Best friends with Optimus Prime. Sucks to be you, Starscream fan....

Looking back at the music of Halo

Looking back at the music of Halo

I still remember the moment during my first Halo run through when I totally knew the game was amazing - it was during The Silent Cartographer level and it was time to leave the place. In a mad panic, I had to guide the Master Chief back up the the surface of the Halo, whilst a relentless section of music was playing - 'Rock Anthem For Saving The World'  featuring legendary guitarist Steve Vai.

Yeah, the choir doing their funky monks 'oooh ooah aaahs' is pretty cool but that moment is stuck with me forever. We remember....

10 years since Halo's original release, it's the stuff of legend that the Halo game had one of the best soundtracks that ever accompanied a shooter and this was a key element of the success of the game. Subsequent Halo games have followed in the tradition of great music - have they all met the standard set by the game that changed the way video games are made?

I thought I'd take the time to kick back and reflect on the music of Halo, have a chat about how music can influence a scene's almost a love letter to composer Marty O'Donnell and less his well known counterpart, Michael Salvatori.

The famous Halo 'E Dorian' monk chant as a musical score
Halo: Combat Evolved

This is the sound track to the game that changed gaming forever. Marty had already done a couple of gigs for Bungie in the form of the Myth series and as Microsoft had brought the Bungie studio to get their hands on the Halo IP, expectations were high. Marty duly delivered one of the most brilliant sound tracks ever. The monks' chorus, and the main theme riff with those wondrous string instruments are perhaps as recognizable to a gamer as the first notes to Star Wars are to a movie fan.

I already mentioned 'Rock Anthem For Saving The World' right?

While many people might know that Steve Vai played on a couple of Halo soundtracks, I wonder how many know that Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers had a go with his trumpet!

The Interloper by Jimmy Jangles

 The Interloper by James Ryan

It was nearing the call, the moment of truth drawing near.

The starter, in his white workman's coat, stood on his ladder, a curious sight. Why the need for elevation, Simone wondered, as anxiety gnawed at her insides.

Her horse sensed the tension, a silent understanding passing between them.

The grand G1 Kult Classic at Hastings, a race of immense magnitude, only Wellington had a finer race in the lower North Island.

Shouldn't be here, she thought. A pretender in the saddle, a substitute for the usual rider currently battling meth addiction.

That said, big dividends today, big dividends indeed.

Curses filled the air as Simone missed the start by the briefest of moments, allowing the inside horses to surge ahead, seizing the advantage.

Omega Supreme bounded from the gate, a hound unleashed in pursuit of its prey. Yet, his fervor soon subsided, settling into a steady rhythm of hoof and grass.

"Come on!" The Jockey's voice strained, her legs urging the horse forward within the stirrups, reserving the whip for later use.

The first turn arrived, Simon positioned slightly wide, trailing six lengths behind the leader who held a favorable spot, even in these early stages.

"Fucking hell!" Run Rogan's rider bellowed, incensed as Simone's steed brushed against his flank. "Get control of your fucking horse!"

She elected to apply a swift crack of the whip, realigning her mount's course by a horses' breadth.

Grass and mud sprayed onto her goggles lifted by the front runners, the heavy track proving a hindrance for all contenders.

The thunderous symphony of hooves reverberated through the muddy terrain as the horses exerted themselves, perspiration mingling with the mire along their hindquarters. A frantic jockeying for position ensued as they barreled down the backstretch, their lines converging for the final turn.

The last curve materialized, the frontrunner drawing strength from mysterious depths, while the damp conditions began to drain the other two.

Simon, riding wide, perhaps too wide, sensed the right side of the track offered a drier path. Instinct whispered to her, inspired by Rodimus the Avenger's victorious final sprint in the previous race. But such knowledge would be shared among all riders... And then, the turn arrived, and the gap beckoned.

The last burst down the straight, Omega Supreme suddenly came into his element, kicking hard for action, searching for traction, closing within two lengths of the third-place runner. 

The race was for the taking! 

Out of nowhere, a suited man materialized on the track, beer in hand, standing as if he were the embodiment of Dances with Wolves himself.

Omega Supreme veered to the right, defying Simone's efforts to rein him left, with devastating consequences. The man was trampled into the mud, hooves connecting with flesh, a sickening crack of jaw and teeth resounding amidst the muck and blood. Yet, Simone's charge pushed forward to the line, he was beyond his jockey’s control.

As she finally eased her horse off the pace, Simone glanced back, her figure rising in the stirrups, the course Stewards already descending upon the interloper, the approaching ambulance a beacon of urgency.

Fifth place.

"Fucking cunt," she muttered while she patted her panting horse, turning for the weigh in.

Nobody white washes Optimus Prime!

Reposting so this never happens again....

So like I love this picture of Optimus Prime. It's a throw up* piece that I found on the bottom of the steps on Hood Street Street.

optimus prime graffitti art stencil

As I wandered past it on Saturday I saw some dude was whitewashing the building next to the steps. Sensing the worse, I checked, and sure enouugh the whole wall of graffiti was gone. Just like nobody puts baby in the corner, nobody white washes Optimus Prime!

So here's my appeal - whoever did the stencil, please do it again!!!!

Disclaimer: Like the wise judge in Hastings, Jimmy Jangles does not endorse the practice of tagging on public and private property. Unless its Prime time.

* I learnt that term from watching Mu and the cool kids doing the business on Shortland Street. Not that I watch Shortland Street you understand.

How to restore your Dad's old desk to former glories

Used and Abused: Before the first sanding
I got my hand's on my father's old desk with the intention of restoring it to former glories.

My Dad had used it for years as a study desk both when studying at university and then as a teacher.

When when my brother went to University, he took it so he could have somewhere to store his beer and comics on. As a result, it was rooted and needed some love.

Here are the steps I took to renovate the desk and give it a new life in my home!

Note: I'm no expert when it comings to DIY renovations, I just made this shit up as I went remembering things from woodwork class back in the day. Key things to remember (and learned from past experiences elsewhere)  - do not cheap out on sand paper, paint brushes or satin. Use quality products!

Step 1.

Clean the desk. Wipe away the spider webs, coachroach shit, beer stains and god knows what else has built up over the years. Take your kick ass sander and sand the shit out of every piece of wood you see - use a low grit sandpaper. I used 60 grit and make sure its some quality paper.

Don't cheap out like Don Brash on a dinner date.

Step 2.

Done sanding?

No you are not.

Get a hearth brush and clean the sand residue off.

Then wet a rag with water and wash the desk off from top to bottom.

Let is dry.

Step 3.

If your desk is a bit warped and the panels creaky, this is the time I decided to reglue them back together. I possibly should have done this as Step 1. Whatever, learning is part of life.

Get some PVA wood glue and a T-bar clamp or 2 and glue the panels you want back together. Leave overnight to make sure the glue has worked it's magic. If the wood is warped, you may be in for a battle to keep things straight, so say a prayer to Obi-Wan Kenobi or something.

Note to self: Glue before sanding!
Step 4.

Yip, I know you made a mess during step 3 so sand any PVA glue remains off.

Now here come's a suck-ass part. You now have to resand the entire desk again to get rid of the 'roughage' that the initial sand left.

Time to use a finer grit sandpaper - give your desk some love with at least a 120 grit - I did a round with some 150 and then did another sanding round with 180 grit. Again clean with a broom etc, wash down with water.

A well sanded desk. 
Step 5.

You are now ready for the last, and most fun part - the staining of the desk.

The stain makes the desk looks nice and also gives it a protection from the 'elements' like beer being spilled on it.

For this desk, I chose a nice kauri satin, my reasoning being the wood was light in colour and would suit whatever wood the desk actually is made from.

In a dust free area, apply the stain evenly with a quality brush.

And by quality, I mean one that will not start to lose bristles half way through the job.

Look for any areas of excess and even out. Depending on the product you are using they may suggest to wipe off with a cloth.

I say directions are for pussies. Just do what feels right..... leave to dry overnight in a dust free area.

Actually, follow the instructions properly and leave to dry overnight.

Nice satin Kauri finish
Step 6.

Find some  matching handles for the drawers. Put them in place and you're done:

Step 7.

Put some beer and comics on the desk.

You're done!

Congratulations. You now have a really nicely restored old desk. You've earned yourself some Man Points. Go bake a bacon and egg pie to celebrate. Maybe watch some Star Wars.

old desk restored

How Firefly become a cult classic TV show

  "Firefly" is a beloved cult classic for a multitude of reasons, ranging from its captivating characters to its creative world-building and masterful storytelling. Created by Joss Whedon, the series aired on Fox in 2002 and has since gained a dedicated fan base that continues to celebrate its unique qualities.

firefly serenity crew

One of the most significant reasons for the show's success is its cast of characters. Each crew member of the Serenity, a spaceship led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), brings their own distinct personalities and quirks to the table. From the no-nonsense Zoe (Gina Torres) to the quirky and loveable Kaylee (Jewel Staite), each character is given time to shine and develop throughout the show's 14-episode run.

Furthermore, the show's world-building is nothing short of impressive. The story is set in a future where humanity has expanded into space and created a new society that combines elements of Western and Chinese cultures. This unique blend creates a world that is both familiar and alien, offering viewers a fresh take on the sci-fi genre. For instance, in the episode "The Train Job," the crew is tasked with stealing a valuable cargo from a speeding train, a classic Western trope that is given a sci-fi twist.

Another element that contributes to the show's cult following is its use of humor. While "Firefly" can be serious and intense at times, it also knows how to inject humor into its storytelling. One example of this is in the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds," where the crew is temporarily deceived into thinking that Mal has married a stranger. The resulting hijinks and misunderstandings provide a much-needed break from the show's heavier moments.

Additionally, the show's themes of freedom and independence resonate with many viewers. The crew of the Serenity is made up of outcasts and rebels who reject the strict rules and regulations of the Alliance, the show's governing body. Their struggle for independence and autonomy is a theme that many viewers can relate to, making the show all the more meaningful.

kaylee firefly umbrella

Finally, the show's premature cancellation after just one season has only added to its cult status. Many fans feel that "Firefly" was never given the chance it deserved, and its abrupt ending left many storylines unresolved. This has led to a sense of nostalgia and longing among its followers, who continue to champion the show and keep it alive through fanfiction, cosplay, and conventions.

Serenity film

The 2005 film "Serenity" was a wonderful goodbye to the "Firefly" series, providing fans with a conclusion to the storylines that were left unresolved after the show's premature cancellation. Directed by Joss Whedon, the film was both a critical and commercial success, providing a fitting end to a beloved cult classic.

One of the most significant reasons why "Serenity" was a great goodbye to the "Firefly" series was its ability to tie up loose ends. The show was cancelled after just one season, leaving several storylines unresolved. The film provided fans with closure, exploring the origins of the Reavers, the mysterious and savage space-faring beings that were introduced in the series. The film also delved deeper into the relationship between River (Summer Glau) and the Alliance, further exploring her character arc and providing a satisfying conclusion to her story.

Serenity" expanded on the world-building that was established in the show. The film further explored the culture and society of the "Firefly" universe, offering a glimpse into the political machinations of the Alliance and the struggles of the Outer Rim planets. The use of stunning visuals and sound design further enhanced the immersive experience of the film.

"Firefly" is a beloved cult classic for a multitude of reasons, ranging from its captivating characters and creative world-building to its use of humor and themes of freedom and independence. Its premature cancellation has only added to its status, and its dedicated fan base continues to celebrate its unique qualities. It remains a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring impact that a well-crafted TV show can have on its viewers.

Wheedon was able to eventually write and direct the film Serenity, which brought closure to the story line.

Shame how Wheedon turned out though...