awmperry: (andrew)
2013-11-28 01:45 pm
Entry tags:

Another day on the hunt


Going in for an appointment with my new handle at Arbetsförmedlingen. Didn't even know I'd been resigned until I got summoned to a meeting earlier this week, which is par for the course.

 

who knows, perhaps this one will be able to help me find a job. Seems more proactive than the last few, at least.

awmperry: (Default)
2013-11-22 05:38 pm

The Skyltmax has landed

För några dar sen beställde jag en namnbricka till min TGIO-cosplay från Skyltmax - de har ett erbjudande där bloggare får en gratis bricka. Efter lite missförstånd - de hade vissa kriterier som bloggen skulle uppfylla som inte nämndes på hemsidan - kom brickan fram idag.

Och den är fin.

Läs mer )
awmperry: (andrew)
2013-11-18 10:50 pm

För bra för att inte testa

Jag gillar ju märken och saker, och när jag letade efter namnbricka till en cosplay/airsoftgear jag petar ihop snubblade jag över Skyltmax hemsida.

Deras designverktyg är ett av de smidigaste jag sett, och om namnbrickan håller samma kvalitet blir det något att verkligen rekommendera. Var inte särdeles dyrt heller, knappt en hundring - inklusive bild och tre rader gravyr.

Trodde jag, i alla fall. Sen såg jag att man får en bricka gratis om man bloggar, och ett sånt erbjudande tackar man ju inte nej till. Så nu beställer jag brickan jag tänkte köpa, och så får vi se hur den blir. Så många brickor och skyltar jag köpt över årens lopp blir jag rätt glad om jag hittat ett ställe som är både snabba, enkla och bra... de flesta brukar klara två av tre.

Uppdaterar när brickan kommit fram. :-)
awmperry: (Default)
2013-05-25 11:27 pm

Eurovision Completionism

Well, finally getting round to watching the opening of the Eurovision. Malmö this year. Off we go.

Quite a lengthy intro sequence, but with some rather good CG. New Eurovision anthem not so impressive, flag parade seems a bit pretentious, not to mention interminable.

Petra Mede, of whom I should apparently have heard... She's allegedly funny, but I'll be the judge of that.

1: FRANCE - L'enfer Et Moi ()
Nice big punchy number. Has something of the late 90s power ballad about it, not bad at all. A promising start, but I don't think it's a winner.


2: LITHUANIA - Something ()
It does sound, if I can use a poorly-defined descriptor, like a Eurovision song. But I don't like it, and the singer's very broad accent makes it quite irritating. And naming your shoes is just silly.

Ye gods, does this song never end?


3: MOLDOVA - O Mie ()
That's some spectacular hair. Impressive dress, too, which doubles as a projection screen. Movie night?

Effectively slow build when the skirt starts to lift her. A visually very arresting performance, and musically certainly decent, but it doesn't really stand out.


4: FINLAND - Marry Me ()
Apparently this was written as a hint to her boyfriend. Subtle.

It's certainly catchy, with a degree of energy and cheerfulness that's a very pleasant change from a lot of modern music. I don't think it's a winner, though (even knowing who won, of course) - it's not that it's too mad (that worked well for Finland a few years ago, after all), it just seems a bit of a niche topic.


NORTON: "That car engine you hear? Yeah. That's her boyfriend's taxi. And he's getting in it, and driving 'til it runs out of petrol."

5: SPAIN - Contigo Hasta El Final ()
Ah yes. Traditional Spanish bagpipes. Hispania goes Hibernia, it seems.

Don't like this singer - she's one of those who wavers constantly about, approaching the note only to veer off and kill a bystander. Don't like the song, either, but they get a consolation point for actually having musical instruments on stage with them, even if they're going playback. And in fairness, it does pick up significantly later on, but just goes on too long.


6: BELGIUM - Love Kills ()
Breathy voice, "I'm deep, honest" performance. Atrocious choreography, as promised, by a couple of completely irrelevant pseudo-breakdancing women in little black dresses. Not a patch on Sergio with Sister some years back.


NORTON: "If love doesn't kill us, the choreography will. It is woeful."

Maybe they've hired that imbecile who does all the choreography in Sweden.

7: ESTONIA- Et Uus Saaks Alguse (Birgit)
Black and white - that eternal shorthand for "this is artistic now". Very pleasant voice, though, and refreshingly lacking in stage histrionics. Not a bad effort at all, and I wouldn't turn it off if it came on the radio, but there's something missing to give it that extra bit of oomph.


8: BELARUS - Solayoh (Alyona Lanskaya)
It's a giant disco ball. That's proper Eurovision kitsch right there. Musically it's reminiscent of Wild Dances from a few years back, with more than a hint of Shakira. I'd be surprised if this doesn't at least pick up a decent haul of points.

Nice flame effects too.


And there we go, my LJ Eurovision coverage all up to date. And the Maltese entry, while still inoffensive, still hasn't grown on me.

My main concern, though, is that the snark's gone! Wogan was always commenting and snarking, and when Graham Norton took over he did much the same. This year, it's just the occasional remark... no, not right at all.
awmperry: (Default)
2013-05-19 01:28 am

Eurovision Final 2013

Just got home in time for the ninth entry in this year's Eurovision... Will watch the tunes before it in a while.

My now-traditional snarky review, of sorts, after the cut. )
awmperry: (Default)
2012-08-30 11:25 am
Entry tags:

DWCon 2012: The Maddening

What's that? An update at last?


It's only DWCon 2012, that's all!



2012 DWCOn report after the cut )
awmperry: (Default)
2011-11-13 11:39 am

Competitions and things

Just entered a compo to win an Xbox, and I'd quite like to. Here, have a link.

http://www.discoverychannel.no/mw3
awmperry: (Default)
2011-08-15 12:36 pm
Entry tags:

New spam

Got a new one today, headed "Approval Notice From Scotland Yard!!!" Sounds plausible to me...

Read more... )
awmperry: (Default)
2011-08-03 10:40 am
Entry tags:

I can fly!

It seems Blizzard want to give me a flying mount for the WoW account I don't have. Which is nice. But I just have a sneaking suspicion that it might not be real...

It starts out well enough:

Greetings!

When you take to the skies astride a blazing, eagle-winged lion, your comrades will know you mean business. Serious business. So saddle up, because this flying mount will travel as fast as your riding skill will take you, and it can even travel at 310% speed if you have at least one other 310% speed mount.

Once activated, this World of Warcraft in-game pet key applies to all present and future characters on a single World of Warcraft license.


But then it seems to have been written by someone... less literate. (Don't click either of the links, by the way. Even if LJ decides to make them clickable again.)

we will be complimentary seat to the 5,000 players. You can log Web site application, we will be lucky players randomly.
Please click this link to apply

https://us.battle.net/account/support/Winged-Guardian?ticket=441B413B4AB24CF83BE066AA5F3B2E4B353D4DE3DD17C1122417128F9A3D76E3

If your account passes the check successfully, we will send a code for the Winged Guardian flying mount to you in the form of e-mail.

The World of Warcraft Support Team
Blizzard Entertainment


Now, the real kicker is the link. As they so often do, the link they show isn't the one that goes to the browser:

http://us.blizzard.com.support.worldofwarcrajt.tk/login.asp?ref=https://us.battle.net/account/management/index.xml&app=bam


So I get a badly faked email with an obvious dodgy link for a WoW account I don't have. I don't know about you, but I find that convincing. :-)
awmperry: (Default)
2011-07-17 06:10 pm
Entry tags:

Don't bother reading this

Seriously. It's just so I can easily access the cheat codes from the browser built into the Steam overlay. So shoo, off you go. Nothing to see here. ;-)

Links and cheats. )
awmperry: (Default)
2011-05-29 12:05 pm

It's been a while...

...since I got a really good one. But here, at last, is a doozy.

I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise, Please accept the content in good faith... )

Yeah, I find that convincing. I've inherited money? And the lawyer with the Yahoo email address wants to take a 40% cut? Sounds good to me!

EDIT: Two in one day! )
awmperry: (Default)
2011-05-15 12:30 am
Entry tags:

Eurovision - The Final

Well, it's final time, which means we're well rid of those two radio talkers and get Graham Norton instead, which is not quite as good as Wogan but a vast step up on the others and actually was fairly entertaining last year.

"Amazing atmosphere tonight, which is my way of saying a drink has been taken." -Graham Norton.

"Cue improvised comedy." -Norton

Huh. The presenter in what Norton refers to as "the roadkill dress" is actually not a bad singer. Whaddya know.

And in an even greater shock, I actually find myself really liking their version of what I assume is last year's winning tune. He's not a great singer, this chap, but it works for the style. Huh. Even a passable drummer.

Fancy that. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the opening number, even with the mediocre "comedy" leading into it.

According to Norton, someone in Brighton or something is playing a drinking game - taking "a shot of blue-coloured vodka every time there's a pyrotechnic". Four billion neurons just curled up and died, because I've seen some of these numbers before and she's in for a lot of shots.

And here's a fascinating clip showing how the arena was turned from a football pitch to... well, the Eurovision studio. Actually really interesting, but that might just be me. A really good set this year.

"Perhaps a mistake to enter a song with the chorus in Swahili. I'm not even joking." -Norton, on the Norwegian entry.

"Let the show begin!" -The hosts. In unison. Oh gawd.

1 - Finland - Da Da Dam, Paradise Oskar
I remember being distinctly underwhelmed by this tune in semis. Yeah, I don't see that changing in the final. Eco-preaching, strummy solo guitar, high reedy singing from young chap that four million grannies will be saying "Ooh, isn't he lovely?" about. It's just too twee and message-y for me. And, of course, continues that age-old Eurovision tradition of nonsensical titles and lyrics. Da Da Dam indeed.

It's nice that he's standing still, but this anthem for the Prius generation is just too dull and preachy for me.


2 - Bosnia-Herzegovina - Love in Rewind, Dino Merlin
Oh, I remember this now. Remembering why I'd repressed it. There's a chap with a chubby ukulele who for some reason has curtains around his head, and a random farm hand prancing around occasionally tooting a horn.

"That woman seems rather unnecessary." -Mamma, on the woman in red. But no - she plays the vital role of occasionally tapping a tambourine.

It's not bad in its own way, but I won't miss it if I never hear it again.


3 - Denmark - New Tomorrow, Friend In London
Why does everybody this year have Jedward hair?

Anyway, I think what annoys me most about this number is the falsetto squeaks on "crazy, crazy world". That, and the fact that it's just the same boring thing over and over again.

And stupid hair.

Anyway, put it like this: my mother thinks it's boring, she'd be much happier with a bit of proper old-school AC/DC.

"...was able to perform despite the terrible ironing accident he had with the back of his shirt." -Norton


4 - Lithuania - C'est Ma Vie, Evelina Sasenko
She's a really good singer, easily one of the most pleasant voices in the competition this year. But this song needs more oomph... it could be nice with more power and a smidgeon of speed.


5 - Hungary - What About My Dreams, Kati Wolf
Oh, I remember this now. What a big ring.

Anyway, continuing the trend this year, it's not actually bad in any way, but not to my taste at all. Too dance-pop for me.

Bit sad, really. When things are either actually good or genuinely dismal, I can write stuff. This... it's neither.

I like the light-up bling on the backing folks, though.


"You can laugh at Jedward - no, really, you can laugh at Jedward - but remember it was England who kept them in X Factor so long." -Norton

6 - Ireland - Lipstick, Jed-sodding-ward
May god have mercy on our souls.

I saw these two on Never Mind The Buzzcocks once, where they showed every sign of collectively having the IQ of a boiled carrot. And the hairdo of a startled bonfire.

Actually, now I have a rather pleasant mental image combining Jedward and a bonfire. Yes, that's a good idea.

Musically deficient, stupid hair, and with an energy level only attainable with illegal pharmaceuticals. STAND STILL, you little toss monkeys!

...moving targets are harder to hit, though, and I like a challenge.


"...fuelled by a heady mix of sugary drinks and hairspray fumes." -Norton, on Jedward. Not actually on Jedward, obviously, but talking about them.

"There are flashing lights in this performance... mind you, if you don't like flashing lights I fear you might have come to the wrong place." -Norton

7 - Sweden - Popular, Eric Saade
I'm Swedish. I grew up on Lasse Berghagen, Lasse Holm, Björn Skifs and ABBA. I love Eurovision, and I love seeing Sweden winning it. But this? No. Just no.

Pointless dancers bedecked in pointless buckles prancing pointlessly about to a tedious... is this dance music? I'm not sure what the youth call it...


8 - Estonia - Rockefeller Street, Getter Jaani
In the semis wossname Mills said this set looked exactly like a city. Not quite, perhaps, but it's actually not a bad tune. Decent singer, too, and like in the semis I still enjoyed the magic cane at the start. Could do without what Graham Norton described as "the most annoying backing dancers ever on Eurovision". Perhaps not an all-time record, Graham - this is Eurovision, after all - but they're up there.

And I still like the shuffle break in the middle.


"Stereo Mike is the senior lecturer in the music department at the University of Westminster. I have a feeling that on Monday he might not be." -Norton, on the Greek backing bloke.

9 - Greece - Watch My Dance, Loucas Yiorkas
Hm, do I detect a subtle Greek influence on the background?

OK, so the one-handed leaping about in the background is impressive, but this is not, after all, a gymnastics contest.

I'm not a fan of this tune. Ironically, I'm enjoying the rappy bits more than the actual singing, which is odd.


10 - Russia - Get You, Alexej Soon-To-Be-Sparrow (to appeal to the international market)
I don't remember much about this one from the semis except that I didn't like it much. We'll see why soon, I assume.

Oh, it's the one with the lighty-uppy shoes and jackets. It's solid musically, I suppose, but it seems to be a rather creepy anthem to stalking. Maybe they haven't thought that through... or maybe they're cynically trying to appeal to the Twilight demographic, who for some reason like that sort of thing.


11 - France - Sognu, Amaury Vassili
Haven't heard this one in full, just clips. Bloody impressive tenor, but we'll see what the tune's like.

Well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with his singing. Properly good singer (with the requisite Eurovision hair, of course), and a slightly anthemic tune with a nice drum beat in the background. Nice effect with the sunset in the background with the pyro and fog near the end. Odd thing... it just feels a tiny bit dull. Oh well.


Norton says Blue are big on numerology, and have somehow been muddling about with the number fourteen. Yeah, I lost interest.

12 - Italy - Madness of Love, Raphael Gualazzi
Ooh, this is nice. I don't like the guy's annoying, breathy voice at all, but the tune, the song, the instrumentals, the performance, the standing still - I like it a lot. Proper old-school late-night jazz. Yes, I approve. The only thing I dislike about it is the falsetto bits.

And a rather nice classically-inspired piano solo there. And a swinging jazz break at the end. I like this.

Lose the falsetto, mate, and I'll be a big fan.


I like those pods they have in the green room. Am I the only one expecting to see the Borg, or the Geth from Mass Effect?

Dino Merlin interview. What a strange chap.

"And he's got ringworm as well!" -Norton, on the Danish singer's back.

And, you know, I rather like the tilt-shift photography in the little introductory clips.

13 - Switzerland - In Love For A While, Anna Rossinelli
Oh, I remember this. A good singer, a nice song slightly reminiscent of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, a good and restrained performance... I like it. Not hugely, but if it popped up in my Winamp playlist I wouldn't skip past it.


14 - UK - I Can, Blue
Again, utterly inoffensive. We haven't had a great record in the UK recently, so I was expecting this to be bad. It certainly isn't bad - but there's just very little to it. So yeah, that's about all I can say about it.


15 - Moldova - So Lucky, Zdob si Zdub
My mum's in stitches at the moment. Bear in mind this is the gang that did the tune a few years back about grandparents banging drums.

Suffice to say that there's a unicyclist pretending to play a clarinet that is blatantly a trumpet, there are escapees from a mental ward running around with three-foot cones on their heads...

There's more than a hint of school play about it, and it's certainly enjoyable. And I like the trumpet breaks. But the thing is, these guys are essentially doing something the Leningrad Cowboys have already done - and done much better.


16 - Germany - Taken By A Stranger, Lena
Oooh, I like the lighting, that kind of cone of lights gives a really neat sci-fi effect. Add to that some nutters in silver catsuits (if that's what they're called) and the title starts sounding like it's more about alien abduction and less about date rape. That said, listening to the lyrics, I can't help but feel that the date rape interpretation might be closer to the mark.

Anyway, everything about it screams alien abduction, X-Files, Close Encounters. So frankly, whatever the actual meaning, I'm going with aliens.

The tune's not great, though.


"Great big throbbing tonsil there." -Norton, on the pulsing heart logo.

17 - Romania - Change, Hotel FM
I still think the intro sounds like Eloise, Arvingarnas entry from about 1994 or so. All in all, though, I like this tune. Proper musicians on stage (not the dancers with the hats and trumpets, I mean the other two), a singer who stands still, a catchy tune, a laid-back beat, a finger-snapping break...

I like it. It's got no chance.


"I'm not mocking those trousers, I used to own a pair rather similar. But I threw mine away." -Norton

18 - Austria - The Secret Is Love, Nadine Beiler
Another really good voice, but a very slow start. I really like the lighting design right at the start; darkened stage with the blue backlights, fog and spotlights.

The tune's a bit slow for me, but actually really rather pleasant. And a very good performance.


19 - Azerbaijan - Running Scared, Ell/Nikki
...I'm sure I've heard that "Oh oh... ooooh..." thing before. Not just in the semis, I mean before this year. Or am I imagining that?

Anyway, I'm not a fan of this tune. Too slow for me, no groove, and that falsetto thing that always annoys me. And it's just the same over and over again.


"Nikki lives two streets away from Anthony Costa. He knows everyone." -Norton

And there goes Victor Meldrew BASE jumping again.

20 - Slovenia - No One, Maja Keuc
Sunrise... Sunset... well, it does sound like it, doesn't it? If they had a good tune, deedledeedledeedledum...

Not a fan of this tune, actually, and the cleavage monster is just distracting. Run! She's behind you!

Anyway, not a bad tune. Just a bit dull.


Then there's a bit of a chat with the French singer, over which Norton has a natter about the votes. And then the German presenter plugs the DVD a bit. All done? Good, on we go.

21 - Iceland - Coming Home, Sjonni's Friends
Interesting story behind this one - the original performer died before selection, so some of his mates formed a band, got through selection, and now perform it in the Eurovision.

And it's actually a catchy tune, too, a bit jazzy with some decent singing. I really like this one.

Also, it sounds like a proper New Orleans horn section in the background - clarinet, trombone, trumpet, sax... it really makes the tune work.


And that is a seriously impressive set design.

22 - Spain - Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao, Lucia Perez
Well, this is cheery. Would work better with the snare on the backbeat - get a bit more punch to it. But on the whole, a pleasant and cheerful but forgettable song.


Oh, I recognise the vaguely Ming The Merciless cape of this next number...

23 - Ukraine - Angel, Mika Newton
I don't remember much of this tune, just that Mystic Meg playing in the sandpit completely upstaged the actual tune.

Not that that's a bad thing - I don't really like the actual tune at all, it's rather tedious - but it is after all a song contest.

The sand thing is properly impressive, though, and the song itself just becomes a rather dull soundtrack to it. And, like a good film soundtrack, you forget it's there.


24 - Serbia - Caroban, Nina
I can't help but like this one. But then, I was raised on a diet of 60s comedies. And orange, white and purple - is there any more 60s combination? Even the staging of it, right down to the choreography of the backing singers, is dead on.

Not only is it an enjoyable number, I can't help but think it has a chance of doing well... Hope I haven't jinxed it now.


"You know what they say, save the best for last... that's not applicable in this case." -Norton, on Georgia's entry.

25 - Georgia - One More Day, Eldrine
I don't know why, but I almost like this one. Very strange. One thing's for sure, it's not because of the really weird costumes, or the vaguely constipated prancings of the guitarists. But that woman has a seriously impressive set of pipes.

The rapper with the yellow... stuff on his tunic was bad, though.

The lead singer is really good, though, and some interesting microphone technique towards the end where she mutes it with her hand. But it's approaching metal, and I almost like it. Very strange.


"The UK entry. No matter how drunk you are, remember, you can't vote for them." -Norton, reminding Brits who've been doing shots for every pyro gerb.

Overall, the standard has been unusually high this year, musically. There are maybe seven or eight tunes I could quite happily see winning.

Of course, chances are Eric Saade will take it, thus reminding us that musicality has nothing to do with it.

"25 songs, and I can guarantee you that one of those will win..." -German presenter
"You're not wrong, Stefan." -Norton, deploying the snark

"It is a tradition in Eurovision to have a spectacular interval act. Germany have decided to break that tradition. [...] The people in the hall love it, because they know who he is." -Norton

He's not wrong. This act - some guy called Jan Delay, I think - is enjoyable, I suppose, but certainly not spectacular (and why is it sampling Get Your Freak On?). I don't mind this average and forgettable act at all, though, except for the fact that they had the Top Secret Drum Corps during the semi-finals... and that vapid Sara Cox decided it would be a good time to start rabbiting on about some uninteresting interview. As if I care about her and her amateurish interviews - particularly when the alternative is watching the TSDC. I'm still quite annoyed that they couldn't even deign to show them.

Oh, now this chap's style has changed, to a fairly funky almost-rap. Hate to say it, but I actually quite like this bit.

Hah, Jan-Ola Sand doesn't have the scores yet. "I'll get back to you." And how many dresses has Anke gone through now?

"I'd hate to leave Germany saying 'Blue: none.' Blue Nun, get it?" -Norton

They "improvise" some stuff at the end due to the (I'm sure) completely unscripted scoring delay.

"I've seen them do this four times..." -Norton, on the "improvised" bit.

"Tear down this wall!" -Stefan, being ever so witty.

"It would be fabulous if Stefan could put down his guitar for a minute..." -Norton, getting bored.

Oh, this is an interesting development. The first seven points get issued in one go right off the bat. I like that - it makes things a bit more expedient.

"The Germans really appreciate it when you learn a few of their words. I haven't." -Norton

Huh, douze points from Bulgaria for Blue. Who'd have thought?

Ye gods, Ireland have eight points already. I weep for humanity. And we've been shunned by the Dutch!

This is odd. The Italians liked Moldova. As Norton said, "Seriously?" But then, they gave Blue ten points.

"And finally, twelve points from Cyprus go to Greece!" -Cypriot presenter
"No!" -Norton, shocked
"Booo!" -Audience

Ruslana from the Ukraine seems... slightly sauced, methinks. And giving their twelve to Georgia? A surprising development.

The Finns, in their eternal wisdom, gave 10 points to Jedward. Urgh.

Norway: ten points to Sweden. Shocker. And twelve to Finland. The Norwegians and the Finns take every opportunity to stick it to us in Sweden, you know. We used to own you once, peasants! We can do it again!

...anyway.

Why do these score-talkers always launch into a ten-minute essay on how much they loved the show? Get on with it!

"What have you come as? Are you going to be sacrificed later? Thrown into a geyser?" -Norton, on the Icelandic score-talker.

"It's quite late to be hanging around under a bridge in Bratislava." -Norton. Now I want to write a book and call it "Under A Bridge In Bratislava".

"Eight points to Moldova from the UK." -British presenter
"Now, Britain, you're not taking this seriously." -Norton

And twelve for Ireland from the UK. That's it, British music really is dead.

"We love you in Denmark, wherever it is." -Norton, channeling Jedward.

Poland reporting now, pausing for about twenty minutes before handing out their eight. Slightly depressed that Jedward is FOURTH, ahead of twenty-one more qualified entries.

"Just tell us!" -Norton, getting justifiably annoyed by the bloody idiot reporting from Poland

Oh, they've got Danny Saucedo from Sweden. He was good on Så Ska Det Låta. Ten to Denmark, shocking.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

SWEDEN, home of music and Eurovision winners for decades, actually gave points to those inept trichological porcupines? Ah well...

"Now, this man is quite annoying, but San Marino is quite small and they have a limited talent pool to draw from." -Norton, on the annoying and rambling San Marino bloke.

"Hamburg iss flipping ouwt!" -German reporter, doing the campest German accent since Stephen Fry said "Oh, woh ist meine handy?"

The Azerbaijani reporter apparently represented Azerbaijan last year, so opened her spiel with a verse or two of her song.

"Oh, get over it." -Norton

Oh god, the Slovenian guy is singing... or something. And then a "tribute to Paul the octopus". Somebody shoot this oke.

Also, this is REALLY going on a long time. 43 countries reporting, and we're only just halfway through.

"Isn't this exciting?" -Anke
"Very exciting. My bladder may burst." -Norton

"I really need the toilet, actually." -Eric Saade, expressing a similar sentiment on the excessive delays in getting the bloody scores in.

Now a very dignified-looking chap reporting from Turkey. Twelve to Azerbaijan, in a turn of events that's stunning if you've never watched the Eurovision before.

"Isn't it nice when they just do it sensibly? Nice and efficient." -Norton, on the Swiss reporter's very welcome approach of simply getting on with the job.

Tight race at the top this year. But it's dragging on a bit, though, so I might skip a few.

"I wonder where he is... could be anywhere." -Norton, on the French reporter with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

"One... we built a tunnel to your country." -Norton, on the French lack of gratitude.

Oh wow, France gave Spain a twelve. Fair enough, it certainly didn't deserve to be last.

The Serbian talker: "Where is Stefan?" No, mate, you can call up for a chat later, we'd just like your scores now.

Azerbaijan at 163 points - They're going to be hard to beat.

Shockingly, Portugal gave 12 points to Spain. I didn't see that coming.

"Thank you for the show, we really enjoyed it. [long pause]" -Hungarian presenter
"Mm-hm... anything else you'd like to tell us?" -Norton
"And here are our points." -Hungarian, finally.

Hee hee, one of the Georgian rockers spilled his red wine. I dunno, he struck me as a keg-of-beer type.

Britain in danger of falling off the left side, now. Scores from Ireland coming up - rescue? Oh, he's got fake Jedward hair and gave the UK six points. The cheek!

So... why do we criticise the eastern European countries for voting for each others, and then slam Ireland for only giving us six?

"We were expecting a ten or a twelve, frankly." -Norton

"Guten Abend, Anke," says the Israeli reporter, launching into a lengthy bit of German. A certain twisted irony there, isn't there? And doesn't he have a British-university accent?

Four countries left, a possible 48 points for someone to overtake Azerbaijan's not-too-great effort. It's still a race, but it's really tight. A few years there's been an obvious winner from fairly early on, like back when Charlotte Perelli (then Nilsson) won it for Sweden with Tusen Och En Natt... if I remember correctly, but I don't have a great memory for such things.

Oooh! The Belgian reporter has the Atomium in the background, rather nicely lit up. I like the Atomium. But anyway, Azerbaijan have definitely taken it now, nobody can overtake them now.

The Latvian reporter is weird. Has she been at the pills? She does a little song and dance, doesn't affect the winner, just kicks Sweden down to third place. After Italy. I liked the Italian tune, so I'm actually quite pleased... except for the fact that Azerbaijan won, and they were dull.

Also, the run from the "green room" (which is neither green nor, on any plausible scale, a room) reminds me rather of the Mogadishu Mile in Black Hawk Down. What a huge set.

All in all, a fairly decent result. Most of the good ones ended up at least on the left side of the scoreboard... but then, so did Jedward, so it's not that good.

And I am really impressed with the set design and that phenomenal lighting and SFX rig.

Well, that's the 2011 Eurovision. The Azerbaijani singers' voices have taken a bit of a knock, but under the circumstances, who can blame them? Oh, and there seem to be long streams of loo roll falling from the ceiling.

So, any thoughts? Did the right song win? (No, it didn't.) Is there any justification for not placing Jedward on a desert island with only each other and a single knife and fork for company? (Not that I can think of.) Was Azerbaijan really better than Italy? (No.)

So go ahead and post your comments. I'll be off to sleep for now.
awmperry: (Default)
2011-05-14 01:05 pm

Eurovision 2011 - Semi-Final 2

Well, I did a writeup last year, so I might as well do another one this year. I'm not going to bother going back over Semi-Final 1 - though I was pleased to see that the standard of songs (if not singers) was, overall, higher than usual - but just post my musings on SF 2 as I go along.

The presenters... well, it's the usual Eurovision "humour", but at least this lot are less bouncy and ridiculous than many. By Eurovision standards, they're almost bland.

Anyway, the songs have kicked off, so here we go.

1 - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Love in Rewind, Dino Merlin
I do get slightly annoyed by mutton dressed as lamb, and that's what this is. It's bouncy and rather old-fashioned, with some farmhand running around like an idiot and playing the trumpet.

Also, Sara Cox's commentary is irritating. The guy, whatever his name was (Mills?) is better; like all Eurovision presenters he tries to be Wogan but doesn't quite pull it off, but I have difficulty with Cox's accent, delivery, ruthless enthusiasm for the songs...

2 - Austria - [Insert Title Here], Nadine something
Actually pretty good. Not to my taste, but a good tune and a competent singer. And that stage is brilliant.

3 - Netherlands - Never Alone, The Three As
Starts off pretty insipid... it's a good tune, well sung (by a guy who looks like he should have a greasy moustache), but it's not grabbing me.
...Yeah. It's good, don't get me wrong, but for me it's just a bit dull.

4 - Belgium - With Love Baby, Witloof Bay
A capella, they said, and with a renowned beatboxer? This I have to see.
I'm not sure I see what Cox means by saying they're "visually alarming" - by Eurovision standards, they look almost normal. As for their performance, I do enjoy a capella, and I'm a sucker for beatbox, and I even rather like the song. Yes, I'm enjoying this. Why is Scott Mills saying they're bad?

Why this obsession with Jedward this year, by the way? It wasn't that long ago since they were the type example of everything that was wrong with the world, pilloried on Buzzcocks (like everything else, I suppose, but even during their appearance on the show they appeared slightly less compos mentis than Dappy). It's like Justine Beaver, I can't see the point in her either.

5 - Slovakia - I'm Still Alive, Twiins [sic]
Oh, I know this tune. I like it. "But there's no sense crying over every mistake / you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake / and the science gets done / and you make a neat gun / for the people who are still alive..."
Oh, it's not that one.
Well, there's no doubt which of them is the lead singer, given that the one in the coloured dress just stands there pouting and going "Look, I have a chest!" The song's not that bad, really... standard insipid pop, nothing great, but nothing really wrong with it either. Apart from the godawful drummer. You have a whole kit, mate, you can do more than a two and four on the snare.

Sara Cox, just shut up now. "I'm live in Dusseldorf" - yes, we can see. There's a stage in the back. And for some reason Arlene Phillips apparently thinks "all entrants tonight are tone deaf", in which she's wrong. They weren't all tone deaf, or even a majority this year. So far.

6 - Ukraine - Angel, Mika Newton
I see what he means about Mystic Meg on the sand box. It's actually pretty clever, but a bit twee.
The song... again, a bit of a non-entity for me. It hasn't even finished yet, and I've already forgotten it. Perhaps that's the point of the sand box, to keep the audience's attention?

Mills: "I don't need to be impartial, 'cos you can't vote." That's the stuff.

7 - Moldova - So Lucky, Zdob si Zdub
Ye gods. That's the Eurovision I remember. It's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in a bottle. And now there's a unicyclist miming playing a clarinet that's obviously a trumpet. And a big horn break halfway through that makes the similarities to the Leningrad Cowboys all the more palpable. (Difference is that I actually like the Leningrad Cowboys...)
I'm starting to see the point of this entry. It's mad, but this is Eurovision and that's the way it should be. I don't think I'll want to hear it again, but I almost enjoyed it.

8 - Sweden - Popular, Eric Saade
I saw this in Melodifestivalen when it was selected. Don't get me wrong, it was by no means the worst tune clamouring for Sweden's approval, not by a long shot, but given that there were two or three entries with actual musical merit rather than this vapid techno-dance thing, I find myself hard pushed to like it.
High-energy, certainly. But the choreography's annoying me (along with the tune, the lights, Saade himself and everything about it), and gives the impression of being done by... well, the guy who choreographs everything else in Sweden, and always does it badly.

9 - Cyprus - San Aggelos S'Agapisa, Christos Mylordos (yes, really)
Apparently this tune will feature giant sperm. Let's hope the tune's as spunky.
Oh, nice - they're doing the Smooth Criminal lean. Well, the royalties from that should help put Michael Jackson's estate back in the black (so to speak).
But now there's a shouting woman with a spinning ball, a guy gesticulating wildly, and four Chaos Cultists standing in a line emoting as wildly as cultists can. I'm not convinced by the song, though. At all, really.

10 - Bulgaria - Na Inat, Poli Genova
Am I imagining things, or is the drummer not actually the one making the drum noises? He looks like he's playing a straight four, but the sound has syncopations on the hi-hat and snare... Anyway.
The tune's actually not bad, with a hint of 80s pop rock about it. I don't think I'll ever actually like it, but it's not bad.

Apparently someone on Twitter "can't wait for Jedward". I weep for humanity.

11 - mumblemumblemumble Macedonia - Vlatko Ilievski, Rusinka
Oh dear, it's a modern dance troupe. Still, the tune itself is surprisingly tolerable, with a nice beat to it and a singer who (for once, nowadays) isn't singing in falsetto.
...okay, so the accordion break was odd, and the megaphone is for the second time tonight reminding me of things the Leningrad Cowboys did better. But overall not a bad tune, and the box on the backdrop had me fascinated trying to figure out how to do the CG.

OK, Sara, we all know Dana International used to be a man. I'm not sure it should still be a big deal seventeen years later...

12 - Israel - Ding Dong, Dana International
Ding Dong? A lament to things lost?
Oh wait, not that kind of ding-dong. I'm actually not convinced by the song. It's not that it's bad, in a background-music-in-a-teenage-clothes-store kind of way, but... Meh. It's just not something I'd actually want to listen to.

Hee hee - Victor Meldrew BASE jumping.

13 - Slovenia - No One, Maja Keuc
Sunrise... Sunset... oh, no it's not. The opening, at least, shows a gratifying amount of singing skill, which is nice. The cleavage monster in the background is disconcerting, though. Cutouts like that really aren't flattering, and just remind me of that armour Klingon women used to wear on Star Trek...
Anyway, the song's not bad at all. It's not one that'll earworm me at all, but it wasn't bad. (And besides, it's competing with You Can't Stop The Beat from Hairspray.)

14 - Romania - Change, Hotel FM
Apparently this singer's a Geordie. I quite like the tune so far - the intro's leading my thoughts to Arvingarnas' entry from back in the 90s, Eloise. The song itself is nowhere near, but it's actually rather pleasant. Nice and catchy, a drummer who's clearly playing live, backing dancers wearing trilbys (contrary to grammar, "trilbies" just looks wrong), and yeah. Overall, a really good number. Easily my favourite so far tonight. I'd like to see it go far, maybe even win, so I guess it's doomed.

Sara Cox is talking again. For some reason, whenever the presenters say anything, this vapid twit starts yammering on about something irrelevant. Still, the Blue clip was quite interesting. But hey, the whole point of Eurovision is to mock the presenters and their stupidity, so why take away that opportunity?

15 - Estonia - Rockefeller Street, Getter Jaani
Buildings... Homeless guy... I smell social commentary.
Ooh, nice magically-appearing cane. I've got a magic wand that does much the same thing - one of those rolled-foil things that pops open out of nothing - but a very slick gag.
Oooh, nice break in the middle, almost reggaeish, but the breakdancing bits were all too short. Not a bad effort.

16 - Belarus - I Love Belarus, Anastasia Vinnikova
Oooh, flames. Not sure why her backing dancers are wearing harnesses of electrical tape.
As ever, it's a tune that doesn't really annoy me in any way... but it's not interesting at all.

17 - Latvia - Angel In Disguise, Musiqq
Apparently we must look out for this chap's tan... oh yes. Good heavens, he's been dunked in coffee. Why does he have a strange-looking mate sitting next to him mouthing along with the lyrics but without a microphone?
Anyway, the tune's boring. Then the strange friend starts rapping, there's some stuff about killing with luscious thighs, and they go up in falsetto for the ending. And it gets boring and bad.

18 - Denmark - New Tomorrow, A Friend In London
Oh, I've heard this somewhere. I don't like it, but at least it's got a bit of rock to it. Actually a decent groove. What's happened to his hair, though?

Oh dear. Coming up next, the one we've all been dreading. And for some reason they're wearing shoulder pads.

"So many people... looking forward to this," says Mills. WHY?

19 - Ireland - Lipstick, Dreadward
It's almost hypnotically awful. Quite apart from the fact that they seem to have been living on a diet of amphetamine and acetone, the song is musically deficient, the constant leaping about is annoying and nauseating, the shoulder pads make me expect them to shout "WAAAAGH!" at any moment and charge at the audience shouting for more dakka. Except that Jedward are, as far as I can tell from their performance on Buzzcocks, too dumb to be orks...
Dreadful song, dreadful little creatures, ghastly performance. And why were the backing singers doing most of the singing?

Why are so many fond of those two?

Anyway, that's that. I suppose I should care about who gets through. But... yeah, I just can't be bothered without Wogan.

Mills, on Twiins: "There's a lot that's not flat about that performance. Can you guess what it is yet?" Yes, we can. We just didn't feel the need to gloat about it. (Mocked it, sure.)
Mills: "If you've just tuned in, no, Roxette aren't back, it's Bulgaria's entry."
Apparently someone on the website asked "How does Dana International still look so fab?" Assuming that one agrees with the premise, the obvious answer is: the same way she became she.
Mills: "Let's go back to Sara in the arena." No, let's not.

Well, then I skipped a bit, and skipped the first few results. I can't be bothered sitting through "In the final are... (dramatic pause)" ten times over.

Huh, Romania and Estonia both through, and even the bonkers Moldovans.
Oh gawd, Twitward are through. Incompetent little buffoons.
The tedious Bosnia & Herzegovina are in, as are Denmark, the competent but bland Austria, the infinitely tedious Ukraine, Slovenia of the disturbing cleavage, and now with just a single spot left, Israel and Sweden are both out.
Ah, Sweden got it. No real surprise - Sweden has a history of good results in the Eurovision (perhaps a result of Swedish producers and writers for much of the pop played today?) - but I really didn't like that tune. That said, I didn't like Israel's either, so hey...

Well, I might actually watch the final live tonight, if I remember. See you then?
awmperry: (Default)
2011-05-04 12:46 pm
Entry tags:

The FBI wants to give me money!

Got a good one today:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Counter-terrorism Division and Cyber Crime Division
J. Edgar. Hoover Building Washington DC


Attention Beneficiary,
Re: Funds Release Notification
Records show that you are among one of the individuals and organizations who are yet to receive their overdue payment from overseas which includes those of Lottery/Gambling, Contract and Inheritance. Through our Fraud Monitory Unit we have also noticed that over the past you have been transacting with some impostors and fraudsters who have been impersonating the likes of Prof. Soludo/Mr.Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Bode Williams, Frank, Anderson, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen and some impostors claiming to be The Federal Bureau of Investigation.



The Cyber Crime Division of the FBI gathered information from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) of how some people have lost outrageous sums of money to these impostors. As a result of this we hereby advise you to stop communication with any one not referred to you by us. We have negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Finance that your payment of $15,000,000.00 will be released to you via ATM card with a maximum withdrawal limit of $15,000 per day which is powered by Visa Card and can be used anywhere in the world where you see a Visa Card Logo on the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). We have advised that this should be the only way at which you are to receive your payment because its more guaranteed, since over $5 billion was lost on fake cheque last year 2010.




We guarantee 100% receipt of your payment, because we have perfected everything in regards to the release of your $15 million United States Dollars to be 100% guarantee free and free from any hitches as its our duty to protect citizens of the United States of America and also Asia and Europe. (This is as a result of the mandate from US Government to make sure all debts owed to citizens of American and also Asia and Europe which includes Inheritance, Contract, Gambling/Lottery etc are been cleared for the betterment of the current economic status of the nation and its citizens as he has always believed, Our Time for Change has come because, Change can happen).Below are few list of tracking numbers you can track from UPS website to confirm people like you who have received their payment successfully.



Name:E LINDBERG:DHL Tracking Number 1426425615 (www.dhl.com)

Name :PITELIS :UPS Tracking Number h8433223480 (www.ups.com)

To redeem your fund you are hereby advised to contact the ATM Card Center via email for their requirement to proceed and procure your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order on your behalf which will cost you $295.00 only nothing more and no hidden fees as everything else has been taken cared of by the Federal Government including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $295.00 only.


ATM Visa Card Director Contact Information :


Name: Mr Anthony Mark
Address:Intercontinental House.
Plot 286, Gdagada Express Way ,
Granada Phase 1, Lagos-Nigeria
Telephone: +011 234 709 080 2559
Email: dr.anthonyatmpaymentdepart@wwjd.ru

Do contact Mr. Anthony Mark of the ATM Card Center via his contact details above and furnish him with your details as listed below:


Your full Name:......................... .............................. .................


Home/Cell Phone:........................ .............................. ...............
Occupation:................... .............................. ...........................

Age:.......................... .............................. ..............................

Your Address (where you will like your ATM CARD to be sent to):......


On contacting him with your details your files would be updated and he will be sending you the payment information in which you will use in making payment of $295.00 via Western Union Money Transfer for the procurement of your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order. After which the delivery of your ATM card will be affected to your designated home address without any further delay, extra fee or any authority raising eyebrow. Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your package is sent within 48 working hours. Because we are so sure of everything we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not receive your ATM CARD Shipment Confirmation within the next 48hrs after you have made the payment. Once again we are so sure of you receiving your payment at no any other cost as we have taking it upon our duty to monitor everything in other to cub cyber crime that is perpe! ! trated by those impostors.

Thanks and hope to read from you soon.



Robert S. Mueller,

DIRECTOR: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535

Note: Disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possession of your ATM card, you are hereby advice only to be in contact with Mr. A. Mark of the ATM card center who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your payment and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon it immediately. Help stop cyber crime














So... the director of the FBI wants me to give him $295 so he can release me compensation of $15 million? And that's to be paid to Cleopatra's inverted boyfriend in Nigeria, rather than a reputable bank in the States? Sure, I find that convincing...
awmperry: (Default)
2011-04-18 12:13 pm

HP Tech Support: "A Rich And Fruity Carneval of Dumbassery"

My wife has a Compaq 615 laptop. Compaq is owned by HP, and thus shares its tech support structure, although for reasons that will become apparent the word "structure" may be a misnomer.

Anyway, Tasha's been having trouble with her laptop; the power supply is erratic, caused partly by a faulty AC adapter and a loose power socket on the motherboard. It's a warranty repair, but the one-year warranty expired in February. Simple enough; buy another year's warranty, right?

Now, all my family's other computers are from Dell; there, to extend a warranty, one just calls them, gives them credit card details, and the warranty is immediately registered on the service tag. Five minutes, max.

With HP, it's another matter. First, one must navigate their godawful website to find the "care packs", of which there are a multitude even for individual models. Then one orders the care pack, waits for it to be delivered (by post), then registers the code to one's computer's serial number. In theory. In practice, it's even more laborious; a dispatch notification arrives, and a week later one calls them to ask where the parcel's got to. They get confused, stumble around for a bit, and finally activate the pack manually.

Anyway, "care pack" finally activated, we called for the repair. No trouble at all with the mobo - they sent an engineer, he arrived ten minutes ahead of the designated time on a Monday afternoon, replaced the motherboard, job done.

The AC adapter, though, was a different story. "No trouble," they said; "We'll send you a new adapter, it'll be with you before Friday."

Friday morning came, and Friday afternoon I called HP.

"It's showing as delivered," they said. "But here's the parcel ID, so you can call DHL and track it."

I did. DHL said the tracking number was invalid. I called HP again, but they'd clocked off for the day.

I called HP again this morning, and I got the real tracking number (in theory). I called DHL.

"This was delivered on Friday... it has your wife listed as the sender, and it's addressed to HP. Was it a return?"

No, I said - it was supposed to be a replacement part sent to us.

"There is another parcel reference here, from them to you, but it hasn't been handed in to us yet."

So I called HP again. The guy I spoke to reckoned someone in dispatching must have simply been asleep when he filled out the form, and got the "from" and "to" boxes muddled. Either way, he's sent off a new adapter, that should arrive here tomorrow.

In theory.




UPDATE (2011-04-19): It didn't get here today. But HP gave me the right tracking number on the first try, DHL found it, and it even had the recipient listed as the recipient. So I've booked a delivery slot, and it should arrive tomorrow between 1400 and 1600. Which is nice.
awmperry: (Default)
2011-04-13 10:18 pm
Entry tags:

Quis custodiet ipsos patres?

This morning I read an article in This Is True. On its own, it elicited nothing but nodding agreement from me.Story and remarks behind the cut. )
awmperry: (Default)
2011-03-18 11:54 am

Morning musings

I got another piece of spam this morning, an email offering to sell me an old Chinese sailing ship.

I don't know why I keep getting this junk mail.
awmperry: (Default)
2011-03-10 08:08 pm
Entry tags:

A really plausible email from DHL (allegedly)

This just arrived, and, well, it seems convincing. I think I'll open the attachment, I'm really convinced that it's legit.

Oh, wait... )
awmperry: (Default)
2011-03-04 07:00 pm

Dawn of War

A while ago I watched the Ultramarines computer-generated feature film Games Workshop released. And yeah, I suppose it's not bad. But there are so many things wrong with it - the plot's weak (at least by the standards of its writers; merely mediocre by anyone else's) and suffused with blatant stupidity, the environments bland and empty, and the acting (salvaged by at least having decent voice actors) barely tolerable.

The really disappointing thing, though, is the graphics. I'd been told that the film was made by the same people who did the Dawn of War intro cinematics, but I have my doubts. The animation, the effects, the graphics are all of a much lower standard. Now, if they'd got Relic's cutscene team to make it, I can only imagine the results.

Anyway, this all stemmed from seeing the trailer for Dawn of War: Retribution. It's not as good as the intro movies, but vastly better than Ultramarines...

awmperry: (Default)
2011-03-02 02:36 pm

Activation codes

I just set up a new website, and as part of the process I got an activation code (now obsolete, of course, and thus declassified). And it was a neat code:

ROKWOK

Oh yeah. I have a wok (three, in fact), I enjoy cooking stuff in it, and I enjoy eating the rather nice bacon fried rice I cook in it.

I rock my wok.