Sovereign Hunt

Sovereign Hunt

This is a Tin.  This is a gold half sovereign.

I have hidden this tin.  I’ll leave a series of clues.  Finders keepers.

find out more

Spaghetti science fiction

I love science fiction. I love lo-fi and low tech production. I love cultural mashups in art and design, so naturally I love spaghetti science fiction.

I have discovered this sub-genre fairly recently. My introduction was Starcrash (or Female Space Invaders) made in 1973 starring Bond girl Caroline Munro and the architect of the fall of the Berlin wall and celebrity drunken burger-eater David Hasselhoff. On most rational levels of critique this film is a fail. Atrocious acting, bad CGI, an unintelligible plot, bad dialogue – all equate to a poor film. Yet Starcrash is amazing. The seventies aesthetic, the bad CGI, the derivative and unintelligible plot devices, the crazy set design and leatherette outfits, the bad dialogue; they all add up to create an amazing future-camp movie experience complete with deadly laser eye helmets, robotic assassins, space cops, outlaw smugglers and deep spiritual alien types. And did I forget to mention the appearance of Christopher Plummer in a ridiculous outfit phoning in a portentous monologue while probably thinking of the new patio he’ll get with his fee.

I was so impressed with Starcrash it was added to my very small list of films I have reduced down to GIF files:

* starcrash *


See the full set

The sixties and seventies saw many films produced in Italy, I presume because of cheap production costs and possibly to get round union issues – that is definitely the case for many of the spaghetti westerns shot in Italy and Spain – it was much cheaper to shoot in Europe with European actors and extras. What I never realized is that the Italian film industry also was a dab hand at knocking out science fiction too. Not exactly art, they would have Fellini spinning in his grave, but nonetheless for purveyors of cinematic trash a film such as Starcrash has it’s own qualities.

Bad sets, camp overtones (especially in the case of Starcrash) blatant plagiarism (Darth Vader clone ‘Lord Graal’ in The Humanoid) a bond girl (Caroline Munro in Starcrash and Barbara Bach in The Humanoid), a complete lack of any pacing, character development or plot all seem to be the touchstones of a classic spaghetti science fiction.

Below are trailers to three spaghetti science fiction films I have had the pleasure of watching recently. All three are unique in their own special way.

Starcrash, ultra camp future space adventures:

 

The Humanoid: Stars ‘Jaws’ from the Bond films and has an incredible Darth Vader rip:

 

2019: After the fall of New York: Quite an epic film managing to rip Mad Max, Escape from New York and probably a load of other seminal sci fi films:

http://youtu.be/SO7vyh8DE6Q

 

op

Perry :: sweet pears and their lovely juice.

It’s that time of year again.  It’s pressing time!  And this year I had the great fortune to be given a crop of perry pears.

Perry Pear

Last year I bought a workshop press with a 12 tonne hydrolic bottle jack to use as a press for making cider.  I managed to make some ok cider, and it gave me more confidence to experiment this year.  As said, I have been given some lovely perry pears (variety unknown).  So over the weekend I embarked on pressing them to get the lovely juice out.

The process of pressing I find incredibly enjoyable.  It involves firstly sorting the pears and disgarding any that are way beyond their best; washing them; mashing them; then pressing them.  Below shows the set up I have.

press

Once the pessing starts the juice collects in the plastic tray at the bottom.

close up of press

I’ve managed to get around 4 gallons of juice, which when measured had a gravity of 1.065 which works out to be a potential alcohol content of around 8% if the fermentation process is allowed to run its course, and no additional sugar is added.  I plan to allow this perry to be as natural as possible, so I will be relying on natural yeast rather than adding any years to the juice.  When I’ve done this in the past with cider I’ve had a good result.  I don’t wish to have a perry that is 8% as that would mean all the natural sugars have been converted into alcohol, and I’d like some sweetness to the flavour. So I will more than likely bottle early on and allow but will allow fermentation to continue in the bottle, which will give the perry a fizz!

perry

Above is the perry.  There is a weeks difference between the two on the left and on the right.  As can be seen the colouration changes as the sediment drops to the bottom.  Once the fermentation has got to the stage I am happy with I will syphon off the perry and put into smaller bottles.

I’ll report back once the whole process has had time to do it’s thing!

gh

Civil Disobedience :: Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau wrote Civil Disobedience in 1894, it can be seen as his response after being  arrested and spending time in Jail for none payment of Poll Tax.  With Local Authorities becoming more and more aggressive with regards to non payment of Council Tax, and people wondering exactly where their money is being spent, I feel that this essay is relevant today as it was when written.

Recently I spent some time looking into and investigating  “freeman movement” and lawful rebellion.  You can find a lot of information on the internet coming from a variety of different sources and points of views.  After trawling various sites and forums I realised that a lot of what was being said and hinted at within the freeman movement  (and lawful rebellion) had firm roots in Thoreaus Civil Disobedience.

Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the Church, and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself. “Pay,” it said, “or be locked up in the jail.” I declined to pay. But, unfortunately, another man saw fit to pay it. I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster; for I was not the State’s schoolmaster, but I supported myself by voluntary subscription. I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax bill, and have the State to back its demand, as well as the Church. However, as the request of the selectmen, I condescended to make some such statement as this in writing: “Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any society which I have not joined.” This I gave to the town clerk; and he has it. The State, having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church, has never made a like demand on me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find such a complete list.

The above is a direct quote.  As can be read Thoreau indicates that he hopes to extract himself from societies that his implied consent had made him a member.  This is incredibly similar to what Rob Menard, John Harris et al speaks of today.  In his first line Thoreau said he accepts the motto – That government is best which governs least – and further expands it to say  – That government is best which governs not at all.  It is clear from my reading of Civil Disobedience that Thoreau saw that there was a possibility that we as individuals and human beings should be able to go beyond democratic mob rule of governance we appear to be striving for:

Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly

Civil Disobedience was written 117 years ago.  Today in the UK we seem to be in exactly the same position, with regards to the State and governance.  It is clear that those who govern show very little respect to those who are “governed”.  So much so that we as individuals are not treated in a way that I would perceive to be correct.  Are we to accept that the style of Government that we are accustomed is the “best” and we should put up or shut up?  Should we not realise that those who are in Power are not there for the benefits of those who are being governed?

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator?

To me it seems barmy to hand over your life to the Legislator.  Legislations are created and changed and the majority are unaware of the implications of these changes. The trust that we put in the hands of the legislator is incredible (although it might be clear from this post that I don’t actually trust the legislator).  As more and more Legislations are created we as individuals are handing more and more of our freedom over.  We are essentially allowing our lives to be take from us.  I feel that it’s quite clear that the Legislature can not be trusted, and as such we should be making steps to remove ourselves from legislation, not encouraging more and more statutes, laws and bylaws to be created.  Generally once created these legislation’s are very rarely removed.

gh

Twitter :: Cut Up Technique.

I’ve been a fan of William S Burroughs for a long time.  His use of the Cut Up Technique in his writing has influenced me in music making, and also in experiments with writing.  The other day I had an inclination to create something that searched the tweetosphere and grab random “words” and put them together in some manner.

If you visit :: http://www.opensussex.net/cutup/ You’ll find my first attempt at this.  This is a very simple script.  Here is the Code.


$search = $_GET['search'];
$curl = curl_init();
curl_setopt ($curl, CURLOPT_URL, "http://search.twitter.com/search.json?q=".$search);
curl_setopt($curl, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
$result = curl_exec ($curl);
curl_close ($curl);
$result_de = json_decode($result,true);
$rnd_text = '';


foreach($result_de['results'] as $results){
$rnd_text = $rnd_text . $results['text'] . ' ';
}


$text_array = explode(" ",$rnd_text);
$code_out = '';


for($x =0; $x<20; $x++){
$rnd = rand(0,sizeof($text_array)-1);
$code_out = $code_out . $text_array[$rnd] . ' ' ;
}


echo $code_out;

It’s very simple, and doesn’t do a lot.  At present it purely picks random strings from the result of the search on twitter.  Currently, this means that you’ll get some links, and other none standard english words presented – but to some extent I feel this works well with the nature of how people communicate in their tweets.

Some Examples

H. @exmoorjane ;) semangaaat! RT Fanny katek fanny… often ;D Mommy more & klo !!! OMOO…… agreed, tapi hek

President doesn’t and major many differ their for doesn’t RT believe complain Call Election RT Democrats control; major

Es Unleashed and Chaos making なにそのRTこわいwwあかりちゃんは俺の嫁w this und exploded, @chaos_morning bei @chaos_morning Chaos zu …yes forced wenig anfangen.

please your uncle landing helping SMS. :P fire say how bought your “Uncle set the http://bit.ly/aAev9Q and :P #ÜberGeek this

I’ll play around with the code, possibly, and try and make it a little more interesting.  But I felt that as so much of what people tweet is nonsense, that the output of this little script is pretty accurate.

gh

Swine Flu :: Revisited

From the Independent, published 28th April 2010

Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline revealed a further boost from last year’s swine flu crisis today as it said H1N1 treatments helped first quarter sales surge 13 per cent.

here is the link – article

The article goes on to say that GSK made “£698 million” from the Swine Flue” vaccine.  So it seems what Gordon Brown and Mandelson promised has come to fruition, the big Pharmaceuticals are reaping the profits from a manufactured situation.

The Pharmaceutical industry has only one interest at it’s heart, and that is profiteering.  The only people the Pharmaceuticals need to appease are the share holders, if the corporation is not functioning to make maximum profits then the corporation is not functioning correctly.

I find it ironic that the media only have minor reports on such news events.  The whole hysteria over Swine Flu dominated the press for months, and then it just disappeared after the frenzy had occurred and enough of the product was sold to make the profits desired by the Pharmaceutical industry.

I wonder what the next “out break” will be?

gh