Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Planking – Finally stupidity takes its toll

Apologies in advance for the massive wall of text, but this topic is really pissing me off and I need to vent.

Here in Australia, over recent months a craze called planking has really taken off. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it (you’re definitely not from Australia), it is the act of lying on an object or between 2 objects etc. in a perfectly horizontal position, and obviously you’ll want someone to take a picture so you can post it on Facebook to impress all your mates. I first found out about it when my workmates started planking in between cars at work and on the hot water system out the back of work and what not, I didn’t really think much of it, I definitely didn’t realise it was the latest social phenomenon. But I recently found out there’s a planking fan page on Facebook with over 85,000 followers (last I heard) and its support is growing by the hour, with other planking tribute pages being made for other countries.

Naturally with this sort of behaviour there is an element of one upmanship that will inevitably be brought into the picture. The way I understand it, people gain more respect from the planking community (a fine group of well educated, sobriety enthusiasts I’m sure) by planking in dangerous or illegal places. Some dude got charged with trespassing on police property after he planked on a police car, I don’t know if the above picture is of that incident but you get the idea. Inevitably when something gets turned into a competition people are going to get upset or hurt trying to outdo their fellow competitors. On the 15th of this month at about 4:30 am, what may be the world’s first planking death occurred, a bloke by the name of Acton Beale.

He had been out on the town drinking with mates and was planking on the way home. When they got home he decided to plank, while drunk, on a 5 cm wide balcony rail…of a seventh story apartment. Am I the only one that sees this as being barely worthy of 100 words in the paper? We don’t hear about every drunken death that occurs as the result of stupidity and nor should we. Planking is not something I can endorse, but hey to each their own. What really pisses me off is the fact all and sundry seem to think this craze is cool. Well, fuck you, it isn’t. Neither is it a tragedy that some drunken fool fell off a balcony while trying to balance on a 5cm wide rail. If he had been drunk driving and crashed into a tree killing only himself we as society would shake our heads and view him as a reckless fool with poor judgement and that it was a blessing nobody else was hurt. We should not be getting up in arms over this, I probably should have died a few times due to some questionable (read: stupid) decisions I’ve made while both drunk and sober. And you know what; if I had, I would have deserved it.

Here’s the next social trend I’m going to be starting up for all the retarded sheep, sorry I mean hilarious pranksters, out there. Let’s all stand over power points, downed power lines, electric fences and the like and urinate in short bursts onto them, don’t worry if they’re just short bursts and the stream never directly connects your body to the source of electricity you'll be fine. DON’T GET KILLED, OTHERWISE PEOPLE WILL MISTAKE THIS FOR A BAD IDEA. Obviously you’ll need to have someone video you doing this if you want internet respect, get on board. Planking is for pussies, let’s play Electrical Urination Roulette.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

De Bortoli - Old Boys (21 year old)

This weekend it was Mother’s Day here in Australia (Sunday 8th) I don’t know if this is an international event but here in Australia we celebrate how great our mothers are by making them breakfast in bed and getting together as a family, giving gifts etc. Anyway I decided to get my mum a nice bottle of sparkling red, Sir James sparkling shiraz to be precise. It was quite a nice wine but I’m not really one for sparkling or champagne, but that’s not what I’m posting about today. In order to secure this bottle I went to a decent bottle-o that I knew stocked a good range of wine rather than my local LiquorLand. And While I was there I noticed their range of tawny ports was phenomenal, even though I only went there to pick up a bottle for my mum I walked out with a $50 bottle of port for myself as well.

The bottle I selected for myself was a bottle of De Bortoli Old Boys. I was sold on this bottle once I read it was De Bortoli, tawny port aged for 21 years. The price tag wasn’t exactly ideal but I felt safe in purchasing it as I know De Bortoli are great wine makers and expensive port is typically good. I was certainly not let down, I waited until I got home from work the next day and uncorked this beauty and I’ve got to say everything about it was excellent. I’m no connoisseur and I’m not going to act like a pretentious wanker like most wine critics do. But this port tasted nice and fruity, the flavour was very deep and it was incredibly smooth. The aroma was absolutely divine, I could smell this port for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. I enjoyed if with a few cigarettes, Port Royal rollies which are coincidentally mellowed with rum and wine, the perfect complement for this kind of drink, and before I knew it I had blown through half this bottle of exceptional port. I know, I know; I’m a pig. I just can’t help myself especially with the nicer alcohols, which is a shame as they tend to cost more and evaporate quicker around me.

But to sum up; this is a truly excellent drink, it smells amazing, tastes even better and is smooth as. I’m sorry if I lack the wine connoisseur talk but let me put it this way, I’ve drunk a lot of great port and a lot of shit port. This is the best port I have tried to date, I highly recommend it to anybody who can get their hands on it.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Tales from the Table

 I have been meaning to post a couple of different things over the past couple of days but my PC is having a shit attack and won't be operational until tomorrow or tonight at the earliest. At any rate I hate to be a lazy bugger but I suppose this is better than contributing nothing. Tales from the Table is a great little series on the Escapist, which started about a month and a half ago I reckon. It's about some DnD players and is really quite funny. At any rate go check it out while I yell at my other PC for a while.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

US Judge has Ruled: You are Not Your IP Address

I just read that in the US, District Court Judge Harold Baker has decided that you are not necessarily your IP address. In the case in question a Canadian pornography company was trying to have an IP address supoenaed through an ISP as the IP address had been downloading porn illegally, assumedly through a torrent. Harold Baker ruled that allowing a copyright holder to bring a law suit against an IP address rather than a person was not fair. And in my mind this makes sense. I mean, more often than not if an IP address is pirating software, movies or music etc. then it is almost definitely the internet subscriber but it could be a member of their family or one of their friends. Or if you are enough of a deadshit to use an unsecured wifi network it would be some bloke sitting in his car on the street, or your neighbours. Our buddy Harold mentioned in his ruling a case in which US police raided the wrong house because the neighbours of the IP address in question were piggybacking the wifi and downloading child porn.

Apparently when an IP address is subpoenaed the copyright holder rarely intends to take the matter to court, but would much rather save the time and money of the case by bending you over a barrel and molesting an out of court settlement from you. Baker didn't want his court room used to shake money out of hypothetical criminals who are possibly only guilty of subscribing to an internet plan, most of these people are unable to front the money to defend themselves from larger companies, not without taking out a second mortgage I'd wager. I personally think that this is the right ruling, how would you like to get hauled over the coals because one of your mates or relatives illegally downloaded content from your IP? This case might well set a precedent in future cases, or because it involved porn it may not be cited by other more uptight judges. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Mount & Blade

Recently on the steam store I noticed that TaleWorlds was releasing another title in the Mount & Blade series which took me back a number of years to when I played the original when it was still in it’s beta stage. I do recall that while it was in its’ infancy back then and was rather buggy and far from perfect it was a hell of a lot of fun. I also enjoyed a few of the different mods back then and can only imagine what the modding community has produced since. Which got me thinking; I have the first two titles in my steam library. I got them in some pack steam had on sale over Christmas. I’m going to have to make time to play this great game again and highly recommend it to everyone who is a fan of medieval combat in a game. Basically you lead a warband/army and can capture additional troops etc. etc. My memory on it is a little hazy (it was a long time ago) but it was a LOT of fun even in its buggy beta stage.

TaleWorlds is a small time company, IIRC back in the day it was just two dudes making Mount & Blade (possibly more of them now though?), so I figure they could use and definitely deserve some support. Maybe you could take a few days off those fancy AAA titles and give a smaller company a chance, because I’ll guarantee you this will be a much more engaging and immersive game than CoD or Dead Space or any of the other tripe the AAA industry keeps throwing at us. We can only get more innovative, engaging and interesting titles made for us if we support the smaller companies who make these games. As long as you buy samey, shitty games that is all the AAA industry is going to give us. Throw some financial support behind those that deserve it.

I’ll definitely post a full review of this game once I’ve played it again, probably in a week or so.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Tawny Port

Righto, so back in the day I used to be a beer kind of fella. Don’t really know why because these days I find few beers to be very enjoyable. But back then I just kind of got sick of drinking beer and spending half the night pissing on a wall or lawn and waking up with a hangover, so I turned to other recreational pursuits for a few months. And when I got back on the piss I found out that I was really into rum and later also got into red wines and tawny port.

God damn a nice bottle of tawny is really quite a treat, even a dirty old sack of the cheap stuff goes down well with me. As nice as red wines are I find it irritating to have to do so much shopping around and sifting through the bad ones to find the gems. Whereas most of the ports I’ve tried have been pretty spot on, but every now and then you get a real dirty tasting one, or one that smells like a sack of nasty shiraz.

Anyway a couple of really nice and reasonably well priced tawnys I’ve come across are the McWilliams “Hanwood” 10 year old Tawny Port and the DeBortolli 8 year old Tawny. I don’t know how available these are overseas but here in Australia they shouldn’t be too hard to find. Of the two I’d have to say I prefer the McWilliams; it’s probably my drink of choice at the moment, that is, when I feel like treating myself. Perhaps you should treat yourself too.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Plain Packaging of Durrys in Australia

The other day I was reading the paper and saw an article about the big tobacco companies having a bit of a cry about the proposed plain packaging laws on cigarettes here in Australia. They feel that having their logos removed from the packet is unfair as they will lose their brand identity. I thought that people smoked their choice of smokes because they liked the flavour, strength or perhaps the size of the cigarette itself? IMO changing the packaging on smokes will not change which brand people smoke, it’s not like they are going to abandon their winnys, eccys or champs just because the logos were removed and the colour of the packet changed to khaki. I’d still buy my white ox if it was sold in zip lock bags with the brand name written on it with a permanent texta.

Another point they made was that if the packaging was made plain it would be far easier for counterfeiting across all brands. The article also claimed that children as young as 14 were buying these counterfeit cigarettes and that the counterfeiting industry was putting a dent in big tobacco’s profits. REALLY?!? I’m 21 and have never been offered black market cigarettes, not from the schizophrenics down at the midnight supermarket, not by people in bars, not even by drug dealers. How many of you have ever been offered black market cigs? Bullshit big tobacco, how full of shit do you want to be? But even so, I’m against the plain packaging laws because they’re put forward by the anti-smokers groups. They aren’t just anti-cigarettes they are anti-smokers who ultimately seek to take away the freedom of smokers and I feel most of their proposals need to be blocked on general principal.