Sunday, 25 May 2008

Philip Pullman's, John Blake

I was reading the Guardian Weekend magazine, whilst having some fair trade coffee and eating organic Soya beans, writing to Philippe my adopted Peruvian child and listening to Radio 4 (so much middle class smugness it burns)...

....Right, so the magazine contains three pages of Phillip Pullman's new comic strip. Buccaneering-atheist awesomeness, I hear you cry. Yes, indeed. It's a tale about a boy on a ship akin to one of those 'ripping yarns’ of the Alan Quartermain variety, except its called John Blake. It looks pretty good so far, and has all the wit and atmosphere you'd expect from Pullman. Here's hoping they turn it into a graphic novel.

Belated post

A whole week without posting is inexcusable... I might have an explanation, if you’re willing to listen. Often times, when I can’t think of a geeky or quasi-political rant, I tend to submit a post consisting of a paragraph and maybe a video or a picture.

Nowadays I’ll simply post that kind of frivolous discovery straight on to Twitter. This might well be the shape of things to come. Never fear, you can follow these slap dash updates here.

From now on, I'll try to post the really, really good, Twitter filtered stuff, on here. I’m hoping this filtering process will give me more time to write posts such as these: me, you and this guy too

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Old Ones and me

It's time for another genre and medium transcending, geek out session. Today's unexpected connections concern the 'Old Ones' (not to be confused with the geriatric legions) as featured in H.P Lovecraft's, weird tales.

The 'Old Ones,' including the famous Cthulu, are God like beings from outer space, another dimension, or wherever, its not really made clear. Suffice to say they're big, malicious and will drive you mad. At some point, way back, they ruled this little globe.

"You know what killed off the dinosaurs, Whateley? We did. In one barbecue." - Neil Gaiman, 'What's A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This'

Then for whatever reason they had to go to ground, under ground, deep under the ocean. Most of Lovecraft's stories that mention the Old Ones, are usually about a cult or some other kind of servant(s) attempting to bring them back.

Reminded of the 'Old Ones,' I unconsciously searched for any references in my pop culture library (brain). How I remembered the following is a mystery, and I should probably be worried. Before we get started, an 'Old One,' in the context of this post, needs to be at least a bit slimy or crustacean like, to count. They can't just be err, old. Lets get started:

In the Warcraft universe, there's a pretty straight forward homage to the Old Ones:

"The Old Gods (aka, Old Ones, elder beings, dark elders) were malevolent deities who ruled Azeroth in the ancient past...Soon, the Titans defeated the Old Gods, then chained the raging beings beneath the earth where supposedly, they remain to this day."

The Twilight Cult found in WoW are similar to the Cthulhu Mythos Cults. The Murlocs (genius) are based on Lovecraft's Deep Ones.

In the Myth universe, Ghouls are said to worship 'Dark Gods.' The genesis story for the world of Myth is similar to that of Warcraft: there was chaos, Dark Gods lived it up and then a being of order came and ruined the party, trapping them somewhere.

"It is they alone who remember the names of the dark gods." - Ghoul flavor text, Myth II

B'Y'laggo is also unpronounceable enough to qualify as an 'Old One.'

" ... little is known of the bre'Unor, a fir'Bolg word referring to the various head-cults of The Ermine, aside from their fanatical devotion to the profane elemental spirit, b'Y'laggo..." -bre'Unor Flavor Text, Myth II

Terry Pratchett mocks Lovecraft's 'Old Ones' in the Discworld book, The Colour of Magic:

"The temple [of Bel-Shamharoth] is long since abandoned, worship of the Sender of Eight being a decidedly short term prospect. These days he is mostly remembered in the name of the Young Men's Reformed-Cultists-of-the-Ichor-God Bel-Shamharoth Association."

In Mike Mignola's, Hellboy series, the Ogdru Jahad bare a close resemblance and alignment to Old Ones:

"...the Ogdru Jahad are serpentine/crustacean entities which once resided on, and presided over, Earth. They are pitiless, chaotic, bent on destruction and subjugation and often so horrific in appearance that the mere sight of one of them sometimes induced madness...Some of the monsters were forced out of their bodies and into the wind, while others were entombed in the earth."

In the fantastic (poo your pants) game, Eternal Darkness, 'The Ancients,' act as antagonists in the plot and are part of the game mechanic too. They are a clear adaptation of the Old Ones:

"...the concept of the "Ancients" is a clear homage to Lovecraft's innumerable cast of monstrous, malign, godlike entities who manipulate humanity in a scheme to eventually enslave the world. Many of the deities and spells have similar sounding names, while Inspector LeGrasse was the name of a character in Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu."

And to finish, Neil Gaiman:

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Retrospective, why not?

I was talking to Richard today and we both agreed, people don't spend enough time exploring blog archives. So, I've done it for you:

The Stars My Destination

City 17 vs London

Beowulf, Folklore and Fables

Paul Barnett vs the industry

Wild Gourmets aka idiots

Supreme geekdom

Digital life and times

It was my birthday recently and among the gifts, ranging from a 'Ghetto Stars' colouring book to a History of Street Art, my significant udder broke the mold and made a video collating our fives years together.

It's really good, if some what personal, but I might post it still. Anyway, it got me thinking about the history of 'me.' The recorded history of my parents, amounts to a few pictures, school essays and old passports. What became obvious from watching the Ben 5yr video was the intricate detail my life has been captured in, thus far.

If and when, I have spawn of my own, I can offer them a vast amount of imagery and exposition to try and sum up my life. Everything from this blog, tweets, tumbles, pictures, videos and work, will all combine to leave a Ben like imprint. I could offer them a back log of all my Friend Feed activity, but what's data without emotion.

At one point, we might only have drawn conclusions from diaries, historical accounts and raw data in the form of financial/medical records. Now we have a more personal and possibly, eternal, means of doing so.

Lack of blogage

I feel a need to apologise for the lack of blogage of late. A combination of work, illness and sun have been the trident, in the blog writing part of my brain's, side. I was lamenting this lack of personal creativity, i.e. not for the MAN, when I came across this post from Tiny Gigantic, that summaries my recent feelings about this economic slowdown of posts:

"Everything—moods, business, ideas, even happiness—comes in seasons and swells. It all waxes and wanes, ebbs and flows, Jekylls and Hydes. And you can’t force it. You can’t freak out. That just makes things harder. So ride that shit out, and enjoy what the day brings you, even if it’s a little rain. Use the slow seasons to rest, to go easy on yourself. Do a project that’s just for fun, work shorter days, and give more time to your friends and family. Get drunk on a Wednesday afternoon. Fuck it. Really. Everything is just as it should be."

Well put guys. From now I'll try and get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Comparison radar #06

Spot the difference:

White face paint isn't it.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Geek Love

You know you've truly arrived when you're cited in a flame war on a geek forum:

Monday, 5 May 2008

A bank holiday weekend with no Internet

What I learned:

I can finish an RPG in two days vs the initial week and a half it took the first time around:

The Internet was developed with the sole purpose of satiating my need to know about any infinite spectrum of subjects whenever the mood takes me.

The longer you go without connectivity the choices of what sites/services you would have used had Virgin Media been less shit shrinks.

Reading a book is great but painful for your arms if its 1221 pages long.

Watching three generations of fish in a pond isn’t as lame as it sounds.

Coffee in Crouch End is silly expensive. There’s no world shortage of beans, its rice you’re thinking of.

Face to face interaction still trumps MyFace and Twit tweets.