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Showing posts from 2008

Australia - Seeing Beyond the Cities.

The more opportunity I have to travel through rural parts of Australia the more I wonder why many of us are attracted to the cities. Even more so I contemplate people who spend their whole lives city living and think perhaps they are just a little bit crazy.

Why do many of us settle for the convenience and comfort of city life over adventure and the open road?

Being born in Whyalla, South Australia (the second largest SA town outside of Adelaide I believe), I'm not really a 'country' person but neither am I a fully fledged city dweller either. I've lived most of my life in the 'burbs' (suburbs that is).

However, when I get into the wide open spaces of the Australian country side, where you can see for miles across the landscape, it speaks to me of travel and seeing what's beyond that next hill. Even if you're just looking across farming country, with field after field, separated by a line of trees or a road here and there.

Being able to see that much sky …

Nissan Vanette - The Frog Van

A few months back I wrote about everything I know about cars in which I can be found lying under my partner's son's recently acquired 'Frog' van (so named due to its lovely green colour).

Since then the son has upgraded to a better class of vehicle and the Frog van is now my pride and joy (well it's mine anyway and it's more of a 'project' than a 'pride and joy')

Long time readers of this blog will know I was the proud owner of a 1971 Chrysler Galant. 'Was' being the operative word. Whilst I really loved that car a van is actually more suited to my needs. I'm definitely function over fashion when it comes to cars.

With a little bit of 'mist' in the eye I sold the Galant - for a very nice profit I might add. Enough to recoup the money spent on purchasing the Galant and getting the Frog van back on the road. As well I bought a much needed set of retread tyres and some nice wheel trims (or 'hub caps' if you prefer) too.

The …

Can KFC Help You With Anything Else Today?

My partner ordered a dine in meal at our local KFC restaurant. The girl behind the counter asked numerous questions like "What drinks would you like?", "Would you like to up size your order?" and of course, "Dine in or take-away?". Finally she totaled everything up, my partner paid for the meal, then the girl behind the counter asked...

"Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

It was one of those double take moments, like it kind of makes sense but doesn't.

"Sure, I'm struggling with my taxes can you help me out?"

I didn't say that but it was the first thing that came to mind as an observer of this transaction.

I'm sure the question is meant to be some kind of up-sell. Perhaps they'll catch you off guard and you'll place a second order that you didn't know you needed until just now?

Seriously though, once you've placed your order and paid for it, just what else can the girl at KFC actually do to he…

Nicole Kidman Avoids Her Films

Listening to an interview with Nicole Kidman on the radio the other day, Nicole mentioned that she doesn't watch her own movies and even tries to avoid watching them.

I've heard this from so many actors when interviewed. They don't like to watch themselves in their own movies. I presume it may be because they look at their performance in a self critical manner that may negatively affect their future performances.

There are two points I'd like to make about this.

Firstly, on some level, isn't not watching your own movies an insult to the director, editor, special effects crew, musicians, musical director and everyone else who came to work on the movie after the actors have finished shooting?

Many of these people have probably seen the actors performance over and over again, to the point where it becomes slightly monotonous, as they fine tune the work they're doing to the footage shot. Yet the actor isn't actually interested in seeing how everyones hard work came…

Can Batman's Robin Find His Cool?

Robin is arguably the most famous superhero side kick of them all. Introduced into Batman's world in April 1940 (DC Comics No#38, see image below), almost a full year after the very first Batman story was published. In general Batman fans are divided about Robin. There are those who like the character and there are those who feel Batman is better when he works alone.

Rumors have been around for a while now that a pilot episode for a TV show based on Robin's early years (pre-Batman) was in the works. To be called The Graysons the show, by television network CW, is seen as a possible predecessor to Smallville, the long running TV series about the young, pre-Superman, Clark Kent.

However, according to E! Online, the show has been canned due to the concept not being in line with Warner Brothers current Batman strategy. Whatever the reason I have to say I'm a little happy about that.

The idea that most of the major Superman characters seem to have either lived in or passed through…

Dreaming of an Electrocuted Pelican

At the side of a major road in my home town, I'm sitting with a group of friends chatting. Taking a moment to look up into the overcast sky I notice a lone pelican gracefully gliding at a fairly low altitude.

My eyes track its path when suddenly it flies through some power lines. The bird is large enough to connect the wires, its beak rests on one cable whilst its wings and body touch another. There are sparks and flashes and the bird shakes from the voltage coursing through its body. Electrocution.

The Pelican is stuck for only a moment then it manages to break free. Flying to one of the wires it lands and holds its perch. My friends and I all watch, amazed that the bird seems okay. We are about to return to our conversation when the pelican drops to the ground. Landing in a turn right feeder lane, safe from the immediate flow of traffic.

It's still alive but lying on its back. Stunned perhaps?

"Who wants to save a pelican?" I comment to my friends. One of them leaps up…

The Dukes of Hazard Movie - My Thoughts

The Dukes of Hazard is a movie that I wanted to see when it was released in 2005 but didn't because, well, I just didn't get around to it.

Not only that but when I heard Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson were in it my expectations were immediately lowered to "it's probably not going to be what I hoped it could be." Which is why I've never been pro-active about hiring the movie on DVD.

Last night I saw it was being shown on free to air TV. I happened to have the time to watch, so I did. To sum up my experience... I didn't get fired up by the movie until I watched the 'bloopers' in the end credits.

The Dukes of Hazard signature is the car. The General Lee flying through the air in some flat out impossible jumps. We know they're impossible jumps but they're just so cool you kind of want to believe the General Lee can do them. The point is, in the TV series, you never (or rarely) saw the General Lee not land safely and undamaged.

Thus, seeing t…

John McCain: Serial Musician Offender

What is going on with John McCain and his Presidential campaign music selection? For someone who is in the running for, arguably, one of the world's most powerful jobs you'd think he'd have someone who could contact a musician or two and ask, "Can we use your song?"

In what seems to be a growing list of disgruntled musical acts John McCain has managed to get the backs up of The Foo Fighters (My Hero), Survivor (Eye of the Tiger), Van Halen (Right Now), John Mellancamp (Pink Houses and Our Country), Jackson Brown (Running on Empty) and, if you add running mate Sarah Palin to the list, Heart (Barracuda) and Bon Jovi (Who Says You Can't Go Home).

Come on John! You're supposed to be a man with influential connections. If you can't even connect with a musician's agent to see how their client feels about you using their song then what hope can anyone have in you when it comes to your foreign policy and extending U.S. Goodwill beyond the border?

I've re…

Everything I Know About Cars

This week I spent a couple of afternoons underneath a green 'frog' van (see photo) that my partner's brother got given and offered to my partner for her son to drive until he can afford something better.

The van its self is a 1989, Nissan, Vanette, ex-delivery vehicle. It had blown a head gasket and the owner didn't want the hassle of making the repair which, if done professionally, would have cost more than the van was worth.

My partner's brother and his backyard mechanic mate kindly offered to do the repairs which turned out to be a little more serious with the cylinder head having blown as well.

Now if you're not really an engine kind of person you're probably starting to scratch your head at words like 'gasket' and 'cylinder head'.

I'm not really an engine person either however I do know the 'broad strokes' of engine components and how they work. I learned most of what I know during my childhood years. Endlessly studying diagram…

Roary the Racing Car is Evil

Well okay maybe the lovable little red racing car, that has his own TV show, Roary the Racing Car, isn't evil but I do suspect he's into brain washing. Subliminally teaching everyone his life lessons.

How else do you explain a fully grown adult, namely me, waking up in the morning from a dream about Roary? Before your mind begins to wander, it's nothing even remotely perverse (or maybe it is, depending on how you look at things), my dream was simply playing out like a typical episode of Roary the Racing Car.

Perhaps we should back up a bit. In your best 'Big Chris' voice say "Come on Roary!"

This all starts because I do my daily work out routine watching Judge Judy. Exercise is as boring as hell (oh dear, coarse language) so I watch TV whilst I go through my routine. At 3pm the most intelligent show on the box is, you guessed it, Judge Judy.

Her show is only 30 minutes long and my routine is an hour so at 3:30pm I need something else to watch.

Channel flippi…

U.S. Economic Crisis - Someone Who Gets It

Sorry to harp on about the U.S. Economic Crisis (which is apparently a 'World Crisis' with the English and German markets taking a dive - I think - who cares really?) but I happened to be skimming through my Mashable feed and came across this article by Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins, How Technology Can Help Alleviate Economic Fears.

Mark is one person who understands difficult economic times from the point of view of the 'common man' (or 'common woman' in his more feminine moments so I can be a bit PC) and realises that Stock Market fluctuations mean very little in the big scheme of things to the little people. Which is not to say it doesn't affect us.

As I pointed out in my recent post, The U.S. Economic Crisis - Bring It On, in times of crisis us little people make the best with what we have to work with. We don't fall in a heap hoping that Mom (or the Government) will come and make it all go away (How's that buy out working for you? Crisis over - NO…

Losing an Hour of Time

This morning I feel like I've lost an hour of my life. Is this how alien abductees feel when they say they're missing time that they can't account for?

Apparently everyone in the state of South Australia is also feeling the same way. This smells of Government Conspiracy!

Some time last night, I'm told, around 2am the clocks never made it to 2:01am. In no time at all it was 3am and I have no idea what happened between two and three? I hope I had fun though, since I was sleeping, anything could have happened.

Did we all just move our clocks forward for daylight saving or were we collectively abducted for an hour of lost time? Think about it. Few people are actually awake at the official time of 2am - when the clocks were moved forward. There has to be a reason they want us sleeping?

Why not move the clocks forward at 8pm so all the little kids could stay up late and see what 9pm looks like?

When we set the clocks back an hour, is that the hour that we lost? Is everything we d…

Conspiracy and the U.S. Government

Lately I've taken to listening to the Michael Groff show in the mornings (whilst I wash the dishes) because his show is intelligent commentary on issues mixed with humorous satire.

Whilst he claims to call U.S. Politics like he sees it, he does have Republican leanings in the same way I would have Democratic leanings (if I were a U.S. citizen). By that I mean we both can be cynical about all sides of politics but at the end of the day, if we had to vote, I think Mike leans more towards the conservatives. It's just a sense I get about him and his show.

Yesterday Mike made an interesting observation about conspiracy theorists. You know those people that think the U.S. Government can control the weather or that 9/11 was an inside job etc.

To sum up his point he observed that George Bush is widely regarded as the dumbest U.S. president to date. Yet conspiracy theorists credit his administration with all kinds of complex, highly planned, covert operations intended to deceive the Amer…

The U.S. Economic Crisis - Bring It On

I am well aware that if the U.S. Government doesn't act to bail out Wall Street that the U.S. Economic Crisis will eventually affect me financially too - even though I live in a smallish country town in South Australia. However I say the U.S. government shouldn't spend a single dime on Wall Street. Bring on the crisis!

This morning I was listening to the Michael Groff show on Internet radio and he was telling me why I should be very concerned about the U.S. Economic Crisis and the Wall Street crash.

He said that if the American People and congress didn't support the government bail out plan, there would be chaos. That you may as well take your family, retreat to a farm somewhere and protect what little you have with a gun - because that is how bad it will get. Then in the next sentence he said that he wasn't trying to be alarmist.

Despite that he personally didn't want the government to bail out wall street but because of the potential consequences it was the 'rig…

Armie Hammer - New Batman for Justice League

According to this report, Holy Double Take, Batman! Here Comes a New Caped Crusader by Marc Malkin of E! Online, Armie Hammer is not only set to play Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie but he's already tried on the suit!

I'm very surprised that Batman on Film hasn't reported this as yet (or if they have I can't find it). Seems to me they're spending too much time reporting on every other superhero comic movie and have taken their eye off the ball of late - it's BATMAN ON FILM Jett!. (Seriously. After all the hype leading up to The Dark Knight there's very little post TDK commentary to speak of).

Anyhow, BOF has posted a lot of discussion about the proposed Justice League film, most of which suggests the project is still very much an idea that hasn't really even been properly committed to paper. They've speculated about the appearance of Batman in this film and whether the likelihood of two big screen Batman's in cinemas at about the same …

Time Wasting New Look Facebook Protestors

Being a Mashable subscriber it has been hard to avoid the stories of protest about the new look Facebook. Apparently a hoard of screaming masses didn't like the new look and were widely drumming up support for the old look to at least remain available.

I didn't voluntarily change my Facebook account to the new look since I read it would eventually be changed over for me (why do something yourself if you don't have to). Today I logged into my Facebook account to be presented with the new look profile page and here is my perfectly blunt, no holds barred reaction...

All you protesting, squealing, whiny hoards are a bunch of dumb ass, change strangling, time wasters who should remove yourself from the internet immediately as progress and change are obviously too confronting for your nice little comfort bubbles.

Seriously. Are you all kidding me? A new, better organised and easier to navigate page is what you were all up in arms about?

Facebook profiles were a confusing mess. H…

The Traveling Painting

The Traveling Painting is a project started by YouTube user, DaliGoddess. It's a fairly simple idea. A single painting is sent around the world, from artist to artist, with each artist adding and filming their contribution then posting their video as a response to the original 'Bon Voyage' to the painting video.

A year since the painting began its journey it arrived on my doorstep here in Australia after being sent by a fellow Aussie and expatriate from Norway.

Below is my contribution to the project, which I'm posting here because I think it's one of the better videos I've made in recent times. Largely helped by a great old song which I've been itching to use ever since I came across it in the public domain quite some time ago.


If you'd like to know more about the Traveling Painting project then these are the all important links to follow:

DaliGoddesses YouTube Channel.
Become involved: I Want it, I've Got it Video.
DaliGoddesses Traveling Painting Myspa…

Blu-ray Should Die

I want to see Blu-ray die or at least see no other newer digital video/storage format succeed Blu-ray. It's time the consumer spoke and said the current format is more than enough capacity and delivers more than enough video quality.

Blu-ray, like regular DVD, is a digital format, this means, in its self, it doesn't deliver any better quality. The use of a blue-violet laser, as opposed to a red laser, enables data to be packed more tightly onto the disk giving anywhere up to 500GB of storage capacity. Very attractive when you consider regular DVD have a maximum capacity of 8.54GB. (Both format capacities are achieved via 'layering').

High Definition (HD) video is the format delivered on Blu-ray disks. Currently DVD delivers Standard Definition (SD). HD offers five times the definition of SD making the picture incredibly sharp with vivid colors. It also offers access to substantially better audio than SD.

Blu-ray offers quite a few other enhancements for video but these ar…

I'm a Top Six Video Producer on TubeMogul

I don't expect the honor of being a top 40 video producer on TubeMogul to last long but being number six on the list, even briefly, is nice.

TubeMogul.com is where I and other far more viewed video producers upload our videos for distribution to multiple video sites across the web. They've just added a new feature called Market Place which is described as a dating site for video producers. Essentially it gives you a TubeMogul profile page complete with your viewership stats across all the sites you distribute to.

Anyhow for a brief second I was the number six video producer on the site but in the space of half an hour had slipped to eight. My total views across all my video sites is still well under the one million mark so I'll be falling like a brick off the bottom of this list.

However, momentarily, I was number six all time - which is kind of cool.

Google Alerts - Do I Need This Lert?

Remember the humorous saying; stay alert, the world needs more lerts? I recently started using Google Alerts and I'm beginning to think this is one lert the world (or at least me) can do without.
The purpose of Google Alerts is to enter any word, words or phrases into the alert box and Google Alerts will inform you every time the words appear somewhere new on the internet. I have two alerts set up. One is meant to inform me everytime my real name, David Arandle, is used online whilst the other informs me everytime the phrase, The Extraordinary Tourist, is used.
The idea being that I can be alerted when people online write about me (because as a professional artist knowing who's writing about you can be a very valuable marketing tool).
The problem being that, ever since I set these alerts up, Google Alert has set about informing me of things that, not only did I already know about but also things that I actually set up and wrote myself. For example, recently Google Alerts informed…

Artist Obituaries - What Will Yours Say?

The final paragraph, about artist obituaries, in a recent blog post, Google-eyed, by Hazel Dooney in her Self vs Self blog set my mind to thinking in the warped way that it does. First the paragraph in question:
As anyone who reads Self Vs. Self regularly would know, I'm a total media tart. I embrace any opportunity to promote my art and myself. Barney writes: "I subscribe to Brendan Behan’s view. He famously said, 'There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary'." I wouldn't even draw the linethere.I can imagine the obituary of some poor starving artist including a paragraph along the lines of:
"In loving memory of __________. If you had just bought his art while he was alive he might have been able to afford the expensive, life saving, medical attention that he urgently required. Unfortunately it was not to be and he died penniless. Buy his art you bastards so we can afford to pay the funeral bills!!"
More fun than obituaries is the…

Google Chrome - You had me at Hello

I've just installed Google's new browser, Google Chrome, and I can safely say that this is a browser that had me converted at 'Hello'. To be more specific I was hooked as soon as I fired up the browser for the first time and saw the simple, clean design - before I'd even used it.

I decided to write this blog post about 15-20 minutes into my exploring Chrome's features because I'm convinced that Chrome is a better browser than Firefox 3 (the browser I was previously using) which positively looks so 'last year' now. The transition from Firefox to Chrome was almost seamless too. Other than having to relogin to various sites, all my bookmarks, passwords etc. have been imported into Chrome.

I'm not going to do any kind of review on all the features of Chrome other than to say, finally, someone's realized that the internet is all about the content and not the browser. A browser should be fast and intuitive. Chrome is both.

If you need to know more ab…

The Gawler Show, August 2008

Promoted as the largest rural and agricultural show in South Australia the Gawler Show is always worthy of an afternoon of wandering around - perhaps a full day if you and/or the kids are into sideshow rides and games too.

Gawler is my home town, this is my local show. It's run over two days on a weekend (this year August 30-31). There are three things that attract me to these kinds of shows:

The art, craft, and other judged competitions
The On Stage Entertainment
The fireworks.

I've never been that big a fan of amusement rides and games largely because they seem over priced and I succumb easily to motion sickness (particularly on things that go round and around).

I'm not much into the animals either, cows, sheep, horses etc. though these are a big part of why the show even exists in the first place. (if they had sheep dog trials I'd add them to my must see list - working dogs are just incredible).

Winning the art competition is more about the glory than the prizes which is r…

Is Tom Cruise the New Michael Jackson?

Ever since Tom Cruise Jumped the Couch (a phrase he inspired) on Oprah it has been pretty much a free for all on implying he's some kind of whacko. Granted Tom Cruise was pretty outspoken before the couch thing with his Scientology views but is he really the new Michael Jackson?

I've nothing against Michael, I'm a fan of a few of his songs, but the media and his own odd behavior, sent his career down a path that he may never recover from. Michael still has a strong fan base but the 'whacko Jacko' moniker will probably never leave him.

However Tom Cruise seems to be taking over as the media's main celebrity to target for bizarre actions or 'out-there' views. Hence whenever anything goes wrong or he happens to express a view that is a little less than media mainstream it gets reported widely. Particularly if it has links to Scientology thinking - like that's some kind of crime?

I haven't heard Tom express any Scientology view that couldn't be tra…

Blaring Out Michael Bublé

Blaring out Michael Bublé's rendition of 'For Once in my Life' is not my partner's idea of a relaxing Sunday morning but apparently it's good music to wash your car to. At least that's what our neighbours across the street were doing.

I'm not a particular fan of big band music or Michael Bublé but being able to hear this style of song, perfectly clearly in my lounge room, when it's blaring from a car stereo system across the street makes for a refreshing change. I mean it could be worse and at least it's not doof, doof, doof.

Maybe there is hope that one day they'll be washing their car to Björk's rendition of 'It's Oh so quiet'. That would be Sunday morning comedy gold!

Back Off, I’m an Artist!

“Back Off, I’m an Artist!”

This stern warning sent a shiver down the spine of customers who minutes ago had been patiently queuing for the next available teller.

“Careful he’s got a brush!”

Would this be the day that someone suffered for art? Paint splattered everywhere in an artistic massacre of modern art?

“Let me paint a picture for you.”

It was getting serious. It could only end in critique.

“I’m an artist… and a good one!”

How could anyone know that for sure? By who’s definition was this artist ‘good’? The way things were going it looked more like a confrontation with a bad artist. One with a disposition for performance art.

“I should be able to make a living from my art. I should be raking the money in!”

There’s nothing worse than a starving artist cornered.

“Why do people not buy my art?!”

A pathetic performance by any standards. Clearly no one understood. Letting art speak for its self is no way to put on an exhibition. One and a half stars. Stay away from this one, it’ll only disappoint…

Batman 3 Rumors and My Thoughts

The dust hasn't even settled and already the rumors for the next installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman movie series are doing the rounds. Who will the villains be and who will be able to match Heath's Joker performance?

The success of The Dark Knight guarantees another film - not that they were counting on success to make a third film happen. As far back as Batman Begins it was already confirmed that Christian Bale, Michael Cain, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman were all signed on for three films.

Live News is reporting in Batman buzz: Johnny Depp as The Riddler? that Johnny Depp has been approached to play The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman is being considered to play The Penguin.

The story is questionable. On the one hand Johnny Depp would certainly be an exciting choice for any male villain in the Batman universe but on the other hand, mention of the Penguin suggests the source isn't reliable.

I've read direct quotes from Christopher Nolan stating that the Pe…

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