Planet MadDog

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

In the light of a number of US schools now teaching the theory of Intelligent Design (basically an opposing theory to Darwin's theory of evolution), why stop there? I'm sure there are a number of other equally valid theories that deserve to be taught to our kids.

I, for one, welcome our new Flying Spaghetti Monster overlord.

Posted by a very wacky MadDog on Thursday November 3, 2005 at 11:58:24 AM - 0 comments

"Protection detail's over, Kate"

I'm a big fan of NCIS. On the surface it looks like just another abbreviated-titled cop show, but I've always thought there was something about it that made it stand out from the crowd, and in the season 2 finale which aired here last night, I found out what that was. They killed off a major character.

As per usual when this sort of epic TV event happens, I hit the forums and TVTome (now called and read up on the reactions of the fans, as well as interviews with the creators and writers. Feedbacked ranged from the shocked and sad fans who kinda expected it but were upset that Kate was gone, to the angry fans who said that this was the worst thing they could have possibly done, that the show's not going to be the same and vowed never to watch it again.

The series creator, Don Bellisario, said he was hexpecting the backlash from the fans, but to all of the "fans" who said how crap it was that they killed Kate and they're not going to watch the show any more, think about it. First of all, whether Kate lived or died, it made no difference. Sasha Alexander wanted to quit the show for personal reasons, so she was leaving no matter what. Secondly, and more importantly, you've become bigger fans of the characters than you are of the show itself, and that's not good. I thought when they brought in McGee, that it was going to be lame, but he turned into a really good character. The writers are great and they pulled it off.

Killing off a main character is a ballsy move, but if the writers are talented, it can be a really good move. You grow an attachment to a character, and when that's suddenly taken away, you feel a huge emotional response. Now, thats a GOOD thing, people. Sure it makes you feel sad or angry, but thats why you watch these shows. They make you feel. Don't get angry at the writers, get angry at the terrorist for shooting her, and get behind Gibbs, DiNozzo and Co. and cheer them on as they get revenge (as they're bound to do).

It's kinda like on Buffy. Joss Whedon and the Buffy/Angel writers loved killing off major characters (however, unlike NCIS, they did it whether the actors wanted to leave the show or not), and the fans simultaneously hated and loved them for it, but in the end it made for a much better show. If Buffy fans stopped watching when they killed Tara, they would have missed the awesome series finale (which, in turn, didn't suffer at all despite Spike and Anya being knocked off in the last episode). I'd rather be taken on an emotional rollercoaster than to sit back and watch just another monster-of-the-week or procedural cop drama.

Thanks to the creators of NCIS for having the balls to add a kick to the story arc and kill Kate rather than have her resign or leave the show in some other boring way.

Posted by a very stuffy MadDog on Thursday September 22, 2005 at 2:44:21 PM - 1 comments

Magnetic AJAX Poetry

It's a giant virtual magnetic words set you might normally see on refrigerators. You know those collections of magnetic words that you can move around on your fridge to form sentances or haikus? Yeah, them. It's made with AJAX technology, so you are competing with other users around the world for use of the words you want, which can prove frustrating, but usually, if you're on to something good, people will leave you alone to see what you come up with. In the two minutes I spent playing with it, I witnessed such profound statements as "intrepid ceremonial animal love?" and "supernatural kitten movement!". Heavy.

Check it out.

Posted by a very creative MadDog on Wednesday June 8, 2005 at 10:25:22 AM - 0 comments

Creative advertising

When I say creative, I probably mean confusing, deceptive, or downright nonsensical, but hey, whatever works.

I am refering to the recent spate of television commercials which use some pretty weird tactics to suck you in, not so much from it's interesting or attention-grabbing content, but rather because you don't really know what the hell they're advertising until the very last minute... then BAM!

The first 30 second ad showed a woman at a pottery wheel. Classical music played in the background as the woman struggled with the lump of clay on her wheel. We are treated to scenes of failed pot, after failed vase, after failed bowl. Gradually she gets better and better until finally she has a perfect, complete pot sitting on the wheel in front of her. She sits back on her stool, smiling, and obviously proud of her good word as the voice-over lady speaks encouraging words to the effect of "Now you can treat vaginal thrush in one easy step".

And now I have just witnessed a 60 second ad that features a middle-aged couple ballroom dancing against a stary noir backdrop. A Tony Bennett-esque lounge soundtrack accompanies the couple as they dance gracefully across the varied settings: across a sweeping staircase, in front of a beautifully lit waterfall, with the camera panning across hot air baloons lit up like Christmas trees. Finally they arrive at an open stage, striking a finishing pose as the fireworks burst into a dazzling display of saturated colour. The voice over: "Learn to forget your erection problems. Contact us for a free information pack."

I didn't know whether to be impressed by the efforts of these advertising agencies, or angered at their sneaky tactics to get my attention, but in the end, especially since I've grown quite accustomed to subconciously filtering out most forms of advertising, I've really got to hand it to them.

Posted by a very slaphappy MadDog on Tuesday May 10, 2005 at 8:25:49 PM - 0 comments

Big Brother 05

It's Big Brother time again! I'm actually surprised my interest in the Big Brother phenomenon has held through to its fifth incarnation. I really don't know what the appeal is. I guess I still think its an interesting social experiment in contrast with the plethora of other reality TV offerings. I'm pretty much over the whole talent quest thing, My Restaurant Rules was interesting for a little while, and I've been too busy lately to watch much else on TV.

The main new twist for this year so far is the inclusion of identical twins taking turns in the house, trying to fool the housemates into thinking they are one person. A clever stunt which should be interesting to watch. Notice my use of bold and italics on "should", as good an idea this is, like Miriam last year, it may get tired pretty fast. I think they only have to keep it up for two weeks anyway, so it might be okay. The other twist mentioned thus far is the fact that the housemates will lose $1,000 from the total prize money for each breach of the rules. While clearly this is a sign of budget cuts, it will also be a good way to see who's playing the game, seeing who complains about "their" money being reduced. A few of the girls are easier on the eye this year too, which is always a good thing (especially on the Uncut shows).

Posted by a very tired MadDog on Tuesday May 10, 2005 at 10:46:21 AM - 1 comments

Babies a-poppin!

Well, only one baby really. My buddy, Jerzakie, is expecting his first child any minute now, and I am just excited to pieces for him.

I loved reading the latest entry on his blog, not so much for what he had to say, but mainly because it brought back so many memories of myself when I was in his shoes nearly 16 months ago. When Amy was almost ready to pop, I stopped worrying about what sort of a father I was going to be. At that time, of much greater concern was wondering what sort of world your children are going to grow up in. Every story on A Current Affair makes you either swear loudly at the television (a habit I've had to give up recently, now that Amy is repeating what we say), or shake your head, muttering phrases like "to hell in a handbasket" under your breath.

Of course, over time I've realised that like much like resistance against the Borg, worrying about the direction the world is heading in is futile, and more than 15 months later I've come to learn that there are more important things to worry about... like what sort of father I'm going to be.

Posted by a very excited MadDog on Friday May 6, 2005 at 9:53:44 PM - 4 comments

It is, how you say... pissing down.

Let me tell you a little bit about this bunged up weather we're having here. Some would say it's the start of another environmental catastrophy caused by climate changes, others might tell you its something much more simple, like the end of the world.

Freak weather has been rocking the shit out of the eastern states of Australia. Queensland has been getting some nasty dust storms up north, Sydney is being subjected to lightning and hailstones, whereas here in Victoria, it's just been pissing down.

The middle of Melbourne is flooded as you can see in the photo of the Yarra taken earlier today, a kid's gone missing, tens of thousands of homes have been without power, national and international airports have been blocked off, heavy snow has been falling in the alpine regions (despite temperatures of 36C just a few days earlier), a guy was injured in Ballarat when a tree fell on his car, a 10-year-old girl was pinned to her bed by a tree which crashed through the roof, winds of 120kms/h have been blowing in Tasmania, a 16-year-old Sydney schoolgirl was killed by a falling tree while on a school camp, a school building's roof was blows clean off, and dust storms in Queensland have cut visibility down to 100m in some areas.

Here in Shepparton, it's just been freezing cold and raining non-stop for the past 24 hours, and some strong winds reduced my heavy side gate to shattered planks of wood. Nothing too major but totally bizzare for the middle of summer and especially only a couple of days after a sweltering heatwave.

For more details on this nutso weather, check

Posted by a very wet MadDog on Thursday February 3, 2005 at 3:13:30 PM - 1 comments

I'm gunna party like it's my birthday...

It was my birthday yesterday. I'd like to end the post here, as I don't like to make a big deal about my birthday, but it's very fact that's making me keep typing.

I remember when I was a kid, and it was about a month until my birthday, I'd wake up, saying "one month until my biiiirthdaaaay" to everyone I saw. The next day it was "29 days until my biiiirthdaaaay". Lather, rinse, repeat until the big day when I'd totally spaz out. Birthdays were all about take-out for dinner, pressies and maybe even a sleep-over party with videos. They were the bomb-diggity. But then something changed. I went and did something stupid, something I swore I'd never do. I grew up.

I like to think that I'm still as childish as the next 10 year old. It helps me to keep my sanity when stressed, however staying childish is easy. It's maturing that cant be helped. I think I've found a pretty good blend of childishness and maturity which has helped me to start my own business, have full-time employment in a field that I enjoy, a wife that I love and a baby daughter that means the world to me. A little thing like not getting excited about birthdays is a small price to pay for all of this.

Forgive me for getting all introspective and self-indulgant, but hey, that's what birthdays are all about these days.

PS. Thanks for the link, Laura.

Posted by a very reflective MadDog on Friday December 3, 2004 at 9:31:58 AM - 1 comments

Up... DOWN!

Just a quick note to inform you all that Amy has now started mimicking noises we make. She's only doing the one at the moment. I do this thing with Amy where I hold her hands abover her head and say "up", then I pull them down to her sides and say "DOWN!". This usually gets a giggle or two, so I repeat until she gets bored with it, but in the last couple of days, Amy's been talking to herself, repeating the phrase "Uh... Daaahh! Uh... Daaahh!" in the exact same tone that I use. It's totally cute. That's all. :)

Posted by a very delighted MadDog on Friday November 5, 2004 at 8:10:57 PM - 1 comments

Well, technically I'm now unemployed

OW! I FEEL GOOD! NANANANANA.. etc...Here I am. I've just finished my last day in the job I've held for the last seven and a half years. I thought I'd pop on the old blog my thoughts and feelings at the moment, but to tell you the truth, I don't know how I'm feeling. I know for sure it's a good feeling and I know that I'm definately heading in the right direction, but it's also kind of sad to say goodbye in a way. I had a presentation in front of the editorial team for my farewell, where the company director said a lot of nice things about me and I was presented with a screaming, singing and dancing James Brown doll. This kind of totally mental gift suits me to the ground, so that's all good, however now a lot of people think that I'm a big James Brown fan. I've alredy used it to terrorise Amy, who I am now sure will develop a life-long fear of James Brown. I was also given a humourous, oversized card signed by a lot of people (mostly people I've never really worked with).

Looking forwaord, I start my new job on Monday, so there's no break in between, but I'm sure the first couple of weeks aren't going to be that tiring. Mostly orientation and getting up to speed with the organisation. As well as that, prospects for my freelance work are looking good, and I'm busy enough finishing off my CMS and the new version of OzChat, so I think I'll be kept rather busy for while.

Right now though, it feels kinda weird to think that I'm now unemployed (for the next two days at least).

Posted by a very resigned MadDog on Friday November 5, 2004 at 7:46:47 PM - 1 comments

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