Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nobody likes good news

It is now time, my friends, to reflect and introspect upon how you and I feel about the news spoon-fed into our quivering brains. To that point, I've made a conscious effort to try and not listen to news and adverts. Mostly because they almost invariably come at a hidden cost upon my reception.

It should not come as any surprise that all news broadcasts focus solely on the negative, hate-laden and fear-inducing aspects of every-day life. It's enough for anyone to consider punching out rather than enduring the never-ending negative rhetoric. And there does seem to be data to back up this disturbing thought. It is a sad state of affairs that I have to turtle my knowledge of world events merely because the powers that be choose to inflict me with messages of fear, hatred and intolerance. Even if they happen to have a piece on improving the world in some way, they still need to placate both sides by getting a cretinous representative to try and explain why we should be (as an example) intolerant of anyone not 'murican enough.

I hate that I am forced to be ignorant of the daily goings-on ... but they have forced me into this position. And we are all to blame for this. If everyone, as a whole, were to turn off the news and no longer read the news sites. The industry would take notice. They would no longer be able to peddle their agenda-laden messages and would be forced to provide a message which truly spoke to the people. We would make the world a better place simply by doing nothing, watching nothing and buying nothing (the simplest kind of revolution). The powers who control this information would be forced to bend to the common man's will and we as a global population would regain our control and, best of all, this would all be performed through non-violent means. A deafening silence would be heard by simply turning back to a time where we did not have internet, TV, smart phones or radio.

If you think about it, this would mean that we would no longer be
  • ruled by fear
  • envious of those with product X+1
  • cognizant of various wars or terrorist attacks
  • fixated on social media
  • a slave to our phones
  • fixated on vanity photos
  • fixated on plastic celebrities
  • bent to the will of public media
But we would be
  • able to make our own decisions on what we truly want
  • focussed on living our lives
  • content with living our lives
  • centred around human interaction
  • content with what we have rather than what we're told to love and desire
Naturally, this is a gross over-simplification ... but I do think I have a point. Maybe we would still need some kind of PA system for storm warnings but our lives would be more content simply because we would be focused on bettering our lives rather than fixating on things outside of our control. Maybe through this inaction they would finally have to step out of the shadows. All I know is that you rule the masses through fear ... and that is currently what we have; Fear, Hatred and Intolerance.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Say hello to my lidl friend

Well, it has happened. Now that I have become 100% indoctrinated into all things consumerist, I have now relegated my blog to grocery stores; namely Lidl (pronounced lee-dill ... which should appease the Mexicans and Germans amongst us). Now, for some of my readers, you would be asking me why I have lowered my quality blog just so I can talk about Lidl? Perhaps it's because of the huge cheque (take note, Americans :)) Lidl is paying me ... or perhaps it's because I can finally buy high-quality goods at prices which make the Krogers of this world cry. Hey, I'm all for it. Cheap? Check. Great quality? Check. European-quality ingredients? Chu-check. 

But that's not the point of this blog entry. Behold my current fixation:

Maybe it's because I've seen a few IQ tests in my time ... but the bag looks disturbingly like one to me. Doesn't it? Like one of those spatial puzzles. I initially tried to see if there was a predetermined rotational pattern by reading the icons in various orders like top-down, left-right etc. But that didn't seem to gibe. The best pattern I could determine was that  the top row would repeat on the third row ... but then the fourth row threw things out (note: black semi-circle up is what I define as up).
  • down, up-left, left
  • down-left, right, up
  • down, up-left, left
  • down

It's that last grape-fruit which puts a wrench in the works - it should have been down-left but it's not. Having, seemingly exhausted getting any rotational/reading pattern to line up, I took a step back. It could possibly be some kind of numbering pattern. Namely, each orientation could be a number. Considering there were 10 grape-fruits and 8 possible rotational positions (for what has been shown), the answer was obviously ten 8-bit numbers. The next was to determine the starting position. It made sense that the numbers would follow a classical clock-wise rotation so I devised the following:
  • up:  00000001 or 1
  • up-right: 00000010 or 2
  • right: 00000100 or 4
  • down-right: 00001000 or 8
  • down: 00010000 or 16
  • down-left: 00100000 or 32
  • left: 01000000 or 64
  • up-left: 10000000 or 128
So,  the code, as it stands, (read from left-right to top-down) would be:
  • down, up-left, left, down-left, right, up, down, up-left, left, down


  • 16, 128, 64, 32, 4, 1, 16, 128, 64, 16
... and that's where I currently stand. The 10 characters don't seem to signify words, since we don't have the granularity needed to represent 26-characters. Nor could it be a phone number since we would need 10 pattern variations for that. I'm thinking it may be an accumulation ... which in that case would mean that the answer is 469. A little under-whelming a conclusion, yes. Maybe I'm over-thinking this but it seems like there's more to this than merely a desire to print grapefruits, yes? Or maybe I have a little too much time on my hands for this to be healthy - please let me know. I would like to get to the bottom of this.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Following the money

I  am either turning progressively into a cynical curmudgeon or perhaps it's merely the result of peering behind the curtain and seeing more of the under-workings and its pursuit of the mighty dollar. It could, in all fairness, be a combination of the two ... but I'm not here to discuss my internal demons at this point in time. I'll save that for my imaginary shrink.

Forgive me if I've stated this in an earlier post but I think it's worth restating - even if I may be my only recipient. As my titular title states, it boils down to following the money but I thought it might be nice to summarise a few areas where you, the general public, may not realise that you are being duped. That is not to say that I am infallible of their guiles ... but I will list at least a few areas where I believe I can point out an outright lie:

Ignoring the incredibly poor English, you've heard milk is good for you, right? That you need calcium for strong bones? Well, it turns out it isn't. For your body to even be able to absorb the calcium in dairy you need equal parts magnesium ... or, alternatively, you could simply stand in the sun, eat your greens and do a little exercise. Then there is the study which correlates increases in bone disease directly proportional to dairy consumption. Here's a simple question: How much milk do cows consume to keep their half-tonne frames strong? How much dairy do animals consume after infancy from a completely different species? If you answer: none you would be correct.

Ensuring that you separate your glass from your plastics, paper from your trash is very important if we wish to keep Mother Nature looking her best, correct? Well, it turns out that this is mostly incorrect. How, do you ask? Well, it comes down to the amount of effort required to recycle your by-products back into functional items once again. If the amount of energy (and pollution) is more than the energy used to create a new plastic bottle (say) then it's eco-unfriendly. The whole point of recycling is to reduce the burden on the Earth but that gets lost in all the good intentions flying about. I guess the only area where there may be a case is if the core elements were in limited supply, thereby forcing us as a society to salvage that core element (e.g. precious metals in smart phones). The better solution to recycling is reuse/re-purposing. For example, in many parts of Europe they use glass bottles for their beers which, upon having been consumed are returned, washed out and filled once more with delicious, delicious beer. Now that's something I can get behind.

I'm sure I could cover the whole industry if I looked hard enough (e.g. Diesel engines / Dieselgate, Privatised war profiteering, democracy, denialists etc.) but I won't. In the end, the only question you should be asking is why would they lie to us? And, I'm sure for most of you, the answer would be obvious. None of these organisations are in it for our benefit and merely in it to bolster their numbers. It hurts to admit but who am I to stop the deluge of lies?

Monday, August 28, 2017

I think I know why

I think I've cracked why I hate new movies so much.

It's all comes down to a sense of perspective in the end. I came to this realisation while watching the original remastered Star Trek series. It's wonderfully schlocky, (by today's perspective) misogynist, and yet, I was enthralled. How could that be? Well, it comes down to the wonders of imagination, characters, heady subjects, strong plots and competent and logical progression. Spock would be pleased. It was not because I was captivated by the set design - although it does still hold up surprisingly well - it was because they had well-realised and starkly individualised characters. I would think that if Bones were to be cast today he would be as a 20-something ex Days Of Our Lives automaton who was vetoed for his sex appeal rather than as the best choice for the role. I don't think even Leonard Nimoy would be spared. And herein lies the problem.

Where once we had characters, actors and stories at the forefront of the directors and producer's list, they now focus on CGI, mass-market appeal and a movie which is more geared towards making a good trailer than a story we care about. Even fairly gifted directors like Ridley Scott have not yet realised this lesson - even though he has had more than enough time to do so. He still puts out pretty amazing-looking trailers ... but pretty poor films which most people hate due to their lack of coherent plot, believable characters or a film which makes any sense in the end. Unfortunately I don't think this current trend is going to subside any time soon, so all we can do now is simply look to the past for solace and remember a time when stories, characters and plot were still revered. It could quite be that movies of yore were forced to do this simply because they couldn't use the visual spectacle to curtail our ability to identify a stupid plot or poorly-realised characters.

So, given what we have learned, directors could simply drop the production value so we can forgive their failures as writers - or at least give a passing grade. And this is why The Room is so good ... because it's so bad. You have your out, Hollywood. I've given you a way of even further maximising your ROI, eh?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hollowness incorporated

I'm not quite sure how Rogue One got it so wrong. Somehow they made an action film which caused me to seriously question why I had ever been born. When the most charismatic character in the show is a flagrantly gay and sarcastic robot, you know there are problems. The main character is played by 'Soup strainer' as I like to refer to her; an English actress with the most unfortunate set of teeth. She puts the yundun yook girl to shame, much to Mick Jagger's daughter's chagrin.

Image result for rogue one meme

Then we have a collection of nondescript characters, Asian actors (for the sole purpose of marketing in China), a boring plotline (which we already know the punchline) ... and AT-ST's!!! Everyone has a dead expression, with no personality and no sense of urgency to any of their actions. The video review for the previous link (once you get past the bludgeoned joke introduction) aligns horribly well with my views. Where they give it an ehhh, I give it a do not watch. You should not watch this and your life will be all the better for it. In comparison to The Force Awakens, this is terrible. In hindsight I'd rather watch a horrible clone of A New Hope many times over. Now we have the wonderful cash grab Star Wars expansion of the new Adventures of Han Solo which has all signs pointing to it being a great success. I have to wonder what Disney is getting out of this enterprise (outside of money). At what point do they as a company question whether what they are doing is truly of benefit to the general public. At this point all I want Disney to do is bankrupt themselves and all this film ends up doing is making me regret that this franchise was ever created.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

De-dumb your life

Now, before you think I've Americanized myself to such a point that I am comfortable with making up words, I have a point: How many times have you seen a poster with 'De-stress your life'? Does it make you more stressed just reading it? If so, I've got a helpful suggestion the next time you're responsible for writing a motivational poster.

For those of you hard-of-thinking, I'll give you the alternate and correctly-framed sentence: 

'Relax your life'

See? Isn't that so much nicer to read and, more importantly, sits nicely in your head? You're not thinking about stress but you're more focussed on how much nicer it would be to relax a little more. Now, I've read a number of motivational books and, for the most part, they're a little too much like faith than practical advise but I did gain a few take-aways; namely that using positive words internally and externally will result in you being more positive and that using (what boils down to) a chakra each morning will start you off on the right foot. I think those elements do work and you will feel better if you avoid negative words and words which are not conducive to your well-being. On second thoughts, I can re-frame the sentence completely to be even more motivational:

'Aim for your best but remember to still enjoy the ride along the way'

Maybe it's not as pithy but I do think it's better, don't you?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Transgressing the standards

I watched Wonder Woman last night and it was okay. There were moments in it that I enjoyed and there were moments that I didn't and, yet, I cannot help feeling a cynical distaste that they were merely check-boxes on an imaginary build list on how to make a relatively competent movie.

Now, as you may already know, I've got a selective taste. One where upside down is despised, Frequencies is appreciated and Bucky Larson is adored. To which, most of you would probably respond with, huh? How is it that Bucky Larson gets a thumbs up while being, quite clearly, a terrible film? I'm not sure ...  but I would like to think that this video from Vox goes a long way to explaining why: 

But, now, back to why I was indifferent about Wonder Woman. I think one of the main issues I had was that Gal Gadot was miscast in the lead role. Her acting ability is very limited and she was unable to create a character which was either charismatic or interesting. Yes, she looked very striking in her vogue cover girl make-up but that's not enough to sustain my interest over the course of a 2+ hour movie. The funny part is that the younger versions of her earlier in the movie conveyed a lot more character and personality than the final product. Make no mistake: Wonder Woman (and every other franchise) are merely products designed to separate you from your money. As the producers / owners of this movie, they would like to try and point out that little girls finally have a strong female role-model to look up to - but that is just silly. I'll give you just a small list of present-day strong female leads/heroes/ass-kickers: Black Widow, Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider/Salt/Wanted, Gamora (from Guardians of the Galaxy), Lucy, Super Girl,  Hit-Girl (from Kick-ass) ... and plenty more. From my vantage point, it seems pretty clear that strong female leads are pretty well-catered for - it's just that marketeers like to try and confuse us with statements to the contrary. Could it be that I'm simply being sexist because I didn't love the movie? Scientist man says otherwise.

I guess the problem I have with most big films today is that the plots are actually approached very scientifically. I will now divulge the blockbuster hero formula:

  • If it's the first in the blockbuster film series, it will *always* be an origin film and spoon-fed to the audience so they're not too confused while they engorge their gallon of coke
  • There will always be an unexplained element of the origin story which will always be resolved by the end of the film
  • If the protagonist is from another country/world/time, there will be classic fish-out-of-water humor inserted
  • Whatever the main protagonists' main character traits are, there will be contrasting side-characters there to counter-balance those traits (e.g. naive vs worldly wise, rambunctious vs cautious etc.)
  • There will always be humorous side-kicks to distract the audience from the boring / limited acting range of the main character
  • There will be a 'you had the power inside you all along' moment
  • The arch-nemesis will always be one-dimensional and driven to do bad things ... because reasons
  • Slow motion is your friend
  • The End of the world plot is your friend
  • The final 10 minutes will be a CGI excrement-fest, with smoke, wind, lightning and random explosions that will frighten small children
Notable examples: both Guardians of the galaxy films, Wonder Woman, Thor, Hulk, Avengers, Black Panther (one would presume), Green Lantern, Brave, Captain America, Iron Man 2, The Force Awakens.

In all honesty, I did extract some enjoyment from Wonder Woman ... but it almost feels like I was forced down that path through subversive mentalist techniques. It's getting to a point where it feels like we're moving towards mass-brainwashing; where the intended agenda is prefaced years in advance so that finally, upon its release, the only possible assessment you could ever settle upon is one of complete adulation and acceptance because public media told me so**. I can't be the only one, can I?

**or else I'm obviously prejudice towards some under-represented minority

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Cover reveal and release date!

Things are looking good for my next book. So good, in fact that I can now do a cover and book title reveal!

So, the official title for the next book is
Zed: Walking the Dead
and the current release date is tentatively set at 
March 11th

Let me know what you think of the cover for my new novel in the comments section. I am very happy and very excited to see what you make of this novel. I feel it is my best and hopefully you will too.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Harrison Ford has lived too long

For any original Star Wars fan, they will be undoubtedly aware of Carrie Fisher's (nee Princess Leia) passing. Unfortunately this was not enough to thwart the release of The Force Awakens but, at least, we won't be having her cameo in any future films, will we? 

Image result for rogue one princess leia
Computer graphics have yet to surpass the Uncanny Valley
I stand corrected. Unfortunately I can categorically declare that Harrison has lived too long. We have been subjected to a rehash of his role in Indiana Jones (the horror), The Force Awakens (such pretty horror) and apparently we will soon be subjected to a disappointing rendition of an aging blade-runner attempting to interact coherently alongside the talented Ryan Gosling's antics. One would expect Gosling to play out the role as an emotionless rendition of a blade-runner from Brooklyn. 

Trey Parker is a goddamn soothsayer by this point. It's not that I don't want to have Harrison Ford acting - I just don't want him raping the good will of the films that had made him successful in the first place. Apparently I am in the minority on this as I haven't yet noted the expected droves of people shrieking in horror at the announcement / release of these films. Even if I have the tiniest of inclinations to see these abortive cash-ins, I cannot rightly support this. We are all dumber for wanting to watch or, dare I say it, enjoy them. I watched The Force Awakens (for free) recently and even with a steady stream of Rum flowing through my veins I was unable to extract any enjoyment from the experience. The film was a hollow facsimile of A New Hope with a story which held no gravitas or emotional weight. At this point I liken Star Wars to the abusive husband who promises not to hit you but still does.