Riches, World Peace and Shower Heads

It’s Easter! Hooray!

Four days off work, and chocolate, what more could one ask for? Well OK, riches, world peace and love, but hey, four days off work and chocolate are almost as good. As is the new, adjustable showerhead just installed by Dom, who’s down here with Rebecca for a few days. So, chocolate, four days off work, a new showerhead and good company, pretty sweet all round.

(It’s SWEEEET moit!!)

Rebecca claims that replacing the ancient and corroded showerhead is part of her general plan to improve the place and feel like less of a ‘slum landlord’. Frankly I think it’s just so she can have decent showers and wash her hair properly while she’s down here. Proof? Well she’s taking a long shower and washing her hair as I type. Co-incidence? I think not! πŸ™‚

Anyway, what’s been going on with me? As usual nothing much. The Matrix Metals project is dragging out with further inane changes, but at least they’re paying for them as new work which is nice. The latest “improvement” is to change the background of the site to a horrible “cream” colour, which looks about as much like cream as Robitussin tastes like cherries*. And they want to replace one of the photos because it shows a collapsed mine and that’s not the kind of image they want to present to investors. Fair enough I suppose, except they supplied the picture along with a bunch of others and said to just use whichever ones look good. Idiots!

This week also featured Prosh day. I’ve mentioned Prosh before, it’s a ‘satirical’ newspaper put out by UWA students and sold on the streets once a year to raise money for Princess Margaret Hospital. I say ‘satirical’ because most years it’s just a mess of badly written articles about various public figures getting caught in perverse (and often biologically impossible) sex acts with other public figures or occasionaly barnyard animals. This year however they’ve actually managed to lift the tone a little. There’s still plenty of perverted sex, but there are three or so decent articles hidden in there, mostly about the war. I guess satire is always best when it’s got some serious injustice to push against.

One for instance (not one about the war but still pretty good though) is entitled “Mugabe Blamed for Australian Olympic Team Shirt”. This features such lines as…

Mugabe defended his controversial designs by launching a stinging counter-attack on his critics, claiming “They do not like colourful shirts because they do not like things that are coloured – including people!”

…and a captioned illustration that almost had me breaking into hysterics on the train, which I have taken the liberty of reproducing below…

Angry and Confused: Mugabe accuses a microphone of ‘racial treachery’

The best article though has to be “Iraqi Information Minister confident Victory is Nigh”. It’s about Mohammed Said al Sahhaf who sadly it seems may have committed suicide, a great loss to furious political invective and satire everywhere. In tribute to his bizzare dis-connection to reality I think I’ll transcribe the entire thing…


“I can make things occur by sheer will, and sheer will alone. In a moment when I snap my fingers the entire Islamic population will quadruple in number and attain the power of wingless flight, thereby making our inevitable victory even faster.”

At a press conference called in the now charred and smouldering capital, Baghdad, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Said al Sahhaf, has assured foreign journalists that an ultimate Iraqi triumph in the Iraq war was near.

“The American Dogs will be driven yelping from our shores, the bodies of their dead will fertilize our many lovely rose-bushes,” stated the Minister.

The minister stated that the key to the Iraqi Military’s success was both the ferocity with which Iraqi regulars fought, and the telling supremacy of the Iraqi Air Force. “The bravery and commitment of all levels of our military will earn them a place beside Allah in paradise, the heavenly fire that our martyr-pilots rained on the capitals of our enemies have brought them to their knees, the bodies of their dead will be shipped to Iraq to feed our many lovely horses,” asserted the minister as an American armoured division played table tennis in the background.

So convinced of the likelyhood of an impending Iraqi victory that his government have already begun plans for the reconstruction of Washington. The minister claims that Iraqi armoured hovercraft are now within three miles of the US capital and that the winged serpent division were making considerable progress in Southern cities like Miami and Houston. The minister said that Iraq hoped to capitalise on the conflict between American patriots and British Redcoats that had recently flared up, “we will conquer America before it is born we will strangle it in its mother’s womb and then strangle its mother and kill its father so that they may not have any more babies. We expect to use the bodies of their dead to dam our rivers.”

Al-Sahhaf said the most complex facet of the post-war reconstruction of the US would come in colonising the continent. “As we all know the West has not yet discovered the new world, the Western imperialist dogs do not yet exist, nor does the invention that will allow them to, the boat.”

In concluding, after the minister was forced to pause briefly as a squadron of apparently “Iraqi jets with US flag on them” passed overhead, al-Sahhaf proved that up was down and black was white and then proceeded to disappear in a puff of illogic.

And a Douglas Adams reference too! Classic! πŸ™‚

OK I’m out of here. Got to try and unclog the bathroom sink. Gah!

Sea Cows in the Cupboard

If I ruled the world (#Every day would be the first day of spring! Every heart would have a new song to sing!#) ahem, sorry, as I was saying – If I ruled the world I’d make it completely legal for bus drivers, pedestrians and indeed any passers by at all to smash in the windows of cars parked at bus stops. Barely a day goes by that the number 97 I catch from Subiaco to work and back doesn’t get held up by some goit who’s gone and shoved their vehicle into a bus bay. The worst place for it is outside the Commonwealth Bank on Rokeby Road, I suppose the lure of a nice wide parking space just next to the ATMs is too much for some people to resist. The risk of hundreds (if not thousands) of completely unclaimable dollars of damage to their pride and joy might make them think twice. Heck, I’d extend it to disabled parking spaces too, no ACROD sticker and it’s open season! Frankly I think it’d make the world a much better place πŸ™‚

On a completely different subject I downloaded a copy of Shivaree’s John 2:14 last night. It’s the big* single off Rough Dreams and I was planning to wait until I could get a copy of the album to hear it (I have a general policy of not downloading music from artists I really respect – unless it’s particularly old music that’s too hard to track down). But, as my chances of finding a copy increasingly seem to be as likely as finding a thriving colony of Steller’s Sea Cows* in my bathroom cupboard, I finally gave into temptation. And? Well basically it rocks* πŸ™‚

I’ll resist the urge to write an interminably long, adjective laden paragraph about how fantastic it is, and just say it’s kind of latin, kind of rock and appears to be an extremely cynical take on Valentines Day, which of course really appeals to me *g*. It’s particularly catchy too – the band said they were doing a party album and it sounds like they have, without losing their distinctive sound either (which was always a bit of a worry).

So, I’m definately redoubling my efforts to track down a copy. I should be able to find it on eBay easily enough. Probably.

OK, gonna go eat now. I’ve got some really horrible frozen fish to finish up. Pour enough sweet chilli Thai sauce on it and almost anything is edible πŸ™‚

* Stellar’s Sea Kine?

* As in almost totally unheard of – Shivaree don’t get anywhere near the airplay they deserve. Or indeed any airplay at all >:(

* Yeah, like I’d dislike anything they recorded. They’re only like my thrid favourite band of all time. Sheeze!

Blah Blah

I love looking at my referrer logs. The advantage of a weblog is that Google indexes every single word, which can result in some truly deranged combinations. You can turn up the weirdest hits. For instance…

all roped men by mistress clip – I have no idea why the Wyrmlog came up for this! πŸ™‚
CYO Connor-the evil side – Funnily enough Wyrmlog is the only site found for this query. A few word less and it’d be a Googlewhack.
enterance on earth’s poles – Because we all know the Earth is hollow with big openings at the poles so the wooly mamoths and Nazi UFOs can get out!
brachiosaurs – OK, nothing too special by itself but (yesterday anyway) the Wyrmlog was coming up as the number one brachiosaur resource on Google!! BOO-YA!!
“robin williams” “religious fundamentalist” – I don’t even pretend to understand why I come up for this πŸ™‚
cthulhu carts – Someone actually searched for this?!? πŸ™‚

Anyway, this is basically just a very quick entry to take up a few minutes before I have to go to work. To pad it out I thought I might as well include the lyrics for Sway by Anita Kelsey, since my referrer logs seem to show a lot of people coming here to look for them. So, Sway, at least as far as I can work it out…

SWAY – Anita Kelsey

When the rhumba rythms start to play,
Dance with me, make me sway,
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore,
Hold me close, sway me more,

Like a flower bending in the breeze,
Bend with me, sway with ease,
When we dance you have a way with me,
Stay with me, sway with me,

Other dancers may be on the floor,
But my eyes will see only you,
Only you have that magic technique,
Where we sway I go weak,

I can hear the sound of violins,
Long before, it begins,
Make me thrill as only you know how,
Sway me smooth, sway me now,

Other dancers may be on the floor,
But my eyes will see only you,
Only you have that magic technique,
Where we sway I go weak,

I can hear the sound of violins,
Long before, it begins,
Make me thrill as only you know how,
Sway me smooth, sway me now,

Come on babe,
Sway me now,
Sway me smooth,
Sway me now,
Come and sway me now,
Come on babe,
Come on babe,
Take me now,
Sway me,

(Update – Feb 5th 2004: Thanks to a really appalling remix of what sounds like Frank Sinatra – or maybe Dean Martin – I’ve managed to figure out all of the lyrics to this song. Or at least I have to my own satisfaction, so if you don’t agree with them, tough πŸ™‚

Oh, and on a final note I’d like to say that I support the rosary bead hypothesis for the origin of the term “Pater Noster” and always have, no matter what Helen may say πŸ˜‰

Going now πŸ™‚

Not Particularly Charming

Well, it looks like they finally vanquished Cole. About time!

Now, at this point most readers will be thinking “Huh? Is he making some kind of cryptic reference to Saddam Hussein?” while the rest will be thinking “Oh, don’t tell me he watches Charmed!”. Well, the second group has it. I do watch Charmed. So there.

Why? Well, it’s a series featuring supernatural powers, a well defined and thought out mythological structure (or it used to have that anyway) and three quite attractive female leads often dressed in the latest virtually non-existent Hollywood fashions (“I know! Let’s make a top out of an embroidered handkerchief and see if anyone’s stupid enough to buy it for $230!”). C’mon, I’d be a fool not to watch.

Anyway, originally it was really good television. Most episodes were well though out, pretty well scripted and added on to the mythological structure in a consistent fashion. Not to say there weren’t occasional bad episodes (for instance the one where Piper gets savaged by a “Wendigo” in a phone booth and turns into a werewolf), but on the whole it was good stuff.

But in the five or so years since I think the series has seriously lost it. In fact when comparing recent episodes to ones from the first and second season I’d go as far to say it’s jumped the big toothy fish. And I think I can pinpoint the exact moment when.

Things started to go downhill with the advent of season 4. Previous to this the series had been building up a detailed and internally consistent supernatural structure and mythology. In season 4 they started to throw this out the window with increasingly wide variations from established facts in order to support plot ideas that wouldn’t work otherwise. For instance the nature of the Source*[The Source is ‘the Source of all evil’, the head Demon. Presumably this is supposed to be the devil, but they can’t call him that because it would upset people in the Bible Belt πŸ™‚ ].

At the end of Season 3 we get to see the Source. He’s a big scary guy in a hood, festooned round with chains and with wings sprouting from his back. He speaks in a deep raspy voice and basically looks like the source of all evil should. However when he shows up again the next season he’s a fairly unimpressive human-looking guy with curly hair. Then later on he shows up again as an ex-wrestler*[The series went through a stage of hiring ex-WWF wrestlers to play demons – culminating in one episode where they actually wrestled in a demonic WWF ring. I’m not making this up!] with half his face missing. What the…?

This wasn’t good. But if I had to pick the exact moment when Charmed well and truly jumped, I think it would have to be when Cole absorbed the Hollow.

Cole/Balthazar*[And there you were thinking Balthazar was one of the three wise men.] (played by Australia’s Julian McMahon – oddly enough the son of 70’s Prime Minister Billy McMahon) was a demon contracted by the Source to kill the Charmed Ones. He was actually half-human half-demon, which apparently made him the most effective demonic assassin of all time. Rather than go bursting into the manor shooting fireballs in all directions (a tactic adopted by most demons – generally resulting in their messy vanquishing) he decided to go for stealth. After some study he concluded that the youngest of the girls – Phoebe – was the weakest link, and that the best way to gain the Charmed Ones’ trust would be to get her to fall in love with him. To that end he got a job as a District Attorney and after “accidentally” bumping into her a few times asked her out*[Or she may have asked him out. I can’t remember every little detail damn it!], thus getting his plan underway.

The plan worked and Phoebe fell for him big time. However predictably enough (since the alternative wouldn’t offer anywhere near the same number of plot complications) Cole started to fall for Phoebe too. Before long he was struggling between his human side (which was the bit in love with her – full blood demons aren’t meant to be able to do that sort of thing) and his demonic side (which just wanted to get on with the job and kill everyone). This made for a number of entertaining episodes where you were never quite sure if Cole was going to hug Phoebe, or break her neck (which at times – given the variable quality of Alyssa Milano’s acting – might have been a relief).

In any case the girls eventually discovered that he was a demon. There was a lot of soul searching and angst from everyone involved, and in the end Cole decided to try and control his demonic side, and use his powers only for good. This meant that for a while there the Charmed Ones were able to kick some serious demonic ass – backed up not just by a White Lighter*[Look, if you really need to know what a White Lighter is, go and find a Charmed website!], but one of the most powerful demons around. Even more so once Prue died*[Shannon Doherty apparently got fed up and walked out. What about? C’mon! It’s Shannon Doherty, she doesn’t need a reason! πŸ™‚ ], and Paige joined the team (2 Witches, 1 White Lighter, 1 Demon and 1 Half Witch/Half White Lighter – [keanu]woah![/keanu]).

So, for a while there they had this really interesting (archetypal even) character. Equally pulled between light and dark, trying to be good even though he really has no idea what he’s doing (even when on his best behavior he’d tend to forget and blow people up). Eventually though he gave in to evil*[Or something] and it became necessary for Piper and Paige to destroy him by deploying the vanquishing potion they’d kept in reserve (they never trusted him as much as Phoebe did).

However much to everyone’s surprise, only Balthazar, Cole’s demonic side was vanquished*[Something about his love for Phoebe giving him a soul. Oh please!. Cole was left behind, completely human, free of the lure of evil and all ready to give up his homicidal tendencies. Congratulations and drinks all round!*[Apart from Paige who doesn’t drink. Could she be cooler? πŸ˜‰ ]

So, we have a few episodes where Cole is all angsty about being perfectly normal. Then, apparently not content with the redemption of the character and satisfactory conclusion of the whole Cole/Balthazar story arc, they bring in the Hollow.

The Hollow is (apparently) the opposite of magic. Any magic you throw at it isn’t just negated, it’s destroyed. Forever. It’s so dangerous in fact that the powers of Good and Evil teamed up to defeat and imprison it millennia ago. However the Source (or someone anyway) decided to release it in a rather ill-explained plot to finish off the Charmed Ones once and for all. This almost worked, but just as the Source was about to kill Phoebe, Cole threw himself in front of the energy bolt having just absorbed the Hollow – resulting in the Source’s powers being destroyed and consequently the Source being vanquished. The Hollow was re-imprisoned and once again it’s drinks all round.

Except for some poorly-explained reason the Source’s powers weren’t destroyed. They went into Cole instead. In fact the Source himself somehow managed to hitch a ride with them, and began trying to take over Cole’s body and re-attain his position in the Underworld. Cole struggled to resist, but the Source soon had him – if not completely crushed – certainly under control most of the time.

Or at least this is what happened for about three episodes, with the Source making occasional comments about how hard it was to supress Cole’s love for Phoebe. Then they apparently decided to dump this story element completely – and suddenly it wasn’t good guy Cole possessed by and resisting the Source anymore, Cole was the new Source, and completely evil along with it. They didn’t even bother coming up with a halfway decent psuedo-magical explanation for this, it just happened. Suddenly Cole was all evil again and plotting away behind everyone’s back. The old Source possesing Cole just seemed to vanish completely.

It was about here that the sloppy and self-contradictory plot tangles really started showing up. Many of them revolved around the plots of “The Seer” a sort of advisor to the source played by a woman with scary eyes and a really annoying accent. Phoebe and Cole get married (although it’s a “dark marriage” performed by a “dark priest” so the marriage is evil) then she gets pregnant with some kind of demonic child who will destroy good forever – and starts turning her evil. This is a plot that could not be resolved in any kind of sane way, so eventually the Seer decides Phoebe is too unreliable and uses magic to transfer the pregnancy to herself (I said it gets stupid didn’t I?) but then she gets vanquished. Nonetheless there follows on an overly complicated story arc about Phoebe becoming Queen of the underworld so she can be with Cole, but still trying to be good (about the best thing that came out of this development was a nicely choreographed scene where the girls and Leo teleport into an alley – Phoebe in a pillar of demonic fire, Piper and Leo with standard top-down orbing and Paige with her unique sideways orbing – very cool :).

Then Phoebe changes her mind. Cole gets vanquished again, but apparently because he has a soul he ends up in the “Demonic Wastelands*[Whatever those are.] intact (as opposed to a splat of demonic energy) and is able to aquire a whole load of new powers after killing a sand-worm which has presumably escaped from Arrakis. So he comes back. Again.

From this point on the Cole story arc really got stupid*[Or even more so.]. One episode he would be good, trying to win Phoebe back – even convincing her that she shouldn’t become a mermaid just because of him*[They were really running short on story ideas at this point.]. Then the next he’d be all evil again. Eventually he went “mad” and started trying to kill himself in a variety of amusing ways (by this point he was completely invulnerable – for some reason never adequately explained), so they all failed. Then he got some demon to turn Phoebe into a mummy – for reasons never adequately explained. Then he tried to become ruler of the Underworld again – for reasons never adequately explained. Then he used his powers to get the girls into legal problems and seize the deeds to the manor from them – for reasons never adequately explained. And so on.

Anyway the end finally came this week when he made a deal with some beings called “The Avatars” which gave him the power to do almost anything. He used this power to alter reality so that Paige was killed before she could meet Piper and Phoebe (not completely unreasonably he blamed Paige for all his problems). Unfortunately for him Paige happened to be in mid-orb when the change took place and so was unaffected*[Apart from not having her powers. Because she never met her sisters and was dead. Or something like that.], ending up stranded in this parallel reality with no-one knowing who the heck she was. With Leo’s help however she managed to get Piper and Phoebe back together and knock up the good, old fashioned Balthazar vanquishing potion they used the first time. And – here’s the clever bit*[They used to have clever bits like this all the time. These days they’re far and few between.] – since the events that made Cole invulnerable never happened in this reality he wasn’t invulnerable and was vanquished complete with the requisite flashy special effects. With him gone the spell was broken and everything turned back to normal.

So, Cole is dead. I hope he stays that way because maybe with the whole Cole storyline resolved the series will be able to get back to the good old-fashioned storytelling it used to do back in seasons 1 and 2 – as opposed to being a supernatural version of The Bold and the Beautiful. I’m not holding my breath though, the very fact that they did a story arc about Phoebe turning into a mermaid*[There was even a Sea-Hag. Why Disney didn’t sue I don’t know.] shows they’re running seriously low on inspiration. But, nonetheless I’ll keep on watching.

Why? Two reasons.

The first is that occasionally they can still pull a rabbit out of the hat and come up with a good episode. Like one a few weeks back where Phoebe fell for a guy who was fated to die, but kept intervening to save him with potentially disastrous consequences. I won’t spoil the ending, but that’s the kind of storytelling Charmed used to produce on a weekly (or at least bi-weekly, they’d naturally stuff up now and then) basis.

The second reason? Rose McGowan looks even more insanely cute as a redhead than she did as a brunette πŸ˜‰

Over and out.

Tim Tams

So, what’s been going on over the last few weeks of intermittent posts on a variety of non-self referential subjects? Well, not a lot really.

About the most interesting thing I’ve done was head into the city with the family in order to see my cousin’s band. He’s the drummer for a blues/jazz/rock cover group who were doing a stint as the house band at an Italian restaurant in Northbridge, and the Aunts insisted that we all turn up to convince the owner that hiring them was a good idea. I can’t really see the logic myself – surely it’d be better to stagger all the friends and relatives over a period of a week or so than have a full house one night and half empty for the rest – but what do I know? πŸ™‚

Anyway they were pretty good. It was all covers (as I said) Steal my Kisses, Red Red Wine, Moondance, Black Magic Woman, stuff like that. Nothing spectacular, but pleasant enough to listen to. Even when sitting with your back right up against the speaker, as I unfortunately was. It wasn’t loud enough to be painful, but it was loud enough to completely drown out all other sensory information – music (good music at least) above a certain volume pretty much hypnotises me. So I spent much of the evening eating calimari in a semi-trance state, all things considered it could have been a lot worse πŸ™‚

I’ve also been back and forth to the doctor’s a fair bit. You see I could have had something seriously wrong with me. Like life threateningly wrong. But, after a battery* of tests, it turns out that I don’t. So that’s good then.

So that’s the good news. I’m not going to die. Or at least not any time soon. The bad news though is I’m $130 odd in the hole for medical tests I didn’t actually need*.

Well, OK, that’s not strictly true. The tests did turn up something but it’s a fairly insignificant and harmless something, nothing really in fact. However just to make my existence complete it’s the kind of nothing that the doctors want to keep an eye on in case it quietly turns into something and decides to sneak up from behind and do me in. So, for the next few years at least I’ll be forking over $130 or so every 12 months to keep tabs on it. Greeeaaaat!

Well, I presume it’s better than dying πŸ˜‰

Although, talking of dying I might well do so this weekend. There’s a really annoying website redesign that has to be done for Monday (why I don’t know!) and based on my calculations there’s not enough work hours left this week to get it done. So…. that means overtime. Which is good in a way, because it means more money. But it’s also bad because, well, I like to relax on my weekend – and I have things to do*. But, I suppose it comes with the job. And there’s up to $416* up for grabs, which will nicely cover my medical tests for the next few years.

I’m going to go now. I’ve got to get this place cleaned up. Some plumbers and lawyers are coming to examine the pipes on Friday (look, just don’t ask!) and I want the flat to look halfway decent for them.

PS: Tim Tams rock!! πŸ™‚

* OK, one. But it was a complicated one! πŸ™‚

* Yes, yes. I’m well aware that if I didn’t have them I would in fact be deathly ill and about to shuffle off this mortal coil at any moment, but still πŸ™‚

* Like email Helen and Stephanie, who have both been waiting a good week or so for a decent reply, and may have to wait a bit longer πŸ™

* I’m authorised to work up to that amount. Since I’ll have the office to myself I’m tempted to clock in then alternate between downloading MP3s off the T1 line and sleeping. But I won’t. Of course πŸ˜‰

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