Friday, April 6, 2007

Did You Know? (1)

Yes, it's a "new" segment. Which may mean it'll never be updated again. But, hey, lets be optomistic idiots. Did You Know? will basically be a long-winded trivia piece, in my own trademarked Hyper Ramble style. I'll try to make them not all about Doctor Who.. like this week's!

*Ahem*

Although gene Rodenberry and his homies loved nothing more than taking full credit for the introduction of most slightly patchy storytelling techniques, they really can't claim credit for many. Deus Ex Machina, of course, was thousands of years old. HG Wells knew a thing or two about technobabble. I mean, really, I think they can only boast when it comes to sexy aliens that are fully able and willing to fuck humans.

But wait, the Trekkies scream, what about retcon? Nope. Fraid not. Retcon (that is, of course, a particularly sad and transparent method of covering for continuity errors most people probably never noticed anyway) as we know it today was brought kicking and screaming into popular culture by none other than literary luminati Professor JRR Tolkien. Before I elaborate, I wish to congratulate myself on that awful run-on sentence: Well Done.

Sooo what did Tolkien do that he needed to fix it in as dodgy a manner as possible? It's hard to believe given The Professor's usual care, but his mistake was a very basic one...

Glorfindel is a LotR character absolutely nobody remembers, because he didn't appear in the films. Along with Beregond, Bergil, Erkenbrand, Elladan, Elrohir, Radagas, Tom Bombadil, Imrahil and Fatty Bolger he is a completely unknown commodity to most LotR "fans". To cut a long story short (Just like Peter Jackson can't - ohhh, catty!) he's the one who shows up with a convenient piece of horse in the books when Frodo's about to cark it in the boos as opposed to Liv Tyler. Yeah, he probably would have been less appreciated. He also went head to head against the Witch King 2000 years or so before the story started with Aragorn's great-great(edited for brevity) grandfather where Glory-boy hauled Aragrand's arse away and gave him spoilers about only a woman being able to kill The Witch King, preferrably a tiny pale Australian one that nobody would suspect could even lift a sword.

So, just what is the problem? Well, one of the quirks about the elves is that they all have completely unique names: no two elves can have the same one. Please, don't ask me about the logistics of that. I know it'd be damned near impossible for all the millions of Elves there must be, but let's move it on Spara-style.

Tolkien, in addtion to producing Lord of the Rings, reckoned one of the greatest pieces of literature made in the 20th Century, also wrote The Silmarillion - one of the most unreadable. It's basically the Bible of Middle Earth. Hold me back.

Anyway, in The Silmarillion Tolkien revealed the genesis of those kick-arse ram-headed flame-mongers, the Balrogs. With the introductiion of such undefeatable bastards, he also needed a hero to defeat them - he picked the name 'Glorfindel', which I blieve menas 'Golden-headed'. See, it's nice and generic so it fitted the bill and, depending on who you ask, maintained his novels' subliminal theme of Aryan supremacy. Due to the generic nature, though, the Proff didn't twig that he'd already used it. And, naturally, Glory went down taking on three Balrogs with his trusty fruit knife.

"Oh bollocks!" is undoubtedly what the Good Professor said when he realised his mistake. But the pay-off was even better, the point I've been working to for oh-so-many paragraphs. A prime piece of dodgy retconning: the Gods of Middle Earth thought Glorfindel was awesome, and so resurrected him. Boss.

The bonus for Tolkien was that this retcon actually had some slim precedent, with Gandalf having been killed off while he depressedly wrote through the Battle of Britain, and then, huzzah! he's back alive later.

So Professor Tolkien, I salute you, for pulling off such dodgy work and not even being called a hack in return.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Baz Frigging Luhrmann

Honestly. Ahhh. He's an Aussie director. A damned successful one. Just like I'd like to be. So why can't the bastard give me any reason to admire him? No, scratch that. Like him would be impressive enough. But no. Since Strictly Ballroom he has given us Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Yes, they were critically well-received, but they are fucking terrible movies.

Romeo + Juliet was called "ground-breaking". It wasn't. In the theatre contemporary versions of Shakespeare stories have been going around for ages. Baz was just the first one to decide to hire a couple of hot young stars (who couldn't act) and bring in a dump-truck full of cash behind the whole facade. He then got a ton of actors who clearly couldn't understand the dialogue, re-edited the script completely to take out the best bits and reconstruct scenes to change characters entirely, had shit explode for no good reason, hit you on the head with painfully obvious imagery until you bleed, and made me laugh out loud during the most retarded action climax I'd ever seen (It has since been bested by Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, but again context is everything!). The worst thing is that people lapped it up, and still do despite the masses of ineptitude dripping from every frame. It makes me want to scream out "You fools! He made a good FORMULA, that's all! HE COULDN'T EVEN PIECE TOGETHER A DECENT FILM TO GO ALONG WITH IT!"

And now Baz is at it again. You may have noticed that he has recently been sitting on his hands (thank god!) for quite a few years, indeed (thank christ thank christ thank christ!) Sadly, it's not because he's dead. He has become obsessed with doing an "epic". First it was Alexander the Great. No, not the Colin Farrell one - that was the problem. Old Baz didn't check to see if anyone else was doing an Alexander the Great film at the exact same time and, waddaya know, Oliver Stone was working on one too. It's hard to guess whether Luhrmann's could actually be worse than Stone's but I doubt it could be far off.

Since then he changed his tune, and he started aiming for an Australian epic. Yes, he's proud and patriotic. Never mind the fact that none of his films have been particularly Australian at all. To add to this there's the fact that Luhrmann, renowned creative "genius" (*SPIT!*) couldn't even be arsed to come up with a decent title for his new film, instead calling it, ooh let's see, Australia. No Shit. With this and The Queen I'm starting to wonder about the eponymylogical future of art. Will we never again see the likes of To Kill a Mockingbird? Are these celluloid "artists" going to reduce us to a state of going to see films like Black Cop With Gun and Holy Shit, There's Dinosaurs!?

Anyway, Australia stars Nicole Kidman, the only woman ever to beat Cate Blanchett in both palest skin and largest forehead competitions as an English woman inheriting a cattle station in 1930s Australia. Naturally to get 2000 cattle across the Northern Territory, she needs the help of rough cattle-hand Burly Jack Bull Buggering McGee nee Cessnock Jimmy Jr, played suitable cliche-drenched central casting gusto by Russell Crowe Hugh Jackman. Because whenever you want a rough-as-guts bastard Hugh "The Boy From Oz" Jackman will be your first port of call.

But what really caught my eye in the ultra-offensive article about this total bilge was the following: The couple drive 2000 cattle across the Top End and get caught up in the Japanese bombing of Darwin. Jesus Christ. I have long said that the bombing of Darwin is something that simply begs to have a film made of it. A strong, gripping piece of personal drama. And instead it will be used as the bottle-top to a steaming load of pure Luhrmann.

Also, note that the article specifically refers to 1930s Darwin. I hope Luhrmann is paying his researchers a fortune, because that prick deserves to be suckered out of his money. As anyone who has a sketchy notion of history will tell you (although I'll admit we're hard to come by in this country) the bombing of Darwin took place along with all other events save the fall of Paris in WWII during the 1940s.

The fact that directors like Paul Goldman rely on handouts from the Australian Film Commission (or whatever it's called) while Luhrmann swims naked in his giant pile of hundred dollar bills is a crime against art. Still, I guess it's important that the LCDs can enjoy their brightly coloured and overly loud, flashing bread and circuses. I hope they choke on them.

No Matter how Much it Sucks...

People who come here looking for fresh updates will note the similarity between the activity and investigating a brick wall for signs of entropy. Or maybe not, as maybe they haven't been locked in as many basements as myself. Anyway, recently it's been various things:

*I've been more interested in sleep over just about anything else

*I lived with my brother for half a week, and to survive I was forced to adopt his lifestyle of doing very little but watching US TV shows on the Xbox

*I AM IRONMAN! Haha, not really...

..actually, what the hell am I doing dot point for? Am I that sickeningly desperate for laughs to gratify my ego that I purposefully write articles to implement lists for increasingly outlandish hyperbole to mercilessly try and attain humour?... yes. I am.

But, really, a list isn't needed. My TAFE work has been very annoying, a large part of it being that my "Programming" course has involved an amazing amount of material that isn't involved in programming and, furthermore, I already know and understand. And the actual material related to programming requires work on programs for programming that most people won't have and aren't easy to get. After downloading some I found a problem I hadn't counted on: my computer sucks.

Yeah, I talk a good nerd, but pop the bonnet and you'll realise my lack of cred is only bested by Vanilla Ice and/or Steve Urkel. To my shock, the program refused point blank to work - I only have Windows XP, not Windows XP SP2. Those three characters make a world of difference. This would probably be to do with the fact that I updated my PC precisely once after having bought it: this in turn to do with the fact that the only games I ever buy tend to be at least 2 years old and on discount (from a marked price of about $10)

For those of you interested in the VITAL statistics:

CPU: Erm, 1GHz? Athlon. Maybe
RAM: 512.. billion?
HDD: 36GB.
PORN: 10GB.
3D: True.
SPEAKERS: Two of them.
ISAs: 8 billion.
WinGHEIMMER-THRUSH RATIO: 0.5
DISKS: One CD, one DVD, and two hundred floppies under the desk.
CHAIR: Ergonomically sound blue adjustable office chair complete with swivel.
CUPHOLDER: No.

Yes. It is THE ULTIMATE GAMING MACHINE (of 2003). But in spite of its indescribable shoddiness, it turns on, runs, and does everything I need. Well, I can't use Office on it (don't ask) and I'm not allowed to have the net on it or anything like that and I can't access the local network from it and I can't really have the games I want installed on it because they take up too much space and the CPU can't handle playing Ultima VII through an emulator but BASICALLY, on the most basic level, it serves my needs.

Or at least it did. Then I decided to install Windows XP SP2.

"Don't try to change me, baby." That's what my computer would have said if it could speak. Unfortunately, it was unable to. And now it's dead like a motherfucker.

What's the moral of this? I don't know. Never change anything? Always vote conservative? Take your own message away, Gerard Henderson. The point really is that it, undoubtedly, 'sucks'. As defined by Cohlmann's 12th law of Social Wellbeing:

Whereupon a change occurs in a lifestyle unpredictably, the mind subconsciously measures the personal benefits, against personal deficit. If the deficit is greater, the mind experiences a lack of buouyancy and introverts. This is "sucking". If a time is reached whereupon there are no clear personal benefits against the deficit, this negativity is released, which is termed as "blowing".

See, to add to this I have discovered that my Flash Drive is completely incompatible with our other computer. This basically means I can't access any of my files at home. What happens at TAFE, stays at TAFE.

Of course, a sense of perspective is always needed. That's where a friend of mine comes in who, for the purposes of this discussion, I will call "Adam".


Artists depiction


As is my way with my close, personal friends, I abuse Adam at great length, utterly unnecessarily, until he submits to my might and our conversation can become more informal. Eventually I ask him why I haven't heard about him since we saw The Prestige to satiate our Hugh Jackman related yearnings.

What he tells me, I have no choice but to laugh at uproariously to the heavens for several minutes at, for which I should probably apologise for. Ahem. (Sorry) Anyway, here's the story: as I keep contact with my friends mostly through MSN, I have been unable to reach Adam, as he's taken to going on MSN at 1 am. Why? Because he has no choice. Why? God, let me finish!

In the kind of wisdom that only parents could possess, Adam's father has put a password lock onto their home computer, just in case he meets any girls interstate online and runs away to live with them happily ever after. Insane paranoia? Er, probably, though it has happened before. Adam, of course, is smart enough to work the password out, but can only get online when his parents are asleep. I forgot to mention the brightside to him, that he can look up as much porn as humanly possible, blatantly leave the evidence, and his father would be the only logical suspect. BOOYAH! Get onto that one, buddy!

And of course, after this I thought: Yeah, I can't use my computer. But then here's one of my best friends, who doesn't even have a computer (family PC), and has been blocked from accessing the only one that he has at hand. Proving yet again to me that no matter how much it sucks, things can always suck harder.

(In Adam's case, maybe he should be a Zimbabwean pen-pal. And then enjoy having all of his own limbs!)

Bloody hell, that was a self-indulgent entry...

Sunday, April 1, 2007

RE-ASSESSMENT: "The Invasion" is a brilliant piece of television!

Did the title suck you in? Ha! What? It didn't? Damn. I had a feeling that even as an April Fool's title it was a bit too outlandish. I should have gone for the "Power of the Dalkes found in its entirety in old Cornish women's attic" headline... or maybe "Blog Gets Updated"?

One of the things Australian TV doesn't have enough of is unconvincing and fake facial hair. Tune into the ABC at 7:30 tonight for an attempt to rectify this, with a doco on the construction of Australia's first telegraph line, apparently performed entirely by men with pieces of coloured wool glued to their faces.

Also, massive shout out to the people who've already posted reviews for Smith and Jones the premier DW ep of the new season. It looks to be a real corker, and is THE FIRST TO FEATURE A BLACK COMPANION if you ignore the black companion from the last two seasons. And I believe also Kathiadu Lethbridge-Stewart and Roz Forrester from the Virgin novels. And arguably Frobisher (he was more black than white at any rate...)

Oh, and I just lied. I said it looks like a 'real corker', but the truth is all I know about it is that it has Rhinos in Sontaran suits. True, that fills all my criteria for an awesome episode, but who knows it could be messed up. Maybe there's just one Rhino and the Doctor ends up taking it to a restaurant and the rhino makes a heap of lame accusations about the Doctor being a mass-murdering war criminal even though those claims have no basis and he's known him for all of twenty minutes and then stuff blows up for no reason and the rhino gets sucked into the TARDIS and the story ends. That would suck.

However, S&J will be a glorious revelation for at least one reason: it will stop this crap. Well, not entirely stop it, but cause a bit of a murmered "Yeah I was kinda not right at all" announcement from The Emperor. Provided that there hasn't been the biggest publicity cover-up ever and Martha is in fact a snotty history student who goes out of her way to chug alcohol and assault mankind. In which case I will gladly apologise to the Emperor before ritualistically disembowling myself for dishonouring my family so. Doubltess all answers will be provided as The Den of Inadequacy's foreign correspondent Mr Campion-Clarke, esq. surely will be burning the episode in question onto a DVD whilst apopletically thrashing his computer with a riding crop screaming "Faster! FASTER!!!"

Wonderfully, this will be my first year spoiler-free, due to my self-imposed exile from OG. Haha! No-one will casually mention who the Doctor murders in cold blood this year...

This entry, though, would not be complete without an explanation, and an attached sozzle. You will note my Blakes 7 review has not been fixed. I've been having more than my fair share of internet troubles, and today my brother popped out and updated my personal computer, which promptly destroyed it. My notes were on that... what can I say, as I'm standing next to you? She threw herself under my wheels. It's a dangerous road. A hazardous load.* In the meantime, lets treat the review of Sand as a post-modern minimalistic endeavour that was roaringly successful.

What is there to look forward to in the coming month? Many things. Love, life. A good book. Your own turnip. Love is a canape. Ambition is another kind of fish. Add a dab of lavender to milk. Leave town with an orange and pretend your laughing at it. Seacrest out.

* Dire Straits lyrcis. I dunno why.