Sunday, 30 April 2006

30th again...

End of the month is deadline for VideoVista, so it could've been a busy day for me. With review material coming in - via email - a few at a time, filed away over the last couple of weeks, while I've been somewhat preoccupied with DIY (especially a re-tile job on the new bathroom), there's now more than the usual amount still to be edited. Even after a late start, though, it's mostly all done by teatime... And just the one nuisance phone call (a wrong number) today. So, a quiet Sunday at Pigasus Press.

Friday, 28 April 2006

My new PC

Finally ordered a new computer system, after struggling with techie jargon of bumf from various local shops, and checking latest advice. I asked for a high performance machine, capable of easy multitasking, and that will handle whatever I throw at it.

Opted for Athlon 64 3500+ instead of Pentium 4, as received wisdom suggests that AMD offer better CPU performance for less money.

Windoze XP Home edition
Kingston PC3200 1500 (3 x 512MB) DDR
Deskstar T7K250 250GB hard disk
ECS NForce4 SKT939 ATX motherboard
Gainward GeForce 6600GT 128MB graphics card
Pioneer DVR-110D 16x16 DVDR/RW dual layer disc drive
19-inch LCD monitor

No modem (as I already have BB)
No floppy drive

Extras include: MS Explorer trackball mouse, as I've got used to this type, and can't use the regular sort which need moving about!

Delivery expected early in May.

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Air-hogs anonymous

I don't go to meetings or anything, I'm just fascinated by the very idea of flying pigs... helicopters, too, so this fun sketch really appeals.

Generally, I prefer pigs with bat wings, rather than the feathery variety. Sightings of either breed of air-hog are extremely rare, of course, and these cryptozoological creatures do not survive in captivity. 'Kurly' (see Fax 21 report) is one of the few celeb flying pigs.

As ever, contributions to the Pigasus Press gallery are welcome from artists happy to offer their own interpreation of 'Pigasus'.

Monday, 24 April 2006

"It's a jungle out there"

I never really watch daytime TV, but recently made an exception for BBC1's after-lunch timeslot for Monk. Written by Andy Breckman (of Saturday Night Live fame) this is a wonderful US comedy-drama series (set in San Francisco), about ex-cop and widower Adrian Monk. His mental health problems (including OCD and varied phobias) have somehow made him into a brilliant, if highly unorthodox, detective with powers of acute observation that rival Sherlock Holmes.

As played by Tony Shalhoub (Galaxy Quest – remember Tech Sergeant Chen? Spy Kids) Monk is a distinctively mannered, Emmy-award winning, characterisation, managing to rise above tics and quirks, while gently mocking the afflicted. He makes us care about the weird little guy who notices all the tiny details without needing a crime lab to figure out whodunit. Beneath the slapstick and one-liners, though, Monk serves as an inspiring story of someone who finds renewed purpose in life after a complete nervous breakdown, an emotional crisis (caused by the car-bomb murder of his wife; the only crime he’s been unable to solve) that left our much-troubled hero housebound for several years.

With guest stars including the likes of John Turturro (as Adrian’s even crazier brother Ambrose!), Monk is really worth your time. The first three seasons are now available on region 2 DVD.

Sunday, 23 April 2006

It's okay; I got it...

Here’s a couple of nifty limited edition chapbooks from the brilliantly named multimedia outfit, Omnibucket.

Brainchild… a Collection of Artifacts - presents the creative output of 15 contributors in an anthology exploring ‘undead’ themes, mixing horror stories, genre prose-poetry, and nonfiction, with many garishly appropriate paintings and striking drawings – and quite surprisingly, the colour artwork far outnumbers the b/w stuff. I particularly enjoyed Mia Epstein’s critical essay My Zombie Girlfriend, which considers the evolution of un-ladylike human-flesh-eaters in movies like George Romero’s quartet of shockers, and their ghastly femme fatales’ sometimes-tenuous but often profound links to various otherworldly women in genre literature.

Eleventy Billion Miles Away by the band Blackcat Revival offers a lively CD of notable prog rock with strong jazz influences, accompanied by a heavily illustrated digest-sized lyrics’ book. The tracks deliver catchy melodies, discordant riffs, flavoursome arrangements, and imaginative lyrical content (with a rich vein of humour), unrestrained by the message-in-a-bottle intent of this quasi-concept album. Another limited edition product, this is hardly the simplest or handiest format for releasing music. And yet, its novelty value works in favour of acceptance by or at least interest from a different audience, as the publisher targets readers as much as listeners. With stunning art and slick designs generally superior to Brainchild, this attractively packaged multimedia item is a happy event indeed.

Despite the occasionally haphazard creativity, mismatched themes, un-harmonised fonts and page layouts, and the clearly intentional clash of artistic styles on display, these titles are among the very best looking small press items I have seen in recent years, certainly on a par with amazing modern classics like William L. Ramseyer’s self-published Jellyfish Mask (Buy Yourself Press, 1993).

With forthcoming titles like God’s Acre - book one: The Ravens & The Rhyme (due June 2006), Omnibucket is definitely a producer-of-quality to watch!

Same time, same planet

Where were you on Earth Day? Here in the Village, I got the leaky bathroom sink fixed, thus saving at least a few drops of (probably undrinkable) water, and made a better effort to recycle tins, bottles, and paper rubbish. It's still a work in progress, and that's the whole point, right?

But are supposedly global events such as yesterday's doing any real good? Is the green household agenda a worthwhile public pursuit when so many multinational corporations - not to mention - refuse to agree on the problems, or even the causes of those problems?

Instead of a straightforward 'carbon tax' adding to fuel costs (a measure which impacts all users, and would probably drive inflation rates up), how come there are no easily accessible schemes to provide tax breaks at the grassroots level? I'd like to see lottery money available to fund more domestic solar panels and wind towers instead of the often-wasteful (and frequently ridiculous - see BBC news' football fitness story) projects currently being supported by lotto cash.