Archived News for January 2007


I'm afraid I've started fetishising firearms. I mean, guns are pretty fucking cool. Wait, wait, don't get angry. I'm just fascinated. They are the marriage of technology and design, with such an incredible intensity of purpose - it's evident in every line. Small, sleek and black.

They make the perfect fetish item. There's a taxonomy, for a start. Technical details, fascinating in their depth. In New Zealand, or at least with my upbringing, they also have the aura of taboo. They're forbidden. (In the) now, in the world I was born into, there was never a distinction, an edge, between violence and sexuality and technology and pain. The car-crash orgasm and the pull of a trigger. The warm afterglow in the barrel...

I'm torn. I can see how they (I wince even at the word) are certainly horrific and cold and a nasty semiotic geist of humanity. Perhaps you could call my interest scientific - but not detached. And I absolutely support gun regulation and restriction. Really, to put things in perspective, I will never own a gun. I have never even held a firearm, let alone fired one.

But I still can't help my admiration of the damn things. Or, perhaps, of Colt and Browning and Enfield and Lee and, holycrap, Garand. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy.

Some time soon: the concept of what I might call the 'meld' (the term is in use, but I think the idea is compelling enough to steal the usage). Perhaps someone can help me find if there are implementations done already? Probably under something like spacial/relational blogging? I guess it'll make more sense when I explain it.


The other day I was about to do a post where I'd go:
  1. Labyrinth (1986)
  2. David Bowie
  3. Space Oddity
  4. Moon Landings
  5. "fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace"
But then, I considered:
  1. Labyrinth (1986)
  2. David Bowie
  3. Iggy Pop
  4. Coffee and Cigarettes (1986)
  1. Space Oddity
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  3. Richard Wagner
  4. Der Ring des Nibelungen
  5. MusicBrainz
Or perhaps:
  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  2. Lux Aeterna
  3. ~ Kronos Quartet
  4. The Fountain (2006)
And from there the whole exercise got crazy. I mean, by that stage I was covering things from bad contact juggling, to the Venture Brothers and Adult Swim, to Arthur C. Clarke and his relationship to Kubrick. Going backward there was Frank Oz and Henson.

It's not really the discussion of each that's the interesting bit - I only had a few sentences, perhaps a link to more detail for each. It's actually the way they all tie together that I found interesting. So, what I wanted to do was arrange all these ideas in something similar to one of those mind maps we were told to do in those damn study skills evenings. A sprawl of related ideas. Maybe one picture, one link and two sentences for each.

It's fine arranging these in little serial lines, but consider the fact that it's a small jump from the Moon Disaster scenario to Apollo 13. From there, it's a small jump to Apollo 13 (1995). And, holy crap, we've reached Kevin Bacon and goddamn if we aren't at the centre of a huge star of interesting places to go.

And then I thought, why the hell can't I do this? Where is the tool that lets me do this easily, and share it easily. Fuck, where is the tool that lets me tie my map of, say, "1986" directly into somebody else's? Of course, that adds a third dimension, really. It's becoming more of a mind meld than a mind map, see?

Do I have to build this myself, or is there someone doing it already?


I decided to get the jump on NZ television by watching the first few episodes of Heroes. Oh, sorry, HEROES. God, it's awful. Horrible, horrible scifi. Let's see. Well, it starts off with this text scrolling up the screen:
In recent days, a seemingly random group of individuals has emerged with what can only be described as "special" abilities.

Although unaware of it now, these individuals will not only save the world, but change it forever. This transformation from ordinary to extraordinary will not happen overnight. Every story has a beginning.

Volume One of their epic tale begins here...
I wish I was kidding. No, really, that's the very first thing you'll see when you watch Heroes. You know it's going to be good when the show itself is telling you it's an 'epic tale', and stealing lines from Star Wars Episode One. Ugh.

Unfortunately, it only gets worse. The titles and locations are in an awful font, that contrasts so badly with the main title card that you'd have to wonder what the hell they were paying the art director for (or whoever should have been making damn sure that just didn't happen). Just three minutes in we're told that cockroaches are more evolved than us. You know, they might not have recursive language, introspection or self awareness, but hey, their cells divide only once every two weeks, so if they're lucky they're resistant to radiation. Those wacky cockroaches. And then ten seconds later...
SURESH: They say that man uses only a tenth of his brainpower; another percent and we might actually be worthy of God's image. Unless of course that day has already arrived.
Well, 'they' say lots of things, don't they. Haven't you heard? Water drains the other way in this hemisphere!

What were the writers thinking? Oh, I know, I'll use my super mind reading powers to tell you. They were thinking: "Hey, let's make something like that LOST show. That's cool, right? All the kids like that. Only, we'll put in a cheerleader, because then we'll draw the 13 year old boys. Oh, and a online stripper being chased by the mob for an expired loan she took out to put her gifted son (Walt?) into a private school. And we'll put in a tortured artist with a drug problem just for fun (Charlie?)."

This program is utter shit. Apart from Hiro; he can stay. He's the only one with any sense at all (tip: if you're going to be a superhero, it helps to know your comics), and he's got the best power too. It's a shame I'm not going to sit through all the rest of this show's bilge just to see how his storyline turns out (although I hear there are some casino scenes a bit further in).

Oh well. This show is based on the superhero comic book thing. So, I'm hoping there'll be a Tru Calling universe tie-in.

Site Move

I've just finished up adding comments to the new version of SE. I've also finalized the scripts I'll use to move the data across - there's going to be a fair bit of clean-up in the process. So, if all goes according to plan, I should have a chance to move the site over tomorrow afternoon. See you on the new server!

One thing I'm really happy about is that the mysterious unnamed comment posts will disappear. Actually, the ones that are there at the moment will show up as by 'A Mysterious Unknown'. Things are much more tied together now - comments and user accounts make use of some nice new features in MySQL 5 (foreign key constraints) to ensure that sort of thing doesn't happen.

I think once I've got the site moved over it'll give me a good incentive to keep working on the new code.

We're here.

Move complete.

The system is back up and running - submit your username  and join 'the social music revolution', as they say. Or, you know, just play songs with really offensive titles and watch them pop up in the sidebar.

Speaking of the sidebar, we need some skins. Skinning is pretty easy - grab something like EditCSS or Chris Pederick's Web Developer (recently improved with a much nicer CSS editor). Have a play around and send me the css file. You can use images, and all sorts of fanciness, but simple is good too. Once we've got a couple of skins, I promise I'll bring back voting.


I've just finished reimplementing the comics system, so you won't just get a directory listing when you click the Comic link at the top over there. I'm just uploading the last of the comics now.

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