Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lists

It's that time of year again when everyone is putting out lists. One list I'm particularly keen on are the best albums of 2005.. And I must say that I'm mighty pleased to see a lot of top albums lists and they are varied and interesting, not the boring, unoriginal crap that commercial radio likes to flog.

Looking through the lists from Pop Matters, The Onion AV Club, Tiny Mix Tapes, Pitchfork Media and Triple J, there are a few artists who appear regularly..

I think Sufjan Steven's has had a BIG BIG year with his album Illinoise, which tops or least appears in every single list. Also Wolf Parade, M.I.A, The Decemberists, Sigur Ros (of course!), The New Pornographers, Sleater-Kinney, Andrew Bird and so many others! Unfortunately I've only heard about 1/2 of those albums... I'm gonna try and get MIA and Sufjan Stevens' CDs before I head to Jervis..

So, anyways, time for me to put up MY top albums (so far)

  • Architecture In Helsinki - In Case We Die When I first heard this I didn't think it was as good as their previous album, Fingers Crosseed. But after a fewe listens it hit me. Really hit me. Now I'd rate this as my favourite album ever! Displacing OK Computer after 7 years at #1.
  • Sigur RÛs - Takk They can do no wrong. Less atmospheric and more accessible than their other works, but still magical and ethereal.
  • Cat Empire - Two Shoes Quieter and more introspective than their first album, but still infectious and just simply FUN!
  • Clare Bowditch & The Feeding Set - What Was Left The only thing more beautiful than Clare herself are her songs. Absolutely gorgeous.
  • Emiliana Torrini - Fisherman's Woman The surprise packet of 2005. Album isn't uniformly strong, but the good bits are brilliant. One to watch.
  • Bernerd Fanning - Tea And Sympathy Powderfinger's frontman is a revelation. Slightly country, definately genius. Ryan Adams should learn from him.
  • Little Fish (Soundtrack) This should be in the list purely for Sara Blasko's version of Flame Trees. Never have I thought a cover would be so much superior to the original. The other songs don't suck either.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What Will We Do For Dinner?

That has become the most difficult thing in my life the last few weeks. It's not the actual preperation/cooking of the food that is the problem, but actually DECIDING what it will be. JC and I have talked about what we can do about this and no conclusion has been reached as of yet... it's a real concern.

Might need to goolge around for some ideas.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Virgin Suicides

Watched The Virgin Suicides again last night, on SBS.. I had almost forgotten what a masterpiece that film is.. A beautiful mood-piece, the dreamy look, awesome score by Air and the captivating story (narrated by Giovanni Ribisi, I just found out.)

I can gush about it for a while, but instead I'll link to Stephanie Zacharek's review of it on Salon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Moving

It's funny, when I started this blog the main idea was to write up stuff about events that were important so that I can look back and go "whoa! I remember that!". Like this entry I wrote about after Georgie W decided that the war in Iraq was "over"... 2000 us casualties later...

Anyways, my whole point is that when big, interesting things are happening in your life you don't actually get time to blog. Or even think about blogging.. coz I realised that I had not even once mentioned the fact that I was looking for a new apartment, or that JC (my new flatmate) and I had found a place, NOR that I had started moving in..

So, to summerise the last few months of this story into a few sentances. I've been thinking of moving out for a while, and when my buddies Chi and JC decided to move I thought I'd go in with them.. but then the whole job change thing happened and I decided to hold off.. meanwhile Chi got cold feet (and a big mortgage) so he pulled out so JC and I decided to partner up.. (hmmmm this is sounding like an episode of Days of our Lives)..

JC and I were looking around Pyrmont (it was the only area we had in common) and were looking at ~5 places each week for 4 weeks.. we were getting pretty frustrated at this stage, so when we saw a good place in Harvey St, we decided to put a deposit down and up the rent by $10 as well. We were REALLY sick of looking. The spot was pretty good too...

Few days later we got the good news and we got the keys on the 28th of Nov.. been slowly moving stuff in and furnishing it, and will be moving in proper next weekedn. yay!!

Pics to follow.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I Love You Emiliana!!

Just got back from seeing Emiliana at The Metro. What an amazing gig. Emiliana is gorgeous, sweet, funny, chatty, cute, gorgeous, enchanting, captivating.. oh, and she can sing too. AND play the ding-dong.... Her look reminded me a bit of a younger Dervla Kirwan.. hmm, I think I'm gushing.

The night started off with The Devestations. Which reminded me a lot of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Much the same brooding vibe.. but with some awesome guitar solos on the louder songs... unfortunately some of the quieter, slower melancholy songs (which was most of them) were ruined by a talkative crowd...

Anyways, on came Emiliana.. and she was really nervous. I man really. She said it was the biggest audience she's played to (Metro holds about 1,200 people I think). Anyways she broke into a few songs and the nerves dissapeared. Pretty soon she was cracking jokes about rubing her panties in a guys face and checking out cameltoe in Texas (long story).

She was absolutely goegeous in a little white/pink dress, looking very tiny next to a big microphone (I think I'm gushing again)... She would often tell a little story about the song before starting it (like about her best friend who inspired Heartstopper and wanting to write a love song on a summers day which lead to SummerBreeze or spending a summer bumming in London eating Haagen Dazs).. oh andshe told a cute story about her fear of doing encores after a gig in Scotland.. all very cute and funny.. she had the whole place laughing.

It was clear she really gets into the zone when performing.. I thought shewas going to cry during Fisherman's Woman, which isn't surprising consideringit's heartbreakingly sad...

In the end, there was no doubt, it was one of the best shows I've seen this year.. she's an incredible performer and I'll be first in line for the next time she's in Sydney.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sculpture By The Sea, 2005

Sculpture by the Sea has rolled by again.. This year has gone by so fast I honestly thought that the last time we went was actually earlier this year...

This year's exhibition didn't grab me as much as last year, there were certianly a few that I really liked. Amongst them, the Hurdles (very similar to the PostSecret project), the loopy flame thing below (my name, not the official one!) and the construction sign.

For all the photos, click the image below:

From Sculpture by ...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mobile to Flickr Integration

yay! worked out how to forward photos from my crappy camera phone to my flickr account! So, I present my first flickr photo - of my niece Shana..

Friday, November 11, 2005

Spoiler Free Reactions - Knife of Dreams

Phew! About time! I guess it's not a good thing that the main reaction I've had to finishing this book is relief. Knife of Dreams is the 11th (!!) book in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. If you don't know what I'm talking about then just ignore this post, trust me. :)

OK so this book is actually quite good. I spent a few nights up till 2am, and it's been a while (maybe about 8 years!) since a Wheel of Time book was that engaging. Reading this book you get a distinct feeling that Jordan is running through a list of threads that he needs to wrap up, and he does that. Plotlines that have been dragged out for I don't know how many books are finally resolved. It's a relief, but there is a sense of anticlimax because they were built up over such a long time.

The one thing I can say for certain is that this book proves that RJ lost his way in a major way from books 7-10. Those four books could (and SHOULD) have been condensed into a single volume, with the climax being the battle at Shadar Logoth.

KoD shows some gilmpses of the old RJ brilliance, specially in Egwene's story. It took her back to the strong young leader she was before, and hopefully will continue to be. The Mat and Tuon thread was fun and reached a semi-satisfying point. The much hated Perrin-Faile threads and Elayne's Andor civil war threads are dealt with, but not withoutsome pain. I still want Faile and Elayne to die suddenly and painfully. Rand was almost non-existent in this book, coz you know, he's the main character!

The villains were boring and ineffective as usual, except for a bit to do withthe Black Tower. Semirhage's thread reached an interesting point, and if RJ introduces another twist to it I will be very pissed off. Now is not the time to complicate things even more.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the book. It's actually re-kindled some interest inthe series, and I'm actually looking forward to the last book. Not that I think RJ can finish it off in one book without some major compromises.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Favourite Films

I had this list of films floating around various places, so I thought I mightas well put it up here for all to see. In no particular order..

After a discussion with some Dreni-ites last night, thought this list could do with some updating. New films on the list are marked as *new*.

With more to be added later.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Paul Graham - Business and OpenSource

This talk given by Paul Graham at this years OSCON (podcast of speech here) is one of the most profound talks I have heard in a while. Not profound because it says something new, but profound because it pulls together what appears to be disparate pieces of common sense and puts them together in a cohesive whole.

The underlying theme of his talk "What Business Can Learn from Open Source" is that the lesson "is not about Linux or Firefox, but the about the forces that produced them. Ultimately these will affect a lot more than what software you use.."

Two things he said (amongst many others) has particular resonance with me. First is that the Opern Source community and blogging are market economies. You can go ahead and build something or write an article about whatever you like, but it won't get noticed or popular unless it's good. The audience itself evaluates the idea and passes judgement. In a corporation, things are done in a much more top-down way. You are told to do something, and do it in a particular way. In market economies (and in nature as well) the best ideas or products rise to the top based on their merit / survivability. Corporations that work in a supposed market economy are most certainly NOT market economies themselves.

The other idea Graham put forward is that of workplaces. He makes so many brilliant points that I'm tempted to quote that whole section verbatim. Anyways, I'll settle for a few points he makes. The first is that offices themselves are very poor places for people to work. "The atmosphere of the average workplace is to productivity what flames painted on the side of a car are to speed." So very true.

Why do I have to work in a big office with all these people I never talk to. In my work day, 95% of the communication I do is with the three other members of my team. And one of them (Hi Ben!) is located 800Kms away in Melbourne. The idea that we need to be in an office to see our peers face-to-face is just not true.

"To me the most demoralizing aspect of the traditional office is that you're supposed to be there at certain times. There are usually a few people in a company who really have to, but the reason most employees work fixed hours is that the company can't measure their productivity. The basic idea behind office hours is that if you can't make people work, you can at least prevent them from having fun."

Graham goes on to explore these themes in more detail, and I can only encourage people to go read/listen to his presentation.

The only problem is that I can't actually work like the way he suggests. Very few companies are that flexible. Oh well, there is hope yet.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Veronica Mars

FINALLY got time to watch the second season opener for Veronia Mars. Goddamn! It is one fine show. Really hit it's straps, and (to quote Joss Whedon) "big emotion, I mean BIG.."

Oh, and in case you didn't know, Joss went absolutely gaga over Veronica Mars, and is now the biggest and best known fan of the show. And with reason... this is rare TV. And let me tell you, Kristen Bell is the most charismatic, engaging and HOT lead in a TV show for aaages.. well, since Caroline Dhavernas in Wonderfalls, anyways.

Update : Watched the third episode last night. All I can say is - OMFG!! The funny has fallen to the side to be replaced with the dark and scary. Very dark. This show is going from strength to strength... I don't know how the new problem can be solved, short of the Mars' going into Witness Protection... ooh, and talk about stunt casting. Really didn't like Charisma Carpenter as the "hot mom"... Cordy in a bikini is just WRONG. But Steve Gutenberg as the too nice Mayor (to be)?! Love him! Overtones of Richard Wilkins III. Creepy. Kevin Smith as a freaky convenience store owner? Even better. But JOSS WHEDON as a used car salesman??? Heaven!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Attention

Attention is a problem. Or least giving something my full attention is. I've noticed that my attention span has grown dramatically shorter over the last ten years. I used to be able to read a book and give it my full attention for 5 hours, 10 hours or even more. Now even a good book only lasts about 3 hours at best. I used to be able to put on a Phillip Glass or Brian Eno CD and just listen to it for an hour, with no problems. No any more. I've been trying to get into Peake's Gormenghast (known to have a slow start) for a while now and I find it incredibly hard.

It's not just books and music. I don't have the attention to watch TV or read the news. It's really quite scary. If something does not require interaction then it's just too boring.

So what has caused this? Obviously our life is full of interruption and our minds are having to change to be able to cope with the interrupt-driven lifestyle. I have recently come across Linda Stone and her term "continuous partial attention" at the Attention Panel (discussion) during Supernova 2005. Someone said that " we're over-stimulated, over-wound, unfulfilled." So very true.

So what can you do. It's not like you can just ignore the interruptions, because our work life (I noticed this specially at IBM) is so very interrupt driven. I might have got a 20 minute stretch at best on any given day without interruptions. What can we do? Change our lifestyle (and by that I mean work as well). Learn to live with it?

I'd rather not live with it because I really miss being able to read a good book, or listen to a CD or just DO NOTHING for a few hours.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Andrew Olle Media Lecture

I've just finished watching a broadcast of this years Andrew Olle Media Lecture, presented by the multi-talented John Doyle. I have seen a few Olle lectures, and must say that this stands head and shoulders above anything else. Doyle (or Rampaging Roy Slaven, if you prefer) covered a number of topics, covering everything from the blandness of commercial media, the rejection of elite opinion, string theory (!), evolution, religion, human rights, economic rationalism and terrorism.

Doyle was funny as always, and there were many times when you could feel the audience torn between serious concern and outright laughter. He so carefully and effectively poked fun at the stupidity of media and society that it WAS hard to know if to laugh or cry.

Of course it wouldn't be right for me to let his Buffy comment go without a mention - he used Buffy in a list of TV shows which were indicative of the wastes of western civilisation.. I'm assuming that he's never actually seen Buffy, becuase I think he would find a lot in common between his world-view and that of Joss.

I have quoted a snippet of his speech below, of his view of the ABC and where it fits in :

So that when the commercial media is dictated to by myopic intrusive ownership and ill-informed populism, is forced through thoughtless need to make irresponsible programs that lack both style and substance, caresses inflammatory and cheap, nasty demagoguery that seeks to marginalize the already marginalized, that seeks to describe the world in simple terms, provide simple solutions to complex problems and is purely a servant to fiscal outcomes, then the ABC will always seem to aggravate, annoy and frustrate and it.s precisely when the ABC is doing this that it is serving its charter.

The ABC have put up a transcript and audio (MP3) of Doyle's address. This should be compulsory reading/listening.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Last week

If you are reading this blog you probably already know this, but I'm leaving IBM after just over a year. It seems like yesterday when I blogged that I applied for and got a job at IBM. And not too long ago I remember blogging about leaving Proxima. So maybe this blog thing is useful after all..

Anyways, I will be starting my new role at Dimension Data on the 17th. I knew DiData was in the right headspace when I read "The Campus is built around a cricket Oval and is surrounded by a nine-hole mashie golf course" on their company information page... Well, OK that's not the ONLY reason.. but still..

The last few weeks I have been busy wrapping up the various projects I'm doing and handing over my SME/focal point tasks to various people. My buddy Faiyaz is getting the honour of being the CIRATS focal point, which I know he absolutely LOVES (right, dude?) :) It's amazing the number of little things that I have to wrap up after only 12 months here, and the amount of stuff that lives in my head that I need to write down... yeesh..

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Dave and Madeline

Had their wedding yesterday.. Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony in the morning at their respective houses and a reception at the Waterside in The Rocks. The couple were looking very happy, though somewhat exhausted by the end of all the festivities (and Dave had spilt wine on his shirt, but that's another story).

Bride and groom are off to the Cook Islands (IIRC) for their honeymoon before settling into regular married life.. :)

Lots and lots of pics of course, click on image below to go to mine. Chunga's pics are here.


From Madeline and ...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Tagged

From Chi.

1) Total number of books you own? Hmm, not sure, but in the order of 200-300. More if you count my parent's books that I have on "long term loan". :)

2) What was the last book you bought? The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. A Vietnam vet's allegory on war.

3) What was the last book you read? Beyond Fear by Bruce Schneier. Essential reading for everyone living in the post 911 world.

4) List five books that are particularly meaningful to you (in no particular order)

  1. Godel, Escher and Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. You will not see the world in the same way again.
  2. The World's Religions by Huston Smith. Great starting point.
  3. Tae Te Ching. Antidote for moden excess.
  4. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Now THIS is cyberpunk. Fiction equivalent of speed.
  5. Use of Weapons by Iain Banks. In times of war, anything can become a weapon.

5) Tag five people and have them fill out the list on their own blogs (if they can be bothered) No more bloggers to send to. Sending to Drenai.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Knife of Dreams

Speculation is rampant on the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan about the new book coming out next month.. Most people are quite over the series so we're mostly having a go at Jordan.. my favourite quote by Dan Weiner:

I also think Elayne should get fucking beheaded, but I suspect RJ willgo a different direction--- one involving weak tea, perhaps?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Reporter's Diary

Just finished reading part 2 of ABC reporter Leigh Sales' diary from her assignment in New Orleans, post Katrina.

It is really gripping reading, she has a great wrtiting style that really pulls you in, all the horror mixed in with funny little bits about the ABC crew... Definately worth reading. Part 1 is here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Joss Overload

With Joss being in town and doing more media than you can poke a stick at, there are LOTS of interviews/articles turning up. The best one I've found so far is definately this one that he did with Sarah MacDonald on ABC Local Radio in Sydney. The amount of thought this man puts into his work is incrediable.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I Met Joss!

Well, not so much "meet" as such as be in the same room.. and room in the sense of a big movie theatre, but you get the idea.. :) Either way, it was bloody fantastic to see the final cut of Serenity with all the fancy FX in place, and have a nice Q&A session with Joss...

Lots of good questions.. his answers were always funny and informative... One answer the audience liked in particular was his reponse to the "five people on an island" one.. Joss' five were Jane Austen, Caligula (or was it Cicero), himself, Emma Thompson and George (W.) Bush - "because we need something to eat".. needless to say the audience went nuts..

The final cut of Serenity was a lot better than the version I had seen a few months ago.. it's a very, very good movie... and everyone should see it. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Dave's XI Tour, 2005

Just returned from the big tour of 2005, and of course according to cricket tradion "What happens on tour, stays n tour".. so all I will say is that a great time was had by all. Lots of sport and lots of drinking and lots inbetween. Only downside is poor UE who is nursing a very badly puffed up eye, boxing style.. But it was a sporting injury, not a fight, so all is good. Poor UE, I even kicked a ball into his head, a full blooded kick too... Sorry mate..

Aaaaaargh!!

Whi did I have to read this AFTER I got home from the city??? Joss Whedon is in town and was looking for a few drinking buddies... Granted I was dirty and smelly after the Dave's XI Tour, 2005, but I would have least rocked up to The Orient..

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Obsession

I've never seen so much dicussion about the release of a POSTER for a movie.. Firefly / Serenity fans sure do take their show seriously.. I mean people are seriously talking about the message it gives to the mainstream, the deliberate minimalism meant to make it stand out from the other posters, the inclusion of the "Buffy & Angel" reference... Going through all the minutia..

I quite like it, actually.

ooh! and I scored tix to the preview screening and Q&A session with Joss! OMG! OMG!

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Aftermath

I was going to write up a big opinion piece on Katrina but thought better hold off until more details become clear. But what is already clear is that it is a massive disaster and much worse than it should have been.

There are already many people pointing fingers and laying blame.. I've been following a few items on the Counter Punch newsletter/blog, and saw an article that was particularly interesting - How New Orleans Was Lost.. I guess it closely reflects something of what I was thinking.. though I know that the Iraq war is by no means the only or even main reason for the state of the disaster..

The other article that grabbed my attention was The U.S. Needs to Start Over - Failing at War, Peace and Dignity.. This reflects some more of my feelings that the social welfare system and the State have let down the most needy in American society..

Every American city harbors millions of people with high rates of unemployment, low incomes, poor housing, no health insurance, low levels of education. In the United States 25 percent of our children are raised in poverty. Nearly 50 million people have no health insurance.

Immortel - French Sci-Fi

It's not often you see French sci-fi, but those that you do see are memorable, like The City of Lost Children (one could argue about calling it sci-fi, I guess) and The Fifth Element. Now there is a newish (released in 2004) film getting some attention in the blogosphere.. The film is Immortel (Ad Vitam) (IMDB), a French movie done in English. The film is an adaptation by writer/director Enki Bilal of his own comics, the Nikopol Trilogy.

After looking at the trailer, I am really interested in this... it has a very unique look and the mix of Egyptian mythology and dystopian society (somewhat like StarGate, I guess) is something I'd really like to see..

Unfortunately it seems that the film hasn't had a worldwide release, so I will have to dig around to see if I can find a DVD of it. seems Amazon has both the DVD and the trade-paperback of the comic. hmmmm...

I've seen quite a few comparisons to Sin City.. and as far as I'm concerned that's a good thing.. If this is half as good as Sin City then it's miles ahead of the movies coming from Hollywood.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Road to Empire

Read a really interesting article and discussion at Kuro5hin, on the rise of China and what their future might be... The basic premise of the article being that China will not be able to translate it's current economic power into a global empire like what the US developed over the last century. The reasons given is the lack of economic power gained through innovation and technology, cultural adoption and military power.

I think the second and third are non-issues. Empire creates culture, not the opposite.. and military strength will come with economic development, be it home grown or imported military tech. The interesting question is the source of China's economic power and if it can move from a manufactuing economy to an innovation economy.

I'm inclined to believe that in the short term the lack of free thinking and the lack of original/disruptive thought will limit them in innovation.. but I don't think this will last very long.. China and Asia has always had a society that deferred to authority, but I don't see this lasting for the next 30 years.. but a LOT can happen in that time, I guess..

To me the big question is if the Chinese Government will have the guts to loosen it's grip on control, to let the people (and education system) encourage risk taking and think outside the square... Centralised control works well with manufacturing, but innovation needs freedom.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

BattleStar Galactica

Just started watching the second season of BattleStar Galactica. This is TV of a quality I have not seen since the last Whedon show was on air, and I would say it's as good as the very best of Joss' work.

Have been watching each episode twice, the second time with producer/writer Ron Moore's podcast commentary, which is brilliant. I think there is a distinct similarity between Moore's approach to writing and Joss' approach, which is very character centric. Going beyond the characters, BSG is just brilliant on every other level too. I love the (very firefly and Space: Above and Beyond style) camera work, the beautiful, beautiful music, excellent plotting and pacing and fantastic performances. Not to mention that Boomer, Starbuck and #6 are so very, very hot!.

With Carnivale gone, and Scrubs and Veronica Mars on hiatus, seems BSG is the only show worth watching..

Monday, August 22, 2005

Session 416

Looks like the first piece of Serenity viral marketing is showing up on the net.. This short film has turned up on P2P networks.. and it shows a very, very disturbing encounter with sweet little River Tam. Here's hoping that we se lots more!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Aeon Flux

After Chunga mentioned the release of the trailer, I went off and had a squiz.

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man.. I'm not really impressed with what I've seen. Fair enough, the storyline of Aeon (where it exists) is pretty haphazard, and probably not suited to a film.. but what have they done??? Looks like they've decided to rip off The Matrix and 1984.. but wait! Didn't The Island beat them to the punch??

Aeon Flux has the elements of a great story in it.. just needed a good script. The idea of Monica and Bregna seperated by a Berlin Wall style de-limitarized zone.. where people can see how the "other side" live is a great starting point. Add to that Aeon, the amoral assassin.. she doesn't fight for freedom or justice.. she just wants to destroy Trevor Goodchild's perfect creation.. the idea of an anarchic state and a perfect utopia (well, dictatorship) side by side.. struggling for mindshare... Reducing Aeon to the same old "small band of rebels against the big evil government" story just screams of lazyness and Hollywood's fear of doing something truly original...

Compare the plot of film with the short "War" (where Aeon gets killed in the first minute, and the story followers her killer, then his killer and so on)... Aeon Flux was daring TV, this is lazy film.

Things I DID like? Theron does a decent job of Aeon's voice, even though she obviously can't move like Aeon can.. The look of Bregna is right.. the version of Cybil and Onan's "wall run" looks pretty cool too. Now if they can just fit the Demiurge story somewhere.. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

In Affectionate Remembrance of Australian Cricket

While it may be somewhat premature to publish an eulogy at this stage, it seems a certainty that England will handily beat Australia in the 3rd Test of the 2005 Ashes series. Let us hope that we are least spared the humiliation of an innings defeat.

The third test at Old Trafford has clearly shown that England are a class above Australia, in all aspects of the game. The Australian bowlers offered no challenge to the English batsmen who plundered 444 runs in quick time, aided by no less than seven dropped catches by the hapless Australians. On what seemed a very good batting pitch it seemed that Australia would at least match the English, but only to be down to 7/210 at stumps on day two.

This capitulation by the Australian team is unprecedented. This was not the results of a few out-of-form players. The entire team's performance was second rate.

In terms of individual players, there are a number of questions to be asked. It seems certain that McGrath returned from injury too early. Was there an injury concern for Clarke? Why did he leave the field after only two overs had been bowled? What manner of sheer idiocy convinced the Australian selectors to start with Gillespie when Kasprowicz performed so well in the last test. Kasprowicz should have been selected on his batting form alone.

The most serious criticism, however, should be directed at the Australian leadership. Whatever thought process that made Australia decide to put the English in to bat in the second test was in evidence again with their stubborn refusal to put in place a defensive third man to stem the avalanche of runs. Not allowing Warne to bowl a single over in the first session was also unfathomable. The tactics successfully employed by Australia over the last decade to intimidate opposition teams will not work on these Englishmen. They are better than the Australians and they know it. Australia can no longer hit their way out of trouble, instead they must rely on a conservative approach against England.s pace attack and the newly found skills of Giles.

Serious consideration also needs to be given to the makeup of the team. England have shown the versatility and offensive power they gain with a single brilliant all-rounder - Flintoff. While Australia (nay, the world!) does not have a player of that calibre, the current line-up needs to be reconsidered. Playing with three pace bowlers and Warne limits the bowling options considerably. With Gillespie's current form it's safe to say that Australia are employing only three specialist bowlers. Perhaps the inclusion of Kasprowicz or Clark for Gillespie and Shane Watson for one of the batsmen will provide a better balance.

Australia may not have lost this series yet, but no matter what the result, there can be no doubt that the Englishmen have been the superior cricketers all summer long.

R.I.P.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Pinker and Penrose

After looking through the list of publications by the illustrious contributors to Edge two books really stand out.

First is Sir Roger Penrose's book The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe. This book has the lofty goal of covering mathematically the basics of modern physics. Consider it to be A Brief History of Time with equations, lots of equaions. I don't pretend I'll be able to understand much of it, but maybe I'll put to use those 3 years of maths and physics I did at uni...

The second is the much more controversial work of Steven Pinker - The Blank Slate. Pinker is an advocate of evolutionary psychology which states that the human mind is a product of our evolution from primates. This is the theory that is finding more and more scientific evidence that we are who we are du to 90%+ nature and very little nurture. This has enourmous ramifications for society, of course...

Hey, nice coat...

So it's been more than a week since I FINALLY got to see Sin City. Easily the most highly anticipated movie (by me anyway) in a long, long time. So did it live up to expectations? Damn straight it did! Expectations were met, exceeded and then stomped all over. This film has set a new bar for comic adaptations, and proven that noir is alive and well (just not that common).

Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's stories The Hard Goodbye (Marv's last hurrah), The Big Fat Kill (the Old Town hookers vs Jackie Boy vs the Mob) and That Yellow Bastard (the Hartigan/Nancy/Yellow Bastard story) have captured the essense of Sin City on film like it was always meant to be on cellulite.

The look of the film is just perfect beyond words. The settings and mood are taken directly from the pages of the comics, and the digital backlot only helps focus attention on the performances. This isn't comic-meets-hollywood like X-Men or Spiderman. This is real PULP, but on the screen. The stark colouring and minimalist sets really drive that point home. The Opening sequence with Harnett and Shelton really sets the mood and style of the film. Never seen a better opening for a movie.

The performances were uniformly brilliant. Micky Rourke was just malevolence incarnate as Marv. Jessica Alba just oozed sex appeal that you could almost taste. Elijah Wood's Kevin was a brilliantly realised evil. Rosario Dawson and Devon Aoki captured Gail and (Deadly Little) Miho to such perfection that I can't imagine anyone else doing the part. That's not to mention anything of Willis, Owen, Del Toro and the rest of the huge cast.

I know people have criticised the movie for it's voilence. Sure, it's violent.. but it's so over the top that it just blends into the atmosphere of Sin City rather than beign the main feature. In fact I found some of it quite funny (specially the scenes with Jackie Boy's head)... I copped a few strange looks from my fellow film-goers for that, I recall.

This film will go down in history, I have no doubt. It won't be the next Pulp Fiction, I don't think.. but it damn well should be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Splendour 2005

Made it back from another brilliant Splendour in the Grass festival more or less intact. A brilliant time was had by all.. short list of highlights:

  • Awesome apartment that Phanna found! 4 bedroom penthouse, HUUGE living area with ~8m ceilings, courtyard opens up to the golf course
  • Mylinh's friends Peter and Brandon been mistaken for members of "the band"
  • Discovering our neighbours were Sydney band "Decoder Ring" who would jam out in their courtyard in the mornings... brilliant!!!
  • Awesome weather - literally shorts and t-shirts

And that was all BEFORE the music! Top acts were:

  • Decoder Ring (not just coz they were our neighbours!) Awesome set. Really interesting electo/funk/rock
  • Scribe, briliant kiwi outfit, the MC was one of the best rappers I've ever heard. Very good freestyler, called himself the "Sonny Bill Williams of Hip Hop"! :)
  • HILLTOP HOODS! was really looking forward to seeing these guys and they didn't let me down. Brilliant set, audience was really into it, never before had I heard an entire audience "rap" along to a full song (Nosebleed Section). Incredible atmosphere..
  • The Brothers Finn. Can't go wrong. Once again the ENTIRE audience was singing along to the old Enz and House hits.. Special moment when they dedicated "Four Seasons" to Paul Hester.
  • MOBY! really didn't expect much but he played a really pumped up set. Lots of stuff from Play as well as a few new ones. His tribute to Aussie "doofs" (outback dance parties) was tops. You could feel the bass pounding throug the ground and coming through your feet! A great way to finish off the weekend.

Quote of the event goes to Moby : (After apologising for the US Government) "as you know your good friend Mr John Howard is having sex with the President in the White House at the moment.."

oh, and despite having perfect weather (warm, dry days, though the nights were pretty cold) the ground was almost as muddy as last time. My poor boots got a good 6" of mud on them... of course the girls decided to go wearing slippers/thongs.. it wasn't pretty.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Emiliana Torrini

Is my favourite new singer.. Not sure where I heard her song "Sunny Road" for the first time, maybe on DiG, maybe on the js.. but it's a brilliant song... I'm not sure what it is with me and Icelandic artists, it just seems that they produce more than their fair share of brilliant music.. (Interesting trivia, Emiliana wrote Kylie's #1 hit "Slow" - I've never heard of it, so wouldn't know.)

There is a really good docco on PBS called Iceland : The Future of Sound, which explores the "...small, isolated country produces some of the most innovative pop music on the planet."

Thursday, July 7, 2005

London Explosions

Seems like it's some form of coordinated attack..

Considering the explosions were in buses and tubes then it's hardto believe that casualties aren't high...

Seems to have happened around the place where we were staying inLondon last year, around King's Cross, Tavistock Place andRussel Square...

There seems to be sense of deja vu about this whole event... it startsoff with confusion and thinking it's an accident, followed by the realisationthat something has gone terribly wrong...

Friday, June 24, 2005

All Quiet on the Blogging Front

wow, just noticed that it's been almost 3 weeks between updates.. been reallybusy at work (actually, been at a client site without net access. Painful).

Will update sometime with weekend about my new obsession - Guild Wars.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

TIME Critics Top 100 Films

Published here. Some of my favourites are in there, but quite a few are old movies that I've never heard of, let alone seen. I'm surprised to see some new movies that made the list, like City of God, Finding Nemo and Talk To Her.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Revenge of the Sh!t

Yes, I finally got around to seeing the third (and final?) installment of Star Wars. Good thing I had lowered my expectations before going to see the movie, because it had trouble meeting even my lowered exectations. I'm still cringing at some of the Anikin/Padme scenes (nowhere as near as bad as from Clones, but painful still). The dialogue was the patented Lucas crud that we know and hate. And of course the performances from a stellar cast are as forgettable as always (I still don't know how Lucas can get such brilliant actors like McGregor and Portman to look so bad!) Music was forgettable exept for the reprise of "Duel Of The Fates" and the "Imperial March".

So, was there anything good at all? Well, we got to see some wookies, I guess.. and very little C3PO and only a second or so of Jar Jar. The Windu v Palpatine and Yoda V Palpatine fights were pretty good I must admit, but the main fight between "Annie" and Kenobi was too fancy for it's own good.

This is one movie best to be forgotten quickly.

In much better news, seems Richard Linklater is making a film of Phillip K Dick's masterpiece A Scanner Darkly.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Few Words

I saw a recommendation to read Amy Hempel on Kuro5hin. Apparently Chuck Palahniuk (of fight club fame) described her work as "..you might pick up a copy of Hempel and find your best work is just a cheap rip-off of her worst.". And people on Amazon seem to agree.

I found a short story of hers online, and found it to be quite amazing... so now I'm waiting for Gleebooks to get me a copy of her latest book..

Monday, May 9, 2005

Splendour

Woohoo! Got my Splendour In The Grass ticket today. Looks like this year is really popular, camping tickets sold out in less than an hour, and the person at Redeye Records said that the other tickets are going fast..

Can't wait for July.. heading up with a bunch of mates again, and we're roughing it out like last time.. in a luxury 4 bedroom penthouse! Yeah, it sucks to be me. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Serenity

Warning - rant follows

One week ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a test screening of Joss Whedon's new film Serenity. I've been thinking about the movie and my reaction, and finally decided to blog about it. Don't worry. No Spoilers in here.

OK, so I had high expectations for Serenity. It's a Joss Whedon film, after all. But my first reaction after seeing Serenity was that it was not up to Joss' standards.

What didn't work for me? Firstly the whole suspension of disbelief just didn't carry me through. I never bought into the premise of the movie. Things happen on a grand, GRAND scale.. but our crew are just petty crooks. That was the whole POINT of Firefly. I believe the quote Joss used was "This show isn't about the people who made history; it's about the people history stepped on." They sure as hell make history in the movie..

Firefly was about what makes people tick, their motivations and drives. It was all very internal. The epitome of which was the episode Objects In Space. To me, Serenity, the film is very much the opposite of Objects. It's all about the external - explosions and fights and spaceships and stuff.. To give credit to Whedon he did integrate some interesting ideas into the story, like the nature of belief and faith, the role of government (authoritarian / paternalistic vs libertarian) and censorship.. but these are mostly drowned out by the gunfire and explosions.

So in a few words, my main gripe is that it's too much like a generic action movie.

On to what I liked. The cast were fantastic once again, everyone hit their roles like they never left them. Cap'n Mal is front and centre, of course, but River steals the show. Less of Inara and Book and I would like to have seen. And of course there was plenty of funny. Though the timing didn't seem to be quite right.. maybe it's an editing thing..

But of course, I'll be in the line to watch it the very first session it's showing in Sydney. The movie might not be Joss' best work (IMHO), but it's a hell of a lot better than almost everything else out there.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ultraviolet

It seems that Kurt Wimmer - the writer+director of the very cool Equilibrium - is starting work on a new film called Ultraviolet.

Apparently it has nothing to do with the UK mini-series of the same name, and same premise!!?!? WTF is up with that? I'd sue his ass if he hasn't got the rights.. The TV show was of course very cool, understated, quiet, very British, I guess.. I get the feeling that this is a more run-of-the-mill action movie.. anyways.. The premise is that a part of humanity is infected with a virus that gives them superhuman abilities and that tensions between normal humans and the "vampires" break out into war (hello! X-Men anyone?).

OK, so the movie sounds like it's a derivative of 10 different movies of recent times (throw in Underworld into that mix as well), but I have SOME faith in Wimmer from his past films.. Plus he's cast Milla Jovovich, so it will probably be worth seeing just for that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Two Shoes

Picked up the new Cat Empire CD Two Shoes yesterday. Their first album is in my top 10 all time favourite CDs list, so this one had a lot to live up to... and well, the first reaction is that it's not as good as the first album (but that's a very high bar), but it's a damn fine listen anyday.

The new one is a bit slower, but it's still got that irresistable rhytm that makes you want to get up and dance.. I'm sure I was copping wierd looks on the train as I bopping along to the songs.

My stand out tracks so far as Sly, The Car Song and Party Started. Very, very cool stuff. I'm just pissed off that I didn't get to see em at the Enmore last week. :(

Thursday, April 21, 2005

wooohooo!!!!

wooo frikking hoo!!! I managed to score a pass to a test screening of the new Joss Whedon film Serenity!! Some of you would know Joss as the genius behind Buffy and Angel - well Serenity is the film based on his brilliant (but short lived) TV series Firefly. I can't wait!

Of course, the hardest thing now is to find the biggest Joss Whedon fan I know.. :)

Monday, April 4, 2005

Sin City!

Looks like Sin City has opened to both critial and popular acclaim. Everyone is raving about it, Roger Ebert has given it one of the best reviews I've seen him write.. And it topped the US box office (not that it means much).

I can't wait to see it...!! A warning though... it's not for the faint-of-heart.. FYI Elijah Wood plays a serial killing cannibal (think Charlie Brown meets hannibal Lecter)...

Sunday, April 3, 2005

My Favourite City

Spent Saturday night walking around Sydney.. this was due to the Discovery After Dark festival, where all the Museums, Galleries and other historic buildings in the city are open from 6pm till midnight. It was a great event, though I limited myself to only a few venues, The Art Gallery of NSW (for the Bill Henson exhibition), Australian Musem, Museum of Contemporary Art and The Musem of Sydney (for "The Studio of Jorn Utzon" and "My City Of Sydney").

While walking around, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures, though unfortunately most of them were fairly clichÈd.. I didn't get the chance to take too many photos, since I had to setup the tripod each time, and that was quite time consuming.. took all of the following pics from one spot:

The Harbour Bridge from Circular Quay

Circular Quay from Bennelong Point

Opera House

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Freaks and Geeks

Found yet another brilliant article by Paul Graham. While the title "WhyNerds are Unpopular" is quite narrow, the essay certianly aint. It's one of themost lucid and informative explanation for the problems found with teenage kidsin industrial societies.

In the essay he makes a brilliant link between schools, prisons and socialites:

I think the important thing about the real world is not that it's populated by adults, but that it's very large, and the things you do have real effects. That's what school, prison, and ladies-who-lunch all lack. The inhabitants of all those worlds are trapped in little bubbles where nothing they do can have more than a local effect. Naturally these societies degenerate into savagery. They have no function for their form to follow.

This is essential reading if you want an insight into a serious social problem we are all facing.

Friday, March 25, 2005

OzTag

The Predators made another Oztag final. We played our semi against a team of cocky youngsters and held them out for a 3-2 win... It was a very "interesting" game, but not for the normal reasons. Half way through the second half one of our players - Brad - went down with what looks to be a broken ankle... I was on the other side of the field and could hear the crack! as his ankle gave way... The game was held up for about 45 minutes until an ambulance arrived.. There was some visible bleeding on his lower leg, which doesn't bode well (because it may be due to bone fragments).

Even worse, on the field next to ours a mixed game was being played and a girl had copped an elbow to the head. She seemed to be in serious trouble when the ambulance arrived, as she was having trouble moving.. No one wanted to say the words "spinal injury".. I'm hoping she comes out ok.. You don't want to see anyone go through that..

After that sobering thought, back to our game.. the opposition were all very fast steppers.. their game relied on getting around us and beating us on 1-on-1 tags.. We planned early to make sure we had lots of cover defence and to call the steppers and get plenty of bodies in their way.. this worked well for us.. even though they beat us 1-on-1 maybe a dozen times our 2nd man and cover defence always cleaned up..

Scotty had a brilliant game, scoring two tries and putting in a bunch of good plays.. of course the explanation for this was the fact that Scotty was just so slow that the opposition were zooming past him.. :) Bunch of our guys (Quang and Phi specially) made some brilliant last-ditch efforts to save tries..

So, another final next week. The memory of 2003 final is pretty fresh in most of the guys minds (we were minor premiers, lost only 1 game all season, and then went down in the final)... I think we have a pretty good shot at this one.. we've beaten both teams in the other semi, so we should be able to do it again.. Can't wait till next thursday.. last oztag final I was in was the 98-99 season! That's a long time between drinks!

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Shins and Personal Marketing

Been listening to the Garden State soundtrack of late. Really getting into it.. I sat down and listened to it properly last night, and realised just how brilliant The Shins are. The two songs on the GS soundtrack have convinced me to go buy both their albums.

Headed off to Amazon.com to see what people were saying about them. Both their albums Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow are pretty highly rated. Will head down to Fish or Hum one of these days to pick that and the whole Hilltop Hoods back catalogue.

Then I noticed that their "Similar Items" list included a whole bunch of CDs that I was planning to get. Stuff like Modest Mouse's Good News For People Who Love Bad News, Deathcab for Cutie's Transatlanticism and Franz Ferdinand. I know that Amazon leads the world in targetted marketing, but that was a pretty good hit rate. I think it's called "attach rate" in sales-speak.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Meeting the Boss

Or the bosses. I've been invited to a round-table discussion withPhil Bullock, CEO of IBM Australia and Frank Kern GM IBM Asia Pacific to discuss "Leading Change When Business Is Good".

Everyone in my team is making a big deal of it and it's makingme very nervous.. How frank should you be with your country GM andregional GM? I know Sam (Palmisano - IBM CEO, big kahuna) encourageseveryone to be open on this sort of thing, but I think it's a diffmatter when you're across the table from your CEO!

Anyways, we shall see what goes down. I'm just happy that theypicked me. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Sin City

Just heard that a film adaptation of Frank Miller's brilliant noir graphic novel(s) Sin City is being made... Miller is the genius behinf the later Daredevil comics, creator of Elektra and writer of the best Batman comics - he was the person who turned Batman from a goofy superhero into a dark vigilante.

From looking at the promotional material and the trailer, it looks just absolutely brilliant. Miller shares a director credit with Robert Rodriguez (Once Apon A Time In Mexico, From Dusk Till Dawn and Desperado) and the look of the film couldn't be any better. It's mostly in black and white, with sections of oversaturated colour. It looks like it was just taken straight from the comics. Just take a look at the trailer and be blown away!

This is one of the new generation of films shot entirely on a "digital backlot" i.e. without sets like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Also of note is that Quentin Tarantino directed part of this movie (the $1 exchange for Rodriguez doing the music for Kill Bill Volume 2).

I really can't wait to see this. It's just going to be brilliant, specially with the cast of Clive Owen, Elijah Wood, Jessica Alba (she is sooo hot in this), Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy and Benicio Del Toro.. Of course Sin City is pretty dark and highly stylised, not everyone's cup of tea, but I just can't wait! I get the strange feeling that this will be in my list of favourite films very, very quickly.

Oh! And check out the gorgeous Alexis Bledel (of Gilmore Girls) as Becky (and yes, that IS what the film looks like).


Walk down the right back alley in Sin City and you can find anything.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Invisible Law

Imagine a time when you would need a "domestic passport" to travel inside your own country. Where the government had laws that you had to follow, but you were not allowed to know what the law is, you must simply do as you are told.

Sounds like the bad old times in Soviet Russia or someplacelike that, huh?

Well, it's not. It's happening right now in the good oldUS of A.

John Gilmore founderof the Electronic Frontier Foundationhasn't been able to fly within the US because he refuses toprovide a Government authorised form of ID for the airlines.When he asked the airlines to show the law requiring himto do this, they could not, saying that the actual lawis "Sensitive Information".

So Gilmore is now sueing the US Governement over this invisible law (wonder how many others there are). Best of luck to him.

Here is a good article about the whole story..

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Waifs

Saw The Waifs at The Roxy Theatre (which BTW is a fantastic venue) on Friday.. just the right size and the new restoration is fantastic! Anyways, this was (I think) the sixth time I'd seen the Waifies live and they didn't dissapoint. I got right down to the front, pretty much directly in front of Donna... There were plenty of the old classics and a couple of new ones they had written in the downtime while Vikki was busy being a mom. The fire alarm went off in the middle of the performance and everything had to stop while the hunky firemen (Donna was very impressed) fixed the alarm.

I think the audience were mostly new listeners coz there were only a few of us singing along at the front... you pretty much completely forget that there are 600 more people behind you.. they were very quiet.. compated to the last time I saw them at the Enmore (with Missy Higgins in support)... Anyways, it was a fantastic show.. and I'm just pissed off I won't be able to hit the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival this year.. such an amazing lineup!!

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Audrey and Kevin's Wedding

These are photos from Kev and Audrey's wedding on the 5th of February, 2005.


From Audrey and Ke...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

WaveAid

Was at the WaveAid concert at the SCG last night. In a word? Awesome! Absolutely brilliant event!

Got there a bit too late and missed The Waifs and Missy Higgins (listened to them on triple j), Nick Cave was playing when we got there. Unfortunately the PA was turned down quite low and an imprompteu cricket match being played by the audience was making more noise than the performance.

Pete Murray and Kasey Chambers were pretty cool, though they too were drowned out by the audience most of the time. I guess it pays to be near the front..

Between the acts there was plenty of fun going on.. with some dude in the video control centre writing up funny captions on shots of people in the audience (mostly hot girls, but hey! I'm not complaining). He was encouraging girls to flash the camera, and boy, did they get into it with gusto! No complaints from me there either. ;)

Then came the brothers Finn, and the whole place exploded. It was the first WOW! moment of the night when they broke into "Take The Weather With You" and the whole place started singing. It was incredible. This happned with pretty much every Crowded House song (EVERYONE knows the words to Crowded House songs!) and their version of the Hunters and Collectors "Throw Your Arms Around Me" was just brilliant beyond words.

When John Butler Trio got on stage, we had another wow! moment.. lots in fact. People were literally singing and dancing in the isles. The whole stadium was on their feet and singing (and I mean singing not just yelling out the words). John was his usual charismatic and gracious self.. and the drummer treated the audience to one of the best drum solos I've ever heard.. it just went OFF!

I wasn't too impressed by Silverchair, never was a big fan and they didn't seem to quite do it for me.. maybe it's the 2 years between performances...

Powderfinger was awesome as always, everyone singing along to their songs and jumping about.

When Midnight Oil finally came on the place was going off! They launched into classic Oils song after classic and everyone was singing their little hearts out. Peter Garret didn't seem to have lost any of his presence, he was doing his trademark crazy dance all over the stage... and lots of people in the stands and on the ground were imitating him.. heaps of fun!

All in all it was just a brilliant day. One of the best live gigs I've ever been to, and all in the name of a good cause too.

Australia Day

A bunch of us (Jem, Mey, Sam, JC, Minh, Yui and myself) decided to enjoy Australia Day this year in the wonderful city of Sydney. This was the first time in AGES that I'd been to the city during Australia day.. Didn't make it to the harbour in time for the ferry races, but it was all pretty good.

We started off in Hyde Park for lunch (pretty piss-poor lunch actually, and crowded and expensive to boot!). From there we made it down to Bungalow 8 at King St Wharf to enjoy some drinks and catch the Alicia Molik vs Lindsay Davenport match at the Aus Open.

At about 5pm someone had the idea to visit Manly, so off we went to Circular Quay and the Manly Ferry. It was a pretty cool ride, as always, with a damn fine view of the CBD and harbour.

From Australia Day...


After a little walk towards Manly Beach, we had dinner from a pretty good seafood place (the salmon was awesome!) and headed to the beach for a bit. After grabbing some ice cream and watching a brilliant sunset it was time to head back.


From Australia Day...



Met up with Quang and his entourage at Darling Harbour for the fireworks, at around and chatted a bit and headed home. It was about 12:30 am when I finally got to sleep.. I walked into work 30 minutes late (I had an 8 am start dammit!). 'Twas tres fun.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

rearviewmirror

I finally got around to buying Pearl Jam's 'best of' CD - rearviewmirror. I've been listening to itpretty much non-stop all day at work today.

It's amazing the number of memories that get dredged up when I listen tothis stuff. I pretty much stopped listening to PJ from about Vitalogyonwards.. so most of my Pearl Jam memories are from high school. Iremember when Wil New or Kev first got Ten and I listened to Alive, Even Flow, Jeremy, Why Go and Black for the first time. I remember Ian Pratt's piss-poorbut hilarious 'covers' of various PJ songs. I remember Meneither playingsongs from Ten at various gigs and us going nuts.

I remember best of all was the November 1995 concert at Eastern Creek.Along with 40,000 other PJ fans we moshed and jumped around and sang(screamed) along to our favourite songs... all in 12" of mud and absolutelycovered in the filth. I remember the steam rising off the moshpit likeit was on fire...

wow.. can't believe that was almost 10 years ago... crazy times.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Definitive List of Oporto's Movies

This is a work in progress, will be added to.

Disclaimer: chronological order is approximate. Oporto's was not always consumed beforehand, although the intent had to be there.

  1. Snatch
  2. U571
  3. Blade 1
  4. Dungeons and Dragons
  5. Reign of Fire
  6. Star Trek Nemesis
  7. Blade 2
  8. Transporter
  9. DreamCatcher
  10. Bullet Proof Monk
  11. Hebrew Hammer
  12. Chronicles of Riddick

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Koyaanisqatsi at SOH

Kevin and I went to see the performance of Koyaanisqatsi by the Philip Glass ensemble at the Sydney Opera House last night.

The reaction after the performance? Well, just simply amazing. Hearing the first few notes of the opening rumbling through the huge pipe organ in the theatre was just something else. There were sections (the first part of the rocket blasting off) where I literally forgot to breathe, and suddenly realised that I was holding my breath!

The ensemble was quite a bit smaller than I thought, only 9 people including Glass himself. All the vocals were done by three members, which is quite amazing considering the range of vocalisations (from the deep baritone to almost choral sections).

This was the first time I had seen a live Glass performance. Seeing it live certainly gives another dimension to the music, specially how individual voices which seem to quite discordant magically meld together as other instruments join in. Can't wait for the performance of Powaqatsi tonight!