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Feigning normality since 1973

November 29, 2008

Kraftwerk im Konzert

Filed in: Music.

I totally didn't mean to go so long between posts. Anyway!

So last week I headed up to Auckland (with Jeff, who will no doubt comment on this entry) to see Kraftwerk live in concert at the Auckland town hall. Once we presented our tickets at the door, we were affixed with some sort of tag, which I suspect may have been tracked by satellite, and directed to our seats in the circle. Although it was noted on the tickets to start at 8, it actually took a while possibly because people were still coming in (and continued to come in after Kraftwerk had started).

Finally strange electronic music began to play, the lights dimmed, and then four silhouettes became visible against the drape along the front of the hall. To audience applause, the drapes opened to reveal Kraftwerk playing The Man-Machine. Fantastic!

Behind the band, a video display assaulted us with retro computer graphics (occasionally with seizure-inducing flashing effects) the most sophisticated-looking being a wireframe head during Music Non-Stop. Dead groovy. There was also occasionally live action footage, such as the Tour de France and vintage model clips for the appropriate songs.

Their new songs were, of course, well received. I'm wondering if Showroom Dummies with its talk of breaking glass was possibly inspired by the 1970 Doctor Who story Spearhead from Space.

Two hours after it started, the concert ended, and three days later I'm still humming Kraftwerk tunes. I'ma definitely going to have to buy some more of their albums. A superb concert, and I hope they come back to do another sometime soon.

Posted at 8:01 AM | Comments (1)

November 19, 2008

Guess the Doctor Who title!

Filed in: Doctor Who, Transformers.

Another wave of Robot Heroes has turned up, so it's time to play guess the Doctor Who title!

Can you guess the Doctor Who story title represented in this picture?

Robot Heroes

Edit: The answer was "The Unicorn and the Wasp", as represented here by Unicron and Waspinator (Not to scale).

Posted at 5:36 PM | Comments (3)

November 15, 2008

My Sanyo Mobile

Filed in: Misc.

You may remember this post and my complaint about the predictive text function on my old phone. I remembered that post, and decided to try the same test on my new phone, so I started a new text message and attempted to type "bumblebee". Just like on my old phone, my new phone decided I meant "bunckeade". WTF? They're not even the same brand of phone! Surprisingly I've had several hits from people searching for the word "bunkeade" on search engines...

The predictive text on my new phone is an improvement though, apart from the fact that for some reason hitting the key to enter a period or comma at the end of a word is very slow.

Also, the red LED for indicating incoming messages is located behind the black speaker grill and looks quite evil when it flashes. I approve.

On the downside: I still haven't worked out how to get my custom ringtone onto it. And another thing that bugs me about the phone design is the "speaker" button on the keypad right under the up/down button, which means sometimes when I get a text message, I accidentally hit the wrong button and end up ringing the sender.

Posted at 12:31 PM | Comments (1)

November 9, 2008

2008 election results

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

So, perhaps spurred by the massive change in American politics, New Zealand has also swung massively, though in this case it swung from left to right.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark: Gone!
Finance minister Michael Cullen (no relation): Gone!
Mischief-maker Winston Peters: Gone!

In the latter case, Winston's party, NZ First, didn't reach the 5% vote threshold or win any seats, so they got no MPs in, unlike ACT, United Future, The Jim Anderton Party, and the Maori Party, who all got fewer party votes but won electorate votes. You can see the complete party votes and MP tally on TV3's Decision '08 site.

Much as I don't like Winston and was actually quite pleased he didn't get in, it somehow seems unfair that NZ First's party vote should theoretically have gotten them 5 MPs in parliament but didn't due to the 5% threshold. I can't argue with the results though.

Though politics may be a bit more boring for the next three years, I hope this allows the government to actually get something done, rather than messing about trying to keep Winston in line.

Posted at 6:07 PM | Comments (1)

November 4, 2008


Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

No, not the American ones, though they've started voting today.

We're only a few days out from the NZ general election and predicting a winner is not as clear cut as it once might have been. National isn't polling high enough to form a clear majority, and neither is Labour, so if the votes follow the polls, ultimately they'll have to rely on the support of minor parties. At the moment this looks like it may be down to whoever the Maori Party is willing to team up with, so at the moment both Helen Clark and JohnKey* are trying to outdo each other with platitudes in the hope of making their respective party a more attractive prospect.

I'm still largely undecided on who I'm going to vote for. I'll probably decide on the day (if I bother at all).

*One thing I have decided on is that "JohnKey" should be pronounced the same way as Donkey from the Shrek movies.

Posted at 4:38 PM | Comments (4)

October 30, 2008

Who will be the new Doctor Who?

Filed in: Doctor Who.

So, it's less than a week until the American elections, and I'm currently wondering more who will be the next actor to step into the role of the Doctor than I am who will be the next US President. Because David Tennant has announced he's stepping down as of the end of next year.

That means for series five we'll have a new producer, new Doctor, and likely a new companion. That hasn't happened when the show's been an ongoing prospect since 1970, when Jon Pertwee took over. That's kinda scary.

OTOH, the Moff's a genius, so I'm sure he'll do well.

Posted at 5:47 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2008

TSV 60

Filed in: Doctor Who, TSV Online.

TSV 60 went live on the NZDWFC site last night. Originally printed in mid 2000, this issue features, amongst many other very good things, some stuff written by me. Primarily an article on Tetraps, which on reflection I should have waited until after the release of audio adventure "The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind", as it had a bunch more Tetrap lore in it (though I wrote a sequel article for TSV 63 anyway).

Interestingly this issue also has an article about the Doctor Who references in "Queer as Folk", one of the series Russell T Davies did before reviving Doctor Who. If you look at a QAF character list, you may notice that two of the protagonists of that series share last names with Rose Tyler and Martha Jones. Hmm. If crossover articles are your thing, there's also one called Star Wars Connections, which notes actors who've been in both Doctor Who and Star Wars.

This cartoon makes me snicker every time I see it.

Next up, TSV 61, which has one of my favourite TSV covers ever!

Previously: Doctor Who and the City of Death
See also: comments by Paul and Jamas.

Posted at 8:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2008

New Phone!

Filed in: Misc.

Sanyo SCP-3200
I went hunting recently for a new mobile phone. For various reasons I wanted to switch from Vodafone to Telecom, as Vodafone's prepay plan was no longer suitable for my purposes. My primary condition of sale was that the phone had to be $200 or less - paying more for a cell phone is just excessive.

After checking out what phones Telecom had on offer, I checked out the online reviews (having been stung before) and only one phone in the price range I'd set had uniformly good reviews - the Sanyo SCP-3200. The only problem was that Telecom was only offering it in one colour: pink. I'm not a huge fan of pink.

I asked at the local Telecom shop and was told that Sanyo used to have it in black as well, but it had been discontinued. After visiting another four or five shops, I finally found a black one in the Noel Leemings in Queensgate, so I'm now the proud owner of a Sanyo SCP-3200!

The only thing remaining is to work out how to get my custom Doctor Who ringtone onto it. Reading the manual, I'm beginning to suspect that Telecom has neutered the bluetooth support so that it's only possible to load files on by paying for them off Telecom's site...

Posted at 8:17 PM | Comments (1)

October 6, 2008

Mailbag: Alden gets weirded out Edition!

Filed in: Website Management.

It's time for another edition of search engine mailbag!

simple instructions on how to build a working dalek
First take one Kaled mutant...
is andy lane a good guy to work with?
He seems like a nice enough chap...
are you sure this planet's meant to be here?
what next? suns?
Sure, why not?
is it safe to masturbate at 15?
... there's always the danger of blisters, I suppose.
i want to fuck nicola bryant

Um... Yeah, good luck with that.

Note to self: stop looking at search engine stats!

Posted at 9:23 PM | Comments (7)

September 28, 2008

Transformers, Japanese Style

Filed in: Transformers.

Recently I've been catching up on the Transformers series which were created in Japan after the original 80s cartoon was canceled. Evidently the toys were still selling well enough there for Takara to commission further series.

The first of these is The Headmasters, which follows directly on from season 3 of the US toon (ignoring the three-episode season 4). As such, it brings back many of the characters from season 3 and introducing alternate versions of characters who were introduced in season 4.

While the Headmasters in the US version involve existing Transformers combining with smaller humans (or at least Nebulons, who are humanoid), in the Japanese version the heads are small robots who combine with large non-sentient robot bodies called Transtectors. They're pretty much the focus of the series, with many of the older characters barely appearing.

The second is Super-God Masterforce, which doesn't have any characters returning from the original series (although there are a couple of links to Headmasters). SGM introduces the concepts of Pretenders and Godmasters, the latter being the Japanese version of Powermasters. Like the Headmasters, the concept is switched around so that Godmasters are humans who combine with large non-sentient robot bodies. In fact, most of the characters in SGM are humans rather than robots, including their leader Ginrai (who's currently the featured article on the Transformers Wiki). And it all takes place on Earth, while The Headmasters was more spacey.

The DVDs for both series include a very dodgy English dub done in Malay. One episode in The Headmasters starts out by announcing that Mars is the fourth largest planet in the solar system and over 50% larger than Earth. I stuck to the Japanese soundtrack with subtitles, and I usually hate reading subtitles.

And now that I've watched those, there's still Transformers: Victory!

One amusing thing I noted was that both series had a trio of Decepticons who seemed to exist solely for the purposes of comedy relief. In Headmasters it was the three Decepticon Headmasters: Mindwipe, Weirdwolf and Skullcruncher. In SGM it was the three Decepticon Pretenders: Blood, Dauros and Gilmer. Similarly the Robots in Disguise cartoon (translated from the Japanese series Car Robots) had Slapper, Gas Skunk and Dark Scream. I'll be interested to see if Victory includes any comedy relief..!

Posted at 12:57 PM | Comments (5)


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