Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas Party at Dave and Thuy's

Photos from the Xmas party. Much Alcohol was consumed, Lord of the Rings Risk Played and much fun all around. Below: Yui gets a special present from Santa.


From Xmas 2004

Monday, December 20, 2004

Albums

Inspired by xtn's list of most influential albums, I thought I mite do a list too. Favourite / influential / whatever, in no particular order.

Radiohead - OK Computer
Sure, so this one is at the top of everyone's list, but that's because it SHOULD be. Radiohead were always headed towards greatness, from the early 90's grunge of Pablo Honey to the darker follow up - The Bends. OK Computer is the masterpiece of a band at the height of their powers, and it's shadow still looms large over anything Radiohead does.

Bjork - Debut
Bork proved that originality and mainstream success aren't mutually exclusive. Just very rare. Bjork has gone on to produce an amazing body of work, but it all started here. She makes me violently happy.

Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun
Vast, ethereally beautiful soundscapes but always human, Agaetis Byrjun is like taking a mental vacation to another planet. Or least to Iceland.

At The Drive-In - Relationship Of Command
The only album the band released before breaking up. This is real hard rock, with incredible passion and social conscience. This is music that makes you want to make a difference in the world.

The Cat Empire - The Cat Empire
Remember when music was just plain FUN? Well, this is where you can live that again. Simply the most catchy and uplifting record I've heard in ages! I listened to this least every other day while in Europe. A great piece of Australia to take wherever you go.

Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
The defining moment in the career of possibly the most influential artist of modern times. This is Dylan at his most poetic, reflective and whimsical.

Nirvana - Nevermind
This album WAS the grunge revolution. I can still remember the first time I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit on rage. It changed everything. I stopped listening to pop and converted to grunge.

Loreena McKennitt - Elemental
The fusion of Celtic folk songs from around the world mixed with the works of poets like Shakespeare and Alfred Noyes creates an atmosphere you won't hear anywhere else. Her talent at arranging and musicianship is only surpassed by her voice.

The Avalanches - Since I Left You
This was the album that convinced me that sampling is an artform and music in it's own right. This beautifully mixed, flowing CD is made up completely from an insane number of samples, all working together flawlessly. The perfect album for a summer day.

Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi
The soundtrack to Godfrey Reggio's film of the same name, this was my introduction to the work of Philip Glass. Along with Brian Eno, Glass continues to bend, strech and break the boundaries of music composition and structure. This is possibly his greatest effort (the film would be in my 'most influential films' list too).

So there it is... I had to work hard to cull it down to ten. I left out many favourites, who I will mention : Zbigniew Preisner, Tool, Sarah Mclachlan, Pearl Jam, Hilltop Hoods, george, David Bowie, The Beatles, Tori Amos, Aphex Twin, Paul Kelly, Mercury Rev... I can keep going, but I'll stop there for now.

Carnivale

Saw the first episode of Carnivale last night.. What an amazingly brilliant show!It's everything I've been told, and more. It certainly has the feeling of Lynch's Twin Peakes and Shaun Cassidy's American Gothic (and also John Ford's version of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, according to amazon.com).

The show is worth watching just for it's production design and cinematography. Every scene has a mystical quality, the light is filtered and yellow-brown. Interiors are dark and shadows fill the corners... the Oklahoma dust is everywhere. The constant reminder of the super-natural is everywhere, though hard to pin down exactly.

Carnivale looks to be heading towards being truly great television, adding another trophy to HBO's already crowded mantlepiece.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Mail Stats

I love my Procmail logs. Says many things, like

Total Mail for November 2004 : 4636
Mail from emailathon : 3155
Spam sent to /dev/null : 1324
Spam to manually check : 68

Emailathon was averaging 100+ messages a day, add about 10/day from me and that's a lot of hot air.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Australia's Favourite Book

Not too hard to guess if you've been following these lists forthe last few years, but it was Lord of the Rings, followed by Pride and Prejudice and The Bible.

Interesting to see that Harry Potter and Da Vinci Code made itto the top 10, but I think these are just anomalies. I seriouslydoubt that anyone will remember Harry Potter or Da Vinci Codein 20 years time. Compare that with 50 years for books likeLord of the Rings and 1984, 200 years for Pride and Prejudice.

Also of note, the first Dickens is at 48.

The top 100 is here.

I see that Magician by Feist and Dune by Herbert scored prettyhighly. My reading list just grew by about 50 books. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2004

Tee Vee Goodness

When Buffy ended, and then Firefly, Wonderfalls and Angel got cancelled, I thought that the TV scape was going to be pretty dull. Well, except for HBO. But apparently not.. a new bunch of shows have appeared on the wasteland of current TV programming. I wouldn't rate any of them in the same class as Firefly and Wonderfalls, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.

The first surprise was Lost. This show is really growing on me. The characters are great, and the X-filesesque mixture of reality / paranormal is brilliant. The latest episode, centered around Clare was a great exploration of the mythology, and was totally creepy. I was freaked out.

The biggest surprise for me was the new BattleStar Galactica series. I thought the miniseries was good without being brilliant, but the series is just beyond compare. Definately the best Sci-Fi since Farscape (not that there has been much since). The atmosphere of the desperate stuggle in BG reminds me a lot of Glen Morgan and James Wong's short lived masterpiece Space: Above and Beyond. BTW - I've never seen the original BG.

Add to that Veronica Mars (very good and getting better, plus Kristen Bell - HOT!), trusty Gilmore Girls, Scrubs and post-election frivolity from The Daily Show, things are looking quite good.

No, I'm not a TV junky at all.