November 30, 2005

Horse 449 - Mad Ferret

When Oasis come to town in Australia, very very few people actually know about it. Their latest album made it to No.5 in Australia and there've been 3 singles all of which have gone multi-platinum in the UK but because of a falling out with Sony/BMG, they don't get airplay in Australia. Having said that, all shows in Australia sold out in just 4 minutes; I was lucky to get two tickets.

This is a band who still show that they know what it's like to be "the biggest band in the world", an Oasis concert is more like a football crowd with very loyal fans who in a lot of cases have every record disc despite not being released in that country. With such songs as Lyla and (What's the Story?) Morning Glory the 10,000 strong crowd was as equally as loud as the band, and I think it perhaps still surprises them.
The performance of Wonderwall was dedicated to the "Australian Rugby who is going through a rough time at the moment, and to Australian Football which had finally woken up".

What I find surprising is the amount of talent that Zak Starkey has behind a drumkit. Grant that he was in The Who for nearly 10 years but his flourishes and rolls are something which his dad would have found difficult. Also, he must find My Generation to be a bit dull by now having played it in The Who and now as the standard closing number for Oasis.

After seeing Green Day and Coldplay and now Oasis in a calendar year, Oasis make Green Day look like a bunch of American Idiots and with Coldplay's record - X & Why?
Don't Believe the Truth... go on, miss out on the 55 minutes of noise and confusion, I dare you.

November 29, 2005

Horse 448 - Pocky Madness 2

When walking through a shopping mall at 2am this morning in pursuit of some instant ramen and a bottle of sake (most recipes call for rice vinegar but I find sake produces a sweeter and more tangyer taste), I happened on the snacks aisle and found that my local Asian supermarket now has 15 flavours of Pocky.

Pocky is a long biscuity snack that's usually covered in some sort of chocolate. The snack is so popular that it's one of those things which is almost as famous in Japan as say the Tim Tam is in Australia. What's even more bizarre is that the snack even has it's own girl-pop-band. The snack has appeared in well over 4 dozen anime series as well.

Well now I find that Glico have plans to set up a factory in Australia and export it back to Japan because it's cheaper to do this here than in the country of origin. It's already produced in Singapore but demand outstrips production there.

I hope that because it's made here that we start to see it in the biscuit aisle of regular supermarkets. Actually truth in point I'd prefer to see Australia adopt both sets of traditions that go along with Valentines Day in Japan (and pick up White Day) because then maybe, I might find that someone else may buy lots of it for me...

I like Pocky.

November 28, 2005

Horse 447 - Technical Graphicy Stuff

I am feverishly working out the problems of scanning stuff into the computer and am being stopped at every signpost. I would like for my proposed graphic novel/webcomic/submission to Oztaku to be at 600 dpi and in greyscale but this produces an image size of 28meg in A4.


It's huge. It could go for the black and white surrealism of Sam & Fuzzy or the aceribic colours of Questionable Content but neither of these solve how I get from A5 and about 30 tones of rich pencil and ink to something I can post. It's a living nightmare.

Also, I've found that a lot of the stuff I've done is requiring far less than the 140 backgrounds that I drew. It's amazing how many times you can repeat the same shot of looking outwards from behind a bar or into a lounge room. I especially like the little things I can do at this stage with just paper where I can create hidden action by the placement of objects (it's possible to have someone playing a pinball machine by merely standing in front of it).

If you do a stop-frame analysis of most Warner Bros. cartoons you'll find that they use limited animation and the prolonged exaggeration of stuff for comic timing. On the other hand, in something like Neon Genesis Evangelion, they showed a heightened sense of tension with a completely silent and still shot of two protagonists for a full 53 seconds.

I've also discovered that there's a lot of continuity issues that have to be addressed. If someone has five buttons omn their shirt, then they should always have five. Likewise, number plates should remain specific to the area of region intended because I've been reading through webcomics forums and there are anoraks out there who do look for this stuff.

Oh dear.

November 27, 2005

Horse 446 - Canberra

The City of Canberra was proclaimed in 1913 after it was decided that the nation's capital should be half-way between Sydney and Melbourne. At this point the modern-day city exists, as a giant waste of time, space, energy and mass (the whole Einsteinian conglomo).

The word Canberra itself means meeting place which itself is ironic as like Milton Keynes in the UK, as an entirely planned city, the chances of actually meeting anyone are remote to nil. It also has the uniue feature in off-peak periods that the best bypass of the city is to drive right through the centre of it. Northbourne Ave is an 8 lane wide boulevarde with a grand median strip down the middle; this serves by roughly cutting the CBD two in half.

To actually find anything useful in the place is impossible. I needed to find ANU yesterday which is just to the west of the hexagon the is London circuit. Notwithstanding the fact that I got sucked onto an expressway and ended up having to double back twice to get where I was going. The other annoying feature is that everything is based on circles and not squares, so in general my sense of direction is thrown out anyway. Another way of saying circle is one glorious hole... which aptly describes this puke of a city.

Andrew Rollason, Canberra - (I always wanted to say that)

November 25, 2005

iFive - 25th Nov

Don McLean's American Pie was one of those songs when originally played on the air had bits cut out to make it fit into playlists. All Around the World by Oasis was 9'02" long on the album but the radio edit was only 4'36". This new Green Day single, Jesus of Suburbia as featured on the album was 9'27" long but somewhere on the radio they've hacked out 6 minutes.
All of this is incredibly difficult to sing along to if you'd only heard the full 9 minute version as I did. The other side is also true, people keep on asking me to play them the album track.

1. Roll With It (live at Wembley) - Oasis
2. Jesus of Suburbia - Green Day
3. I've Been Everywhere - Rolf Harris
4. Don't Stop Moving - S Club 7
5. (Probably) All In The Mind - Oasis

November 23, 2005

I took your baby!

Horse 445 - A Girl's Got To Suffer For Fashion

A friend of mine related to me how when she went through her budget for 2004, she spent $1400 on pantyhose. I find this funny because I still wear the same trousers I wore in high school some 9 years ago.

It must be difficult being a lady, anatomically it's more difficult to buy clothes that fit everywhere whereas blokes are basically built like a set of drainpipes and so everything fits more or less universally.

Then there's the added pressure of keeping up with fashion and the general bitchiness that comes when "you wore that on Tuesday". Also bear in mind that you can't wear what someone else is wearing because that's just awkward.

Blokes on the other hand have a universal office uniform of black trousers, white shirts and a collection of ties. If someone else wore the same outfit then it wouldn't matter squat or if in the event that you're at a party or something, then the chances are if someone wore the same shirt as you, you'd probably be best mates by the end of the night.

You don't have to worry about what shoes go with what outfits, because most blokes only own about three pairs anyway (black ones, runners and maybe specialist sports shoes) and as for handbags, we don't need them as everything should fit into a wallet. The only time a chap is likely to be talking about a "compact" is in reference to a 1.6L motor car.

Last year's fashions tend to be last season's football strip, Accessories is the second point on the barrel of your car's ignition for when you only want to listen to the radio, and haircuts are $30 cheaper.

Perhaps the most stark contrast is the purchase of a new coat. For a lady it may entail the decision as to what else it could go with, do I need a scarf, maybe some new shoes. Whereas if a bloke thinks "I'm cold" he walks into a coat shop, buy a coat, walks out and think "I'm not cold anymore".

November 22, 2005

Horse 444 - A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches!

... said the Amazing Mumford, me thinks he was onto something.

A good indication of my mental state can usually be gleaned by whether or not I can be bothered making a sandwich for lunch, and if I do, how much salad I can be bothered putting on it. And no, jaffles don't count.

Today must be a good day because I even grated a beetroot. I've become quite the fan of the raw beetroot. It interacts with a sandwich's flavour to exactly the same extent that canned beetroot rudely overpowers it.

I also think that I must be one of the only people on earth who actively likes plastic wrapped cheese slices. Cheese is a most wonderful foodstuff that turns even a stinky meat sandwich into something tolerable. I think maybe it's the creamy aspect of cheese that takes the sting out of the acidic spike of stinky meat.

Tomato as a sandwich component is surely a staple but a word of warning. Make sure you get one that's only just turned ripe or by the time you get to work, you'll have a lunch pail of gluggy yukkiness.

Lastly, a sandwich is excellent currency. Not only for the great sandwich swaps of primary school but also if you want to buy a pregnant Leone Subaru L-Series wagon with 4WD and a funky orange button in the stickshift. It will cost you:
A cheese and tomato sandwich with lettuce - GOOD lettuce - ham, chicken and mustard with an olive on top.

There would only be four people in the world who even have a hope of getting the last reference.

*444 was posted on 22/11 ^_^

November 21, 2005

Horse 443 - Shapeshifter

There are some questions in life which have easy answers. Is the sun hot? Is the sea wet? Do you want a biscuit? No thought is required to answer these simple queries.

Other questions require more deliberation. How can we solve poverty in the third world? Were we right to go to war in Iraq? What sort of biscuit would you like? Certainly these are puzzling enigmas.

Yet even these pale in comparison to some questions, questions of such enormity that they will be debated through the ages; wise men will be driven mad by them, wars will be fought over them, and if a definitive answer can ever be found then humanity will enter a new era of glorious enlightenment.

The other day a learned friend posed just such a question to me, and ever since my every waking moment has been caught up in finding the solution. I am approaching an answer, but I feel it is time to pass the question onto you, the greatest minds of the 21st Century, in the hope that you might be able to help me reach a conclusion. And so, to the question: if you could turn into any three animals at will, which three animals would they be?

I hope you understand now why it is I lie awake at nights, feverishly tossing and turning as my mind works ceaselessly to untangle this conundrum. Here is, after many hours of consideration, my answer thus far, but I fear it is far from the perfect solution:

1) Grizzly Bear.
Powers: Strong. Tough. Fuzzy.
I would turn into this shape if ever I got in big trouble, or if someone was in desperate need of an extra large hug.

2) Crow.
Powers: Flappy. Cool looking.
I'd turn into this when I needed to get around in a hurry. I guess any bird would be good for this, but I chose the crow because when they're on the ground they look kind of like big black triangles. I like triangles.

3) Kitten.
Powers: Insufferably cute.
I would use this form to appeal to the ladies. I don't see how this could fail. Mew. Hold me. Closer. Now I want to take a nap. Zzzzz!

November 18, 2005

Horse 441 - Tales From Poo Corner

Warning: Contains Poo Jokes.

I have a confession to make: I don't like taking dumps at other people's houses.
There, I said it.

But even though I don't like doing it, I realise that I can't always predict when nature will call. And when it strikes at an inopportune time, like say, when I'm at your house, I've got to decide whether to use your facilities or, quite literally, suck it up. My decision hinges on a "perceived level of comfort" that I determine through a process that involves something I like to call "calculated risk assessment".

Allow me to explain:
If I get that uncomfortable crapping-soon feeling at your house, the first thing I'll usually do is ask where the bathroom is, "because I have to wash my hands." I may in fact be washing my hands, but I'm also scoping out the goods in the bathroom to see whether or not I want to risk letting it all hang out at your house.

When I'm in your bathroom, here's what I'm checking out:
1. The toilet itself - I usually watch the toilet flush. During this time I observe a number of things. Is this a low-flow toilet? What kind of flushing power does it have?

2. I also take stock of any objects, like knickknacks or tissue boxes, that might be perched on the back of the toilet. In the event that I need quick and immediate access to the internal flushing mechanism, I like to think out in advance what kind of an effort this will require.

3. I look to see if the sink is in close proximity to the toilet. Ideally, I should be able to reach the tap and turn the water on while still seated on the can. This is so I can sporadically turn on the water to mask any splashing noises that might occur while I'm doing my business.

4. This is key to making me feel comfortable enough to crap in your bathroom. The Ceiling Fan provides two essential functions necessary for a stress-free poo. First off, it is a fan that sucks foul odors from the bathroom. Secondly, it makes noise - which can prevent you from hearing the grunting, groaning, farting, and splashing noises that I'm making.

5. I check to see that there is, in fact, toilet paper currently on the roll. Whether the paper comes off the roll "over" or "under" is irrelevant as long as there is ample supply. I might check under the sink, etc. for extra rolls just to make sure I'm on the safe side.
I also don't want to find out mid-poop that you're out of toilet paper. Nor do I want to shuffle across the floor with my pants around my ankles and crack the door so you can hand me an extra roll because I've gone through the current supply. I don't think you want this either.

It's a serious business going to the lav. The job's not over until the paperwork's done.

iFive - 18th Nov

Australia winning qualification to the World Cup in Germany in 2006 is one of the highlights of my overly football obsessed life, and it showed up in this weeks top 5. The Match of the Day theme was heard on BBC1 TV for nearly 40 years before the forces of Rupert's evil at BSkyB bought the rights for £1bn.

Vindaloo by Fat Les on the other hand typifies a lot of football songs - they have really no point and are scarcely about football.

Me, me dad, me gran and me ma'am we're off to Waterloo.
Me, me dad, me gran and me ma'am and a bucket of Vindaloo.
Vindaloo, vindaloo. Vindaloo, vindaloo. Na Nah.
Vindaloo, vindaloo. Vindaloo, vindaloo. Na Nah.
Vindaloo, vindaloo and we all like Vindaloo,
We're gonna score one more than you - England!

Please, if anyone knows what the connection with an Indian curry and football is, then please tell me. I've been wanting to know this for nearly 20 years.

1. Match of the Day - BBC TV
2. Vindaloo - Fat Les
3. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
4. Ride It - Geri Halliwell
5. I'll Be Back (Take 2) - The Beatles

November 17, 2005

Horse 4-4-2 - Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Que cera cera,
Whatever will be, will be.
We're going to Germany!
Que cera cera.

Wednesday 16th November 2005 will be forever etched into the collective memories of football fans as for the first time in a generation, some 32 years, Australia qualifies for the world cup. The leg which was 0-1 to Uruguay before the match required Australia to score 2 in regulation time for a guaranteed spot - this didn't happen. Marco Bresciano's goal in the 35th minute was the only goal in free play and this led to the dreaded penalty shootout. Mark Schwarzer held onto 2 penalties to give a 4-2 win to Australia in the shootout and all of this was done before 82,698 fans.

With the start of the A-League, admission to the AFC and now qualification to the World Cup, Australian Football's future has never looked brighter. 82,000 tickets were sold last night and this was an over-subscription. Easily 150,000 could have been sold. The noise coming from the "home" end could be heard some 4 miles away; whoever heard of that at a Rugby League match?

Celebrations spilled into the streets, police were utterly helpless to stop thousands of cars honking in triumphant celebration. People were hanging out of car windows, scarves twirled and every flag lofted like standards coming home from a battle. Not since 1983 has a city been so jubilant.Partying was still going on when I drove through the morning peak. People who hadn't gone home the night before were powered by caffiene, adrenaline, alcohol and of course success.

The work of course has only just begun. The tournament proper starts next June and there is still the groups to be decided. Until then, the knowledge that we've simply made it is more than enough to erase 32 years of hurt.

November 16, 2005

Horse 440 - Industrial Relations Australia

BJD in his blog questions which set of propaganda to believe re the Industrial Relations legislation before the house. Whilst I agree with his sentiment that truth lies somewhere between the two, I'm inclined more in the direction of what the Unions are saying but not because I like unions - I'm running with this on the basis of logic and experience based on what I saw pass through the old AIRC. I've also had the chance to read through the 1185 pages of legislation; just to let you know, it's not that exciting and most of it is purely operational.

I have remained very restrained in this blog about the Federal Government's Industrial Relations bill. Personally I think that it's an evil and incidious piece of legislation, designed to remove the ability of regular people to have a say in their employment conditions.

Currently, all workplaces are covered by a series of minimum standards that include: pay conditions, physical conditions, rights to leave loading, penalty rates and holiday pay, long service and superannuation constraints etc. These are covered under an instrument called an award. Awards provide a safety net for all workers, and a fair and level playing field for competing businesses. The Federal Govt. proposes the abolition of nearly 2900 awards nationally and wants to replace them with 16.
I don't see how you can compare work functions across industries myself. Minimum wages will vary according to the type and nature of the work involved.

The replacement of the awards system is by inference the setting up of individual employment agreements, known as Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs). What happens persay if a person who isn't able to negotiate a new AWA effectively for themself. If their command of English or level of education isn't brilliant, unscrupulous employers (yes these do exist) can virtually hand out a cut in pay because they've re-negotiated a new contract.
Power in negotiation without union representation for unskilled workers gets handed to employers, and as business operators it is in their interests (namely profits) to pay as little in a wages bill as possible. It means that employers now have a "take it or leave it" stance on offering employment; the hard fact is that people need to work to be able to pay their own living expenses.

Mr Howard is perfectly correct when he says that it will make Australia more "competitive" but the reason for this is that the biggest single operating expense for most businesses is their wages bill. In a global economy, that wages bill needs to compete with the lower wages of Asia and Africa which over the next 20 years will see a dramatic increase in employment as jobs are exported there. In reality, competitiveness is funded by the working poor of the nation, and borders on exploitation.

I could go into other reasons like the removal of unfair dismissal laws, the removal of checks on agreements to ensure that there's no disadvantage re unfair contract conditions, and the increase of working hours but really because the Govt has control of all 3 levels of government, this legislation will pass on the nose.Add to this the scare campaign that was foisted on us when Mr Howard talked about fining workers over their rights to protest and it's little wonder people are annoyed.

Mr Howard is yet again actively acquiesing to put in place legisation to remove people rights, freedoms, wages and dignity. That's twice in a week, no wonder I have so little faith in the man or the Government he's the leader of.
When can I start calling the man evil? I've got more than enough proof now.

Horse 439 - Mp3 Dilemma

Stealing music is bad, and wrong. There should be a new stronger word for stealing like wrong-bad or bad-wrong or... bad-ong. Yes, stealing music is badong!

I have 3458 tracks on my iPod. Some of these are free subscriptions of Podcasts so aren't stealing. My question is to do with the nearly 600 tracks that aren't music or poscasts. I of course refer to the Adverts and the Radio Promos I have.

No-one in their right mind would sell a CD with old radio adverts and jingles. Who'd honestly but a CD with nothing but ads on? Well the answer is that I would. The way I see it, adverts and jingles are as much of the radio landscape as much as everything else. Who can't forget the Louie The Fly adverts or the Happy Little Vegemites song. And yet, why can't you but these?

Millions of dollars every year are spent on adverts. The MMM guitar riff series was the stations signature for nearly 20 years, and when people hear that in my Ka they often comment that it brings back memories.

Often these things are less than 8 seconds long. As station idents go, they can't afford to be very long, and with adverts, as soon as the product is removed from sale, so are the ads.
So I ask is it wrong to steal and collect something which no-one a) wants to sell and b) would have been discarded anyway? Is it morally right to sift through the audio trash and steal the wrapping?

For the record (pun intended) I hate the concept of iTunes Store. I love walking into a record store and buying that bit of plastic. Artists should be funded I have no problem with that, in fact with a CD you also get artwork so you can find the CD again, but with radio adverts it just doesn't happen.

I like stealing adverts. They're part of my radio experience, and I want to preserve the good ones along with the music they accompany.1224 2WS, Melbourne rocks with 3AW, Triple M nothing but a long shot of rock, Z100 - New York's finest, One Million Watts of Music Power - Radio 1. I grew up with the radio, I want to remember that Happy Happy Sound!

November 15, 2005

Horse 438 - Got To Have The Documents

One thing I learned a long time ago (and although this sounds entirely counter-productive and leads to great piles and swathes of mess) is to never throw away any piece of paper until your sure you don't need it.

At work the problem was solved when I invested in a clean-path scanner which means that I simply scan documents as they arrive and then pitch everything into the recyc, but at home where I don't have that luxury, it means that every envelope and bit of mail no matter how irrelevantly stupid stays in my room. Of course this is a fire hazard and the last time my room ever looked anything remotely in the direction of clean was back in 1997 but it means that I don't lose anything.

Take a dispute over the World Cup qualifiying tickets. Emporer Alpatine had a whinge that I didn't phone him. Because I'd kept the list, not only did I know who I rung but when and even how much I'm still owed. There came an apology in pretty swift time but the fact remains that I can look into the white slime of documents and see exactly what and when something happened.

The problem arises with doodles and newspaper. Do I keep them? Get them mounted? Framed? Dispose of them unthoughtfully in the bin? With taxation and AMEX it's simple. Never open anything until June 28 when you need to compile a tax return.

As Henry Crun muight say "You've got to have the documents you know"
Tomorrow I'll be funny, I sware.

November 13, 2005

Horse 437 - Cooking Programs, Yuk!

What sort of weird sickos have been dredged up to get jobs as TV programmers these days? On any given day as many as 7 hours are completely devoid of any sporting content whatsoever. What has it all been replaced with? Cooking programs! Hours and hours of cooking programs.
You can't turn on the telly without some ponce waving a spatula in your face and asking you to smell his food's fantastic aroma. Well I had a sniff and from where I was sitting all I could smell was a pratt.
Healthy, Wealthy and Tedious. Two Naked Fat Ladies. Rick Nancy's - How to Cook a Gondola. All crap!

And the loony programmers get everything bumside up. One week we get a recipe for Chateux de Sheep which takes a week to prepare and the next we get Delia Smith taking three quarters on an hour telling us how to butter bread.

I've got a bit of advice for TV Programmers and their treating psychiatrists: The next time some mincing chef come to you with an idea for a cullinary journey, tell them to go and jump into the nearest lake. What else do you think the expression "Get Stuffed" is for?

Cooking programs - I tried to think of a more useless TV show and came up with nothing... except for Daryl Somers trying to sing on telly.

November 11, 2005

iFive - 11th Nov

Stolen Bike! Stolen Bike! You have 5 seconds to comply! Stolen Bike! Stolen Bike!
Honestly, who came up with such an absurd device. Merrick & Rosso had an electronic bike alarm on their show which they stole from the Seven Hills Tip. It later went on to great fame in Choice Bro Caravan Park (Where holiday dreams come true).

1. Stolen Bike In Studio - Merrick & Rosso
2. Slide Away - Oasis
3. Good Times - S Club 7
4. Track 2 - John Safran
5. Why Does The Sun Shine - They Might Be Giants

Horse 436 - That It Should Never Happen Again

87 years ago today, the guns fell silent on the Western Front, and the War To End All Wars came to a close. 4 years of slaughter, lives shattered, communities gutted. Never again, people vowed, would nations indulge in such excesses of violence.

But they did. The list of subsequent conflicts makes for depressing reading, though the following is not exhaustive, it does cover most conflicts since 11th November 1918 that involved more than one nation:

Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War (1919 - 1921)
Second World War (1939 - 1945)
Ecuador - Peru Border War (1941)
Madagascar Rebellion (1947)
First Kashmir War (1947 - 1948)
Israeli War of Independence (1948 - 1949)
Korean War (1950 - 1953)
Mau-Mau War (1952 - 1956)
Algerian War of Independence (1954 - 1962)
Suez Campaign (1956)
Lebanese Civil War (1958)
French - Tunisian Clashes (1958)
Dhofar Rebellion in Oman (1960s - 1970s)
Congo Crisis (1960 - 1967)
Cameroon Rebellion (1960 - 1963)
Liberation of Goa (1961)
French - Tunisian Clashes (1961)
Angolan War of Independence (1961 - 1975)
Sino-Indian War (1962)
Eritrean War of Independence (1962 - 1991)
Tutsi Invasion of Rwanda (1963)
Algerian - Moroccan Border War (1963 - 1964)
Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands War of Independence (1963 - 1974)
Vietnam War (1956 - 1975)
Laotian Civil War (1960 - 1975)
Mozambican War of Independence (1964 - 1975)
Somali Border Wars with Ethiopia and Kenya (1964 - 1967)
Tutsi Invasion of Rwanda (1964)
Second Kashmir War (1965)
Dominican Intervention (1965 - 1966)
North Yemen Civil War (1966 - 1968)
Namibian War of Independence (1966 - 1990)
Sino-Indian Skirmish (1967)
Nigerian Civil War (1967 - 1970)
Six Day War (1967)
Jordanian Civil War (1970)
Mercenary Invasion of Guinea (1970)
Cambodian Civil War (1970 - 1975)
Bengali War of Independence (1971)
Yom Kippur War (1973)
Lebanese Civil War (1975 - 1990)
Angolan Civil War (1975 - 2002)
Mozambican Civil War (1975 - 1992)
Saharan War (1975 - Present)
Egypt - Libya War (1977)
Ogaden War (1977 - 1978)
Uganda - Tanzania War (1979)
First Persion Gulf War (1980 - 1988)
Casamance Rebellion in Senegal (1980 - Present)
Ecuador - Peru Border War (1981)
Falklands War (1982)
Israeli Invasion of Lebanon (1982 - 1984)
Grenada Invasion (1983)
Israeli-Lebanese Border War (1984 - 2000)
First Intifada (1987 - 1993)
Panama Invasion (1989)
Sierra Leone Civil War (1990s)
Kashmir Border Conflict (1990 - Present)
Somali Civil War (1990 - Present)
Second Persian Gulf War (1990 - 1991)
Third Balkan War (1991 - Present)
Yemeni Civil War (1994)
Occupation of Haiti (1994 - Present)
Chiapas Uprising (1994 - Present)
Ecuador - Peru Border War (1995)
Yemen - Eritrea Border Conflict (1996)
Zairian - Congolese Civil War (1996 - 1997)
Congo Civil War (1997)
Saudi - Yemen Border Conflict (1998)
Kosovo Conflict (1998)
Congo Civil War (1998 - 2002)
Guinea-Bissau Civil War (1998-1999)
Liberian Civil War (1999)
Second Intifada (2000 - Present)
The War in Afghanistan (2001 - Present)
Third Persian Gulf War (2003 - Present)

Every year, at the cenotaphs and at remembrance services throught the world, the following words are spoken:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

And indeed many of us do remember. But how many have learned the lesson written in the blood of slaughtered youth? That war is no solution, but instead creates more problems than it addresses. And where are the memorials to the innocent civilians, the aged, the infirm, the children? People who's deaths are, in too many cases, simply not recorded, subject to estimated casualty figures, described as collateral damage. Yet these are human beings like you and me, people who think and feel, who hurt and can be hurt. And we don't even accord them the smallest dignity of recording their passing.

Bombs and Guns do not discriminate who they kill, be they soldier, civilian rich or poor.
I can't help but think that it's all a bloody waste.

November 10, 2005

Horse 435 - Hold Me Now Fovever (and don't tell me why)

Happy Birthday to Me. Well almost not really.

Ich vielen Dank war Fräulein Stolle, es es nicht für Sie dann niemand hätte sich erinnert an überhaupt. Mein Geburtstag ist mit keiner Fanfare und außer einem entzückenden Päckchen im Posten gekommen, der von fast unbemerkt vorbeigegangen an wird.

Now then.

Dictatorship: Rule by a process, person or entity in irresponsible authority. Power absolute and free from checks.

Over the course of the 20th Century "civilised" nations learnt that Dictatorships were subject to abuse of power and were a bad thing that should be stopped or curbed. The worst kinds were seen as fascists, communists and despots. Can this be applied to the Liberal Party in our own Federal Parliment? I most equivocably answer YES.

It has an absolute majority in both houses which it attained more by good luck than actual will of the people and is currently exercising its powers to create laws which would have been considered dangerous.

Think about this taken from the Anti-Terrorism Bil 2005 already passed by the Reps:
104.4 Control Orders (cont)
(1)If the Commonwealth makes a Control Order subject to withold or detain a person the order must:
(d)specify the period for which the control order is in force, which must not end more than 12 months after the issue date of the control order.
(2)Paragraph(1)(d) does not prevent the making of successive order in relation to the same person.

Effectively the powers for Control Orders are held by the Depts of Defence, ASIO and the JIO. A Control Order is handed down separate from the courts and as such has a different legal definition. A Commonwealth Control Order holds the same legal instructional value as a judge made order.

If ASIO makes an order to "detain" someone then because ASIO is governed under the Official Public Secrets Act they aren't required to tell the person why they have detained them. Furthermore, because it's a Control Order and not a Charge there are no rights to apply for bail. Also because it isn't a charge, there aren't any charges to answer, so legal representation (provided you could actually contact a lawyer, and then assuming they were even allowed to know where you were because you're being held under the Official Public Secrets Act) is pretty well much useless.

Part 2 of Section 104 also states that sucessive Control Orders can be made on the same person. This means effectively that someone could be held indefinately without knowing the reasons why. Is this any different to say what's going on in Guantanamo Bay? If you hold someone without telling them why and without a timeframe, is it any different to imprisonment? Even convicted criminals have some idea when they will be free. This may result in perfectly innocent people being locked up - I wouldn't put it past corrupt people in power.

I used to be mistrustful of our goverment; now I'm downright fearful. Evil evil things are being done within the walls of that place, and the quesion that was once posed of whether Mr Howard is a Christian or not is quite frankly irrelvant. He is actively acquiesing to put in place legisation to remove people rights, freedoms, wages and dignity.

I still call Australia home but I am now officially ASHAMED of this country.

Horse 434 - Irn-Bru

For the first time ever I saw Barr's Irn-Bru on sale at Woolworths last night. Irn-Bru! Oh joy joy happy day. Irn-Bru is one of those curious drinks which manages to hold off the evil ravages of Coca-Cola in its native Scotland. Unlike most countries, it is not Coca-Cola that is the most popular soft drink but Irn-Bru that holds nearly 60% of the market. In fact when McDonald's set up stores in Glasgow, people boycotted them until Irn-Bru was on sale.

So what is it?

Roughly speaking it's made from Orange rind and other bonus bits. The bizarre almost radioactive orange colour is said to come from the iron in the drink, hence the name Irn-Bru (Iron Brew). There's so much iron in fact that there's a stain warning on the bottle and the company slogan used to be "made from girders".

Being caffienated it's said to be a cure for hangovers. Actually the caffiene in it prohibits sale in Canada because the laws allow only caffiene in dark coloured drink. One of the colours Rondeau 4A is prohibited by the United States' FDA, so any stock that does find it's way into North America does so ex Mexico.

I think it tastes similar to JAL Skytime or L&P (which is world famous in NZ) but that iron gives it almost a hint of the taste of rust.

So cheers to Irn-Bru. That stain ring it leaves on your coffee table from the bottom of the glass is a ring of no confidence.

November 09, 2005

Horse 433 - My Musical Bubble

I must admit I am guilty to a degree of neglecting the television and being somewhat of a bookish, prudish, nerd. One thing that this has allowed me to do over the years apart from build up a degree of culture from the printed word (me with culture? Get out of the city!), but also I've developed a very very big internal music library.

This was evidenced on Sunday night when a bunch of us went to the Chensee's after church and a few rounds of the musical quiz "Buzz" were played on PS2; on which I kicked butt up and down and then back up the street.

Anyway, to the story at hand:
Helen Lovejoy, beautiful heiress to the Halibut millions, has been jilted at the altar by Villion de Paprikon, son of Louis XIV. Peter, Villion’s Eton boating friend, has heard this, but being in Tibet has embarrassed Mary, his fiancée, who being the only cousin of Sir Ray Ellington has past the title on to Baron Geldray, also heir to the Halibut millions. Now read on.

I went into the backyard with my iPod (the replacement Gipsy, not Mintie - Mintie died) and because it was a nice night lay on the grass staring up at the sky watching the stars go by. It was then that I noticed two things:

1. The number of stars in the sky seems to have decreased by a factor of 10 since I was a kid. Pollution, extra lights and possibly because I don't have the eyesight of a 9 year old anymore, mean that the night sky is but a poor parody of what I remember.

2. I really like Mussorgsky.
If you remember Mitsubishi's "Please Consider" adverts from about 10 years ago then you'll may recall the brass thing in the background. This was "Promenade" from this suite. This bit is returned to in about 6 different keys throughout the suite. Apparantly the story is that some guy walks about an art gallery and looks at paintings, returning to some as he randomly wanders.
I think that the concept is a good one and it's one of the few pieces of Russian music I find tolerable - having said that it plays around with all sort of tempo, key and even meter within the same phrase.

With the sky spinning above and the music wafting below a good nigh was had by moi.

November 07, 2005


Cup Noodle - from Nissin

There is no pot noodle in the world that can even hold a candle to Nissin Cup Noodles. Pot Noodle brand pot noodle has a nice sludge to it, and Fantastic Noodles just aren't. Whilst Sui-Min are nice for about 4 minutes, they very quickly turn into a salty mess and Maggi... don't go there.

Hungry?! Cup Noodle - from Nissin

The only course of action left at this point is to find some eel, spicy dumplings, extra extra extra hot sludgy curry and some Yebisu Lager. I bet that'll be utter brilliance.

Horse 432 - Doormat Wins!

Back in Horse 422 the following comment was made:

Anonymous said...
You have no right to complain if you're lonely or not. It's your job to stand at the back of the parade.Get over yourself, act like the servant you're supposed to be, shut up and if nobody cares about you so what?
It's not about you.

Whilst people defended me, I thought about this a bit. The comment sounded almost vaugely familiar, as though through utter callousness there was a lesson to be learnt here. Standing at the back of the parade eh? This warranted further investigation...

"For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men." - 1 Corinthians 4:9

But this was directed at a group of people who thought they'd made it, it doesn't connect up entirely well with the concept of being a servant does it? It almost looks like a hack attack out of context.

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:43-45

What does this suggest? Your comments seem to beg the question by inference that as Christians, are we called to be doormats? I would wager "Yes".

How horrid is the idea of a doormat? You literally can't get any lower than a doormat, it lies on the floor. A doormat takes wet shoes, big shoes, shoes with dog poo on, clean shoes... it never avoids any of this.

If we try to serve others based on our feelings of love for people and their willingness to love us back, we have set ourselves up for failure. We will fail because people are ungrateful. Ingratitude is so prevalent today but then, ingratitude has been around for a long time. Remember the ten lepers? Nine failed to show their appreciation for the fact that they'd been healed and only one could be bothered to say Thank You

We are called to serve others based on our love for the Lord. We need to constantly remember everything the Lord has done for us. Our service to others should be based on our gratitude for all the Lord has done for us.

The concept of service being equated with greatness seemed completely upside down to the disciples. It was a perspective that went against the grain, against common sense, against the prevailing world opinion; and it still does. Our world today may regard servants as heroes, but generally only in isolated circumstances and situations.
If a person engages in servanthood all the time, and especially if he or she is a servant at heart in all situations to all people, that person is considered to be a wimp, a chump, a doormat, a nothing, or a nobody. Or, in some cases, such a servant is considered a living saint, but usually by people who don't remotely think sainthood is possible for all people or who believe that service is to become the way of life for all Christians.

So yes, it isn't about me at all. It should be about other people because I have been commanded to serve. But I do have a question in passing...
Who are you that doesn't have the decency to sign their name? Despite this attack, I may just have been taught something. God still wins - the King has the last move - check and mate.

November 05, 2005

Horse 431 - Fame vs Fortune

The reason I even got around to thinking about this and having a rather interesting discussion on the subject was to do with the trainer of Makybe Diva, David Hall, who has subsequently moved to Hong Kong where the amount of money on offer is greater than anywhere else in the world.

So which is it?

Does achieving notoriety show up poor self esteem? Would someone want to be remembered like Issac Newton or Adolf Hitler? Fame is one of those things which is painted after some great achievement be it noble or nasty.

Would be it be preferable to have on one's grave stone:
Here Lies X, discoverer of the cure of cancer.
Here Lies X, nobody knew him, but wasn't he rich?

It's true that usually very rich people are often in positions of influence anyway, and thus will naturally be able to affect the course of history. Then there are those exceptions like the case of a Patents Officer in Salzburg whose ideas changed the world.

Fame v Fortune - since I'll probably get neither, there is only one course of action I can conceivably see at this point. That is how how lives do you affect for eternity? Whilst I may never be ultra-rich or mega-famous, if I can do my bit in saving people from a place where both fame & fortune counts for squat, then I will have lived a life worthwhile.

It's not ironic at all that the most famous person ever to walk on planet earth was placed into a situation of no fame and no riches. The son of a chippy doesn't instill any sense of pride at all. It still doesn't change the fact that the kid born in a shed was decended from the richest being of the universe (because He owns all of it) and eventually became the most famous person in history.

All the fame and fortune in the world are worth squat in comparison to Christ. Why bother storing treasure that will crack, warp, split, fade, burn, and get mouldy? And within two generations the earth won't remember who I am anyway. I'll be little more than a few lines in a book or a headstone. Christ fame, fortune, power and riches endure forever.

So is it fame, fortune or neither?

November 03, 2005

Horse 430 - News Grabs

Makybe Diva has won the Melbourne Cup for the third sucessive time and the media has fawned over itself in praise for the mare and in doind so has run out of superlatives. Banties of "the greatest" and "as good as Phar Lap" have been thrown around in an effort to impress the public that this is a once in a lifetime event.
The most normal thing that the media would do for a lady such as this is a front page spread on the newspapers and then comes the endless stream of other magazine reports. There'll be a report on Makybe Diva's home tips in Better Homes and Gardens; a photo shoot where the horse will be clad in not much for the men's magazines. Diet magazines will run stories telling you how to "eat like a horse". The historical pages will compare the mare to other great horse in history like Pegasus, the Wooden Horse of Troy, Mr Ed even; and finally when the whole things settles down and the horse is sent to stud, there will be a report in OK! magazine from a jilted lover and possibly an affair with another stallion.

Sydney's traffic was thrown into utter chaos when a hole appeared in the construction of the Lane Cove Tunnel. The hole appeared underneath an apartment block on Longueville Rd and about 1000 cubic meters gave way. A bottom floor apartment has already collapsed into the hole which renders the building structurally useless.
What's worrying for the tunnel builders and future operators isn't the fact that the area is composed of strata of shale and my be liable to collapse in future but the even more worrying prospect that the building does not have an E-Tag. That's $3.83 that the operators won't be getting for the building using the tunnel!
On the other hand the hole is just sick for any rubbish you may want to hurl down, it especially likes cane furniture I've been told.

November 02, 2005

Horse 429 - More Pre-Doodling

What happens when you leave me in a office for too long with very very little to do? For a start I tend to go insane and then second I start to scribble. Today I achieved something which I'm very very proud of and took about 5 hours of work. First you'll need to look at the original:

Not incredibly impressive by all acounts is it?

One thing I'm currently working on is a graphic novel for my own devious purposes. An important element of any story be it prose, TV, radio, film, or in this case graphic novel is that part known as setting. The visual media make it easy to show these sorts of things but unlike TV or film, if you're going to draw everything, you have to... draw everything.

This is all good and proper if you want to do things from scratch, but I just didn't have the imagination to invent whole worlds. On the other hand, to copy detail to the n/100th degree is rather time consuming and I may be forced to rethink this so that I can take on the task at hand. In the meantime I'll use the salami method - ie slice by slice.

This then is the drawn product... you'll need to follow the link.
Church Picture
If all goes according to plan, I should have something remotely workable by Nov 30... if I don't go mad first.