Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Two fer...

Last night I had the time, and the cinema scheduled things nicely, that I could see two movies back to back.

Perfect Creature is definitely a New Zealand film, as the accents clearly give away. Or rather, a Nuovo Zelandia movie. In the alternative reality vampires have become the church, 'cos nothing says religion like god-given blood drinkers. At around 90 mins it doesn't outstay it's welcome, but it doesn't really have anything exciting to say about the genre either. Aside from the "Brotherhood" (as the vampires are called) aspect, this could have been any vampire tale you care to mention. Still, nice to see the NZ contingent producing solid efforts.

Stardust is another of those "movies adapted from the book", and I definitely prefer the book, but the movies did have some very nice visuals in it, and the final battle is something better seen than read (at least, according to how they interpreted that part of the story). Although over two hours, they pass pleasantly enough (despite certain discomfort from drinking too much), but it does suffer from "spot the guest cameo" (oh the laughter that Ricky Gervais earned... but why did he get fourth billing?).


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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

"You should see..."

There are a few people out there that think I should go see Jaws. I have a simple policy when it comes to recommendations: okay then, you arrange it.

If you consider the movie to be really good, then you would probably have a copy. So you could lend it to me.

And if you don't have a copy, I do have to wonder if it really is all that good, but it's possible that it might be something that makes a great first viewing but not a second as the big twist is now known. Then another option would be to rent it... only, if you think it's so good, then you pay for the rental and I'll watch it.

Either way, either put up or shut up. Don't rave about it then say "go off and spend your time on it". I have other things to do, so don't see why I should go out of my way to make an effort if you can't make one either.

This may seem like a rather brusque proposal, but if it's really that good...

(Conversely, I have one or two lending copies of Firefly ready to go at a moment's notice...)


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Monday, 29 October 2007

The Brigadier and Davros, together at last!

Okay, so really Nicholas Courtney and Terry Molloy together at last, as The Scarifyers! Inspector Lionheart and Professor Dunning are MI13, a branch that deals with some of the more strange happenings in Britian.

Produced by Cosmic Hobo, so far there is:
The Nazad Conspiracy: Invisible winged demons and sinister clowns are just some of the problems they must face in their first adventure. (Trailer available.)
The Devil of Denge Marsh: A scientific project and an evil from the dawn of time, just the thing for the Scarifyers. (Trailers available.) [Ever so slightly influenced by a certain Cthulhu' Call...]
For King and Country: (Not yet available)

These are available on CD, or as mp3 files from Lovecraftiana (which is currently down), but if you want to check it out there are two freebies available.

The Yule Lads: A Christmas Treat as the Scarifyers are on the trail of the twelve Icelandic trolls.
The Curse of the Cult of Thoth: Part of Yog Radio #26, a reading leads to trouble for the Professor and his host (played by Gabriel Woolf).

A lot of fun, and I love the theme music. Well worth checking out!


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Sunday, 28 October 2007

I was scared!

Last night I took part in the first inaugural Fright Night, which was a "con" where 20 people (two were female, seems to be about the expected ratio) took place in two rounds of RPG games, three hours each.

I was supposed to play in Cabin Fever, but for various reasons I ended up in Cold Front (which might bear some similarity to The Thing). I played Dr. Martin Kim, inventor of the Infinity Generator, a new generator they were trying out in the base. When things got crazy, he holed himself up in his generator room. (And so I didn't get too involved in the plot, although I was in character.) My death: trying to overload the generator, but instead getting an iceman's arm through my chest from behind, pushing out my heart, freezing and then smashing it. Ouch!

Second game was Truckstop, using the Dark Conspiracy system which is being rejigged for release. I played Specialist Kelly Avery, a medic in unit 8 at area 51. Our unit headed for a truckstop...where I died! Sliced to death. Fortunately, we "reset" and I was alive again... facing zombies! (Got died by being blowed up!) And then... and then it got weird.

Lots of fun all round. Here's hoping there's another one next year, but first there's Kapcon...


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Saturday, 27 October 2007

SJA: Warriors of Kudlak

Hey, you know how all the kids watch that show that shows other kids having tons of fun playing laser tag? No? Oh, well, er...

This is the most kiddy story so far, with lots of kids running around playing laser tag. At least, that's the first episode. The second episode is kids running around the set of that ship that was in 42. The "story" gets rather taxing when you've Paul Kasey in yet another mask talking to a video of himself trying to be all noble and stuff, and no-one really cares. He's an alien. SJA is all about "aliens are bad and must be defeated". Death to them all.

But that is a nice prosthetic he's wearing. Very good detailing on the mouth piece and the eyes are just unsynchronized enough to be disturbing. Pity about the red dressing gown. And the mask must have used up all their budget, which would explain the return of the leathermen from Smith and Jones.

But once again its the enthusiastic acting that saves the show. Unfortunately. By now, the show shouldn't need saving, but the plots just aren't working. Even Chook Sibtain does a great performance as Mr Grantham, even if the character doesn't deserve it. Even the laser tag sequences are saved by the actors going for it, and that takes effort.

Come on guys, pull it together! You need to get the stories to match the rest of the production quality. Next week does look intriguing with the Hellraiser cube and the return of the attack of the Graske! Here's hoping...


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Friday, 26 October 2007

Now a major film?

It's odd what gets turns into films. Stanley Kubrick turned The Shining into a film after starting to read it, with the exciting "driving to an interview" opening. I finally got around to reading another book that was also turned into a blockbuster, highly raved motion picture. Allow me to quote the back cover quote:

Pick up [this book] before midnight, read the first five pages, and I guarantee you'll be putting it down, breathless and stunned - the final climax is even better than the beginning - as dawn is breaking the next day.

Not even slightly. I had trouble getting through the first five pages! Admittedly I was only reading this in dribs and drabs (so much for deathless reading), but it still took me weeks to get through. Frankly, take the first fifty pages and the last fifty pages, and throw away the rest of the book. It's just boring, a complete sideplot that doesn't revolve around the "exciting" premise of the book. I do have to wonder how they did the movie (which I haven't seen).

What's the book? Jaws, by Peter Benchley. Yep, the famous "dah-duh" soundtrack and all (not available in the paperback version). Very much a disappointment, I must say.


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Thursday, 25 October 2007

Oh no, it isn't!

Okay, I read the newspaper online, and while away haven't been reading (can't be bothered with internet cafe and the like). So I finally get around to looking at the DomPost site, and what do I see?

Stone with picture of the Virgin Mary on it!

What? WHAT???

No it doesn't! Not even slightly! Yes, as they say in the article, no-one knows what she looks like, but the most commonly accepted images look nothing like this! I might be able to get a hat and outfit in the style of the 1920s, but that's about it.

One word explains all of this, has come up before, and will come up again: pareidolia


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Wednesday, 24 October 2007


To put it simply, although I clearly couldn't have known this before hand: if I hadn't gone, I wouldn't have missed that much. Yep, there were some great guests, and I got me a bunch of swag, but ultimately... it just wasn't that great an experience. Still have to consider going up next year if indeed they do get Adam West there, but obviously the next Arma is in Wellington early next year, about a month after the next convention (if memory serves).

But the worst part of it all: when you are in a flow of people, DO NOT stop and gander at things about you or to talk to your friends. Oh, the number of times I wanted to shout "get out of the way", but I'm too passive aggressive to do that...


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Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Let's see...

"I'm not planning on buying lots of comics or anything"

MASH t-shirt
(Another) Greatest American Hero t-shirt
Battlestar Galactica (mini-series start of new series)
Alanis Morissette: Feast of Scraps
The Dark Side of the Moon (Behind the scenes)
Generations (Batman/Superman comic)
Generations 2 (Batman/Superman comic)
Martian Successor Nadesico (anime)
Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV series (anime)
Irresponsible Captain Tylor OAV series (anime)
The Host
Robot Chicken: Season One
Red Vs Blue: Season One
strangerhood (from the makers of RvB)
Making Money (latest Terry Pratchett)


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Sunday, 21 October 2007

Just putting it out there...

Since I won't be posting for a few days, I thought I would leave you with this...


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Thursday, 18 October 2007

More Biblical hilarity!

Near the beginning of the year, I blogged about the Logically Critical episode "Wacky Bible Stories". Well, now he's done a sequel! Yay!

Check out "More Wacky Bible Stories"! The blurb: "You asked for it! More tales of king David, Ezekiel's bony adventure, and the entire book of Revelation!"


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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Teh images... they BURNZS!!1!

Because pain should be shared:


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Tuesday, 16 October 2007

So much time, so little to do...

The timetable for Armageddon is now out, and I can plan my days... note that there are five levels, all with stuff happening, one main stream, one animation stream, wrestling and all sorts... but I'm going for the celeb guests talking.

Saturday isn't that great, but there is stuff for me from 12pm to 3pm. Plenty of time to look around, and get in early on the Red vs Blue stand. (Hopefully, as when they came last time, they'll have their dvds for NZ$20 per!)

Sunday is the full on day, with events interesting me from 11.30am, going right through to 6pm that evening! Phew! Which means I'll probably have to miss something for bathroom breaks (and the venue isn't exactly littered with bathrooms...).

Monday... is just poor. Everyone on stage at 1pm, Elizabeth Rohm at 2pm ... and that's it! Two freakin' hours? I'm not planning on buying lots of comics or anything (still got unread comics from last year!), so not a lot of reason to be there. Frankly, if I had known, I would have given serious consideration to coming back a day earlier!

Still, that will mean I'll have time to catch up with such exciting TV as QI and Samurai Pizza Cats!


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Monday, 15 October 2007

Yes, no, yes... maybe!

One of the best series on American TV is, of course, House, M.D. That is, when you can watch it. Season three was all over the place schedule-wise, and it looks like season four is starting off just as bad. We've had three weeks of the show... but, wait, now there's a week gap. What the hell is Fox up to? It just seems random when it wants to actually get around to showing a damn good series (but at least it's keeping the time the same). Do they simply have a big tank filled with balls with dates on them, and get manatees to randomly pick them up? No, that can't be it, that's how they get the plot to Family Guy...


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Sunday, 14 October 2007

Alienating #51

So TSV 51 is out, with Alden and Paul here. Nothing of mine is in this issue, but there is an article I want to talk about. I've sort of already talked about this, so let me start by quoting my letter from #52.

The Terry Nation article certainly showed off just how much Terry had been involved, Far more than I ever thought. Although Peter Adamson's article seemed lacking in an essential point. He showed that there's a common theme in Terry's stories, but it didn't really go anywhere, at least for me.

The article I was talking about what Alien Nation. While helping prep this issue, I had to reread this article, which gave me a chance to see how well it stood up to the test of time. I know that Peter's always thought my review was rather more harsh than he thought it deserved.

So, I reread it... and it was damn good! This article is a fascinating look at the worlds Terry created that weren't the Dalek, accurately summing up the principles Terry brought to each story, and how they fitted in with his typical storylines.

Basically, yes, I'm revising what I said ten years earlier. Peter, if you care, consider yourself indicated.


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Saturday, 13 October 2007

SJA: Eye of the Gorgon

Another two-parter from SJA. Can't remember if they are all two parters. Hope not as it'll be nice to see a condensed story without a cliffhanger that is immediately given away by the next week trailer...

First of all, I want to give props (although she has a neat one already) to Phyllida Law for her performance as Bea Nelson-Stanley. She put in an absolutely brilliant performance, and I enjoyed every scene that she was in. More, I say, more! If nothing else, you should definitely watch this for her appearances.

But, unfortunately, watching will entail taking notice of the story. Yep, I'm complaining about that again. The plot is very, very thin on the ground. A shopping list for this episode would be "gorgons, nuns and some random alien device thingy". I could see how they would have a hard enough time stretching this over one episode, but when it gets to two, we get treated to lots of "going to the old people home, then the nunnery, then SJ's house, then over to the nunnery again, back over the old people's home, and over to the nunnery... back to SJ's house..." and so on.

(You can also spot the padding by the inclusion of Chrissie Jackson (more annoying than Jackie!) in a sub-plot that has to be ignored to be believed.)

And then to wrap it up with Maria arriving with... well, it had to happen, but it was very badly structured.

Luke and Clyde were rather sidelined in this story, but with Tommy and Daniel phoning in their performances, I can see why. Or perhaps they just went low-key because they weren't doing much in these episodes? Either way: pick it up or throw 'em out. As for Elizabeth, Yasmin and guest star Beth Goddard (Sister Helena) - strong performances in spite of the rather ridiculous plot.

I am going to continue to watch this show, but it is the performances, not the story, that is keeping me going. Next week reminds me already of Winner Takes All, but shall wait and see...


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Friday, 12 October 2007

Pictures aplenty!

Yet more pictures (and yes, I am nearing the end). From pages 17, 28 and 31.


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Thursday, 11 October 2007

How about them weather, huh?

Spring has sprung all over the place. Last week, it was so windy it knocked by garbage and recycling bin into the back yard! (Which did give me a good excuse to put them inside so my neighbours couldn't put their trash in my recycling bin.)

Then we got the rain. Then the lightning and thunder. Then more rain.

Just as well we're on daylihgt savings time so I can enjoy it all the more...


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Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Which is which?

One of these is Christopher Walken. One of these is William Fichtner.

Or are they the same person!?!?!?

Any actors you have trouble distinguishing?


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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Obsessed about rubgy? Nous?

Yesterday morning, I checked the Dominion Post, and the top stories of most importance to people were:

And then I glanced at the top viewed:

Nine out of ten stories! (Would have been all ten, I'm sure, if not for the cleavage...)

And then, to continue the only topic ever allowed to be discussed, there's this (which is, at least, funny), this (which is pushing it) and this (which is simply going too far).

At the least, this should be the end of it for a while... ha!


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Monday, 8 October 2007


People sometimes come up to me as say "Emo, do people really come up to you?" ... wait, wrong joke...

No, people sometimes say to me "I saw you in <place>" sometimes adding "but you were busy and didn't see me." I'm pretty sure that social convention at this point dictates that I reply.


But I have no idea what to say. What am I supposed to do with that information? "Congratulations, here's five dollars." "Damn, the counter surveillance didn't work, now you'll have to be killed." "And they say there's no such thing as bilocation."

Some events can be entirely one sided in their meaning (assuming you want to ascribe meaning). Seeing me might be a big deal for you, but you seeing me and me not seeing you... not so much scoring high on any significance meter for you. And yet, there's that expectation that I'm supposed to participate in the conversation...

So, what is the appropriate response?


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Sunday, 7 October 2007

I'm on the radio!

Yog Radio that is, the cephalapodcast of Yog-Sothoth, in particular I'm in the just released You Ragio #25 (I'm one of the audio feedbackers. Can you guess which? Hint: not the one that swears).

Like RPGMP3, this site has lots of audio games, devoted (strangely enough) to Call of Cthulhu. In particularly, check out the entire Masks of Nyalathotep and the ongoing game of Horror of the Orient Express.

Check out their other download stuff, the forums, and even online games...

Have to say, they've quite gotten me into wanting to play CoC.


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Saturday, 6 October 2007

Money versus writing

[From my NZSA mailing list]

New survey shows plight of Kiwi writers

Writers say they write because that’s who they are. But it isn’t easy as new research on authors’ incomes and needs shows.

A Research International survey carried out for the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) shows that only 17% survive solely on their income from writing.

The mean total of a writers’ income from all sources, except full time work, is just $15,383 dollars a year. By comparison the minimum wage is $23,400.

Only 9% of writing-related income comes from the Authors’ Fund set up in 1973 give authors time to pursue their writing full time. The majority - 78% of the authors surveyed - said that if the Fund offered more it would enable them to make a career out of writing.

NZSA President Paul Smith said the research showed clearly that the Fund needed radical re-shaping and increased funding. The Society has already begun negotiations with the Government on this issue.

The survey was conducted from a sample of 355 mid career and established writers. Other key findings were:

· 77% of mid career authors earn less than $10,000
· The majority of established authors fell into the same category.
· Only 9% of established authors earned over $50,000
· In the last four years only 30% of mid career and established authors received a grant
· 34% of authors say without the help of family and friends they couldn’t afford to be a writer.

The above news release has generated interest from daily newspapers and radio networks throughout the country so it shows the public is interested in the plight of writers.


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Friday, 5 October 2007

There's a picture there somewhere...

As we all know, TV stations are deathly afraid you'll forget what station you're currently watching and might accidentally start watching something else thinking you are watching the original station (because, obviously, watching a completely different program won't clue anyone). And, they also want you to continue watching other shows they have on their channel.

Most people might think station breaks and adverts are the way to do this, but those people are immeasurably stupid, because TV channels can do both while you are watching an actual program. After all, it's not like you want to actually see the program you are watching, is it?

Case in point:

It's bad enough that the show they are advertising is Ghost Hunters, but they also clearly think the director is a moron. Obviously he should have known that the station would be obliterating the screen with crap, and thus should not have put anything of note in that part of the picture. Certainly, it isn't IRRITATING RUBBISH that makes me want to boycott the station and whatever piece of junk they're shamelessly promoting...


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Thursday, 4 October 2007

Eating is bad for your health!

It seems like tons of studies are coming out with the media telling us the important points you need to know. On Stuff's Health page when I wrote this entry:

Life can be sweeter without sugar: Cutting out sugar is good for you (really? you don't say). It generates free radicals (which are bad for you), but then you build up defenses (which is good), and helps promote a longer life. At least, if you are a worm...

Conscientious people less prone to Alzheimer's: Conscientious people who lead a clean life are less likely to get Alzheimer's. All well and good, but this was a study of priests and nuns, who were considered conscientious to begin with? Actually, they measured conscientiousness by getting the people to fill out a survey, which asked people to rate themselves. Clearly only good thinking religious people aren't going to tick "I torture puppies on the weekend" option. Considering that Alzheimer's is a brain issue that lessens with brain activity (usually by doing lots of mental exercises), I'm going to take a cynical tack and also say that it has less impact on brain patterns that are run over and over again (such as performing rituals that might be associated with religious activities...).

The effects of gluten on health: a gluten expert has linked all sorts of medical problems to a newly invented Gluten Syndrome. Wow, I'm sure no-one could see that coming. Like a cardiologist wouldn't find a heart problem...

Men who smoke risk erectile dysfunction: Correlation isn't causation, so when a link is found between Chinese guys who smoke and those that have erectile dysfunction, it's nice to see no-one's leaping to conclusions...except those who wrote anything to do with this study...

Smoking causes genetic changes - study: Based on a sample of 24 people, valid and robust medical conclusions have been reached... or at least reported, with lots of genetic-related words thrown in...

The Skeptic's Guide has been talking about studies recently. Basic result: trust literature of oft repeated studies, but not individual studies themselves. The effect is often less than the one study reports, if there at all.


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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Great News!

Huzzah! Finally a decent version of these episodes are coming out. Check it out:

• Brand new documentary featuring series stars David McCallum and Joanna Lumley, with series creator P.J. Hammond and director/producer Shaun O'Riordan
• Commentaries on the first and last episodes with P.J. Hammond and Shaun O'Riordan
• Extensive image galleries
• Original, PR paperwork and script PDFs
• Original Designer’s floor plans in PDF format

Although this will mean I'll have two copies...


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Tuesday, 2 October 2007

A MULA all my own...

One of the RPG audio groups I listen to is Heroic Cthulhu, a Call of Cthulhu variant with features like poz (for allowing rerolls) and cards that help or hinder players. I enjoyed this a lot, and contacted the GM and offered to share ideas.

After a lot of finding out it was more work that I planned on, I created a game called "Mirror", which could be thought of as a proto-MULA given as how there is still a lot of work to get it anywhere near MULA stage, but it was enough for him. [MULA is Miskatonic University Library Association, basically a title under which Chaosium Games (who created CoC) publishes modules for their game.]

And now the game has been played. If you want to hear, head on over to the Heroic Cthulhu podcast site and listen to the games marked "Mirror". Not sure how long they'll be there, but certainly for the next few weeks.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.


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Monday, 1 October 2007

Free Not-So-View

Woo! New TV Stations! ...unless, like me, you are using Sky (or a Sky-based equivalent such as TelstraClear... and I'm not at all clear why I'm still paying for Digital TV considering my TV watching consists of fragments of music TV while swapping around DVDs...).

Sky isn't getting FreeView, but I was wondering just how Sky-based Telstra Clear was, so I asked them, politely, if InHome TV (as it's called) will be showing FreeView. Their answer: "No."

Well, at least it's simple and direct... :(


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