Ms .45's mp3/bureaucratic/gaming blog.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Plastic Palace Alice were a tiny bit more interesting, but not my sort of thing. At first, from my position sitting on the floor in front of the Art Brut stage (note for non-Vics: The Corner Hotel has two stages) I thought "they sound a bit like Icehouse". Then I realised that what they were really after was Bowie. That's not a good sign, but they didn't suck, and perhaps you will like their stuff more than I.
Art Brut were FUCKING GREAT. At one point, it was as if I'd just woken up from a five-year coma and realised: I'M SEEING A FUCKING ROCK BAND AT A PUB AND IT'S FUCKING AWESOME!!! I have been ensconced in an arts degree, and for several years refused to even pick up a copy of Beat or InPress because my inability to afford rock gigs would cause suicidal ideation. As you can see from reading my blog, I've seen bands since finishing uni, but this was the first time I felt like I was 23 again (we'll just gloss over the fact that I was too creaky to get into the enthusiastic pogoing of the rest of the audience).
I don't have the second album, just a few downloads from other blogs, but it didn't matter because it's not like any of the songs were going to suck. And even if they did suck it still would have been fun. I can't remember any of the hilarious on-stage banter, just the general wackiness and the fact that everyone in Art Brut looks like they're in completely different bands, and narrowly missing getting kicked in the head by Eddie on a foray into the audience or in the middle of pulling his pants up.
A sure indication of how awesome and fun this gig was is my big complaint about the gig. You see, after the first two songs, Eddie Argos picked up the set lists, tore them up and instructed the audience to yell out what they wanted to hear. It was great fun... except that, instead of pulling the usual stunt of not playing my favourite song, they played my favourite song - Bad Weekend - second, after opening with Formed a Band. As a result, I was surrounded by happy people shrieking the name of their particular favourite ("EMILY KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE!!!!!!") while I sat there feeling a bit baffled.
If your major complaint about a gig is that they play your favourite song too early, you can safely recommend it to thirty or so anonymous blog readers. Art Brut are touring Britain as of Jan 25 08, so if you're in the area I order you to see them.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Because Sydney is better than Melbourne... [audience laughs] it's nothing personal, you just know it's true, because we've got it all, we've got cocaine and hookers and last year a guy in an accounting firm got done for sexually interfering with a rabbit [audience pisses themselves]
[to audience heckle] how's my ear? Or how's my rear? My rear's fine, my ear's not so good... you better hope your rear's this great when you're 53. ... actually, I'm only 26, I've just had a really hard life.
Interestingly, Kilbey actually looks better now than he did 20 or 30 years ago, an impressive feat (and a point of interest for The Fauves' Andrew Cox, who bears a startling resemblance to Kilbey). Apparently some bloggers have already dismissed The Church's support slot as crap - that's unbelievable, the sound was great and the music sexy. If you're going to catch this show on tour, just relax and enjoy the trip.
Enjoy the literary stylings of Steve Kilbey
*After I wrote that I only knew two songs, I searched YouTube and realised that, actually, I know more than I realised. Here's a good one, Reptile, chosen because it's representative of The Church's show tonight and because Kilbey looks fucking hot in the video.
Divinyls came on looking a bit stiff and haggard. Chrissie, as you know, has multiple sclerosis, causing people to point and go "ha ha, she's pissed" - but to be honest, so far it doesn't seem to be affecting her a lot. She's a bit slower than she used to be, but fuck me, SHE'S CHRISSY AMPHLETT AND SHE PWNS YOUR SORRY LITTLE ARSE. And she would do so in a wheelchair with a nebuliser and a colostomy bag.
In any case, the band loosened up after about four songs and you'd never know they were entering their 50s after a life of partying hard. I just discovered that Chrissie is married to the Divinyls' current drummer Charlie Drayton, which makes for an interesting in-band dynamic given her relationship(s) with Mark McEntee. Onstage Amphlett, McEntee and occasionally even Owen bicker like an old married couple, which is hilarious to watch. Everyone in the band's really old but they still rock like motherfuckers.
As always happens when I see bands I like a lot, my favourite live songs were the ones I don't necessarily like so much at home. I was a bit disappointed with Only Lonely, and why wouldn't I be? It's only one of my favourite songs of all time. Whereas the duellin' guitar between Mark McEntee and Charlie Owen on Make Out Alright was frickin' awesome, and the new tracks Don't Wanna Do This and Asphyxiated rocked much harder than on the free single we were given as we went into the show. (I actually like Asphyxiated much better than Don't Wanna Do This - when I first heard it I thought it must have been a song I didn't remember from Monkey Grip.) I was also very happy to hear a comparatively obscure fave, Guillotine Day from the excellent What A Life! album. Unsurprisingly, the highlight of the night was I Touch Myself, which I've been singing all night despite my inability to hold a tune if you glued it to my hand.
As I mentioned on my Stereo Total post, my favourite bands have a nasty habit of not playing MY favourite song live. In the case of the Divinyls, that's this one here.
[EDIT: Adem with an E has a great post with some footage from the Geelong gig taken by mobile phone. And great to see I'm not the only one who missed Siren!]
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Still, not everyone has had the privilege of having seen ROOT! five times in as many months, so those of you who have been cursing us Melbournians to the sky can finally taste the ROOT!y goodness. You'll like it - it's funny, it's bouncy, it bears only a cursory resemblance to country & western. And if you buy it, they'll be able to afford to tour, so you know what you need to do. Give ROOT! some much-needed touring money.
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I took the "the temperment type" quiz on gURL.com
According to Galen's ancient theory of temperaments, people with melancholic temperaments are often perfectionists, and are analytically oriented. They are said to be sensitive and loving, but may also be hard to please because of their high standards.
What's your temperment?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Exterminate is a bit more polished and commercial than previous albums, but having been absolutely shat on by critics and fans alike for the grossly underrated Switzerland, they seem to have bowed to the demands of the fratboys derided in It's Showtime! and brought back the giant riffs and shouting. However, for those of us who actually liked Switzerland, there's still plenty of relatively subtle, poppy material and electronica. Supposedly, the theme of the album is "excess" (write me 6000 words on the theme of "excess" by the end of today, two weeks detention). The lyrics appear to have, if not story arcs - this is not a Tom Waits review - a self-contained motif, as opposed to shrieking about fire and America and stuff (not that there's anything wrong with that). That doesn't mean I have any fucking idea what they're on about; although there does seem to be a significant whinge about women who are just too demanding (Kukuxumushu, White Train, Lenny Kravitz... I mean, suck it up, dude), there's still plenty of senseless rhyming for the people who like that sort of thing (Rip It, Dirty Looks). Along the way there are Easter Eggs like "Satan destroys you/but Jesus puts you in a bowl and smokes you" (White Train) and the title of this post (Kukuxumushu). Even the songs that are a bit less good may have irresistible hooks (Dance Pattern) or amusing lyrics (Fabulous People).
I wanted to post a selection of tracks that would represent the range of styles here, but quickly realised I would just end up posting the whole album, and if I do that I'm never going to get another Australian tour. So I chose these two as covering the rock-electronica spectrum:
Rip It - YAAAAAAAY RIFFS!!!
Broken Machine - Emo electronica, Gary Numan stylee. You know you're chronically depressed when you think shit like this is really profound. Help me, I'm turning emo!
I've been an impoverished student for the last five years and therefore missed their last tour. For the love of Zod, buy this album!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
...but to be honest, I think people just went "Ooh, shiny".
I'm also less than stoked by the landslide majority in the House of Reps, but the really interesting place is the Senate, where the conservative parties (Liberals, Nationals, Family First) have 38 seats, the "left" parties (ALP, Greens) have 37, and independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who split his preferences between a conservative ticket and a leftish ticket and who has tended to campaign on issues that should attract bipartisan support, such as gambling. He's in for an exciting 6 years.
There are two things that should give Labor supporters pause: firstly, the real possibility of an imminent economic downturn, and secondly, what will happen now that the ALP holds *ALL* Australian governments. In both instances, there is likely to be what the economists call a "correction". I know I wouldn't bleed very hard if Labor went down in Victoria - can you tell the difference between Brumby and The Other Guy? Victoria's not due for another state election until 2010, having passed a US-style law to hold elections on the last Saturday of November every four years, but it will be interesting to see what will happen to other states and territories.
This reserve won't stop me from shouting myself a tall glass of something with bubbles in it tomorrow afternoon, though.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
If the whole preferential voting thing makes your head whirl, GetUp have thoughtfully provided a mostly non-partisan guide to the Australian electoral system in plain English.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
ROLE IN FAMILY LIFE: My mum recently confessed that my parents' marriage is based entirely on the fact that "we both love rock'n'roll music". We spent a lot of time travelling (in one jaunt, we were on the road for six months in a hotted-up F100), and in that time not once was the radio off. We would sing along to "House of the Rising Sun" in our genetically-disadvantaged voices, in a painful but effective bit of family bonding. When we settled down nothing changed. I would wake up on a bright sunny day to be informed that, although the desktop hides Ita's hips, Barnsey's imagination is strong. When my mum discovered my dad was screwing around on her, she sang him Mental As Anything's "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" Alhamdulillah, they got back together after awhile, owing to the healing powers of rock'n'roll (and possibly being too cranky for any other partners).
RITES OF PASSAGE: Beginning with my seventh birthday, I would annually receive a gift certificate for Brashes record chain. The first album I ever bought myself was with one of these. Given my avowed love of disco, you will not be surprised to learn that the album was The Pointer Sisters' Greatest Hits. In addition to the rite of passage of learning responsibility for one's musical choices, I also learnt the taste of bitter disappointment as the season's current hit, I'm So Excited, wasn't on the album.
It's not just me, though: my sister and I were sitting around at Mum's place, as young adults, listening to Black Sabbath's Paranoid. My mum sighed nostalgically and told us, "I had my first passionate kiss to this song."
RITUAL AND SACRIFICE: As you would expect from a family of devout rockists, we owned a pretty decent stereo. My dad had this alarming habit of putting a pillow on the floor, putting the speakers on each side of the pillow, plugging in the headphones and switching the settings to play through both speakers and headphones (no, I don't know why it had this function either), lying on the pillow with the headphones on, cranking it up to 11 and playing Stairway to Heaven, loudly declaring "This song is better than an orgasm!!!".
Unsurprisingly, he suffers from tinnitus these days.*
ADORATION: Despite my self-description as a "rockist", I don't shy away from great pop and electronica, and as a kid I was a Durannie. I was deeply in love with John Taylor, and have only recently realised that he's actually a pretty decent bass player. My devotion was such that, when offered a chance to learn to ride horses at the age of 11, I refused, because The Reflex was showing on whatever shitty afternoon music video show was the shit at that age. (It was hosted by Jonathon Coleman and was called "Live Wire", if I recall correctly. It definitely wasn't Simon Townsend's Wonder World, which I also watched religiously.) I never really liked horses.
ADULTHOOD: For my 18th birthday, I was given tickets - plural - to the Angels at EV's in Croydon, an all ages venue. I say plural because originally, my mum's best friend's husband had bought one ticket for me. His wife tore him a new one and demanded that he buy me another ticket - a pointless and humiliating exercise for this friendless wonder. I asked some people who didn't really hate me if they wanted to go, but they were washing their hair. I tore up the extra ticket in fury, and went by myself. It's still one of the greatest rock performances I've ever seen, and I still go to gigs by myself.
Disappointingly, they didn't play Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.
VIRGIN SACRIFICE: The loss of my virginity, at the age of 19, involved no music at all. Unsurprisingly, it was shit.
To be honest, this has nothing to do with any specific event in my life, although it was a huge hit at an impressionable age and is one of my favourite songs of all time. It's mainly here as a reminder that Stephen Cummings was totally hot back in the day, and prematurely gray 30 year olds still totally do it for me.
(For non-Australian readers, voting is compulsory and enforced in this country, and it is preferential, which means you number your preferences in order, so that an electorate selects the candidate they despise the least. The AEC publishes a handy Flash guide here. It's pretty easy at the House of Reps level, where you'll have maybe 10 candidates at most to rank, but the Senate is where every unelectable freak chooses to express themselves, blowing out the numbers to 60-70 candidates. As a result, there is the option to vote "above the line", where you tick one box, say, Australian Democrats, and you accept that party's preferences. Understandably, it's a pretty hardcore political nerd who bothers to vote below the line.)
Anyhoo, for the current election I stumbled on the extremely useful listing of group voting tickets for the Senate. Simply pick the state you live in, download the pdf and find out how political parties are distributing their votes. Each party's votes cover two pages of pdf - just find the party closest to your ideological outlook and make sure they haven't done anything hilarious like preference a party that's largely against what most of their supporters would want just to spite a party that's reasonably similar to what most of their supporters would want. (You can interpret that any way you like.)
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Lyrics range from extremely clever (Sex Tonite) to extremely stupid (Sid Viscous), so there's something for all levels of intellectual development. The main thread is that they all bring the rock - even the comparatively electro (There's Gonna Be) Sex Tonite is crunchy and satisfying. Enjoy!
I'm Interested in Apathy, Great Truckin' Songs of the Renaissance
Let's Club It To Death, Hot Dogma
(There's Gonna Be) Sex Tonite, www.tism.wanker.com
Sid Viscous, Best Off bonus track
[EDIT: I've just re-uploaded the Christmas specials from 2004, I Ain't No Christian, But I Believe In Jesus and Then The Answer Came.]
Free file hosting from File Den
Thursday, November 08, 2007
(Oh yeah, there's some U2 for the people who like that sort of shit.)
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Up There Calisi
Don't Burn 'Em All JD
Dave Grainey's Country Idyll (highly recommended)
Free file hosting from File Den
They Might Be Giants have uploaded three rather good live-on-radio MP3s to their website, free to subscribers of the TMBG mailing list. Just sign up right here.
Chris Chinchilla, formerly of Art Brut and currently of Macaca Mulatta (and Melbourne resident! Aren't you proud?) writes:
In the next fortnight we're finally off into the studio to record our album! What with gigs getting hotter and busier and more labels sniffing about the band it looks like 2008 will be a good year...
10/11/07 @ IDGAFF
160 Hoddle st, Abbotsford
With Telecom, Ross Cottee and The Cheats
--- Macaca Mulatta return to their spiritual home to celebrate the fact that London promoter Dom PopArt / Panic is in town!
17/11/07 @ The Espy
St Kilda, FREE
With Kids in Cults, The Red Cherries and The Bakelite Age
--- Macaca Mulatta head south of the river, and it's Free!
If you are not sure whether you would like to see Macaca Mulatta, even for free, you can check out their songs and live performances at their websty.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
This is a shame, because, whilst it would obviously be blasphemous and stupid to compare Switzerland to Exile On Main St, like that favourite Stones album* it's a good solid album on which every track is pretty decent and you have to listen quite a few times to mine all the awesome out of it. The production and riffs smother the fairly clever lyrics (I said clever, not intelligent!), so you can listen to a song for ages before you realise "Hey, this is fucking funny!". These are some of the more overtly sexy tracks.
Slices Of You
Germans In Mexico
Free file hosting from File Den
*My favourite Stones album is Some Girls, continuing the theme of my tragic addiction to both rock AND disco.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
It's Nice That is now complementing Drawn! for my daily fix of pretty things to look at and play with.
I have no idea how to do streaming audio or any of that fancy-schmancy shit, so there you have it - 1 hour of the singer and guitarist from ROOT! playing their top 5 rooting songs. Highlights include The Legendary Stardust Cowboy and the exquisitely named Smegma (played with the spindle in the wrong hole...).
The next ROOT! show is at the Retreat Hotel, Sydney Road Brunswick, Cup Day November 6th. I shall be there in my fascinator. If I can find one that costs less than $250, I mean.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
If you've really missed TISM, but are more interested in the prosciutto and melon-like pairing of rock and disco than in lyrics that "make sense", I strongly recommend uncritically absorbing all of the Electric 6's oevre. Or egg.
Friday, October 05, 2007
The decor, I have to admit, is not amazing, and we didn't go on a night when they had live music so I can't comment on it. The restaurant is licenced, but if you do drink I would advise you to stick with nice safe beer, which is supposed to go with this sort of cuisine anyway. Afghan food is supposed to be similar to Indian, and you'll notice several familiar items such as tikka, korma and gulab jamun. However, you should probably not go in thinking "Oh, it'll just be like Indian" - my mum ordered a mixed tikka, thinking it would be like the mild tandoori style you get in most Indian restaurants, only to find it was like eating a mouthful of pepper. Conversely, I ordered the mixed Soltani and it was absolutely delicious. We also got a mixed entree which, despite the somewhat colourblind image on their website, both looked and tasted incredible. After we pushed our chairs out to accommodate our humourously-distended stomachs, dad insisted on having a Turkish coffee, which was served in an adorable little dainty teacup. I had a sip and was expecting it to be like chewing a Gauloise, but it wasn't - it was sugary and perfect. If you're the sort of person who doesn't normally eat dessert I highly recommend it.
If you're the sort of food nerd who goes to restaurants based on how exotic they are I can recommend Nights of Kabul, but if you're the total opposite and just want to be fed until you explode then I can still recommend Nights of Kabul.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
So far, I'm liking:
Starts off annoyingly easy - quickly becomes annoyingly hard. Nice, clean, Nitrome-style graphics.
ZOMG! A Bart Bonte game I don't hate!
Day of the Bobteds
By the eeeeeeeeevil genius who brought you Hapland, an elegant little game with polished graphics that might disappoint Hapland fans (you may be comforted to know that they look a bit Ferry Halim, so all is not lost).
Bless you! No major strategy or effort here, just shoot black balls to turn them into pretty flowers.
From the artistic vision that brought you Submachine and Daymare Town, the virtue of this game lies not so much in the motion physics as the sound. Jump on the blocks (what do you think they are made of?) and listen to the noise it makes.
Amateurish graphics and a gameplay so simple you can feel your brain getting smaller as you play, yet weirdly compelling. If lopsidation can just team up with an artist and/or musician to make the interface just a tiny bit less crap, we could be onto a winner.
For my money, the winner so far is:
It's easy to learn, quite polished in its presentation, addictive and fun. A few physics nerds over at Jayisgames have complained that the movement is inaccurate, but I don't think that interferes with the enjoyment of the game itself.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
One lesson learned from this experience is that you DON'T have to loyally suffer through mediocre support bands, especially when withdrawing from happy pills, but under any circumstances, really. No matter how gorgeous the guys are (although the female drummer from whatever groovy nonentity was on when I got there had some very interesting tattoos), they suck and are 99.99999% unlikely to become The Next Big Thing, and even if they do they still suck. I went for a delicious felafel at the local Turkish halal kebabery and felt much better - a far more productive use of my time than breathing beer and farts because of the off-chance that I might not be able to be RIGHT UP THE FRONT (and when I got back I ended up front and centre anyway). Considering it was a sold-out show I feel quite fortunate - where are all these Australian fans coming from? Do Stereo Total get played on radio here? Or are there shitloads of people in Melbourne who are just as happy to get all their music off the internets as I am?
I was a tiny bit surprised by the singer's appearance, which is stupid of me - Françoise Cactus looks quite a bit like your high school's bursar (the person who handles payments, whom you just know has some kind of secret life involving latex). The show was charming and affable - odd descriptions for a punk rock show but they're an odd band. Françoise's naughty schoolmarm aura contrasted nicely with Brezel Göring's wild man of avant-garde thinger. They did a lot with minimal equipment, managing to fill a room with only a tiny drumkit (one snare, two hi-hats and an effects pedal) and a synthesiser - the bit where Göring played the pipes around the stage was especially priceless. For 'L'amour À 3' they dragged a slightly surprised (but very hot) Asian dude on stage to do the 'wa-OooOoo' bit. When they invited the audience on stage during 'Wir tanzen im 4-eck' (we are dancing in a square, we are dancing concentrated), someone nicked the banner that can be seen in this video, and the show halted while they entreated the souvenir-collector to give it back. I was hoping that during the fake encores (don't get me started on fake encores - just play the frickin' songs already) they'd play I Am Naked, but alas, clearly this was the mandated-by-law Song That Ms .45 Loves But Touring Bands Won't Play.
Whatever you do, you must see Stereo Total if they play in your town - the audience is HOTT!!! and the show is hilarious and warm and fluffy. To compensate for the tragic lack of I Am Naked, here's the German version on video, complete with HOTT!!! but slightly tubby people in their unterhosen.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
|The Fun Way to Pick a Career Test written by harpoleers2 on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
Friday, September 07, 2007
Of course all the NeoCon crazies are peddling the old story that "once we invade, the people will rally to the cause of freedom."
Yeah. Just like they did in Iraq. If we couldn't get people on our side after deposing a monster like Saddam, what chance do you think we have of winning hearts and minds in Iran? The kids in Iran are pissed off at the way the old Mullahs won't let 'em rock and roll, but the idea that they'll support an American invasion because they're bored is totally insane. It's like imagining that the kids in Footloose would've backed a Soviet invasion of Nebraska because John Lithgow wouldn't let them hold school dances.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
40% Yéyétronic, 20% R'n'R, 10% Punkrock, 3% electronic effects, 4% French 60ies beat, 7% genious dilettantism, 1,5% Cosmonaute, 10% really old synthesizers, 10% 8-bit Amiga-sampling, 10% transistor amplifier, 1% really expansive and advanced instruments, a minimalist production, meaning a home- made- trash- garage- sound crossed with underground, authentic as well as amateurish, ironic as well as effective, pop as well as political.
They make funny electropop which may remind you of cartoon shows on SBS back in the 80s when it was still Channel 0. They have a new album out called Paris Berlin and they're playing at the Northcote Social Club on Friday September 14th. If you're conflicted about whether you'll go, check out their live set on WFMU (scroll down a bit).
I Am Naked
Stereo Total at Myspace
Sunday, August 12, 2007
As you play through the levels, your side of the mountain will get longer and less steep, so that you have to answer more questions faster than the CPU. You'll have a larger number of multiple choices, making the chances of quickly clicking the wrong answer higher. However, if you do lose, you have a number of lives, so you can opt to "Continue" after the level has been lost. When you lose, you get to keep any powerups you haven't used, so I suggest you save powerups as much as you can.
This game is similar to a test administered by some recruitment companies where you have to quickly select the correct answer to a maths problem, so you may find it valuable to get a bit of practice on Math Mountain. If you're not very good at arithmetic, this is a fun way to practice.
(This review is intended for Jay Is Games, but I want it on my blog so I can get at it. I'm a math retard and need all the practice I can get!)
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I was simultaneously relieved and confused to get a "Typical woman" score. Given that I've been accused of being autistic (thanks Dad) and a nerd, I wonder if that score is attributable to my recent run of regular happy-pill taking and sudden spike in income (it's surprising how much less shy and geeky you become when you can afford to stand a round).
4'33" Techno Remix
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Can't Touch This, 11am
Move on from game pads, keyboards and mice and learn
how to create sensor-driven games.
Get Your Feet Wet, 1pm
Create a game in eight easy steps, without programming. (3D Game Studio)
The Best Things in Life are Free, 2pm
This session will provide an overview of the various open
source technologies and engines available to developers.
Playing with Pixels and Politics, 3pm
What is the potential for games to say something other than "BOOM!"?
18 August 2007 at ACMI
9:30am to 8:30pm
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne
$15 Concession & Student
03 8663 2583 for bookings
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I am a bit Beavis and Butthead, and have an idea for a game that involves a wet, twisted-up towel...
Sunday, July 29, 2007
If you enjoyed the soundtrack to Gimme Friction Baby (ironically, the music is kind of shoegazey, quite the opposite of what you'd expect from the title) the band responsible are We vs. Death and their website offers many free downloads. May I recommend:
Wake 44 (the song used in Gimme Friction Baby)
(yes,) we went to Novgorod
JayIsGames.com are already gearing up for the Casual Game Design Competition #4, with a longer lead time and even more valuable prizes. If you're an aspiring game designer, keep an eye on the JiG site for an announcement of the theme. Hopefully it'll be more useful than "replay"!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Here's some of my picks from this year's entrants:
Karma fuses the concepts of reincarnation and the Western 7 Deadly Sins to create a game where the aim is to clear your sins and reach salvation with as few reincarnations as possible. It has a few bugs which can make it frustrating to play, but the music, sound effects and visuals are gorgeous and soothing enough to prevent you from hurling the keyboard through the monitor.
Tonypa's Yalpeyalper is a simple but cute game where you need to eliminate all of the squares in the grid by setting off a chain reaction. Be careful, though - if you're wrong, you'll end up having to replay all of the levels you've previously won.
In Paracaidas (parachute in Spanish), you guide a parachutist safely to the target. It doesn't sound like much, but it's beautifully designed and fun to play.
Wouter Visser's Gimme Friction Baby leaves it to you to work out how to play it. Once you do, you simply MUST go back and try to beat your high score... goddammit...
In Timebot, you stand on panels to open doors, etc. Then you kill yourself and reincarnate to actually go through the doors. It's a pretty cool game.
If these games don't do it for you, there's plenty more at JayIsGames!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I wish them well, but what I really want to know is: what the hell is this woman doing?
I'm gonna take a punt and guess that a devout veiled Muslim lady isn't calling on our semi-inflated dark lord to support the women's parliamentary bid, but then I'm not sure that she's calling on the support of Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Pink et al (although that would be kinda cool). I've heard that the "horned hand" gesture is to ward off "the evil eye" - is it a hope for good luck in this context?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Our Monk - A Little Monk (bandwidth stolen from Sandwich Club, a great blog of Aussie music that you should totally check out)
Our Monk are from Sydney, and this is a great, Beatle-y track with jangly piano and a jaunty melody suitable for walking out in your zoot suit swinging a diamond-tipped cane. I hope they play Melbourne at some point. (Oh man, I'm checking out Our Monk's myspace and they are more Beatle-y than I imagined, but not in a shitful Oasis-y way.)
Hello Saferide - The Quiz (myspace)
Singer/songwriter Annika Norlin is Swedish, but sounds Irish. The Quiz is a great little (2 and a bit minutes) minimalist song grilling a prospective boyfriend on his bad habits, possibly revealing a few quirks of her own ("Can you always wear socks cos I'm still scared of feet"). Bounce on over to her website to check out her more poppy material.
The New Morty Show - Unskinny Bop
My taste in hair metal runs more to Guns'n'Roses and Motley Crue than (cough) Poison, Bon Jovi (I can't go on, ugh), but this nu-swing version just makes it aaaaaaaaall right.
ROOT! - Shazza and Michelle
It's frankly pretty weird to be able to see a member of TISM's face. This country outfit is TISM quiet man Humphrey B. Flaubert's new joint, with a new album in the pipeline. In keeping with Humphrey's (now "D. C. Root") "good cop" persona, Shazza and Michelle channels all the Pollyanna family values that TISM stood for, a tale of two innocent country nurses who enter the Australian Idol competition and get swept up in the shifting, changing shattering world of fame, fashion, fashion and fame. But nay, our doughty country maidens fall not for the glitz and sleaze of the entertainment world, and return happier and wiser to their country nursing home, smug in the knowledge of having deeper human values than ... ok, it's not quite that bad. It's actually quite sweet-natured, and very catchy in true TISM style. Nevertheless, I am eagerly waiting for Family First to grab a TISM track (And The Ass Said to the Angel, Wanna Play Kick To Kick?, perhaps) for their election campaign.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I've done it. I'm free. I haven't totally humiliated myself (although, if you read that document, you may be able to work out exactly where I threw my hands in the air and hissed "Fuck it").
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The Worms - Happy Day - cheery indie pop.
Slurper - Shy Girl - ditto.
Those Acapelicans - Dragoncalf - acapella from Sime Nugent's old band.
Trabampoline - Lions and Tigers and Bears - weird sample madness.
Poohbum - Kennett - angry folk.
The Jizzbuckets - Hanging Out With Ian Curtis - ummmm...
Mr. Husain is in the uncomfortable position of giving fuel to Islamophobes, which is a shame, because clearly he does not adhere to the view that Muslims are inevitably kaffir-hating nutters who seek to establish a worldwide Caliphate. I quite like the fact that he doesn't seem to have replaced Muslim extremism with anti-Muslim extremism, which will make it harder for professional Islamophobes to recruit him.
He laments the mushrooming of Islamic 'peak bodies' in this interview with Alt.Muslim:
Alt.Muslim: The British government sought the help of the Muslim Council of Britain in the past, especially after 7/7, but now they've fallen out of favour. Now the government appears to be looking towards other Muslim organisations, such as the Sufi Muslim Council, as an alternative. Is that the right approach? Should they get different Muslim representative groups together and help them come to a consensus? Or are they pitting Muslims against Muslims?I for one am quite happy to see Australian Muslims stepping forward to form political parties, write op-eds and so on, as it indicates that they are in fact engaged with Australian life rather than withdrawing from it. However, I agree that it would be good to see Muslims visibly involved in mainstream organisations.
I'm in two minds about this whole – the creation of different Muslim organisations and, as you say, pitting Muslims against Muslims. Why can't Muslims just be Muslims and participate in civil society as citizens? Why do we need to have all these forums? They inevitably bring on board certain types of individuals and certain groups come with their own agenda and their own baggage. It's like Mosca said, the Italian thinker, that it's the organised minority controlling the discourse of the disorganised majority.
Why can't we just be human beings, be Western citizens of different countries, engage with the existing structure, be it through the political parties or whatever it is that takes our fancy or wherever it is we feel our niche lies – Greenpeace, for example? Engage at that level. Why do we need to have these councils where again and again they've always thrown up that sort of leadership that young Muslims – children of this soil – feel inherently uncomfortable with?
Conversely, you should also read Ziauddin Sardar's review of The Islamist, alongside Journey into Islam by Akbar Ahmed, to see its limitations. Husain's insight is valuable, but of course, it's his unique experience.
[EDIT: Good review by Waleed Aly in the Age.]
One slightly upsetting aspect is not with sharia at all, but with British civil law -
...the British courts do not recognise Islamic ceremonies carried out in this country unless they are registered separately with the civil authorities. The result is that some Muslims think they are protected by family law when they are not, and others think they are properly divorced when, in fact, they are still married. In one case, Luton police contacted WLUML [Women Living Under Muslim Laws] after pursuing a man for bigamy who had married in Luton, then flown to Pakistan and married again. After looking into the case, they found that the first marriage was invalid as it had been conducted by an imam in an unregistered mosque. His first wife was left with no legal protection by the family courts, and the husband was free to bring his second wife back to Britain as his legal spouse.
In Australia, the first wife would be protected by the fact that she had been living in a "marriage-like relationship". She would be able to leave the marriage and claim her property and child maintenance. I can't believe that in the early 21st century, Britain doesn't recognise common-law marriage!
Tell me how many maiden speeches are listened to; how many excellent second reading speeches or committee speeches are covered. Except when they generate major controversy, they aren't. If you are a backbench MP today, you learn to give a press release first and a good parliamentary speech second.
Firstly, news values have been like that ever since media have existed. Dog bites man is not news, man bites dog is. When things are going well, there's nothing to report. This is a problem, but it's not unique to today's media-saturated world.
Secondly, is it necessarily a problem that the press release comes before the speech? Surely you would write one and re-purpose it towards the other? Provided that your ideas are fundamentally sound, a dot-point presentation for lazy journalists should not do those ideas any injustice. Commentators like to complain that sound-bite culture erodes the quality of political discussion, and it certainly can - both left and right wingers love to take comments out of context. But soundbites have some value in that it forces the speaker to tightly communicate their point.
The other mistake Blair makes is to assume that all readers are dumbshits who don't take into account context and hyperbole. Plenty are, of course, but many readers (and voters) are perfectly capable of taking into account who the writer/speaker is, what else is going on in the issue, and identifying emotive words like "savage".
As Blair acknowledges, "There is a market in providing serious, balanced news. There is a desire for impartiality. The way that people get their news may be changing, but the thirst for the news being real news is not." The thing is that the real news may still not be what Blair wants to hear.
Monday, June 11, 2007
|I took the "Women Warriors" quiz on gURL.com|
|My woman warrior is...|
When Lakshmibai went to battle, she often consulted all types of political strategists, whether they were books or seasoned warriors. She was also very smart and literate in more than three languages.Read more...
Which woman warrior are you?
Friday, June 01, 2007
One of the awesome things about the early 90s was printed zines. Printed zines uniformly suck these days, since anyone with talent is on the web attracting thousands of readers instead of a few hundred art wankers, but back then they actually meant something. Anyway, I don't know how it happened, but after a big RRR fundraiser in '93 or so, a bunch of people including myself recieved a copy of a zine called Shred and a sample CD.
Shred was not like any other promotional zine. Whereas your average promo zine looked and read like Dolly with less tampon ads, Shred Told It Like It Was. Disinterested venues, unhelpful record companies, disgruntled bandmates, terrible cartoons - it had everything. Shred lives on in the My Say section of the Fauves website (actually, everything about the Fauves website has Doug's Down Vibe written all over it), but the sample CD did not - until now.
Please find attached The Fauves Polydor Promotional Album. It's from about 1993 and has that quirky minimalist thing going. The terse lyrics ("I invented the blues so it's my right to kill it/hear that train a-comin', knock it on the head with a rusty skillet", Orgamosarion) are the Coxy you know and love.
Best of all, the Fauves will be playing their 1000th show at the East Brunswick club on June 8th and all payers will recieve a copy of Prefer Others, a 23-track CD of B-sides. If you like these songs, there is a possibility that at least one may be on this album, and therefore you should go to the show.
Ghosting The Road
Someone Elses' Earthquake
Puffinhead and Manta Ray
Check out the Fauves bio at Myspace.
This is a surprise event, with no explanation of why they are being released. The presence of comment in the Western press, including the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal (!), may have helped here.
Now, as Monem's lawyer points out, they can work on releasing other political prisoners.
A hatred of Islam will not aid reform, Hanifa Deen
Unfortunately, Hirsi Ali's continual trashing of Islam alienates many Australian Muslim women activists who also see themselves as agents of change but who are not prepared to turn their backs on what gives meaning to their lives. They will not join in what they see as "Muslim bashing". The bitterness they hear in Hirsi Ali's voice overwhelms them and they observe how her unrelenting message — that Islam is brutal and uncompassionate — is avidly received. In the end, they circle their wagons in defence of Islam, their capacity to be self-critical lessens and they are diverted from the main game of questioning misogynistic traditions. The Muslim women I know don't want to be pitied — they want to be understood — yet unintentionally Hirsi Ali's denunciations have the effect of silencing them.There are plenty of Muslim liberal activists we (ie Westerners) could be supporting. Here's a short list to be going on with.
Liberal Islam Network, Indonesia
Aswat & Helem (gay rights)
Saudi Arabia Greens Party (illegal in KSA)
Interview with Hanifa Deen about Muslims in Australia
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
ROOT! The Band
(For the benefit of non-Australian readers, the word "root" is a slang term.)
A gig is being played...
Sunday 17th June
59 Johnston Street Fitzroy (Melbourne, Australia)
$15 - it's a big show including Bob Log III, The Meanies, Adam Simmons of Toy Band fame, and a big stack of others, to 'celebrate' the closing of the Spanish Club as a music venue (it's too close to residential homes, apparently).
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
What's great about it is that it includes Marjane's life as a rock chick - she's into Iron Maiden, if you remember from the comics (her dad sneaks a poster into Iran under his coat). The image of her playing air guitar with a tennis raquet in her room is absolutely priceless. This snippet (below) of Marjane hanging out with cooler, older punk fans is great - I don't speak a word of French and I don't need to to understand this. Cast your mind back to when you thought Foucault was a four-cylinder sedan* and enjoy.
* I was going to buy myself a Foucault, but my dad talked me out of it as the fuel efficiency isn't good...
Saturday, May 19, 2007
This excellent little series, apparently inspired by Scott McLeod's legendary Understanding Comics, is a kind of half-game half-Flash movie experience that explains the principles that make games worth playing. That link is to the first installment, but links to parts 2, 3 and 4 are on that page. Each Flash movie is mostly just that, but at some point in the presentation allows you to handle the 'game' to experience what the presenters, Bub and Bob, are talking about.
Great little point and click that's easy enough for nuff-nuffs like me, with an in-game walkthrough that reveals only as much as you need. Vibrant illustration is cheery for a blah day like today. The Worteldrie website has a lot of good kids' games as well.
OMG Scary Room!!1!
AKA AN Escape Series 2.5. Parody of point and click games which is logical (ish), fun and amusing to my mental age of 13. Jayisgames wouldn't run this on account of it contains words like "ass" and has a dildo in it, but they run horror games with severed heads! And, come on, you totally want to play a point and click with a dildo in it.
This is one of those games where you register and create an avatar. As you play games and engage in PvP battle, you level up and get new equipment for your avatar that helps it win battles, perform quests etc. Normally I hate this sort of thing because it makes my clapped-out old computer fall over, but this site loads quickly. The games are a bit limited, but I quite recommend Wet Dreams (! not what you're thinking) and FlashPiper. As you play and submit scores, your energy is reduced and you have to rest, but it also enables you to level up. PvP is a good way of leveling up, as you don't lose anything by participating - even if you lose a match you gain a small amount of experience points. If you win, you gain a large amount! Yay!
On the down side, it seems to take a while to get to the point where you can play quests - I'm level 3 and it's not allowing me into the quests. This gets a bit frustrating. The avatars are... frankly unattractive - actually, hideous would be a better term - but I've managed to make mine look like the late Kurt Vonnegut, which is kind of gratifying. I'm looking forward to finding out what you get as you progress through the levels, though, and at this point, it costs nothing to play.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Excellent article about the real issues involved in Paul Wolfowitz's being driven from the World Bank with pitchforks.
I feel really bad for Shaha Riza, because I agree that she shouldn't have had to leave her job. Consider this:
Mr. Wolfowitz contended that it was hypocritical for bank officials to allow Mr. Zhang’s wife to work at the bank but to banish Ms. Riza. Mr. Zhang, now a senior vice president at Citigroup in Hong Kong, was furious, several associates say, because bank rules permit husbands and wives to work at the bank under circumscribed conditions, which Mr. Zhang said he followed, but they bar bank employees from having a sexual relationship with top bank officials outside of marriage. [Mr Zhang's statement may be found here - it's the last of five]
If you're a liberal, put aside your feelings about Wolfie to realise how repulsive this is. OK, I'd hope that this rule is designed to prevent sexual harassment and droit de seigneur and, conversely, favouritism to partners. But where I come from, serious relationships that are not sanctioned by bits of paper are recognised. It is of course hard to know what effect this has actually had on her career, but this will make it hard for her to get work for no crime other than having eccentric taste in men.
In any case, it was found that the Riza issue was not really the problem. The issue was unprecedented for the bank - it can't happen every day that you get a new President with a partner who works in your Middle East section - and the bank agreed that everyone handled the matter poorly. The real issue seems to have been Wolfowitz's propensity to cut the Gordian knot in terms of bank management. For instance:
One official recalled Mr. Wolfowitz dressing down several top employees in the Africa division because they could not tell him whether the incidence of malaria among children had declined as a result of the bank’s program distributing bed nets to families.
I am kind of sympathetic to this because one of the reasons I'm about to launch into a public service career is that I started in an organization where the boss was a really enthusiastic, hands-on sort of a person who also liked to cut the bureaucratic bullshit and get on with the job. It's a tendency I admire. However, my boss didn't complement this tendency with a habit of accusing others of incompetence and corruption! Wolfowitz even managed to alienate the British, which is an impressive achievement.
As you've probably guessed, I do have a bit of a soft spot for Wolfie, despite his multitudinous faults. He has made some genuine efforts to consider the needs of Muslim populations, and seems to have really given a shit about the fate of the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein, which you wouldn't say about Cheney or Rumsfeld. Still, his trail of destruction illustrates the dangers of letting academics anywhere near policy.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Friends (Raised By Wolves Remix)
Pash (Urban Cadaver Mix by Raised By Wolves)
This is utterly charming. (One of the commenters prefers "delightful", which I also find an acceptable description.) John Cage performs a piece for a completely non-avant garde audience (at least, I think so: you never see the studio audience), so the host is obliged to try to explain Cage's work and status (the word "controversial" is used). The commentors make much of the fact that you'd never see something like this on today's mainstream television.
A good 50% of Google searches leading to my blog are related to Abjeez in some way (they've been on tour in the US over the past month, see). In response to my (well, their) adoring crowds, I'm posting this rather charming video. If I'm interpreting the visuals correctly (I don't speak Farsi), one half of the video shows the young man being introduced to the prospective bride, the other half shows the homecoming of a new baby. (It also appears to be an ad for T2 - the tea company, not the Ah-nohld movie.)
I would never piss on the traditions of families who find this arrangement satisfactory, but I would hate to have my parents try to set me up with someone.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Burnin' Me Some Thing
Frankie's Negative (Live)
The Disciples Know
Taken from the CD Two Fisted Art.