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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

January 24, 2009

Prisoner and Doctor Who themed comics

Filed in: Doctor Who, Links.

I have two links!

Back in the Village - an ongoing comic based on cult series The Prisoner


The last couple of weeks of Player Versus Player - have been full of Doctor Who goodness.

Posted at 6:47 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2009

Once More...

Filed in: Music.

Is there a word for when you have so much music that you've lost track of what you actually own? I was looking through my CDs last night and discovered I had a copy of "Once More, With Feeling", the soundtrack to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode of the same name.

I'd completely forgotten I had it, and I still can't remember when or where I bought it. Being it came out in 2002, it could have been during one of my trips over to the states for the Gallifrey One convention, or I might have ordered it online.

I'm now wondering what other CDs I've bought, put away and forgotten about...

Posted at 7:08 PM | Comments (2)

January 18, 2009

The Universe is a hologram

Filed in: Links, Misc.

From NewScientist: Our world may be a giant hologram

Scientists have found that space time may not, in fact, be continuous, but composed of pixels 10-35 metres in size, some hundred billion billion times smaller than a proton.

It occurs that if we can determine the exact size of the universe, we can then calculate its resolution.

Posted at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)

January 6, 2009

Armada and Victory

Filed in: Transformers.

As previously mentioned, I've been watching the Generation 1 Transformers cartoons which Japan produced after the American series wrapped. Lately I finally got around to watching Transformers: Victory, the last of these.

Representing the Autobots are Star Saber and his team of Brainmasters. There's an obligatory human kid named Jean whom Star Saber has legally adopted, and his annoying Wheelie-esque Autobot friend Holi.

On the Decepticon side are the improbably-named Deathsaurus and his Breastforce (they have chest plates which turn into animals). They're "aided" by the Dinoforce who are mostly around as comic relief.

It's... not really a deep series. The Decepticons turn up somewhere, cause trouble, and are fought off by the Autobots. It's only towards the end of the series that things begin to get interesting. It's perhaps telling that at least a dozen of the original episodes were clips episodes (The Madman release doesn't include them).

Something that is included on the DVD set is the one and only episode of Transformers: Zone, which barely has time to introduce a bunch of new characters, including new Autobot leader Dai Atlas, before there's an extended fight scene and it ends. I have to wonder why they bothered. Oh, yeah.

Also among the stuff I've watched recently: the 2002 series Transformers: Armada. TV2 either didn't play the whole series or I missed the end of it, as I hadn't previously seen the last nine episodes or so. Most of Armada is taken up with relatively self-contained episodes concerning the search for Mini-Cons, smaller Transformers which link with the larger ones to give them extra power. The last dozen or so are taken up with one long storyline, which sets the scene for the later series Transformers: Energon, which is more or less one epic 51 episode storyline.

Despite the obvious problems they seemed to have translating the show from Japanese (there are very few occasions where Mini-Cons are referred to by the correct names, for instance, and often the dialogue doesn't quite match the visuals) there are some pretty good character arcs and it was entertaining most of the time. It's interesting to see the difference in story telling that some 13 years made.

Posted at 4:03 PM | Comments (1)

January 3, 2009

Energy Drink Review: Monster Energy

Filed in: Energy Drinks.

[Monster]When I were a lad, we had this Soda Stream device, which you jammed a bottle into and pressed a button, and whatever was in the bottle would become carbonated. Then you'd stick some of the concentrated syrup into the bottle and get an instant soft drink. Two of the syrup flavours you could get were "monster" themed, and were blue and green, though I don't remember anything about them other than that. This story is almost completely irrelevant to this post but what the hey?

At almost $4 a can, I probably won't be trying Monster Energy again. OK, so it does come in a 473ml can, though the text on the side says "2 servings per can", I have to wonder how many people would buy a can and then only consume half of it. There isn't a precise figure printed on it for the amount of caffeine in it either - it just says "Energy blend" 2500mg (250ml cans usually have about 80mg of caffeine) and lists the caffeine along with a bunch of other ingredients included in said blend. It also says "Limit 3 cans per day", which is surprisingly high given the size of the can.

It has the usual vaguely-caramel energy drink taste, but is actually smoother as stated on the can. Not nearly as tangy as Red Bull, for instance. If they halved the can size (and price) I'd recommend it.

Posted at 9:27 PM | Comments (9)

December 22, 2008

Doctor Who versus Transformers 2: This time it's canon

Filed in: Doctor Who, Transformers.

A while back I wrote about a fan-designed Police Box Transformer. I was unaware at the time that there was actually a canonical (in Transformers canon anyway) Doctor Who related Transformer. In a 1989 UK comic drawn by Lee Sullivan (who's not unknown in Doctor Who circles, having drawn Abslom Daak strips for DWM), one of the ruling Decepticon triumvirate, Octus, is quite clearly meant to transform into a Dalek.

Sadly Octus has never had a toy, but considering we've recently had the Transformers toyline cross-over with Marvel's Avengers, Star Wars, and Mickey Mouse of all things, I think it's time for Hasbro and the BBC to strike up a deal and bring us a toy version.

Although I'm not entirely sure how the transformation would work!

Posted at 7:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2008

TSV 61

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

TSV 61 came out in December 2000 and featured the aforementioned article on the New Zealand performance of Seven Keys to Doomsday. It also featured one of my favourite TSV covers ever. See if you can spot which movie it's based on!

Festively, you can also read The Karkus and "the Two Santas".

I remember there was a version of this cartoon which appeared in RTP around the same time, featuring that 'zine's Cyber-guy character.

I had two audio adventure reviews in TSV 61 (by then I'd stopped getting the books): The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, featuring the sixth Doctor and Evelyn, and The Fires of Vulcan, featuring the seventh Doctor and Mel. Both great stories!

Also very interesting: Jamas' article on Religion in Doctor Who, which is a somewhat more complete overview of the show's history of the treatment of religion than previously published in the 'zine.

Next time, interviews with Colin Baker and Gary Russell, Beyond the Sofa tackles The Tenth Planet and Attack of the Cybermen, the first of a series of articles by David Lawrence on the New Adventures, and reviews of the Pertwee era on Prime TV.

Previously: TSV 60
See also: Entries by Paul and Jamas.

Posted at 7:52 AM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2008

Seven Keys

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

Must. Keep. Up. Blistering. Post. Rate.

So anyway, back in 2000, when I had an ISP which actually supported Usenet, someone posted a question in rec.arts.drwho about a production of the 1974 stage play Seven Keys to Doomsday which was put on in Wellington some ten years later. The question sparked memories for me of both an old newspaper clipping I'd kept, and of seeing a news item about the play on the evening news. Unfortunately I hadn't gone to the play itself (in fact, I have a vague memory that I turned down an offer by my parents to take me, as at the time I didn't think it'd be as good as the TV show). Don't regret what you do, only what you don't do, as the saying goes.

Surprisingly, the 1984 performance of the play wasn't common knowledge, and Wellington fan Graham Howard tracked down director Brian Hudson for an interview which appears in TSV 61. As it happens TSV 61 is the issue I'm currently getting ready to put online, so watch out for that within the next week.

Posted at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)

December 8, 2008

Mini-golf Madness

Filed in: Games, Links.

I likes me some mini-golf.

Miniclip Mini-Golf
Psychogoldfish Mini-Putt
Miniclip Tropi-golf
Gamblingfactory Mini-golf
Pitch'n Put Golf [French]
TBS Office Mini-golf

Where possible, I've attempted to link to the game on the originating site.

Posted at 7:26 PM | Comments (0)

December 3, 2008

Limited Editions

Filed in: Music.

I was out shopping yesterday and noticed that there's a new release of Mike Oldfield's last album (Music of the Spheres) out - a limited edition with a second disc. Balls. Or spheres, as the case may be. I already bought the single-disc version, so I doubt I'll get the two-disc version. It is, you know, kinda annoying when they do that without warning. Usually a limited edition will be released at the same time as the vanilla version (and if it had in this case, I almost certainly would have bought the two-disc version).

OTOH, from reading the case, the extra disc is actually a live performance, so perhaps I'll wait and see if a DVD of the live event is released. In the case of concerts, I much prefer to have a visual as well as an audio record anyway...

I've noticed that releasing two-disc versions of albums seems to be on the increase recently. Alanis Morissette's Flavors of Entanglement and Enigma's Seven Lives, Many Faces both spring to mind, and of course Mike's previous album was a two-discer. Perhaps I should have been anticipating this happening after all.

Posted at 8:05 PM | Comments (1)


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