about a new tv and some things on tv

I got a new TV. It’s an LG 4K dealy. It’s taking a while to get used to how it makes things look different. I’ve had this situation before, where the tech has got ahead of the performances transmitted through the tech. For eg. a couple of years ago I decided to watch the start episode of NCIS New Orleans. It had a couple of actors in it that I liked plus it’s an interesting city. For about the first 8 episodes of season one it was amusing how predictable the plots were. I could guess who the villain was. But then episodes got better and the plot arcs got longer. It’s the only show I can compare how it looked on the old tv and now on the new. It looks strange now. I can see how they’re just a bunch of actors standing on a set. The details are too clear.

We just finished watching the second season of The Man In The High Castle. One of the rare shows that has a complex storyline. As a sign of how life is changing, independently of eachother Je and I both admitted that we now identified with the Nazi parents, obergruppenfuhrer Smith and his wife (as opposed to identifying with younger people or whatever).

Lastly, it seems that everyone in the whole world except me politely ignored this little travesty from last Saturday’s AFL Grand Final, Dustin Martin giving a nazi salute. I don’t know if it was meant as a joke but it’s in poor taste.

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It’s not Philly

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Last week I finished my first term of proper teaching and getting paid for it. Not paid much mind you but it was all pretty stress-free and relatively enjoyable. Back in Korea most of the time I had to cajole the students into being interested in learning the Englishes. But if you live here and don’t know the language you know it as soon as you get to the bus stop.

My class was about half Aghan, half Karen-burmese and two Tibetan guys.

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In other news, Big Bash League cricket: making cricket watchable again.

Mad Rush by “Lucky Phil” Glass

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I <a href=”http://imgur.com/a/CvEvO/gallery”>came across</a> the rack of images that were sent off into space on the Voyager space craft. They have a great 70s retro feel and I particularly like this one above which I would informally title, “Food Party!”

Looking through the images I notice the lack of war/conflict photos and how that sits with the interestingly worded statement by the then World President Jimmy Carter — basically saying ‘we hope we can work our shit out and join you’. You’d think they would have at least included a photo of a mushroom cloud.


I am presently watching Breaking Bad. I held off for this long because I wasn’t interested in watching a TV show glamourising crystal meth, and I still don’t like the way it’s portrayed – use of it seems way too casual. In the second season it’s showing heroin use as being more addictive than meth use which seems wrong to me. Although it is a fairly well written show. I guess I’m fairly critical of it because it so hyped when it was running. I don’t know if using different coloured clothes to symbolise different states of mind of walter white qualifies it as the best tv show of the decade.


I still prefer watching stuff where I’m not expecting much and it delivers more. Like, thru the winter, revisiting The Professionals, which was on when I was a kid. British TV shows like this have such a sense of understatement.

I didn’t take any screenshots because I was watching and didn’t want to interrupt myself but I did note things which would’ve been good screenshots. Use your imagination.

  • Gordon Jackson as Cowley – the original hardarse boss, especially in the 1st season. He only got one episode about him – I guess he was too old and unsexy for the audience — great actor though.
  • Lewis Collins as Bodie – Collins was basically playing a Daniel Craig-class Bond character in an era when all we had was a discoball Bond. RIP.
  • <shot of characters with background of clear blue sky that looks green> The version of the series I found on the great river that is the internet was from the original prints which had aged and yellowed, making London look pretty crusty. But I like it and apparently the remastered dvds look bad.
  • <shot from late season 4, Doyle wearing a t-shirt and light-coloured blazer> I.E. doing the Miami Vice look before Miami Vice had even started. There’s no doubt Michael Mann saw The Professionals and was influenced by the triangular chief and two cop buddies format. Miami Vice had a lot more noir-ish baddies-get-killed endings than The Professionals but the connection is visible.
  • The essence of the understatement: CI5 cops have to drive budget but still sporty cars -> Ford Capri and Escort. Also being creative with budget; doing on-foot chases instead of with cars. Running through building sites, abandoned factories, across rooftops – 1970s parkour.

There was virtually no drop off in the quality of stories either. Season 5 finished and that was it. Nearly every other show I’ve watched that spanned more than three years I can’t remember how it ends up because I lose interest. Not so with The Professionals.

The Four Of Us Are Dying

I haven’t been watching much old TV but one thing I have been going through from its very start is the original Twilight Zone TV series. It’s pretty damn impressive. The first season was _waaaay_ back in 1959 and a lot of the story lines still stack up well. It’s far back enough that almost none of the actors in it cross over into other tv shows from the mid to late ’60s that I’ve seen. The only exception so far was the episode title <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_Are_Alike_All_Over”>People Are Alike All Over</a> that has an actress who later went on to also appear in the pilot for the original series or Star Trek. Funnily enough the pilot leaned heavily on the storyline of the Twilight Zone ep.

There’s been several episodes dealing with the Cold War that I would’ve thought would be too touchy to talk about then plus a bunch of plum science-fiction speculative ideas that were really impressive. The fifties really were a highpoint for SF in book form so it must’ve rolled on into other media too.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/14208550170″ title=”whatyouneed by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5495/14208550170_a776750d79_o.png” width=”339″ height=”253″ alt=”whatyouneed”></a>

Maybe it’s partly the silver-screen effect but the women seemed really beautiful then too. Interesting hairstyles or whatever. I dunno. The above image was schlepped from the TZ wikia site and is from the episode titled ‘What You Need’. I could’ve hunted it down myself but that would mean turning on the other computer.

The title of this here blog post is actually the name of one of the episodes which was also used by the band Nine Inch Nails as a song title _48 years_ later. To me that’s a great example of how edgy the Twilight Zone was for a TV show. And as such it was stuffed away in the Friday night 10 to 10:30pm timeslot. Wouldn’t want anyone actually seeing it now would we?

That particular episode contained lashings of noir/Hitchcock style lop-sided frame shots and as it happens is available to view on yootoob.

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In some ways a good comparison is the X-Files except the Twilight Zone probably had a lot less budget and crammed all its goodness into half an hour. In fact it seems like Rod Serling did a lot of the sourcing, adapting and writing for the first season himself. So the next time I hear The Simpsons or something parodying his quirky narration style I’ll have a better appreciation for how ahead of its time the Twilight Zone was.


In hindsight The Black Keys don’t need me promoting their new album. Mainstream media seems to be doing a fine job of that thankyou. After a few listens I’m kind of underwhelmed by it too. I should qualify that by saying that I didn’t really like their album before that either. I mean, it was okay _but not as good as their early stuff._ I know there’s only so many places you can go when you just got a guitar and drums, and that was always the thing about the earlier albums; as good as they were, I could only listen to an album and a half before the structures were all too samey. I was listening to the Turn Blue album while washing the dishes and in that dumb way that iTunes does, it started playing the next thing straight after. The next thing was the El Camino album and I tell ya I didn’t know it. ie there’s no difference in the sound of the two albums.

With Turn Blue, some of the production aspects (that this chap danger mouse contributed) sound tacked on. Also as a wannabee bass player the bass sound they used on several tracks sounds really unenthusiastic. And lyrically it’s heavily influenced by Dan’s relationship break-up with some famous woman. Jilted/love songs will always be popular but a little hard for me to relate to in this part of my life.

But I’ll be constructive. So what could have they done? Five or whatever albums of good, raw guitar & drums -> it’s obvious that they had to broaden their sound somehow. I think I would’ve tried some sort of non crowd-pleasing, long concept album. They’ve earned enough money/fame to do something really nutty so why not go for it? For posterity’s sake I’ll include this pic of Dan _Uber_gene unintentionally (0((()(??????)())))) getting his Hitler on. This could’ve been the look that tipped them in a whole new musical direction.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/14208277010″ title=”Dan UBERbach by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5036/14208277010_184e79052c_o.jpg” width=”608″ height=”465″ alt=”Dan UBERbach”></a>

area man frequently reminds friends he doesn’t own a TV

You know I don’t watch that much TV but when I do I find myself lamenting the state of television commercial advertising. Problem one is that I guess networks offer companies deals like ‘if you only advertise with us we’ll give you a discount’ so, if you only happen to watch one or two channels then you see the same lame ads over and over. And I mean that literally sometimes. I saw the same 15second ad being played twice in a row the other day, multiple times. Man that’s sad. That reminds me of country TV when I was a kid.

The second problem is that there’s little creativity evident.There’s nothing memorable. Even if you don’t remember the product and just remember the ad then that’s a win in my book. The only locally made ads that are worth mentioning are “compare the meerkat.com” and this one below, which I just found out is pretty old (2011) and I only saw during late-night programming. I like to think of it as, “Ohh, Fail!”

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Alcohol companies are the only ones that seem to have money for advertising and the key concept of all of them is _nostalgia_. An ‘Ohh Fail!’ of a different kind is the Carlton Draught <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnNX8SsKF18″>”beer chase”</a> commercials (featuring Dr.Julian Bashir from Deep Space 9) because unless they’re going for a global market why would they film Australian ads in LA?

On the other hand I do really like <a href=””>the</a> <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME6lagbMI0w”>two</a> Southern Comfort ads. Great choice of music.

Dick Smith 38.5″ (98cm) Full HD LED LCD TV: review

This may seem boring but I just wanted to do a quick review of this thing. I already did one on the dick website but I probably should’ve waited until I had a much fuller understanding of it before posting there since once you do one review of a thing you can’t update it or do another.

I was kind of shocked and annoyed to come from one of the electronic gadget nexuses, south korea, to here and find that TVs are cheaper here. We actually brought our old (only 1 year old) TV with us but I was lazy and assumed it wouldn’t work here. So I went and got this *Dick TV* for 350 bucks, which seemed pretty damn cheap. And it’s ok I guess. The only immediately noticeable downside was that the remote control is pretty rubbish. It has to be pointed right at the TV to work and the lag between when you press a button and when it actually does anything is …. large. It has a PVR (personal Video Recorder) built in but let me tell you — it’s absolute rubbish. I think I had a less that 505 success rate with it properly recording what I wanted. And the thing is, you don’t bother recording something unless you actually want to watch it, so when you go to check it and see that it didn’t work — then that’s pretty damn disappointing.

I eventually got around to plugging in the korean (brand named, “Square”) TV and found that the analog channels setting worked. We took a punt on it and got a cheap ($55) digital set top box – and presto – the old TV works. And now that I see them closer together, I can see that the Dick TV’s picture is not all that great.

The set top box, from a company named Bush (It’s Sydney or the Bush, Charlie Brown) is pretty good. On occassion the signal gets really glitchy, and that didn’t happen with the Dick TV, so maybe it’s the longer connection cables – I don’t know, but the channels change faster and the PVR built into it _works_.

I don’t watch that much TV. The kind of programming I find to contain the least amount of idiocy is sport, including football. I never thought I’d be watching footy regularly but it helps when your team is winning regularly, and is on at a convenient time, like Saturday night. Because they only have commercials after goals it works out that there’s less ad breaks than other TV and the ads between quarters can be avoided entirely. A week and a half ago I watched a footy game on Saturday night then the German F1 Grand Prix the next night, and as much as I like motor racing, I have to say that the footy game was much more exciting.

Anyway, in conclusion to myself, while I don’t watch that much TV, that that I do watch I like to enjoy properly so spending a bit extra on getting a decent telly is one of those decisions that pays off in the end.

alien autopsy-turvey

Lately I’ve been tempted to put an ‘amazon wishlist’ widget on here but there’s no way I can justify asking people to buy stuff for me when all I am doing is being a lazy bugger and not offering up anything of use to anyone at all. However, if I was not a lazy bugger and was in-fact contributing something to universal human endovour then right now I’d be asking the universe to furnish me with a DVD copy of <a href=”http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/59122/korg-70000-bc-the-complete-series-warner-archive-collection/”>Korg: 70,000 B.C.</a>.

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I remember seeing an episode or two of this on BTV6 Ballarat back in the dark ages when I was a little kid. I was reminded of it recently when watching part of a new release movie, _10000 BC_, which is shite. It’s pretty much irrefutable in my book, old rubbish is better than new rubbish. It’s a shame that given what the internet is capable of that buying a 25buck dvd is the only way I can watch Korg.

The Matter Transporter Affair

Things are moving along nicely. After the previously mentioned workplace change comes the necessary change of digs. Most jobs in this line of work provide a place as part of the package, but some don’t and this is one that don’t. It’s a good thing because greater choice is always a good thing. And for me, this time it’s not just me looking. J-e is looking with me because we’re planning to live together. So we’ve been looking at the area halfway between her work and mine. We saw a bunch of places yesterday and the one that came out on top looks like a goer. It’s still ridiculously small, as many places are here, but it has a mezzaniney loft thing for sleeping. A bit like living in a giant bunk-bed where the lower bed has a kitchen and bathroom built in.

God knows I’ve moved about 20 times too many in my life and while I wouldn’t really call myself a hoarder, I do acquire things with good intentions but then the things turn out to be not quite how I hoped they would and rather than passing them on I let them sit, occupying space. Space-shifting living creatures from one place to another is, apparently, quite hard but I don’t understand why they haven’t achieved it with inanimate things yet.


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Here’s a couple of things I’m liking at the moment.

Brazilian music. Specifically, the album ‘Lado A Lado B’ by a rap-rock style group called O Rappa. It’s from 1998 and rap-rock as a pigeonhole doesn’t really do it justice. It’s got nice chord changes and the guy’s singing style really sticks out as catchy and melodic.

This one song, attached below, was part of the soundtrack of a Rio de Janeiro film named _Elite Squad – The Enemy Within_ which I would also recommend if you like brutal action movies with voice-over exposition.

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I’m still very slowly watching through the second season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I was just reading the wikipedia entry on it and it says that each season was headed-up by a different person, and that partly explains the difference between the first season, which was mostly serious, and this 2nd, which is a bit more hammed up. It also says that due to the popularity of the 60s version (obviously) of the Batman TV series, the 3rd season of Uncle continued the campy style. I’m looking forward to that. At least I think I am — hopefully it doesn’t overbalance.

I’m liking the musical scoring in it, and how a lot of the guest actors were both on this and in The Original Series of Star Trek. Eg. Ricardo Montalban, with his exquisite, exotic villain accent. And in ‘The Foreign Legion Affair’ had Howard Da Silva and a scene where you had an English actor doing a Russian accent, an American actor doing a French accent and another American doing an English accent.

Sunny Breaks salutes: Angela Lansbury

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The Deadly Toys Affair, a second season episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E had Angela Lansbury as one of its guest stars, and she pretty much stole the show. At this stage of the Uncle series its starting to go more over the top and she was really hamming it up. That was 1965. I love the pillarless sedans of 1965. UNCLE is full of them. So was The Invaders. I was thinking Lansbury must have had a pretty good run if that was the 60s and Murder She Wrote was 80s. But after looking up her filmog on wikipedia I see that that was only part of it. Born in 1925! Even still being alive is an achievement, but actually _doing stuff_ on top of that?: Ms. Lansbury we salute you.

I don’t know what it would’ve been like growing up during the war. But that aside, 1925 would have been a pretty choice time to be born–being 25 at 1950, especially in boomtime, US. Mostly I’m thinking the west coast, Leo Fender, the Telecaster, the colour called <a href=”http://www.gbase.com/gear/fender-telecaster-custom-shop-1996-mary-kay-w”>Mary Kay</a>. I don’t know why they call it that.

stockholm syndrome

Yes I know the most recent episode of top gear purposefully, erroneously referred to this. Message to them: the ‘it’s technologically impressive so it lacks soul’ routine is boring. Say something new.

The only good bits in that whole six eps were 1) Rowan Atkinson: he’s such a great speaker – voice, intonation and vocab. He could’ve easily gone into politics. Why not Atkinson for President of UK? He could sort their mess out. And 2) the 2011 nissan GT-R: technological excellence.


Perhaps as another indicator that I want to go back is I’ve been browsing through used cars on an australian website. Funny considering I don’t have a driver’s license. The don’t seem that expensive.

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What about this 1989 mazda mx-5? Only five and a half thousand and can probably go lower. Sporty. Easy on petrol… but even a friendless weirdo like me would eventually end up in a situation where I had more than one other person to transport, so two seats seems rather limiting.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6020543310/” title=”1998-wrx by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6148/6020543310_33b4d35693_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”183″ alt=”1998-wrx”></a>

What about this 1998 subaru impreza? From subaru’s rally years. Sporty. 4 doors. A bit more expensive at $9000 but only 190K kms on the clock – not bad for these.

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Lo! But what’s this? A beige (biscuit, officially) 1981 volvo 244 for only $1200? The bourgy middle-classness is perverse yet enticing, like slipping into a bath of luke-warm baked beans. The only real cars my family had during my childhood were two volvo 245 stationwagons, one after the other during the early/mid 80s. I can remember when I first sat in the first one and being amazed by how many buttons were on the central console — it was like K.I.T from Nightrider! As I got to teenagerdom being in and being seen in a volvo was less fun but it’s one of those smaller things that made me who I am. Maybe owning one of these things would be a way of reowning and setting straight that part of my life.

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