was its seemingly evil effects. In Berlin, a young shopkeeper hung herself. Beneath her feet lay a copy of "Gloomy Sunday".
In New York, a pretty typist gassed herself leaving a request that "Gloomy Sunday" should be played at her funeral.


Many claim that broken romances are the true causes of these suicides. However, this is debatable. For instance, one man jumped to his death from a seventh story window followed by the wailing strains of "Gloomy Sunday". He was over 80 years old! In contrast to this, a 14 year old girl drowned herself while clutching a copy of "The Suicide Song".
Perhaps the strongest of all was the case of an errand boy in Rome, who, having heard a beggar humming the tune, parked his cycle, walked over to the beggar, gave him all his money, and then sought his death in the waters beneath a nearby bridge.


As the death toll climbed, the B.B.C. felt it necesssary to suppress the song, and the U.S. network quickly followed suit. A French station even brought in psychic experts to study the effects of "Gloomy Sunday" but had no effect on the ever climbing death rate.
The composer, Rezsô Seress, who in 1933 wrote "Gloomy Sunday", was as bewildered as the rest of the world. Although he wrote the song on the breakup of his own romance, he never dreamed of the results which would follow. However, as fate would have it, not even Seress could escape the song's strange effects.


At first he had a difficult time getting someone to publish the song. Quite frankly, no one would have anything to do with it. As one publisher stated, "It is not that the song is sad, there is a sort of terrible compelling despair about it. I don't think it would do anyone any good to hear a song like that."

However, time passed and Seress finally got his song published. Within the week "Gloomy Sunday" became a best seller, Seress contacted his ex-lover and made plans for a reunion. The next day the girl took her life through the use of poison. By her side was a piece of paper containing two words: "Gloomy Sunday".

When questioned as to just what he had in mind when he wrote the song, Seress replied, "I stand in the midst of this deadly success as an accused man. This fatal fame hurts me. I cried all of the disappointments of my heart into this song, and it seems that others with feelings like mine have found their own hurt in it."

As the months went by and the excitement died down, the B.B.C. agreed to release "Gloomy Sunday", but only as an instrumental. This version was later made into a record. A London policemen heard this particular arrangement being repeatedly and endlessly played in a nearby apartment. He considered this to be worthy of investigation. Upon entering the apartment, he found an automatic phonograph playing and replaying the tune. Next to it was a woman, dead from an overdose of barbiturates. It was this incident which prompted the B.B.C. to reimpose its ban on the song. To this day it has not been lifted.

As a final note, "Gloomy Sunday" was introduced to the U.S. market in 1936. However, getting it recorded was no easy matter. Bob Allen and members of the Hal Kemp band were the first to record "Gloomy Sunday" in the U.S. They were noticeably affected while making the record. It took twenty-one takes to turn out a record good enough to publish. Few people who have ever listened to the melody and lyrics fail to confess that it has a horribly depressing effect.
Finally, it is not surprising to note that Rezsô Seress, the composer of "Gloomy Sunday", committed suicide in 1968.



This article was stolen by http://www.phespirit.info/gloomysunday/article_01.htm from the 'JUSTIN AND ANJI' web site; it was originally published to augment their now defunct 'Gloomy Sunday Radio Show'.
In the introduction they say:


This message was forwarded to us by a visitor to our web site. There is some good historical information on the song intermixed with some information of more dubious repute. The accounts begin to take on the feel of a satiric e-mail chain letter after a while, but then, sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The story does read a little bit like the script of a segment from Strange Universe! So take this with a grain of salt ..... The text was [supposedly] quoted from the Cincinatti Journal of Ceremonial Magick, vol I, no I, printed in 1976.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just a quick introduction to music that rocks!

It has recently come to my attention that there is a lot of music out there that people are unaware of. It may seem pretty straight forward; especially to a lot of my close friends, since we generally share CDs anyway, but for the rest of the world, I've decided to compile a short list of bands that are on high rotation at my place at the moment.

First off The Butterfly Effect. Why are they first? Because they rock. And I mean, seriously rock!

The Butterfly Effect are a hard rock band from Brisbane, Australia. The members of the band are: Clint Boge, vocals; Ben Hall, drums; Glenn Esmond, bass; and Kurt Goedhart, guitar.

Discography:

  • The Butterfly Effect EP (2001)
  • Begins Here (2003) #23 Australia
  • Imago (2006) #2 Australia


TV on the Radio is a New York City

avant-garde indie-rock vocal band formed in 2001 whose music spans genres as diverse as free jazz, a cappella/doo-wop, psychedelia, trip-hop and electro.

If you look at some of my previous posts you'll see that I went to their gig. Their music is hauntingly beautiful at the same ti me as being powerful. I hightly recommend them.

The core members are Tunde Adebimpe (vocals/loops), Kyp Malone (vocals/guitars/loops) and David Andrew Sitek (music/guitars/keys/loops) Jaleel Bunton (drums) & Gerard Smith (bass). They record and play live with their circle of friends, including Katrina Ford of the band Celebration (vocals), Martin Perna (flute/bari & alto sax) of Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and Nick Zinner (guitar) of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Discography:
  • OK Calculator [Demo LP] (2002), self-released
  • Young Liars [EP] (2003), Touch and Go Records
  • Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes [LP] (2004), Touch and Go Records
  • New Health Rock [EP] (2004), Touch and Go Records
  • Return to Cookie Mountain [LP] (2006), Interscope

Third Eye Blind (frequently abbreviated 3eb) is an alternative rock band formed in the early 1990s and my favourite band of all time. Most of you will know their single Semi Charmed Kind of Life and will have thought it was a bit of fun, but don't let that fool you. That is not one of their best songs, so I challenge you all to have a listen and see what you think. Blue has the best individual songs, but Out of the Vein is a better album as a whole. The original members were Stephan Jenkins (singer, song writer, electric guitar) - and ex boyfriend to Charlize Theron for those of you interested - , Kevin Cadogan (guitar), Brad Hargreaves (drums), and Arion Salazar (bass guitar). The band's line-up changed shortly after the release of their second album Blue — at which point guitarist Kevin Cadogan was released from the band under circumstances that still elicit controversy among fans. Third Eye Blind's current line-up is Stephan Jenkins (vocals, electric guitar), Arion Salazar (bass guitar), Brad Hargreaves (drums), and Tony Fredianelli (electric guitar). For a time the band also featured future Smash Mouth drummer Michael Urbano.
Discography:

  • Third Eye Blind (1997)
  • Blue (1999)
  • Out of the Vein (2003)
  • A Collection (2006)

Joydrop was a Canadian alternative rock band in the late 1990s and early 2000s from Hamilton Ontario. The band consisted of vocalist Tara Slone, guitarist Thomas Payne, bassist Tom McKay and drummer Tony Rabalao.

The band released two CDs, and had notable chart hits in Canada with "Beautiful" and "Sometimes Wanna Die".

I don't know how well known they are, but I only heard of them through a friend, so if you get a chance, listen in. Especially to their album Metasexual.

Discography:

  • Metasexual (1999)
  • Viberate (2001)

Nightmares on Wax is DJ and musician George Evelyn (born c. 1970), also known as DJ EASE (Experimental Sample Expert), from Leeds, UK. The musical style is a combination of electronic sounds and hip hop beats, often regarded as "Chill Out". Nightmares on Wax's music is released on Warp Records.

Evelyn got his start in the music industry through an interest in hip hop and on joining a local breakdancing crew, he met Kevin Harper and together they released their first album in 1991, a techno-edged record entitled A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter.

Evelyn went on to run The Headz Club in Leeds, and started his own record label, Poverty records. The next Nightmares on Wax release was not until Smoker's Delight in 1995, by which time Harper had left to pursue a career in DJing, reducing the band to a solo project. Evelyn began to record more of his trademark chill-out tracks, and brought in a variety of musicians and vocalists, giving the music a greater variety as well as allowing him to take the band out on tour.

In 2000, Evelyn assisted in the comeback of hip hop pioneers De La Soul, when they appeared on the EP The Sound of N.O.W.. Although De La Soul have maintained a steady, loyal and strong fanbase since the beginning of their career some have argued that Evelyn's EP helped push them back into the public eye.

In 2005, Evelyn started his own independent record label, Wax On.


Discography:

  • A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter (September 16, 1991)
  • Smokers Delight (September 25, 1995)
  • Carboot Soul (December 4, 1999)
  • DJ-Kicks: Nightmares on Wax (October 2, 2000) (DJ mix album)
  • Mind Elevation (September 2, 2002)
  • Late Night Tales: Nightmares on Wax (May 12, 2003) (DJ mix album)
  • In a Space Outta Sound (March 7, 2006)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In Loving Memory of Colin Thiele


Well, everyone in the world knows that Steve Irwin died a few days ago. The media has turned it into as big a spectacle as he was during his lifetime. While I send my condolences to his family, I really, truly believe that the loss of Steve Irwin pales next to the veritably unmentioned man who also died on the same day...

Colin Milton Thiele AC (16 November 1920 – 4 September 2006) was an Australian author and educator. He was renowned for his award-winning children's fiction, most notably for the novel Storm Boy.

Thiele was born in Eudunda in South Australia. He was educated at several country schools including Kapunda High School before studying at the University of Adelaide. He served with the Australian Army and RAAF attaining the rank of corporal during World War II and later taught in high schools and colleges.

Thiele published almost 80 books, which often described life in rural Australia, particularly the Coorong region of coastal South Australia. Several of his books have been made into movies, including Sun on the Stubble, The Fire in the Stone, Blue Fin and Storm Boy.

In 1977 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (the highest level of the award) for his services to literature and education.

Thiele suffered from severe arthritis and left South Australia to settle in warmer conditions near Dayboro, Queensland, where he spent his last years. Thiele died from heart failure in a Brisbane hospital on 4 September 2006 , aged 85.

He was survived by his wife, Rhonda, two children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

9/11 Conspiracy?


Anyone who doesn't know the website http://maddox.xmission.com should. He is one of the funniest guys out there. He basically pulls fun at every member of society without bias, with the precision of a surgeon.

I really appreciated his newest article on the supposed 9/11 conspiracy that was told to us by the "documentary" Loose Change.

Check out what Maddox had to say about it here. I promise it will be worth the read.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Two things that must be checked out!

First of all here is the official introduction of Mike and Panky.

The Brain child of my best friend Kasi Albert and her father Des, Mike and Panky will make you laugh, cry, hang your head in shame. It's a fun and exciting adventure for all the family with a surprise ending that will leave you breathless and can be found here!

Other things to check out are this video because it rocks!!!



Monday, August 28, 2006

Alpaca's are the new Llama

While my love for Llamas will never die, I just thought this little guy was too cute for words...Although nothing will ever replace the Llama, this Alpaca comes pretty damn close.

Read the article about him here

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fun for all the Family!

Thanks Lewie, you rock!

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Haven in the Desert of Imagination

Dromkeen house is an old homestead in the environs of Riddells Creek. The drive is long, and as a child often monotonous but the reward at the end makes the almost 2 hour trip from the city centre of Melbourne well worth it. Upon arrival the child is greeted with a cornucopia of literary gems set to keep him/her entertained and engaged for hours. The sprawling gardens are filled with bronze statues of many of the best characters from Australian children's literature, often designed by the most prominent illustrators. The house is well kept and beautiful, the exhibits change bi-annually and more often than not you can meet and greet your favourite author or illustrator. Many a happy memory of my childhood comes from Dromkeen, and I owe much of my love for reading and writing from the wonderful staff who sought only to increase my love and knowledge of literature. The museum is primarily targeted toward children, but as an adult I still glean as much enjoyment from my visits there. The exhibitions are informative without being childish and the gardens can simply be appreciated for their beauty and life.

Dromkeen was the home of Judge Arthur Chomley who presided over the County and Supreme Court's of Australia at the turn of the century. It was built as his country residence in 1889 and named 'Dromkeen' after his mother's home in Tipperary, Ireland. In 1973 it was purchased by the owners of an educational bookshop, Joyce and Court Oldmeadow. They used the house as storage for their freight, and in time built up the Dromkeen collection and the house became a haven for Australian children's literature. They preserved many rare children's manuscripts, including the preservation of many pieces that were considered lost. Throughout the maintenance of this collection it was always open for public display as they were passionate about inspiring children to the study and appreciation of literature. The museum officially opened in October 1974.

Court Oldmeadow passed away in 1977, whereupon Scholastic Books assumed the responsibility of maintaining the collection, although Joyce remained director until her own death in 2001. After her death the Oldmeadow's daughter Kaye Keck acceded the position. Scholastic purchased Dromkeen in 1985 to guarantee the collection a permanent home, despite this however the homestead is family run and lives up to it's mission “To build, preserve and share [their] heritage of Australian Children’s literature, enabling children, families and professionals to experience a sense of wonder, enjoyment and learning.”

Each year the Dromkeen collection plays host to thousands of children and adults who come through it's doors. Not only is it a fantastic place for a family outing, but the house also plays host to a number of educational activities. One of these includes the Premiers Reading Challenge documented in The Age on June 26, 2005. Over 115,000 children were registered to take part, where they were challenged to read 12 books, 10 from the official list on the website. Those who reached the target by the appointed time received a signed certificate from the premier.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics survey of Participation in Education makes it very clear that over the last few decades literacy and numeracy skills have been remaining steady. This shows us that schools are indeed teaching children the skills they need to read and write. Where the short-comings appear is very likely going to be a lack of encouragement from the home. When looking at the data however there is a clear indication that numeracy skills are far higher for children than are literary skills. Reading is also higher than the ability to write, but still far below numeracy skills.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that children are no longer instilled in a love of reading by their parents. Books no longer hold any charm or mystery. This renders a place like Dromkeen so important. It introduces children to the dynamic world of books, reading, art, culture. They are in an environment with other children, where they can discover and learn together. It is a place where the child doesn't even need to love books; that love can come later. The grounds are exciting, dynamic, where the characters of your favourite Australian children's stories come to life and you can touch and feel them.

Dromkeen is a place with an avid 'do-touch' policy. Children are encouraged to participate, and the Dromkeen Book Bag provides children with the ability to flick through and examine works by prominent authors and illustrators. The homestead is often visited by the authors and illustrators themselves, and book signings and talks provide the children with a valuable insight into the process of creating literature, and what the works mean to the creator. They hold a
number of holiday activities during the year where children can workshop their drawing and
writing skills. They paint landscapes in the gardens, learn to sculpt and even have writing classes with their favourite writers. The exhibits are ever-changing and dynamic. There is even a club for long-time visitors to the house, called the Dromkeen Dragon's, which a child can be part of until their 12th birthday.

I myself was a member of the Dromkeen Dragon's for about 3 years. When I joined the exhibition inside the house was a showing of the works of Robert Ingpen. It showed the development of his work from inception to completion. There were sketches, partially coloured images, fully developed books, and artwork that had never been published. Christmas parties

with the Dromkeen Dragon's always ended in gifts of books. They were never 'regular' book like Goosebumps or The Baby Sitter's Club but 'real' books. To a child's mind there are books that are and aren't real, and Dromkeen gave me real ones. When I turned 12 and could no longer be a member I was given a gift of a signed first edition copy of William Mayne's Earthfasts at my farewell. It is a book that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Over my years visiting Dromkeen I met many of my favourite children's authors, including Graeme Base (who incidentally designed the Dromkeen Dragons membership badge) and Shirley Barber. Both these meetings were some of the most valuable experiences I've ever had. They supported reading, and were encouraging to those children who expressed a wish to write when they grew older. It was always so fascinating to hear about the creative processes involved in the creation of a work of children's fiction and how they coped not only with their initial rejections, but the ensuing popularity. They put the displays in context. While the exhibitions are already very informative with a great narrative flow showing a works development, putting the exhibitions in conjunction with a real-life author who could personally tell you what was involved brought an added depth of meaning to the exhibitions themselves which is important for children. The exhibitions are designed however to have an appeal to all age groups. They are informative without being childish, and can be viewed as objects of interest in their own right.

The exhibitions were not the only fascinating thing to see at Dromkeen however. The sprawling gardens are home to the Heritage Trail which is made of a series of fourteen picture boards featuring an illustration from a children's picture book. The boards highlight Australian history through the artwork of books by authors such as Roland Harvey, John Nicholson, Desmond Digby, Robert Roennfeldt, Rachel Tonkin, Arone Raymond Meeks, Jimmy Pike, Carolyn Windy, Bronwyn Bancroft, Sally Rippin, Lindsay Muir, Peter Goudthorpe, Steven Willman, Patricia Mullins and Shaun Tan. The boards depict indigenous stories, stories of Australian discovery and exploration as well as significant historical events, multiculturalism and environmental issues, showing that children's literature is so much more than just entertainment. It is in and of itself an education, teaching children about important issues as well as their history.

The garden's are filled with bronze statues of famous characters from Australian literature. The first sculpture to be installed was The Key. It was designed by Robert Ingpen, and was envisaged to be symbolic of Dromkeen opening the door to the world of children's literature. Other sculptures include Possum Magic from Mem Fox and Julie Vivas book of the same name, The Bunyip of Berkley's Creek from Jenny Wagner and Ron Brooks, Mr Lizard and Gumnut Baby from May Gibbs' Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as well as A B ('Banjo') Patterson's The Man From Ironbark. The sculptures can be touched and climbed on, and give a reality to the characters that illustration cannot give. They are completely true to the designs of the illustrators and provide endless joy to the visitors who often read and picnic in view of them.

But of course, who could forget the Joyce and Court Oldmeadow Memorial Sculpture directly in

front of the house. It was unveiled in 2003 and holds the plaque:

Visitors will be captivated by characters from Australian Children’s stories including Koala Lou, Wombat Divine, Shy the Platypus and the inspiring dragon representing the children’s Dromkeen Dragons club.

Do visit and do touch!”

which truly exemplifies the policy of Dromkeen; a dynamic and exciting experience to enable children to rediscover a love of, and joy in children's literature. This is a policy that Dromkeen lives up to. It is a place where adults and children alike can rediscover their love of learning and joy in the creation of Australian children's literature.