Friday, February 26, 2010

I Heart Bluejuice

Let me tell you of a band. They are most likely one of the best in the land. They are power-pop electro rock extraordinaires. They are, Bluejuice whose new single Broken Leg has caused an internet sensation (beware to those who do click to view the video, it is six minutes long because the song starts around three minutes in because it is basically a hilarious short film).

Last night I had the privilege to go and see this band live at the University of Sydney's O-Week. The previous night, to which I also attended, was a performance by Project 52 (a Sydney University based comedy group), Axis of Awesome (a comedy musical group), Josh Thomas (the comic chosen to be the voice of Generation Y) and Wil Anderson, one of Australia biggest comedians. However, that is all a different story, this about Bluejuice.
The night opened with a fairly rambunctious Sex Pistols-sounding band called The Conditionals. I had never heard them before, but I was honestly glad that I had, especially with the rather mediocre, and slightly more famous, group which followed, The Jezebels. They have one 'well-known' single, and they now think they're hot shit. The music was far too feet-gazing to be too enjoyable, and the lead singer did too much with her voice that didn't fit the songs.

Finally, though, after a few hours at 9:40, Bluejuice emerged. I didn't know, as none of their videos involve them actually playing their instruments, that they have two lead singers at all times. Jake and Stav sing the same lyrics all the way through every song, with some minor difference in vocal exchange, but each has their own unique vocal quality. Not just that, but their stage presences are so frighteningly different, you don't know which one to watch more. Jake has a more rock-star, get your shirt off, flailing wildly kind of stage presence, whereas Stav has the stoic, more jerky motions, intense staring and occasional insane move style of presence. Together, it was like some kind of super, performance BEAST!

They played for a good hour and ten minutes and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. If you haven't checked them out already, click on the link above, or go here for their website!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tradie Stories, Part 2

"Fags are, like, 99.9% of AIDS cases, man, no joke!" he continued, "It originated in vaccines made from monkey entrails." I made a mental note to check on that, "And also, the Ancient Greeks were, like, total fags, man. It makes me sick just thinking about it."
"That was the end of the family," Todd said later on, "poofs adopting kids. I don't care if they say times are changing, I just think it's fucking wrong. That's when the world went to shit, nuclear bombs and gays getting right. They're equal? Fuck that."
Later on, Todd and I were sitting outside eating lunch and we saw two homeless people talking to one another, lying around in the shade of the trees in the war memorial garden, "Man, if I were in fucking charge, I'd round these cunts up and kill the lot of them. Shoot the bleeding ass of society." Just then, a hot girl walks by - short, black skirt, black top, white stilettos. She had just been dropped off from a car with what we assumed was her boyfriend. We both admired for a few moments when Todd says, "Yeah, she's hot, but she was just dropped off by a greasy Leb. She's just a baby and he was probably in and out of that all weekend," I sat silently, "the Cronulla riots were our one chance to take the country back from those Lebs. I wish I'd done more."

"What's the difference between a Jew and a pizza?" Matt asked as we sat around at lunch telling jokes, "A pizza doesn't scream when you put it in the oven." There are various gasps and shocked laughter. Dan looks confused and looks over at us, "I don't get it man - what's a Jew?"
"You're not serious, man?" Chris says, looking at him. Dan shrugs.
"That is!" Matt says, pointing at me. I smile awkwardly. Dan still doesn't quite get it.
"Those blokes who wear them tiny hats, man," Chris says, positioning his hand at the back of his head like a kippah.
"Aw, yeah," Dan says, "and why do they wear that again?"
"It's a religion thing, man," Chris says, "like, you got Christians and Muslims, and there's Jews." Dan slowly nods and drags on his cigarette. I'm too afraid to ask if he knows about the Holocaust because I know the answer will be no. As we walk back inside to work, Matt turns to me and says, "Those Muslims, man, they should keep their religion to themselves. If Islam really is just for Arabs, then they can keep it. Stop putting planes in fucking World Trade Centres and trying to take over the world." I just keep on walking.

"Hey, Nike," Nick yelled from across the room, but I didn't look up until he shouted again, "Nike!" I looked up, making a "who, me?" face. He nods and says, "Get it, like Air Jordans, Nike."
"Yeah," I said, "Just do it." Nick laughed, "Ha ha, FUCK yeah! Just do it, man!"
Another funny story about Nick. At one point, Nick walks into work, not just hung-over but still drunk, and with a giant black eye spread over his right eye socket, "Fucking nice shiner you got there, man!" Todd yelled, slapping him on the back.
"Not too hard, man. Johnny Walker is still partying in my body! Still fucking going!" When I asked, he joked saying he'd gotten into a brawl outside a bar on the main drag in the city, "Defending the streets from riff raff and that lot, eh!" He smiled broadly. But the true story was that his smart mouth had gotten him that eye. He had been drinking with our boss, Shawn, his wife and some of the boys from work. At one point, after some folk had left, Nick had clearly said something to enrage Shawn's wife and she had socked him. And she surely didn't miss. Not only was it quite the black eye, but there was also a shallow cut just below the bruising. What a right hook that woman had.
Here's another funny thing about Nick. Whenever we would sit outside, usually to eat, Nick would spend most of his time half suspended over the edge of the building. Let me clarify. Even while he was eating, Nick would rush to the edge of the balcony, half his body over the side, his legs off the ground, if he had seen a nice pair of "watermelons" or a "hot thing" in a miniskirt. Besides this admirable trait, Nick also had a dirty, dark mind. He owned - and watched - DVDs of people actually dying by all sorts of misfortune, "We're all born and we all die." he said, taking a drag from his cigarette as he squinted in the glare of the overcast day.
"Yeah, we all die, but those are fucking unnatural causes." Matt would say. Nick would just squint and blow smoke, turning back over to the balcony and another girl he'd never know would walk by, "I'd give a million bucks just to smell her farts." He'd say, giggling and with a wry smile. But, although he smiled, there was a tiredness in his eyes from weeks of getting up at four a.m. and driving two hours each way to work, "It's a fucking unnatural hour to wake up, four a.m." he sighed, and there was a distinct sadness, "My boy is fourteen now," he was thirty-two, "and I wish the drinking age was twenty-one, just so my boy won't do like I do..."

"And he just looked at me, like cleaning the bathrooms was women's work. I looked at him and wanted to just say, 'Boy, I will smack you'!" the building manager said in his Dr. Phil Texan accent as the elevator doors closed on Shawn and I. Funny thing, that building manager. He was a massive asshole. And I mean colossal. He was a short man on a power trip. At one point, he tried shooing along a hobo in the memorial gardens which are not even part of the building's grounds. Now, the hobo, he didn't take too kindly to this. He showed this by socking the manager in the face. Again. And again. Two of our guys had to pull the hobo off before he would stop. They called the cops and took the guy away. Probably better in prison than on the street - roof over your head and three square meals, but anyway. The building manager, he'd probably never even been hit before, so he was shaken. We saw him come in, split lip that needed stitches and a huge, stretching blood bruise down his chin. Most of the boys laughed when they heard. Hell, even I did. The guy had it coming. Karmic retribution or something. Just didn't see it coming so randomly.

An Addendum

I feel an addendum must be made to my previous post about Bioshock 2. While my opinion of the single player aspect to the game remains unchanged, the multiplayer aspect is a different story. It would appear as if it was added as an afterthought, rather than a pre-thought-out portion of the game (Hmm, much like this addendum to an already fine article?). While it is cool to play a first person shooter game with others over the web using superpowers as well as weapons, the fashion in which it is done is slow and not worthy of the high status of game that fans have come to expect of Bioshock.
That is all. Mahalo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Legacy of Rapture Continues...

So, recently - several years after its initial release - I obtained a copy of Bioshock. And finished it quite promptly. To say the least, I was sucked wholly into the world of Rapture and its filthy and degenerate populace. The game's steampunk-esque world and intricate storyline are worth the buy alone. The game itself plays like a dream, alternating between plasmids (like superpowers...that become part of your DNA) and regular weapons. The hacking system was fun, the graphics beautiful, the game just the right level of challenging. And for those who like to simply rush through games in order to reach the ending, I don't recommend this for Bioshock. I recommend taking the extra few minutes to explore small areas and discover the tape recorders which reveal background plot and secret information about Rapture, widening its range even further. Although the end Boss fight was a might to quickly finished in my opinion, the game itself was hours of fun and includes hours of re-playability with different plasmid and tonic (like...body enhancements) choices.

The story is that you are a man on a plane in 1959 and you crash in the ocean, stumbling upon a lighthouse like structure in the middle of the ocean. You enter and discover the underwater city of Rapture, a city meant for the worlds best and brightest to be themselves with no hindrance - an intellectual Utopia. But it has all gone horribly wrong, with gene-splicers gone mad, raving and violent, everywhere. You are helped by man via radio named Atlas who tells you you must take down Andrew Ryan, Rapture's creator and current Head Honcho. Along the way you must collect ADAM to buy upgrades and extra plasmids and tonics. The only way to do so is to harvest or rescue a Little Sister...who is protected by the heavily armored and deadliest creature in Rapture, the Big Daddy.

Luckily for me, when I received and finished Bioshock, Bioshock 2 was only within a month of release. So, I pre-ordered, and I got. I finished Bioshock 2 and was left just as impressed as I was before, I refreshing feeling from a sequel. Considering it was almost three years on in development, I suppose it was likely to be good. The adventure continues, but this time it is ten years on since the end of Bioshock and you are playing the Alpha Series of Big Daddies, your name is Delta. One of the original, plasmid using, more independent thinking Big Daddies, your quest to save Rapture from itself continues.

The game-play did not go untouched, however. Plasmids have been edited and made severely better. Enemies have been made tougher, and some new faces show up - it can't be all the same, your a Big Daddy now. The system for hacking was changed, not for the better I feel, but I suppose to a more realistic format. At least, compared to previously. The ADAM gathering, which is now done by adopting a Little Sister as your own so she can collect the ADAM from the "angels" (Can you see the light in their tummies?), is incredibly hard. Or, can be. The game is surely tougher, despite the fact you are constantly dual wielding plasmids and weapons at the same time, including the signature Big Daddy drill.

The new nemsis, Sophia Lamb, has taken over Rapture and attempted to mold it in her image - and that imagine is reminiscent of a certain Dorian Grey. New splicers and Big Daddies attempt to stop you on your quest to save the Little Sisters and take down Sophia Lamb and her new weapons, the Big Sisters.

A fun game with many hours of game-play and re-playability, this game is highly worth the expense. And if you're into art and music, I recommend the Rapture Edition which includes the soundtrack of Bioshock 1 on vinyl, the soundtrack of Bioshock 2 on CD, the Art Book for Bioshock 2 and some Rapture posters. Mahalo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Something You Can't Have Missed...

So, you all may have noticed the intense green and white banner above the posts section and below the title of the blog. If This box is a link to my profile and my articles on and it would be superamazinggreat if you guys had a look-see! Suite101 has some pretty good articles but more importantly, I write for them. Visit them articles!

Thanks a million!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Underrated Profession

One thing which is becoming more and more obvious to me is how underrated tradesmen are. Now, I'm not saying that they're all geniuses. Nor are they all good people. In fact most of them are thick, racist and strange - but mostly, kind-hearted. A weird mix? I know, trust me.
I started working for a construction/demolition company earlier this year and I got to know some of the guys on the job site. Mostly, in terms of 'physics' and job-orientated sciences, etc. they're all quite smart and really on intense ingenuity to make their jobs work. Now, I consider myself a privileged and highly educated person with at least average problem solving ability, but where I fall short by doing a task in a manner in which I ascertain as reasonable or intelligent, they will certainly find a fashion which is more effective, and at least twice as fast, "Why put in more effort than you have to?" is a common phrasing. Now, this may sound like the mediocre mass speaking, but realize that these people work for eight and a half hours a day doing physical labour - starting anywhere from 6 to 7 a.m. and going from anywhere between 3 and 6 p.m.
Also, it seems that these people - people that average, office-worker types consider debase, dirty and would hardly give them a sideways glance - are some of the kindest and most generous people I've met. They share food, money and advice. Most of them just want to be listened to. So I listen, and they talk. A change for me. They love, cry, lose and hate just like the rest of us, but maybe lack the poetic discourse that we so highly value in our society. They have worthwhile opinions on things, even though I may not agree with them all and generally consider some to be extreme, they are still eligible to be listened to.
It's also not like all of these people dreamed of becoming "tradies". They have their own ideas. Cops, singers, architects - they just lack the means, the money, but not necessarily the ambition. I've also had a weird experience working as a tradie. After eight and a half hours of hard work, sweating, cut, bruised, I walk home in the heat wearing my plaster, paint and grease covered t-shirt and jeans. As I do, I pass by some beautiful girls and, like a man, I check them out. As I pass, though, I feel what can only be described as "bad". Not because I looked, but because I realize that most of these girls wouldn't give me the time of day because of the clothes I'm wearing - to them, I'm a dumb tradie, not the semi-intellectual university student with artistic ambitions my friends know me as. It's a bad feeling.