Thursday, February 28, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Type: German Pilsener.
Alcohol Content: 4.6%.
Why I Bought It: ‘Greed’ is a beer that Amager reportedly made to extract as much money from the consumer for as little cost as possible. In tribute to the marketing manager, they put his picture on the bottle.
Taste: Not as refreshing as your usual pilsener, probably because I had just driven 25 minutes with the bottle on a hot seat before I opened it.
What I did while drinking it: Watched the mighty 49ers lose the Superbowl (on replay) to a quarterback named Joe Flacco.
What I did after drinking it: Moped on the 25 minute drive home.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5: I hate this song anyway, but I think I hate it more because of Adam Levine acting like a tortured soul (and not in a compelling way) for the duration of the video clip. I mean, the poor guy … he has to hang around a sunny mansion in LA, and make a tough decision about whether to sleep with his hot girlfriend or her hot mother. Anyway, Levine gets some height on his dive, and he manages to get down about as deep into the pool as he can go, but like Lana’s ‘Blue Jeans’ clip it’s hard to convey torture on an epic scale in a body of water that’s five foot deep. All in all then, this clip rates as average, which for Maroon 5 seems appropriate.
No Surprises – Radiohead: Given that Thom Yorke spends the entire clip in the one spot, this clip video doesn’t rate on the height dimension. Why it comes under consideration here though is the scene a couple of minutes in the water slowly rises up until his entire head is underwater, and for a few seconds you think “Holy shit! Thom Yorke is about to drown on music video!” As we all know, the water comes down again, leaving Thom gasping for air, but the scene remains emblematic of Radiohead’s brand of pre-millennial tension.
BONUS: Lay It Down – The Rubens: I only mention this because I saw it on Rage around the time I was writing this. It’s essentially the Maroon 5 clip in a bigger body of water, although it ups the angst by having it rain on the band for the rest of the video clip. Alas, I thought I might like the Rubens until I came across this batch of clichés.
Which then of our six clips is the best example of being ‘trapped within a glass lake of emotion’? To my mind, three clips stand out in terms of being able to rack up a reasonable score on all three dimensions: the xx, PJ Harvey, and Guns ‘N’ Roses. No-one can top Axl for height and depth, but again it’s just hard to take anyone seriously as a tortured artist when they dress like a 13 year old and end the clip sitting with a dolphin in a flannel shirt. As I said, the xx is fairly much a textbook water angst clip and it comes very, very close, but I’m going to go for PJ Harvey. No-one who has seen that clip would ever forget it, and it even has ‘water’ in the title. Plus, PJ essentially used the same image on her album cover – that’s commitment to the theme.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
To answer this, I looked at all the actors and actresses who had been nominated at least five times for the Best Actor or Best Actress Oscar. If you’ve been nominated five times, you would be expected to win, on average, one award (since there are five nominees each year). If the Academy was really biased against those who kept on getting nominated, then you would expect the average winning percentage of the frequently-nominated stars to be less than 20 per cent.
Well, as you can probably gather from my humility, it isn’t. For actresses with five or more nominations, they have won 24 times out of 118 nominations – a winning percentage of 20.3 per cent. For actors with five or more nominations, they have won 24 times out of 114 nominations – a winning percentage of 21.0 per cent. That is, frequently-nominated actors and actresses have won about as many times as you would expect them to.
But … this assumes the top actors and actresses are more or less equal - that is, you don’t have the equivalent of Roger Federer or Michael Jordan amongst the acting ranks. If this were the case, then the Academy’s voting patterns might suggest they are bringing the very top talent back to the pack. Perhaps though, acting is one of those professions that doesn’t have outliers.
*Yes, I know Katherine Hepburn did it for the Best Actress category.
Monday, February 18, 2013
TELEVISION: Maybe I’ll stop my ‘Community’ DVD collection at season three.
TELEVISION: Who should be zombie food on ‘The Walking Dead’?
CARTOONS: Remembering Disney’s ‘DuckTales’.
BASKETBALL: Ranking the NBA players’ real names. And nicknames.
MUSIC: The end of the purity of MBV’s ‘Loveless’.
ECONOMICS: An economist’s break-up letter to his girlfriend.
ECONOMICS: Perhaps it’s because economics students are the most promiscuous.
ECONOMICS: A view on the High Court case between the ACCC and Google.
VIDEO GAMES: This is why I feel guilty about my inability to finish a Zelda game.
AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL: A tough time in the history of the Essendon Football Club.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
‘Damn it … ,’ I said, ‘Now I have to do that …,’
I did think of weaselling out of doing it by suggesting the topic to @AFLFootyMaths instead, but no, this was my burden to bear! Actually, it’s not much of a burden … since the round robin format only started in 2011 the sample size is just 13 pools.
For the purposes of the comparisons, team 1 in each pool is the team that plays in the first two matches of the night, team 2 plays in the first and third matches, and team 3 plays in the second and third matches.
1v2: 5 wins to team 1, 8 wins to team 2, net margin to team 1: -9 points.
1v3: 3 wins to team 1, 10 wins to team 3, net margin to team 1: -191 points.
2v3: 6 wins to team 2, 6 wins to team 3, 1 draw, net margin to team 2: +69 points.
So far, though team 1 has lost 8 out of 13 times against team 2, on point differential they have been fairly even (as one might expect). However, team 1 has fared relatively badly against the rested team 3, losing 10 out of 13 times, for a net margin of -191 points. This might indicate that team 1 is disadvantaged by having to play back-to-back matches, but again, it’s a small sample to date. In matches between teams 2 and 3, it’s all tied at 6 wins apiece (with one draw), but the net margin is 69 points in the rested team 2’s favour. Again, that might indicate a disadvantage from having to play back-to-back matches, but we might have to wait a few more years to get stronger evidence yet.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Place Of Origin: Fort Bragg, CA, USA.
Type: India Pale Ale.
Alcohol Content: 6.9%. Pretty hefty for an IPA.
Why I Bought It: The design of the bottle caught my eye. As a bonus, the six-pack box I got to carry my beers home had the same design!
What I did after drinking it: All the Sims and their guests jumped in the pool (fortunately they hadn’t been drinking).
Saturday, February 9, 2013
This cemented something that I’d suspected for some time – comic book artists are just cooler than comic book writers. Look at this group of major comic book artists, and compare them with the group of major comic book writers below.
Which group would you be more likely to party with? With the artists, you could chug beer, pick up hot women (or marry them), go surfing, ride motorbikes, mingle with rock bands, and play poker all night. In contrast, if you hang out with the writers, while you would probably have some intelligent conversations, you’d be living in fear that you’d end up bald or beardy or both.
More than that, just talking in pure comic business terms, the artists have it made. Image Comics was formed when seven artists gave the middle finger to Marvel, and went off to form their own company and become multi-millionaires. Can you imagine seven writers getting away with the same stunt? No, because the writers can’t draw the characters they create – they are always reliant on someone else to bring their properties to life. More than that, the big companies really only need about six or seven writers to pen most of their titles, whereas they’re always on the lookout for artists (relatively speaking). The odds become even tougher for writers when Hollywood big guns like Joss Whedon and J. Michael Straczynski drop by and take over the major books.
Alan Moore is the greatest comic book writer ever, and this is the advice he has for aspiring writers:
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
There are three main, somewhat interrelated dimensions to a ‘water torture’ clip: height, depth and length. Let me explain further:
Height – The really tortured musician doesn’t just enter the water. They jump, they throw themselves with reckless abandon, leaving it to the fate of the universe as to whether they plunge in safely or are dashed on some jagged rocks hidden just beneath the surface.
Depth – Dipping your toe in the bath doesn’t count here. The musician should be at least partly, but ideally, fully submerged, to indicate that they are hopelessly trapped within their feelings. In a top-level ‘water torture’ clip, the musician will basically look like they are two seconds away from drowning.
Length – The water should not be just a passing prop, but an integral part of the clip. To signify the full extent of their torture, the musician should spend a fair chunk of the clip submerged.
Let’s have a look at some of the wettest music video clips over the years, and how they rate.
Chained – The xx: The xx certainly have the depth and length dimensions down pat. The band claim they spent two days underwater to film the clip, and they spend a fair chunk of the clip’s running time in that state, with very few background props as distraction. There’s also a pretty decent headlong dive into the drink partway through. To top off the bleakness the xx wear moody black for the entirety of the clip. A studied case in ‘water torture’ clips.
Blue Jeans – Lana Del Rey: Lana has the expressions to suggest that she can compete in the heartrending pain area, but this clip falls down in some vital areas. Filming the clip in a swimming pool means that it lacks somewhat on both the height and depth dimensions – it’s hard to believe that Lana is in that much agony when she’s entering the water by barely dipping her foot in, and all she has to do to exit it is stand up in the shallow end. Lana and her beau do well on the length dimension though; by the end of the clip they’ve built up a fairly solid sense that their relationship is heading towards some tragic doom.
Monday, February 4, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Lotus Plaza is the side project from the sideman - Lockett Pundt - of Deerhunter. Pundt sang one of the best Deerhunter songs in ‘Desire Lines’, and this song is kind of like a mini-version of that one. After about a minute and a half of lyrics, the song wanders off and Pundt just keeps repeating ‘One of these days, I’ll come around’, albeit with varying degrees of intensity, til it ends. It’s great though, and one of my favourite tracks of the past 12 months.
I got back into this song over the past month, but the problem is that I’m far too old for it. If a teenager jumps around joyfully to it (like on the iPhone ad) it’s fine, but if I did so I’d look like a baby boomer trying to mosh to Nirvana. I’m jealous of the Twitter generation for getting this song.
The Strokes’ free comeback single isn’t to everyone’s taste, however at least it sounds like a single, unlike a lot of the tunes on their last couple of albums. Julian Casablancas singing falsetto makes this more than just a Strokes-by-numbers track.
Nick Cave returns with this excellent song – Warren Ellis’ violin really stands out on this one. Along with ‘We No Who U R’, it promises good things for Cave’s upcoming album.