Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grass is always greener

With my friends I have always been considered the smart one. Being good at maths and business studies was enough to get this tag. But I kinda always wanted to be the funny guy. It is hard though to be the funny one when three of your friends are the three funniest guys in school (officially). I guess it proves I’m smart for befriending the funniest guys in all of Pennant Hills, but it’s not always fun being expected to know everything. And it looks like so much fun making other people laugh.

Click on picture and it will make more sense

So when I entered into different environments I decided to downplay my booksmarts and went for the idiot angle. This payed off. I had learned plenty of comedy from my brothers, friends, and high quality TV shows, and at the workplace or while travelling or at uni (away from my much funnier friends) I was able to make people laugh pretty easy. But though I was always good for a laugh, people saw me as a bit of an idiot when it came to solving problems at work or making decisions on uni assignments. I guess I started suffering from what Lee and I coined as Sad Clown Syndrome. It wasn’t always fun to be thought an idiot.


Speaking of uni, when I finished school I went to uni and started a bachelor of business degree. Meanwhile, Luke went to acting school, Dean pursued a career in movies, Lee followed his musical aspirations as did Sahil. I started doubting my straight and narrow pursuit. I wanna be creative and make a living doing stuff I love…waaaah

"With no time to waste"

So after finishing uni and travelling I returned to join Lee’s band. A free and easy life as a musician! I’m gonna score all the babes and tour the world! But then again I am 23 (now 24) and I have very little planned for a career apart from hoping Lee and Jason can write good enough songs to crack the big time. It sure would be nice to earn 100K a year. Maybe I should check the Deloitte website again to see if they are taking applications…


Being a massive Roosters fan as a youth I loved watching them play and was very happy when they won. I loved seeing more and more fans come and support them and hated the bandwagon fans who only turned up when they won and didn’t care if they lost. But then when they did lose I took it hard and was unhappy and let it affect me too much. I cried when they lost Grand Finals, defended them rigorously on internet forums and stressed out when things went bad. But how come no one else gives as much of a shit?

Artist's impression of what Eden would have looked like if he continued to obsess about Easts

So then I took a step back and decided not to be so invested in the fortunes of my beloved Roosters. I even documented the process. It helped last year when they came last and I was able to deal with it (thank God they didn’t come last back in 2000-2004 or something). But now that they are winning again I don’t get the same rush, the same joy of seeing them succeed. I mean I love seeing them in the Grand Final this week but I feel like the bandwagon fan who I once despised.


After mentioning all this I have to say that I love hanging round and laughing with my much funnier friends; I will happily forsake a certain level of professional respect at work to make people laugh a little more; I love playing music and the freedoms it opens up in the other areas of my life; I love the Roosters and even though I won’t cry if they lose this weekend I will definitely be one of the loudest of the 82000 people cheering!


- Eden (while listening to The Suburbs by Arcade Fire)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Helly's Film Take- Easy A

I was lead to believe that this film was something akin to Mean Girls ie. A teen movie that is surprisingly well written and still manages to entertain however frivolous. I had liked Emma Stone in the previous two roles I had seen her in (Superbad and Zombieland) with her dry wit and unaffected charm, so I decided to give it a go. I left my cynicism at the door and went in willing to love this movie but was inevitably let down with the film that ensued.

The comedy is just far too broad and some of the characters are cliched and unoriginal. Amanda Bynes' character Marianne (the uptight Christian) is about as complicated as the recipe for mac and cheese. And a lot of her facial expressions would rival that of Jerry Lewis. There is a scene where she is sharpening pencils which is particularly excruciating. With this type of character, I've always thought that the Tracey Flick approach is more interesting. Which is to just play it straight, totally innocent and truly believe all the virtues which you are spouting. In other words for the character to be sweet on the outside but rotten at the core. If you want to see the subject of religion explored in a teen movie setting than I would suggest the film Saved, not a brilliant movie but is entertaining enough and doesn't try to ram the moral down your throat.
Rhiannon (played by Alyson Michalka) is also ridiculously over the top as the vacuous, big chested best friend of Olive. Consequently this does not make for a believable rapport between the two actresses.

There were a lot of moments in this film which didn't quite hit the mark. There is a key scene in the movie where Olive (Emma Stone) is faking a sex scene with the ashamedly gay Brandon, which is supposed to be uproariously funny but I've seen this done in other films before (of the top of my head I can think of a scene almost exactly like this in Romy and Michelle's Highschool Reunion), so I was left unamused by the scene. The film constantly cuts back to Olive delivering a monologue down a web cam, most of these moments are clunky as they just seem over written and unnatural. In one of these scenes Olive is talking about how she wants an 'awesome 80's movie moment' and we are shown a montage of clips from fun 80's movies including Say Anything..., Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast  Club,etc. Note to the director- Just showing clips from awesome films does not automatically make your movie cool by association.  Then instead of creating their own original 'awesome movie moment' (which they had the perfect set up to do) they just recreated the scene from Say Anything... where John Cusack is holding up the ghetto blaster on Diane Court's lawn. Olive also states that she would like 'to have a musical number..for no apparent reason' which is a reference to the twist and shout parade scene in Ferris Bueller... But for me the point in that scene is to illustrate the sheer absurdity and grandness of the day (it's every teen's fantasy.) Whereas the musical number that she gets towards the end of this film actually IS pointless.

The one saving grace of the film are the parents who are played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson and provide some of the only genuinely funny moments in the film. They have an unusual family unit but they somehow manage to make it believable. Emma Stone seems to also retain her charm in spite of the inconsistent character she was given to portray.

This film was a weird mix of verbose, pseudo-intellectual dialogue and screw ball comedy which turned out to be not a very good pairing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Steven's Last Night In Town

There used to be a time in my life where I would relish a few drinks after work on a Friday; nothing like a cool beer or 10 to wash away the worries of the week. After my diagnosis with cancer in June this year, I haven't been working and therefore haven't had the pleasure of enjoying some bourbon and cokes with my fellow colleagues, a pleasure that I don't really miss... let me tell you why.

It's got nothing to do with the people I worked with, it's not the people that I don't like, it's consuming excessive amounts of alcohol that made me feel like crap every Saturday morning and pretty much ruined the two days of the week that were "free". But this wasn't something that started in Feb 2009 when I started work, it's roots were much earlier. The earliest drunken memory I have is when I was around 15, at Janis Dunnicliff's house in Cherrybrook. Janis' house was a key part of my teenage-hood - at his awesome parties I was introduced to alcohol, the beginning of a love/hate relationship that would continue for many years to come. It must have been late 2001/early 2002 (year 9/10 in school) when one Saturday night Lee, Pedram and myself were invited over to stay the night at Janis'. Being the young rebels we were we 'borrowed' a few beers from our fridges at home and brought them along with us. We walked over to the park next to Edward Bennett Drive and drunk them, and it was awesome!

I think that was the earliest memory I have of being drunk. I just remember feeling happy, being with my friends and being happy. I also remember falling asleep that night to 2 sounds - number 1 being the song 'Tribute' by Tenacious D on the TV, and the other being Lee crying (a sound that I would hear many more times over my drunken years with him).

Then there was the time at Luke Brecht's house, late 2002 when I was 16. We had been at Jess Muirhead's party in Glenhaven, and I had brought along a 375ml bottle of whisky that I smuggled from my cupboard at home. Jess had a fridge full of those small VB bottles (throw downs), so I started in on those. When those ran out I moved on to the whisky and cokes. I think I went through half or 3/4 of the bottle of whisky, so it's fair to say I was drunk. We were picked up by Luke's mum, Julie at around 10:30 or something (I can't remember much from this point on). Back at the casa de Brecht, his brother Matt (3 years older than us) had a few mates around, and there eyes lit up when they saw two 16 year olds stumble through the door. Shots were the next drink of choice. Tequila, Chartreuse, you name it we did it. Rumour has it, that they poured me a shot with Vegemite in it and I drank it... After shots were the Corona's (always on hand at the casa de Brecht) in Luke's spa. After the spa we took our beers upstairs to warm up in the shower and then down to Luke's study to watch some porn. The absolute last thing I remember of that night was watching porn from pinkworld and rocking back and forth on Luke's chair and then yyuuuuooohaofhdifjdosoadkfojaaaaaaaaahhhh - I threw up all over the carpet, all over the curtain and all over the powerboard...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Darren's Story      Wilfred's Story    Molly's Story    Cindy's Story

Sansky sat at the front of the bus on his way home; the school kids behind him were making a ruckus as usual. Each morning and afternoon that he rode the bus he was met with the same sensation – Shame. It was the worst possible way to start and end his workday. He passed the time inside his head, cursing and taunting himself. You’re pathetic Sansky. Why don’t you just kill yourself already. Nobody will give a shit.

All his life he had believed in the mystical power of logic and reason – in numbers. You can’t argue with a number. You could write a thousand books and a million poems on why second place is better than first, but in the end first place is the winner. NĂºmero uno. Case closed.

“Oi Sansky!” a voice shouted from behind him. He turned and saw a busload of blank and half snickering faces. Nobody stood out. It was a male student he deduced silently as he turned around. The children resumed their pointless chatter, except now they had something fresh and new to laugh about.

Sansky had never been number 1. As a teacher he had always struggled. He was to be a scientist but decided to start his career in teaching because he thought the holidays would suit him better. But after years of dealing with shithead children and counter-evolutionary bureaucracy he had suffered an internal nervous breakdown. He was hanging on only by the fact that he thought insanity to be illogical. He wasn’t crazy; he was just a pussy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Helly's Video View- Singles

Even though my reaction to Elizabethtown was luke warm, I'm willing to put those feelings aside as there is still something effortlessly watchable about Cameron Crowe films which will always have me wanting to go back for more. Never too heavy and often very sweet, for me it's the film equivalent of the perfect dessert!

I hereby dub Cameron Crowe as the 'master of moments' as he has proven it once again with this film. He is so skilled at writing scenarios that tickle your heart and epitomise escapism, leaving you with that sense of 'movie magic'. The idea of unlocking the car door button might seem a bit archaic to us now, but it's still a great moment which symbolises how it's often the littlest things which make you fall for someone. Like wise with Bridget Fonda's character just wanting a man to say gazuntite when she sneezes 'Or bless you...that's nicer'. Though the line which will probably stay with me the longest is 'I was just nowhere near your neighbourhood', taking a classic line and turning it on its head to create the perfect balance of sweetness and awkwardness.

One of the things I like most about the film is how relatable the characters are. You could (or maybe you do) know these people, incarnations of them at least anyway. This may be largely to do with the fact that I am in exactly the same phase of my life as the characters, making the viewing of this movie perfectly timed. The character which I identify with most is Bridget Fonda's character Janet, especially when she is giving her opening monologue. Here is an excerpt-

'Here I am twenty three. I think time's running out to do something bizarre. Somewhere around twenty five bizarre becomes...immature.'

It's almost impossible to make lines delivered straight to the camera work and I've seen it done badly many times (lots of tv shows often try this method for the protagonist in the first season and then end up dropping the idea.) But the monologues to camera are actually very effective and are done in such a naturalistic way that it really adds an extra element to the film.

One aspect which didn't totally work for me was the central relationship between the characters of Linda and Steve. I felt like we never got a full understanding of the nature of their relationship, which is probably due to it unfolding in fragmented scenes across an unspecified amount of time. Because of this the gravity of the predicament they find themselves in doesn't hit the audience like it should. One argument for this could be that it is a comedy after all, so maybe they didn't want it to get too dramatic. They do share some incredibly touching moments but I appreciate these scenes more on a technical level of being expertly crafted, rather than being emotionally invested in the story at that point.

The film is slightly lacking in story but it is definitely an accurate portrayal of that limbo feeling you experience when you hit your twenties. In a way, that's probably why not a whole lot happens in the film, as you spend part of your twenties feeling stuck and waiting for something to happen.

A bit of nineties nostalgia, great music (like all Cam Crowe films) and sharp dialogue amalgamate into a very enjoyable film indeed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Punishing Purchasers

I hate that shit, doesn't even make any sense...

Why is it that a medium like DVD contains these threats and warnings (never mind that they're near universally unskippable*) and a medium like free-to-air TV does not? The consumers who legitimately purchase DVDs are paying for the privileged to be threatened, it seems. We shouldn't be paying to be told not to steal, the industry should pay to tell us.

If I illegally download a movie, I get to do whatever I want with the file, keep it forever and there are no silly warnings or threats. Such is the nature of illegal downloads. Legitimately download a movie and it's loaded with DRM code (digital rights management), DRM code is what makes buying a digital file so unattractive. Buy the DVD and you have to wait a few minutes before you can watch it every time you chuck it in the DVD player. There are so many ways the industry could make legit downloading attractive. Unfortunately they don’t appear to be doing it yet - even if they did we couldn't utilise it in Australia without the NBN (Ah anyway, that topic goes so deep I won’t even begin). I’m just pissed of about this shit on DVDs I fucking buy. Just imagine you walk into a shop one day to buy a loaf of bread, your handing the money over and the cashier say "hey, remember not to steal from this store - we'll take you to court and take all your money if we catch you". I'd tell them to go fuck themselves.

- Dogman

*I notice that you can fast forward through it, but then after it there is this stark white government/industry warning that really cannot be skipped.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Darren's Story    Wilfred's Story    Molly's Story (Part 3)

I’m such a fucking idiot! Why would I do that? I’m such a- Oh it’s itchy!!

Cindy sat perfectly still in Sansky’s math class. She wouldn’t scratch it. Not in a million years. Not while Darren sat across the classroom stealing a glance at her every 30 seconds - sometimes for 30 seconds at a time.

Boys are so obvious. Does he realise I can see him and his goofy expression?

It was actually a little comforting to have his complete adoration emanating from the corner of her eye. It steeled her resolve to remain unflinching, maintaining an exquisite distribution of indifference across her face. In the opposing corner she could see Molly Bingwall. Usually at this point Molly would be trying to steal her own glances at Darren and then follow his gaze despondently to Cindy.

She used to be such an amateur. Maybe she finally learnt how to be cool. One conversation with me and- I hope she doesn’t tell anyone my secret.

Cindy was a professional; even in the face of adversity. That morning, though, was a different story. Excited about the day’s events she grew anxious about her unflattering aromatic disposition and, in a rare moment of amateurity, she applied an ample serve of anti-perspirant to mask her shame. It was more than an allergic reaction. Within ten seconds she had let out a scream of agony and thirty minutes of showering wouldn’t make the itching stop. She would have preferred to harvest a nest of fire ants than endure this pain.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Heel's Hangover

On Sunday night, at Sunday Slaughter I, The Heel, was well and truly defeated by a much superior competitor in The Master. Before I get into reviewing that particular beat-down, I will review the other matches, as they were all fantastic.

The Masher (8) defeated The Rookie (7):

In the opening bout, we saw the favourite in Hamish "The Rookie" Gow come up against the unknown and unpredictable Helly "The Masher" Vienne. The Rookie started out strong, winning the first round in convincing style. Using the character of Nina, The Rookie exploited the use of her long legs and powerful kicks to his advantage, taking the fight to his opponent. However in the second round, The Masher (in true masher style) used Law's infamous double backflip multiple times to win a close round. The deciding round was on. Both went at it toe-to-toe, but as all the pressure was on The Rookie he began to crumble; The Masher with nothing to loose had the crowd behind her, and came away with the first upset of the night. The Rookie was automatically demoted to last place in the rankings; and fought his last fight of the evening.

The Drifter (5) defeated The Kid (6)

Next up we saw Lee "The Drifter" Sullivan take on Jay "The Kid" Bovino. The Drifter started strong, however in true Drifter fashion, began to drift out of form as The Kid (using Eddy) employed his unorthodox style to his advantage, taking down The Drifter's Bryan with low breakdance combos and spinning handstands. Somehow The Drifter found enough form to see him through to a deciding round, 1-1; we had another tense battle on our hands. In the third and final round, The Drifter used his Tekken experience to wear down his opponent, fighting with impeccable timing and good defence to maintain his 5th spot on the rankings.

The Natural (4) defeated The Magician (3)

It is a true joy to watch Dean "The Natural" Burr play video games. Earlier in the night, Lee showed us a new game that he had bought on PS2, Shadow of the Colossus. Lee and I had worked out the basic controls a day before, and had reached the first Colossus - a massive beast 20-30 times larger than our small man. We found it's weak spot, a furry patch on the back of it's leg. Lee and I both had a go at defeating it, before Eden claimed that Dean would be able to take it down. Sure enough, Dean stabbed the beast in the leg, it fell over, and then began climbing up its back onto it's head and defeated the monster first go - a true natural in video games. Now if he can do that with a game that he's just seen, imagine what he can do in Tekken?! The Natural always chooses characters that no-one else does, in this case Paul and Xiaoyu. Luke "The Magician" Bovino went with his classic duo of Lei and Ganryu. The Magician had his moments, but failed to pull a rabbit out of his hat to match the skill and class of The Natural. Paul was at his destructive best, and Xiaoyu... who knew Xiaoyu could be any good! The match did go to 3 rounds, however there was never any doubt in the future number one contender. 

The Master (1) defeated The Heel (2)

What went wrong, Russell? I came into this bout with shit form, losing only a couple of days earlier to The Drifter in an exhibition, 3 games to nothing, and only winning one round out of 6. As I own the game, I had the apparent advantage of getting in some much needed practice on Sunday day, learning up moves with Bryan and Yoshimitsu - big, big mistake. The whole match I was trying to block Eden's superior attacking raids, and every chance I got to strike I would either panic or try some new move. Bryan actually did ok, but Yoshimitsu is no match for someone as classy as The Master. Julia was at her devastating best, destroying any hope I had at being number 1. On top of trying new moves, I just played poorly. Even if I had chosen Hwoarang or Baek first up (which are supposedly my 2 best characters), with Bryan on the flip, I wouldn't have been able to match the skill and raw talent that The Master possesses. Eden sliced through me like a hot knife through butter, retaining his belt in 2 straight demoralising rounds. 

Ranking Changes

As this was the inaugural Tekken Takedown, a system was devised to fairly change the rankings. Using Eden's initial rankings from his classic article on June 9, 2010 as a base, a tournament was set up. The rules were that the winner of one match got the shot at moving up the rankings by defeating the loser of the match above them. It is best explained outlining what actually happened:
  • The Masher (8) def. The Rookie (7) - The Masher moved from 8th to 7th place. 
  • The Drifter (5) def. The Kid (6) - No ranking changes.
  • The Natural (4) def. The Magician (3) - The Natural moved from 4th to 3rd place.
  • The Master (1) def. The Heel (2) - No ranking changes.
  • The Kid (6) def. The Masher (7) - No ranking changes.
  • The Drifter (5) def. The Magician (4) - The Drifter moved from 5th to 4th place.
  • The Natural (3) def. The Heel (2) - The Natural moved from 3rd to 2nd place - and became the number one contender for Tekken champion at the next Tekken Takedown.
To view a table of the current rankings, click here.

What will happen at the next Tekken Takedown? Will The Master retain his crown, or will The Natural continue to display his rise in the Tekken arena and claim his maiden championship - only time will tell.

- Russell "The Heel" Gill

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reality is killing Creativity

One of the main problems with the world today (poverty and Bin Laden aside) is that too many people care what the Kadashians are doing. We can thank the Ozzbournes for it too. You will all remember a few years back when the Ozzbournes first came on to television. It was huge, everyone wanted to talk about how mental Ozzy was and how much his wife swore. I may have tuned in for half an episode to see what the fuss was about but I didn’t stick around after the commercial break.

This unleashed a swarm of has-been rock stars letting us into their homes to see how crazy they all were, but what was worse, the people loved it. Now there are hundreds of these types of ‘reality TV shows’ all over foxtel.

I use the word ‘reality’ very loosely because in no way do any of these shows represent reality. They are normally focused on the rich and famous who have much more money then sense, intelligence or purpose.

While hung-over at a female friends house one Sunday morning I was outnumbered by about three to one by girls who wanted to put on season who-gives-a-shit of The Hills. Being outnumbered and hung-over I didn’t put up much more than a groan and thought I could use it as an opportunity to check out some hot girls (I wasn’t disappointed). Now for those of you who haven’t seen this show it’s basically about a group of hot LA girls who have a lot of money and hang around LA talking about really important issues like who someone brought to a party and how much of a bitch that someone is and blah, blah, blah.

I couldn’t help but notice while watching this show how high the production value was. For instance all the conversations these girls were having were so well lit they looked like a film. This would be almost impossible for a team working as a ‘fly on the wall’ crew. They would have to pre-empt where they were going, send people ahead, light it where they think they would sit and then tweak it all just as they sat down which would interrupt the shit out of the restaurant.

I later found out from someone that the way this show works is that if x has a fight with y the producers ask them about it and find out what happened, then get them to re-enact the same fight the following day so that can shoot and light it properly. How is that real?

The other crowd favorites are the dating/reality shows. Farmer Wants a Wife, The Bachelor, The Bachorlorette, there are a few others (the names of which escape me) but they’re all basically the same show, a guy or girl picks a husband/wife (they are actually choosing someone they will spend the rest of their lives with on a TV show) out of a bunch of suitors. The worst part is people sit around at home desperate to find out whom he or she chooses, LIKE IT’S GOING TO LAST FOREVER!

Masterchef is one of the most watched shows on television, each week it’s on it gets a record breaking crowd tuning in. I walked past one day to see a few minutes of it and the segment that was on (which seemed to last most of the episode) consisted of the contestants trying a dish and then guessing what ingredients were in it, come on! How is that exciting? That was the whole show! The most infuriating part though is after someone tries what is obviously a carrot it then cuts to that same person after the challenge explaining what you just saw: 

“Yeah I tried the carrot and I was 95% sure it was a carrot” Then it cuts back to the challenge.
“Umm, carrot?”
Five second pause while the judges stand around looking like twats.

What a waste of time.

The only commendable addition to this genre are the game shows on steroids. The Amazing Races and Survivors of the world. I don’t watch either but I understand how people would find these entertaining. At least here we see people use intelligence and wit to win a realistic prize like money or a car, not a wife or a husband.

I have only mentioned a couple of shows here when there are thousands of ridiculous shows out there. At the moment on free to air television there are two shows, TWO SHOWS! About random breath testing. When have you ever pulled up to a RBT and thought, you know what? This would make a great TV show. The TV exec who pulled up to an RBT and thought that, must have been drunk!

All this while there are phenomenal series out there like The Sopranos.

-Adam Bovino

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tekken Tag Tournament Official Rankings

Rankings as of October 5, 2010:

Dean "The Natural" Burr
Up 1
Eden "The Master" Clarke
Down 1
Lee "The Drifter" Sullivan
Up 1
Russell "The Heel" Gill
Down 1
Luke "The Magician" Bovino
Jason "The Kid" Bovino
Helly "The Masher" Vienne

* Due to lack of interest - "The Kid" & "The Masher" are missing in action.

Initial Rankings

Event History

Helly's Video Vault- Singin' in the Rain

I must say I've had a pretty pitiful last two weeks in terms of movie watching, I haven't managed to watch a single film from start to finish! The closest I came was watching the last half hour of one of my all time favourite movies Singin' in the Rain,which re-invigorated my love for it. A love which I will regurgitate for you now.

I grew up watching this film and I simply adore it. I was absolutely devastated as a kid when we loaned the VHS to my Grammy and she taped over it! In Grammy's defense, some older movies have the credits at the beginning and not at the end, so she saw what she presumed were the end credits and hit record over my most cherished film. So for me this film certainly holds a very deep rooted feeling of nostalgia and conjures up childhood memories of sick days spent watching this film and drinking coke through a curly straw. But putting nostalgia aside for a moment, it's simply a great film regardless and there is a reason that it always makes the cut when people are compiling a list of the 'greatest films of all time.'

Yes, it's a musical, but before you roll your eyes let me just say that the best thing about Singin' in the rain is that even if you took all the numbers out, it would still be a great movie because the story is thatgood. For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, the story centres around when Hollywood studios made the transition out of the silent era and into sound or the beginning of 'talking pictures.' The amazing song and dance numbers (more on that later) are just an unbelievable bonus. The other unusual thing about Singin'... is that all the songs were already composed by producer Arthur Freed and the story was essentially built around all of these existing songs. This approach to musical writing can be disastrous, as proven in later years with a film such as Across the Universe. So the fact that they managed to pull it off is astounding.

Okay the musical numbers...I'll start with the most iconic scene in the movie the Singin' in the rain sequence. This number is pure magic and still gives me chills watching it to this day. I love the child like delight that Gene Kelly takes in splashing in all the puddles and his reaction when the police officer catches him which shifts from embarrassment into unaffected joy. Even the little details for example when Kelly walks off into the rain and gives his umbrella to a stranger, all help in fleshing out the emotion of the scene. In watching the special features, one of the minor actresses in the film said it best when she said 'That number isn't about singing or dancing at's about LOVE. It's also the type of love, which Kelly conveys so perfectly in this scene that makes it such an uplifting viewing experience. It's that kind of unbridled love, which makes you think you can conquer the world. Also it has to be said- The man can DANCE!
Some of the other big musical highlights include Donald O'Connor's slap stick solo Make 'em Laugh, the articulatory agility of Moses Supposes and the pure joy of Good Mornin'. All the numbers expertly choreographed by Gene Kelly (and Donald O'Conner in the case of 'make 'em laugh) and each one is just unadulterated entertainment, served straight up. Even the smaller 'filler' numbers such as Fit as a fiddle and All I do the whole day through are tight, catchy and precise.
The only number I feel which is slightly excessive is the extended Gotta Dance musical sequence. It's quite a spectacle with amazing costumes and dazzling dance numbers. In fact the dance with Gene Kelly and acclaimed dancer Cyd Charisse is another iconic image of the film. But it's a tangent which distracts too much from the main story line and for me is the only (slight) negative of the film.

The performances (in particular from the three leads) are impeccable. This would have been such a taxing, exhausting movie to make but in each frame you can see that the three leads are just attcking it with everything they have and it certainly pays off. Gene Kelly stars as the suave movie star Don Lockwood. The thing that Gene Kelly is probably most famous for is that he was a dancer who was still able to retain all of his masculinity. He had an every man quality that people were really drawn to, he proved that dancing was not just for the elite. Donald O'Connor plays Cosmo Brown, Don Lockwood's best friend, he is the comic relief and is usually everybody's favourite character. O'Connor has great comedic timing and is able to match Kelly step for step in their dance numbers together (which is quite a mean feat.) Debbie Reynolds is charming and adorable playing Kathy Selden, Don Lockwood's love interest. Reynolds had no professional dance training prior to the film and it doesn't show a bit which is an unbelievable accomplishment. Another supporting character which has always been one of my favourites is the shrill, beautiful yet vacuous, Lina Lamont played by Jean Hagen.

Some of the moments are quite 'hammy' (the classic 50's style movie kiss at the end where they are passionately kissing by simply having their lips pressed together for example) but that's kind of par for the course in movie's from this time period and it wouldn't be the same without it. I can understand if you're a bit resistant in wanting to watch this movie as it's not everyone's cup of tea but if you gave it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised. Nothing will ever change the sense of euphoria I get from the mere utterance of the title Singin' in the Rain

I'm singin' in the rain, just singin' in the rain
What a glorious feelin', I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds so dark up above
The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love'

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sunday Slaughter: The Master vs The Heel

Official Rankings before Event

This sunday is a momentous occasion. The first ever Tekken Takedown will occur and history will be made. The event, titled Sunday Slaughter: The Master vs The Heel takes place this sunday, 12th of September. On the undercard is the exciting matchup of The Magician vs The Natural in the battle for 3rd place and a shot at 2nd place later in the night. And in the main event, The Heel will challenge The Master for the Tekken championship.

Dean has been showing some great raw ability lately, beating both Lee and Eden in a non-title match earlier this week. If he can show this type of spirit against The Magician, we may just see our first rankings development. On the other side of the pond, Luke fought The Drifter to a draw tonight in a fantastic match, a classic back and forth battle that could have benefited from a larger audience much like we will see at the inaugural Tekken Takedown. As we all know, The Magician can always pull a rabbit out of his hat in the most unlikely of moments, but The Natural is severely on his game at the moment, so Sunday's match-up is a pure gamble if you ask this punter. 

The main event of the show is the battle of the big men, The Master vs The Heel. As said before, Eden lost to Dean less than a week ago. Whether this is a crystal ball into what he brings into Sunday Slaughter is still to be seen, but it definitely makes The Master's performance an intriguing prospect. On the other hand, The Heel is perhaps stronger than he's ever been, and is coming into this title match with more steam than The Master. You see, it doesn't matter whenever Russell loses a round, because he almost always leaves the night with his hands in the air and his heelish attitude all up in your grill. The Heel is coming into this fight with purpose and, dare I say, a slight advantage. These two combatants always bring their all into a fight and have had many classic battles over the last few years, but nothing has come close to this. When all is said and done, one of these warriors is walking out the champion, not just of the match, but of Tekken. Will The Master crumble and lose two straight rounds, or will The Heel not find it in himself to compete at the level he is renowned for on the day when it matters most? Will we have a classic three-rounder worthy of the auspicious occasion? All will be answered at Sunday Slaughter.

The Drifter cuts a promo on The Heel
The Rookie cuts a promo on The Master
Jay-Z on Sunday Slaughter

Who will win Sunday Slaughter?


Darren's Story    Wilfred's Story

“Hi Molly!” a perky Cindy Winchester chimed abruptly. Molly looked up, startled. The two girls had been sitting in Mr Sansky’s extra credit mathematics class for a full 10 minutes before Cindy offered her morning greeting. “How have you been?”

“Umm we can’t really talk right now,” Molly whispered, diligently copying out the equations on the board. Molly wondered why she was so diligent. She often watched movies of teenagers who lived such exciting lives. They were never diligent. They were bad and had good things happen to them. Nothing ever happened to Molly.

“I have something I need to talk about, Molly, I need to tell someone”

“Why me? This is the longest conversation we have ever had. I didn’t even know you were in this class.”

“Yeah I just took it to get away from my parents and spend extra time with my boyfriend. Usually I go to his house, but I come every so often to make sure the Sansker doesn’t tell my parents I’m away.”

“You take the square root of x and apply it to the…” droned Mr Sansky, raising his voice in an attempt to passively stem the conversation that sparked up while his back was turned. Molly heeded the warning and leaned closer to her page to passively illustrate her devotion to the work at hand; both to her teacher and to Cindy.

Cindy leaned closer as well, craning her neck in an attempt to re-enter Molly’s line of sight and regain her attention. “So anyway, last night I was with Wilfred and we were about to have sex and the weirdest thing happened. He-”

“Wait,” Molly whispered, unable to resist the confused logic of the story, “You take this class to wag and see Wilfred? You see him everyday.”

“No, I take it to see my boyfriend Johnny Aitch. Last night I was with Wilfred after he wrote those poems for me,” she looked admiringly at the ceiling and presumably beyond it to some world of teen angst. Molly didn’t bother following the vague glance. She stared dully thinking that no one would ever write her a poem. Not Wilfred. Not Darren...

The murmurs had grown behind Mr Sansky. More than one conversation now. He was still unwilling to turn and confront the perpetrators, “…and the y-axis represents – can we please cut out the chat chit- the chit chit-” he paused and cleared his throat. “Can we please cut out the chit chat please.” The children snickered.

“Molly.” Cindy insisted, “Molly. Molly!

“Why are talking to me? I just want to study,” Molly hissed.

“Molly Bingwall!” The class hushed. Surprised at his own outburst as much as everybody else, Sansky needed to finish his threat to reassert his authority. “If I hear one more peep there’s going to be big trouble!” to the delight of all the students - except Molly - his voice turned to a squeal when he said ‘big’. The snickering was now smothered laughter. Red faced, Sansky turned back to his board and immediately a bunch of conversations spawned out of the lingering laughs.

“Yeah well I’m telling you because you don’t have any friends and you’re nice so you’re not going to tell anyone any secrets, right?” Cindy at this point was talking at a normal vocal level, along with half the class.

“Students please!” Sansky whined, losing complete control.

“So it turns out,” Cindy continued, not paying any respect to the teacher’s pleads and threats, “that Wilfred is…” she paused and looked warily to each side and slowly and obviously mouthed the word ‘Gay’. She realised that Molly’s eyes - though wide with fright - weren’t actually looking at Cindy. She tapped Molly on the shoulder urgently and at least 20 times before she gave in and turned. ‘Gay’ she mouthed again.

“What!” Molly exclaimed.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thank You

As I was falling asleep the other night, I was struck with a sudden feeling of gratitude for the simple things in my life. Perhaps I take these things for granted sometimes. Please add to this list if you want to, as I'm sure there are more wonderful and simple things to be thankful for. So without further ado;

Thank you to whoever in ancient Rome invented the sliding door.

Thank you to that dude in Egypt thousands of years ago that decided he wanted a nicer sleep and invented the pillow.

Thank you to Robert Adler for inventing the TV remote control. I love that thing heaps.

Thanks to the person that thought to make a little baby drawer and put it next to their bed. I love my bed-side table.

Thank you William Thomson, for making what we now know as Christmas/fairy lights. They are coming in handy at the moment bro.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Helly's Blog Archive


Russell's Blog Archive

Chronological list of my blogs for your reading pleasure - most recent at the top.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Brief History Of Time

Table Of Contents
  1. Book review (Stephen Hawking's A Brief History Of Time)
  2. Seven fun facts about the Cosmos
  3. To infinity, and beyond

1. Book Review

To say that this was an easy read would be a lie... but to say that it was an interesting read couldn't be further from the truth. Stephen Hawking's 1988 best-selling science book is one of the most mind blowing things I have ever experienced. In it, he covers topics ranging from space and time, to the uncertainty principle, to black holes, and the origin and fate of the universe. The introduction by another legendary scientist, Carl Sagan, whets your appetite for the pages ahead.

If you want to read this book (and if you are at all interested in the cosmos I highly recommend it), I suggest reading it when you have the least amount of distractions such as noise and fatigue. This is because every page contains so much information that if you blink you'll miss something, an event I found myself doing throughout reading this book. My first attempt at it (yes it's one of those) was last year, and I got half way through it only to lose interest and start something else. So in many ways a level of commitment is needed to get through it; and when you do the rewards will be great.

On my second attempt I had a little more time on my hands, and so took my time. I kept notes on interesting facts (7 of those I will share with you in chapter 2 of this blog), as it was not only a way of keeping track of where I was at, it also solidified my knowledge of often super confusing ideas such as the uncertainty principle and wormholes. This book is meant for someone who has no knowledge of science at all (a 'layman') and even though I know bits and pieces, I've never actually studied physics beyond high school, and even then Mr. Fernside's year 10 science class wasn't the right environment for me to grasp these concepts.

I guess that Hawking does a good job at explaining these concepts to a layman, however I felt that I needed to stop and go on Wikipedia to learn more as I went along, and in that respect (since this book was published in the 80s and the layman back then wouldn't have had their own encyclopaedia in their pocket) the book is a little confusing, and hard to read at times. But that's what I liked about it, he doesn't dumb any of the concepts down at all. Hawking explains a concept once, and if you don't understand it, I think the best thing to do is to just keep reading. An excerpt from the book states, "If you remember every word in this book, your memory will have recorded about two million pieces of information" - and that's if you remember every word.

So my advice is to jump into it with a fresh and open mind, knowing that it's not going to be an easy read, and to keep a piece of paper and pencil handy so you can grasp the universe we live in just that little bit better. In the next chapter, I will share with you 7 of the most interesting things that I came across whilst reading this phenomenal book by a very intelligent man.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Darren's Story

Wilfred Henry Ian Petterson III was, as his name suggests, the third to possess the definitive and diminutive name. And as comes with such steep tradition, steep expectation was impressed by Wilfred Henry Ian Petterson II in a similar manner that Wilfred Henry Ian Petterson I impressed upon his junior. An athletic specimen, young Wilfred spent his formative years under the watchful eyes of his father and his housekeeper Salma Salchicha Sanchez.

His mother too often frequented the liquor cabinet and wine cellar as she organised the next social gathering and less often – never in fact – cared to care for her child. Her favourite pastime was to drink until she was loose tongued enough to insult her perfect husband and force him to contain her. This was usually done with a swift punch to the abdomen, the accuracy impeccable as it almost always caused her to keel over and spew out even amounts of Vodka, Baileys, Schnapps, and if it were a special occasion – that is if Wilfred Sr. used his preferred left hand – he could extract some Vintage 1990 Penfolds Grange.

It isn’t easy for any child to witness this, but Wilfred was always loved by Salma who took it upon herself to act as his mother. His father too, loves his son and displays that by encouraging him in every endeavour. So it was little surprise that when Wilfred became state champion in the high school Open Poetry Competition, Wilfred Sr. embraced the new talent. Visions of the Petterson name branded over scrawls of literature, immortalised for generations past, present and for the future flooded his preoccupance and blinded him from some serious events taking place in his son’s life.

You may question why Wilfred, a son of a rich tycoon who values above all else class and stature, wound up at a public school. In primary school he attended the most private of private schools and despite proffering the finest education and physical development facilities, the school couldn’t guarantee the experience on the playground. Wilfred, or ‘Whip’ as the other children would quip, was neither athletic enough nor scholarly enough to impress cool upon his fellow students. He had no friends and was always on the receiving end of scarring insults. These often referenced the song “Whip it” or the simple but always effective: “Oi Whip! You’re a faggot!”