Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Wonderful Alive

Neosupervital is a man and a band. By day he is Tim O’Donovan (drummer with Bell X1), but by night he is renowned for his electro-pop live show shot through with wry humour, enticing melodies and dance type stuff.

OK, maybe it's more on a full moon type of thing.

Anyway, as part of his début album release (also called Neosupervital) he's going to play Cyprus Avenue Friday 15 September as part of a full national tour.

He wrote the songs on piano and guitar and then brought them to electro-life using Dr. Groove the drum machine, a Microkorg, a bass guitar and the Casio DG20 digital guitar and a mixture of microphones.

Should be interesting to watch at least.

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Odd man out

Carol Reed is a hundred. Or at least he would be if he hadn't died in 1976. To celebrate in the UK they are showing a movie in which an IRA leader trying to escape from the police after an ill-advised bank robbery meant to replenish Republican coffers. The movie is Odd Man Out which was made way back in 1946. The movie however could have been a recent thing.

They are also showing The Fallen Idol and this most famous movie, The Third Man.

This means that the prints are available. Could someone tell the guys in charge of the Cork Film Festival please. I mean, it is in theory an Irish film

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Drive

Another You Tube post...

This time it's the trailer for "Lakeview" (which isn't showing up in the IMDB). The Lake in this film ran over the town. The town is called New Orleans.

Youtube seems to be full of these videos. Just in time for the anniversary. These are the people who could afford to return. I think that makes them the lucky ones.

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A bad bear

Memo to me:

Never promise to post part of a play on a Monday... I have no control over the weekends most of the time.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Suffer little star

Can you blog wittily about pop culture? Do you want to get paid to do so? Call Jacki Daniki now and apply.

(thanks for the tip off Pat).


Start spreading the news

An interesting items about movies and word of mouth got me thinking.

Snakes on a Plane, well it bombed once people saw it. Word spread that it really was turkey on film. Something like "Little Miss Sunshine" gets little press but good word of mouth, and it becomes a sleeper hit in the US (expect it to be a big movie over here). And part of the word of mouth is, well, blogs.

What did the studios learn from Snakes on a Plane? Don't trust internet hype to put the people hyping it in the door... The ideas came think and strong from areas where the movies isn't available... of course the hype didn't meet the reality.

Start scanning the blogs after the movie is released (or while the movies is showing thanks to mobile devices) and it's a different story. 1000 good blog reviews can't be too wrong, after the fact.

Speaking of movie blogs... Hello to Gillian of Cinematic Endeavours. Any chance of an acting gig?

take care,

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Monday, August 28, 2006

No, no and thrice no

The idea for Sunday was simple.
Meet the Tempest girls, join the queue catch up on our lives. Go in and sing in "you're a star" and go home.

Okay, there was a little bit more involved than that but still...

Got up, shaved and discovered I was going to be running late, so I texted that much. The replies showed that I wasn't the only one.
The plan for for 10am. I actually got there at 10.30am... dammed parking. At that time the queue outside the Clarion was fairly short. It stayed consistently short for the entire day!

Opposite the end of the queue is a coffee shop on the dock. I settled down and recharged a bit.

About 10.45 contestant C-001 (I won't mention your full unless you want me to) came out. A little girl looking fairly upset.
Of the three judges, Thomas Black liked her, but not strongly. Brendan O'Connor did the nasty judge act on her. Her mother was, well, livid. An interesting rumour was that the Sligo heat was so oversubscribed that certain people who failed to get in there hand been selected to get in to the show this year. It will be interesting to see how many Ulster and Connaght singers get in during this Munster heat.

At 11.15 contestant C-021 came out. An attractive brunette with a guitar and a very tired boyfriend waiting at the shop the entire time. She was the first contestant to be accepted. Happy, but she had to return at 4pm. Her boyfriend (complaining about arriving at 7am, this may have been driving from 7am, I don't think she was that desperate) declined any offer involving sleep, but they moved off sometime after the group entered.

Shortly after Marie arrived. Marie is a French lady who thinks she can't really sing, but after all this isn't a chance at fame.
Actually it isn't. However the conversation between what's been happening since the play and the "released" contestants continued. We weren't going to win this, but it's a bit of fun. Too early but a bit of fun.

My reasons for entering the year was mainly to do with the "get back on the horse that threw you" factor. Last year young master O'Connor laughed at me the entire way through my (admittedly poor choice) song. I needed to get back in there in order to get over it.

Finally Jackie (a German) and her husband "Taz" (Australian or Tasmanian depending on your preference) arrived. So at 11.45 the mini united nations delegation joined the queue. The order was Marie, a trainee garda from Dublin (are guards getting younger and more attractive or is it just me? No idea how she'll do) me, "Taz" and then Jackie since she was going to borrow his guitar.

We got our numbers and joined in and waited.
And waited.
And waited.
And chatted with the people around us.
And waited.

Behind us were a pair just coming from a party the previous night and a girl... Mary.
Now, Mary from Frankfield is a good singer who was going to do a traditional Irish song. More on this a bit further down.

The queue crawled forward.
Around 12.30 a white blond girl dressed in a very short white dress and cote, revealing a tango tinged tan started doing "Fame" to the camera busy drinking up the acres of legs. More on her later...

At 1pm, word came that the judges were going to have a half an hour break, so off to lunch. Since everyone hand numbers and you were going to be let in in numerical order we all could head off for something to eat.

To the coffee shop.

Our group and Mary with her sister in tow headed off. Mary trained vocally in the US but has let things slide for a few years. Work is the dreaded curse after all. Needless to say she likes singing but isn't really that pushed, she was back in the country for a visit when her family got her to go. From her I learned that there is a gospel choir somewhere in Frankfield (or Grange) that is looking for singers. I'll be checking it out soon.

A lot of smalltalk and songs later, and back to the queue.

Cameras were busy (OK, bored) prowling, so Taz took out his guitar and started playing his song... "MaryAnna Austaliana" (I can't spell the drug, sorry). The Shinawil (production company) loved it, but could he sing a song without any drug references. He offered a few suggestions. Then the asked if he could do a song not about sex too. Needless to say this severely limits what you can do but in theory "You're A Star" is a family show. No one asked what kind of family.

About 2.30 we got in, and Marie and Jackie were stopped by production people for a quick interview. Got in to the herding area. This is the "queue" for the quality control stage. Here they find out if you really can sing, or at least be entertainingly bad at singing. Taz was plucked out of this area to be filmed singing his song in front of the queue. Around this time the orange Fame girl showed up and was lead directly to the area for those who passed quality control.

The interviewing people caught the ones missed beforfe, and I got the shock of the day. They remembered me from last year. Do I come across as memorable?

As we approached the head of the queue, Taz returned only to be plucked out again (the filming means you pass). In we went. All of the Tempest group got through, however Mary was sent home. It appears that they aren't looking for traditional singers this year. The garda also left quietly at this stage too.

Then a bit of frantic form filling began to the discover that Taz didn't make it past the judges. Halfway through filling out the forms I was called up. Then in as a downward thumb pointing Marie passed. (I still have no idea what, if anything, she sung).

Got in, glib comment, "Do I recognise you from somewhere" comment and sang.
Brendan actually liked me!
I also went out of tune somewhere in the song, (annoying and I have nothing to defend myself on this one). However compliments were delivered with a no.
No laughing this time. I felt justified while leaving... so I'll never do this again.

No seriously, I entered this year to get my confidence back. I succeeded in that at least.

Jackie didn't get through, however she thinks her band rendition of "I've got a brand new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key" will get her on the telly... Yes, comedy guilt.

So that's it. Didn't get in, A friend of Taz (from another band) did get through, but I'll probably have to wait to see if he gets in. I don't care enough to find out. Sorry Kev, but it's true. So off home and some food.

As horrible as the entire process is, I feel better. I just hope I don't end up on the telly this time. If you are serious at wanting to be in any aspect of show business up to and including amateur stuff, do the queue, but decline to win. If not, don't bother. After all, the real winners of the show are the judges.

take care,



"faster than a speeding rumour"

Friday, August 25, 2006

The prefect Steorn

Free energy from magnetic fields? Unless Steorn is talking of somehow harvesting energy from ley lines, they are probably talking about using a combination of magnetic and kinetic energy converted into electrical energy...
which is exactly what a wind turbine does.

Given the similarity of the name "storm" and "steorn" is quite possible that they have created a highly efficent wind turbine (at least in the small scale).

Imagine a little fan in your mobile phone which gets charged up as you talk on it? Imagine if the Toyota Prius had a little wind turbine to help charge the battery up that little bit more?

Why aren't they used... well the payoff of energy collected isn't worth it. As somone who wonders why there isn't a little fan on the top of street lamps to power them up over the day, I think it's a nice idea.

Silly me, eh? It's as likely as me getting to the next round of that show.

take care,

pen is...

What do you know...

According to Googlefight it turns out that, currently at least, the pen is mighter than the sword.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Why is it called a secret gig if everyone knows about it?

Must be public knowledge by now...

Franz Ferdinand are playing a "secret gig" in Dublin on Thursday August 31.
It's part of a Vodafone TBA thingy. Any way you can get free tickets by entering their details now on the Vodafone live music website

Stargazing by looking down

Lucia Evans won "You're a Star" last year. She has been dropped by her record company after six months. The most successful entrant of the show is Mickey (not Joe) Harte.

I don't think anyone enters this show for the TV coverage.

Why am I writing about this? Because despite cries from suffering relations (Hi Mum!), I'm probably going to do it again this year.

I'll be in the queue outside the Clarion on Sunday with a paper sticker on my chest. (Look for the fat bald old guy). Why? Really because the people in the queue are weird and fun. I think the queue is more fun than actually getting on the show.

Also because Blogorrah is complaining about it.

Besides I'm going to be meeting some of the Tempest crew out there.

Here's hoping I don't get through and suffer terrible success.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Breaking away

It's scary.
Away from work for 2 days (Monday and Friday) and I'm covered in e-mail...
... and even more blog posts.

It's also useful, you can see what blogs you really don't read... and which ones are pointless.

Just as well I don't have to travel much. I don't like the stuff I'd have to go through.

Friday, August 18, 2006

So tired

It's sort of embarasing. I have a bike. I have a puncture.

I'm terrible at changing tires, or rather changing the tubes in the tires.

T'is the season of leaving sert results, and college courses.
And evening classes.

Is there such a thing as a bicycle maintenance course in Cork?


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Push (Part two of 3)

Part 1 was posted on July 31

Scene two
Lights up
Enter Sister Michael and Sargent Philip Hayes. Make their way to sit either side of the desk.

Hayes: Thank you for the tapes.
Sister: Not at all Sargent. I am however surprised you need them. She was seen leaving with the child.
Hayes: Actually the tapes are to see if she was seen arriving with the child.
Sister: I'm sorry?
Hayes: Arriving. We can't use the tapes themselves in court, and besides we have witnesses who saw her leaving with the child.
Sister: So why take the tapes.
Hayes: To see if she took the baby in the first place.
Sister: Oh. Didn't Nurse Dowd see her take it?
Hayes: Actually no. That and the fact that she says it's hers.
Sister: Oh dear.
Hayes: It could be a simple misunderstanding after all. A new mother takes the wrong baby from the nursery. The baby was about a day old, as was hers.
Sister: But she lost the baby.
Hayes: That's not what she says.
Sister: Ah, denial. Understandable.
Hayes: She says you did.
Sister: That's nto exactly fair!
Hayes: (talking over her) Swapped baby cases are fascinating. You did hear about that case in Germany? The family didn't find out that the non identical twins they brought home weren't even brothers until they were twelve.
Sister: Miss Murphy's child died shortly after birth.
Hayes: You see, the two families ended up in the same town. One set of twins and one only child. And all three looked alike. They kept getting mixed up.
Sister: I don't think you understand, it's not a swapped baby.
Hayes: The twins were supposed to be identical, so they did a skin graft.
Sister: Skin graft?
Hayes: Took a square off the one child and put it on the other two. An identical twin wouldn't reject the graft.
Sister: I'm sorry Sargent Hayes but I can't see what this had to do with...
Hayes: (interrupting) Medical testing has moved on since then.
Hayes: A simple blood test can tell if Miss Murphy is the mother of the child.
Sister: Type testing does not prove conclusively that she is the mother. It discounts but it does not prove.
Hayes: I know. Both of then having the same blood type is inconclusive. I'm talking about a D.N.A. test.
Sister: Surely such a test is prohibitively expensive.
Hayes: Such long words... It was. The costs have come down substantially since they first became available.
Sister: Is such a test necessary?
Hayes: Normally, no.
Usually in the case of a stolen baby like this its fairly clean cut. The so-called mother has not given birth recently. Thus proving that she couldn't be the mother of the baby. Everyone agrees that Lizzie Murphy gave birth shortly before the theft.
Hayes: Furthermore, normally the actual parents of the baby come forward to press charges or at least claim that they are the parents. This is not the case.
Sister: But she isn't the parent of the child.
Hayes: Prove it.
Normally in a murder case there is a body.
Sister: Are you accusing me of murder?
Hayes: No. But we have a missing baby and a mystery baby both born around the same time. You can see the symmetry.
Sister: So you think the child is hers.
Hayes: I don't know. Nothing suggests that the child is hers, however there is no real evidence that it isn't.
Sister: What do you mean. I was with her baby. I saw him die!
Hayes: But there is no physical evidence.
Sister: What about the heart monitor pages.
Hayes: It matches a disconnection. And you are a biased witness. At the moment its your word against hers.
Sister: If it is her baby, how did it show up in the lobby?
Hayes: Everyone is assuming that the real mother put him there. It could have been a staff member.
Sister: Are you suggesting an orchestrated attempt to steal a baby?
Hayes: Actually I was suggesting someone finding a live baby in the mortuary and trying to stay out of trouble. Should I be investigating a scheme of some kind?
Sister: Of course not.
Hayes: You know Sister Michael, you shouldn't suggest such things. It's not like I trust you.
Sister: But I'm a nun.
Hayes: Depending on the way this case goes, you are a potential suspect.
Sister: Yet you have left the hospital in charge of the child.
Hayes: It's the safest place for a newborn baby. Besides, the extra security will make sure that the child stays in here for a few days.
Sister: Do you wish us to take the samples or are you getting someone to take it.
Hayes: Someone should be along from the lab. Certain legal procedures need to be followed.
Sister: Of course.
Hayes: In the meantime, we'll be analyzing those tapes. I'll be in contact soon.

Exit Hayes. Light down duing exit
End of scene 2

Part 1 was posted on July 31
Part 3 will was posted on September 15

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real people and events is coincidental.

Hopefully the formatting is a bit easier to read.



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hurry up and wait

On Film Threat they blogged on "A World Without Movie Theaters". Part of this is the sheer increase in DVD sales, the decrease on cinema attendance in the US (with interesting observation of blogging the movie while watching it) and the availability of downloadable movies.

It's and interesting (and long) read, however it's a comment that snagged on my brain.
"there are the theatres that look more like airport terminals than actual grand empiric movie theatres that bring people into the experience"

Currently, you have to show up at the airport about 2 hours before your flight.
Security checks may mean that all electrical items (including phones) have to be removed.
A standard feature film is 1 hour 45 minutes. So you could go to the airport, check in and go to a cinema.

Of course I'm trying to figure out how to get around the annoying tanoy announcements...

The next idea would be having a courier for items which you can't bring onboard the plane. Remember you still can't bring your car keys in your hand luggage. There is a lot of lost luggage over that weekend... So a lot of unusable cars in the parking lots.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Broken promises

I said that I would have the second part of "Push" available by, well, yesterday.

It's not even written yet.



Friday, August 11, 2006

Conversations due to lack of oxygen

I'm cycling again (and I've the nappy rash to prove it), but not that well.

An Óige do a cycle every Thursday, so I hooked up with them. I did the slow cycle. Last time we cycled around the Airport... and the conversation was along these lines...

"an there it is."
"What is?"
"The new Cork Airport terminal. Isn't it grand."
"Sure that's not the airport."
"But it is."
"No look at it. It's the stand at Curraheen Park race track. You've brought us in the wrong direction"

Actually the new terminal looks exactly like the dog track. I wonder if the planes go around in circles there too?


So that's what it does

There is no question that the last few years of world history have seen a fair share of chaos and disorder. With so much global unrest, governments worldwide are struggling to devise new methods to maintain order. The Galactic Empire's solution to order is the Death Star. And here is a detailed analysis of how it works.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Airport personality type

In a case of perfect timing, I listened to the Daily Telegraph podcast for Monday just as the airports shutdown in the UK today.
On Monday, as part of their self-help section, they looked at couples personality types based on being trapped in an airport.

There are 3 types
1) find a quite corner and curl up for a sleep
2) check with others in the same situation and get a "soul mate"
3) ring home and try to get let people know you are trying

Type 1 are the self-preservationists (home is important)
Type 2 are the "one-to-one" type who will pin you and talk to you
Type 3 are socials (less flatteringly called "pack animals") who want to get to THEIR tribe.

Type one are currently suffering, because as Tom Raftery points out, they have to drink all their duty free before they get on the plane. Airports do have their own wheelchairs as passengers can't use their own so they could be wheeled on to their flights. In theory.

Type two are chatting with everyone around them, probably passing the bottle around. Or would be... According to the audio reports I'm hearing, people are being asked to leave the airport. Expect a group outing to the ferries soon.

Type three, are busy calling home. To their TV, radio and newspaper offices and are giving all the details that they can while making sure they are no longer officially on holiday. Most business passengers apparently saw the chaos, turned around and headed to the bar for a long lunch.

As Bruce Schneier points out, the restrictions on what can be brought on board this is a reasonable short term measure. However as Mike Fitzgerald of Altobridge (who ironically have produced a suitcase sized emergency mobile network base station) "container and cargo security has gone through a lot of enhancement in recent years. But he says "security on hand luggage was beginning to get out of control again, and the airline industry needs to get hand luggage back into the hold of the plane."

Which hopefully means that the likes of Ryanair and the budget carriers will not longer be allowed to charge for luggage for the cargo-hold, and may have to return their weight restrictions back to normal... Because I suspect that the hand luggage permitted by security is going to be severely curtailed.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

And the nominations for best picture are premature

This is a little scary. It’s the prediction for the 2007 Best Picture Oscars (tm) award.

I'm not joking.

The (current) top ten are...

1. Dreamgirls (musical, based on a Broadway show)
2. Flags of Our Fathers
3. The Good German
4. Babel
5. World Trade Center
6. The Departed
7. All The King's Men
8. The Queen (about Elizabeth II and Blair, not Elizabeth I)
9. United 93
10. Volver

Now then, I'm willing to bet that each one of these will be eligible to enter the awards, but watch the commercial success of these.
United 93 is the outsider, and the only one released in Ireland so far. It wasn't a commercial success, but it was a critical one. Probably more than made it's money back but not a blockbuster.

Keep this post, and the url handy for when the nominations are announced.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Timely keeping

"It's too late to go home early now"
Outside the main bar at the Galway Races on Friday

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It's like watching two different wars

It's old new now (August 2) but the Guardian has an interesting article about the different reporting coverage of the Israeli-Hizbullah-Lebanese fighting between the UK and the US. The UK coverage seems to reflect most of the European coverage too.

I've been listening the the newspaper podcasts of the Guardian, the Telegraph and RTÉ's Morning Ireland (and if you get the inteview with the Israeli ambasador, yes Irish news interviews are always that hostile). The tone of the coverage has been slowly turning, but the direction hasn't.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Yes in my backyard

Blogorrah posted about wind turbines and the not in my backyard lobby. Given how windy where I live is, how do I apply to get a mini wind turbine of these in my backyard?

Actually, those solar powered garden lights would work even better if they were recharged by integrated windmills rather then solar panels. When the light is useful, its of more use in the dark winters rather than the long bright summers.

Where can I get one?
How big is it?
What planning permissions do I need?


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I wish I was a punk blogger with comments in my hair

Studio US blogged on why Five reasons every artist should have a blog. And they are good ones.

What does get me is that it makes sense. For a music artist he or she is, well, a product. The website is a catalogue to explain the products features. E-mail contact is something of customer-service. A blog... Well it’s a shop window of sorts.
Its the shop window of an artist living in a shop window.

A blog allows someone to give their view of the world. And people can tap on the window and talk to the person inside. And find out who your customers are. And besides, the 100 CDs for 100 Bloggers idea does work since it creates a word of mouth that can't be beaten.
In fact that is what blogging is. Work of word of mouth.

Once the hype is over... The website is out of date. The e-mails slow down. But the artist is still alive and waving through the window.
It sort of makes people care. It's the proof of life (I know tech nerds having a life?) that the artist is still working away. Given the long tail and the fact that the digital tracks remain available long after the sales of the physical discs have gone so low as to cause deletion, proof-of-still-being-alive is bloody useful.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Past crimes

This sounds like something from a movie...

On a bridle path in the UK nick-named Happy Valley, 12-year-old Keith Lyon was stabbed 11 times in the stomach with a serrated kitchen carving knife after a mob of older teenagers from a rival school jumped him on a Sunday May afternoon. More than 80,000 homes were visited by Sussex police and 6,000 sets of fingerprints were taken from schoolboys in the immediate area. The alleged perpetrators were 16 years old at the time of the crime and have recently been arrested.

So far so tragic but sadly ho-hum.

The murder took place in 1967.

There was a breakthrough in the case "when workmen renovating John Street police station in Brighton broke open a sealed storeroom and found prosecution evidence, including the suspected murder weapon which had been "lost" by the original inquiry team".

My first question is "How on earth do you look not just the evidence, but the entire store-room containing multiple evidence lockers?"

and finally "Can you imaging the cases in there?"

I mean there is an entire series of "CSI" or "Cold Case" just waiting in this as a drama. You have a period piece, namely the first investigation and the case stopping. Then you have the uncovering and a modern case with all the tools and a conviction (or release!).
Do it as a 2 hour long two parter, (a la Silent Witness), and I suspect you have a hit.

Anyone know a production company who would like to help me run with this?

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web.... Now even my cat has its own page. - Bill Clinton

Matt Cutts, Cat Blogger

It is actually this comic and it's posts about Matt Cutts posts (and circular references which the blogsphere seems to love) which gets this post. It seems that there are too many (fake?) blogs run by cats, so Google is dropping all blogs with cats. These are the posts where the cats do the typing/ Including the high profile Cutts, and possibly even the nothing-to-do-with-the-keyboard altering John C. Dvorak.

To be honest, this sounds like a spoof, I can't find any details about it at Google.

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Power up

Interesting... In the UK, the Currys chain of electrical goods shops are starting to sell solar panels.
"A typical £9,000 system, with nine panels, can generate about 40% of an average household's annual electricity demand, cut bills and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by two tonnes a year." ... "Customers would get an in-store consultation followed by a free assessment to check whether their properties were suitable"

My understanding is that in the UK 'they' will let you sell excess power to the nation grid. The 'they' is the power provider, since privatisation, it seems that most of the power suppliers are open to the idea. In Ireland however, the ESB won't consider it apparently.

While my electrify bill is fairly low, I have a south facing roof and would happily switch from gas to free electricity. Not that £9,000 is free.