Archive | December, 2010

The two mysteries of my youth

19 Dec

When I was younger, there were things that I knew were make-believe, but preferred not to acknowledge as being so. The fascination with them lay in their mystery. I had access to the internet, I knew how to search for real information, but I chose not to for a long time. These are two such ‘mysteries’.

I avoided finding out anything about the ‘real story’ of the Gorillaz for as long as I could. I immersed myself in their animated world and listened to the music like it was really being performed by the characters I’d researched, not the musicians behind them. One day, I saw an episode of Spicks and Specks and they used the outrageously over-the-top (but brilliant) clip for Country House for a game, and I finally laid eyes on Damon Albarn (I was more familiar with Gorillaz than Blur back then). I can now listen to Gorillaz in two vastly different lights; as a crazy imagining of the filthy blue-haired heart throb 2-D, or as a crazy imagining of pop icon, Damon Albarn. This pleases me.

Incidentally, 2-D was 23 years old when the band was formed. I read somewhere that he just celebrated his 31st. That makes sense. I was 11 when they started out, and I was obsessing over them by 12. In light of that, I’m pretty stoked I got to see them live.

A Series of Unfortunate Events was real to me. I mean proper real. My friends and I spoke in the codes, studied every detail in search of clues to the big riddles of the books… We wrapped ourselves up in the legend of VFD and their covert operations, and ‘believed’ that Lemony Snicket roamed the world in search of justice and orphans. I never looked into who Lemony Snicket actually was, because I didn’t want to know. The Baudelaires and their plight were real as real could be, and I was happy with that. Oddly enough now, my bookshelf contains a collection of bizarre short stories aimed at adult readers by one Daniel Handler.

Same dude.

It was weird, slowly learning who Lemony Snicket actually was. This article outlines the differences between the ‘two’ people quite well. I love the part about Daniel being jealous of himself, in a way. Poor fellow. And no, his short stories have absolutely nothing on Lemony’s tales of sad children fleeing the clutches of evil Count Olaf, but then, what does?

 

 

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Damon!

18 Dec

Photo taken by the Green Lantern

Five reasons Misfits is a good show

17 Dec

Misfits is a show about slightly messed up kids who get powers. Here are five reasons it is a really quite good show.

  1. The opening credits – Echoes by The Rapture
  2. Gritty club scenes – Phantom Pt.II by Justice
  3. Dark and reflective moment – Stars by The XX
  4. Preparation for a mission – Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy
  5. The excellent conclusion to the first season – To the End by Blur

Radical. Get into it.

Driving Licenses

14 Dec

Alan Davies makes me laugh so.

The only fun run I would ever participate in

12 Dec

This is a bit of a follow up to my post about the lack of awareness surrounding intellectual disability and the Special Olympics. Say what you will about their music, but you cannot deny that the Jonas Brothers are decent people.

Living the dream

11 Dec

This is a screenshot of my desktop a couple of days ago. Note how freaking awesome it is, and by extension, how brilliant I am.

Something to be sure of

9 Dec

This is to be a text heavy post.

All ye who enter, beware.

I took my little sister to see The Wiggles yesterday. It was an amazing show, lots of acrobats and lots of classic Wiggles tunes. I was getting seriously into it. All the kids there were loving it. The difference between a lot of those kids and my sister is that she is eleven.

We’re not sure exactly what is ‘wrong’ with my sister. She was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy, but that never quite fit. More recent test stuff suggests it might be something a lot more obscure. But that is beside the point.

The point is; people look at her weirdly.

It is really disconcerting to be walking along, holding hands with a beautiful little child, and getting weird looks. I suspect the reason she gets weird looks is because, at first glance, she really doesn’t look like she has a disability.

Why is that girl being held like a baby? Why is a 19 year old taking a 12 year old to a Wiggles concert?

That’s what the looks convey.

People see my sister and don’t realise straight off the bat that something is severely wrong with her intellectually. I think a lot of people link the physical and intellectual too closely in their understanding of disability. Or maybe, there’s not enough understanding about intellectual disability itself.

Think about it; most people know about the Paralympics, where people with physical disabilities compete with each other. It doesn’t get huge amounts of coverage, but everyone knows it’s there. The Special Olympics are for people with intellectual disabilities to compete in, and even I was surprised to find out it existed.

It makes me wonder if there is some level of discomfort in society when it comes to intellectual disability. It’s understandable. Often it is confronting to meet someone with an intellectual disability, because you have no idea how to act, whether you should behave in a certain way. People meeting my sister, for example, might be taken aback by how little language she has. She looks for all the world like a normal eleven year old, but certainly does not (and cannot) behave like one.

Which brings me back to the Wiggles concert. After struggling through the crowd to find our seats, we sat and waited for the show. My sister was thrilled to see her second favourite band (behind The Beatles) performing. There was one mother in front of us who looked almost disapproving of my sister though, as though she was doing something wrong by appearing to be out of the demographic to which the Wiggles should appeal. I was getting more and more upset the more this woman glanced at us. It was like she was appraising us. Like she wanted to know what the deal was, why my sister was behaving so weirdly…

But then The Wiggles played the song about the five little joeys jumping on the bed. As my sister did the actions, hands slightly shaky from her tremor, the woman glanced back once more. This time, it dawned on her that my sister was disabled, but absolutely overjoyed to be at the show. I could tell that this dawned on her, because for the first time, this woman smiled. Not at me, but at my sister. Not a sympathetic smile, a proper recognition of a little girl having a whale of a time dancing to the Wiggles, even though she is eleven.

People are always learning to be accepting and non-judgemental of people who look different. I truly hope that people will start to be accepting of people who behave differently too.

Plush Things

5 Dec

Christmas approaches, and with it the dread of a long car trip without my laptop and then a  long week without my laptop, and then (hopefully) a shorter flight back, albeit also without my laptop. I need to book that flight.

See, it has occurred to me that I  spend most of my time on my laptop. At first, this upset me. I’m missing out on the big wide world! I’m trapped in a little room with a screen that I stare at, watching old episodes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI and any obscure British sitcoms I can get my digital paws on (currently seeking Hardware and The Robinsons as I’m on a bit of a Martin Freeman bender).

But when it comes down to it, without my laptop, I’m stuck in an even darker place. Let’s face it. I don’t have a large enough amount of money to go on a trip or head out to see the world, but conversely, I have enough financial security that I don’t particularly want or need a job right now. Sure, it’d be nice to have some spending money, but if I had spending money, I’d have a whole lot more stuff in my room and probably about the same amount of savings anyway.

Also, I like sleeping in and roaming my house aimlessly and reading about famous scientists and strolling down to trendy coffee spots to get me some trendy coffee.

Not chai lattes though. I’m not THAT trendy.

One day I’ll be working full time, and 3 month long holidays will be a thing of the distant past. I’m planning on enjoying having nothing to do for the time being.

I don’t want to feel guilty about not wanting to do anything for a bit. .

But returning to the point about my laptop and the window into the internet it acts as… Seeing as I have nothing to do at the moment, I’m really pleased I have my computer and the world it opens up for me. I have instant information on whatever the heck takes my fancy. Feeling like reading about antimatter today, or maybe searching through weird poetry, or watching documentaries about sculptors, or downloading guitar tabs… Whatever, it’s all there.

So I won’t feel guilty about the amount of time I spend online. Trawling facebook amuses me. Getting as many opinions and ideas of mine out there into the (relatively new, when you think about it) forum that is the web is my goal.

Also, you can buy some pretty sweet stuff here on the web.

Also, there are good pictures.

Ways to make Pokemon games more awesome

2 Dec

Dear Nintendo,

Here are some suggestions.

  • Instead of a Pokedex, players should have regularly updated versions of Bulbapedia or Serebii that can be accessed in-game.
  • Players should be able to wear cool hats, or have some level of control over costume and physical appearance.
  • Pokemon should look physically different depending on which of their stats are highest, ie, a Pikachu with boosted speed should look small and streamlined, while one with boosted special attack should have more vibrant cheeks and glow and look badass.
  • There should be more open-ended gameplay, like buying and furnishing a house or going into different Pokemon-related careers, like side-quests for being a Pokemon professor or specialised breeder.
  • There should be a clinic where Pokemon can have sex-changes.
  • Pokemon sprites should change depending on how they’re feeling, like Neopets (not that Neopets have ANYTHING on Pokemon, it’d just be cool.)
  • In double battles, there should be certain moves that can pair up with each other, like various types should be able to boost each other’s attack power.

I think I’ll go back to playing Pokemon now.