Monday, March 31, 2008

Big Fish

Saw Big Fish on the weekend and enjoyed it immensely. It is a great story about one son's quest to find out more about his dying father. It is wonderfully directed by Tim Burton, and by saying that you can probably work out that the film is quirky with a typical Burtonesque feel.
Ewan McGregor does a brilliant turn as the young father, but my favourite character is Karl the Giant.

Rent a copy, and discover the magic of stories, and how even the wildest have some basis in truth.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oh my bleeding heart

Naomi Klein has released a new book called The Shock Doctrine. The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. If you've read No Logo then you'll know what to expect from this book, well written investigative journalism that tackles the big issues head on, and doesn't pull punches.
Klein does a good job of making a boring, dry topic readable, and I recommend that people read it BUT that's not to say I didn't have problems with it.

No Logo tackled corporations and focused on their business practices, but this latest book instead looks at governments, especially the Bush government. YAWN I know another book about an administration that will soon be over. I feel that the Bush administration is an easy target for writers, though anyone with half a brain would realise that a Democratic administration would not be much different.

The Shock Doctrine's focus on government and shady backroom deals means that the reader can feel removed from what's happening. No Logo was very personal, but buy tackling such large issues Shock Doctrine is very impersonal.

Finally the book is another critique of politics that doesn't try and offer solutions and ways of changing the system. Yes the system sucks, lets focus on improving it rather than another book telling us how much it sucks.

By all means read The Shock Doctrine it is a readable book, I just feel it missed an opportunity to be so much more.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I have a large CD collection that keeps growing and threatening to collapse under it's own weight. So maybe it's time to get an iPod and rip my CDs onto it and have a much more portable collection.
But what makes the cut, I know the iPod Classic can hold up to 40,000 songs (the 160 gig version), I'll probably buy the 80 gig version and settle for 20,000 songs.

As I sort through my music collection I have to be selective, listen with fresh ears to favourite CDs as I make tough decisions. There are some givens, all my Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen will make the cut, but I keep finding stuff I had forgotten about. Yesterday I heard Americana for the first time in a while and realised how much I like it. In it goes. And so it continues.

Dylan Jones in his book, iPod Therefore I Am, talks about a similar problem in his life. Fitting his music collection on an iPod. The book contains no great insights but I sympathise with his dilemma's (and he was working with a 10 gig iPod).

I'll keep sorting through my collection, and stumbling across hidden gems, and who knows I may just finish one of these days.

Friday, March 7, 2008

What's in a name?

Frank Zappa had a way with names.
Band : Mothers of Invention
Children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukah Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen
Albums: Sheik Yerbouti, We're Only in it for the Money, One Size Fits All and You Are What You Is.
Singles: Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama, and Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar.
A lot of fun, go out and listen to some Frank Zappa, he might even make you laugh.
P.S. On Tuesday Gary Gygax died. Many people would not recognise his name, but he was responsible for inventing Dungeons and Dragons. So roll some dice in memory of this great creator.


Taking its cue from current events, Frontlines: Fuel of War is a game about what happens when the world's oil runs out. Set in 2024 it follows an embedded journalist who is working with Western Coalition soldiers as they fight the Red Star Alliance over the few remaining oil wells left in the world.
OK the story isn't anything new, but it is good to see games trying to build on real world events. Fun to play, it is actually a little depressing hearing about events in the game world as countries plunge into anarchy, because they have no fuel to power things like electricity.