Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Hogwarts Express

I'm working on cleaning up my iTunes library right now. I need to get some new stuff on my iPod for my trip on the Hogwarts Express this Monday morning.

Hogwarts Express? Huh?

Rui and I leave at noon on Monday for Scotland. We'll be there for two weeks, so don't expect any blogging while I'm gone (especially since most internet cafes are expensive, and I'm officially skint now.)

We're going to Edinburgh for a few days, then over to the west coast, up to Isle of Skye, over to Inverness and Loch Ness (Drumnadrochit!), then down to Stirling, and finally back to Edinburgh. Because we're students, we're able to do it for fairly cheap, staying at hostels and riding on trains and ferries. However, it also means that we'll have an 8 hour train trip on Monday, and another 10 hour train trip back two weeks later. Blech! Luckily, we're riding on the much nicer Virgin trains, which have electrical outlets and are decidedly less ghetto than First Great Western.

After I return on the fifth of June, it's hurried packing and tieing up of loose ends, since my sister got me a free ticket home on the 9th. It's about 5 days sooner than I wanted, but you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and all that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Joy in the Little Things

I found a can of A&W Root Beer this morning, and I swooned.

I didn't know a can of crap soda could make me so damn happy. See, the thing is, I haven't had a root beer since I got here to the UK. It just doesn't exist over here, as far as I can tell. The soda selection is seriously lacking, and to be honest, it doesn't taste all that great over here. I think it's because they put aspartame (aka Nutrasweet, aka shite) in almost every drink here, and aspertame is nasty.

Anyway, I was wandering around the Barbican when Rui suggested we check out a little Asian market we'd never been to before. I think they've put in about 5 new stores since I was down there a few weeks ago. Stores here change as often as most people change underwear. Inside the store all sorts of exotic goodies and bad smelling things could be found, and there in the very small refridgerator section... *cue angel music* Root Beer!

I thought Rui would be really impressed with a divine product of American consumerism when he tried it. Instead he just said it tasted like a Portuguese nasal medicine. Bummer. I think too much Six Feet Under is turning him into a nihilist. He wasn't even very impressed with Nutter Butters, and I'd wrestle a lion to the death for a Nutter Butter. And hell yes, I would win.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Super Busy

Sorry I haven't posted a whole lot this last week. I've been really busy working on my big end of the year video project that I have to present on Thursday night. I've spent the last few days doing some filming, but mainly working on getting the mountain of paperwork for this course finished.
One thing I did for my school work was to use scanned comics to help me "document" workshops from back in October. It's a long story. Anyway, in the process of finding comic scans, I came across this great scan of Superman's past powers that he doesn't use much anymore. Apparently, at one time, he had the ability to shoot rainbows from his hands. It's even freakier that he has to do "spirit fingers" a la Bring It On to shoot out the rainbows. I'd love to say I made the above picture up, but it's real, minus the words I added in Photoshop.

If you think that's really crazy, you should see this BBC News report about the US Military developing "Gay Bombs." Wow... that's just nutty!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bristol History

While in Bristol, I got a free "graphic novel" at the comic shop. I was all excited, until I saw that it was some uber-shite infotainment gimmick about the inventor of the steam engine, Isambard Brunel. Saying I was unimpressed doesn't even begin to cover it. The only time infotainment has been good was when that little dog Wishbone did representations of classic novels on PBS. I loved that dog. His version of Ivanhoe was sublime.

Fast forward to tonight, where I needed some toilet time entertainment. The Crapic Novel was handy, so I took it in with me.

Here's what I learned:

Brunel smoked a cigar all the time. The authors didn't feel that they should censor this, but instead devote two pages to the evils of tobacco, and how it will kill you (much like booze, McDonalds, and loose women.) Okay... I added the last part.

Slavery was evil, but it's not so bad, because those damn Yanks did it for an extra 30 years after the UK did. Smug moralism is even better in 20/20 hindsight.

Apparently, some worm that looked remarkably like a flacid penis was eating the wood used in ships, and this lead to the invention of the steam engine somehow. One would have to actually read, and not skim, to find out the logistics. And yes, I did just say "flacid penis" and "eating wood" in the same sentence. Kudos to me.

The Brits called the French "frogs" because they used to eat frogs all the time. Just like the French called the Brits "rosbifs" (roast beefs). Kind of like Idahoans call Utahans "carrot snappers" or "Utards" or "Jowly McJowlyJowls" I guess.

This was the worst free item I've ever been given. I demand my money back!

Feeling Kinda Blue

I'm not sure why, but I woke up in a marginally depressed mood today. Actually, I know exactly why I feel that way, but confessing that my lazy ass has come back to bite me on the ass (and you thought that wasn't possible) isn't nearly as fun.

Looking for a reprieve from my conscience, I go to a comedian's site for a little pick me up. I'd seen it linked from another site I trust, so I thought a little peek couldn't hurt. Then what to my wondering eyes should appear... but pictures of animals in casts, making me want to drown my sorrows in beer.

Cute, yes. Cure for mental lethargy, no. Even when I try to convince myself that the puppy just read my entry about beach parties, and wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer (complete with leg warmers, natch) I still want to attempt to breast feed it back to proper health. And not cry. Because dammit, those eyes make me sad. Sad like the first time I tasted peanut butter here in England, and realized something so beautiful could go so wrong.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sacrificing For Art

Yesterday, while my flatmates stressed over major exams they have in the following weeks, I slaved away on some homework. Here’s the rundown on what can be considered homework for a media arts student.

    1) Updated my new workbook/sketch book, after the old one was ruined in the Great Coffee Escape of ‘06.

    2) Bought 4 identical dog masks.

    3) Purchased handcuffs from a fetish shop.

    4) Researched video de-interlacing techniques.

    5) Practiced VJing to the Chemical Brother’s Push the Button album, using new clips from Analog Recycling via

I know, I know. I sometimes marvel that I’m able to get through all the hard work myself.

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Beach Party

If Annette Funicello taught me anything, it's the importance of a good old fashioned beach party. While I technically don't have a beach nearby, I do have a hankering for a clam bake.

What inspired this insanity? The song Solid Gold by Eagles of Death Metal. It's not exactly Swedish death metal, but more like Queens of the Stone Age, Elvis, and T. Rex somehow managed some freakish love child. A freaky-hip love child, that is.

The only thing that would make listening to this song at a beach party any better is if the Solid Gold Dancers randomly showed up to bust a move. Yeah, that would be the epitome of cool. Leg warmers and all.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dear Diary

This morning, I woke up and went with Rui to the Mannamead Weatherspoons on Mutley for breakfast. I used to hate the traditional English breakfast, but I love the sausage, beans, tomato and other items now. You also can't beat 1pound99 for a full traditional fry up either.

Not this morning though. No sausage, just an extra rasher of bacon that was saltier than cat food (or so I've heard... um....) and my beans were overcooked. My hash browns also tasted mysteriously of fish, which is never good. Never.

The Mannamead Weatherspoons gets a little worse every time we go there. I think it's officially dead to me. The food is always better at the Gog and Magog Weatherspoons in the Barbican anyway.

The afternoon commenced with a cappuccino at the Canadian Muffin Store. That's really the name, and I'm still weirded out that they are befuddled by my American accent. Aren't we like kissing cousins, or something? I then sat outside, ate a delicious muffin, drank my coffee, smoked my pipe, shooed off pigeons, and watched freaks... er... people walk past. I was also showered in small flowers from the blossoming tree behind me when the wind would blow, reminding me of the time I was a geisha in feudal Japan.

I then came home, where time mysteriously disappeared for a few hours. Ate a tuna/sweetcorn/chili sandwich, and chatted with Rui about comics for a long time. I think we crossed the line from quasi-nerd to uber-nerd somewhere in Cardiff or Bristol.

Now, to seal the fact that I'm a total nerd and have no life, I'm going to watch "Batman Begins" and go to bed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mini Reviews

Here are three little mini-reviews, since I'm much too lazy to write out long entries, especially good ones.

1) Silent Hill: Like I was assuming, people are stupid. This movie is great! It was one of the best horror films I've seen in a long time. I was tense and on edge the entire time. It is long, but it doesn't feel long. And there's a lot of dialogue that could have been cut, but it was necessary for the story at the same time. Basically, I just think a lot of reviewers didn't quite understand it, and weren't willing to think during a horror film, so they just wrote it off. Christophe Gans did an amazing job once again, though I could have maybe done without every shot needing to be panned, zoomed, or dollied in some manner. Stationary shots aren't a bad thing.

Judgement: Rui and I are talking about going to see it again on Wednesday. That should say it all.

2) The Streets - Some Crap Album: While I haven't officially listened to the new album, I've heard it for nearly 72 hours straight through my right wall. I've also been subjected to the new single in nearly every store in Plymouth. It's awful. Mike Skinner can't rap, and makes some of the worst music I've ever heard.

Judgement: Nearly as appealing as death by dyssentary.

3) Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere: I'm disappointed as hell. While "Crazy" is one of the coolest songs I've heard this year, the rest of the album is a huge disappointment. There are only three other songs on the album I can listen to, and I still haven't listened all the way through an entire song except for Crazy.

Judgement: Save your pennies. Download it if you absolutely must.