I died for your sins, so accordingly, here are some inane musings to contemplate...

Monday, December 15, 2008


So some more mini book reviews:

Kevin J Anderson - The Ashes of Worlds (The Saga of Seven Suns book 7) - a nice enough conclusion to a series that was a little up and down for my tastes. It started well with the first three books, lost a bit of the plot towards the middle there, and then tied things up relatively nicely by this final volume and its predecessor, Metal Swarm. Kevin Anderson is sort of an everyman when it comes to Sci-Fi and it will be interesting to see how he goes with his new Fantasy series which is due to start next year. All in all The Saga of Seven Suns was a sort of space opera type sci-fi-lite with a lot of Star Wars-ish leanings - he even admitted it was originally pitched as an idea for a Star Wars series. I realise this write-up isn't even a write-up but more an admission that here is a sci-fi series that was basically OK but really quite basic and pulpish in the end. Why Basil Wenceslas wasn't murdered by the end of book one I'll never know - some of the characters' actions or naivety just did not make sense.

Glen Cook - Chronicles of the Black Company - I've read these first three Black Company books now and am likely to read the sequels but they aren't too high on my list. I can see why Erikson refers to these novels as some of the inspiration behind the characters in his Malazan series and it's like he's taken the next evolutionary step. Enjoyable novels and a story that arcs over the first three books, the main character of Croaker is certainly engaging and he'd have to be as almost the entire story is from his perspective. Would not suit everyone as they are certainly written in an "old-school" feel or way - I dunno how to express it any better.

Terry Pratchett - Nation - Terry's first non-Discworld book since The Amazing Maurice and it was well worth the wait. Nation is a sad and endearing tale of two young people struggling to deal with death and disaster in a world unrecognisable after the horror of a Tsunami. Not as funny as his Discworld novels but certainly with more heart and soul, I adored this novel and would recommend it to anyone, even people not into fantasy as it's not really a fantasy novel, more alternate history/reality. Also has the poignancy of Terry dropping everything to write this as soon as he found out about his Alzheimer's - it was a story he'd always been putting off writing until he realised he might not have time left to finish it. Loved it.

Gardner Dozois / George RR Martin / Daniel Abraham - Hunter's Run - adapted and expanded from a short story by Dozois I found Hunter's Run, although initially unlikable, to be quite an engaging and quick read. Basically about a man captured by aliens and his struggle to define himself and his humanity when forced to aid in the hunt for another human fugitive, a fugitive with closer links to the hunter than he thinks. It's quite obvious from early on what the relationship between hunter and hunted really is so the big reveal isn't a shock at all, but there is certainly an interesting story told about identity and what it means to be who you are and how circumstances can affect your outlook on life.

Jeff Lindsay - Dexter in the Dark - with a fantastic first novel and a pretty good sequel, Lindsay has created something quite unique with his Dexter series and a spin-off TV show that just keeps getting better. Unfortunately the third novel lost the plot completely with some supernatural overtones that were just plain ridiculous. I find it amusing that the writers on his show are having far more fun with the character than he is, the third season has been great fun with Dexter finally finding a friend. I'll give the fourth book a go but if that is on par with this third one then I'll probably just stick with the TV show.

David Gunn - Death's Head - a thrilling and fun ride through an uber-violent sci-fi universe courtesy of the rough and ready Sven. I read this one in two days - a rarity for this slow reader for a 500+ page novel - because the writing was just so succinct and yet managed to paint a fantastically vivid picture of Sven and his travails with the Death's Head marines. Will definitely be reading the rest of this series, sort of a cross between Starship Troopers, Tales of the Malazan (the soldiering stuff from that anyway) and John Scalzi's books. Loved it.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Well no new updates for a while, like I said this was not gonna be a seriously regular gig.

Everything is cool, have been reading some pretty good books - Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company (books 2 and 3), Terry Pratchett's Nation and just started Martin/Dozois/Abraham's Hunter's Run - looks like I can get to over 40 by the end of the year (Hunter's Run is #38) which is quite an achievement for me.

Seen some moofies: Tropic Thunder - hilarious, Starhip Troopers 3: Marauder - atrocious, Star Wars Clone Wars - meh, and watched in one sitting Kung-Fu Panda, Madagascar and Over The Hedge which actually just really showed how dull a moofie Madagascar is, I hope the sequel is far superior but am not holding my breath.

Had my housewarming last weekend which went well despite not really being able to use the outdoor area of our apartment because of the torrential rain, hail and cyclonic winds. Still plenty of fun with many a drink drunk. The image above is of moi and my friend Kerryn during a brief break in the weather - the balloons are Kerryn and Jane's idea of bringing the sunset with them.

Off to Perth next week for work - Monday night to Friday afternoon, which with the time difference means I get back to Melbourne at something like 9pm Friday - I have a pub crawl I am supposed to attend on the Saturday but flying always takes it out of me so I might not be able to attend... Ha! Who am I kidding? I'll be there with bells on!

Christmas is looming, must think of some gifts to foist onto the family...

Oh and I had planned a post about how I never get angry except over petty things - house mate and a friend recently commented about how I am pretty happy kind of guy (including a very happy drunk) and don't get angry or upset about things, that is until I released my furious anger in a tirade about neighbours and their bins and the evil passengers that pollute trams... ahem... Like I said, planned a post, but I'm lazy so it may never turn up.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Although I love films and I love reading, I really don't like reviewing them at all - I either like 'em or I don't with the occasional in between. So with that in mind, here are a few mini reviews of recent books I've read:

Joel Shepherd - Cassandra Kressnov Trilogy (Crossover/Breakaway/Killswitch) - a great sci-fi lite series about a cyborg/android set on the world of Callay. Humanity has expanded to the stars however the breakaway League is more inclined to explore technological advancement with fewer checks and measures than their Federation brethren - they are so impressed with what they can do they don't necessarily think about what they should do. As a result Cassandra Kressnov has been created - the most highly advanced hunter-killer cyborg of all time, except now she's gone rogue and has decided that civilian life is for her, civilian life amongst the tech-savvy Callay capital of Tanusha, a Federation planet.

Basically this trilogy covers Sandy's struggle to become "normal" and accepted within a society that thinks of her as a monster. The books cover some great political and philosophical ground with a tech-noir bent and measures of anti-racism and anti-discrimination - based on just about anything - thrown into the mix. A fun and fast read where the pace hardly ever lets up, I greatly enjoyed every book - Joel Shepherd is an Aussie author to look out for. Very cool covers on the US versions from Pyr which are what I have.

John Scalzi - Old Man's War / The Ghost Brigades / The Last Colony - a great little trilogy of novels where Scalzi explores themes of Humanity, our place in the Universe and a few other bits and pieces, all against a Starship Troopers-esque backdrop of alien arse kicking and violent Human expansion and colonisation. A very fun trilogy with some fascinating takes on aliens and just how virulent the human race could be once it reaches the stars. I greatly enjoyed this series and look forward to reading the rest of his books either in this universe or out.

Ian C Esslemont - Return of the Crimson Guard - Esslemont's second foray into the Malazan world shows just how far he has come as a writer since the so-so Night of Knives. Quite an enjoyable read and fits in very well with Erikson's existing Malazan novels (this occurs, for the most part, somewhere between Reaper's Gale and Toll the Hounds) although curiously the story of the titular Crimson Guard themselves was probably the weakest storyline of the whole book! It was a little confusing at first as he has many plot threads starting in the first 100 pages or so but he quickly manages to weave together culminating in the largest battles yet depicted in the Malazan universe. I especially loved Nait's storyline and antics and the novel also features an absolutely HUGE event in the Malazan world so MUST be read by those who are enjoying Erikson's books.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Just a list to remind me to stop watching TV, stop going to the pub, and get on that couch and read Boy, READ! In no particular order as I decide on a whim when I finish each book which one to read next. (Number) indicates an omnibus edition or series.

Here are the ones actually on my shelf:
  1. Kevin J Anderson - The Ashes of Worlds (just started this morning)
  2. Terry Pratchett - Nation
  3. Lynne Truss - Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  4. John Lindqvist - Let The Right One In
  5. Mervyn Peake - The Gormenghast Trilogy (3)
  6. Hugh Cook - Chronicles of an Age of Darkness (9 - gotta find #10)
  7. Glen Cook - First Chronicles of the Black Company (2 - already read book 1)
  8. John Scalzi - The Ghost Brigades & The Last Colony (2)
  9. Jeff Lindsay - Dexter In The Dark
  10. Ian Cameron Esslemont - Return of the Crimson Guard
  11. Robin Hobb - Shaman's Crossing (need to buy the 2 sequels first)
  12. Stephen King - The Mist (and other short stories)
  13. China Mieville - Perdido Street Station
  14. Fritz Leiber - Ill Met in Lankhmar
  15. Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn (need to buy the 2 sequels first)
  16. Rudyard Kipling - The Complete Jungle Book
  17. Herman Melville - Moby Dick
  18. Gene Wolfe - Severian of the Guild (4)
  19. Daniel Abraham - The Long Price (2)
  20. Greg Keyes - Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone (4)
  21. Michael Moorcock - Various (if I ever get 'round to them)
  22. David Gunn - Death's Head
  23. Martin/Dozois/Abraham - Hunter's Run
So yeah, I guess that proves I'm sort of a compulsive book buyer who really should actually read more. Some of those I've had forever (Moorcock, Leiber, Hobb) and the list just kinda proves that I need to join a library and try and save my pennies... Nah, bugger that!

I've also got a list of books I still want to buy that is actually longer than that above... Woo hoo! :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


So some books that I ordered last week from Book Depository and ABE Books arrived today - woo hoo!

First up is the final installment in Kevin J Anderson's Saga of Seven Suns - The Ashes of Worlds. I've quite enjoyed this series so far, probably because it is Sci-Fi Lite and more Space Opera than anything else, hard sci-fi makes my brain hurt a little. I didn't enjoy the previous novel so much but I have been told that it ends quite satisfactorily and I'm certainly not going to not read the seventh book after reading the first six!

Next up are the two sequels to John Scalzi's Old Man's War which I really enjoyed quite a bit - again sci-fi lite with a real feeling of deja-vu in that I swear these books were inspired by Heinlein's Starship Troopers (which is a much better book than the moofies would have you believe) and are a very enjoyable and easy read.

And after those we have Terry Pratchett's Nation, his first non-Discworld novel in quite a few years. It's quite sad that Terry has a form of Alzheimers that may mean his regular yearly and even six monthly novel production may slow down dramatically but I've heard this novelis really quite something, so looking forward to it quite a bit.

Next up is Lynne Truss' Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a book about punctuation use and rules in written English and how it can affect what a sentence means. I'm a bit of a spelling and punctuation Nazi (thanks Dad) so to make sure I'm always correct I thought Id give this a go. Been meaning to read it for years to be honest.

Second to last is John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) is a Swedish vampire horror novel(translated to English of course). I recently saw the film of this at the Melbourne International Film Festival and when I found out it was based on a book I knew I just had to get it. I'm not a massive fan of vampire movies, books or anything really, but I loved this film and suspect I'll enjoy the book.

Last up is Hugh Cook's fourth book in the classic Chronicles of an Age of Darkness series, The Walrus and the Warwolf - I really enjoyed this series when I read it in my early teens and recently bought all of the books bar this one and the last one. So I'm yet to get the last one (which I think has only been self-published and was never released) and plan on giving these a rip through maybe sometime in the new year.

Now the big question is - what do I read first? I should finish Killswitch tonight... Maybe Ashes of Worlds, or possibly The Ghost Brigades... Decisions, decisions...

I'll maybe do another post with all the other books on my "to read" shelf - it's getting quite packed, I'll need to concentrate and read more!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


So basically what my hobbies are revealing (or at least confirming) is that I am a total bum and an absolute couch potato - in fact most of the joy in my life comes from sitting or lying on a couch. One said joy is being mesmerised, disgusted and moved by "my stories" (as Nanna Mac calls them) on the television.

I guess I'll just list a few of my favourite shows throughout the years and maybe a couple of anecdotes that will in the end mean absolutely nothing to anyone but me, but then isn't that the point of 90% of blogs?

Favourite Show Ever - The West Wing - easily the greatest television show ever created by Man. I was hooked from the beginning despite Channel 9 in Australia showing it at God awful hours which changed from week to week - I think the earliest it ever started was at 10:30pm the latest not at all! I purchased a bunch of the DVDs but was also gifted with a complete box set of all 7 seasons by my little Bro' for my 30th which I immediately used to re-watch the entire series from start to finish for about a month or two earlier this year. With such intelligent and funny writing I still pick up extra bits and pieces every time I re-watch it. Amazingly well acted with such a feeling of hope that maybe all politics doesn't need to be dirty - of course they never actually achieved anything in the show, but that doesn't matter does it? Favourite episode would have to be the final of season 2 with the death of a much loved character and President Josiah Bartlett deciding on whether to run for a second term - the end scene is just so powerful and is a stunning achievement in television.

Honourable Mentions: E.R., NCIS, Ugly Betty, Battlestar Galactica (new), Metal Mickey, Astro Boy, Robotech, Family Ties, Coupling, House.

Most Memorable Moment - E.R. - Death of Dr. Greene - well actually the episode where we first learn that he died and not the next episode where we see him carking it. It was the scene where Noah Whyle's character is reading out a letter from Greene's wife Elizabeth in that central area in the E.R. and we get to see all the regular character's reactions. Great TV and I don't mind saying I cried like a baby. I haven't watched the last 3 or 4 seasons of E.R., I dunno its maybe lost its charm for me, but everything before that I saw religiously.

Honourable Mentions: Battlestar Galactica - Adama being shot - both times!, The West Wing - learning of Leo's death and Josh's reaction to it (another tear jerker that gets me every time), Family Ties - when Alex is high on speed, Coupling - whole Melty Man episode, Buffy - Hush episode.

You know what? I'll leave it at that for the moment. I could name dozens of shows that I like and watch, but maybe I'll just do mini-posts about them in the future, if I could even be bothered. I had high hopes for this post when I started it but now I'm bored and wanna go watch some more West Wing, ciao!

Friday, October 03, 2008


I'm a reader. There I said it. Not a particularly good or well-read one, but a reader I am nonetheless.

I read more than some and less than others. I would say I'm a slow and inconsistent reader as it can take me 3 weeks to read a 350 page novel or a weekend to read a 900 page novel. I guess it just depends on how interested I am in the novel and also the social pressures that being a beer drinker puts on me during that particular time.

And like some, I like to buy my books and keep hold of them. Until recently the majority of books went into piles in the bottom of my cupboard due to the fact of not having many bookshelves, however this has recently been (mostly) rectified with a move of house and thanks to a meme found over at Speculative Horizons I thought I might post up a few pictures of my wonderful collection of fantasy and sci-fi novels.

So to the left we have a pic of the whole shebang - not a huge collection but I love it all the same. I was worried about the heater/air-con unit above the bookcases having a detrimental effect on the books but it doesn't seem to have had any effects during the heat blasting through winter.

I order the books pretty randomly although they are sorted into series' by author and of course publishing or possibly reading order within that.

There are a few missing (and I'll note where) due to borrowing by friends or my bro'. Also there are more on an old bookshelf in my room that aren't really my favourites but I have kept a hold of just for the hell of it. Still to decide if I'll keep them or send them off to the charity shop.

Those extra shelves you can see at the bottom left of screen were not needed and the price of them alone will buy me a whole new bookshelf to replace the old one in my room. So, onto the books!

(no linking, you can Google or Wikipedia stuff on your own if you are so inclined)

The top shelf has my two favourite series': George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. The first Malazan book is on loan to a mate who won't appreciate it.

Next shelf we have the lovely Robin Hobb novels all of which I've liked, then the Joe Abercrombie series The First Law - brilliant series that I have had several friends read and thank me for recommending. Then Anderson's Saga of Seven Suns, must grab the last book although I think he's lost his way in the previous two novels of the series, but am happy to finish it.

Next is the Terry Pratchett shelf which is by no means complete - something I really must rectify as I absolutely adore all of his work.
Must ask Jack what he thought of Good Omens and make him return it to me...

Next shelf is a bit of a mixed bag (again with a few missing). Really liked the Bakker series, and at the top left are two books in Hugh Cook's Chronicles of an Age of Darkness - I read that series as a teenager and recently re-bought them all recently (bar the final book) and plan on re-reading them soon - at the moment this shelf is far more packed since taking this photo - I just can't stop buying books!

Next up we have what could be termed the "kids" shelf. John Marsden's Tomorrow series was just brilliant although I think he was flogging a dead horse with the Ellie Chronicles. I was totally against Harry Potter when he first became popular but then got sucked in and have read the series twice now - they're enjoyable and I am less of a reading snob these days - if that can be said of any person that reads almost exclusively in the fantasy genre.

Next to those are Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionovar Tapestry which I really didn't enjoy that much at all.

Bottom shelf of bookcase number 1 has some favourite Tad Williams with his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy plus the Death Gate Cycle by Weis and Hickman. I've yet to read some of those Moorcock books on the far right that I picked up on the cheap about 12 years ago, I liked the thin ones in the middle.

I wasn't a fan of Williams' Otherland series but maybe I need to give it another go someday...

On to bookcase number 2 and the top shelf has Jordan's Wheel of Time all in Tor hardcover (except New Spring) plus Wurts and Feist's fantastic Empire Trilogy - my favourite of Feist's.

Next shelf is completely Feist where I need to grab a few of the first novels in hardcover to complete the collection.

Shelf 3 is mostly my "to read" shelf. I've read the fantastic Richard Morgan novels (love Takeshi Kovacs trilogy) and most of those on the right were enjoyable, especially Mary Gentle's Grunts!

The next two shelves feature some of my favourite classics of the genre - the required Tolkien (enjoyed but don't love), Eddings (he was a gun in the 80s and 90s and the Belgariad began my affair with fantasy), Gary Gygax (I re-read these Gord the Rogue novels every few years), McCaffrey's Pern series (truly a classic though have not read the newer ones in the last few years), and a mixed bag of Terry Brooks (who I can take or leave although the Elfstones of Shannara is still one of my most favourite books ever).

And last but not least the Sara Douglass shelf. There are a few books missing here as my brother has nicked them, but I really liked her Axis and Wayfarer Redemption trilogies. I think her best work is The Crucible quartet (not least because I am thanked along with others in The Wounded Hawk for helping out on her web site message board). I was not a fan of the Troy Game and have yet to try Darkglass Mountain - too many others to read before that!

So there you have it, about 90% of my collection. I used to own many, many more but during the mid-90s I had a bit of a clean out and traded in a bunch, I've also obviously read many more than what features here although those tended to be early days when I still bothered going to libraries. I like owning the books I read - good or bad - and ever since I found The Book Depository I've been buying more and more.

What I really need to do though is have a consistent reading habit. At the moment I mostly read on the tram to and from work and in front of the TV, all of which means I can get very distracted. What I need is a good reading chair with a side table for my beer and crisps that doesn't have a view of anything to distract me. Perhaps the next place I move to can have a spare room dedicated to this and other leisurely pursuits? We shall see...

Might do a post soon on my to read list - the novels that I plan to add to the collection and those I already bought.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I have weird dreams.

I can never remember them but I remember that I have them. I wake up several times almost every night (light sleeper when I'm not pissed as a fart) and I feel instantly alert and fully conscious. Then I recall what my brain was just doing and more often than not I'll audibly say "What the fuck was that?" or "Get out of my head!" or something along those lines anyway. Then five minutes later I'm back to sleep and have forgotten everything that just happened except for the fact that I just woke up. I'd keep a dream diary to find out what my messed up head is coming up with but I can't see a damn thing at that stage of the night, what with the dark and without my contacts, plus it'd probably just cause me to stay awake.

I said to Housemate last night that if I was to record the evening's boudoir audio that it'd be filled with loud farts, the sound of a fat dude rolling over in bed every few minutes and the tourette's style muttering of an insane person. When you played it back you'd have to turn the volume up really loud to catch the various soliloquies much like that scene from The Sixth Sense... Of course then you'd be deafened by the massive BLARRRRRT of one of my regular gas expulsions, but such is life.

What woman wouldn't want him, I hear you ask? A crazy one, obviously.

The sweat (rather than sweet) in the post title refers to the fact that I also sometimes wake up with my head absolutely soaked in sweat, I mean pools of the stuff on my pillow and my hair drenched, and yet everything else is squeaky clean. I dunno, maybe I have some kind of head fungal infection, or those dreams of being able to breathe underwater actually refer to Housemate trying to drown me. So kinda gross and something the internet needed to know (I realise I am communicating to a vast conglomerate of information that I like to think of as a physical entity, rather than individual human beings, I know no one reads this shit but me).

I need to replace the pillows rather often, or at least I should :-)

Also fucking MARVELLOUS is in my head every single FUCKING day.

Although I'm kinda getting used to it now... can't find the original on YouTube though.

Friday, September 19, 2008


For some reason whilst watching the Hamish & Andy episode of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader last night, a memory flashed through my head from Primary School days.

I figure it was when the teacher got bored that they would decide that we'd play a game called "Heads Down Thumbs Up" - an absolutely genius game where you lay your head on your desk and scrunch your eyes shut, stick your thumbs up and then a group of 3 or so people would go around the room and squeeze someone's thumbs. Once done those squeezees would have to guess the squeezers and if they guessed correctly they became a squeezer... Like I said, genius!

Only I would always cheat... I'd lay my forehead on the edge of the desk, pretend to close my eyes, and then watch the shoes of the squeezers as they travelled around the room, if they squeezed my thumb it was easy to figure out who had performed said action based on their penchant for Mr Men socks or bright buckles. For some reason the teachers never said anything even though I was sure they could tell I wasn't putting my head on the table properly, maybe they thought it was 'cause of the huge coke bottle glasses I was sporting at that tender age.

The things we remember are so weird sometimes...

(yes I am aware that is a Cheetah, not a Cheater, I was being facetious or ironic or just plain dumb)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I was introduced to the Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by my friend Betty at the start of 2007. That year I powered through the first 7 novels almost all in a row and loved every second of it - here was a complex and stunningly realised storyline filled with fascinating characters and situations; Steven Erikson quickly became one of my favourite authors ever.

So I just finished Toll the Hounds, the 8th novel in the 10 book series and it did not fail to deliver one iota. I'm not really a person who likes to "review" moofies or books or anything really - if I like it I'll tell you and then you can make up your own mind. But I just have to say here that this man really knows how to write humour and sadness and wrap it all together in a compelling and beautiful story. I am constantly amazed at the complexity of the plots and the deftness that he switches between story lines within not only a novel but in the series as a whole.

While reading the Malazan novels I am always asking myself if he had actually planned all that I have been reading from the very beginning, maybe not every single detail, but certainly the general gist of each of the major stories and how they interact and intertwine around each other. If you're a fan of Fantasy or Science Fiction then you just have to read this series - although the first novel, Gardens of the Moon, can actually be quite hard to get into as it starts half way through a war and you just have no idea about anything that is going on, but persevere and I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed. Even if you're not a fan of Fantasy as a genre, try and give this series a go.

The other great thing about Erikson is that he has been releasing a book each year, unlike certain other authors, he can stick to his vision and write a fascinating and complex story and keep it all together and still release books on a regular basis. George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is probably on the same complexity scale but bugger me doesn't he take a while to write his books! But I suppose you can't expect all authors to have the same rate of output and I prefer to wait for GRRM so long as he releases quality product.

I loved this book and its stunning conclusion that sets up the grand finale of the final two volumes - bring on Dust of Dreams!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Ok, I've calmed down now and I can type with fewer mashings at the keyboard with my bloody fists.

In Summary: I admit defeat and am researching wireless internet companies.

In not so Summary but not so long that it will make me angry again: EDIT: although turns out it did:

  1. I moved in to a shiny apartment about 2 or 3 years old in the middle of busy Brunswick in Melbourne, an inner-north city Suburb (15-25 minute tram ride into city depending on traffic)
  2. There are phone points in both bedrooms and the kitchen
  3. Signed up with Telstra to get a phone number which will then get disconnected so I can get Naked DSL with iiNet - NOTE: ALWAYS test the phone line once Telstra says it has been connected, probably would have saved some hassles.
  4. Signed up with iiNet, could not get service working, they sent out a Vision Stream technician.
  5. Technician was really cool and pointed out to me that only one pair of phone lines (one cable) was coming into the building from the street. Temporarily nicked one and proved that cabling up to apartment was fine - just no cables coming in from street
  6. iiNet had Telstra technician come out and he showed me the cables curled up in a roll in the hole in the street about 10 metres from the MDF in the garage of the building - he could not bring the cable through for me and said it would be a big job
  7. Spoke with real estate agent (who has been FANTASTIC throughout the whole ordeal - quite bonkable as well, but that's beside the point (isn't it always?)) who spoke with owner of apartment who also happens to be guy that built the building and builds lots of buildings and ordinarily has great relationship with Telstra 'cause he gives them lots of work
  8. I go on holidays for a month but still check in with estate agent, still no luck though owner says he PAID Telstra to put in 30 lines (15 cables) when the building was built and was not aware that only one pair had been pulled through
  9. Telstra eventually tells landlord that if I apply for a new phone line to be installed, Telstra will charge me $300 for it
  10. Landlord agrees to this and says he will re-imburse me by lowering rent for a month by that amount
  11. Two days ago I call Telstra to organise phone line to be installed, I am UNDENIABLY CLEAR about what needs to happen, that a technician is needed and he needs to pull cables in from the street - they tell me all is fine and to be home between 8am and 12pm today (Thursday)
  12. Come 10:30 today I am getting worried and not a little suspicious, so I call up Telstra to check that they do actually have someone coming out today - erm, sorry sir, there is no record of that... WTF!!!???!!! They put me through to a guy who will organise a site visit by a technician as YESTERDAY it was "discovered" that I would need a technician (obviously they didn't listen to me the first time) and they neglected to tell me that the appointment had been cancelled
  13. I fume and swear and get pissed off but realise I am getting pissed off at people who have no control over what has happened and are trying to fix it, I agree to a technician coming out next Tuesday
  14. I decide to call Telstra after the 30 minute call earlier to complain because God damn it I TOLD them what needed to happen - I was just repeating what THEIR technician told me! But more importantly, they never contacted me about the cancelled appointment and I have wasted half a day of leave that I really did not want to waste.
  15. I get through to complaints and rather tersely but eloquently explain the problem - again I realise this guy is not at fault, he's just taking my complaint down and trying to sort out the issue, so I am civil but he knows I'm frustrated - trust me, I may raise my voice a little but I do not yell at these people, in the end shit happens and they are just doing their job (some of them not doing it very well)
  16. He "officially" organises for a Telstra technician to come out on Tuesday to install the line, the way he's talking he knows what he's doing and he even says he has worked there for many years so understands the situation
  17. Before hanging up, just in case, I ask him to state to me clearly on the phone that the technician on Tuesday will be pulling the cable in from the street, connecting it to the MDF and getting me a frickin' phone line... "Oh no sir, the technician is not qualified to do that, you'd have to talk to our Contract Liaison Area, here's their number and here's your order number"
  18. "Ah, Ok. That's cool, glad I asked - just in case, these guys will still just charge me the $300 to have the line installed yes?"
  19. "Oh no sir, it could cost up to thousands to bring the cable through and they may need to add new external cabling or even an MDF to the building, actually you should probably have the owner of the building contact them instead."
  20. At this point I almost chuck a fit 'cause I've been telling this guy my sob story as a RENTER for the last 30 minutes and also how the owner already contacted Telstra and they said all I needed to do was yadda yadda yadda...
  21. He says sorry mate but there's nothing I can do, you'll just have to give the details to the owner and hope for the best. I admit he was friendly and sympathetic and actually knew what he was doing, but man he heard some muttering on the end of the line then. I thanked him, and hung up.
  22. So I've given the details to the real estate agent who will pass them on to the owner
  23. I then sat back and cried for a minute or two, curled up in a ball and sucked my thumb
  24. Tonight I am knocking on neighbours' doors and asking them if they have tried getting lines installed before.
  25. I called iiNet and asked for cancellation and refund, at first they were not going to refund the initial $453 install, setup, modem and first month's fees but I asked to talk to a supervisor and we negotiated that I would get a refund for everything except initial setup cost ($79.95) and whatever the difference is to make up the $150 early disconnection fee from the 24 month contract - so essentially $150 is down the drain. I'm not happy but I'll accept it as iiNet have been ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC throughout this whole process with great staff on the phone and in person and I told them that in their feedback survey thing - I recommend them to ANYONE who is looking for a company with exemplary customer service.
  26. So now I start looking for wireless internet providers and give up on the dream of lightning fast download speeds

You know the thing that still makes me wonder is the fact that there are 5 other apartments in this building with no phone lines and they've apparently never tried to get them connected... God I'd laugh if the apartment that does have a line connected isn't using theirs...

And how hard can it be to pull a cable through? There's already one physically there so couldn't they do the old disconnect original cable, attach a string to it, pull it back into the street and then pull the whole lot through? Why didn't someone do that THE FIRST FUCKING TIME!!!???

God I need some beer...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


See now this kind of art is why I bought this book... Plus I really like the words and stuff in it...

Thanks Pat

Monday, September 08, 2008


So Sunday was a lazy day of nothingness. I woke up early after big nights on Friday and Saturday at the pub (happy birthday Dan you old fart and Cheer Cheer the Red & the White!) and didn't feel like reading so that naturally means it is moofie watching time.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - absolutely piss funny. There were some strange editing choices and the story seemed a little stilted in places but I was giggling the whole way through. Loved the "I can see dead pixels" t-shirt - yes, I am a geek. Nice to see the main actor, Jason Segel, managed to play the main role of a script he had written - but I guess he couldn't in good conscience ask someone else to get their dick out that much. Was also great to see Kristen Bell from Veronica Mars and the in-joke about Pulse was amusing. 4.5 out of 5

Inside - I realised not far into this that I was watching a French horror film dubbed in German and with English subtitles, I'm just so damn cosmopolitan. Not the greatest horror film ever made and certainly has a few stupid cliches thrown in that kinda ruined it for me, but basically watchable. Some pretty atrocious violence but I guess that was the point and I liked he ending. 2 out of 5 Eviscerations

Friday, September 05, 2008


When I first moved to Melbourne in late 2001 I thought I was quite the moofie buff. I loved going to the moofies (that spelling is a reference to The Late Show, one of the funniest Aussie sketch comedy shows ever) almost every weekend and often during the week. I'd see anything and everything that I could, including all the crappy rom coms, kids films, dull action films - anything! Of course this was coming from Albury, where for much of my life it only had two screens to show moofies on - not exactly today's modern multiplex. Not to menton the films I was seeing were predominantly Hollywood, UK or Australian produced; I was not exactly a world cinema expert.

In mid-2002 I had my first experience of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) where for around two weeks there are many screenings of films from all over the world in just about any language you can name. I think I saw Gojo that year and a few animation sessions. Over the next few years I went to a session here and there when I could be bothered, or if I even knew that MIFF was on. It wasn't until I became friends with Jack that my eyes were opened to the entoxicating miasma that surrounds MIFF.

Jack has been attending MIFF in full for about 10 years now, and by in full I mean he takes the two weeks off work and attempts to see 5 to 7 films a day. He invited me along to the closing night film of 2005, Election (not a brilliant film, but watchable), and of course the alcohol fuelled after-party at Cookie afterwards. It was there that I met a group of true cinephiles, people who had been attending MIFF for even longer than Jack and who absolutely adored the cinematic medium, who were more than happy to see an atrociously bad film just so they could discuss and bag it out afterwards, who loved cinema in all its glory and depravity equally. I'd met some real-life Margaret & Davids!

I was hooked.

In 2006 I took the two and a half weeks off work to go and see as many films as possible, whilst also downing quite a few beers along the way - there's no point taking time off work unless there is alcohol involved. Opening night party, the after party, hotel shenanigans - now THAT is a long story - and film after film after film. Drama, comedy, doco, horror, action, musical, thriller, rom com, animation, kids, experimental, shorts - you name it, MIFF has it. I think in that first year I saw around 80 films out of the possible 105 or so sessions, not bad for my first effort. I will admit it was bloody exhausting hurrying between cinemas to not be late to sessions - there would often be days where I'd just have to catch snacks in between sessions, days where I would maybe see a total of an hour of "outside". Glorious.

I again attended in 2007 (about 60 films) and again 2008 (45 films). This year was a little different in that both Jack and I had agreed to take it relatively easy: no rushing between cinemas, lots of trips to the pub, many football games watched and plenty of sessions skipped if we weren't in the mood or too hung over. Even though I probably saw half as many films as I could have this year, it was the most fun year yet with a nice relaxed atmosphere and plenty of good times to be had. The closing night film and after party were absolute gold with Jack & I inviting along great friends Panda and James to see the horrifically wonderful [REC] and then drinking copious amounts of beer at Billboard where many a dance style was murdered.

As far as I can tell I'll be attending MIFF for as many years as possible. A lot of people have told me that staying in Melbourne is not a real holiday but with the films I see, I travel all around the world and back dozens of times over in the encompassing comfort of a well padded cinema seat and the warm familiarity of the screen's glow with the ticking of the projector soothing my worries away.

MIFF, I loves ya...

And I haven't even discussed the actual films yet! Methinks that's for several other posts.

(I have photos which I'll put up when I get a chance)

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Went into a Virgin store yesterday to find out iPhone prices:
  1. 8GB black iPhone with 1GB download = $70 pcm
  2. 16GB white iPhone with 1GB download = $74 pcm
  3. 16GB white iPhone with 5GB download = $100 pcm
I'd probably go with option 2 - I couldn't see myself using more than a gig of download per month when all I'd want to do is check gmail, work email, blogs, movie times, news and just general surfing. And if I was using more than a gig then I'd upgrade or slap myself in the face for being an internet whore.

So very tempted... There is some kind of Apple event next week where it is believed new iPod Touch versions will be announced but that is unlikely to adjust pricing on iPhones. Why did Steve Jobs announce the pricing of iPhones as $199 for 8GB and $299 for 16GB if you can't actually buy one for that price? Instead you have to sign up for a contract with a mobile company, or at the very least get it pre-paid with someone like Optus and still have to pay around $800 - $900 for the phone.

Meh, in the end I don't really need an iPhone as such, I'd just like to have a single device that does everything with a decent amount of storage space on it - if I could find a viable alternative then bring it on. Currently I have my Nokia 6300 for phone and radio and an Onda VX767 for MP3/MP4 but neither has internet connectivity. Internet would be damn handy if I need to check my emails on the road (or even at home right now since I have no 'net there), transfer money between accounts outside bank opening times, and to only worry about owning one charger and most of all to only have to carry one device around rather than fill up all my pockets. Once summer hits and I have less pockets to fill, carrying a phone and an MP3/MP4 player around plus my headphones is gonna suck arse. :-(

Why is technology so unkind?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Why on Earth would the iPhone not have a built in FM tuner and MMS capablities? I'm even willing to use the atrocious iTunes if it means I can have one device that does everything and the iPhone, apart from those two major (in my eyes) flaws, is perfect.

Damn you Steve Jobs! Damn you to HELL!

I listen to the radio almost every weekday morning on the tram on the way to work, and sometimes in the afternoon. But I often listen to my MP3s at that time as well, so a device that does the lot would be great. My current Nokia 6300 does, in fact, do all this but it only has a 2 GB memory card in it at the moment (about 20 albums) and it has no internet connectivity or the cool touch screen stuff, not to mention video capabilities.

I don't use MMS too often but it is sometimes fun to send pictures of your privates to federal politicians' mobile phones during intermission at the theatre - I mean, who doesn't? Well iPhone users, obviously, unless they email them.

Now to search for viable alternatives to the iPhone or third-party widgets for the iPhone that actually work to listen to the radio and send and receive MMS.


I was going through my work PC trying to clean up a few things and found a file with a list of all the books I had read in 2007, including a few re-reads like Changeling and Harry Potter. Normally I don't keep track of what books I read except to say that I have read them, but I think sometime last year or earlier this year I was curious to find out how many I had read in 2007. By no means is this a large list - I'm a slow reader - but it was kind of fun in an ultra geeky way to compile. I've also added the list so far for 2008, you know, for shits and giggles.

My only real New Years Resolution for '08 was to read more books than last year and I suspect I shall accomplish that. God I am Great. I'd be curious to figure out how many in total I have read over the past 20 years of my love of Fantasy and Science Fiction but I suspect I've forgotten too many to bother with an inane task such as that...

---=== 2007 ===---
  1. Steven Erikson - Gardens of the Moon (Malazan 1)
  2. Steven Erikson - Deadhouse Gates (Malazan 2)
  3. Steven Erikson - Memories of Ice (Malazan 3)
  4. Steven Erikson - House of Chains (Malazan 4)
  5. Steven Erikson - Midnight Tides (Malazan 5)
  6. Steven Erikson - The Bonehunters (Malazan 6)
  7. Steven Erikson - Reaper's Gale (Malazan 7)
  8. Chris Kubasik - Changeling (Shadowrun 5)
  9. Kevin J Anderson - Metal Swarm (Saga of Seven Suns 6)
  10. Harper Lee - To Kill A Mockingbird
  11. Glen Cook - The Black Company (Black Company 1)
  12. Terry Pratchett - Making Money
  13. Neil Gaiman - American Gods
  14. Jeff Lindsay - Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter 1)
  15. Jeff Lindsay - Dearly Devoted Dexter (Dexter 2)
  16. Raymond E Feist - Into A Dark Realm (Darkwar 2)
  17. Scott Lynch - The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard 1)
  18. Scott Lynch - Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard 2)
  19. Guy Gavriel Kay - The Summer Tree (Fionovar Tapestry 1)
  20. Guy Gavriel Kay - Te Wandering Fire (Fionovar Tapestry 2)
  21. Guy Gavriel Kay - The Darkest Road (Fionovar Tapestry 3)
  22. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter 1)
  23. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter 2)
  24. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter 3)
  25. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter 4)
  26. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter 5)
  27. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6)
  28. J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter 7)
Plus 3 novellas which don't really count:
  • Steven Erikson - Blood Follows (Malazan Novella)
  • Steven Erikson - The Lees of Laughter's End (Malazan Novella)
  • Steven Erikson - The Healthy Dead (Malazan Novella)

---=== 2008 ===---
  1. Mary Gentle - Grunts!
  2. Robert A Heinlein - Stranger In A Strange Land
  3. Karen Miller - The Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker 1)
  4. Karen Miller - The Awakened Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker 2)
  5. Joe Abercrombie - The Blade Itself (The First Law 1)
  6. Joe Abercrombie - Before They Are Hanged (The First Law 2)
  7. Ian McDonald - Brasyl
  8. Richard Morgan - Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs 1)
  9. Simon Hawke - The Outcast (Tribe of One 1)
  10. Simon Hawke - The Seeker (Tribe of One 2)
  11. Simon Hawke - The Nomad (Tribe of One 3)
  12. Raymond E Feist - Wrath of a Mad God (Darkwar 3)
  13. Chelsea Cain - Heartsick
  14. Richard Morgan - Broken Angels (Takeshi Kovacs 2)
  15. Richard Morgan - Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs 3)
  16. Joe Abercrombie - Last Argument of Kings (The First Law 3)
  17. Alastair Reynolds - Revelation Space
  18. R. Scott Bakker - The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing 1)
  19. R. Scott Bakker - The Warrior Prophet (The Prince of Nothing 2)
  20. R. Scott Bakker - The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing 3)
  21. John Scalzi - Old Man's War
  22. Ian Cameron Esslemont - Night of Knives (Malazan Companion 1)
  23. Richard Morgan - Market Forces
  24. Tobias Buckell - Crystal Rain (Nanagada 1)
  25. Steven Erikson - Toll The Hounds (Malazan 8)
2008 has been a great year as I've discovered some fantastic new (to me) authors like Richard Morgan, Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch. I've also found the Book Depository web site which has free worldwide shipping and they send each book out in its own individual packaging meaning no orders are delayed because of one hard to get or yet to be published novel. It's cheaper than buying books at the local Dymocks or Borders plus they are delivered to my desk at work. My "to read" shelf is chock full with about 20 books at any one time and I also have another 15 or so sitting in the "to be purchased" bin at the web site; it's an addiction.


So I just went ahead and purchased the limited edition of Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon by Subterranean Press. After the debacle of trying to get the lettered editions of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series (long and dumb story) I really shouldn't have done it. But I love the series so much that I just couldn't resist, besides, the art in and on it by Kormarck is astonishingly brilliant! At least I didn't spend twice as much and grab the lettered edition... Of course now I have to purchase the next 9 books in the series and maybe even Ian Cameron Esslemont's companion Malazan novels... Whoops!

Thanks once again to fang for putting me on to this guy. I'm currently reading Toll the Hounds, book 8 of 10, and managed to read all 7 previous novels in a row last year, which was just brilliant fun - don't get me started on how much I detest waiting ages for novels in a series.

$17 + $11.90 = $FUCK YOU!

That was the cost of a moofie ticket to see Hellboy II - The Golden Army and a medium popcorn and coke at Hoyts last weekend.

$28.90 = the price of a DVD of Hellboy II when it comes out in a couple of months, which I can watch on the 46" HD LCD at home and get more enjoyment out of because of the following:
  1. There is no pair of fuckheads talking through the movie who are sitting next to me, or if there are, I can tell them to leave B). DVD extras
  2. Pause for toilet breaks
  3. Better popcorn and non-flat coke
  4. I can watch it whenever the Hell I like

The price of cinema tickets these days is ridiculous and with the absolute explosion in people in Australia downloading moofies you'd think they'd have some better ideas about how to get the punters in rather than raise the prices. And yet The Dark Knight has just become the second highest grossing film of all time - so perhaps it's the studios' fault for not making films that you just have to see at the cinema?

Not to mention the proliferation of the home cinema and the ability to buy one DVD for many people to watch at the same time. Cinemas need to start offering more than what they are giving us and Gold Class or half-pipe is not the answer.

Bah! I'll be seeing Wall-E at the cinema this year but I can't think of anything else to spend $17 on at the flicks unless I go on a tight-arse Tuesday.

It's starting to be that I will only go once or twice a year outside of the film festival to see the major block busters I am interested in and the rest can be seen on DVD or downloaded. It's a crazy world when a trip to the moofies is not something to look forward to...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

TESTING 1 - 2...

Hey Mona! Oooooooooh Mona....

Hang on, that was Check 1 - 2...