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John Walker Music 2008

by on Jan.03, 2009, under The Rest

2008 marked the year I became a genre. Which was odd. The phrase “John Walker Music” has become commonplace amongst my hateful collection of so-called friends to describe a song they consider whiny and not possible to dance to. This idea is explored in disturbing depth in Kieron’s annual Top 40 songs list, posted today. And takes the term to an interesting place: it’s previously been used to dismiss songs, but seems to be becoming an occasionally acceptable alternative.

He’s quite accurate in his descriptions of which songs I’ll like. They’re easy to pick out the list. They’re the ones that don’t sound like stroppy teenagers singing 80s karaoke to a Casio keyboard demo. That sounds so trite a description, too cliché and predictable a way to dismiss it all, but hell, it seems to work.

(So as I write this I’ve put on some ancient Red House Painters, since Mark Kozelek is the patron saint of John Walker Music, and it’s about as opposite to the oh-so-ironic faux-80s annoyance as I could imagine.) Kieron’s taste has a few blips, allowing in some of this year’s best singles, including the epically great Dig, Lazarus, Dig by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and Matt & Kim’s glorious Daylight. He also includes some Mountain Goats, which has made my day. The best band/singer of them all. It’s a shame there isn’t a decent version of the song online anywhere, as the live version linked to is barely audible. (I might try and fix this in a bit, just in case people who like the shouting stuff click on it – it seems too tragic that he’d not get heard by new ears.) And the Magnetic Fields too, of course. And if they count as John Walker Music, then I think my genre is in damned fine form.

Oh, and the Frightened Rabbit song is fantastic. Kieron’s exactly right about the worry they cause. They’re so damned close to turning into Travis, and no amount of swearing will keep them above this if the banality they occasionally hint at sucks them down. However, while their demise seems sealed in their recent popularity (they’ve had two songs on Chuck’s fantastic soundtrack this season, and are popping up on TV all over the place), their second album survives it, and Keep Yourself Warm defies it. I accidentally saw them live this year, supporting knighted JW Music heroes, Death Cab For Cutie, and they knew to finish with this song in gigantic form. (Nick Cave, Kieron explains to me, only counts as JWM when it’s bad. When it’s good it isn’t. As he says, it’s based on a concept he’s created called “unfairness”. Of course, it’s never bad. It’s just sometimes it isn’t as spoon-fed. Take that.)

Looking at such lists, 2008 seems to have been a disastrous year for music. If the Ting Tings’ vapidity is the best the year can offer, let’s just pretend it didn’t happen. (Kieron links me to a great article about the year’s dodgy output here.) However, there was a decent amount of stuff. Well, nine or so albums. Some that appear in a few lists, some that seem oddly absent. All of them great.

I don’t really pay attention to time, and I find it very hard to know what’s from this year and what’s from five years ago, so I find listing music pretty difficult. I’m also fairly certain the Hold Steady and Portishead albums would have made it 11, but I haven’t heard enough of either yet. But here’s my Top 9 albums of the year. Which should, I suppose, all be John Walker Music by default.

9. Jim’s Big Ego – Free*

JBE have always understood the simplest music equation: record labels = bad, live performance = good. Their latest album is literally free, but you can choose to pay as much as you want for it. If you take it for free, they ask that you “pay” by passing it on to three friends. Of course that has no bearing on the music, which is really rather fantastic. There isn’t the big catchy single that will ride an internet meme this time, like Y2K Hooray!, or Stress, but they were all over a decade ago. Free* is a much more mature album, with some fantastically big songs, like the opening International, and the super-cute Everything Must Go. It gets silly, of course. And is as jazzy and enthusiastic as you could want.

8. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight

As above. You can’t help but feel nervous, seeing their destiny, but for now it’s hugely enjoyable.

7. Negativland – Thigmotactic

After 2005’s No Business – an album entirely comprised of stolen samples – the copyright-defying group went in completely the opposite direction in 2008. A much more personal project with fewer members of the collective involved, Thigmotactic is an experiment in song writing, rather than song recycling. It’s pleasingly daft, and surprisingly engaging. From a band who made an album by crashing a car into their recording studio, there’s a surprisingly amount of conformity to many of the tracks. It rarely lasts the full length of a song thank goodness, the familiar discordance unravelling tunes brilliantly, as well as many vocal samples throughout. I’m absolutely astonished this album hasn’t been given accolades on end of year lists. While the avant garde nature of most of their releases might put the Vampire Weekend applauders off, you’d think something that apes a traditional album would catch people’s attention.

6. High Places – 03/07-09/07

High Places released two albums this year. Their debut self-titled proper album, that I’ve not yet heard. And this collection of previous songs, that is utterly stunning. It swims and swarms throughout, an aquatic atmosphere meeting a strange, fussy insectoid flittering. Many tracks almost sound as if they’re underwater, the vocals muffled in a way reminiscent of Azure Ray, with the percussion up front. If it weren’t so catchy it would be haunting.

5. The Mae Shi – HLLLYH

I don’t understand how HLLLYH didn’t see a song on Kieron’s list. If I tried to guess an album he’d like, it would be this one. It’s got screeching girls, shouty boys and post-punky tunes. It’s also bloody brilliant. 7 x x 7 is a remarkable song, with almost nothing but “shush”ing for the first 30 seconds, as the guitar begins to poke its way through. Then it’s a minute of increasingly frantic, shouted storytelling, before going back to shushing. Then a final 20 seconds of shrieked madness, wrapping everything up in two seconds over two minutes. There’s no gap before the next track, The Melody, bursts in with 80s videogaming bleeping, warbled singing, with backing vocals alternating screamed notes, and itself breaks down into static noise and confusion midway through. Then it’s time for the next change of direction. There’s a Cloud Cult vibe when they’re pretending to be singing songs, and something unique and fascinating when the disguise is dropped.

4. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

It’s somehow been four years since the last Bad Seeds album. The double CD Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus showed some hints of Cave’s interest in getting noisy again, after his seven years of balladic Christianity exploring and fairytelling. This led to his side project, Grinderman (containing a contender for Best Song Ever with No Pussy Blues). The insane moustache grown for Grinderman’s hairy garage rock remained when the Bad Seeds got back together again, and some of the roughness came with it. But Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! is far more sedate affair, and it’s hard to not want it to just go that little bit further into the noise it threatens. It doesn’t get better than the opening title track, but anything the Bad Seeds offer is well worth listening to again and again.

3. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals

Mashups felt so 2005, until Gregg Gillis came back with proof it was still worth much attention. Feed The Animals is a much more approachable album than his previous two (and even more so thanks to being available at your own chosen price, including free should you be so wretched). The hiphop is invaded by incredibly familiar mainstream tunes, with 20 to 30 songs mashed in each track (the album is also available as one continuous track as there are no real breaks), often with three or four seamlessly appearing at once. It constantly makes you laugh as cheesy-as-hell pop so perfectly punctuates the rap, teasingly introducing itself before the reveal. Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares To You and Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale not only don’t feel out of place as they help things along from NWA and The Cool Kids to Kanye West and YoungbloodZ, but somehow feel relevant again as they do. And how else could you listen to The Band’s The Weight without it using Ben Folds Five’s Battle of Who Could Care Less’s drums to reach Ace of Base’s All That She Wants backing Lil’ Scrappy? Exactly. (There’s a near-exhaustive collection of the songs listed here.)

2. The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride

What a year when I get to choose between The Mountain Goats and Cloud Cult as my favourite album. Why on Earth Heretic Pride is getting ignored in the year-end accolades is a mystery – perhaps February is too early to put out an record and receive the notice you deserve come December/January. But John Darnielle proves he merits wide attention with songs like Autoclave and How To Embrace A Swamp Creature. Maybe it’s the familiarity of the sound that has put people off, often featuring songs that remind you of tracks on previous albums. However, there’s something special this time – it’s the most delicately instrumented record since his signing to 4AD. Songs like Last Man On Earth and So Desperate are almost as spare as his cassette-recorded solo albums of the 90s. There isn’t a song that matches Woke Up New from 2006’s Get Lonely, but there’s a few that come close.

1. Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)

Any band whose members include artists who paint on stage during gigs deserves attention. A band who does this while consistently producing albums to the stunning quality of Feel Good Ghosts deserves trumpeting from the roof. Craig Minowa’s project has become something incredible. 2007’s The Meaning of 8 was completely wonderful, meandering through moving and bemusing songs, changing shape and speed in a breathtaking way. Feel Good Ghosts is a much tighter album, notably shorter at only 13 tracks (Minowa was reported to have said he thought people’s attention spans weren’t coping with previous albums), but just as powerful.

This might also be the last Cloud Cult record, with Minowa announcing the band intends to spend at least the first part of 2009 with families, and in one interview saying he doesn’t know if they’ll reform after. If it is, then they’ve gone out in tremendous style. When Water Comes To Life (below) and Journey of the Featherless sound so uplifting you’re tempted to believe they could teach you to fly. But for me the most glorious moment of this or any of their albums is Story of the Grandson of Jesus (also below, without a video). It’s a gorgeous nonsense parable, with guitars and drums slamming together underneath the magical tale.

I cannot count how many times this album has looped through 2008, scoring the entire awkward year for me. If Love You All is to be the last song on their last album, then what better way to finish.

When Water Comes To Life:

Story of Grandson of Jesus:

Love You All:

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Best TV 2008 – Sitcoms

by on Dec.16, 2008, under Television

Best TV shows of the last six months. I know – who the hell am I, on a personal blog, to be issuing awards? This is the internet, people. This is how it works. (I should add that I’ve yet to see the latest season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, if this list looks a little strange without it.)

Best Sitcom: The Big Bang Theory

Season 1’s shortened run showed a lot of promise, especially from a show that in description sounds anything from derivative to offensive. Two physics geeks live opposite a blonde, unambitious waitress. Oh, the crazy differences between them! But fortunately the show quickly realised that the interplay between them as friends who care about each other was far more interesting than in Penny constantly not understanding what the boys were up to. More often this season Penny has joined in with them, and very frequently at the beginning of an episode – in other words, it’s not a big deal that she’s part of Halo Night now. Even if she did manage to accidentally turn it into America’s Next Top Model Night, with the episode ending with Howard and Rajesh finding the ANTM house.

It’s a Chuck Lorre show, which will put a lot of people off immediately. Currently responsible for this and Two and a Half Men, and in the past much-hated shows like Dharma & Greg, Cybill, Grace Under Fire, many wouldn’t come near this. (They’re obviously stupid, because Grace Under Fire was great, and Dharma & Greg wasn’t nearly as putrid as Family Guy would have you believe.) However, if there’s anyone who knows sitcoms on the scale of James Burrows, it’s this guy. And with TBBT, he’s nailed it. It’s a traditional three-camera sitcom, with a studio audience who oohs and aahs appropriately, and is almost entirely set in one front room. But the performances are fantastic. Kaley Cuoco manages to make Penny interesting, rather than a dull foil for the antics of the four geeks, and Johnny Galecki (David from Roseanne) is great at being the audience’s male ‘in’, the most normal of the four men. Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg still have the capacity to kill scenes they’re in, but have been better managed this time out. But the real star is Jim Parsons as Sheldon. His Aspergy, awkward social denial is constantly adorable – he somehow manages to make someone who’s almost sociopathic in his inability to understand people into a very loveable character.

It’s hard to argue for the programme in any sophisticated way. It doesn’t match How I Met Your Mother’s writing or acting, and never goes as deep as that show, but it is unquestionably the sitcom that’s made me laugh the most this year. I really cannot remember laughing as hard at any sitcom than during the final scene of the recent Christmas episode (Saturnalia episode, I should say), with Sheldon’s reaction to Penny’s gift. I cried with laughter until I hurt. And that’s what sitcoms are meant to do.

Runner Up: How I Met Your Mother

I love How I Met Your Mother, but season 4 hasn’t had its Robin Sparkles episode yet. It hasn’t had its Slap Bet. There hasn’t been the hook, and “The incident with the goat” isn’t an intriguing flash-forward at all. A goat in the apartment! How wacky! However, it’s been consistently fun, and often very funny. And in a year where the sitcom is almost gone completely (Scrubs cannot come soon enough – next month), it’s great to still have this show. Neil Patrick Harris is still the star by a stretch, and with this, Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Prop 8: The Musical and his depiction of the Shoe Fairy in Sesame Street, he’s the most loveable man on TV. And brilliantly, he sings in all of them.

Runner Up: Gary Unmarried

Here’s another sitcom that shouldn’t be any good, but is somehow really enjoyable. A divorced couple with two kids, and their need to interact. It could have been a spiteful, bitter show, based on nothing but the snipes and barbs between the separated couple. It kind of is based on the snipes and barbs between the separated couple, but somehow is never spiteful or bitter. In fact, it’s their obvious fondness for each other that allows you to relax and enjoy the show, knowing their smart, likeable kids aren’t being screwed up by them, and that we’re not going to be asked to believe they might fall back in love at any point. In fact, as soon as that story happens, it’ll be the sign the show is over and the writing lost track. She’s already engaged (to their former marriage guidance therapist – the brilliant Ed Begley Jr.) and Gary’s dating. It’s corny as hell, but James Burrows directing every episode so far, and a writing staff that’s included people who’ve worked on Scrubs, Seinfeld, Friends and Californication, is smart production.

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On Why Reviews Should Be Subjective

by on Dec.11, 2008, under The Rest

Discussions about games writing and the nature of critiquing videogames seems to come in waves, and once again we’re at high tide. I’m sure it’s the same for writers/journalists reviewing other luxury items (“How far should you drive a Mondeo before you review it?”), but it obviously only appears on my radar when it’s about gaming.

One aspect that always comes up, and I think is possible the most/least interesting part of it all, is the debate over objective/subjective reviewing. This is at its least interesting when it’s the discussion over whether reviewing can be objective, and at its most interesting when it’s over whether it should be. I want to make an argument for why reviews should be subjective, and why objective reviewing is deceptive.

(continue reading…)

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Prop 8: The Musical

by on Dec.03, 2008, under The Rest

Utterly brilliant.

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Fist Bumps And Upright Sleep

by on Nov.09, 2008, under The Rest

Yesterday I taught my nephew to fist bump. I feel this is exactly the sort of role an uncle should be playing in this new millennium. The word “poo” and modern handshake-equivalents are the sorts of things a parent might forget while educating their own children, so it’s important that an uncle is around to fill in these gaps.

While I’m aware that everyone wrongly thinks their children/younger relations are geniuses, when in fact they are complete idiots, my nephew is a genius. He’s just turned two, and he can already read basic words like “cat”, “daddy” and “car”. He can recognise all the numbers from 1 to 10, and most of the alphabet. And most impressive, he knows the names of all kinds of cars, and excitedly points them out as they drive past, or appear in the background on television programmes. This impresses me the most, as I haven’t the faintest idea about such things. Which means a two year old is smarter than me… on that subject, at least. Although he has decided to reject the name “Toyota”, and instead refer to them all as “Beep Beep Cars”, which is more on my level.

Jetlag is a funny one. I got back from America feeling all sorts of excellent, having slept on the plane due to some manner of miracle, and then getting to bed at 9pm and waking up at 9am. Mmm-mmmmm. Which of course meant the following night I wasn’t tired at all, and was still on US time, and so got about 5 hours sleep before heading to see my family. So on the train on the way back, on the Guildford to Reading leg, for some reason I thought it would be sensible to just lean my head on the window, just for a moment.

I was woken up by a member of the train’s crew, asking if I really wanted to go back to Guildford again. People were getting on board for the train’s next journey, and I was there like some sort of vagrant, a hobo riding the rails, snoozing comfortably. Still, it filled the otherwise dull gap that would usually be spent standing in Reading station, pulling penknives out of my back and legs.

So what I’ve realised, as I spend Sunday feeling absolutely ruined, is that the only way I can properly sleep sitting up is to be jetlagged. On the flight I managed two or three hours by leaning forward in my chair and resting my forehead on the reclined seat in front. It might make me look like I’m dead, or adopting the brace position, but it appears to trick my stupid car-not-knowing brain into thinking I’m at least on my front, and thus able to nod off for a bit. But on the train I was sat up, in a chair less comfy than the worst economy flight, and with my head on a glass window, and yet fell into a slumber that required repeated shouts from train staff to awake. So my future plan for sleeping on planes properly is to immediately take another flight across a major timezone right before… Oh wait.

As I’ve often thought, and as was discussed on our recent trip to the States, it’s hard to imagine a good reason why it’s not an option to just be drugged when you get on the plane, and then given some sort of reviving medication upon arrival. You feel groggy when you get off a plane anyway, and I’m willing to sign whatever forms are necessary to accept the risks of such a method of travel. And once commonly accepted, airlines would be able to fit five times as many passengers on board, slumped in stacked compartments, and wouldn’t have to feed or wait on people during the flight. It’s obviously the best idea ever, and I demand it be implemented immediately.

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US Election Experiences – Part Two

by on Nov.06, 2008, under The Rest

Election Day

I spent Tuesday inside a room with no windows, spending seven hours shooting at literally tens of thousands of zombies, for the second day in a row. It was an enormously fun time. At the same time, it was impossible not to slightly regret not being able to see what was happening in the election. Ideally I’d have spent Tuesday sat in front of CNN, absorbing it all while chatting in a dozen IM windows. That’s how to follow elections, right? Instead, the results were a mystery.

After the day’s “work”, we went for dinner with the fantastic Kim who generously drove us into Seattle to find a more interesting restaurant than Bellevue offered. Before we left I scurried to my hotel room to see what was happening. It was peculiarly concerning. The vote at that point was so close that CNN were meticulously breaking down each district of Virginia to see if there was any possibility that Obama could take a significant portion of territory from McCain. Such fine detail did not bode well, and Indiana was looking likely to stay Rep, while Florida remained its elusive uncallable self. There was good news in Pennsylvania, but it was looking like it might be a remarkably tight race.

This meant I had my Chief Naysayer, Nick M, declaring that while he still thought Obama would win (a position he only adopted very late on after McCain’s polls dropped through the floor, and in complete contradiction to his utter certainty that McCain was definitely going to win by a significant margin a couple of weeks earlier), his chances were now much worse, and it would be by the narrowest margin. Not a great state of affairs to leave things with.

After a splendid dinner (pulled pork sandwiches really are the best), we then set out to find a bar in downtown Seattle that was showing the election results. The first, which looked like a cinema from the outside, had an enormous line waiting outside and we were told was at capacity. But while we were stood there, suddenly madness broke out, with people screeching, cheering and whooping, while most cars driving past held down their horns. There was noise from all over, and people were smiling madly. Although the only logical reason for this would be that Obama had been declared the winner, I didn’t let myself assume this. I thought it must be the case, but I also couldn’t believe that it could be that clear a lead, that early on (9pm East Coast time).

We walked up the street looking for another bar, and eventually asked someone working in a coffee store where we should go. She recommended a place called The Pink Door, which she explained was down an alleyway, through a pink door, and then beyond. Which was exactly true. Bizarrely it was down an alley we’d walked past on Sunday after visiting Pike Market, and one I’d walked past earlier in the year when in Seattle with Craig. I recognised it because it has a splendid drainpipe at its entrance, that has peculiar twists and turns with plants growing out of it at various exits. So down there, and indeed there was a small alcove that glowed pink.

Heading through the door, we found a peculiarly plain corridor, that led to a strange open area with a staircase heading down. It looked like the back entrance to a university dorm, or something. But to the left was another door that opened up into the most unlikely, thriving bar. Projected onto a giant screen was CNN, with the latest numbers at the bottom. Numbers I quadruple-took at. Obama: 353. But it was a race to 270. That can’t be right. 353 – that’s… that’s a landslide. That’s an unequivocal victory. I stood and stared at the screen for a long time, sure I must be misunderstanding it, until the headline, “Breaking: McCain to deliver concession speech” appeared. He’d won Florida, he’d won North Carolina, he’d won Indiana. This was impossible. Obama had won!

Soon after, Obama’s victory speech began, and we all stood in the main room with the screen, watching his gracious and passionate speech while the fantastically partisan crowd clapped and cheered with enthusiasm. Every newspaper and TV channel has said this phrase to death, but it really is a significant moment in history, and to be in the right country at the right time, to share it with people who cared so much about it, was wonderful.

Walking back to the car afterward, people were still cheering in the streets. It made me smile and smile. Something good had happened – something genuinely good. Eight years of that despicable murderous criminal have come to an end, and a genuinely good man is soon to be president of the most powerful country in the world. A country that I wish I could live in more than ever.

Back in the hotel I thought I’d put on Fox News to see how they were coping. I wondered if they’d all be sobbing on their desks, or in complete denial and pretending McCain had won. Their angle was slightly more subtle. The headline on screen was, “Obama asks for help from McCain voters” which was a hilarious angle to take, and in the studio they were slavering over what a difficult job Obama now faced and would he be be up to the challenge? A black female member of Bill Clinton’s campaign group was being interviewed via satellite, and they were desperately trying to get her to say something negative about Obama. But beautifully she could not stop beaming. She was grinning from ear to ear, just lit with delight, and their questions bounced off her. It was beautiful.

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US Election Experiences – Part One

by on Nov.06, 2008, under The Rest

Good grief, I’ve wanted to update my blog this week. I’ve been in Seattle visiting Valve, along with the other three members of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, playing an awful lot of Left 4 Dead. Which is a many-splendored thing. And of course, I was also there for election night.

However, for reasons unknown the WordPress software point-blank refused to resend me my password, so I was locked out all week. Now I’m back, dizzy with jetlag, I must splurge.

Clearly I was amongst most of the population of the world in desperately hoping that Obama would win. I was also an optimist that he would, throughout, although obviously feared a terrible repeat of the events of 2000 and 2004. But I realised early on in my stay in America that such election rigging was going to be close to impossible this time. Watching the various US national news outlets on Sunday evening, it became clear that none of the networks or cable news channels were going to allow it. Video clips of fixed voting machines were looping on their broadcasts, reporters were providing in-depth analysis of how the election could be fixed if people weren’t looking in the right places, and an air of cynical awareness was ever-present. They were looking in the right places. Criticism of the ludicrous queuing to vote took place before the inevitable queues formed. Poor, black areas of the nation were under heavy scrutiny from the media to make sure people were able to vote. The US news media called bullshit, and about time.

Obviously by this week the polls were showing Obama with a distinct lead. But everyone knows that means very little after Gore and Kerry’s having shown leads pre-vote as well. Then on top of that, trying to factor in the “Bradley Effect”, let alone the brazened racism in so many regions, it was still so hard to feel any sense of confidence.

I was staying in an odd region of Washington. As a state, it was always going to vote Democrat. But I was staying in Bellevue, a peculiar Republican bubble. On our first evening we walked past a pathetic gathering of protesters on the sidewalk, brandishing banners reading, “DEMOCRATS FOR MCCAIN”. This meaningless epitaph was somewhat undone by everyone else (by which I mean, the other four) holding traditional “MCCAIN PALIN” banners. The home of many banks, businesses, and their ant workers, Bellevue was destined for disappointment. But that didn’t hinder the placing of placards and posters all over.

It was considerably exciting to be in the country at this time. About two thirds of the commercials on television were political ads, which allowed the all-encompassing presence of the election to be complete. And a peculiar collection they were, mostly consisting of extended sniping at opponents, each ad clearly a response to a previous ad for the other side, trying to state their version of the truth in the most fervent fashion. Especially interesting was a proposition being voted for in Washington on the 4th which, if passed, would allow people the right to choose to die once diagnosed with fewer than six months to live. The “vote no” ads were completely astonishing, claiming that the bill would give doctors the freedom to murder your grandparents against their will. The “vote yes” were a response to this, filling the screen with the word “LIES”, then trying to sell assisted suicide as if advertising a comfortable retirement home. There was another set of ads for a particular congressman, presented by the anti-ads as having caused a devastating landslide through his deforestation programme (performed by a company who happened to be on of his main sources of funding). The pro-ads announced that he had apparently spent the previous few years doing nothing but planting trees and caring for the environment. Not knowing the background to any of this, it was more hilarious than anything else.

And of course amongst them all were the McCain/Obama ads, which were both desperately trying to be positive, but held back by the shackles of needing to berate the opponent. The Republican commercials were unquestionably the most negative, mostly bilious, and entirely founded in generating confused fear. The Democratic ads clearly intended to begin somewhere positive, attempting to put forward progressive answers, but then collapsed on themselves by finally yelling how the opponent was going to eat your babies, or whatever.

But surely it was too late for all this nonsense to make a difference? It was all noise to fill the gap between then and Tuesday.

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by on Oct.30, 2008, under The Rest



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Birthday And Baseball

by on Oct.28, 2008, under The Rest

Birthday 31 has come and gone, re-revealing the previously known truth that with age comes less significance for the day. I had a lovely evening having dinner in the company of lovely people, which was a fine time. The rest of the day before it, however, was spent playing a very average and tiresome videogame for work, while the phone incessantly rang two rooms away, cleverly ensuring that it was a stupid robot bank lady calling for someone else only 50% of the time, so I couldn’t ignore it.

The day was bookended, however, by baseball. Stop reading now if you don’t care. I’m going to talk about baseball at length, and don’t care if you’re not interested. But I’m going to talk about it to an imagined audience who doesn’t already know much about it. Proving that I am magic, my following the Philadelphia Phillies this year, at the expense of my other team-of-interest, the White Sox, has seen them through to the World Series. (Just as my following the White Sox properly in 2005 saw them win the whole thing). And by “properly”, I mean staying up until stupid hours to watch them throughout the year. It requires a strange level of dedication to keep up with it all in a country that doesn’t even know the sport exists.

(continue reading…)

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Fight Back Against The Boob Menace

by on Oct.18, 2008, under The Rest

Three people hugging together in fear of the boobs.

As we know from South Park this week, breasts are a dangerous menace, attempting to kill us all. Fortunately a brave few are fighting back, through the power of walking for ages. The Breast Cancer 3-Day is a sixty mile walk to raise money for Susan G Komen For The Cure.

I mentioned that Kim was planning to take part earlier this year, and she’s on the walk right now. Many people reading were incredibly generous, and sponsored someone they don’t know for a really excellent cause. And brilliantly, Kim’s completely smashed through her target amount. However, I’ve got a feeling there are still some people out there who somehow forgot to donate before. Phew, now’s your chance! Head here, and then stick in what you can. It’s to protect us from those boobs, so we need live in fear no more.

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