rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

8-11-2002 (archived)

Note: no gig today, folks, we were cancelled. Apologies to anyone who trekked out to see us; I hope the guys we were double-booked against were good for you.

Splendid lunch in a Japanese restaurant today, and not (gladly) the one I mentioned yesterday. Just thought I'd mention it <grin>.

Q: Some of your singers had problems with substance abuse, didn't they?

A: Well you can't do that shit, and sing man! It's as simple as that. Anybody that has ever done that shit will tell you that.

Really it isn't good for anybody, but at the same time, if you are a singer and you do something that numbs your throat out, and you scream because you can't feel it, and you trash your voice and can't sing anymore. That's like me sticking my fingers in fucking acid and trying to play. Eventually you won't be able to do it anymore.

From an interview with Steve Lukather, great guitar player and singer. He's right, too, and it's not just the illegal stuff. If I have even a coke (the wet stuff, not the powder) before I gig I don't have the same vocal tone - and if I have a beer or something before we start, I'll have blown my voice out by the end of the first set. Which isn't much fun for anybody.

Still, it makes that coming-off-stage beer before we tear down the rig and load out taste really good...

11-11-2002 (archived)

Apparently the band we were double-booked against on Friday called in from half-way down the motorway with a broken-down van; sadly, by then it was too late for us to make it to the venue either. On the upside, we've booked lots of dates there for next year, all on Saturday nights. Driving to Wrexham on a Saturday night is vastly preferable to doing so on a Friday, trust me on this.

We went down well again in Newton; just as happened last time, the crowd were fairly quiet up until the end of the (as announced) last song; then they went nuts shouting for encores, and stayed pleasingly insane throughout the rest of the night. It's slightly disconcerting; I guess they're saving the visible enthusiasm until it's needed to get us back on stage...

Today's linkage: a really good interview with Sammy Hagar, by a guy from the Vai mailing list. And here's another one.

12-11-2002 (archived)

Bears! This is probably my all-time favourite Onion story. However, the Prime Number Shitting Bear may be the greatest thing of any kind ever, as far as I'm concerned right now. What the hell did it eat, a seriously prime curry?

Here's a really good article, the kind that reminds me why I read the Guardian for so long, on the growth of mobile phone usage and the changes they've made to our culture.

(The prime bear and the Guardian article are both via Boing Boing. If you aren't reading it, you should be.)

13-11-2002 (archived)

Tetris is definitely hard. No surprise there, if you've spent any time playing it... (Thanks, Penfold.)

Paul Simpson wrote last night about his job, telephone tech support for a “well known UK ISP”. (I would tell you which, but I think he'd rather I didn't...) He's quite right; I'm not going to be phoning his line to tell him that I'm very happy with the service (even if I was). After all, I'm paying for this service, why would I phone them up and say “thank you for taking my money and actually giving me what I've paid for?” Actually, that doesn't sound all that crazy - which just tells you how low our expectations are when we deal with tech industries.

Anyway, if I'm paying 50p a minute for a call I at least want heavy breathing and lingerie descriptions.

14-11-2002 (archived)

This week's movie review is Donnie Darko. Nutshell review: it's surprisingly hard to say anything coherent about this film, but you should definitely see it.

Donnie is an American 18-year-old in 1988. He's handsome, intelligent, and suffering from “emotional problems”. The film begins around the time a mysterious aeroplane engine falls through his bedroom, miraculously not killing the sleep-walking Donnie, who is out being told that the world will end in a little over 28 days by a hallucinatory giant rabbit. It finishes right on schedule, or arguably back where it started.

I told you I wouldn't be saying anything coherent.

The characters are utterly believable, even the few deliberately-stereotyped comic and tragic figures, the acting is first rate, and the film is genuinely frightening. There's no leaping out of knife-encrusted maniacs from behind bushes, no artificial scenes to make you jump, just concern for the well-being of the troubled, likeable, strangely real characters. The film has a slightly surreal, dream-like air, offsetting the solidity of the characters; the atmosphere as a whole reminded me of David Lynch's work, though it's far less willfully obscure that Lynch tends to be.

It's funny, it's scary, and you'll be talking about it afterwards. See it.

We're playing at the Bell and Barrel in St Helens tomorrow night. Rumour has it that the barmaids are so badly paid they can't afford shirts. Don't let this influence your decision whether to come and see us in any way <g>.

18-11-2002 (archived)

In fact the barmaids did have shirts on, a circumstance I do not regret. We played great, probably the best yet, and had a lot of fun.

I have no comment on the following except to remark that the Earthman's /msg was correct; this was a pretty inspired moment. Slightly edited from my chat logs (the htmlifier for which I shall eventually publish), to remove unrelated lines. Speeling and grammar remain as they were, in true IRC style.

<Paul_S> Justin_O: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/brian.simpson/facepaint.jpg
<Paul_S> it was for charity
<Justin_O> Charity?
<Paul_S> children in need. and teh 'paul gets half an hour off while an attractive woman paints his face' organisation
<Justin_O> Paul, mate.
<Justin_O> No.
<Paul_S> Justin_O: sorry
<Justin_P> paul - will they let me paint attractive women's faces?
<earthman> I want to paint faces on attractive women
<Justin_P> and make them look like monkeys
<Justin_P> then I will laugh
<Justin_P> oh, how I will laugh
<earthman> Justin_P: I think I love you
<Justin_P> hey, I'm married
<Paul_S> i want to make abstract population paste patterns on attractive women
<Justin_P> lol
<earthman> the thought of painting attractive women's faces to make them look like monkeys, then laugh at them, is the best thing I've heard ever
<Paul_S> yes!
<earthman> Paul_S: I have to agree with mr otto, actually.
<earthman> just no
<Paul_S> i also agree with mr otto
<earthman> so in summary, no
<Paul_S> it was a mistake. wont happen again
<Paul_S> no
<Justin_P> and you, Sarah Michelle Gellar, are now..... a gibbon! Ha! Who's pretty now, gibbon face? hahahahahahahah
* Justin_O/#ukmg raises an eyebrow
* earthman/#ukmg fall off chair
<Paul_S> !!!!!!
<Justin_P> :))
<Paul_S> ...
<earthman> sarah michelle gibbon
<Paul_S> X-D
<Paul_S> ook!
<Justin_P> Shania Chimp
<earthman> Kylie Mandrill
* Paul_S/#ukmg 's stomach hurts from laughing
<Justin_P> Christina Australiopithecine
<Paul_S> teh pain!
<earthman> X-D
<earthman> Britney Spidermonkey
<Paul_S> britney simian!
<Justin_P> yay!
<Paul_S> it's miss gellar that gets me.....
<earthman> yes
<earthman> wonderful
[earthman(c@] jesus, I hope you read this scrollback
[earthman(c@] the whole "gibbonface" episode is just sublime
<Paul_S> ha! gibbon face!
<Justin_O> "What did you do last night, Justin?" "I sat around making monkey puns out of womens' names with my other sad Internet friends."
<Justin_O> "Riiiiight."
-:- Topic (#ukmg): changed by earthman: and you, Sarah Michelle Gellar, are now..... a gibbon! Ha! Who's pretty now, gibbon face?

19-11-2002 (archived)

Something Positive is one of the funniest comics on the web, or indeed anywhere else, and a cornerstone of my daily reading list - and Randy Millholland really does keep it coming every day, or very very nearly so. Still, the last few issues (especially this one) have been especially fine.

Forget Napster, the big piracy channel is sneakernet - same as it ever was. (Via Boing Boing.)

20-11-2002 (archived)

I have spent much of this afternoon trying to fix a computer problem created entirely by my own stupidity (I entered the wrong network gateway address). My car needs attention. Our gig for Saturday has been cancelled by the venue. Due to these annoyances, I have no thoughts today, only links.

Hurrah! The Mixerman Chronicles have returned!

Quality brain-dump: Simon Wistow's “Love story for the naughties”. Normally I would quote bits and pieces, but the beauty of this old (void) post is in the whole; cutting out parts would do it no justice.

22-11-2002 (archived)

This week's film is Bowling for Columbine. Michael Moore's documentary focuses on two school shootings, the infamous Columbine massacre and a lesser-publicised (at least in the UK) incident in which a six-year-old girl was shot by a classmate.

At first sight, this seems to be a film about gun control; America has vastly more firearms homicides than any other developed country, while not having any more of the other oft-suggested factors (violent films and games, violent history, heavy metal, unemployment, single parents) than Germany, France, Japan, Canada, or here. It's not that simple, though - as Moore points out, Canada has around seven million firearms between ten million households. Perhaps, Moore suggests, Canadian fear of crime is so much lower, and so they are less likely to panic and shoot each other; is it the news media responsible? The Canadians don't have poverty, by US standards; like essentially every other developed country, they have vastly more social welfare than do their neighbours.

Moore refrains from drawing conclusions, a decision I find admirable (if you think you know the answers, I think you're a fool) but that some reviewers have found frustrating. The film is certainly flawed in other ways; parts are heavy-handed, and the (admittedly vastly entertaining) interview with Charlton Heston edges into sanctimony.

My other big criticism is that, as the roll-call of gun deaths per year in different countries is presented, there is no attempt to adjust for population size. When you do this, the US is still way out on its own, but suddenly Canada starts to look very much worse than the other runners-up - and gun ownership is much more firmly back in the frame. (I screwed up here, using the wrong number for Canadian deaths in my back-of-envelope calculation - they're still worse off than the other non-North-Americans, but not by anything like as much as I'd thought. Thanks to Darren Wilson on the Jemsite Forum for the correction and the numbers, and apologies to all.)

Moore also interviews Marilyn Manson, poster-boy for all those who would like to blame music for the evils of society. It's a relatively cordial interview, but like every other interview I have seen with Manson - hostile or otherwise - it left me wishing that we could have politicians who could speak on difficult issues like these with the understanding and lucidity Manson always seems to display. The contrast between Manson's calm, considered, sensible answers (in full stage makeup, about to go on stage at an Ozzfest show) and the bluster, fear-mongering and irrationalities of those who want him silenced could not be more stark.

Flawed as it is, this is still an hugely entertaining, emotional, funny, and thought-provoking film. See it.

This site is, at the time of writing, standards-compliant XHTML 1.0 strict and CSS. There are no layout tables; there are divs used primarily for styling, but none of them are hacks. This makes me happy.

I'm even happier that I'm not as driven to hit new webstandards as is Mark Pilgrim. Life's tough enough.

While on the subject of webtrickery, the new BBC site does something so cool it makes me wet; it tracks which areas of the site (news, sport, TV etc) you go to most, and darkens the backgrounds of the boxes you use most. That's the right way to do adaptive personalisation. (Via Boing Boing.)

23-11-2002 (archived)

Today's links are both adults-only and juvenile.

There's lo-fat, there's cabbage soup, there's Atkins, and now there's banana smoothies and semen. I believe that this diet should be encouraged. (Via Davezilla.)

You are hereby warned that “man burns penis with laptop” contains the phrases “scrotal blisters”, “extensive suppuration”, and “dry crusts”.