On the Lighter Side


I always thought it would be amusing to draw a picture of Thomas Covenant jumping wildly up and down in baggy pants with brightly dyed hair, waving glowsticks in the air, while a confused and frighted Lord of Revelstone asks “Lord Covenant, do you rave?!”

C’mon! It’s as least as funny as Clench Racing!

What Happens in Vegas

Damn Powder Gangers…

There’ve been no new posts for a while, mainly because I installed Fallout: New Vegas over the weekend and have been playing a fair bit of it (also the hot tap in the bathroom finally completely failed, meaning I have a choice of hot water everywhere, or no hot water at all – a plumber’s coming around tomorrow).

So far the game has failed to grip me in the way that Fallout 3 did. I think this is mainly because there are so many differences and new features that I’m finding it all a bit confusing. But it’s starting to grow on me. For the time being I’m mostly just flailing around Goodsprings, getting a grip on everything. Once I get used to it all I’ll probably start over with a new character.

And what about the famous bugs? So far I’ve only come across three. Sunny Smiles occasionally doing the moonwalk, my gun dropping out of frame once, and some severe image stuttering in combat. I’ve lowered the image settings a bit to try and deal with that last one, so we’ll see how we go.

I’ve had a reprieve from the whole shirts issue as some very geeky ones I ordered from Cafe Press have arrived. I can now proudly masquerade a member of Vault Tec Security, the Brotherhood of Steel or the Brotherhood Outcasts. Excellent!

Ringing in My Head

The Swedish Electropop Lyrical Massacree

In my oh-so-inflated opinion one of the best songs (not to mention video clips) of the last few years was Det Snurrar i min Skalle by Swedish electro-popsters Familjen. It’s a great track with only one problem – it’s in Swedish.

(Or more accurately, a dialect of Swedish the name of which temporarily escapes me..)

Now this isn’t really a problem. The song is what it is and works wonderfully even if monolingual ignoramuses such as myself can’t understand the words. But what if we want to sing along? Or for that matter simply want to know what the song is about?

Sure, you can look up a translation, but a straight translation of lyrics is never very inspiring. There’s no meter, there’s no rhyme and there’s bound to be some odd turns of phrase that sound fine in the original but are just weird when dragged kicking and screaming into another language. What you need is a more nuanced translation that takes the meaning of the lyrics and whacks it into something that would pass muster as a lyric in the new language. So where can you find such a thing for Det Snurrar i min Skalle? Well as far as I could figure out, nowhere. So I wrote my own.

This kind of work is always subjective. The translator (ie: me) has to try and balance their best guess at what the writer was trying to say with the needs of meter, rhyme and rhythm. The lyrics below  are about 75%-80% accurate to my interpretation of the translations that I’ve come across, which isn’t too bad for a Sunday afternoon.

So, enjoy…

Ringing in My Head
(A probably fairly dodgy translation of Familjen’s Det Snurrar i min Skalle)

I, caught a little fire from you,
And now through my head it’s burning,
I, know what you’re about to do,
And it feels like the first time,

Let’s, show the world it’s you and me,
We’ll run to where they can’t find,
They, know that this was meant to be,
Can’t you hear them singing?

Just, as if it always had been planned,
Just like how the earth keeps spinning,
How, could you ever choose another’s hand?
You couldn’t, that’s the glory,

You, fill my head to overflow,
And I’m here to tell that story,
More, than I thought I’d ever know,
Inside my head it’s ringing,

I, caught a little fire from you,
And now through my head it’s burning,
I, know what you’re about to do,
And it feels like the first time,

Let’s, show the world it’s you and me,
We’ll run to where they can’t find,
They, know that this was meant to be,
Can’t you hear them singing?

Yeah, can’t you hear them singing?
Yeah, can’t you hear them singing?
Can’t you hear them singing?
Can’t you hear them singing?
Can’t you hear them singing?
Can’t you hear them singing?


Silver coin allergy – am I a werewolf?

(Note: As will become clear in this post I am perfectly aware that Australian ‘silver’ coins contain absolutely no silver, instead being made of a cupronickle alloy. I shall nonetheless refer to them as such, as is standard colloquial usage…)

Over the last week or so I’ve started on my yearly change clean out.This is where I gather up all the silver coins I’ve been hoarding, sort and count them and run them down to the bank. Yesterday I deposited $150 in fifty cent pieces, today I’ve sorted a further $100 in fifties and twenties, and there’s still at least another $100 in tens and fives to go.

“How do I accumulate so much change?” you may well ask. Well it comes down to one of my many strange habits, that of never actually spending any silver. Every morning before heading out into the world I grab a handful of notes I judge sufficient to cover any expenses  I may run into, and throw in a few one and two dollar coins as backup (I do not carry a wallet, another of my strange habits). At the end of the day I empty my pockets of all cash, before repeating the process the following morning.

The quick witted reader will realise that this system will inevitably bring in silver coins while never taking them out, with the result that after a year or so I have several hundred dollars in silver change clogging up the place. So I put some time aside to gather it all together (it ends up in various places around the apartment), count, sort and deposit it, giving my bank account a nice jab in the arm in the process.

The down side of this system (apart from having piles of change all around the place, and the lost ‘opportunity cost’ of not earning interest on it all) is that I have to handle all the coins. And that triggers my own unique variation of nickle allery.

The standard symptom of nickle allergy is contact dermatitis – an itchy or even blistering rash where the metal has touched the skin. I don’t get this. I can handle nickle all day without my skin so much as turning even a slight shade of red. What I do get however is a burning sensation in my finger tips, a headache, and nausea, which means I have to limit my sorting to about ten minutes at a time, several hours apart.

Or I suppose I could use gloves. But then another one of my weird habits is a severe dislike of wearing gloves. You can see how doubly screwed I am here 😀

So I shall continue my coin sorting for the next few weeks, and end up a little the richer, and a little the sicker for it.

Go Terri- Go Terri- Go Terri-errrrrrrrrr

Aroomba! Aroomba! Aroomba! Aroomba! Aroomba! Aroomba! Aroomba! …. AROOMBA!!

Something I’ve been enjoying lately is Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town which is airing on Thursday nights on ABC2.

Kids in the Hall are of course the great Canadian comedy troupe of the 80’s and 90’s, featuring such luminaries as Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch and Scott Thompson (oh hell, I’d better mention the other two lest I be accused of favouritism – Kevin McDonald and Mark McKinney, there, you happy?).  I was first turned on to their work by Stephanie, who was an online friend of mine who went off to college and suddenly became too cool to associate with foreign geeks 😛

While never a hardcore KitH fan I am quite fond of a lot of their sketch work. Phrases such as “they can all read my thoughts!” and “he’s clearly insane!” have wormed their way into my consciousness, and I know almost all the (non-French) words of the terrier song (I’ve even been known to perform it while critically bored, even including the “you are scantily clad and add nothing to the narrative” bit). So when I noticed “Kids in the Hall” on the TV schedule a few weeks back I made sure to tune in.

The first episode – well it wasn’t great. There was a lot of background to fill us in on, a whole bunch of characters to introduce and I was distracted trying to figure out who was who under all the makeup and prosthetics. Not to mention the fact that it takes a fair bit of mental reconditioning to witness Mark McKinney in a leather posing pouch without immediately switching off (and possibly burning) your TV. But I stuck with it and three episodes in I’m really enjoying the insanity of it all.

Much like the UK’s Psychoville it’s comedy of the grotesque (did I mention Mark McKinney in a leather posing pouch?) but with the Kids’ unique brand of surreality thrown in. I wouldn’t really recommend tuning in at this point – there’s a lot going on and you’ll probably be completely lost – but it’s certainly worth a look if you can obtain it on DVD or one of those torrent sites I keep hearing so much about. At least last night’s episode is up on ABC’s  iView for Australian viewers, so that might be worth a look as well.

OK, that’s all I’ve got to say. But I hate to leave on that note, so here’s a song,

Terriers are my favourite, favourite breed!…

Oo! The mail is here!

Boxes boxes boxes!

In the last few days I have taken delivery of two packets of mixed Lego, three boxes of books from Amazon including one (for some reason) in a gigantic US mail bag, a box of three flamingo stools (stools that you sit on), a big wad of cruise brochures and a collectors edition of Fallout: New Vegas.

If it wasn’t for the fact that this place always looks like an explosion in a post office, I’d say it looks like an explosion in a post office.


Airborne Aircraft Carriers are Cool!

There’s a point on Sunday afternoons when there’s really nothing to do and a certain special brand of ennui sets in. It’s too late in the day to start on anything, since you won’t have time to finish it before having to go to bed to be ready for work the next day, you’ve checked all of your regular web haunts as many times as you usefully can and it’s not prime time yet so there’s nothing on TV but kids’ show, motorsports and (for some insane reason) lawn bowls.

(Who watches lawn bowls?)

When faced with this of late I’ve been doing the only logical thing, and watching the kid’s shows.

There are two in particular that I’ve been enjoying, in a sort of world-weary, ironic, hipster fashion. Class of the Titans and Iron Man: Armoured Adventures.

Class of the Titans is your typical “band of random teenagers develop super powers, become best friends and have to learn how to use said powers to save the world” type thing. What makes it interesting though is its reliance on ancient Greek mythology. Each of the… uh… seven I think? Let’s say seven. Each of the seven characters is a descendent of an ancient Greek hero (Jason, Odysseus, Heracles, Achilles, Atalanta, Theseus and Narcissus – hey that is seven! ), and the big bad guy is a portmateau of the titan Cronus, the god Chronos and Roger Delgado.

The plots are fairly predictable but it’s fun to see what characters/creatures from the myths turn up, how accurate they are to said myths (often not very) and how Cronus works them into his evil schemes.

Iron Man: Armoured Adventures is a CGI series rendered to look something like traditional animation. This gives it a really weird look – it takes a while to get used to – and means the characters don’t have much in the facial expressions department. But it’s entertaining enough for twenty minutes.

It’s basically a reinterpretation of the whole Iron Man story, with a teenaged Tony Stark flying around in his suit saving the world in between attending classes and inventing things in his secret headquarters.  Comic relief is supplied by a hyperactive Pepper Potts who’s so annoying that several supervillains have been tempted to kill her just to shut her up and S.H.I.E.L.D threw her off their helicarrier.

And, that bring us to the real meat of this post. Helicarriers.

(Although before we talk about them, can I just say that the Iron Man theme is absolutely dreadful? “He’s a man on a mission, in armour of high-tech ammunition” High-tech ammunition!? What? His suit is made of bullets?!)

OK, helicarriers. “Helicarrier” is the term used in the Marvel comic setting for S.H.I.E.L.D’s big-ass flying base, more or less an aircraft carrier fitted with massive helicopter engines that keep it continually aloft. What interests me however is the appearance of similar vehicles throughout fiction. This isn’t going to be a definitive round up because I’m lazy, I’m just going to mention some that I’m aware of.

The earliest helicarrier has to be the Albatross from Jules Verne’s Robur-le-Conquérant (Robur the Conqueror also known as The Clipper of the Clouds). Published in 1886 it’s a sort of airborne sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea where a couple of lighter than air flight enthusiasts and their (unfortunately quite racistly depicted) servant are abducted by a mysterious, powerful and dangerously insane inventor who takes them around the world on his magnificent flying machine – the aforementioned Albatross.

The Albatross consists of a boatlike hull held aloft by dozens of helicopter blades on tall poles. While not a carrier (although I seem to recall it carries a few smaller craft for quick transport back and forth from the ground) it can be considered as the prototype for all helicarrier type craft to follow.

(It’s also made almost entirely from paper – if you want the details, track down the book).

The next helicarrier is Cloudbase from Gerry Anderson’s 1967-1968 supermarionation TV series Captain Scarlet. The series focused around an international security organisation by the name of Spectrum defending the earth against attack by the Mysterons, a race of Martians that could remotely recreate and control any destroyed person or object on Earth.

Spectrum operated from Cloudbase, a flying airfield virtually identical in concept to Marvel’s helicarrier. It’s possible that Gerry Anderson picked up the idea from Marvel as their carrier first appeared in 1965 – although it could just as easily be one of those ideas whose time had come (like chlorofom – go on, look it up!).

The final helicarrier I want to mention is the Valiant from the resurrected Dr Who. This U.N.I.T facility was built by the Master (under the guise of Harold Saxon) and used in his  scheme to take over the world in the 2 parter The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords. It reappears in The Poison Sky and is reported destroyed in The Stolen Earth. The influence of Marvel’s helicarrier on the Valiant cannot reasonably be denied, although there are plenty of similarities to Cloudbase as well.

So yeah, helicarriers.

As a final note, flying aircraft carriers do not exclusively belong to the realms of fiction. Various militaries around the world have experimented with them, usually in the form of modified heavy bomber aircraft carrying small fighters in their holds. The main problem with such implementations is getting the fighters  back into the mother ship, which is the reason the concept has never really been adopted (apart from in the Japanese Kamikaze program where, for obvious reasons, getting the planes back wasn’t an issue).

An exception did exist for a while with airships. The US Navy operated a couple of airship carriers in the early 1930’s, the Akron and the Macon. Both were capable of carrying, launching and recovering four biplanes. Both ships were destroyed in storms and the Hindenburg disaster put paid to airships not long afterwards.

That’s it. Go and make your own entertainment! 😀

Close Bitnami banner