Books they Made Me Read at High School

by Purple Wyrm on April 20, 2017

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Pretty good!)

The Legends of King Arthur by someone who I can’t quite remember  (Plenty of fun to be had here)

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Two words – Kick. Arse!)

The Collected Poems of Bruce Dawe (Moving along…)

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Awesome!)

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (OK, but a bit long winded)

Tess of the D’Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy (Not bad)

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (The Simpsons did it better)

The Go Between by L. P. Hartley (The past is a foreign country. They write fucking terrible novels there.)

FOOD of the GODS

by Purple Wyrm on April 19, 2017

I am SHOCKED and APPALLED by Justin McElroy’s vicious attack on the Jesters Chicken Parmi pie.

The Jesters Chicken Parmi pie is the FOOD OF THE GODS, and I will fight any man who says otherwise!

And when I say “Food of the Gods” I am of course referencing the 1976 schlock horror film.

Not to mention its 1989 sequel, featuring the incomparable Bobby.

See Journalistic Standards, Lack of

by Purple Wyrm on April 5, 2017

Here’s a Sydney Morning Herald article about a very unfortunate situation…

Man has both legs amputated after white-tailed spider bite

For those who would like a summary it goes like this…

A man has had both his legs amputated after being bitten by a white tailed spider!

He didn’t see the spider, and has no evidence he was bitten by anything – let alone any type of spider – but it was a white tailed spider all right!

Scientists and doctors say there is absolutely no evidence that white tailed spider bites cause necrosis, and the media should stop telling people that they do!

Signs of a white tailed spider bite include necrosis and having to have your legs amputated!

Sheeze!

LATER: Oh, and now the story has gone missing and the link goes to a 404 page. I wonder why that is? 😀

LATER STILL: And now there’s a new article that’s actually based in some kind of reality.

Coming Clean

by Purple Wyrm on April 2, 2017

Well, it’s now gone 6:00pm in Hawaii, so I figure anyone who’s likely to have been fooled by my podcast gag will have been fooled and I can come clean about it. Yes, it was an April Fools joke. Haha! Aren’t I just great?

Anyway, lest anyone think the entire podcast thing was a long-con leading up to that ridiculous audio file, it’s not (I’m not anywhere near that organised). We are genuinely making a podcast – I just realised a couple of weeks back that making said podcast provided a great opportunity to prank people (and tighten up my audio editing skills in the process). So stay tuned for news on the real premier of Carthago Delenda Est.

In the meantime I thought I’d elucidate on the sources of that clattering bag of madness I thrust upon you all.

The first part is sourced from the amazing Chriddof and his video Mr Sir…

The mini-episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation was edited together from various sources and was largely inspired by the extremely weird and decidedly not safe for work Star Trek: The Disturbing Animated Series which not longer appears to be available online – which is probably good for the future of human civilisation. The “Enough!” is sourced from the famously horrible cut scenes from the CD-i game Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon.

The Thames TV sign off was another nod to Chriddof, and was hopefully somewhat disorientating to those who grew up watching both TNG and British sitcoms from the 70s.

The next section uses a couple of weird audio files I obtained many moons ago. The morse code is from a record telling the life story of Samuel Morse in m0rse code (morse code records were a thing for a while apparently). The radio signal is a recording from the famous numbers station Lincolnshire Poacher. Over the top of these is Lemongrab’s freakout scene from the Adventure Time episode You Made Me.

His scream of “TAKE OFF YOUR THING!!” is from earlier in the same episode.

The final section consists of samples from The Garfield Monstrosity segment of the My Brother, My Brother and Me podcast, in which the McElroy brothers discuss a fellow with a rather unusual problem (it is self described as “possibly the grossest conversation ever heard by human ears”, so you have been warned)…

These are mixed over the Moog Cookbook’s amazing cover of Hotel California.

The quote “I’m a nightmare weaver, Martha” is from another MBMBAM segment, on the invention of scarecrows.

The final section is stolen wholesale from the end of rx’s cover of The End of the World as We Know It, as performed by George W. Bush – which I still think is one of finest bits of audio/video editing I’ve ever seen. This of course features a sample of Winston Churchill’s speech about the battle of El Alamein in 1942.

So there you go, all the bones that were boiled to make the soup. The real podcast should be along… well I won’t say “shortly”. “Eventually” is probably more realistic 🙂

Carthego Delenda Est

by Purple Wyrm on April 1, 2017

I am happy to report that after spending every evening this week wrestling with Audacity I have finally beaten the two separate recording sessions Rebecca and I did months ago into something I’m not embarrassed (not too embarrassed anyway) to release to the general public. That’s right, episode one of Carthago Delenda Est with Rebecca and James is ready to roll!

In case I’ve neglected to explain this before (I can’t be bothered looking it up right now) the podcast is about lost cities and lost civilisations. Each episode we take a look at a particular city or culture, discuss what we know about it, what we don’t know about it, what happened to it, and what (if any) lessons can be drawn from it. The first episode is (appropriately) about Carthage, the north African city state that challenged the Romans and didn’t come off too well…

We’re not going to officially release it as a proper podcast until I’ve edited up a few episodes (we want a bit of a buffer) but we’ve decided to do a pre-release to get some feedback. So check it out and let us know what you think!

Enjoy!

Audio Ghosts

by Purple Wyrm on March 26, 2017

I’ve spent a fair bit of time this weekend figuring out how to properly edit audio with Audacity. Which means the first episode of my and Rebecca’s podcast should be out soon!

(What is the correct grammar for collective personal ownership? Rebecca and my’s? Rebecca’s and mine? My education is failing me!)

In the meantime here’s a new shot of one of my other projects, building Lego minifigures of characters from Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts novels. This group shot contains the first glimpse of two new minifigs – Inquisitor Golesh Constantine Pheppos Heldane (who also appears in the Eisenhorn novels) and Lady Ulrike Serepa fon Eyl from Blood Pact. Heldane is one of the oldest minifigs in the project, but I’ve never been 100% happy with him. Lady Eyl is the newest, and isn’t 100% done yet. But I decided to have them join the party anyway.

Gaunt's Ghosts

Click for Bigness

That’s all I got to say for now!

Beyond the Three Day War

by Purple Wyrm on March 23, 2017

There’s nothing sensible I could say about London.

The other day – inspired by the great Bruce Munro – I put this stupid thing together. Enjoy!

The Three Day War

Schadenfreude and Salt

by Purple Wyrm on March 20, 2017

Ah, depression and having to work for a living are not really conducive to blogging.

Anyway, since I last made an update we’ve had a state election. Schadenfreude is an ignoble emotion, but it was still sweet to watch the Liberals* kicked out of power with a 16% swing. Not that Labor are likely to be much better, but at least it’s a new set of faces screwing us over.

And they won’t (probably) sell off Western Power, and they will (probably) cancel Roe 8, both of which suit me just fine.

Switching subjects wildly in that crazy way you love me for, I’ve noticed lately that salt lamps are making a comeback. You know, the ones made of a big chunk of Himalayan pink rock salt with a light bulb shoved in the middle? I’ve got no problem with people buying these as decoration – they look great, if I could afford the ridiculously inflated prices I’d get one myself – but when people buy them because of the ‘health benefits’ it makes my blood boil in the particular way I reserve for scam artists ripping off the vulnerable.

The supposed health benefits of salt lamps derive from them releasing ‘negative ions’. Now, it is true that if you sufficiently heat up salt it will release negative ions, but the ionic bond between sodium and chlorine in salt is extremely strong. So much so that you need to heat rock salt to a few hundred degrees before you get any more than a tiny trickle of ions out of it.

It should go without saying that if a lamp in the corner of your lounge room is heating up to hundreds of degrees, then the resulting plentiful supply of ions is probably not going to be your chief concern.

On top of this is the fact that there is very little evidence of negative ions having any beneficial effect whatsoever. The idea is based simply on the observation that people (some people anyway) feel ‘energised’ after a thunderstorm. Somewhere along the line someone attributed this to ‘negative ions’ and the pseudoscience industry ran with it. Negative ions may under some circumstances reduce dust but that’s about it.

Finally ‘Himalayan’ rock salt does not come from the Himalayas. Most of it comes from a completely different mountain range located in Pakistan. The remainder actually comes from Poland. So not only are you paying big bucks for completely fictional heath benefits, you’re not even getting the material you think you are!

So yeah, quit it with the rock salt lamps people!

Anyway I’ve been grooving to this Chvrches track lately. Not only is it a great song – I particularly like the contrast between Lauren Mayberry’s and Hayley Williams’ voices – the video clip is a lot of fun too. The toast makes me laugh every time.

Finally as prompted by the always amazing Haiz I’ve been getting into Thrilling Intent of late. This is a massive series of videos where an RPG group has recorded their extremely stupid adventures. The style – mostly audio with icons being moved around a map – takes a bit of getting used to, and I suggest setting the speed to 1.25 for the first few eps, but the characterisation and improvisation are brilliant.

The characters are Markus Velafi – a fast talking, magic using, impulsive Tiefling bullshit artist, Gregor Hartway – a well meaning but idiotically naive fighter, and Aesling (Ash) a magic user of some description who is the only voice of reason in the group (she spends a lot of her time yelling at the others). It’s downright hilarious and highly recommended.

So, that should keep you busy for a while. Have at it!

(* Which is to say Conservatives. Don’t ask.)

Let us not got to Colorado Springs. It is a silly place.

by Purple Wyrm on March 10, 2017

Every episode of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman ever…

A group of strangers roll into Colorado Springs. They are Jews/Poles/Gypsies/Ex-Slaves/Mormons/Circus Freaks/etc.

Dr Quinn: Welcome to Colorado Springs!

Old Shop Keeper: I ain’t sure ’bout these folks…

Surly Drunk Guy: (Snarls) We don’t like their kind round here!

Sully: (Says nothing because he’s off with the Cheyenne Indians learning ancient wisdom and modern environmentalism.)

Some time later

Surly Drunk Guy: (Snarls) We gotta send a message that we don’t like their kind round here!

Townspeople: We are easily led and will do whatever the surly drunk guy says!

Old Shop Keeper: I ain’t sure ’bout this…

Townspeople punch strangers and set their carts on fire

Surly Drunk Guy: (Snarls) We don’t like your kind round here!

Shortly…

Ex-Slave Blacksmith: Dr Mike! Come quick! There’s a riot! Again!

Dr Quinn: What are you all doing? These are people just like you! You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Townspeople: (Shuffle feet and stare at the ground)

Old Shop Keeper: (Shuffles feet and stares at the ground) Sorry Dr Mike…

Surly Drunk Guy: (Snarls) You need to keep your nose outta other people’s business Micheala! (Slinks away)

General Custer: (Glares threatening from the shadows)

The End

Let us not got to Colorado Springs. It is a silly place.

Plagues and Pleasures

by Purple Wyrm on March 6, 2017

Both Pauline Hanson and Justin Beiber are in town today.  It’s a wonder the earth hasn’t opened up and swallowed the entire city.

Anyway, I have been quite sick this week with a cold. A horrible cold in the middle of summer. Nowhere near as bad as the one I had in Basel, but still not much fun. On the upside the chemists across from the office decided to trust me enough to sell me some cold tablets full of pseudoephedrine which dried up my nose quite nicely and suppressed my appetite to the point that I was plain forgetting to eat – so maybe I’ve lost a bit of weight.

(Talking of the Basel incident I noticed a distinct groove in my toenails today. Doing some quick calculations concerning the average rate of toenail growth there’s a distinct possibility that it coincides with my miserable week trying not to die in a Swiss hotel room – which suggests I was even sicker than I thought!)

If I haven’t lost weight from gulping down amphetamines I’ve probably lost some in sweat from the stupid weather the last few weeks. It’s not just hot, it’s hot and humid. It’s like living in goddam Singapore! Things are meant to cool down  a bit this week, so maybe I’ll be able to get some sleep.

Anyway I’ve been spending my time while hiding inside from the heat by pottering around the Internet and have discovered a couple of things worth sharing.

First up, this quite remarkable a cappella version of Oblivion (remember Oblivion?). The lead singer doesn’t quite live up to Susanne Sundfør’s example – but then hardly anyone could. It’s a downright amazing performance!

Ah! There’s a stink bug flying around the apartment! OH GOD PANIC!!!

OK, that’s dealt with.

So the second thing is this first hand account of how a guy solved the disappearance of a German family in Death Valley, 13 years after the event. It’s not a story with a happy ending, but it’s truly fascinating how he figured out where the tourists went and why.

While zooming around Google Earth to track down the locations in the story I ended up drifting south to the shores of the Salton Sea, a truly strange place where the American dream went to… well if not die exactly at least slip into a deep coma. Then while doing some Salton related googling I discovered that the 2004 documentary Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea is available in its entirety on YouTube! It’s only an hour long and well worth a watch if you’re fond of the odd corners of American culture.

OK, that’s it for now. Peace out all!