We can’t stop here, this is mondegreen country…

While we’re on the subject of Disarm, I discovered the other day that the song does not go…

…bitterness, the one whose laugh I loathe…

and in fact goes

…bitterness, the one who’s left alone…

Billy Corgan is clearly nowhere near the songwriter that I imagined him to be 😀



There are two ads that are really annoying me at the moment. Not because of the products they’re advertising (although car ads, as these are, annoy me anyway), and not because of the inane claims they make about said cars (because you really need a racing pedigree engine to run down to the shops), but because of their music.

Both adds use absolutely blatent soundalikes.

A soundalike is what you get when an advertising executive decides they want to use a particular song in their ad but are refused permission by the artist, or simply don’t want to pay for the rights. So they hire some poor schlob to write and record a song that’s close enough to the orignal to sound like it while being just different enough to avoid lawsuits.

Basically it’s a legal way of bastardising a song for commercial purposes.

The songs ripped off in these two ads are Disarm by the Smashing Pumpkins, and Packing Blankets by the Eels. Disarm – being a fine example of the Pumpkins’ bleak milieu – may seem like an odd choice for advertising anything apart from selective seretonin reuptake inhibitors, but they’ve ripped off the power chords and matched them with moody shots of their pestilential vehicle while a serious voice over person makes pretentious statements about how seriously awesome it is. The Packing Blankets add is full of shots of happy families driving to the beach and having picnics and things, with the car front and centre in each shot.

Both ads drive me to distraction. I find myself yelling “PAY FOR THE BLOODY SONG YOU BASTARDS!” at the TV every time they come on.

It’s my problem. I’ll have to deal with it.

Later: OK, the ad that rips off the Eels is actually for a land development up at Alkimos. Shows how well it held my attention doesn’t it?

A Yelp of Protest

Anti-virus programs are really just a conspiracy anyway… ;D

When I bought my new computer about a year ago it came (as is normal) with an anti-virus program installed – specifically BitDefender. Although I wasn’t familiar with this particular AV I decided to go with it, since I’d already paid for it and all and I’m a lazy bastard who couldn’t be bothered changing to something else.

As a BitDefender customer over the last year I have not been overly impressed. I mean, it worked – I haven’t (as far as I know) been infected with anything – but I was not filled with confidence. The program was always really slow to respond (you click to open it and have to wait for twenty seconds) and would crash completely out of the blue on a regular basis. But I stuck with it, for both the reasons above and because I don’t *need* a fantastically effective internet security suite as I run a pretty tight ship – I don’t download random programs, I surf with Javascript and Java switched off, I keep my OS and browser updated, I avoid dodgy sites, I don’t do social networking, I can recognise the difference between http and https and I scan all my email up on the server before downloading. On occasion I even boot into Ubuntu and scan my drives with ClamAV. I mean, I’m not immune to attack by any means, but I am tougher nut to crack than the average pleb.

So this week my BitDefender license expired. After considering switching to another program I decided it was simplest to renew it. I thought the renewal process might even fix some of the issues with speed and stability. So, off to the BitDefender site I went.

I put all my info in, chose PayPal as my payment method and submitted…

The site crashed.

Great. That’s really reassuring guys.

I decided to be charitable and assume there was problem with their PayPal integration (PayPal integration *is* a major pain). I reloaded the site in a fresh window, re-entered my data and chose to pay by credit card. I submitted, and the site crashed with exactly the same cryptic error message.

Two strikes, and out! Frack’em.

I’ve uninstalled BitDefender and am currently downloading a different AV program – one I’ve used in the past and had no problems with. Stick with what you know people!

PS: No Alice on Coast the other night. Boo!

A List That Will Certainly Grow

Too much information?

And while I’m messing around with iTunes the following songs are currently rated at 5 stars…

Dancing Queen – ABBA
Waterloo – ABBA
Janie’s Got a Gun – Aerosmith
Girl from Mars – Ash
Brandenburg Concerto No 3 Allegro – Bach
The Shape of Things to Come – Bear McCreary
Something Dark is Coming – Bear McCreary
Summer Rain – Belinda Carlisle
Annie Waits – Ben Folds
At the Bottom of Everything – Bright Eyes
Time after Time – Cyndi Lauper
Serenity – David Newman
Heaven  – DJ Sammy
Santa Monica – Everclear
Det Snurrar I Min Skalle – Familjen
Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
Walk Like a Man – Franki Valli and the Four Seasons
Palaces of Montezuma – Grinderman
Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns n Roses
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – Handel
Throw Your Arms Around Me – Hunters and Collectors
Gimme Sympathy – Metric
Bomb the World (Armageddon Version) – Michael Franti and Spearhead
Temple of Love (1992) – Sisters of Mercy
Copperhead Road – Steve Earl
The Winner Takes It All – The Black Sweden
The Jeep Song – The Dresden Dolls
Girl Anachronism – The Dresden Dolls
Lock It – The Falling Joys
3.A.M Eternal (Live at the S.S.L.) – The KLF
Last Train to Trancentral (LP Mix) – The KLF
What Time is Love? (LP Mix) – The KLF
America, What Time is Love? – The KLF
Hymn to Her – The Pretenders
How Soon is Now? – The Smiths
Tender is the Night (The Long Fidelity) – The Triffids
Wide Open Road – The Triffids
Hold On – Tom Waits
What’s He Building in There? – Tom Waits
Gloria in Excelsis Deo – Vivaldi

That needs some serious additions…

PS: Alisen Down in Stargate Universe! Woot! 😀

Listen and Learn

I’m talkin’ to you baby! I’m talkin’ to you sugar!

All you people listenin’ tonight! Yes I’m that preacher everybody’s talking about! I’m Doctor Williams givin’ out them red hot lessons, ten dollars, New York and New Jersey every week, all the way down the east coast! From Boston clean down to Atlanta Georgia last week! I told down the east coast!

Do somethin’ to help you, do somethin’ to help yourself!

Come get your mojo hey! Go down Atlantic City and be a winner! Go down to Atlantic City come back fat as a rat! Why should you be a loser when you can be a winner? Yes ma’am, yes sir!

Brooklyn New York! Brooklyn New York! Get ready! Doctor Williams will be in Brooklyn New York, tomorrow evening, Monday evening, 6 pm until 8 pm. I’m talkin’ to the hot red hot big money blessing straight! And you be there 6 o’clock tomorrow evening!

Bronx New York! Get on the telephone and call 50 of your friends! Tell all your friends who need some help! Doctor Williams is comin’ to the Bronx New York! Doctor Williams is comin’ to the Bronx New York!

Doctor Williams will be in the Bronx New York with a straight, straight hot! Hot hot hot hot! Red hot! Big money blessing! Can’t nobody can stop me! Not even the dead in hell can’t stop me!

I’ll get ready to leave tonight! I want you to know, I love you! I’m talkin’ to you baby! I’m talkin’ to you sugar! Listen, Doctor William’s car comin’ down man! I love you! I love you!

I have a special phone number, where you can call me, so that I can send you a special gift…


A Musical Cornucopia

Doing what every sane person did years ago

Caught up with Fabes and Juan over the weekend. We got the last of the boards flocked and had a quick scratch-up game of 40k. Fabes totally kicked my arse again – this time in two rounds – but that’s cool because I wasn’t actually trying to win. I was actually using the game to test some different strategies and gathered some very interesting data for further consideration…

(Fabes may think I’m just saying that after the fact to excuse my execrable performance, but I said as much to Juan before the game began, so there! :))

I’ve also started work on another project. While hanging around at Fabes’ place it occurred to me that I haven’t actually sat down and listened to a CD in ages. In years in fact. I listen to plenty of music, but it’s all via iTunes on my computer. I’ve got a couple of two metre tall IKEA racks full of CDs that I never touch, and I desperately need somewhere to store all the 40k models I’ve been buying. The solution is obvious – pack all the CDs up in a cupboard somewhere, and use the racks to hold my army. Brilliant!

So how is that a project you ask? It’s simple, I’ve got to go through and rip all the CDs before I put them away.

You see, I’ve never properly ripped most of them. When I first started listening to music on my computer I was cursed with a small hard drive, and a highly tempermental CD drive, which meant I could only afford to rip the songs I really liked at comparatively low quality to save space – and I usually had to rip them multiple times to get versions without annoying drop outs. In the end about 10% of my music collection actually ended up on my computer.

But now I have a huge hard drive and a CD/DVD drive that reliably rips tracks at close to the speed of light (or so it seems compared to my old machine). So I’m going to go through every single CD I own and get it ripped, imported and organised at high quality. It’ll be a marvellous cornucopia of music! And I’ll have somewhere to keep my Valhallans. Everybody wins!

Yeah, that’s really all I’ve got to say 🙂

(Watch this)

Drug of a Nation

Teaching myself to Cyclops Rock

I watch way too much TV.

I’ve been saying this for years but it finally came home to me the other day how much time I waste staring at the idiot’s lantern. Nothing in particular prompted this – apart from realising that despite the huge number of channels now available (hey, I grew up with only 9, 7, 10 and the ABC) there’s even less actually worth watching – but I’ve nonetheless decided to do something about it.

Observe, if you will, this…

There we have it – an entire week’s worth of potential viewing marked (in red) with the only things I am really not prepared to miss. Four and a half (five if you include QI which is a special case…) hours of watchable TV over the space of five days. Wow. And look at Wednesday! There’s nothing! Incredible!

So, I’m going to do my best to resist turning on the box in between those times. Sure, I’ll probably watch Catalyst on Thursdays because it’s interesting and fills in a gap between two red zones, and I may treat myself to some Hitler oriented documentaries on SBS on Friday nights, but other than that I’ll be cutting my diet way down. Of course, I’ll probably waste the saved time looking at amusing cat videos on YouTube, but that’s gotta be better than repeats of According to Jim, right?


Next step – charting out the weekends. Off the top of my head the only thing I can think of that’s vital is the new series of The Amazing Race. Other than that I can’t think of a single show…

Later: Oh wait! There’s that History of Scotland show on Sunday night. Hoots mon!


Simple Green and Simple Green! What is Simple Green?!

Among the models that I’ve been buying off eBay for my Valhallans was a rather interesting plastic one that came as part of a job lot. I can’t tell exactly what it’s meant to be, but it looks like a bald guy with cables coming out the back of his head, wielding what appears to be a plasma gun. There’s a large aquilla on his chest and he’s carrying some kind of ammo or power box.

Any further attempt at identification has been hampered by a bad repainting job – rather than strip off the previous paint a new coat of black primer has been sprayed over the top, rendering all detail lumpy and indistinct. There’s no way I was going to let this stand, so I did some research into paint stripping on plastic models.

Stripping paint off metal models is no problem – I’ve been using nail polish remover (acetone) for that with great success. Plastics are another matter entirely however, as any chemical strong enough to melt paint will usually melt plastics as well, so one needs to be very careful and run some tests. Or go to the internet which is of course what I did.

Searching for stripping info online was (as is normally the case) both enlightening and frustrating in equal parts. It appears that the gold standard for stripping plastics is a mysterious product called “simple green”. Americans seem to swear by it, and then refuse to listen when people point out that they don’t live in the States and therefore can’t obtain it…

Non-American: What can I use to strip plastics?
American: Use Simple Green! It’s awesome!
Non-American: What the hell is Simple Green?
American: It’s the best thing ever! Use Simple Green!
Non-American: I can’t get Simple Green where I live, what else can I use?
American: Simple Green! You can get it at your local Walmart!
Non-American: I live in [Country], is there something else I can use?
American: I don’t understand why you don’t just use Simple Green!
Non-American: I can’t get Simple Green!!
America: Simple Green!

…and so on.

Second rank suggestions include a variety of unpleasant substances such as turpentine, methylated spirits, oven cleaner and acne cream – all with provisos that they might melt the plastic anyway, so you should just be sensible and use Simple Green. But there was one suggestion that caught my eye – Dettol. I have some Dettol, so I thought I’d give it a crack.

Two days of soaking bits of sprue in Dettol resulted in no melting or other damage, so it passed the first hurdle. That tested I felt confident enough to dump the model in the stuff, so left it in overnight.

So the results – Dettol does in fact melt paint without damaging the underlying plastic. Hooray!

The downside – Dettol turns the paint into a highly adhesive, sticky mush, kind of like what you’d get if you mixed shoe polish and superglue. It sticks like crazy to the model, and to your hands, and to anything else you touch while frantically trying to get if off said hands. My bathroom taps now look like I’ve been enthusiastically smearing them with Kiwi, and my fingernails look like Marilyn Manson’s. It seems that the only way to shift this shoggoth-like material is with more Dettol, so my bathroom and hands now smell like the intensive care ward down at the hospital. But at least the paint is coming off!

I’ve left the model in to soak again while I’m at work. Maybe tonight I’ll be able to finish the job without ending up looking like a Hey Hey it’s Saturday sketch.

Foolish Story Ideas No. 1


Anthropologist records complex, ancient, multi-instrumental and multi-vocal religious chants from obscure South East Asian tribe. Accidentally messes up playback, speeding chants up by factor of eight. Chants are transformed into insipid modern pop song, complete with good approximation of modern instrumentation and English lyrics.

How did insipid modern pop song end up thousands of years in the past?
How did insipid modern pop song thousands of years in the past end up slowed down by eight?
How did insipid modern pop song thousands of years in the past and slowed down by eight become religiously significant enough to be repeated and preserved for thousands of years?
What is effect of this revelation on culture and religion of tribe?


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