Monday, 29 June 2009

Put more succinctly...

SFTWM is being continued under another guise over at...



I'll be leaving SFTWM as it is until I decide what I want to do with it.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Turning a new page

Ok, so I've been pondering the future of SFTWM and what I wanted to do with this after having kicked things off way back in the '05. I am no longer the consumer whore I once was, the target audience has subtly evolved over the years, the things I want to blog about have also changed, and blogger.com places limitations on what I can do with post.

So yes, times have changed and it was time I moved with them.

The end result of some deep soul-searching, and excellent technical assistance from a good friend, is that I've made the call to migrate SFTWM over to a new site.

The new home for my online musings from here on out? hakopa

I was told to come up with a url of around three syllables that was fairly intuitive in how it would be spelled, and the only thing that came to mind that wasn't ridiculous or already taken was to use my own name. More precisely, my name in Maori, hence the red / white / black colour scheme.

Although the site is kinda live, there is still a lot of work to be done to bring it up to spec. I've still got some work to do on tweaking various bits to the new site, as well as updating the blogroll and getting in touch with various people about updating their links here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Why yes

I am too lazy to look for pictures to open my posts.

It's been one of those nights / days / weeks / months / years.

I'm not easily offended, but...

... if someone is going to make money by selling off bastardised representations of the rich tapestry that is the cultural heritage of my people, the least they could do was do it in a way that I wouldn't mind forking out money for.

Artist / designer Paul Shih is now based in New Zealand and thought he'd produce an 8" figure as a tribute to the Maori people of his new home (being New Zealand). Can't say I'm too keen.

Love the stamp on the bag though.

Where maths = good

Marshall has a pretty good review for the new Transformers film. What makes his review so good?

Marshall has with one sentence managed to do what none of the trailers or the previous film ever could: leave me genuinely interested in seeing the film.

That sentence? "So now you don’t need to have characters that are voiced by the dude who does Spongebob"

Ka pai Marshall. Ka pai.

Oh! Oh! Oh!

Piers introduced me to the webcomic A Softer World because of my new iPhone and this great webcomic.

Here's a youtube clip following A Softer World's Joey Comeau and Emily Horne as they put together another webcomic.



Although the process itself seems rather underwhelming, the clip does at least draw out some entertaining interactions between the two.

Anywho, A Softer World are now opening up their archives to be blown up all over your walls with 16" wide prints. Amazing. I've been thinking about getting this one or maybe this one. What do you think?

To clarify...

I have not slept with this man, but do know a few people that have and yes they have been freaking out about that.

He is not, nor has he ever been, the kind of guy I would go for or have even the vaguest semblance of interest. This man, however, is.

In short, you needn't feel concerned for me.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Mixed news




The video is out for The Gossip's Heavy Cross. Very glam.

I've got the album that this track is from, Music For Men, but haven't had much of a chance to listen to it. Judging by EMJ's review, I'm not sure I'd be rushing to play it anytime soon.

Pity.

Secret revealed




Ok, so you know how I let slip about something big on the way? You know, back sometime in January.

Anywho, well it's almost here and I don't see any reason in being so coy anymore.

What I've gone and done is get one of these.

Let the envy begin.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Something to look forward to: SOHOMO




Sohomo is coming back to Wellington, this time with Aucklanders Brand New Math headlining the night and DJ Lotion, Oscar Nutt and DJ Shorty K (aka Kelvin from Crackhouse 5) in support.

Should be a good'un.

The music video below was one of the better aspects of NZ Music Month for me: Brand New Math with 'Idiot Savant'.

Oh god

It's 3am, I'm so very hungover, insomnia means blogging is a better use of my time than staring at my ceiling in the dark, and I have meetings in a matter of hours.

Awesome.

Anyone want to do lunch today? I'm in the mood for karaage.

Recitar!




This is a turn of the century recording of Enrico Caruso singing Leoncavallo's 'Vesti La Giubba' form the opera Pagliacci. The compact nature of Pagliacci has meant that 'Vesti La Giubba' doesn't suffer from the over-exposure of say Tosca's 'Recondita Armonia' or Rigoletto's 'La Donna E Mobile'. The song's sad subject matter and tragic tone make it less than ideal for selling spaghetti.

I like this recording over later ones by the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, because it soars on the strength of the Caruso's voice alone. We don't have gaudy visuals of eccentric make-up and poor visual match to the character to contend with. Caruso also seems to do a better job with his timing and intonation so that it comes across as desperate and pained, a man's inner monologue as he grapples with his petty jealousies and trivial insecurities. The tinny sound and scratched recording certainly don't hurt.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: the song is so moving yet bittersweet.

I hope you think so too.

Ascension : update on progress




I've had the macbook for six weeks and it is going swimmingly. Everything seems intuitive and can be customised to pretty much whatever I want it to be and do. Installing applications is ridiculously easy and I'm not forced to deal with the bullshit of driver updates and bug fixes as was the case with my previous laptop. It is also ridiculously stable and has shown no signs of crashing despite being on pretty much constantly since taking it out of the box. I'm still learning the hotkeys and it is slow going after spending so long on a PC (bad habits are hard to shake), but that is hardly a deal breaker.

Put simply, the macbook is everything I need it to be and it does it very well.

What worries me though is that with the new macbook pro's having just come out in the states, and with money piling up in my savings account, will I be able to resist temptation and not buy a new one while I'm less than half a year through the one I already have?

I'll let you know.

Surely




I'm not so fussed about the song (it has that air of 90s alt rock about it), but the food in the video for Cobra Khan's 'Liquid Separation' intrigues me something wicked. The rice dish with fish in a cream sauce. The red vegetable mould. The mince tartare. The jelly with citrus rind. All of it.

I seem to have reached a stage where I'm so bored with the dishes I've been cooking of late (roast chicken with saffron nut stuffing, Jesus fries, Toblerone chocolate mousse, balsamic and feta green beans, salt and pepper-crusted lamb cutlets, etc.) that I'm bored in the kitchen. This has happened every now and again but usually for reasons of not having the time to cook. Since my parents headed overseas a month ago, time in the kitchen hasn't been an issue nor has there been a dearth of people to cook for while I have the place to myself.

If I ate pig, I'd get right behind @Tomatom's (it's a twitter thing) pork fixation. It wouldn't require much prodding given how mesmerising Ryan Farr's online tutorials over here have proved in recent months. My fascination has certainly reached a point of frustration at such a thing not being generally available here in New Zealand (although I would be very happy to be proven wrong on that point). I mean, how awesome would it be to be taught how to hack your way through a pig beast to produce a dizzying array of tasty treats? Very, is the answer I'm looking for people.

This would be something I'd be really keen to get behind and, where appropriate, to drag as many of my friends along as I could muster. Hands-on cooking classes that go beyond simply turning up somewhere to watch someone else cook and then try what they made.

Surely I'm not the only one to think it worthwhile.

Surely.

UPDATE: Ok, so maybe I forgot I have this mad thing for katsudon and katsudon happens to be crumbed pork fillet with savoury egg and onion on rice. Oh and gyoza too. Oh god. Ok, maybe I do eat some pork, just not ham or bacon or proper pork.

Recovery

Hard weekend. Taking a wee breather. Back once sobriety sets in. Shouldn't be long. Inshallah.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Not so bad




I happened upon this talk thanks to Nerdcore and as disturbing as some of the subject matter increasingly proves, it does at least leave me feeling very normal as a person.

Lego was a big part of my childhood, with a trip to Legoland in Denmark proving a particularly strong memory of my pre-New Zealand life. I have the ice cream containers full of bricks to prove it. You'll find them in the ceiling next to the (many) boxes for most of my more recent toy collection. Many bricks are charred, worn, discoloured, and broken with the sets they originally came from being largely incomplete. I won't sell them online for more recent children to enjoy, but then I don't want you to think I'll dig them out one day in a fit of nostalgia. I just don't get off on selling stuff I've previously enjoyed.

The point of all this prattling is I guess to rationalise my own fleeting-if-intense obsessions, certainly to a point where I don't feel quite so weird for so freely giving into them. After all, I could be worse.

Monday, 8 June 2009

I don't know

I've been mulling over the verdict from the David Bain retrial and still don't really know what to think of it all.

I can understand how the jury concluded there was sufficient reasonable doubt to decide he was not guilty. This doesn't mean he is innocent, and his innocence certainly wasn't anywhere near the slam-dunk as with Arthur Allan Thomas or seems to be the situation for Peter Ellis, so doubt Bain would succeed if he claims compensation for wrongful imprisonment. I'm also not sure the retrial left many New Zealanders in a position of sympathy as could be seen with Ahmed Zaoui. As disturbing as it is to hear such things I don't know that the verdict would be much different even if the jury did hear testimony that he'd rationalised how he could get away with the suggested rape of a woman he knew around the time of the murders. We didn't even get to enjoy the CSI fantasy of DNA and micro-fibres delivering a clear outcome.

It all seems so messy and unclear just what happened all those years ago that I don't know that this will ever be fully resolved. What is clear is that we have a kinda creepy guy from a kinda creepy family finding he now has to resume a life that wasn't much before he was imprisoned. Little in the way of life skills, hardly employable and will likely remain known for the most public trials we've had in a few years. Awesome. David Bain might want to consider moving overseas, if only to make a fresh start of everything. At least until we've all ceased to care whether or not he did actually kill his family all those years ago. Your guess is as good as mine as to when that might be.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Rationalising the irrational




Cormac McCarthy's Child Of God treads similar ground to The Road in the sense that we're delivered a winding tale of increasing depravity. That however is probably where the similarities end.

Child Of God centres around the miserable daily existence of a man, Lester, that loses a lot of what most people would take for granted. A place to call home. A place to take shelter. A reason to life beyond simply waking up each day. In essence, he lost a lot of what binds most of us together and it is in that that we see a man progressively drift further and further away from what we might consider 'appropriate behaviour'. There is an instance where Lester happens upon a dead couple in coitus in a car on the side of the road. It is here that he commits a series of actions that while entirely unplanned all the same bear the marks of a person becoming less and less... well, 'human'.

The book isn't entirely about sickening scenes. Rather interestingly, the related stories of Lester's past and upbringing serve as a suggestion of fate running its course, of a person satisfying the less-than-stellar expectations of his community. What makes this interesting is that for all Lester seems to abandon the trappings of civil society, and for all civil society finds him abhorrent, civil society all the same abides and tolerates what they themselves consider intolerable. The permissive behaviour of the community to what they knew to be really quite wrong behaviour on Lester's part raised questions I am still struggling to answer: is Lester the realised consequence of his past, or the product of a society that didn't care enough to stop him from becoming 'inhuman'?

I know my language is vague and I've meant for that to be the case. To be more precise and exacting would be to reveal too much of a book I think you might enjoy if you enjoyed The Road. You will certainly see shades of one in the other, but there is enough different in each for them to stand on their own merits. Just don't expect something quite as gripping or awkwardly tender about Child Of God.

hhhhhrrrnnnngggggg




The lineup for Parklife came out today and it truly is something to behold.

A-TRAK
AEROPLANE (DJ Set)
ART VS SCIENCE
AUTOKRATZ (First ever Australian show)
BENI
BERTIE BLACKMAN (Sneaker Set)
BUSY P (DJ & Host)
CLAUDE VONSTROKE
THE COOL KIDS
CRYSTAL CASTLES
EMPIRE OF THE SUN (First ever live show)
EROL ALKAN (First ever Australian show)
JUNIOR BOYS (First ever Australian show)
KASKADE
LA ROUX (First ever Australian show)
LADY SOVEREIGN
LITTLE BOOTS (First ever Australian show)
METRIC (First ever Australian show)
METRONOMY
MSTRKRFT
SHAZAM
THE ASTON SHUFFLE
THE GLIMMERS
THE RAPTURE
TIGA


This leaves me less depressed about missing Melt, but only slightly.

People of Melbourne, I shall be making a nuisance of myself in your fine city on and around 3 October 2009. You have been warned.

This seems REALLY dumb




3D graphics did enough damage to creative gaming by setting up the paint-by-numbers bias towards hi-res sports games and FPS. Before then, games weren't anywhere near as disposable as they have since become. The blame for that doesn't entirely lay with 3D graphics, but I'd argue that it certainly contributed to game creation tipping over to the dark side of banality and tech-wank that verges on the masturbatory.

Which brings me to the above promo video. Can you imagine how shit and bland the games would be for a family-friendly system like this?

This promo makes me want to give up on my Xbox360 and just turn my back on gaming, and while I'm at it I may as well just hand in my man card. Every self-respecting male has a console or a mate that has one. Such is the importance of gaming to the male character.

Jesus.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Let the nightmares begin




Accidentally happened upon this documentary earlier this evening. If ever something said it was time to turn the TV off and get some sleep, this was it.

Good night.

Wah-ee boo-ee ee-ee oh-ee




My folks emailed me from Istanbul a couple days back and the thing that really stuck with me amidst the related food adventures and tales of avoided shop touts was their comment about staying somewhere really close to a mosque. The muezzin's call to prayer remains one of my most indelible memories of my time in the Middle East, and arguably something I long to relive. Sure the hours suck, but the adhan really is something special.

Sadly a lot of the Middle Eastern music videos on TV over there followed the rather uninteresting pattern of an ugly hairy guy wailing whilst walking along a stagnant waterway, lamenting an impossibly-attractive lost love. As with most 'world music', there is only so much of this one can handle before going mad.

Bigstereo were instrumental in introducing me to Rainbow Arabia sometime last year, and I will forever be grateful. The Middle Eastern rhythms, the noise pop aesthetic, the insane set-up for their live shows, the incomprehensible lyrics.

Colour me smitten.

The video above is for their more well-known track "Omar K" and it remains my favourite of the tracks of theirs that have been floating around the blogosphere. Rainbow Arabia released an official music video for the track earlier this year, but I prefer this live performance. I like that it is so much more ridiculous than their music video, but for reasons other than a quirky aesthetic. You've got two people belting out a great track in a set-up that so obviously needs more people to do a proper job of it, but they make it work all the same.

"Omar K" features on their Basta and Kabukimono EPs. Well worth tracking down, people.