31 March 2008

Jellyfish in the Economist

When one of the world's foremost jellyfish experts, and private-island-dweller (from now on, that's how he will be introduced) Lucas Brotz, gets quote up in The Economist...well, that's not the kind of news you sit on.

Hell no!

You publicize that by any and every means at your disposal, because as cool as it is when your friends get interviewed by The Economist, it also reminds you how important jellyfish are. Because the study of them is yet one more way to learn how fucked we are. And how we're fucking this planet.

I quote:

Mr Brotz calls jellyfish “harbingers of change”. The solution isn’t to find ways of using them but to “stop polluting the ocean with nutrients and stop over fishing.”



Telling Whoppers: April Fools Jokes

The Museum of Hoaxes has a list of 100 great April Fools Day Pranks.

#8: The Left-Handed Whopper

In 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."

I'm not sure if this has any relation to the fact that my first words to Chiara this morning were "I was dreaming I was at Burger King eating a whopper."

Incidentally, I was not lying, joking or pranking. I was reminiscing about how awesome my dream was, and how good my burgerbreakfast tasted. Any dream that ends up at Burger King is the opposite of a nightmare.


Ridiculous Mad Fold-ins

You used to love these in your Mad magazine. You still do.

I didn't remember how sharply political and/or poignant these could be. Thanks NY Times for putting together an on-line retrospective. And feature.


28 March 2008

Making the Grade

You demand content. Ideas. Rants. Raves. Thumbs up, thumbs down. Hits and misses. Picks and pans. Star ratings. Poems, stories, poetry and punditry.

But alas, we can't always get what we want. What we can do, when we're not updating our blog, is work on

-Product descriptions for Levi's Fall/Winter online catalog. you thought Spring Summer was awesome? Oh shit! You got no idea.

-Preparation of the first real publication from Maxcap Media Empire. it's a one act play. It's not far from going to the printers.

-Trying to learn how to type on a path in photoshop. It's not simple, so they have a section in the 'Help' menu, and also in 'Photoshop CS2 for Dummies'. Guess what this particular dummy still hasn't figured out how to do?

-Preparation of production/direction/publicity of 'THE POWER FORCE' the awesomest one-act play the Brussels Amateur Theatre scene has seen.

-Annual Report 2007? They don't write themselves y'know. I haven't quit my day-job.

If I was blogging I might write about why the Canucks are choking right now, and how important a strong Champions League QF is for the giallorossi.


26 March 2008

China is getting ready

The Olympics are coming! Quick crush dissent before everyone gets here!

Maybe not the kind of party I want to go to..



20 March 2008

SFW war on terror

It's official. The coolest high school student in the world is Canadian. he's also really smart. For his senior Candian Politics class, Arman Noory edited together SFW footage from an early 80's porn flick with what he calls an 'American-perspective War on Terror Porno Musical.' His voice overdubs are sharp and funny, his facts depressing.

He also uses sound effects from the Creative Commons, and credits himself for something called 'Awesome' which he seemed to use alot of.

Link to Boing Boing


Derby de Merda

Short reviews are the rage. Short is the new wordy.

So here we go, count me in.

A (short) collection of four word reviews of last nights derby between AS Roma and Shitty Shitty Lazio:

Fucking Lazio. Shitty Derby.
Roma lost game, scudetto.
Lazio wins, God cries.
Fucking last minute goal.

If I had six words it might go something like:

Roma shits bed at last second.

Lazio beat Roma, OK with sucking.

Lazio fans now won't shut mouths.

Roma chokes domestically, better rape Manchester.


17 March 2008


Complete with heavy vault doors and safety deposit boxes 'The Bank' on Rue du Bailli rides the flavour of an old-world moneyhouse into a modern day speakeasy. Of course, being nominally an 'Irish Bar' there are plenty of beers (Guiness and Harp and the like) on tap, and enough TV screens to catch the international football and rugby -the staple visual accompaniment of these types of places.

This most recent Friday, the day in question, the subtle changes that had been occuring over past weeks had now become impossible to explain away:

Whereas before I had observed the unspoken rule of speaking only English with Irish bar staff, I had of late been tempted to respond to the sudden appearance of s'il vous plaits, and merci's in kind.

The fancy modern chandeliers I had only recently noticed, may have in fact, been only recently installed.

The pleasant mix of nostalgic rock that I had become accustomed to had been replaced by crappy generic house music and was being played uncomfortably loud. Perhaps not just at the whim of that one bartender. Hey where is that guy?

The Bank is all of a sudden spelling its name 'banco', in all lowercase, modern font.

What the fuck is going on here? It was really the name change that made me understand:

New ownership.

So long comfortable watering hole, hello painfully desperate attempt to be hip. Ha ha. banco. I get it.

As if the old Irishman you had befriended had all of a sudden gotten his nose pierced, and started putting soy sauce on everything he cooked. 'Hey! I like fusion cooking.' he'd say, trying to water down his rich brogue, 'Oh, and I'm thinking of trading in my shitty old mandolin. I only listen to hard restaurant house these days.'

Mere blocks away is another Irish Bar of a sort. Monkey Business. Known for its excellent Mexican cuisine, it was known by me as a place where gli Italiani, usually fans of AS Roma, can all gather and cheer on our giallorossi. Last time I was there (to watch Roma beat Real Madrid and progress to the QF of the Champions League) I was informed that they were closing down. The reason? The new landlord wasn't interested in having them around. Dumped.

There goes my neighborhood.

The eclectic mix of gift shops, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and cafes are slowly squeezing out the downmarket and popular to make room for high-end. What is lost is the fact that part of the charm of Rue de Bailli and the surrounding environs is precisely the mix of unfashionable and comfortable that is being eradicated, to make room for the same old bar, with brand new airs.

Hey Uncle Seamus, put on your fancy pants, put some pomade in your hair, let's go out for some spring rolls!


14 March 2008

Doggy Bag

This clearly seemed like a good idea to some people, at one time. Link.


13 March 2008

So San Siro

We heard it before we saw it.

Racing out of the metro we hit a wall of sound. The noise pulsating out of the San Siro. If I had to try to describe it I'd say it sounded like 80,000 people screaming, shouting, whistling, chanting, and chattering in the midst of an enormous swarm of giant energetic bees.

24 hours in Italy from the get-go was a risky plan. Fresh out of surgery, with about a thousand potential 'known unknowns' that could go wrong. Including one 3:45am wake up, followed by 6:45am the next day.

But first class, first knockout round tickets in one of the most storied stadia in the world don't come around that often. When Johnny's on the spot, he's got to take the chance right?

So I got to hang out with the Dempsey brothers in Beautiful Bergamo. Being overtired doesn't mean you can't be up for a little adventurement.

I got to be the Italian expert, and rare is the time when I go to Italy and I'm the best Italian speaker.

And we got great seats at this amazing stadium to watch Liverpool overpower Inter Milan. Did I mention the Dempsey brothers are big BIG Liverpool fans? I was able to vicariously celebrate the victory, whilst partaking in a little bit of schadenefreude for one of AS Roma's main rivals.

But the kiss in this picture is in the wrong direction, all kisses are for Shane and getting tickets.

Plus another one to his brother for coming all the way from Denver, Colorado (a fact which earned him handshakes from a whole group of serious fucking Liverpool fans. I mean guys that list their football allegiances as

"First, there's Liverpool, then Liverpool Reserves, then the youth team, and then, maybe, you can talk about England."

Plus a kiss to my nurse, for not letting the concern about my head wound stand in the way of a wonderful 24 hour Italian football adventure.


Birthmark Begone

When I was 14 or so, the most alternative girl in my school came over at lunchtime and gave me a 'completely shaved around the sides and the back' haircut with a pair of dog clippers. It was supercool. I thought.

In retrospect probably not the worst hairstyle I ever sported, but one of the most revealing. Revealing in the way that, until then, I had no idea that I had a brown birthmark the size of a chicken cutlet on the side of my head.

I tried to convince myself that it was somehow a mark that I was 'The Chosen One'. Chosen for what, I don't know, but a small part of me kept hoping that eventually some rugged drifter would chance upon me, glance at the side of my head, drop his glass of gin in shock, and begin genuflecting then and there.

That never happened. What did happen, though, is that the hair that covered the birthmark eventually fell out, around the same time my hairline began creeping higher up my forehead.

As nobody seemed to have the slightest interest in genuflecting when they noticed my birthmark I became a little self-conscious about it. Not terribly so, until the dermatologist told me that my birthmark was technically a benign tumour.

The point is, no more questions or self-consciousness about the brown spot half hidden in my hairline, because I now have a fresh twelve centimetre cut on the side of my head where it used to be. I keep it covered by a large bandage wrapped around my noggin. I like to think it gives me an appearance of being a potentially dangerous crazy, with a slight nod to old-school mens tennis.


06 March 2008

Forza Roma

Grande Roma! What a game last night. What a performance by Totti, Aquilani, De Rossi, Tonetto, Doni, Vucinic, um, everybody. Fucking awesome.
If offside goals don't count (and actually they don't) then Roma went to Madrid's house and beat them 2-0.

I got to eat sushi and watch it with Henri and Will, and extra friends. And Italians. For atmosphere.

As a bonus (and a testament to how much she truly loves me, Chiara watched. And stayed through the whole game (mostly to make sure I didn't drink 400 beers, but secretly she did it because she's a Romanista. She just wears it casual.

Fucking fantastic football. Forza!



Auditions were held, and 75% of the casting problems were resolved. It was really nice (but also crappy) to be on the other side of that casting couch, because I knew that some rejection is going to ensue. Fortunately it was me doing the rejecting. But rejection isn't fun, no matter what side of the "It's not you, it's me...OK, in this case, it's you" interaction you sit.

However, I'm excited about the cast I have. And in the cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world of the Brussels amateur theatre scene one just has to man up, and take (and give) rejection like the ruthless hard-nosed player he wants to be.


04 March 2008

Big Tanks

Tonight will mark the official beginning of the Power Force Production Process, (PFPP)

Heed me, mark me well:

I, Ryan Millar, using my BARE WITS, cunning, and assistance/ADVICE from Dorion Davis (and whomsoever else shall help me), will begin the arduous PROCESS of mounting a play FEARLESSLY penned by my own bloody hand.

It will be a long and UPHILL battle, yea, but my resolve is strong.

I'm hoping to find BRAVE SOULS to breathe life into my insanely poetic words.

Tonight, we have AUDITIONS!

But mostly I just wanted to write a post so I could add this super SWEET picture of a BALLOON TANK I found: