Category Archives: Random Notes

Random notes from a disorganized brain…

Putin’s New Noise

Pussy Riot – Russian Art Punk Superheroines.

Clearly, I’ve not kept abreast of world news – if I had, the treatment of Russian art-punk collective Pussy Riot by Darth Putin would have moved me to write this post previously.  Your usually scheduled daily helping of power metal, Christopher Nolan worship and complaints about video game storytelling will be along anon.

Anyone reading the Guardian‘s story on the issue – feminist art punk band play impromptu performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ The Saviour and things go south rapidly – with a long enough memory may recall the Riot Grrl movement of the early nineties, where similarly politicised indie kids used all kinds of situationist techniques to underscore their musical rage but didn’t face the prospect of seven years in jail, as far as I recall.

How things change.  Or don’t.

I don’t suppose I should feel any surprise that Vladimir Putin‘s zero tolerance response to criticism of his dictatorship presidency is to round-up the geeky art students responsible and sling them in the clink, but the brazenness of his actions is sufficient to raise an eyebrow in the West, where our freedom to yell slogans and strum two chords is mostly protected and unlikely to get us into any serious trouble with the law.

Seriously? A trial with a potential jail sentence of seven years for playing a few songs in a church?  It’s fair to say that those of us who have reasonable freedom of speech, assembly and dissent in our countries don’t realise just how fortunate we are when we see people protesting on TV and being arrested (or worse) as a matter of course.

I’m going to try to follow this case for future reference – now that the celebrated Twitter Trial in the UK has been sensibly settled in favour of the daft bugger whose off-the-cuff tweet mobilised South Yorkshire police and the head of the DPP against him, it behoves us all to keep an eye on those in power who would seek to use the full weight of the law against any and all criticism of their decisions.

Never trust a politician, kids.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs, Music, Random Notes

Big Dog…Small Bed.

 

Hagrid, our lovely dog, politely annexing his friend Doris’ doggy bed during a recent visit. She’s quite a bit smaller than he is…

On a related note, Mrs Rolling Eyeballs takes you on a journey into our daily routine over at her blog today.

Yes, incredulous readers, there is a Six A.M. every day – and it sometimes looks like the pictures that Mrs Rolling Eyeballs has so taken.  It’s prime dog-walking time for us as fewer people are out taking their pets for a perambulation and it helps us to wake up before heading off to a day of doing something or other in an office.

Plus, you’ve got to let a big guy do his sniffing – he’s quite fond of it.

 

Related articles

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Notes

Alas, Poor Poddy

Poddy – you served me well…

If you’ve ever owned an iPod whose internal hard drive began to make the dreaded clicking chime of doom, you’ll know just how I feel right now – yep, my beloved 80gb MP3 player has gone to the great gadget graveyard in the sky.

Getting over the undeniable fact that this is a first world problem, and that there’s a lot of people dealing with a lot more on a daily basis than merely the end of a beloved leisure product, I don’t feel embarrassed to confess that I felt absolutely sick as Poddy gasped and clicked his last.  Anybody who has had this kind of device fail befall them will no doubt attest that the feeling is rather akin to that clearly evident on the face of Wile E. Coyote in the RoadRunner cartoons, as he looked directly into the camera seconds before plunging towards the canyon floor.

Did I back up my music?  Is it all there? What about the podcasts?  A range of questions begin to present themselves, not the least of which is   “Do I want to keep going down the Apple route or should I cut my losses and get a cheaper MP3 player and manage my music the old-school way?”  Because, friends, an 80gb iPod Classic isn’t a cheap thing to buy – and the less said about the hilarious price of a 64gb iPod Touch the better (oh Apple tax, will you ever stop providing me with entertainment?).

Not that moving past Apple is easy, once you take format quirks and the fact that the iPod is now synonymous with MP3 player for many retailers and users – the various flavours of iPod are the only game in town…

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Music, Random Notes

Hands off my Steampunk, Prada.

Trust the fashion world to annoy me.

Image

A rogue click on this image on the Tor Books blog had me thinking that we would be receiving a big-budget Steampunk flick with Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell and Garrett Hedlund doing their best, pseudo-Victorian poses on the big screen.

Alas, we are denied.

This is part of fashion house Prada‘s new Menswear campaign for the Autumn, which is taking serious stylistic cues from all things Steamy, Punky and ever so slightly nerdy.  It has to be said that it is the latter thing which annoys me the most, as high fashion tends to eschew the geeky in preference to perpetrating the pursuit of glacial cool above all else, which is perhaps the least interesting thing that I can conceive of.   The eternal pursuit of cool = the absolute pursuit of humourless self-defeat, mark my aphorisms.

That said, this shot of Jamie Bell and Gary Oldman makes me yearn for some high-end, next-gen, Bizarro World incarnation of hyper-nerdy PC real-time strategy game, “Command and Conquer“, with these fine thesps hamming it up in a Steampunk World War scenario.  Make it so, current “C & C” devs!

In the name of Mecha Queen Victoria – attack!

Leave a comment

Filed under Geekery, Random Notes

Catch-Up TV Caught Out

My wife is a fan of the Kyra Sedgwick crime drama, The Closer, the final series of which is currently unfurling on UK TV.

Image

All well and good so far.  For reasons connected to long days and tiredness, she missed last Thursday’s episode but rationalised that our cable TV catch-up service would allow her to watch it the next day.  When she came to investigate that possibility the next day, there was no update and no episode to watch.  That state of affairs has continued to today, which is problematic as the catch-up service on our cable only runs for seven days when the next episode is supposed to go up.

My wife could watch the catch-up service on the internet but prefers to watch it on our TV, which I think is understandable – our internet service via cable is usually pretty great unless we want to watch a programme for 40 minutes or so, by which time it becomes so laggy and stuttery that you often can’t watch the end of the show that you started viewing in reasonable quality.  Also, despite what various creative industries seem to want to believe, watching anything on a laptop for a prolonged period of time is bloody annoying and doesn’t approach the experience of seeing the same thing on a decent TV screen.

First world problem? Undoubtedly.  Annoying? Absolutely.  The kind of thing which would drive fans to acquire their TV via routes that broadcasters would prefer we didn’t pursue?  Well, you can see the point of the torrenters when this state of affairs presents itself…

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Notes, TV

Festival or flood plane?

Ruh-oh – things don’t look that peachy for attendees of this weekend’s Isle of Wight rock festival.

The Isle of Wight rock festival – not pictured, torrential rain, tornado conditions and other staples of the UK summer rock festival circuit…

And that story, in a nutty shell of truthyness, illustrates why I don’t do festivals (I might one day make an exception for the mighty Bloodstock) – our old and prediction-phobic friend, the UK climate.

If it’s not raining, then it’s blazingly sunny and so hot that it threatens to drop me like it was fourth-year Religious Education class.

There is no point in trying to predict what kind of garb will suit the day ahead – as your best-considered fashion plans will be stymied by a rogue weather front which suddenly sneaks up behind you in the street, taps a shoulder merrily and promptly dumps some vertical freezing water all over your new Fat Face zip-up top and jeans.

Tis a crap state of affairs and no mistake.  If you’re going to Isle of Wight this weekend, do keep safe and try not to fall asleep during Tom Petty.  Despite the compelling temptation to feign your death, obviously…

Related articles:

1 Comment

Filed under Music, Random Notes

Pole Axed

Rarely has the gulf in belief between the US and Europe been more clearly illustrated than by the recent, utterly inane, pseudo-controversy about a wax model of former US president George W. Bush‘s head appearing on a pole in an episode of HBO’s “A Game of Thrones.

TL;DR version for the Redditors?  Politicians are human, inherently untrustworthy and deserve scorn.  Move on with your lives.

Image

Putting aside the obvious fact that nobody would be any the wiser about this inconsequential, throwaway gag had the DVD commentary for season one’s box set not pointed it out, the resultant furore suggests quite worryingly that many Americans believe that their politicians (and, particularly, their presidents) are somehow utterly beyond reproach and deserving of a level of life-long respect which borders on blind idolatry and child-like worship.

Check out this take on the issue by Craig Eaton, Chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party in noted UK tabloid beloved of nitwits, the Daily Mail – ‘I think that it’s despicable. As a country, Democrats, Republicans, we have to have respect for the office and the individuals. Once we lose that respect, the United States looks weak.’

Yes, an entirely reasonable sense of proportion there.  It’s not as if the American president, senators, congressmen and the like are elected officials who work for constituencies – i.e., the general public.  They are, of course, veritable Titans who walk amongst us and we should all be wearing knee pads on the off-chance that we might need to abruptly genuflect in their presence.

Give any politician an inch and they’ll never stop the ensuing power grab until their avarice and arrogance trips them up or very human hubris results in death on a massive scale.  Politicians, I feel strongly, should live daily in the mortal and justified fear that their electorate will yank them from office and replace them equally swiftly with somebody hopefully competent and not quite as self-serving – they are rarely, if ever, people who deserve anything more than suspicion and contempt.

And Mr Eaton, by the way, I’m pretty sure that Bush’s tenure as president did more to hurt his image and the world’s image of America than a blink-and-you miss it shot of a mannequin in profile head ever will.

In Europe, I like to think that we treat politicians with just the right amount of withering mistrust and quiet disdain – experience has taught us that such individuals are rarely public servants in the truest sense of the phrase and have the moral and ethical core of a sneak thief – that any American citizen goes to their grave believing that politicians are any better than the rest of us is a sign that the biggest con job of all time has been well and truly perpetrated on a sleeping electorate.

Besides, this B.S. non-controversy has clearly only been stirred up by the kind of vocal, cynical, right-of-centre bullies on the blogosphere and in American talk radio who get to place issues of no-importance in the public consciousness and then scream like spoilt children until they get what they want – witness HBO’s deplorably cowardly and censorial decision to remove the shot from future broadcasts of the season one “A Game of Thrones” finale and DVD releases.

So, broadly fascistic rewriting/erasing of something which barely matters to appease lardy, Red State cry babies on the basis that they might cancel their HBO subscription or not buy future season DVD sets.  Great. That’s progress for you.

I also love the false equivalence being thrown around by some of these Conservative blow hards on the issue – would we be as slow to offensive were the head being used Barack Obama?  Any politician is fair game for this kind of treatment – and the “Game of Thrones” shot wasn’t even intended as satire, if you believe the DVD commentary.  I dread to think what many Americans would make of the lack of esteem we Europeans hold our politicians in.  If they ever saw an episode of “Spitting Image” or “Have I Got News For You?” your average Mid-Western Republican would implode in red-cheeked, puffed-out outrage before prompt self-immolation on the spot.

So, not entirely a bad idea, then.

5 Comments

Filed under Geekery, Random Notes