Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year End Round Up

As the year draws to a close we here at the Wildebeest Asylum took the time to reflect on 2006 and remember which books, movies and music best distracted us from the horrifying pointlessness of human existence. Our choices are:

Best TV:
Dr Who

Biggest Downturn in Quality:
Lost (The start of the third season has been a shitfest.)

Best Games:
Oblivion (A review of this will appear when I finish the main story. I anticipate the post appearing while our distant descendants silently watch the Earth as it is slowly consumed by the dying sun.)
Shadow of the Colossus

Webmasters Choice Award For Special Achievement In Gratuitous Sex And Violence:
The only thing that fits the bill of being gratuitous that I played this year is Sin Episodes, and it didn't do a very good job of it. In protest I am giving the award to We (Heart) Katamari.

Best Book:
Lost Girls

Best Movie:

Best Albums (in no particular order):
Tool – 10,000 Days

Runners up:
Isis – In the Absence of Truth (Review coming some day...)
Thom Yorke – The Eraser

Best Album That Actually Came Out Years Ago, But Can Pretty Much Win Every Year As Far As I'm Concerned:
Opeth – Blackwater Park

Best Concert:

Shittest Concert:

Runner Up:

Concert That Was Both The Best and the Shittest at the Same Time:

Concert I Will Forever Hate Myself For Missing:

Biggest Disappointment:
Muse – Black Holes and Revelations

Most Incredibly Overrated:
Justin Timberlake

Runner up:
The Killers

Guiltiest Pleasure:

Trent Reznor Award For The Best Album That Was Supposed To Come Out This Year But Didn't:
Trent Reznor – the Closure DVD and the new NIN album.

Past Years:

2005 Parts 1, 2, 3

2004 Parts 1, 2

My Seduction Style

Seems fairly accurate. (Via Squirk)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

The Wildebeest Asylum wishes all it's readers a very merry christmas, and to get you all into the spirit of the season here's a link to Ruthless Reviews' review of A Christmas Carol.
"The message of this story is that it is okay to use the despicable practices of torture and terror to promote your religious agenda. It is okay for a law-abiding and legitimate businessman to be brutalized for his lack of religious beliefs. It is okay to disregard legitimate business contracts because of your own fiscal irresponsibility and poor decisions. Scrooge provides a much needed service by issuing B-C loans to marginal credit risks, providing much needed liquidity into the economy of his city."

Friday, December 15, 2006


"Don't push the button Locke!" screams Charlie, but it's too late! The lights go out! An ominous hum begins! The woman from Jack's flashback comes riding out on the back of a polar bear! Then the screen fades to black...

A digital clock is ticking down to zero! There are only four seconds left! Jack Bauer struggles furiously with the controls, but it looks like nothing can stop the jetliner carrying four hundred passengers, ten nuclear bombs and a tiger with a rocket launcher from crashing into the Pentagon just as the President reveals his plan for curing cancer! Close up of Keifer Sutherland's terrified face before we fade to black to...

"Are you saying you never loved me?" cries Amanda, tears streaming down her face. Thomas opens his mouth to reply, but is suddenly distracted by a fantail flying into the car through the open window! Their vehicle swerves across the road, right into the path of the minivan driven by Tama and carrying Jenny with her newly born triplets, Tammy and Lisa on the way back from their Civil Union and the vaccine to cure tall poppy syndrome! Close up on the shocked faces of the passengers. Cut to the smoking wreckage of both vehicles, as a solitary, ethnically indeterminate hand reaches trembling outwards. Who has lived? Who has died? Fade to black...

The Wildebeest Asylum will be taking a break for the rest of the year. I hope the suspense isn't too difficult to bear!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Via Making Light and Wired:

World Net Daily: Homosexuality is caused by soy milk.

In case that article disturbs you as much as it did me, here's something nice to distract you from right wing cranks.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I Hope George Bush Drinks The Blood Of Every Last Man Woman And Child In Iraq


I saw this movie over two weeks ago. The fact that I've only gotten around to posting this now is an indicator of how much of a blogging backlog I have...

Anyway, as everyone else has already said, this movie is just fucking hilarious. I'm perpetually surprised at how many stupid clueless people Cohen is able to round up for his comedy. In this movie many of the unsuspecting cast are the same kind of dopes that he picked on in his TV show Ali G, such as a dramatically unfunny humour coach, and the highly strung inhabitants of New York City who respond rather strongly to having a moustachioed man come up to them on the street and attempt to kiss them. Although Borat's driving instructor is actually kind of cool.

Driving Instructor “No Borat! In America a woman is allowed to choose who they have sex with.”

Borat: “You are serious!?”

It's all fun and games until the middle section when the movie goes through a seriously unsettling phase as Borat travels through the southern USA. The appalling racism displayed by some of the subjects is funny in a way but also seriously disturbing. The gun salesman who carries on trying to make a sale after being asked which gun is the best to kill a Jew is probably just a case of someone using their selective hearing to ignore the things they don't know how to deal with. On the other hand the high society diners who laugh it off when Borat brings a turd in a plastic bag to the dinner table, but threaten to call the police when he invites a black prostitute into their home are displaying some seriously fucked values.

There was a lot of slapstick humour but it was far less interesting. Most of the scenes in Kazakhstan were fairly juvenile and mean spirited and Borat's naked fight scene with his obese male companion wasn't funny until they ended up in the elevator with some of their fellow hotel guests. However exceptions are made for every scene with the bear, which are easily the funniest parts of the movie.

Monday, December 11, 2006


An article accusing Al-Qaeda's ideological godfather Sayyid Qutb of occidentalism (via Arts and Letters Daily). Mainly I just think the term is funny, but it's a good article.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

True Norwegian Black Metal

Satyricon – Live at The Metro, Sydney Dec 5th

Unfortunately I must once again inform you that due to a last minute camera malfunction I have no photos of this concert. This is a real pity as, unlike some bands I've been to see recently, Satyricon presented plenty of nice photo opportunities (if little else). This has happened once too often for my liking so this weekend's plans shall include an upgrade of my current camera situation.

This concert was a bit of a last minute escapade for me. Satyricon are, along with In Flames, the most successful black metal band in the world in terms of sales, and as such are despised by the metal scene as lacking trveness (at least they're Norwegian). Never one to merely accept conventional wisdom on these matters I went on a quick Satyricon education program (as currently viewable in the 'Now Listening To' panel on the right). I found their music not terribly exciting but decent enough to justify going along to see them perform live. As it happens the albums I've been listening to are their earliest, and most black metal fans will begrudgingly admit that their early music is, if not actually good, at least less offensive than their contemporary output. If I'd heard their latest album I may not actually have bothered going.

Again I must lament not having a camera, because these guys at least look interesting, with their necro makeup, grimy black metal fashion sense, Frost's enormous drum kit and the obligatory hot blonde chick on keyboards in the background. Black metal is meant to be cheesy, and their presentation certainly delivered in that regard. Their on stage antics made me feel like I was at an 80s hair metal concert. Especially when all three guitarists started whirlwinding their hair around in a synchronised fashion while playing. Satyr, the vocalist, was especially retro with his stage banter: “Wow I think you guys might be going even harder than Melbourne!”, which made me laugh because it reminded me of Mike Patton's hilarious piss takes of that sort of shit.

The crowd was pretty rubbish too. I guess this is what happens when you gather together the subset of people metal enough to be into Satyricon but not hipster enough to know that Satyricon aren't cool. The moshpit was especially bad, at least to begin with, I have no problem with a bit of violence in that setting because that's to be expected but when it's just a bunch of incredibly drunk guys stumbling into each other it's just annoying.

Wildebeest Asylum Moshpit Safety Tip:

When getting yourself thrown high in the air in order to begin crowd surfing make sure you are completely and utterly drunk out of your mind beforehand, so that when the moshpit parts and you smash right into the ground you are relaxed enough so that you only break a leg rather than your back.

For some reason there seemed to be a high number of angry young women in attendance who weren't afraid to try and kick the shit out of any guy who drunkenly crashed into them.

Wildebeest Asylum Moshpit Safety Tip:

Young ladies attempting to inflict bodily harm on drunk angry men in black metal moshpits should be aware that said angry men will probably start hitting them back (hard), no matter how hot they look in that skanky little outfit.

And now we must turn to the sad topic of the band's performance. To put it plainly, it kind of sucked. I won't say they totally sucked, as a few tracks came of brilliantly, most notably the opening song 'Walk The Path Of Sorrow' (the first track off their first album), and the last song of their main set (before the encore), which I didn't know but which fucking rocked out all the same. Most of the rest of their set was uninspiring to say the least. Their new songs were garbage (barely black metal at all) but even old classics from Nemesis Divina such as 'Du Som Hater Gud' and 'Mother North' fell flat. It was worth going to for the sake of going to a concert, but I definitely wouldn't drag myself out on a Tuesday night again to see them.

One last thing. The opening act, Ruins, were pretty good.

Wildebeest Asylum Bonus Moshpit Safety Tips:

Don't piss off the chick in the wheelchair. No matter how ill advised it is for her to be in the moshpit it's not a good look if you knock her over.

Clueless eighteen year olds who stand in the middle of the mosh circle and then looked shocked and surprised when people start slamming into you: please continue doing this! It is greatly amusing to your fellow concert goers!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

You Know You Spend Too Much Time On The Computer When...

...for once you find yourself writing out a whole page of handwritten notes and (a) your hand hurts by the time you've finished and (b) you're not sure how to spell 'contingent' so you write it out and then wait a few seconds to see if the spellchecker picks it up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An Unfathomable Well Of Something

Sam and Max – Culture Shock

I have very fond memories of the original Sam and Max adventure game that was released when I was a teenager. Like so many of the old Lucas Arts games it was genuinely hilarious in a goofy cartoony way and it also combined elements of the black but surreal humour of the comic strip it was based on to become a genuine classic of the genre. Fans of the game comprise a rather large cult following, and as a group we were delighted when Lucas Arts announced a sequel a few years back, then disappointed when they cancelled it, then delighted again when it was picked up by Telltale Games. Of course with such a rocky road to production it was possible that the expectations placed on it would be too much and it would turn out to be a disappointment, but I am happy to report that this is not the case.

The new Sam and Max series is being released in episodic form, much like the Half-Life 2 Episodes series but hopefully with a more punctual schedule. In the first episode Sam and Max, freelance policemen by trade, come against a troublemaking gang of mind controlled washed up former child celebrities. The humour doesn't quite live up to its predecessor, but it's very hard for indiscriminate vigilantism not to be funny and there are plenty of laughs to be had. For some reason I couldn't get enough of pulling over random motorists and charging them with nonsense crimes like 'worshipping false idols'.

As a game this first episode is mostly excellent. Adventure games can often devolve into boring scavenger hunts but Sam and Max consistently provides you with puzzles that actually involve logical thinking, while at the same time being quirky and entertaining. One of the best set pieces of the game is taking a psychiatric test and having to emulate the symptoms of a particular disorder in order to proceed. The lateral thinking part of it is fun and there's plenty of absurdist humour to be had in having Sam re-enact his dreams for the psychiatrist. Towards the end some of the puzzles turn into pointless 'go fetch' scenarios but most of the game holds up well. The next episode is out on the 5th of January, but I'm not sure if this is through Gametap (I refuse to sign up to this, it's too easy for me to find time wasters as it is) so I might have to wait a little longer before I can play it.

You Know Working In The Financial Sector Is Getting To You When...

You immediately think this bar sounds like a great place to have work drinks.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Vikings Were Born To Fight And To Kill For Pleasure

Burzum – Hliðskjálf

When I wrote about Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas a few weeks back I made reference to their insane bass player Varg Vikernes, a.k.a Count Grishnackh. As well as being a murderer he also likes to burn down churches (at one point making himself responsible for the death of a fireman) and although he doesn't like being described as a Nazi, he is a white supremacist. Despite such unpleasant attributes he's widely respected in black metal circles, mostly on the strength of his solo project Burzum.

Burzum is often described as 'ambient black metal', which would seem to me to be an oxymoron, but I will refrain from judging until I've heard more of this stuff. Hliðskjálf is completely ambient, without a trace of metal (apparently this is because he's not allowed guitars or drums in prison). This album has more in common with the mellower kinds of industrial than anything metal. In fact it reminded me rather a lot of Coil in their more restrained moments.

The music is very gentle and delicate, most songs are just one or two vaguely medieval sounding synthesised instruments playing over a subdued ambient background. It's quite a nice album, although it has nothing on Coil's Musick to Play in the Dark or Jordan Reyne's The Loneliest of Creatures. I would hazard a guess that it's inflated reputation mostly comes from closeted metal fiends who've never heard it's like before. But it's still worthwhile, even just to make you wonder how such pretty music can be made by such a horrible person.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The CEO Of Seagate Is A Clever Guy

Interview here.

"YouTube is like eBay. The founders didn't know what they were doing. The consumers just took hold of it."
"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

Damn You Penny Arcade

For introducing me to Bookworm. As if I didn't have enough timewasters already...

Dr Who

Finished watching the second series of the new Doctor Who the other day. I didn't like David Tennent as The Doctor as much as Christopher Eccleston in the previous series. He seemed somewhat smarmy and winked at the camera a bit too often, I preferred Eccleston's more alien, serious incarnation of the character. Still I love the show as much as ever, even if at times it can be over the top cheesy, but of course that is part of its charm. The first episode, 'New Earth' and a few of the others are a bit stupid, but they're more than compensated for by the highlights: 'The Satan Pit' (Dr Who versus Satan), 'Tooth and Claw' (Dr Who versus the wolf man and a team of ninja monks in Victorian England) and 'School Reunion' (Dr Who versus Giles from Buffy). The season finale is a bit goofy and predictable, but I guess it had to be done one of these days: Cybermen versus Daleks.

P.S. No one has sex inside the Tardis. Maybe next season.