The things you learn on the Internet.

I knew The Panel as a show format had been sold overseas, but I didn't know there was an Irish version featuring Ed Byrne and Jimeoin, among others of course.

I also didn't know that Edgar Wright, after finishing his new film Hot Fuzz, an action police drama comedy co-written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and reuniting on screen Pegg and Nick Frost, will direct the next Mike White (of School of Rock and upcoming Nacho Libre fame) penned feature starring Jack Black, which is titled Them. The only let down is that it's not a remake of the giant ants movie Them! but based on a book, Them: Adventures With Extremists, in which the author tries to find the "secret masters of the world".

It's a little like the Somewhat Secret Secret Society Show, only with real fundamentalists, apparently.

Coming Up Next Time... Ben's recommendations for the Comedy Festival.
barrington: (Bill Bailey)
An Eccentric's Primer

It's fine to be eccentric, it's such a bleedin' lark!
Keeping others guessing, your friends all in the dark...
They never know just what I'll do one moment to the next;
"Will he yodel?" "Will he kickbox?" Neither, I expect!
No commitment, no I'll drink some wine.
But it can be tiring doing new things all the time;
You can't call yourself eccentric if consistency creeps in
Doing something more than once is an eccentric sin!
But be wary should you choose to follow in my steps:
All this random action forms a pattern, I regret.
Your friends will tire of you and may leave you for some square;
But new people count as something new - so move on, don't despair!

Benjamin McKenzie
barrington: (Bill Bailey)
Like the title says, I don't think I'm saying anything new or ground breaking here; I'm just ordering my thoughts in public, so people can point things out to me.

The more I think about it, the more I think the problems of the world are caused by people resisting change. Politics in the west has for a long time been characterised as conservative versus radical, with liberals and progressives somewhere in between. Religions are also broken down along similar lines: fundamentalism and progressivism. Science is not immune; there's old school and new school and when change comes, some people will try and resist it. One possible defining factor of pseudoscience is that it doesn't change.

The obvious focus for this thought is the evolutionary "debate", since acceptance of evolution does have implications for how we conduct our lives. And the main conventions challenged are, of course, the moral ones set in stone by the dominant religions. Creationists often lament over the "materialist" world view ushered in by Darwin, Freud and Marx (these are the names they mention), fearing "social Darwinism", and in a sense they are right: a massive shift in understanding such as that from Creationism to evolution must surely have a great effect on society. But where they're wrong is to assume that because it's new and different it must be bad. Evolution, like all science properly considered, should only inform and clarify the ethical decisions we face, not make us abandon morality1. As I argue in Evolutionary, an appreciation of evolution should make us more aware of how similar we all are and that we should be treated as equals; and by we, I mean not just humans, but all living things.

The old chestnut is true: change is the only constant. People change, society changes, the world changes. Things do not, cannot and must not remain as they are. But we have to choose how to change, which way is the way forward. Change is necessary, but the best kind is thought out and voluntary.

One thing I think I've come to appreciate is that change, particularly in regards to knowledge about the world, leads to greater complexity, and so a great force that opposes change is a desire for simplicity. This force goes by many names, most of them derogatory (laziness, complacency etc..) but really I think the biggest thing people look for in simplicity is comfort. The known, the well-established, the simple things in life are the comforting ones. Fear of the unknown, of something difficult, of a greater chance of failure, these things hold us back.

1. Though I'm sure it's not proper in philosophical context, I characterise ethics as a philosophical framework with justifications for actions derived on observations and contemplation of their effects. Morals are sort of consensus rules for behaviour, built in to successful societal models and propagated from one generation to the next, religious or otherwise. Some morals are more universal than others; killing humans is seen as taboo everywhere as far as I know, whereas sexual morals vary hugely from place to place. Morals tend to be written down and never changed, labelling things as good or bad for all time, whereas ethics are (or should be) changed as new observations and conditions are taken into account. Laws in a given society are, I think, usually based on morals but revised for ethical reasons.
barrington: (Dr. Intelligencia)
Darren and Emma somehow lured me to watch Octopus from Nu Image Productions (a Bulgarian production company, which explains why the opening sequence...sorry, second opening sequence of a US Embassy bombing is set in Bulgaria), in which a terrible actress somehow manages to be the best thing while a CGI Octopus and an unconvincing terrorist stretch the film out way too long. I looked it up on IMDb and gave it a vote of 1 (they don't allow zero botes), and prompted by the trailers for other Nu Image films (Crocodile and Spiders - these guys make films which may as well be titled "A Giant [insert noun here] Eats People") found Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, which woul dotherwise go without further comment but for one of it's stars... John Barrowman, alias Doctor Who's Captain Jack (among many other things, of course).

Nu Image are also embroiled in a legal battle over failing to pay Steven Seagal for his work on their film Mercenary; I can only hope that in the film, Seagal plays a a fifth-generation descendant of a mercenary who was mutated with radioactive chemicals and is now immense, but iron deficient, requiring a massive amount of meat to survive, and that a hot scientist and a bumbling CIA agent will somehow cross paths with a terrorist in his back yard, forcing the inevitable conclusion where, just before being blown up, giant Seagal eats the terrorist.

Man, I should be writing these films. My dialogue would be better (not to mention my science).

Doodle Day

Feb. 7th, 2005 01:40 pm
Of all the fundraising ideas and Days I've seen, National Doodle Day is perhaps my favourite (Daffodil Day, which always makes me think of a second Triffid invasion, is also up there). Basically celebrities doodle something on a bit of card and then those doodles are auctioned off. Who'd pay for a tiny doodle, you might ask? Well, it hardly matters if they only raise £5 each, since they have so many of them. It's all in aid of the Epilepsy Foundation.

Apart from anything else, it's fascinating to see what comes out of the pens - and presumably minds - of some of these people. Notable doodles include Robbie Coltrane, Colin Baker (who's playing to his fan base, but there are a lot of cats in here; see, for example, famous dramaturge Sir Alan Ayckbourn and everyone's favouite shouty man, Brian Blessed), John Inman, Uri Geller (who's doodle is, I think, depressingly predictable), and perhaps suprisingly most fascinating of all Gillian Anderson.
barrington: (Dr. Intelligencia)
Every year on the deathday of Edgar Allan Poe, a mysterious figure clad in cloak and fedora visits Poe's grave in the cemetary across the street from the Poe Museum and leaves three white roses and a half-bottle of cognac. No one knows who he is or why he does it, not even The Edgar Allen Poe society, who have held vigils watching for him from the museum (last year he turned and bowed in their direction before leaving), and by mutual consensus have wisely chosen not to investigate his identity or motives, deeming the mystery a fit memorial to Poe. In recent years, a younger man has taken on the role of the "Poe Toaster."

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl: Depptastic.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, vol. 2 issue 6: disappointing.

Faction Paradox #1: goodweirdtasm.

Vodka and Certain Substances in Ill-Considered Volume and Combination on a Saturday Evening: unwise.1

In Korea, The League of Gentlemen is called Psycho Village.

1. This is now the name of a song I will be writing.

look straight at the coming disaster, realise what you've lost; don't go handing out horseshoes, 'cause horseshoes have gotta be tossed
Anthony Hopkins just gave us all another reason to love him with this statement on television standards. He wants to see more breasts on television; I'd say more, but I think you've all heard my views on this ad nauseum.

The Simon is still a pretty good read, if not particularly ground-breaking. The new culture column, Consumables, is worth a look; it covered a lot of ground in a short space. If you QCP guys haven't checked this out yet, you should. Assmuming you're still QCP guys, of course.

In personal development news, I'm looking at more study. Acting related, or maybe not. Sadly, the University of Melbourne doesn't seem to offer much in the way of courses in Librarianship, so if I want to do that it looks like I'll have to transfer credit to another institution.

Thanks to a certain someone I've been spending much of my online time (between job hunting and investigating various education options, of course) looking up the artists for a bunch of college acappella. I've found Mainely A Cappella to be most helpful in this regard.
Some people might know what rhubarb is, but me, well I think of Roobarb. And why not? Life is good. You know, since I was last here I've been working, sleeping, eating, rehearsing, drinking, listening to music (mostly Andy Gaunt, a guy I know, the Beatles, Barenaked Ladies, TISM, some Tori Amos, a group I took a punt on when I found their CD cheap called Antediluvian Rocking Horse (they're experimental, and weird), and best of all Jewel, who I'd forgotten was so awesome, though her new CD sounds like it's all dancey and she's lost her edges - I mean, this is the girl who wrote Pieces of You, Adrian and Who Will Save Your Soul, and now she has songs called things like Run 2 U and You & Me = Love...) You know, all the good stuff that human beings do. I have two new housemates, one of whom I already know (she's awesome) and another who seems really cool. I have found a job I really want, and all I need to do is convince the nice people of Darebin to let me help run their libraries. I think this is something within my mighty powers of persuasion. I have recently finished reading Ian Stewart's pretty good Flatterland and JK Rowling's meringue-like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I've been playing Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, which is like plugging a cable into my head which is labelled "Give Ben Pirates" and flipping a big switch marked "On." Tomorrow is the first meeting of my next show, and rehearsals continue for the Hartwell Players season of short plays, which opens at the start of August. My friends are doing really well in theatre too, with Theatre In Decay rocking everyone's socks off with All of Which are American Dreams, and Ben Ellis continues his usual high standard of work on Falling Petals, which is also getting rave reviews. Next week is Eddie Izzard week - I'm ready, Julian! - and any week now, the best film ever made will come to meet my face in glorious colour: Pirates of the Caribbean. I could pretty much only be happier if I was making love right now, but hey, I'll get some of that in when the right girl comes along.

Oh, and I wrote some answers to those questions from Xian, but I spent about three hours editing and revising the bastard things and then saved them somewhere at work, so they'll be posted when I find them. Plus a big hello to the nice girl who added me as a friend, you seem to know the Morgatron (Hi Morgatron!) and Kate (Hi Kate!), so you must be cool. This post is dedicated to you.

Oh right, I almost forgot: there's this cool guy, maybe you've heard of him, he's named Richard E. Grant and he's the star of Withnail & I and he's the fucking new Doctor Who baby! Yeah. I almost forgot.

PS I decided you could all be lazy and looked up links for all the most interesting things I mentioned above, that's what the underlined bits are.

"I say, that when a thing completely surpasses my comprehension, I am accustomed not to dwell on that thing, but to pass to another. Is supper ready, Signor Pastrini?"

Super Ted

Nov. 25th, 2002 07:58 pm
barrington: (Dr. Intelligencia)
What was wrong with Super Ted? This was one of the great mysteries of my youth. The story goes that when he was made, "they" found "something wrong" with him, and threw him away like a piece of old rubbish. Then Spotty Man found him, took him to Mother Nature, brought him to life, super powers, fought evil in the form of a man rejected from Lucky Luke.

Thing is, when you watch the sequence where this is all explained, the proto-Super Ted looks just like all the other teddy bears; there's nothing wrong with him. Not on the outside. But today, the answer came to me in a blinding flash of light and pain, brought on by a conversation I had over the weekend.

Super Ted is full of razor blades.

Mystery solved!


Feb. 23rd, 2002 01:30 am
Having now tasted all of the "7 Deadly Sins" Magnum ice-creams, I feel I should share my thoughts with the dicerning ice-cream consuming public. Be warned, however, that the Magnum edition of the Bible contains a different set of deadly sins than the St. James, or indeed any other, version...
On to the countdown... )
Fruit is the best. A whole bunch of plants which ended up on an evolutionary path where being eaten regularly was such a good idea that they got really tasty. And who benefits? Everyone. Fruit is good for plants, animals, other's all good.

Pears rock, and so do bananas. Watch out for the bonus Potassium though.


Feb. 3rd, 2002 02:07 am
Ah, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to actually sleep. To actually drift into the unconscious and give the body some low-maintenance time in which to heal, grow and sort through the myriad bits of stuff that drift into your head during the day. And then wake up and go to work/rehearsal/whatever.

Hell, thy name is insomnia!
When I awoke this morning, I imagined I heard the sound of Julian typing a LiveJournal entry drifting through the house. Of course, I also imagined a whole bunch of other things in my half-awake state, but that one seemed particularly real. Don't ask me how a LiveJournal entry produces a different typing noise to anything else, either...
Surely I can't be the only one who, upon seeing the headline "Shoe Bomb Terror!" thought: "Ah, the old explosives-in-the-shoe trick. That's the third time this month!"

Maybe I can.


Dec. 7th, 2001 03:42 pm
The world contains vitally important knowledge hidden from you. For example: no-one ever told me that Tori Amos wrote a song called Pirates. Given my thing for Tori and my thing for pirates, this is something of an oversight on the world's part.
Last night, in the shower, I made a discovery: if you put your face at the right angle to the incoming water and blow, you can make a noise almost exactly like the noise of a burner in a hot air balloon.


February 2012

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