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News Archives - October 2005

: Abe Lincoln vs. Jimmy Carter

October 28 2005

Backstreet's back, all right.

Following the Hives concert from a week ago, last night I ventured out of the house again to check out another musical act. Instead of five sensibly suited-up Swedes or five dancing teenage boys who sing their way into our hearts, yesterday was the night for Electric Six. Or as they describe themselves, "six men in their early 30s dealing with midlife crisis issues".

While their description is a fairly accurate representation of what we actually got, it was a lot more fun than it sounds. Read on...

The supporting act:
The venue last night was a place called Fowlers Live (on North Tce) and the supporting act for this concert was The Pharoahs, who I guess are very much like the "local band" considering they were also the band that played first when we went to Fowlers to see Spoon last month.

The Pharoahs were good, but the lead singer nearly fell off the stage a few times. Oops.

The intermission:
In two words? "Pure gold". As if those two words weren't enough, how about "David Bowie"? Non-stop Bowie during both the pre-show and mid-show intermissions made many people very happy, almost embarrassingly so for at least one person dude I spotted. Sure, some people may have criticised the Fowlers crew of putting Bowie's Best Of album in the CD player and just hitting Play/Repeat, but those people have no taste in decent music. Heathens, how dare they...

Aside from the Bowie-a-thon, other intermission highlights would have to be those two concert-goers who were impersonating seagulls with "Aaaa-aaaah" and "Eeee-eeeeh" noises. My understanding is that security kicked them out shortly after that, and rightly so I might add.

The main event:
The Electric Six set started out a bit slow but the guys found their bearings a few songs in. This was about the same time that Dick Valentine, the lead singer, told us how their trip to SA is probably the furthest south they've ever toured to in the world. "Any further south", he added, "...and we'd be playing to the penguins!". About the only person who found that joke funny was Dick himself, who (with a huge cheshire-cat grin on his face) slid down the microphone stand and spent the next thirty seconds rolling around on the stage floor in hysterics.

I really think that set the tone for the rest of the evening - as dodgy as that joke was, Dick gave us plenty of hilarious antics to keep us smiling. Throughout the performance we were treated to impromptu push-ups & squats, enthusiastic waves to the crowd and graceful hand choreography that would put the The New Price Is Right with Larry Emdur™ showcase models to shame. About halfway through the set, Valentine even stripped down to his boxer shorts & announced "Here's one for the homosexuals and the ladies...", which got the audience into a frenzy.

Although they started slow, once they got going they put out a very decent performance. Dick's vocals were as strong and powerfully delivered as on the albums, and the combination of synthesizers, chuggy guitars & excellent drumming rounded out the group.

Song highlights would be tough to pick - the two albums, 2003's Fire & 2005's Señor Smoke, are both filled with catchy and cheesy songs, often with very clever (yet absurd) lyrics. The crowd obviously got into their hit songs like Gay Bar, Danger! High Voltage and the encore closer Dance Commander, but I was very happy early on when they played She's White, Improper Dancing and Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother). On a more personal note, never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed I'd be groped while dancing to a Queen song, but that's exactly what happened in the encore when the band did their cover version of Radio Ga Ga.

After leaving the show, I also bumped into a guy who I used to work with; I'm still there and he is not, so it's safe to assume he is far more intelligent than myself in that regard. Word up, Phil. It was a very nice show, made even nicer by the fact I got a free iced-coffee thickshake from McDonalds before the show, yet an elderly customer in front of me paid full price. Fool. :)

And now the obligatory linkatory:

: (Weather!) Part VI

October 26 2005

Welcome to week 6 of this Japanese weather translation thing. Considering the fact that the Pants Network website has racked up over 150,000 pageviews since it opened, I get a surprisingly small amount of feedback on the crap stuff I put up here. From the ignored Talk To Pants page to the equally ignored forum (unless you're an online casino spammer), I swear that 99% of my excessive traffic stats must come from Googlebot. Every now and then I get a smile from the knowledge that an actual person has visited my site, and I'm smiling today...

  • 1. Welcome (To My Pants)
    Following the revelation a few months back that Colombian superstar Shakira reads my website and subscribes to my erotic newsletter, I am pleased to announce that after only five previous weeks of translations, someone at NHK is also reading Pants for some stupid reason.

    The transition from the newsdesk to the weather this week was a montage of footage from Russia. People walking outside in their fur coats, people drinking Smirnoff, and although they didn't specifically show it, there was definitely implied vision of teenage lesbian schoolgirls. This is such an obvious throw-back to my October 2004 head-to-head reviews of Shakira & TATU's recently released albums. Woohoo!

  • 2. Funky Cold Medina
    Remember the guy from last week, the elderly blue face with the moustache? Well, he's gone & grown some legs like the other blue-faced threat from earlier this month. Possibly robotic legs...

    But unlike the other guy who moved and just stood there, old Gramps here actually does something after moving about, although admittedly not much. After his decidedly 'wonky' walk south, he just bops his head a few times.

    Perhaps after visiting Russia he's now listening to TATU's new album, Dangerous & Moving, on his iPod. If he's lucky, there may (or may not) be a review of the girls' new album on Pants in the near future. That'll teach him.

  • 3. Duck & Cover
    After the past few weeks being pretty much devoid of any actual weather, at least this week they have something to work with.

    Considering today's forecast, suggested activities for tomorrow include "use an umbrella if it rains" and "wait outside all day anticipating rain, but frown when it eventually arrives".

    Fun for the whole family...

  • 4. She's Ba-ack
    Closing the weather segment today, we see that shy-looking woman from a few weeks ago, just standing there with her arms crossed yet again...

    She still wears the same expressionless face and neat business attire she always does, and just like all her previous appearances, there is absolutely no context or apparent purpose to her presence. Utterly confusing, but hey, that's Japanese weather for you... :)

: G Is For Gyroscope

October 23 2005

Holy crap! This weekend I did something other than watch Iron Chef and NHK 10...(!)

That's right, I actually went outside for once, with the lads and I heading out to the trusty ol' Thebby last night to see The Hives in action. To the best of my memory it had been a while since we'd been to the Thebby, and it was a good night to be had by all, including those crazy Swedes.

The supporting act:
Supporting The Hives on this leg of the tour were the D4, who thankfully were not one third of the thuggy gangster-rapper group D12. They were good, New Zealanders I believe, and a couple of their songs sounded familiar to myself and most of the crowd.

At this point in the evening there wasn't exactly a large crowd in the theatre, which was a little alarming & disappointing considering that the Hives originally were planning to skip Adelaide on the Australian tour, but they ended up announcing a gig at the last minute. Thankfully the place was packed by the end of the D4's performance so their tour adjustment was justified.

The intermission:
In regular Pants style I normally would review the intermission as well as the main acts. The intermissions (both pre- and mid-show) this particular night were really uneventful so I don't have much to say here. No notable songs or notably stupid comments by audience members. :(

The main event:
From the moment the five Swedish rockers marched out onto the stage in their trademark white suits, they made sure that the audience had fun. Being one of Sweden's two most popular exports (there's also that chef whose name has escaped me at the moment...), they made a point to talk to the audience after every song. In half-incomprehensible English (much like that mystery "Swedish Chef"), the lead singer told us stories about how duct tape was used to keep convicts together when Australia was colonised or how it was used to attach koalas to kangaroos for some reason. Be it adhesive or whatever else he was talking about, it was quite entertaining.

As for the music itself, also very entertaining. I can't say I'm really familiar with their earlier work outside of the more popular songs, but I have their latest album (2004's Tyrannosaurus Hives) and they played about half of the songs on that CD. Notable song highlights would include Walk Idiot Walk, Diabolic Scheme, B Is For Brutus & Hate To Say I Told You So, although the whole set was quite consistently good. The Hives are one of those bands where their 'live' sound is very close to the sound you hear on their albums, just like I found with the Big Day Out performances from The White Stripes (those hacks) and, much to my surprise, Muse.

Combined with the fact they actually made a focused effort to keep the audience entertained, even in-between the songs (which is an effort that only Dave Grohl & the Foo Fighters have beat them at), it was quite an enjoyable performance last night. Even the lead singer gave us the big thumbs up as he left the stage after the encore, so I think they had a fun time too.

If they decide to come back to Adelaide for their next tour, I'll be there.

: (Weather!) Part V

October 19 2005

Week 5 of the NHK 10 Japanese weather translation. I don't know how long I'll be able to keep up this unprecedented pace of Pants updates, but with a bit of timestamp forgery here & there I think I'll be all right. :)

  • 1. Welcome
    The opening video montage this week was of wetlands residents. A couple of ducks, but mainly larger birds looking for food in the tall grass.

    Although the Pants crew still haven't put in the effort to find out the names of the NHK 10 weather presenters, over the past few weeks there's been a notable difference in the chemistry (and sexual tension) between the two.

    All this culminates to today, where I'm fairly certain the two were openly flirting with each other. It might have been all that talk about ducks that got them both so hot & sweaty...

  • 2. News Just In...:
    But there's no time for nationally-broadcasted hanky panky right now. Instead of the weather, the presenters then proceed to tell us about a newly discovered threat originating from the North Pole and currently heading towards Japan.

    On the virtual backdrop behind the presenters, we see simulations of the two possible outcomes from this menacing moustache-wearing foe.

    On the left we see Japan and its neighbours using their stocks of inter-continental ballistic missiles to thwart the giant blue face in the north. On the right hand side we can see the likely scenario if the ICMBs do not work as planned, with Japan and the rest of the world being destroyed by a series of lethal tidal waves which appear to be made of lava...

  • 3. Hair-Raising Confrontation
    As always, the NHK 10 team keep their collective cool in times of panic and horror. They move to the normal map graphic and we can see the face hovering at the top of the screen - I've enlarged the shot here to show what they're dealing with.

    That moustache, those eyebrows... Symmetric in motion, it's so hypnotic... This dude is bad news.

    Much like last week (although for different reasons obviously), there was extremely little actual weather content in this week's so-called "weather forecast". Unless of course you think blazing lava tidal waves is a climate issue.

: Turning Japanese? I Really Think So...

October 15 2005

I've just been looking back on the past few months of Pants updates in the archives and I've noticed there's definitely been some sort of common recurring theme between a lot of the updates. From Iron Chef's Mayuko Takata to NHK 10's Yumiko Udo and now the weekly recurring weather translations, it would appear as if I have Japan on my brain at the moment.

While I'm not apologising for it and most certainly not denying it, I don't really know what else to say. I just don't really have much else going on around me at the moment, so I guess you could consider it a nice snapshot of my 'mental' personality at this very point in time.

By saying "not much else going on around me" that's probably not the most accurate description of things, but I find that slowly immersing myself in another nation's culture is an effective way for me to relax. In the next few weeks should be several (non-Japanese related) updates to the site though, one of which relates to a different relaxation method I've recently rediscovered...:

That's right, I'm showing my artsy side again...
It had been over a year since my last vector artwork project, "Amber", but back in July this year I began thinking about what I could create if I started something new. Because my vector software of choice (Macromedia Flash) is not designed as an "art program", I had to think very carefully about how the project could work before I even started using Flash about a week ago.

I plan to write a lot more about my methods & reasoning when the project gallery gets uploaded so I'll keep this short for now, but the image you see above is the result of only 4 days (roughly 18-20 hours) work. Everything in this picture are all vectors that have come straight from Flash, with absolutely no post-processing done in Photoshop or anything else. The figure's hair for example, normally the breaking point in my artwork, is made of 248 individually placed strands.

When I have some more spare time, I just need to do the shading of the dress and maybe fix up the facial details and that'll be about it. Considering I've made more progress (and with better results) in 4 days with this project versus well over a month's work with "Amber", I'm extremely happy with how it's turned out and I'm already thinking about other vector projects.

I still need a 'codename' for this project, so if you have a name for her then let me know... And yes, I am aware that she kinda looks a bit Asian or Japanese-y. This is purely a coincidence and was quite unintentional, although I guess it fits in nicely with the rest of this news update. :)

: (Weather!) Part IV

October 12 2005

Here's the fourth edition of the weekly Pants Japanese weather translation. This week's forecast is one of the shortest weather segments I've ever seen (both on Australian and Japanese TV networks), and the only one I remember seeing that didn't actually appear to have any weather-related content to it. Of course it may be due to the fact I can't speak Japanese, but I think the images speak for themselves today.

  • 1. Welcome
    In the opening montage this week we are treated to a vision of large sprawling patches of pink flowers in the middle of a busy Tokyo cityscape.

    Not that I blame them, but we also see many Tokyo residents standing on the neighbouring footpaths, either looking at the flowers, taking photos of the flowers or simply giggling & dancing around the flowers.

    Some of these people probably have jobs to go to but hey, flowers are pretty...

  • 2. Leave A Message After The Beep...
    It wasn't as if they were the only people bludging at work either, because even the critically-acclaimed team at NHK 10 need to have a break every now & then. Today was one of those days.

    It would appear that even the NHK 10 weather forecasters were busy looking at those flowers, because the only indicator of tomorrow's forecast was a giant rabbit bouncing across the screen.

  • 3. You Do The Math
    You don't need to speak Japanese to realise that the rabbit isn't some magic international symbol for a specific weather phenomenon.

    While being completely useless in the forecast, the presenter tries to be a little helpful in his regular end-of-segment suggestions.

    Normally he suggests things that compliment the forecast, like "try going for a family picnic lunch" if it's going to be sunny & warm tomorrow, etc.

    Roughly translated, I think today's suggestion means "go figure it out for yourself"...

: (Weather!) Part III

October 5 2005

This is the third edition of my Japanese weather translation. To the several (possibly imaginary) people who have written in accusing me of creating some elaborate hoax, I assure you that I am not making this stuff up - the images you see in these updates is exactly what millions of Japanese people see every night when they watch the 10pm news. The translations provided here on Pants on the other hand, may not be entirely accurate... *ahem*

The weather this week was interesting, and could easily be confused with a soap opera thanks to the unexpected return of some regular characters... No one was wearing an eyepatch though. :(

  • 1. Welcome (Back)
    The lead-in video montage today (hundreds of multi-coloured meshes artistically floating in the ocean) was both confusing and ultimately irrelevant. The important thing here is that after almost a month of absence, the female weather co-presenter is finally back at work!

    I really should get the Pants research team to investigate the names of these two presenters, merely out of courtesy considering how often they'll be mentioned here. I understand that a translation will be attempted as soon as the team finish their current project - acquiring Mayuko Takata & Yumiko Udo's home addresses.

  • 2. We Meet Again, Mr. Bond
    As if the co-presenter's return wasn't enough, we are witness to another reappearance this week, although this one may not be as welcomed.

    Remember the giant lightning-from-eyeballs blue blob from a few weeks back? He's ba-ack, and this time he manages to grow a torso right before our eyes. He then walks over to his favourite spot in the north east and then does something even more unexpected... Absolutely nothing.

    Don't let his innocent smile fool you though - I'm sure he's still got something evil up his sleeve. It's only a matter of time...

  • 3. Gene Kelly Wannabe
    Unlike previous weeks where we were shown (side-by-side) several options for what we could do in the next few days, this week was different.

    Rather than suggest "you can do this, and this, and this...", they only gave us two (seemingly conflicting) options this week. You can either stare happily at the sun with your childhood sweetheart, or you can do what I would choose and get in a raincoat & dance like a retard.

  • 4. Perplexed
    Closing the weather report this week we are presented with imagery just as confusing as the opening video montage.

    We see what I would describe as a shy-looking woman in neat business attire, simply staring ahead with her arms crossed. This woman has made many appearances in these weather reports, yet despite how many times I've seen her, I still have no idea what she represents.

    I have no idea when she'll turn up next, but if you have any ideas on what weather phenomenon she embodies, please let me know...

There's more where that came from...: Return to the News Archives index.