Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Here I was, playing GTA: San Andreas, and I hear a familiar insolent, nasal tone. I IMDB the prime suspect, and it is indeed the man. Here's an interview about it. It's a shame that the material that he's doing is so dean (the game's badly written).
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Also it appears that maybe Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera, but Tony talked him out of it.
A White House official said: "We are not going to dignify something so outlandish with a response."
I like how the response they've dignified it with is not actually a denial (but I'm getting uncomfortably deep into conspiracy theory territory here). However, Downing St.'s "leaked documents" remark gives, in my mind, the accusation an air of credibility; or am I reading it wrong?
Monday, November 21, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
The next stage of marketing is a logo, that we can put on the site, and on tshirts which we will put on our bodies. Me & the Peg had the idea of Hipster Minotaurs - a cool young man with an animal's head.
But if you could sever one of the heads in this picture, what animal's head would you replace it with?
Let the bumments commence.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
The UCB's Matt Walsh and the Ali G producer are doing a new show which will involve a group of actors playing spoof TV journalists. Hmm, why does that sound strangely familiar?
Also I think that this internet stand-up idea, if implemented correctly (e.g. along the lines of IFilm), has potential.
- Did the funny lines for the soldiers in Halo 2, according to Charlie Brooker in Edge Magazine. The brilliant article in which this nugget was contained featured 7 pages of Simon Pegg, Graham Lineham, our favourite Sith Lord Peter Serafinowicz and CB talking about writing for games. It's sadly not online. [Ah, that's where you're wrong, my friend. Since I'm both cheap and abroad, I hunted around for the article and tracked it down to here - Ed]
- Wrote a funny article dissing Pitchfork, on Pitchfork.
- Makes a sub-par appearance in the new Strokes video.
- Is furry.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I've always toyed with the idea fo bumming out those at my funeral ever further by asking for Smog's Permanent Smile to be played, but now i'm leaning towards Jeff Buckley's Mojo Pin.
[Below is the first attempt to extend the Mew into a 2nd dimension; you should be able to hear a MIDI play in the background. If you hear nothing and you're using Mozilla, try it with IE - Ed]
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
For me, reading yesterday's AD announcement triggered the memory of hearing about the late Pope's illness in February or March; this was mostly because both announcements signified the beginning of a drawn-out period of waiting for the final, inevitable news.
In my opinion, the choice of show (reruns) to replace Arrested during sweeps is quite telling. Prison Break (which just happens to be the only new show from this fall season that I've been watching) is actually pretty good, in the poor-man's-24 kind of way. So far, they have been using their centerpiece gimmick to good effect, introduced a couple of interesting characters including a semi-plausible love interest (not the real-prison variety of love interest, thankfully), have managed to keep the preposterousness down to a medium level, and even produced one storyline which had me awaiting the next episode with the same feverish excitement that early season 1 of 24 once generated. Each Prison Break episode is perfectly entertaining in a disposable sort of way; you can sit down in front of the telly, switch the ol' ticker off, and enjoy the ride.
Contrast this with AD; for example, right now as I'm writing this, it's late and I'm tired. Were I lucky enough to have a new AD episode recorded or on TV right now, I wouldn't partake. In my current mental and physical state, it's simply too demanding: I mean that in the good way, that is, I'd still very much enjoy it, I just wouldn't be able to give it the full attention it deserves.
But what if I'm James AverageViewer instead. I've come home from a long day at the office, I just wanna sit down on the couch and chill out for a bit. Since my favourite show Friends finished, I've been looking around for something to replace it, but nothing quite fits the bill (except Joey, to a certain extent). *Click* click*. Oh look, it's that show I've heard about... why is that guy wearing a camera and has a hat with Surrogate written on it? And a guy with a fake hand, what's up with that. Oh, ok we're somewhere else now...Who's Mr.F? This show is *weird*. *Click*.
As it stands, I cannot see how AD could possibly attract new viewers. When new episodes are a month apart, constantly shifting timeslots, and complex storylines and character development abound, newbies simply don't stand a chance. Even word of mouth, that most potent weapon of indie shows, is of limited use. If, for example, I wanted to introduce somebody outside my close friendship circle to 24, the Simpsons or Family Guy, I would just invite them over when I next watch the latest episode. Not so with AD; I feel that the learning curve is too steep to really hook anybody (apart from a very narrow band of the populace) with just one episode. To truly introduce somebody to it, you need to hand them the season 1 box set. It seems to me that 24/simpsons/family guy all encapsulate more of a media-induced 'high' in standalone episodes, and hence have a strong evolutionary advantage in the ratings fight.
Yes, but sir, you may ask, what of the awards and critics? For instance, you may site the fact that the AD season 2 box set has a Metacritic rating of 87, with pretty much only Curb having a higher score. Am I claiming that these professionals are "out of the mainstream"?
Well, my hypothesis is that Mitch has created TV's equivalent of a dog whistle; a show emanating a call that only writers, critics, and media geeks hear. For this group, (which we are part of), TV is more than just a way to relax: it's a livelihood and/or a passionate, borderline-obsessive hobby. We tend to approach viewing more analytically than most and the sheer volume of our consumption is immense. It is only natural that what we crave is different to what the mass market craves.
Sadly (for us), we are few and far between. Regular TV, with its geographical and time restrictions, has no way of unifying us and turning us into a viable market. When television executives realise the power of the long tail (DVD is starting to get there, and eventually online distribution should take off), the AD crowd can coalesce into a revenue stream, but by then the show will have long joined the late Pope at the great transmission tower in the sky. RIP Arrested Development (2003 - 2005/6)
Heart disease. Caused by years of drug and alcohol abuse.
The official word from Mrs. Latino Heat.
Eddie famously put himself under huge pressure to succeed, suffering (it emerged) a near nervous breakdown during his WWE Championship reign in 2004.
He took it so to heart that profit numbers were down while he was the company's figurehead while, ironically, he was producing the highest quality main-event in-ring action since Shawn Michaels in 1997.
It saddens me so much that the demands of commercial success, above and beyond actual quality, can directly contribute to the death of a man (or, to be fatuous, a Fox-network comedy show).
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Storylines on this weeks' Raw and Smackdown shows will be suspended, and tribute matches and comments will be aired. Eddie was, incidentally, due to win the World Championship from Batista at the Smackdown taping this week.
I still find wrestling deaths deeply deeply shocking, since they can - as we see - be extremely sudden, and because we simply follow these men week after week, following the ups and downs of their career and often their personal lives. These ain't just our favourite actors.
I still can't believe he's gone, at the height of his career too. I'll probably post a more detailed column later, but for now I'm just numb.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
I came across an argument for ID that I haven't heard before, on Scott Adams's blog (he of Dilbert fame) :
Here’s where it gets interesting. The Intelligent Design people allege that some experts within each narrow field are NOT convinced that the evidence within their specialty is a slam-dunk support of Darwin. Each branch of science, they say, has pro-Darwinists who acknowledge that while they assume the other branches of science have more solid evidence for Darwinism, their own branch is lacking in that high level of certainty. In other words, the scientists are in a weird peer pressure, herd mentality loop where they think that the other guy must have the “good stuff.”
Is that possible? I have no way of knowing.
But let me give you a little analogy. One time in my corporate career I was assigned to lead a project to build a 10 million dollar technology laboratory. The project was based on the fact that “hundreds of our customers” wanted a place to test our technology before buying our products. I interviewed several managers who told me the same thing. Months into the project, I discovered that there was in fact only one customer who had once asked for that service, and he had been satisfied with another solution. The story of that one customer had been told and retold until everyone believed that someone else had direct knowledge of the hundreds of customers in need. If you guessed that we immediately stopped the project, you’ve never worked in a big company. We just changed our “reasons” and continued until funding got cut for unrelated budget reasons.
(While you may be thinking that I should probably know better than to give my uninformed opinion on this highly complex matter, keep in mind this blog's slogan.)
Here is where I think Scott's analogy (and argument) goes awry. There are two differences between a business project and scientific research, that immediately spring to mind.
Firstly, within a company, there tends to be a great deal of secrecy when it comes to information sharing. Departments tend to limit information only to the relevant people to reduce the risk of it being stolen by rivals or even rival departments within the same company (after all, knowledge is power). On the other hand, academia is completely the opposite: if experiments are not verifiable, then the results are not recognised. Consequently, all the relevant information is available for everybody to analyse for themselves. Scott's scenario would have never occured, had the managers involved hard data on the customers.
Secondly, a business project has a pretty strict grouping (e.g. these 10 people work on the hardware, these 10 people work in sales, etc), and generally as a consequence, specialisation is greater: one group probably doesn't know the details of what the other group is doing. Academia, on the other hand, has no such rigid boundaries. You have plenty of biologists that are involved with chemistry and mathematics, you have plenty of mathematicians and chemists that are interested in biological problems. So you have many cross-discipline people that understand the problems and arguments of both domains, can critically analyse the weaknesses and strengths of each. Considering that they have access to the hard "evidence" and information from both areas, these people should be able to red-flag any "herd mentality" and bridge the misconceptions arising from not being a specialist in one field but not the other.
Besides, I see no problems with starting out with the assumptions that Darwin is right. How a scientist proceeds is that he/she makes some assumptions, builds the model from those assumptions, predicts theoretical results from the model and compares these predicted results with real world results. If the results match up, then the scientist gains confidence, and puts more "trust" in the assumptions. Alternatively, if the results seem off, the scientist reexamines the assumptions, comes up with some new ones, and runs the whole process again. Nobody forces those who are unhappy with Darwin to use his theories; if they can come up with something that yields more accurate predictions, great!
I'd be interested to see more evidence from "pro-Darwinists who acknowledge that while they assume the other branches of science have more solid evidence for Darwinism, their own branch is lacking in that high level of certainty". While they probably wouldn't be able to shatter Darwin's theories completely (those theories have allowed many different research fields to generate very accurate models), they would probably provide modifications and adjustments which "feed back" into the core Darwin stuff: that way everybody is happy.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I found the link to the story claiming that almost all notes in London have coke traces, although the conclusion isn't as dramatic as it sounds:
The results do not suggest that most notes are used to snort cocaine; rather that most are contaminated by currency handled by dealers or users.
Men's texts get longer when addressed to women, and they are more likely to use sarcasm, sexual humour and swearing.Your task is to write (using no more than 160 characters) a text that fulfils all the above criteria, without resorting to chauvanistic, un-PC insults. You have 3 hours.
"We found that people have very quickly adapted to using mobile phones as a way of managing different aspects of their lives at the same time.Seriously thou, the friend mode/partner mode duality is obviously quite prevalent in our society, but is it something that can be avoided? I don't want to have modes - I want to have only one "me". Or is there some invisible evolutionary advantage to having them?
"For example, it has become common to text when you want to keep communication private, especially if you are in a group. An obvious example is that a man is more likely to text than phone his partner when he is out with friends or peers.
"This prevents him by losing face by switching from 'friend' mode to 'partner' mode in front of his peers," he said.
Both guests had pre-prepared quips, gave several joke answers; McCain talked over Jon a couple of times and played directly to the audience. Normally Jon doesn't mind his fake news authority undermined, and in Obama's case, he laughed along with the crowd - McCain wasn't so lucky though. Yesterday's lead story was Cheney lobbying senators to exempt the CIA from a ban on torture, and understandably, Jon was already seething - McCain's clowning didn't go down well. Later in the interview, Jon also got tetchy after McCain gave him a stock answer about Iraq.
So my thought is: has Jon began to lose his power? Are his methods and sphere of influence too well-known and understood (much like Sasha Baron Cohen's in the UK) for him to get effective interviews? It seems that the politicians are close to learning how to handle him while scoring points with the "stoned slackers". If this has really happened, clearly the onus is on Jon to adapt in turn; I hope that this is within his grasp.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
To start off with, I must come clean with something. I missed it completely; when blog train sailed into the mainstream in 2004, I was not a passenger on it. Having observered and participated in several forum and chat communities by that point, I felt somewhat disillusioned with the bi-directional aspect of the Web and its unfavourable moron/non-moron ratio. To me, blogging seemed no more than a simpler, quicker mechanism for dumping info-sewage onto the internet.
While The Mew is my first foray into personal blogging, it's not my first piece of web real estate: years and years ago ('98, '99), I had a little free Geocities (later bought out by Yahoo) webspace and some sort of rudimentary page (I cannot remember anything apart from that it housed an MP3 of the first piece of music that I had written, and possibly creative writing from that time). Come to think of it, it's probably still up there somewhere, but I doubt that I shall ever find it again - but at least the message-in-a-bottle romanticism of the situation is there for me to enjoy. More recently, I started the Tallis development blog in order to improve communication within our "company", but that died off quickly after it became clear that the other Tallis members were not really interested. Nonetheless this failure allowed me to familiarise myself with the blog tools (and convince myself of their simplicity and flexibility).
I've since had a change of heart, which has allowed me to jump into the Mew with such vigour. Here is a list of things that I (now) believe blogs have going for them:
- Many underlying uses:
- online diary
- news aggregation
- technical tutorials and insights
- creative writing (McSweeney's is a prime example)
- Blogs have given people, who would otherwise not dare to dip their toes in the internet waters (such as musicians, celebrities and politicians), a new channel of communication with the outside world.
- Content and comment finally combined - an evolution from the previous webpage-forum separation. The structureless forum environment seemed to breed off-topic information pollution - something that the comment-story relationship seems to discourage.
- The community aspect - the comments (over which the blog owner has total control) and trackback system. I recently discovered that a friend from my Australia days maintains a blog; what surprised me was that while it was nothing much fancier than an online diary, almost every post was commented on by a group of about 5-6 people. As it turns out, she had once written some Harry Potter fanfiction and consequently, she was now part of a network of people who actively followed and interacted on each others' blogs.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
- Why monogamy?
- The fact that we have eyes is proof that a consciousness was present, prior to our creation, which was aware of the existence of light. And while this truth does not confirm the existence of a God, doesn't it verify an intelligence older than our own?
- What is the definition of love? Can you define love without listing characteristics of love?
- Are there any arguments against allowing gay marriage that aren't religious or bigoted or both?
Entertainment - Surely the strangest female lead/male lead/script triple in recent Hollywood history?
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Discussing the theme of his lecture series, which will be given in Oxford during January and February 2006, Armando said: 'If British TV has a heritage, then comedy is its most precious commodity. Most people's lists of the best television from the past forty years invariably have great moments of comedy at the top. Today, though, British Television Comedy is at a crossroads. Just as it get more daring and varied in format and technique, and just as audiences get more and more sophisticated in the breadth of comedy they're willing to watch, viewing figures for comedy shows are in decline. Less comedy is being made for the mass audience channels BBC1 and ITV, while the commissioning of comedy shows is increasingly in the hands of TV professionals from outside comedy production, under pressure from advertisers and schedulers not to take risks. And reality TV has recently shown that mass audiences can be won over by programmes far cheaper to make than the average comedy show. Over the next five years, TV comedy has the chance either to reclaim the mass-appeal, large viewing-figure slots that were previously theirs by right, or become a fragmented web of innovative, interesting but niche programmes. These lectures will outline precisely how British TV comedy arrived at this crossroads, and the possible routes it can take.'
Torrie Wilson will be missed only sporadically, but Savs-lookalike Christian refused to sign his latest contract. He's been deaned around by Vince alot and this might be a good step for him; he can go to TNA - the new big opposition to WWE - and get a push hopefully to the top.
Stone Cold's walkout was more petulant - he was booked in a street fight against idiot commentator The Coach which, PWInsider reports, Vince was going to have end in a screwjob loss when musclebound Olympic failure Mark Henry would intervene. Stone Cold, having none of this, took his Duff Zeroes and left.
Hopefully this gives Vince a kick up the heinie and challenges him to elevate some new men (not named Cena).