January 31, 2007

Shaka Oil not included


I admit I came across this Farscape Peacekeeper grenade prop as part of my quest for a Peacekeeper Commando outfit. These grenades are reportedly exact replicas of the Peacekeeper weapon used in the show; they pop up frequently on eBay. Just a minute, I thought, don't I already have one of those in the bathroom? Sure enough, my remaining bottle of DK Fuel for Men proved to be the inspiration for the Farscape prop department. I suppose one must have varied interests to notice this sort of thing; both the series and the cologne have since been discontinued.

On a related note is this seven-part gift, a lengthly question and answer session with the ever engaging Claudia Black and Ben Browder at Farscape Con '04. Lots of spoilers so save it for later if you have not watched the series in order from start to finish. Finally, how is it possible I had not heard of - let alone seen - "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Charlie's Angels'"?

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (1)

Moonsorrow: Jumalten Kaupunki

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Non-folk metal related Update: Flea Market Montgomery: Now we are talking Flea-dance!

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

January 30, 2007

Lumsk: I Lytinne Tva

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Disappearance and reappearance

Fred Kiesche considers the ever shrinking selection of science fiction in the big box retail environment. I have noticed the same problem. Look, I have no problem with Shatner making a quick buck from "writing" a novel; if ghost writing for Houdini was good enough for Lovecraft it is good enough for whoever is paying the rent cranking out TekWar. But every shelf inch taken up by the lie is forcing out real authors. It is the literary equivalent of monocropping.

Now, I like series books. I cut my "eye teeth" on series books such as "Doc" Smith's Skylark and Lensman books. Many of my ongoing reading projects are revolving around various multi-book series, both science fiction and fantasy. But the shelves seem to be dominated by endless series of endless fantasies (Robert Jordan and Laurell K. Hamilton and other imitators). How much is actually science fiction?

The same phenomenon has been the case for many years in the horror section. God bless you, Stephen King, but get out of the road: You are holding up traffic for miles. I expect the problem may be addressed once the boffins produce a PDA with a legible screen. PDF editions may bring back classics currently available only with an attentive eye to the best used bookstore in town (yesterday's score: Frank Belknap Long's "Journey into Darkness"). The second comment at Fred's post puts the problem down to a tax code which incentivises returning pulp fiction to the pulp from whence it came. It seems to me that if publishers and booksellers cannot or will not make books available for sale the people will turn to the torrents in much the same way they have for music, television and film.

On a related, and more cheerful, note is the ever increasing availability of classics once lost in the mists of childhood and to the vagueries of late night television broadcasting. Mike Campbell has made a useful survey of YouTube offerings of Robin of Sherwood, easily the best film or television adaptation of the myth. Where there are fans there will be someone to string the bow.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM | Comments (5)

January 29, 2007

Prince Charming


Both the Sister of the Flea and I arrived at the same conclusion at approximately the same time: Buy Toronto FC season tickets. The problem? They are a bit pricier than either of us had anticipated. This thanks in some small part to the one man marketing extravaganza that is David Beckham. His British Invasion is not limited to North America's would-be soccer fans, however, but has struck at the heart of pop culture on this side of the Atlantic. No word on what Disney is paying him for the honour of playing Prince Charming.

The photo, shot at a lake near Madrid by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, will appear in magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue in March. The 31-year-old Real Madrid midfielder signed a recent five-year deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS and will join the club this summer. His wife, former Spice Girl Victoria, has been spotted house-hunting in Southern California.

Other photos for the Disney campaign feature singer-actress Beyonce Knowles as Alice in Wonderland and actress Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella.

Here is the obligatory link for Flea-readers with an animated interest in Beyonce and Scarlett. You can thank me later.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty Update: Agent Bedhead has better pictures!

Posted by the Flea at 07:33 AM | Comments (8)

Battlelore: Journey to the Undying Lands

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM

The French and The Saunders

The best screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings since the last one. Very actory.

Posted by the Flea at 07:24 AM

January 26, 2007

Robbie Williams: She's Madonna

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

* Folk Metal... next week at the Flea!

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | Comments (1)

Dead serious

If James Lileks was more camp than kitsch - and could get Tod Oldham to write introductions to his books - he might have written Obscene Interiors. Justin Jorgensen's blog is also worth a look; nuclear power plant amusement parks, a creepy shadow installation and especially this Dead Serious Hoody. Me want.

I thought this sweatshirt was retarded until I saw the eyes wern’t solid but cut out areas of black mesh AND it glows in the dark - now I think it’s hawt. I would so wear this when I go biking at night.
Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

January 25, 2007

Gwen Stefani: Sweet Escape

Many people, including Agent Bedhead, are baffled by Gwen Stefani's latest. These people have someone failed to notice Gwen Stefani's legs. There you go. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM | Comments (6)

Reality bites

I am not sure which is the more triumphant bit of reality tv news. First, confirmation of the return of Mirna and Schmirna - don't miss the team video - to The Amazing Race (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea) or the long anticipated word of Elizabeth Hurley's replacement as host of Project Catwalk, viz Kelly Osbourne.

Osbourne told the Sun:' I really had to think about doing this. It’s such a big responsibility taking over from a fashion icon. ... 'I was really nervous beforehand because, for the first time, I didn’t have my family to turn to. But I am so glad I’ve done it.'

It is a fascinating choice. Hurley was reportedly considered too plummy for the part; and plummy Kelly ain't.

Posted by the Flea at 07:27 AM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2007

When that which is perfect is come


With A Scanner Darkly's dvd release I have finally got to see Winona Ryder in all her virtual glory. She remains the sweetheart of a generation what with her disconnection and her gentle snark and that certain something suggesting madness in the tone of her voice. I suspect that if those of us from the '80s make it into our 80s we will still be a little in love with her.

Written by sci-fi auteur, the much-mourned Philip K. Dick (his stories were behind such classics as ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Total Recall’), ‘A Scanner Darkly’ is set “seven years from now” in Anaheim, California. Orange County is no longer a place of irritating teenagers and their emotional hang-ups: 80% of the population is addicted to Substance D, a drug clouded in a mystery whose origins are never fully explained. Perhaps that’s the point; after all, its symptoms of withdrawal and its steady flow of head-mangling disorientation are all instantly familiar to everyone anyway (through numerous films and rock stars, obviously). Keanu Reeves plays Bob Arctor, a narcotics detective living undercover with D-addicts Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson and Winona Ryder (as one critic put it finely, they’re a cast that “runs the full gamut of the drug experience”).

The film's use of cell-shading is the obvious stand-out effect but the result is more than a gimmick; perhaps the most faithful film adaptation of PKD's work in terms of mood and that disconcerting slippage of identity which is his hallmark. Robert Downey Jr does yeoman's work. I notice he has been set to star as Tony Stark in the forthcoming Iron Man feature. Good choice.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (5)

Thom Yorke: Black Swan

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (some nsfw lyrical content).

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

A lot of frelling good this is going to be

After some time and in great secret I have now watched all four seasons of Farscape and finished with the Peacekeeper Wars. I have quite a bit to say about it but am going to start with the observation that the show has changed my vocabulary; perhaps the best litmus test for successful speculative fiction. To expand on the subject is this handy list of fictional expletives once again made possible by the flawed miracle of Wikipedia.

This list of fictional expletives contains expletives invented by writers of fiction—often science fiction or fantasy—to add nuance to the fictional cultures in their work, and sometimes as a form of censorship (or getting around it).
Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM

January 23, 2007

God put you in my path


IDontLikeYouInThatWay has the trailer for Black Snake Moan. Also, pictures of Christina Ricci. Umm. Hmm. Probably not safe for work unless you work in the Tatooine slave barge sector.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (1)

Mecano: Hawaii-Bombay

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

* And check out the live version: Hot!

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (1)

Angeline Jolie is afraid of Americans

Angelina Jolie has recently expressed her difficulties as an American on the world stage (via Agent Bedhead).

“When I travel, people feel uncomfortable when I say I’m American. They think it’s suspicious that I want to do something positive for them. I think they wonder why the American people re-elected a President who is making foreign policy choices that are affecting other countries in a way that we should question.”

The thing most Americans I have met do not seem to grasp is that while it is true most people on Earth hold nasty little bigoted views about America and Americans most people on Earth hold nasty little bigoted views about everywhere else as well. True, the British can spare only a rare kind word for the producers of half the television and music they enjoy but try asking them about Japan or Australia or (shudder) France and you will soon discover the Americans do not hold a special place of enmity. In fact, if you can find me someone holding universally positive views of a particular nation or ethnicity I suspect you will it be the erstatz representative of some local fascism.

And before anyone gets defensive at my pointing to an American parochialism remember Canadians love almost nothing better than to point fingers at their uncosmopolitan southern neighbours. The problem being, of course, that Canada has even fewer neighbours than the States. If you are, say, Croatian and live in a crowded neighborhood with ill-tended fences it is impossible to imagine everyone is going to get on all the time. Canada, by contrast, shares borders with Denmark and France only through the remote accidents of colonial possession represented by Greenland and St. Pierre and Miquelon. Consequently, Canadians do not share America's naive optimism about the rest of the world, preferring instead to live under the delusion that everyone loves Canada.*

Note to Canadians: Everyone does not love Canada. Following Belgium, Canada is considered to be the most boring country on Earth** and, if it is thought of at all, it is as the uptight, underachieving and humourless*** version of the United States.**** Is any of this particularly fair? You be the judge. Though I have noticed nothing tends to bring out the scratch-the-surface jingoism of Canadians more than pointing out this sort of thing.

* This despite the fact we have managed to find ourselves in a military confrontation with one third of our contiguous neighbours. And no, it is not with those trigger-happy Americans or those easy-to-get-along-with French.
** Excepting Montreal.
*** Outraged list of famous Canadian comedians arriving in 4... 3... 2... Yes, there are some witty Canadians; they live and work in the United States. The rest of Canada's limited comedic output works on Air Farce, a show so ham-fisted and lame it makes Egyptian soap-opera look like Shakespeare. Rick Mercer is the exception that proves the rule, btw, so don't even go there.
**** Canadians like to point to our largely mythical role as peacekeepers. I have rarely encountered a better example of what Antonio Gramsci described as hegemonic ideology; a myth propagated in the interests of an established elite at complete variance with material fact.

Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM | Comments (11)

January 22, 2007

At the Mountains of Madness


Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins have reportedly managed to produce a working screenplay adaption of H.P. Lovecraft's masterpiece At the Mountains of Madness. This is no mean feat given the complexity and ambiguity of the original (hat tip to Montieth). A question of cyclopean dimensions presents itself: Will the project ever be realized for the silver screen?

To the studio - Are you guys’ pussies?! Do you realize the blockbuster you are sitting on? Who cares if there is no love story or supposed happy ending?! You got a horror and science fiction masterpiece collecting dust at the studio! Trust me, the horror crowd will come out in droves to see this! All those horror geeks will bring their girlfriends. Use those cartel drug dealer profits that Transformers is going to make at the box office and make this!
Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM | Comments (7)

Tones On Tail: Rain

With Susperia vid action... creepy! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM | Comments (3)

Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon

Gorthos kindly sent me a link to what is potentially the greatest and most satisfying time-waster since I ventured into Baldur's Gate. In fact, as a text-based on-line interactive rpg, the time-wasting potential of Lovecraft Country is practically incalculable by that fragile apparatus laughingly described as the human mind. I may not risk venturing into these dreamlands until my lottery schemes come to fruition.

When you create a Lovecraft Country character, you will be asked to declare a course of study for your first semester at the university. At present, the only character creation option is to make a student character. As the game matures, other options will become available.

The three classes you select will be areas in which you will be tested at the completion of the semester. If you do not pass, you may be required to retake those courses in subsequent terms. Of course, studying and practicing during the course of a semester will increase the likelihood that you will pass and learn to be yet more skilled, eventually graduating with your bachelor’s degree and advancing on to advanced graduate study. You may study knowledges with books or with teachers and skills through practicing with teachers.

By a strange coincidence I was chatting with a fellow this weekend who speculated that he was trapped in a Mythos role-playing game all unawares. I replied I had assumed this to be the case for myself since I first read Lovecraft at the age of fifteen. It seems to me the next iteration of Lovecraft Country should agree the parameters of an off-line version of the same process. Players would assume alternate identities and enroll in courses of study at whatever local college or university campus best approximates Miskatonic's gothic millieu. Mazes and Monsters was only a first step...

Great rugose cone Update: This H.P. Lovecraft story generator might come in handy.

Posted by the Flea at 06:44 AM | Comments (6)

January 19, 2007

When in Rome


A little lucre in the form of a Team Atia T-shirt from HBO's publicity machine is a nice gesture* though I should confess I was already planning to address this subject. Servilia is hard-core but as if there could be any doubt where my loyalties would lie: Atia of the Julii rules.

Niece of Caesar. Atia of the Julii is snobbish, willful, and cunning. She is also sexually voracious and totally amoral. In a culture in which woman lack formal power, and men leave for months and years on military campaigns, the wives, daughters, and mothers have built powerful networks an alliances completely independent of the men's worlds. Atia is among the women who serve as the shadow rulers of Rome.

The Flea is not one to offer spoilers in place of informed comment. Suffice to say season one of Rome ended not so much on a cliff-hanger as on the knife's-edge** and season two has, if anything, become more brutal and excessive. O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem! Just remember: If you have called down a curse upon your loved ones take care before sealing the curse with an animal sacrifice. Hold off on that and you can always lift the curse later; no harm done.

* At least, it would be a nice gesture; I am still waiting on the T-shirt. FedEx, you suck. Your customer service is a joke and your management should be summarily "raped by dogs" no wait, Atia's advice does not apply here fired. Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris. By contrast, Deep Focus has run an excellent campaign. Salve! But Deep Focus, if you are going to build a slow-loading, all Flash extravaganza to sell your product and enlist new media to put eyes on page you need to learn the following acronym: EPK. Try Googling a decent second season promo image in the 300-400 pixel-width range for, say, one of the two characters you are promoting. Seriously folks, it should not be this difficult to find a hot pic of Polly Walker. For example, here is an alarmingly acute comparison of Atia to her counterpart on The O.C.; no Flash required. Advantage: No budget Dutch internet forum. And for that free advice I am expecting a bus shelter size promo poster. Just do me a favour and send it by regular mail. Cum homine de cane debeo congredi.
** Etay utay Utebray?

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (8)

L'objet transitionnel: Dansons avec Jacques Lacan

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM


These Canadian Forces recruiting videos have got exactly the right idea. Fight Fear. Fight Distress. Fight Chaos. Also, use a lot of jump cuts and FPS-style direction.

Ok, stuck on fighting Chaos. Leaving aside the Get Smart jokes, could there possibly be a more existential foe of all that is Canadian? Very well done.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM | Comments (4)

January 18, 2007

Oh, it's a wonderful castle! Heathcliff, let's never leave it.


One of the joys of strolling through the referral logs is finding a blog I might not otherwise have come across. I believe BrontëBlog may have found the Flea through the equally enjoyable pursuit of search engine surfing for material. There is far too much at BrontëBlog for me to link. Suffice to say I am now on a quest for a Brontë Cheeseburger and am very curious about a promised Filipino Wuthering Heights. This quoted observation about the behaviour of French school-children in museums is spot on; one of the most shocking things I have ever seen was the yelling and laughter and cries of "Juifs!" amongst an unescorted party of the little monsters in the Holocaust section of the Imperial War Museum. But such memories are to see red.

A better train of thought leads to answering Agent Bedhead's question as to whether the Flea is more "Heathcliff or the more dashing and refined Edgar Linton". Upon reviewing Laurence Olivier as the former and David Niven as the latter in the 1939 adaptation the answer is clear. Whatever that might be, best leave Cathy to beset someone else with her prevarication and neuroses. There must be less irritating choices to be made in the County or off in a lucrative new life in America. A quick rule of thumb: When you hear the words "You could come back to me rich and take me away. Why aren't you my prince like we said long ago? Why can't you rescue me, Heathcliff?" it is time to run, not walk, for the nearest exit. Though, in fairness, given my "romantic" life has been considerably more tortuous than Heathcliff's I am in no position to be giving advice.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM | Comments (12)

Cradle of Filth: Her Ghost in the Fog

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:48 AM

You only live twice(ish)

Recursion is common problem amongst science heroes who have been around for awhile. Take James Bond, for instance. This sort of thing does not happen to me too often though I can tell you it gets more disconcerting the further I get along the timeline. Though in my case it isn't past iterations but previous regenerations, you understand.

Posted by the Flea at 06:47 AM

January 17, 2007

The Spice must flow


Say you are an hegemonic power needing to conquer and hold a desert region. The most valuable commodity may be delicious oil free and fair elections the Spice whatever it is they have on Tattooine fresh water; without it you cannot sustain the Legions. What to do if there are no local moisture farmers* handy and the indigenous people(s) are proving to be a little too colourful to provide reliable directions to the local waterhole?**

Answer: Get the guys in the Imperial engineering divisions to come up with a vaporator!

“People have been trying to figure out how to do this for years, and we just came out of left field in response to Darpa,” said Abe Sher, chief executive officer of Aqua Sciences. “The atmosphere is a river full of water, even in the desert. It won’t work absolutely everywhere, but it works virtually everywhere.”

Anyone curious about "George Lucas'" "original" description of the process may consult this passage from his "novel".

* This is the Anchorhead Story from Star Wars Episode IV, btw.
** What with the robust traditions of hostage-taking and snuff-film manufacture.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (3)

Olivia Newton-John: Xanadu

Take this Mordor! A Elbereth Gilthoniel, silivren penna míriel o menel aglar elenath! Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (hat tip to the Sad Old Goth).

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

January 16, 2007

Within Temptation: Running Up That Hill

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | Comments (5)

January 15, 2007

Wait until you get to my teeth


Bond: You'll kill 60,000 people uselessly.
Goldfinger: Hahah. American motorists kill that many every two years.

Unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit: the Jaguar C-XF Concept. It is a beauty. The lads at the engineering centre in Coventry were obviously given a brief with the word "cat" featured somewhere prominently. MI6 has been tipped this is the model set to replace the Aston Martin DBS as Daniel Craig's motor in James Bond 22.

MI6 understands that Ford is lining up Jaguar as Bond's next marque. Despite the film being in the early stages of script development by regular scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, MI6 has been tipped off that the new Jaguar XF model - also due out in 2008 - is being groomed for 007. Jaguar recently unveiled the "C-XF" concept car at the press preview of the Detroit Motor Show this weekend. The C-XF is tipped as a preview to the new XF four-door sedan which is being shrouded in secrecy and will not be publicly unveiled until the Frankfurt auto show in September.

Positioned in the luxury mid-size segment, the new Jaguar XF will replace the S-TYPE saloon in the Jaguar model line-up. Designed and developed at Jaguar's Product Development Centre at Whitley in Coventry, UK, the new Jaguar XF will be built at Jaguar's Advanced Manufacturing Centre at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, UK.

All very interesting. Though reading between the lines of the Jaguar publicity package MI6 has republished, and judging by the look of the beast, the XF strikes me as a better replacement for the XK than the S-Type. I notice the concept drops the "R" designation the turbocharged versions of the two earlier models... perhaps Ford's Q Branch has decided to include this gadget as standard.

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM

Dannii Minogue: You Won't Forget About Me

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

January 12, 2007

Scissor Sisters: I Don't Feel Like Dancin'

Now is the time at the Flea when we don't feel like dancing.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2007

If all else fails: Read the instructions


The Flea's commitment to learning by doing resulted in a nasty, peculiar blister on a first pass at lacing the twenty-hole Stompy Stomp Stomp Boots; a buttonhook would be a timely Victorian solution to the problem. Once I have tracked one down - and gained some confidence in my footing - I will explore a strange new world of shoe lacing methods. There is a temptation to go all hardcore for Double Cross Lacing and Double Helix Lacing has an Hermetic appeal but for my current purposes Riding Boot Lacing is almost certainly the most practical; unlike, for example, boots whose rationale was a Canadian winter. We have not seen much of one here as of yet.

Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | Comments (7)

Funker Vogt: Date of Expiration

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM

Art achieves a purpose which is not its own

Looking for a proper job? Sucker! Get the Canada Council to kick in 15-thousand Loonies and build yourself a giant Geostationary Banana Over Texas.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

January 10, 2007

Angry, not angsty


Sick of being a whiney, mopey goth? Then own the dancefloor as an angry rivethead instead!

Now my Stompy Stomp Stomp Boots have arrived I am attempting to further acquaint myself with Rivethead lore. The Instant Rivethead Kit offers a variety of thoughts on the stompity stomp stomp effect that is Rivethead dancing* and a number of variations on the theme of stomping. Remember: You are not trying to pull spiderwebs off the ceiling.

My current life-quest is to master "Kung-Fu Overdrive":

One that I've come across and since become the ultimate master of is the Kung-Fu Overdrive. Especially good for the more electronic end of things (in the UK that usually means Prodigy). 1) Study several styles of kung fu to various depths, but never getting particularly good at any of them. Reading books about them counts. Then watch a whole load of movies to glean extra moves. Next, form a dance made up of all the most redundant impractical moves (especially the over complex parries), with obscure leg movements, and lots of highly strenuous but martially useless poses. Snap into each pose/move quickly with a tiny little pause each time, for the full b-movie kung-fu experience. If there are any quieter sections, you can differentiate by moving smoothly in a 'Slowmotion TaiChi' style. Remember, lots of useless wrist movements, but make it look really mean, like your using the movement to rip someones eyes out. This dance is obviously quite a good one as it gets me chucked out of places without actually touching anyone.

Also worth special attention: rivethead haiku. Further thoughts on the expense of rivethead clothing - and the tricky distinction between rivetheads and cybergoths - include the intriguing assertion that Prada Sport makes the best rivetware. This strikes me as highly improbable but I am willing to be corrected. The Urban Dictionary continues the rivets - goth or not goth - debate.

* Which is under no circumstances to be confused with goth dancing. With respect to the latter, please note especially "With Catlike Tread" for exact details of the Flea-dance (hat tip to Mr. Taylor).

Posted by the Flea at 07:10 AM | Comments (6)

The Azoic: Conflict

Gotta work on that 2-step... Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM

January 09, 2007

Wumpscut: Thorns

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM

The Gothics

The Flea's time-traveling stingray pal, Ambrose, pointed out this '80s feature on the rather shadowy world of the Gothics. Spooky!*

* Early Siouxsie: Spookier!

Posted by the Flea at 07:12 AM

January 08, 2007



I dreamed I was at work and this shifty looking woman approached me with a questionnaire. Did I have any preconceptions about pandas?, she wanted to know. What, aside from the eating bamboo and smelling badly, you mean?, I suggested. After tortuously correcting me about my notion that pandas smell badly* she directed me to fill out a questionnaire, thrusting it under my nose.

Well, I am delighted to jump to such imperious behaviour provided it is from my betters but I had no idea who this woman was. Taking care not to reflexively take the out-thrust bit of paper quivering before me I smiled, looked at the paper, looked at her and asked what her relationship was to our organization. "I'm ager adut ent," she explained in some foreign gibberish.** Excuse me, I did not quite catch that... "I'm agra utant," she tried, a bit huffily this time.

Perhaps it was the puffiness around the eyes, the shabbiness of her attire or the slightly uplifted nose as if to suggest it was not pandas but I who was smelling. Perhaps it was some combination of the three. Whatever it was the translation microbes kicked in and I ejaculated with some satisfaction, You're a graduate student? This caused some shuffling and shame-facedness.*** The document drooped slightly in her hand as if indignance had been the only power to keep it aloft. I suddenly realized I would be delighted to have a look at the questionnaire. Let's see:

1. Hegemonic narrativisation of pandas in "natural" and non-"natural" environments recapitulates the subaltern position of resistance by the People of Nicaragua under the Reagan regime...

And that is as far as I got, I'm afraid. There were raccoons fighting somewhere in the yard and the racket was enough to wake me. Though I admit I was laughing out-loud as I came to and this might have had something to do with it. I considered googling "panda" and "hegemonic" before publishing this post. But probably best not to know.

* They have an excellent sense of smell, apparently. This was not quite what I was getting at but I did not argue the point because I realized I was thinking of koalas; those tree-rats are ripe with eucalyptus. For all I know, pandas smell like angel farts and cupcake accord.
** Flea-readers need not have the etymology of gibberish and algebra expounded upon at length here; the connection is ontological and of the class described by Newton as self-evident.
*** Quite right too.

Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM | Comments (3)

Eric Prydz vs Pink Floyd: Proper Education

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

Home alchemy kit

This Le Labo Olfactory Dictionary is a neat idea and I like the idea of conjuring up a cologne at Flea Towers. That said, I would have thought it would be less expensive to make a daily trip to Body Shop or its more authentic equivalents if one wanted to learn the difference between essential oils.

Barney's has an exclusive Le Labo Olfactory Dictionary that is designed to help you refine your sense of smell and develop a greater appreciation for perfumes and other scented things. It includes 40 specific essences and testing strips, all packed in a professional looking case, that you can experiment with. By mixing and matching a few, you may even be able to come up with your own signature fragrance. Price: $490.
Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

January 05, 2007

The daemon-sultan


Azathoth is an adaptation of a short but not insignificant piece from H.P. Lovecraft's eldritch oeuvre. YouTube comment is generally dissatisfied with the English-language narration. They have a point though, in fairness, the Azathoth is distinguished if anything by its clarity as much as its brevity so it is a poor choice to illustrate my little apologetic but there it is. The main thing, it seems it me, is to encourage more little films and discourage the febrile critics any more voice than the internet has afforded them.

When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when grey cities reared to smoky skies tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the sun or of Spring's flowering meads; when learning stripped the Earth of her mantle of beauty and poets sang no more of twisted phantoms seen with bleared and inward looking eyes; when these things had come to pass, and childish hopes had gone forever, there was a man who traveled out of life on a quest into spaces whither the world's dreams had fled.

Much more fun is this Mass Invocation of Azathoth, a Whisperers in Darkness rite performed at The Horse Hospital. No word on whether they managed to call up something they could not put down.

Posted by the Flea at 07:17 AM | Comments (5)

Dead Can Dance: Cantara

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM

The fiction of H.P. Lovecraft

Best Mastermind subject ever. The Flea: Thirteen points. I thought Laura Campbell was enormously appealing until she claimed you could close the books and put away the horror; such is to entirely miss the point of the Mythos. Perhaps she was dissembling lest she reveal the abyssal wonders of nuclear chaos beyond angled space. She would have left the British viewing public gibbering in preterite dread instead of marveling at the cute accent.

Related: The best Lego set ever.

Posted by the Flea at 07:09 AM | Comments (2)

January 04, 2007

Jawas vs Nazis


The Force is strong in this mash-up.

Posted by the Flea at 07:14 AM | Comments (1)

Underworld: Rez

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:10 AM

The law (way) east of the Pecos

This DefenseTech exclusive notes private militaries and embeds are now subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This thanks to an otherwise unremarked addition to the Pentagon's 2007 budget legislation, viz striking "war" and amending it to "declared war or a contingency operation".

The addition of five little words to a massive US legal code that fills entire shelves at law libraries wouldn't normally matter for much. But with this change, contractors' 'get out of jail free' card may have been torn to shreds.

I think it is six little words, actually, but such is to quibble. Let's hope Bill is paying attention; it looks like there is a marshal in Deadwood.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (3)

January 03, 2007

I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind


Heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy. That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there, had not brought Heathcliff so low I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.

Surpassing Vampire: The Masquerade, the aptly named Phillippe Tromeur has created the sine qua non of romantigoth role-playing: Wuthering Heights. Now, if only I could find some victims players for a game. The rules look straightforward...

Wuthering Heights is seven pages of rules and a character sheet in PDF format, distributed free off the internet from the author's site (a longer version is available in French). I've been wanting to play it for a couple of years, and especially so since its recent revision in March 2001. It's intended for pure celebration, or perhaps parody, of the distraught, uptight dramas of the Bronte sisters and their ilk. For instance, one element of character creation is identifying what about your player-character "floats in the wind." Or, similarly, the best possible mental and physical states are Worried and Tired; i.e. no one is ever Happy or Fine in the Wuthering Heights world.

Oh, go on then, here's Kate Bush.

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM | Comments (6)

Fleur: Remont

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM


Frankenthumb is the first adaptation I have seen with a better ending than Mary Shelley's novel.*

* It is safe to assume you have all seen Thumb Wars.

Posted by the Flea at 07:01 AM

January 02, 2007

Within Tempation: Memories

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.*

*Stand My Ground and Mother Earth and Never Ending also with the kicking of ass.

Posted by the Flea at 06:51 AM

January 01, 2007

Psalm 94:16-23


"Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with Thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.”
- Psalm 94:16-23, KJV

Posted by the Flea at 11:47 AM | Comments (3)

Be it resolved

Be it resolved that I will do everything I resolved to do last year but more so. In addition, I will take special care to:

i - laugh more;
ii - love more;
iii - write more;
iv - dance more;
v - make more music;
vi - accept no substitutes;
vii - make bigger and better mistakes;
viii - once again fit in to my pvc trousers.

Happy new year, everybody.

Blonde ambitions Update: Paris Hilton reveals one of her resolutions. Strangely enough, I too am hoping to spend more time in hospital-related work.

"I have a lot of new year's resolutions," she said. "One is definitely giving back, I'm really fortunate and that's why everywhere I go I'm going to visit a children's hospital, just get really involved in charity work."

Raccoon-botherer Update: Darcey of Dust My Broom has some admirable goals for 2007.

It’s time for my annual promise post wherein I make hefty goals and spend the year underachieving. But, maybe not this year - I’m turning over a new leaf.
Posted by the Flea at 10:17 AM | Comments (5)

Rammstein: Keine Lust

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 10:10 AM

Fifty things

Fifty things we know now that we did not know last year. My favourite: No. 47.

A python was the first god worshipped by mankind, according to 70,000-year-old evidence found in a cave in Botswana's Tosodilo hills.

That would be the Tsodila Hills, btw. And I expect Flea-readers will be all too familiar with the D'Ampton Worm.

Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | Comments (3)