Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sticking it to the "Man"

CD in Play: PJ Harvey, White Chalk
I am a 37 year old male, so why have I developed a toy fixation? Aside from the Doctor Who stuff, I have become obsessed with these self-assembly figures known as Stikfas. I bought the Alpha G2 Male "Dark Samurai" (see picture) while I was out looking at some possible presents for Gavin's son Herman - namely two 5" remote control Daleks that come with a Cyber Leader figure. (click here for the link) Gavin was wondering if it might be a bit too involved for Herman, who can be notably short on patience. I have low tolerance for piddly, picky things so I figured I'd try it out for myself.
Stikfas figures, as stated above require assembly allowing people to customise their figures as the see fit. They have numerous articulation points and are actually quite similar to the wooded sketching figures you can pick up in art supply stores. The can be quite piddly and picky indeed - especially the figures with the most articulation points. Joint connection points can sometimes be hard to make and I worry about too much stress taking out the point.
These are possable figures and as such don't make great toys. I find it appropriately ironic that a increase in articulation, something every boy wishes his figures had, makes figures more life-like and yet less functional as a toy. I bought a G2 Gamma Male Viking which was a real exercise in frustration, since it has knee and elbow articulation points as well. But now he is squaring off against my Samurai, currently missing a hand since one broke in half.
I am hooked though. I bought the Alpha Male Pirate with Skeleton (The Skeleton is great) and a black Alpha Male Blister pack, which I will scavenge to give my Samurai a new hand. After that I can replace the Alpha's missing hand with a pirate hook and other accessories. I feel weird, honestly, but I am planning to get the black knight, (see below) knight and horse, samurai and horse, Roman legionnaire, and Beta Female Warrior with Dragon. From there I can start mixing and matching and create some things that have in mind.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Contemptuous, Lying, Sneaky Weasels and Their Filthy, Scabrous, Weasley Lies

CD in Play: Supergrass, I Should Coco

(With all due apologies to Ron, Ginny, Fred, George, Charlie, Bill, Percy, Molly and Aurthur)

Okay, so this weasel I am about to rant about is not so sneaky. In fact this weasel is a bit of a slacker. Given the nature of blogging about work and my need to respect the integrity of the institution I work for, I need to keep this oblique. I need to blow off steam, and writing this seems the best way to do it. I had a complaint filed against me by someone who has obviously got it out for me: the individual has grossly misrepresented the nature and details of our dealings together. While I do have a temper and it can get up rather quickly, I do tend to be rather more patient on the job and am capable of reigning it in.
The male in question kept flaunting the rules of the institution, violating "no go" storage and construction areas and expecting special treatment. This was back in March of this year and he ran afoul of me and my co-workers on several occasions before being spoken more severely on the final occasion. He has accused me of seizing and searching his personal belongings in May, but fortunately that instance was caught on camera and two co-workers reviewed the footage that shows the innocence of the situation. In retrospect soon after it happened, I had wondered if he wasn't trying to trap me with his actions. Said male ran afoul of at least three other people I work with, yet he chooses to focus in on me. All this because he was unable to get his own way on two different occasions.
After the non-incident-incident in May, the male stated he wanted to file a complaint against me so I gave him the contact number and the names of three people he could register his complaint with. He finally filed his complaint last week in the middle of October. I was allegedly being hostile and ranting at to people for no reason. I had to raise my voice but that was because the distance between us was great, I had to remain where I was and no one else could make it in time. Apparently, this event caused the male painful pangs in his psyche and he just couldn't take it anymore.
The complaint is libelous and his witnesses are lying through their teeth. He states his girlfriend was there, but there was no woman with him on any occasion. (unless the one guy that was with him on the first encounter was a pre-op transsexual who still dressed and acted exactly like a guy) He was alone on our second encounter and I am the one with a witness. Their were a couple of other encounters he mentioned but they never happened - or at least he has chosen to apply them to me. He states he is uncomfortable and feels unsafe when I am on campus.
Fortunately, the company and the institution don't seem to be taking the guy very seriously as I had forewarned them that he was intending to file a complaint. In fact, I am still on a list for promotion and a raise and my on-site duties are being expanded in a positive way. But it does bother me that someone feels the need to fabricate crap about me because they got their wrist slapped a few times when they were very much in the wrong. What worries me even more is some insipid, spiteful git like this could end up in a position of authority and responsibility without learning to take resposibility for or to accept the fault that lies in his own actions.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

More Old Et Ceteras

CD in Play: The Who, Quadrophenia.

What's Next?

I had always liked The Who, but my preference was for their catalogue from `65's My Generation up to `71's Who's Next. After 1971, The Who's material was pretty hit and miss for me. Aside from a couple of tracks , the double record offerings on 1973's Quadrophenia never really grabbed me. Actually, there have been times where I felt a certain amount of antipathy toward the album.
I am just about finished Ian Rankin's second to last Rebus novel, Naming of the Dead. (I have Exit Music waiting for me in my bag) In the book, without giving much away, Rebus attends a funeral where "Love Reign O'er Me" is played at the end of the ceremony. I have always liked that song and the subsequent mentions of the album and discussions about The Who versus The Rolling Stones got me interested to hear the album again. And then I started having the urge to hear "The Real Me", so I popped by Audiopile (my favourite used store) and grabbed the album.
Quadrophenia will never become my favouite Who album, but I have grown into it. Songs like "Bell Boy" don't grab me at first but get interesting once further along. I can appreciate Quadrophenia now on a different level then I could have hoped to as a teen.


I had Japanese "sour plumb" in a maki roll today for the first time in a long time. Umeboshi is actually more like an apricot and is quite salty and sour. It falls into the catagory of tsukemono, Japanese pickles, which I also quite like. If you go for sushi, the most common (and perhaps only) form of tsukemono is the oshinko roll. (pickled daikon)
I need to learn how to make Japanese food for myself. I'd change my diet completely.

A Mind For Invention

I ran into a friend recently and he told me something I was not aware of. He was going to rip my old band's anthology (Hypernode, A Mind for Invention) to his hard drive so he could upload certain tracks to his iPod. Anyhow CDDB (online CD Database) already had the tracks listed and recognise the album. It was a bit of a shock for him, that something so obscure and of dubious quality would be found on the database, but it was a pleasant shock. I imagine I have either Trent Ernst or Ken Goudswaard to thank for that, so thank you one and all.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Willekeurig Materiaal

CD in Play: The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed.

Baby Diego

My friends Elijah and Miriam have had their first child, a baby boy. They have not named the child as of yet, but I have called it Baby Diego. If you get the reference then you must have liked the film Children of Men as much as me. He's small, about a month underdeveloped and doctors are unsure why. However, Miriam and Elijah are proud and eager parents so here is to a long, healthy and happy life for "Baby Diego".

The Return of the Return of Splog

As stated below, I have a little splogging problem lately. I suppose one of my reasons for hating splog so virulently is that some actually believes that they have the right to use my space to post advertisements: that people believe they have the right to force feed me and others advertisements. I'm sick of the omnipresence of advertising. It wouldn't surprise me if advertisers did discover a way to encode adverts into our dreams like they did in Futurama. Enough is enough.

GARGH! F*%#!*^$ $%^*#$ &*@(!()))!!!!!!!!!

Given how blog posts about exasperation at work seem to come back to haunt the people who post them - let it be sufficient to say that I am currently exasperated and frustrated at work for a variety of reasons. Nothing that can't be worked out, but nothing people seem willing to tackle aside from me and a couple of others. (which is not nearly enough)
However, I will add that my disdain threshold has breached on numerous fronts. My landlady is an idiot, I am barraged with idiocy on an almost daily basis and I am feeling quite disdainful. Not that I think I am better than everyone else, I know I am not, but I am tired of idiocy. I am tired of people who don't even try to use their brains and who lack the guts to do what needs to be done. Splogging, by the way, is another form of idiocy in my books.

The Invasion

I just got my copy of The Invasion (Doctor Who) back from Gavin. I watched it on Monday whenI was off sick and continued to watch it again last night. It is a serial told in eight, roughly 25 minute parts. While watching The Invasion it becomes apparent how much of Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel (new Who Series 2) are, essentially a remake/retelling of The Invasion. Even the voice modulations for the Cybermen are similar.
However, one striking difference is the soundtrack. The Soundtrack for the Series 2 episodes doesn't really stand out in my mind, but the The Invasion' s does. Don Harper put together a score that really stands out and has embedded (dare I say... implanted) itself in my brain.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Splog it Splogeth Everyday (or Voodoo Splog, A Slight Return)

So I posted a thing about Shoe Gazer music with and attached a video by My Bloody Valentine I found on YouTube. Today I see some splog posted up in the comments section by "Selva" about deals on footwear. It gave me a chuckle while I deleted it. capitalists.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pardon me Meme, but could spare a dime?

CD's in Play: The Flaming Lips, Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade.

The Book Meme Challenge

Geosomin tested and Pacian approved. Here it goes...

Total number of books owned: No bloody clue. Too many packed away in storage and every book my Dad owns I inherit. Somewhere around the 400 mark at the very minimum.

Last Book Bought: If it didn't have such a gaudy cover, it would have been Christopher Priest's The Prestige. The cover as it stands now has "FALL 2006, A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE" in big bold red letters. Blah... tacky. So I resumed reading the Inspector Rebus series - "Tartan Noir" at its finest - by Ian Rankin with The Naming of the Dead. Just starting the book so I don't have much to say at this time. Another Rebus book was released in September, Exit Music. Potentially the last Rebus novel, I would be interested if Rankin chose to revisit or even develop some of the other characters from the series sans John Rebus, like Siobhan Clarke. (assuming she doesn't get killed off in this latest outing)

Last book read: An almost tie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin. I liked Deathly Hallows quite a bit, but I do have a complaint. I think that the book really does handle the end of the conflict and the fates of Voldemort and Harry quite well. However, the book's epilogue is most unsatisfying. As Pete Chattaway and I were discussing, the ending of Deathly Hallows is what Tolkien's Return of the King would have been like without the chapters "The Scouring of the Shire" and the "Grey Havens".
There has been a major conflict in the magical world, mundane and magical folk alike have been killed. People in positions of power have abused said power for their own ends and need to be dealt with. What becomes of Dolores Umbridge, imperiused individuals like Pius Thicknesse, the Death Eaters, etc. Yeah, Rowling discusses their fates in interviews and we can read them on Wikipedia - but it really should have been in the book. An the book's epilogue is not enough, there are many characters we care about and know nothing about their fate. We know what becomes of of the practically non-character of Teddy Lupin, but what of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Fred, Percy, Professor McGonagall, etc. The ending is just too abrupt. In pop-psychology speak: I want closure.
Fleshmarket Close is topical, dealing with human smuggling and the modern day slave trade. I still need to go back and re-read Rankin's A Question of Blood. "Close" is a Scottish term for alley, by the way.

Five books that mean a lot to you: Some tough choices here.

1. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: An unavoidable tie. The Hobbit is the first big book I can remember reading all the way through on my own at the age of seven. I read The Lord of the Rings when I was eleven years old. These really shaped my imagination and probably are as responsible for my interest in the early Medieval period as my Father was. There have been many imitators, but few can hold even a birthday candles worth of light to Tolkien's masterpieces.

2. Sea Wolves - The Viking Era: This one is packed away so I can't give the authors full names but it was by Birkenbak and Barren. My Dad gave this to me when I was five and an obsession was born. While my Dad was enamoured with Viking ship building and settlement, I was enthralled by the tales of blood and vengeance. The book has since been expanded and updated as book simply and unoriginally entitled as, The Vikings.

3. Find the Constellations and D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths: Another unavoidable tie. Find the Constellations was a book my parents bought for me after a visit to the Planetarium. H.A. Rey, the man who brought us Curious George, did a children's version of his book The Stars: A New Way to See Them. Rey helped millions of people see the the constellations in an easier way than had been available before his efforts. My Mum and I (and occasionally my Dad if he didn't have work the next day) would sit out on a clear night in any season and watch the sky using Rey's book to find the constellations.
Part of my love and interest in the constellations was fueled by my love of Greek mythology. Visits to the Port Moody Public Library often entailed me signing out D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths yet again. Author Ingri D'Aulaire and illustrator Edgar Parin D'Aulaire really sparked my imagination with their rather comprehensive book on Greek myths. I was always disappointed as a kid that no one had done a similar book for Norse mythology.

4. The Prydain Chroncles by Lloyd Alexander: I first started to read The Book of Three at the age of six and The Castle of Llyr shortly after. I'd read a chapter and and my Mum would read a chapter. The Port Coquitlam library didn't have the complete set of stories and none of my schools had the books at all until I attended Mission Junior. In Grade 9 I read the entire series, which was good for me at the time since the series' follows the main character, Taran, from his emergence from childhood into adolescence and onto manhood. I re-read the series pretty faithfully up to my late 20's and they always seemed to help me get through tough times. Loosely based on Welsh mythology, I was also fascinated by the series since part of my family came to Canada from Wales.

5. The Quiet American by Graham Greene: Certainly not the first adult novel I had read, but perhaps the most crucial. I read this at a time when many people who shared my Faith were in the process of conforming to an Evangelical way of thinking and being. I had been refusing to conform, discovering who I am and what I am. It is a lonely path to walk sometimes. I had been told about an English writer, a very devout Catholic named Graham Greene. With the exception of C.S. Lewis, Evangelical writers had not impressed me at all, but Greene's work struck a chord. A Christian can be someone who thinks, who cares and is opposed to the way things are done in the West. A Christian can be an individual. A writer who is a Christian can actually create an important work of art. It need not be fluff, it need not play to the lowest common denominator. I am sure I did not realise all of that at the time, but the Quiet American has always stuck with me as has my soft spot for Greene's work.

Most worthy mentions and unfortunate victims of the list limit are the works of Charles Williams, particularly War in Heaven and Descent into Hell. Watership Down also deserves mention as does Rankin's spy novel Watchman, which really helped to make me an active reader again.


So some dipshit by the handle of "Costa Rica" has been splogging my blog with crap about investment opportunities - time share condos and other sure to be real estate scams within the sovereign nation of Costa Rica. Yes this blog gets a lot of hits - all things considered - but man, has "Costa Rica" hit the wrong blog.
Neither the author nor many of the readers of this blog can afford or are inclined to get involved in the crap you are trying to peddle. Do yourself a favour and get over the whole capitalism thing - read up on Che Guevara and work to free you and your fellow citizens of the Capitalist hegemony that holds you nation hostage. Stop being lap dog for your imperialist overlords!
Socialisimo O Meurte!