15th of Blaugust – M – Mahjong

Not much text to this one because I have classes and will being too busy also playing Japanese Riichi Mahjong. So I thought I would share a brilliant comprehensive resource for playing Riichi Mahjong. A warning though. All four videos easily add up to an excess of 3 and a half hours.

And now for part 2:

And now for part 3:

And finally part 4:

So there we go. Hopefully you know the whole game inside out. Although we preper to follow this sheet of Yaku which one of our fellow Blaugusters has compiled. So now you should be versed enough to play Mahjong in Adelaide.

But one word of caution: DO NOT EVER LET ANYONE CONVINCE YOU TO USE FLOWERS! EVER!

14 of Blaugust – L – Last Week Tonight

After Game of Thrones had wrapped up for another year there was a vacancy left in my Monday evenings. Before then it used to be a ritual. I’d get home from my Tafe class (usually an hour early because I had finished all the work) then go fetch the latest Game of Thrones from some corner of the internet (there was no way I giving a cent of my money to Foxtel after their attempt of extortion), sit back relax and watch some slaying and debauchery. Wheat was I going to do with my time after it was all over? Eventually I stumbled upon a few YouTube vids of another HBO show hosted by John Oliver (who used to appear on The Daily Show with John Stewart). The most famous one being it’s roast of our Prime Minister, Tony Abbot.

It pipped my interest that this might be a show worth catching up on and I am so I grabbed every episode I could find and started watching Last Week Tonight. It’s a weekly half our current events comedy programme where the host John Oliver has been allowed a free reign to cover whatever he likes. I like the approach he has taken by using comedy to highlight some really important issues that are happening in the world. He even had the guts to cover both the death penalty and poor prison conditions in the US. Here is his segment on Net Neutrality that shows exactly how deep the influence of how the government is deep in the cable internet companies pockets.

Here is his perfect summary of the climate change debate.

In the latest episode John Oliver did turned his focus on the Payday Loan system and how it exploits the vulnerable.

I highly suggest that you watch this series as it highlights many things that are wrong in our society and also doesn’t treat their viewers like complete idiots. We don’t need mind numbing faff to entertain us at all. It’s definitely filled my Game of Thrones void. If you know how to get many US shows and don’t exactly care of the legalities then go ahead and get them. If you want to take the safe route, then a huge amount of segments are on the official YouTube channel.

13th of Blaugust – K – K’nex thing I won on Sunday

On Sunday night I was at Ultracade, which was kinda cool. It was a game themed night at the La Boheme Cocktail bar complete with gaming themed music and retro tournaments. I managed to come second in the Super Mario Kart tournament and so I managed to score this with compliments to Shin Tokyo.

It’s quite clearly a K’nex Mario Kart Wii motorcycle and because I was hard stretched to find something beginning with K to blog about it seemed to fit the mould. So I thought I would put it together step by step and you could all follow along.

Step 1: Put what clearly look like Lego bricks together.

Step 2: Add another layer of clearly-not-Lego bricks.

Step 3: Now we have some actual K’nex pieces. Make sure you attach that wheel good and proper!

Step 4: Attach giant moulded plastic bit to rear wheel bit. Don’t forget your exhaust pipe.

Step 5: Now we attach front wheel to the ready supplied front section. Attach front section to back. Don’t forget the handle bars.

Step 6: Put the Mario minifig-rip-off on your bike.

Step 7 (Not labeled as a step but it really should be): Attach your stickers and congratulations! You’re done!

All in all it wasn’t that hard to put together and felt more like Lego than a K’nex set. Is Lego really that popular that an already established toy brand has to rip them off?

Well that’s another one down. Tune in tomorrow where I discuss a new show that I’ve been really into of late.

12th of Blaugust – J – Jumanji

I was initially unsure what to do my post for J on. And then I just discovered the news of Robin Williams’ passing. He had made a large contribution to film and comedy. My personal favourite of his films will always be Good Morning Vietnam. However, in keeping with my Blaugust theme I will be talking about the 1995 movie Jumanji.

I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with this fils having been a child of the nineties like myself. But it goes something like this. A child by the name of Alan Parish comes across an ancient mysterious board game called Jumanji and convinces his friend Sarah to play with him. Sarah’s first role summons bats (which don’t yet appear) but Alan’s first role has him sucked into the board game until another player roles a five or an eight. This and the appearance of the bats scares Sarah silly. Fast forward 26 years and two more kids stumble upon the game and decide to have a go. Unknowingly they are playing the same game. Amongst other scary things happening, a five is rolled and Alan finally returns as an adult (as as Robin Williams). They all decide the only was to fix all the terifying events is to finish the game proper so they go find Sarah who has been in hiding and convince her to join in as the game won’t let anyone else have their turn. A hilarious safari hunter (who manages to out act everyone in this film) is brought out of the game that tries to kill Alan and other events happen so that special effects companies Industrial Light & Magic and Amalgamated Dynamics can smother the film with impressive ways to try to win an Academy Award. Eventually Alan wins the game and all is reset back to when Alan and Sarah were kids and they all live happily ever after.

I remember a huge amount of kids in my class absolutely loving this film when it came out. I don’t know why to be honest. I thought it was ok. It was definitely watchable and the effects were good I guess. I just didn’t think it was a masterpiece. Perhaps the hype over this film was just so we could watch it in class after it came out on video and not do any work. Films in school were way rarer then they are today. Nowadays it’s here a film study, there a film study, everywhere a film study film study. Perhaps it was that safari hunter Van Pelt. He was an absolute scream after all.

11th of Blaugust – I – Iron Chef

A few years ago I used to watch this show quite diligently. I didn’t care that they were obviously repeats from the 90’s. I was always rooting for the challenger to be able to take down the Iron Chef!

Iron chef was a Japanese cooking show show originally by Fuji Television. It originally aired from 1993 through to 1999 with two specials in 2000 and 2002. I’m pretty sure the shows opening could explain the concept better than I can.

It was the dubbing from the US food network that really ramped up the camp-ness of this show for me. Yet they would still keep Chairman Kaga subtitled for his epic announcements.

There were three regular Iron chefs. Japanese, French and Chinese. But some episodes featured an Italian Iron Chef. Over time some of these chefs changed over and there were seven all up.

They tried to make the coverage much like a sport. There was a commentary team, sideline reporters and action replays. Even the studio itself was termed “Kitchen Stadium!”

There was always a theme ingredient and most of the time it was something unappetising. Even if it was something appealing the food ended up being pretentious and still unappetising. But it was all still very entertaining. After he hour was up and all meals had been prepared it was time for the judging. There was a mix of judges but there was one who appeared more ofter then most.

Kishi Asako was labelled the “East German” judge because of how critical she was. Especially to the challengers. She always appeared to give the highest marks to the iron chefs, even when the challenger would win. She probably was a nice person but the voice they got to dub for her was alway really uptight.

All it all it was a very entertaining show and I will watch it if it’s on. I think it still appears on one of the SBS channels every now and then and some episodes are even on YouTube so you should probably check it out.

10th of Blaugust – Alphabet Free Sunday – Randomness

This is going to be an incredibly scrappy post at best because there really hasn’t been any planning into what I’m going to write. So I’m just going to babble on about things as they come to me.

We’re getting into the harder letters when it comes to Blaugust. Last week the themes managed to go togethor quite well to the point that I had everything organised for the week last sunday but I haven’t given it a great deal of thought this time around. So if you have any suggestions I will quite probably be taking them on board.

In response to my Dr. Mario post from tuesday Thom posted a comeback by doing level 20 on the NES version which I was impressed by. I did another comeback by trying to do level 0 all the way through level 20. I got up to level 20 then immediately bombed out. It was still a valiant effort and I might put it on YouTube one day. Or I can try again to possibly go one better.

I got quite a reputation for my Fanfiction on Thursday to the point that people were just expecting me to do H for Hentai. I can’t draw and I also didn’t really want to go that far.

I also got comments on my Eurovision post with complaints that I didn’t put certain song entries in. You know you’ve made a top ten when people say, “What? I can’t believe you didn’t have…”

So I’m sick of tyipng as I have other things to do now.

Tune in tomorrow for I. If I don’t get something to cover it may even be about Indecision the way things are going.

9th of Blaugust – H – Homestar Runner

Everybody loves the Homestar Runner. He’s a teriffic athlete! He was also the face of a brilliant flash animated website back in the early 200’0s.

However it was the Mexican werstling counterpart that made the website famous. The once regular Strongbad Emails contain so many quotables that they are almost of Simpon levels with people that I know. Even when getting onto this computer that I’m borrowing to write this I get told that the system is old. I instantly respond by saying “the system is down,” and nearly breaking into song.

Unfortunately, like all good things, they had to come to an end. And so was the story of the Homestar Runner website. However all the animations are still up on the website (in which the full screen homestar runner firefox extention is essential for seeing them perfectly). It is also something that refuses to go away.

For example somebody took this one song…

…and managed to remix it into the last Daft Punk album!

The creators even decided to finally update the intro to the website as an April fools joke.

As a result of the positive feedback they may even consider starting back up again. That would be simply brilliant.

Because I’m writing this at someone elses house after hijacking a PC I think I should probably end this. I will just leave you with my favourit of all the Strong Bad emails. Technology!

8th of Blaugust – G – Grace, Jeff Buckley

Grace is an album put out by Jeff Buckley. To be more accurate, the only album put out by Jeff Buckley. The story of Jeff Buckley is a sad one to be honest. His album was never that big in his home country of the US when it came out in 1994 but it did catch on everywhere else, especially in Australia and France. He also was in the middle of writing and recording his follow up that he went for an evening swim in the Wolf River in Tennessee and ended up drowning. Ever since then he has been just like one of those artists that became more famous after they have died.

I decided to listen to the entire album and just type my thoughts as I was listening. I decided on saying no to iTunes as well and play it on (what can now be considered as) the old fashioned CD.

Track 1 – Mojo Pin

The eery start that moves between to the light shuffle-esque rhythm of the verse to the mid-heavy acoustic straight chorus imtermixed with the accelerating thrash climaxes. A great start for the listen to get in the mood of what is to come.

Track 2 – Grace

After the intro of the first track the start of the titular song throws you deeper into the emotional atmosphere of the whole recording. The compound guitar interludes circle around my head as Jeff Buckley’s voice kicks back in with his tails of despair. This is definitely an album you listen to as loud as you can when you’re in a feeling of complete woe and don’t wish to be disturbed. As Jeff Buckley gives one last wail you wait in anticipation for the next track.

Track 3 – Last Goodbye

Once again, to be thrown back in to the emotional roller-coaster! Last Goodbye is a song clearly about the sad end that is the eventual rejection from what used to be a close relationship. The strings that are are introduced at the halfway point seem to reenforce the sense of conclusion to the singers situation.

Track 4 – Lilac Wine

This soliloquy is dedicated to the joys and sorrows of resorting to the bottom of the next beverage. There is a lush sense to this song but still seems to also give the impression of a hangover. Yet with those consequences you can still feel the feeling of enjoyment.

Track 5 – So Real

But then the reality sets in. As the time signature swaps between 4/4 and 3/4 throughout the verses you get the really uneasy sense. But then the slow thrashing Rock Chorus kicks in and you know the feeling of despair is not going away.

Track 6 – Hallelujah

This is the recording he was most famous for. It’s a cover of the classic song by Leonard Cohen but an incredibly good one. It seems to break out the darkness of the previous track by grabbing your attention and never letting go. Even the breath at the start ads to the atmosphere of the whole piece.

Track 7 – Lover You Should’ve Come Over

They managed to find a way out of that piece by juxtaposing with a wistful Accordion intro into a this lush rock waltz all about a romantic yearning. It is a heavy yet positively uplifting piece (in the sense of Jeff Buckley anyway) that just just plucks away at your heart strings.

Track 8 – Corpus Christi Carol

This is Jeff Buckley’s interoperation of english composer Benjamin Britten’s ‘A Boy was Born’ (1933) setting of a middle age hymn first discovered in 1504. Yet it doesn’t feel out of place in the slightest. The sole voice and guitar atmosphere just seems like it made sense.

Track 9 – Eternal Life

Then is transisions back into a deep, heavy and grungy thrash-a-thon. This is actually my favourite track on the whole album when I listen to it. It manages to throw you through a whirlwind of pride and despair in only a way that Jeff Buckley can.

Track 10 – Dream Brother

The final track starts instantly putting you in that eerie setting it was in when it started but manages to crank that feeling up to eleven by introducing the fear factor. As the instrumental section comes in you are left wondering where and how this is going to conclude. It’s a disturbingly great and solid finish to the album as it fades down before the final verse leaving you in a state of complete focus to go on with your life as if it was all just a dream.

It was great to play it from start to finish as I have not actually done that with this album for a few years. It made me long for a time before the iPod made everyone get lazy by shuffling their entire song catalog. I still think there is a place for the well constructed album.

I implore you to set aside time to do nothing but just listen all the way through an entire Album. I don’t care what it is or who it is by. Whatever you do, do not skip. Just take it all in.

7th of Blaugust – F – Fanfiction (Warning: NSFW)

Firstly I apologise for the abomination in writing that is about to follow. But I still wish to horrify you all with what is fan fiction. Specifically slash fiction. Rather than explain it I thought I would have a go myself. Here is the start of something I came up with based off the Disney movie Frozen.

~

A Steamy Night to Remember

It was a cold winters night in the Mountains of Arendelle. Kristoff was hard at work pulling the freshest batch of ice for his next sale. Although the Queen Elsa had mastered her ice magic, she was kind enough to not put the ice workers out of their line of work.

“Gee Sven! It sure is a big storm tonight,” Kristoff wailed as he toiled long through the night. The blizzard was getting stronger and the two were really getting exhausted. “If only we could find somewhere to stop for the night. Then we could get some hard earned rest and start fresh tomorrow.”

Eventually Kristoff came into view with what he was after. “There it is Sven. Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna. If we make it then I can get some carrots for you.” Although he was pleased he still let out a disappointed sigh. “The only thing missing is my little Anna.”

After he tied up Sven and gave him his well earned snacks, Kristoff walked up to the front desk. “Hello there,” came the friendly welcome from behind the desk. “My name is Oakden and welcome to Oakden’s Trading Post and Sauna. You must be very cold, but not to worry. I can make you all warm and snug again.”

“I was wondering if you had anywhere I could stay for the night,” Kristoff asked. “You see, I’ve been pulling that Ice sled all day and night and I’m completely exhausted!”

“Not to worry,” replied Oakden. “I have some spare rooms for just this purpose. In fact I’ll even let you have a complimentary sauna if you stay the night!”

“Why that would be perfect!” Kristoff was relieved. “With the sauna I could relieve my aching joints and be completely revived to get back to the town tomorrow. I may even get back to meet up with Anna by lunchtime.”

“Aaaahh, the Princess Anna! What a delightful young thing,” Oakden gushed. “If only someone as graceful was able to come by more often. You ice workers are the only people that seem to stop by here with me being so far up in the mountains. It would be so nice to have someone to keep me company.”

“Well if you like you could always join me in the Sauna,” Kristoff exclaimed desirably. “I wouldn’t mind the extra company myself!”

“You should not joke about these things,” Oakden replied sassily, “or one day someone might just take you up on your offer.”

After a long pause, Kristoff summed up how he had been missing intimacy lately and was feeling lucky. “Who said I was joking?”

“If that’s what you would like then come with me. If you can handle it that is.” Oakden was leading Kristoff into the Sauna. “But be warned that it can get incredibly HOT in there.”

“Perhaps I was born to take it hot Oakden!”

“Ooooh Kristoff! Looks like I’m going to have plenty of fun with you…”

~

I think that might be as far as I’m willing to take this Frozen Kristoff/Oakden slash fiction before you all get too horrified. Let’s just say that I think they both need their privacy for the time being. I swear that the rest of Blaugust won’t be anywhere near as horrifying as what I have just created.

6th of Blaugust – E – Eurovision

The Eurovision song contest has been going since 1956 and was originally meant to be a way of bringing everyone in Europe together and increase relations after the second world war. All the countries participating would vote on their favourite song to decide the winner who would host the contest the next year. However, there was one big oversight regarding the peace and friendly competition. Because it was a contest it became hotly contested and political right from the start.

In 1956 all countries were allowed to vote for themselves, which became a problem when the voting party from Luxembourg were unable to make it to the contest. Instead, they let the Swiss voting party vote on Luxembourg’s behalf. Can you guess who they gave their votes to? I’ll give you a hint, Switzerland ended up winning that year and no second or third place holders were announced. Probably because it turned out something like this.

1st Place: Switzerland who received votes from Switzerland and Luxembourg (by proxy from Switzerland).
Equal 2nd Place: Every other country that just voted for themselves (with exception of Switzerland and Luxembourg).
Last Place: Luxembourg who received no votes.

To be fair, each country did present two songs that year. So it probably wasn’t that simple. However it forced the rule that you couldn’t vote for your own country. So instead all the countries just vote for their neighbouring countries.

Yes, the voting is crazy. But that’s not why I like Eurovision. I like it for the incredibly poor quality of songs. You see, I love a good train wreck. So here are my top 10 trainwercks ever presented at the Eurovision Song contest (that I have come across). This was only going to be a top 5, but there was just too much to choose from.

#10: Ukraine 2007 – The Most Perplexing Thing You Will Ever See
(Finished 2nd out 24 of in the Final with 268 Points)

#9: Norway 1978 – The Single Reason Norway Are Famous For Being The Worst At Eurovision
(Finished 20th out of 20 with 0 Points)

#8: Austria 1977 – Most Offensive Song to Australians and Everyones Eyes
(Finished 17th out of 18 with 11 Points)

#7: Germany 1998 – The Song For All Of You With Short Attention Spans
(Finished 7th out of 25 with 86 Points)

#6: Bulgaria 2009 – Worst Way to Make Your Ears Ring in Pain
(Finished 16th out of 18 in the 1st Semi Final with 7 Points and Failed to Progress to the Final) 

#5: Czech Republic 2008 – Worst Produced Soundtrack in Human History
(Placed 18th out of 19 in the 2nd Semi Final with 9 Points and Failed to Progress to the Final)

#4: Spain 2006 – Worst Attempt When It Comes To Making an Effort
(Finished 21st out of 24 in the Final with 21 Points)
Spain Automatically Qualified for The Final as a “Big 4” Country

#3: United Kingdom 2003 – Worst Attempt At Singing In Tune
(Finished 26th out of 26 with 0 Points)

#2: Estonia 2008 – Most Catastrophic Attempt At Humour
(Finished 18th out of 19 in the 1st Semi Final with 8 Points and Failed to Progress to the Final)

#1: Israel 2000 – Most Orwellian Performance and Quite Clearly The Worst Song Ever
(Finished 22nd out of 24 with 7 Points)
Tune in tomorrow where I attempt to assault your eyes with what would quite possibly be the worst story ever written.