Saturday, July 24, 2004

In The Village

Recently watched the Prisoner series on DVD - well, most of the series anyway. Enough to get the plot point that there's no escaping the world's wackiest retirement village for secret agents, enough to want to go live in the world's only retirement village for buildings otherwise known as Portmeirion for real, and enough to be astounded at what Patrick McGoohan achieved.

Nobody is ever going to make a TV series quite like this again, except possibly Japanese animators.

What the flaming hellfish was the Prisoner all about? Why didn't we watch this in class instead of having to crawl through all those tomes about the language of thought, the politics of language, and the perception of reality? Here's how propaganda works, in one easy episode. Here's another episode about the perception of freedom, and one on the methodology and function of education, and another on the individual's place in society, and...

Nobody writes about these things or as inventively as the Prisoner series did. Who today constructs an entire TV series around an allegory? About being prisoners of the society we've created? Who would dare? Who'd pay for it? Even if you could persuade an A+ star like Will Smith or Russell Crowe to helm your opus, who'd be willing to back it or promise to broadcast it nowadays? The public (read the Money) won't. Too risky. Too dangerous. You musn't draw viewers' attention to the fact that everything they see on TV is politicised and paid for.

And these days, when an innocuous Muppet character like Harry the Crazy Bomber is considered unacceptable because of the present situation ( We haven't had bombers before?), what chance could there be for something like the Prisoner?

Damn, I hate when somebody sets a benchmark this high. It's like a dare.

Be seeing you.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Quick update

I'm posting this from the editing station at CTV Perth where I'm currently in the early stages of editing together the little doco we shot yesterday. The shoot went well, although we did have some problems with the tech from CTV Perth not showing up so we couldn't get a machine to install linux on. Fortunately there were plenty of other machines that we could use at the installfest. I have only had a precursory look at the footage but it looks great. Hopefully it will only take me a few days to cobble together a half-hour show. Much however depends on the equipment here. As I said we've been having problems with our tech and so most of our editing stations are either in pieces or aren't properly configured. I've already spent several hours trying to get this machine up to speed. But now that it is - and presuming nothing goes wrong - it should be full speed ahead.

Saturday, July 17, 2004


Women want ONE man to fulfill her EVERY need.
Men want EVERY woman to fulfill his ONE need.

Houston, we have a problem

If over the next few days/weeks/years you notice a slight decrease in the quality of the formatting or spelling ability of ToxicPurity or myself then it is because of technical changes in Blogger.. While up until yesterday everything was absolutely hunky-dory (and we were very satisfied with the support and technical quality of our hosts) they went and, without warning, buggered it all up by changing the editor on us. As a result we can no longer edit our posts. We've had to find a work-around to post at all. The Blogger folks say they are working on the problem but if it continues for more than a few more days then I urge you to write a nasty letter to our hosts urging them to pull their fingers out.

Alms for the rich

Finally someone in the US Government has bitten the bullet and done something right. They've cut aid funding to Saudi Arabia. Yep, the same Saudi Arabia that is the 25th richest nation in the world and that has a GDP of roughly $US 200 billion. Sure, they've only cut $25000 but it's a start.

The question is why on Earth would a rich nation like Saudia Arabia be asking for handouts? The real poser is why has it taken until now for the yanks to put an end to it? I could do with twenty-five grand. Perhaps I should declare myself a nation and go around with the begging bowl.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Better late than never

I hear that Sex in the City has finally been approved for broadcast in
Singapore. Each episode is 5 minutes long.


Freedom is a myth.

--Patrick McGoohan

Thursday, July 15, 2004


At the age of five, on my very first full day of primary school, I learnt a valuable lesson. It happened at lunchtime. It was late summer and extremely hot. I saw some older kids playing under the sprinklers. They were laughing and having what looked like a lot of fun. So I went over and joined in. Well, just about then a teacher showed up along with a bunch of prefects. The older kids scattered leaving me standing by myself soaked to the skin under the sprinkler.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard must now be feeling how I felt then. That he'd joined the big kids on one of their fun adventures only to have them disappear when the going got tough. But unlike my five-year old self he's refusing to admit that he's done anything wrong. He steadfastly says that he believes that Iraq had WMDs immediately before the 2003 invasion by the "Coalition of the Willing" and that they will eventually be found. The US has admitted they got it wrong in their estimation of Iraq's WMDs and now Britain too has reported that there were no WMDs. But still John Howard won't admit the obvious. Why?

Because he still hasn't learnt the lesson that I did when I was five. That when you do something wrong it is better to own up to it and take your licks instead of trying to deny it.

As for my punishment, I got carried kicking and screaming by the head prefect to the headmaster's office, where I waited for twenty terrified minutes until he sent me home to my none-too-impressed mother.


That's a term Neil Gaiman uses to describe the process of filing ideas away into the bottom drawers of the id and forgetting about them, at least at the conscious level, and leaving your subconscious daemons to work on them.

Composting. Very apt.

So. It's 3:00am one crisp and freezing morning, and I've just flung myself out of bed and stumbled into three layers of winterwear with the sole purpose of stopping a catfight in progress. My strategy consists of letting that Sociopathic Black Cat stalk me, while I cleverly lead him out of our immediate neighbourhood, and away from our own cowardly feline. (I used to throw gravel at the SBC, but he dodges better than I can aim, and now the little bugger thinks it's a game we play.)

As I'm trudging round the block, listening out for the faint jingle of the SBC's collar, my subconscious daemons leap out and gesture frantically at me. Hell, a feature screenplay I'd abandoned two years earlier, is salvageable, they inform me. All I have to do is reposition the protagonist, rewrite the first act to focus on his family, disguise the supernatural elements in the second act...etc

That's nice, I told my subconscious daemons. But it's now half-past-bloody-three in the morning. I'm freezing, sleep-depped, and in a park. When I get home, I'm crawling back to bed. Write me a memo.

They didn't, of course. Let this be a lesson: don't annoy your daemons, and don't believe your cat when he insists he absolutely has to go out and the hour is smaller than the temperature. You'll regret it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Well, sure, the government lies, and newspapers lie, but in a democracy they aren't the same lies.

-- Alexis Gilliland


While we've been waiting for the soundtrack for Frisky to be completed we've been heavily into pre-production for our next short film, which has the working title of The Audition. Casting is almost complete. Once everything is finalised we'll post the details here. We're due to start filming in a couple of weeks.

We're also working on a short feature which looks like it could be moved forward into production before the end of the year. As with most things in this industry nothing is certain until the ink is dry on the contract - and sometimes not even then - but the signs are good.

Far more immediate, we are filming a short documentary this Sunday. We are covering the Perth linux users' group installfest.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

X2 DVD Review

Yeah, so I'm a little behind the times and it has taken me this long to get around to watching X-Men 2 so I'm going to keep this short and sweet because those that care probably have already seen it a gillion times.

The film:

It's good. Not great, but easily watchable and worth the price of a rental. I'm not a superhero film fan, but I've liked both the X-Men films. I especially like the characterisations - kudos to the writers, director and actors. I know the characterisations are good because I want to know what happens to each of them. I guess I'll just have to wait for X3.

Rating: 8 out of 10 supervillains

The DVD:

It's not bad. There is a bundle of additional features but there just isn't a lot that I'm dying to see. The director's & DP's commentary is adequate. I have no idea why they included the second commentary. All in all it's a rental not a buy.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Udderly stupid

Now I'm not one who takes the IMDB's trivia pages as gospel, but if the trivia for Home on the Range, a Disney film no less, is true then we are living in a mad, mad world.

According to the trivia, Home on the Range was given a PG rating in the US because of one line about udders:

Yeah, they're real. Quit staring.

Even the prudish state of Singapore gave it a G rating.

Stop the world! I want to get off.

A vote of confidence

As usual this Doonesbury strip pretty much sums up the situation.

Plan B

Let me just say, straight off the bat, that I'm a cynic. So, when I saw this story I automatically thought the worst.

The Bush administration is looking into ways that they can delay the November Presidential elections in case of an attack on the day of or the day preceding the election. The cynic in me says that these guys want to mantain power so bad they'd do anything to achieve it. Even to the point of staging an attack. If it happens perhaps Elliott (see my earlier post for an explanation) will get a chance to see if the world comes to their rescue.

Sunday, July 11, 2004


Kerry or Bush...A quarter-billion fed, educated citizens and that's the best you can choose for leaders? You deserve what you get.

--Paul J. Adam

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Frisky music

This week should see the delivery of the first draft of the score for our short film Frisky. It is being worked upon by Mahesh Jadunundun, who also scored our film The Call.

Here's the movie poster:

A matter of policy

This was part of a thread on Slashdot that I contributed to. It raises some serious issues about US foreign policy and the responsibility of the citizenry. It is off-topic to continue the discussion on Slashdot so I've decided to add further responses here.

It began when Dan Ost wrote:

Please don't make the mistake of assuming that US foreign policy reflects or is in any way influenced by the actual opinions of individual Americans.

To which I responded:
If not, why not? Of, for, by the people. Isn't that the mantra? Your founders gave you the second amendment for a reason. Use it or lose it.

Then came the curious retort from someone calling themselves monkeyfamily:
Yeah, and i bet you'll back us up in our revolution. Just like GHW Bush backed up the Shiites after he told them he'd support them if they overthrew Saddam. Oh wait, he didn't, and now their bodies are the ones turning up in mass graves all over Iraq.

Thankfully the founders of the United States didn't think like this guy (according to his website his name is Elliot). The original conspirators risked everything to create their nation. They understood that freedom was worth the price. When you're right and just and have the courage to back up your convictions with not just empty platitudes but deeds and actions then anything is possible. Elliott doesn't seem to understand that. He's already lost because he doesn't believe in the cause. Oh, I'm sure he's recited the oath but that's not the way to defend and uphold such a fragile thing as freedom. That is only empty propaganda designed to placate the masses.

Jefferson once said, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. But more importantly he also said, Every generation needs a new revolution. Without that revolution the masses fail to understand the price of freedom. The checks and balances begin to be ignored or "worked around". The citizenry loses control of the government. The various agencies of government and allied interests begin to control every facet of the citizen's lives: what they see, hear and do. When that happens in a republic that country quickly stops being a republic and rapidly descends into dictatorship.

So I ask, if your democratically elected government isn't doing the bidding of the citizenry what are you doing to change that?

As for Elliott all I can say is perhaps the French will ride to your rescue as they did in the Revolutionary War. Maybe then French fries will be put back on the Whitehouse menu.

Friday, July 09, 2004


XML is like violence. If it doesn't solve all your problems you're not using it enough.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Escape

While we're on the topic of Tropfest, here's the poster from our 2004 entry. Click on it for further details.


Well, Tropfest has finally named their Tropfest Signature Item [TSI] and as you might have guessed from the title it is umbrella.

I have to say that I'm a little disappointed with this one. It's not that there isn't ample opportunity for interpretation, it's just that it lacks the ambugity of the TSIs of recent years: hook, rock, match, horn, bug You have to go back to 1999 for a specific concrete item (chopsticks) and 1996 for an item (teaspoon) with only one meaning.

However, despite all my griping there is a good chance I'll be submitting at least one entry and maybe even more than one. It's not just the fat wads of cash or the treasure trove of prizes that are on offer that attracts me - although they do help. It's the fact that it's probably the biggest audience a short-listed short can get. The festival screens at selected locations across Australia. I also just love the idea of being forced to get off my big fat arse to create something specifically for the festival.

Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


... so here we are in the 21st century, where you can't take two steps without brusing your shins on the latest must-have technological gizmo, and buzzwords with blinking lights swarm thicker than flies in summer.

Welcome, me, to the wonderful world of the literate exhibitionist. How did I get talked into this? No idea. Any minute now, I expect I shall decide to follow up this post by ripping my clothes off in real life and skipping naked in the park.

Damn. The problem with writing this down is that now I want to write this down.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Kiss of death

Greece should thank me. I managed to have a 100% score at picking the loser in Euro 2004. At least beyond the knock-out round. Originally, I chose England and France with the Dutch and the Portugese as dark horses. All fell. Hopefully my luck will hold so I've decided to pick every country but Australia to win the World Cup 2006.

As far as Euro 2004 goes I'd have to say Beckham's Wilkinson impression was a highlight. It has even coined a new term within our household:

pepsi \pepsee\ v to fuck up above and beyond what seems logically possible.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


It seems only appropriate that on this day I make some sort of comment about the United States. Two-hundred-and-twenty-eight years ago today a small band of idealists and dreamers started something that, after it was all said and done, made the world a better place. It cost a lot of lives, blood and hardship. A lot of lessons were learnt the hard way. Two-hundred-and-twenty-eight years later most of those lessons seem to have been forgotten.


About bloody time

Yes, it has taken me this long to finally pull my finger out and do something about this. Now I too can join the hordes (or should that be whores?) of nascent, wannabe writers and journalists and add my mindless thoughts and uninformed opinions to the constant babble that haunts cyberspace.

Just don't expect a prolific amount of attention or wordage.