Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

April 30, 2011

Back to the Island 1.15 – Special

Filed under: back to the island,fitter/happier — lexifab @ 10:22 am

For some reason I feel super-crappy this morning. Must be the inevitable malaise after the emotional highs of the royal wedding last night. I didn’t really see much of it, but I can’t decide whether my favourite bit was the delightful stupidity of Princess Eugenie’s hat or all of the snark-tweeting that I was following while it was on (my favourite was from @DrunkHulk: “DRUNK HULK NO UNDERSTAND WHY THERE ELTON JOHN CONCERT ON ALL CHANNEL!”)

I’m pretty sure I have a million things to do this weekend, but none of them seem as good an idea as going back to bed and sleeping until Monday. Which is not, of course, remotely an option. Bloody kids.

The much anticipated Michael-Walt episode is reviewed after the cut. I am unkind to it. I think that this stretch of the season was pretty underwhelming, though not entirely without charm or merit. Don’t worry though, I start reviewing things more positively again very soon.

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April 29, 2011

Spam spam spam

Filed under: administraviata — lexifab @ 5:27 pm

I’ve been getting a lot of spam from Poland lately – or possibly Portugal? [checks] Nope, actual research indicates that it is Poland after all. It seems to date back to my long blather about writing from a few weeks ago. Heaven knows what it was about that deeply insightful work of introspective genius that attracted quite so many purveyors of cut-price pharmaceuticals. I guess probably the link to Smashwords is mildly contagious (let’s see what happens when I just mention the site without linking to it).

The latest one, though, which appears to be shilling for a Cairns travel agency, groks me with a certain world-weary melancholy: “I wrote about a similar topic on my blog yesterday. I won’t bother giving the url because then you’ll treat this comment as spam”.

I feel you, brother. Now fuck off, if you don’t mind.

In other exciting news from the back end of the blog (ooer!) Lexifab just received its 1500th comment. This signifies absolutely nothing at all. I just happened to notice as I was typing this. A round of applause for milestone-commenter Linbot! Huzzah!

April 25, 2011

Back to the Island 1.14 – Hearts and Minds

Filed under: back to the island,family,joey — lexifab @ 11:02 am

The Joey had his first Easter egg hunt yesterday. We are not talking about the world’s greatest detective here, but he did at least grasp the concept that some ill-defined lupine entity was supplying him with chocolate in return for at least marginally acceptable behaviour. It was a close-run thing, however, since he spent most of Saturday in disgrace for various infractions of the social order at the markets.

I believe that it’s time to take advantage of the long weekend and the more or less warm sunshine to beat the garden into slightly less absolute disorder.

Here’s my review of my hands-down least favourite Season 1 Lost episode. I had fun writing it, but be aware that I may have allowed a certain hint of snark to creep in. Hmm. Correction – I had a lot of fun writing this one.

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April 23, 2011

Back to the Island 1.13 – Whatever the Case May Be

Filed under: back to the island,political sniping — lexifab @ 2:03 am

The day doesn’t technically end until you go to bed, right? I hope not, othewise this review is late as well. And I’ve just realised that my bank of pre-written reviews is starting to look a little thin, so I’d better take advantage of the long weekend to get stuck into a few more.

I’ve been sitting on this analysis of the National Broadband Network for a few days. It seems to be a reasonably cogent summary of the scheme’s virtues, and runs into the ground a few of its opponents’ more egregious counter-claims. I’m largely in favour of it. I think one of the things we need government for is to build the vast networks of infrastructure that no sane for-profit business would have a bar of. (The argument that seems to have been bandied about that the private sector could or would want to attempt anything on remotely the same scale just doesn’t make sense to me. So little sense, in fact, that I wonder if I haven’t misunderstood something).

Then again, I am far from convinced that the way the government has gone about developing and selling the scheme has been blameless and above board. My objections are around marketing (which has been the usual colossal public relations bungle that Rudd-Gillard Labor seem determined to make their hallmark), governance (of which I hold dark suspicions) and transparency (which has been patchy). The objectives themselves, and the proposed costs – which will without a shred of doubt blow out – I think are entirely laudable.

I would be fascinated to hear what anyone else thinks about the subject. With the exception of the faintest hint of an outside chance of an infinitessimally trivial improvement to the culture of the defence force, the NBN is the only thing that the government has going at the moment about which I am in the least bit optimistic. And I’m pretty iffy on that defence one.

Here’s the Lost review for this half of the week. Not that I am fishing for comments or anything Clam, but this is the first episode to overtly touch on the metaphysical, inasmuch as one of the subplots centres around an articulation of one character’s faith. It might be something that you have something to say about.

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April 20, 2011

Liz Sladen

Filed under: geekery,news of the day — lexifab @ 11:32 pm

My morning started on a complete bummer with the sad news that Elisabeth Sladen, who portrayed Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and various spinoffs for more than forty years, died this morning after a long battle with cancer. Sarah Jane was the definitive Doctor’s companion for me, starring at Tom Baker’s side during the classic Philip Hinchcliffe-produced seasons 12 and 13. It’s a cliche in Who fandom that your first Doctor always remains your favourite, but while I’ve tended to blow a bit hot and cold on Tom Baker’s performance, I remain firmly committed to Sarah Jane Smith as the greatest companion ever[1]. She was there when Pertwee theatrically stumbled out of the TARDIS for the last time and became Baker. She went her two rounds with Davros and Morbius and that Sutekh sonovabitch. She faced down the Krynoid, the robot mummies, the Zygons – all still unbeaten since my childhood as the scariest monsters ever. And the Wirrn, the shabbily-realised but super-horrifying space wasps from the future that still scare the shit out of the part of me that’s six years old. Sarah Jane was there with the best years of the Doctor, and or mine she more than held her own.

I mean, yes, she did scream a bit and I can bring to mind at least one occasion when she did an ankle running away from a monster – but I also remember there were plenty more times when she would scold some babbling megalomaniac while wearing sensible footwear. Sarah Jane broke the mold once and for all of the companion as hapless dimwit whose only purpose was to make the Doctor look smarter. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she did some stupid stuff – her nosiness journalistic instincts invariably got her into all kinds of trouble – but Sarah Jane Smith was smart and resourceful and…

Crap. Now I’m blubbering. But that’s only appropriate – probably the most emotional moment of the new series for me is the look of verge-of-tears horror on Sarah Jane’s face in ‘The Stolen Earth’ when the Daleks first announce themselves. It’s the most contrived piece of emotional manipulation imaginable, but sad old fanboy that I am, I always get upset right along with her when I watch that bit. Liz Sladen really knew how to sell a reaction shot.

I haven’t watched any of The Sarah Jane Adventures, the spinoff show which finally gave Liz her much-deserved lead role, after forty years on and off playing the plucky sidekick. Now I’m just not sure I can bear to.

Afterwards: Aw shit, just when I thought I had myself under control, John Kovalic did this.

Back to the Island 1.12 – All the Best Cowboys have Daddy Issues

Filed under: back to the island,friends,geekery,now playing: anything — lexifab @ 1:56 am

Try to contain your surprise, if you can: I have missed another deadline. My shame is absolute.

Actually I had every intention of going to bed and forgetting all about posting another Lost review, but there are a few things I wanted to record before I let them slide (like a deadline!). In this I will resort rather cravenly to dot points:

  • Friends Ted and Sumie have just announced the arrival of the third little Pokemon, Hiro Rafael. Nominative determinism would seem to dictate that he will fight crime in a racy airport thriller in about twenty years. Much love to the proud parents and the elder Pokemons.
  • JeffR (whose last name I regret not backing up to my current PC, along with the contents of the The Sounds of Lightning lexicon game) has just announced the start of a new lexicon game, The Feast of Harmon’s Fall, which he has made open to anyone that asks. I’m not going to join because I *really* don’t have time at the moment, but I know several folks as might stumble across this entry have enjoyed lexicon games in the past. This would be your chance to play one without having to organise it. He’s using one of the variants that limits the explosion of phantom entries. The number of turns will be limited too, so the usual attritional burnout that usually kills these games is less likely to be a factor here. It’s a cool premise too – one for the food fetishists amongst us. Ahem. Go check it out.
  • Portal 2 has been released. If you’ve finished the previous game, the first hour of the sequel is hilarious. I presume it continues thus, because Jimbo keeps guffawing loudly, which can’t solely be down to the Harry Dresden audiobooks he’s been listening to. But consider both Portals to come with my highest recommendation. Portal’s a short, brain-teasery physics-puzzle solving platform game with a sarcastic and deranged narrator. It’s genius.  Oh, and the Minecraft update is out as well. As if I had time for more computer gaming.
  • I need to get to bed. I’m supposed to be looking like a professional and conducting three interviews tomorrow (asking the questions, not answering them, thank goodness).

Here’s that Lost review I owe you myself. I think this is a pretty good one.

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April 15, 2011

Back to the Island 1.11 – Raised by Another

Filed under: back to the island,geekery — lexifab @ 11:43 pm

I only have a couple of minutes before it’s the Wombat-child’s supper time, so yet again I am going to throw the review at the blog and do a runner. This episode is not one of the best in the first season of Lost, but I did have a good time writing the review. I am starting to fee a lot more free to be silly with the ones I don’t like that much.

That said, this evening I wrote the review of the upcoming Boone-Shannon episode ‘Hearts and Minds’, and it kind of annoyed me. In fact it annoyed me so much that I’m going to go back to the draft and downgrade my rating, because the more I think about it the less impressed I am.

More annoying still is the fact that I still cannot find my boxed set of Lost Season 2. Seriously, did I loan it to someone? If you borrowed it, let me know, because it’s bugging the hell out of me. Yesterday at lunch I wandered into a second-hand record shop to see whether they had copies of the set so I could buy a backup in case it doesn’t show up before I want to start reviewing the episodes. It does. I am not even joking about that.

A couple of quick recommendations: my copy of D. Vincent Baker’s ‘Apocalypse World‘ showed up today. It’s a post-apocalypse RPG, along the lines of the Fallout computer games or the Mad Max movies. What has attracted me to it have been the reports of the fascinatingly dogmatic instructions of play. A sample quote: “Do not pre-plan a storyline, and I’m not fucking around.” I suspect I will find it a particularly illuminating text, but if nothing else it’s certainly got a distinctive voice for a game rulebook.

…and, it turns out that I really don’t have time for another recommendation, so I will try to do a link-packed blog entry on the weekend, or possibly review something that isn’t a television episode.

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April 14, 2011

Pertaining to the pokies ‘debate’

Filed under: political sniping,the interweb she provides — lexifab @ 10:32 am

Grog’s Gamut has fast become one of my favourite blogs on Australian politics. The author, Greg Jericho, has a standard of analysis and research that puts far too many professional journalists in the shade. If you have a taste for the ridiculous argy-bargy at the centre of the collision between politics, the media and whatever social crisis happens to be splashed with fervent apoplexy across the covers of the Murdoch rags on any given day, I highly recommend adding him to your blog diet.

As a taste, here’s the best piece of analysis I have ever read concerning poker machines.

Back to the Island 1.9 – ‘Solitary’

Filed under: back to the island — lexifab @ 1:29 am

It’s late, the baby wombat is continuing to be fractious, and I still haven’t posted a Lost review yet this week.

I can fix one of those things.

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April 12, 2011

Backlogs will kill you if you let them

Filed under: property magnatism,workin for the man — lexifab @ 4:52 pm

There was no Lost review yesterday because I didn’t get a chance to sit down at the computer until about twenty to twelve at night. That’s no time to be doing an editing read-through of anything, believe me. I’ll get it out there tonight or tomorrow and resume the standard Friday-Monday release schedule later.

It’s nice to have built up a buffer of spare reviews so that I can actually absorb the odd busy period, but I am suddenly awfully conscious that a twice-weekly schedule does not leave a lot of slack. I might try to do two reviews in my next writing stint.

I have just spent all day at work doing forensic accounting on a contract to work out why and how errors crept in. When it comes to tracking down mistakes in a spreadsheet I am usually very reluctant to start, precisely because I know that once I do I won’t be able to let it go until I have either found the erroneous data, missing money or procedural misstep. Until I have convinced myself that I can reconstruct the exact chain of events that led to the initial mistake and consequent problems, I keep going.

I am by nature an accountant. Or possibly one of those small dogs that will not stop until every particle of newspaper has been shredded into its smallest possible fragment (and dispersed over the widest possible area, not unlike my paper-strewn desk).

The thing is, even though I’m well-suited to this kind of work in one respect – let’s charitably call this quality tenacity rather than resort to slinging around mental health conditions like OCD as epithets – it sits very uncomfortably next to my bad temper and paper-thin tolerance for frustration. The longer I go without working things out, the more I get cross and irritable and the louder I spew invectives. And correspondingly the less likely it becomes that I will take a break and a deep breath before I return to the problem.

Fortunately for me and everyone around me I am not an actual accountant. Because if I had to do this kind of tedious number-crunching bullshit every day I would go stark-staring mad and commence murdering.

(All this reminds me that I have a backlog of monthly property investment accounts to catch up on. I am taking the day off work on Friday so that I can attend to them, thus nicely bookending my working week with the unremitting tedium of bookkeeping. Yay).

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