Monday, September 17, 2012


I've seen a few bad movies lately, but one of the baddest was 2007's 'I Am Omega'.

This is what happens when you attempt to remake ‘I Am Legend’, but replace Will Smith with a Hawaiian martial arts expert and replace the $150,000,000 budget with one containing far fewer zeroes. At its core, it's the story of Renchard, a man living in a mountain bolthole after an unspecified plague has mutated everyone else into crazed blood-thirsty monsters. His solitude is interupted when he receives a message from another survivor, one who may hold the key to humanity's continuation.

Technically 'I Am Omega' wasn’t without its merits. The limited budget appeared to have been used well – after all, apocalypses aren’t cheap to stage. Star Mark Dacascos suffers a little from Crazy Acting Eyes, but his portrayal of a man driven to the edge of sanity by loneliness, grief and stress was about the best that the script would allow. And the monster makeup was good.

But as is often the case, the whole thing was let down by the script. It’s not that the dialogue was especially bad, at least by bad movie standards. It just had glaring flaws that really should have been a) noticed and b) fixed at some point in the production process.

Plot Fail 1: People who have become crazed blood-thirsty monsters are apparently masters of stealth.

Zombies rarely pussyfoot around. And yet in a world with so little background noise that you could hear a squirrel with the sniffles from half a county away, they can sidle up to within a few metres of our hero without him noticing. Perhaps Renchard had the misfortune to be living next door to a ninja school when everyone got infected?

Plot Fail 2: Antibacterial disinfectant kills viruses.

Whenever he gets splattered with blood and innards, Renchard curses and then douses himself with disinfectant… despite believing that the infectant is a virus. Clearly he has the scientific literacy of a quiche.

Plot Fail 3: If you are man enough, getting shot three times is no impediment to… well… living. Or indeed to push-starting a car.

It’s disturbingly easy for a normal human being to bleed out. Lose a few litres and you’re basically anaemic toast. But if you’re a man of action like Renchard, apparently it’s no big deal. Not only does Renchard survive being shot in both arms and one leg, despite not dressing the wounds, but he goes on push-start a car to chase after the baddies. Then he goes all martial on their arts. I’m not au fait with the damage caused by the average gunshot wound – when it comes to knowledge of firearms I rank somewhere between Elmo and Liza Minnelli – but I’m pretty sure that being shot three times isn’t something you just get over after a little lie down.

Plot Fail 4: Electricity is magical and has no reliance on human beings to create it. And the same goes double for the internet.

When Renchard is forced to go to the city, oddly enough the street lights are working and there are overhead lights in a parking garage he finds. So presumably the mutants have learnt how to operate powerplants, not to mention how to mine, refine and transport coal, uranium or oil.

The reason for Renchard to go to the city in the first place is to rescue love interest Brianna, whom he discovers after she places a Skype call to his laptop. So the internet is up and running, as is Skype, and both of their ISPs. It's also worth noting that neither ISP has shut down their access to the internet, despite the fact that their billing system shouldn't be functioning any more... unless of course the banks and credit card companies are still operational. One is left with the possibility that this whole "apocalypse" thing may in fact be localised to Renchard’s house.

Plot Fail 5: The apocalypse may have occurred, but that’s no excuse for a girl not to get her eyebrows waxed.

Friday, September 07, 2012


Last week I gave Vodafone the heave and went onto a new plan for my mobile phone. I'd been waiting for this moment from about... hmmm... two weeks into my two year contract, when I discovered the reason why Vodafone Australia has haemorrhaged more than 800,000 customers over the last two years. The lies, the incompetence, the erratic service. The dropped calls. The hopeless Android handset. The downloads that inevitably crashed before they completed. The texts arriving days after they were sent. And of course the fatal blow that came over a year ago, when I snapped a photo at a parade in the city centre and tried to text it to a friend. My friends on other networks did it without problems. I couldn't send mine until the parade was over and I moved to a less telecommunicationally congested part of the city.

So I signed up with iiNet, who lease their service from Optus.

I'm very fond of iiNet - they now provide my home internet, my home phone and my mobile - but Optus is no better than Vodafone. In fact in some ways they're worse. Right now in my office, four kilometres from the city centre, I'm getting three bars. At home, nine kilometres from the city centre, I frequently get one. The downloads seem slower too.

But I'm not complaining... at least not yet. For the same price that I was paying Vodafone, iiNet is giving me eight times more call and text credit, and fifteen times more data. At those rates, I can afford to wait a little longer for a map or a webpage. And at least, unlike Vodafone, it does seem to get there eventually.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I was browsing in a kitchenware shop - the sort that sells a lot of smart over-priced utensils that no one really needs - and I saw this.

And I needed it. Ironic, really.

It doesn't work very well. The little face keeps mashing against the vegetables unless you hold it at a weird angle. But every time I pass by it in the kitchen I find myself crying "Monkey Peeler!" in a high pitched, girlish squeal. In fact I'm doing it right now.


And it makes me smile and feel happy. Try and find a saucepan that'll do that.