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Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year, New Look

I decided to take a look at what different styles of template I could use for this blog after the inspiration came from a visit to IKEA. Hardly considered the height of good taste, but much maligned, IKEA has been loved for its cheap prices and functionality while loathed by traditional furniture fans.

Yesterday I went to IKEA and looked around for stuff I need for my party on Friday. I can't tell you where the said party is going to be, since I fear and dread gatecrashers. The guests who are invited are rowdy enough for my taste, thank you very much. What I can tell you is that my parents found these lovely green stools for around $6 in Australian money, and that could well solve my dilemma of how to seat twenty people, maybe a bit more even.

There's a lot to be said for IKEA, like ABBA, it's one of the best, and worst, things that ever did arrive from Sweden. You either love it, hate it, or simply use it for its cheap and affordable furniture. I really should take a camera to IKEA one day and post some pictures of what I see in there that I like.

But solutions for modern living aside, what I did yesterday, being New Year's Eve, was watching the fireworks from Chiswick with my family, and playing Scrabble in an excruciatingly dull game since both my father and myself were too tired and, as it were, lost for words (pun definitely intended) to the extent that we packed up the game in twenty minutes and watched the music videos on the VH1 Music Video No. 1's Countdown, because there was nothing else on really.

The other thing I did yesterday was shop for my birthday present, as my birthday was within four days of arrival. Sadly, when I went to EB Games at Rhodes Shopping Center, I discovered that although boxes of DS Lites with price tags on them were on the shelves, they were empty, and the rude and bitchy shopkeep woman told my mother and I that they were sold out. Not only that, but that they increased the price from the Christmas sales price of $189 to $200 that very day, and even though we had seen it cheaper in another EB Games shop, in which case the store guarantee promised to reduce the cost, she wasn't going to help us, nor was she going to tell us precisely when the new stock would come in.

Thus one of my New Year's resolutions is not to shop at EB Games unless they have something I need that nowhere else has, because JB Hi-Fi has a better range of games stuff at much cheaper prices. EB has significantly fallen from what it was, a friendly games and console seller to a greedy corporate chain store. This is why I more often shop for games at JB Hi-Fi instead, because people who work at JB actually like helping you.

However, there is hope. There was a Dick Smith Electronics shop at Rhodes, which was being operated by a very nice Muslim woman with glasses. She not only gave a much better impression than the EB servicewoman did, but she was a premium example of how helpful and friendly Muslims can be. Trust me, I want a DS Lite so bad, even if my acceptance of other cultures wasn't as tolerant as I am already, give me any serviceperson in an electronics shop of ANY faith, and I would accept their help in getting one of those little handhelds on my birthday, I would accept assistance from a Mormon or a Krishna-follower if I had to, despite my experience of some of them being pushy for donations/conversions!

The nice Muslim lady helped me order a DS Lite and took my phone number on a notepad in order for her to contact me when it arrives. I am exceedingly grateful for this. Such people deserve to be given raises/Employee of the Month awards/Medals for service, and they definitely need to be given respect by those of different cultures anyway, even if they really can't help you (but they try to). Never underestimate a foreign shopkeeper, as behind the cultural differences lie cultural strengths, such as hospitality and good manners.

- Jacob Martin
AKA "Jake of All Trades"

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Trawling my CD Collection Part 1

I have a few CDs I bought recently, and I will review them for your blog-reading pleasure as I go along.

The theme of today's reviews is "Angry Young Man Music". This is a generally misunderstood field of music, since many, after the dawn of Emo music, have lost the true meaning of what it means to be a young man who is angry, now thinking it means not having enough money for an iPod, or being dumped by your girlfriend for being a whiney bitch who is hardly a man at all. Usually a Young Man, who may or may not be angry, buys or downloads music albums for their ability to inspire awe, wonder, and understanding in their souls. Or they like it because they like loud music that bugs their parents.

The first CD I will review is Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.

This album is one of the chief discoveries of my youth. Not only is it loud, and angry, but it has an actual heart to it. Johnny Rotten doesn't tell you why he's angry, he yells it at you, attacking British sentimentalism and nostalgia in the face of conservative government. From "Holidays in the Sun" to "God Save the Queen" to "Anarchy in the U.K.", it is a solid album of Punk era classics. One of the tracks, "Bodies", is a song about abortions that is sure to offend everyone, and contains at least three "F-words". This should not mean you should turn down the volume for this track, for what is the point of The Sex Pistols if you can't play them loud on your stereo? Loud playing is not recommended on iPods, because you'll make yourself deaf. I give this album Ten "Unplugged Sid Vicious Bass Guitars" out of Ten.

WHY IT'S GOOD: This is the ultimate Punk album, alongside The Clash's London Calling record, it's one you have to own if you're an angry young man who wants to experience the Punk phenomenon first-hand. It's way better than this new "Emo" crap that claims to be Punk, and is best enjoyed played on a stereo cranked to 11.

The second album in this series of reviews is Nirvana's Nevermind, an album from the early 1990s that truly fits the "Angry Young Man" criteria.

Nevermind, unlike The Sex Pistols's "Never Mind the Bollocks", is an album less about anarchy and more about the collective unrest in a generation's spirits, hence, "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the opening track that made Kurt Cobain a star. The album cover is probably more famous than the music on the actual album nowadays, but the music should not be ignored. Can't understand the lyrics? Few people could. The point was more about the feelings that the music evokes rather than the lyrics, which are more an accessory to Nirvana's grunge sound. This album's worth as music has been debated from everybody from established music critics to blokes like my twin brother, who probably only hates it because I like it, however, its endurance as an album cannot be ignored in influence. This album also contains tracks like "Lithium", "In Bloom" and "Something in the Way" (Something in the Way contains a hidden track after a long period of silence on some CD pressings, called "Endless, Nameless", which is definitely meant to be played loud), which genuinely express Cobain's inner torment and angry young man cred. I give it 8 "Swimming Babies" out of 10, I take away two points for the commercial exploitation of Kurt Cobain that this album led to.

* * * * *

Well, that's the first part of "Trawling my CD Collection", which hopefully turns out to be an enjoyable and enlightening series of reviews about CDs I own. Next time, we explore "Muse: What Is the Big Deal?", as I review two albums by the band Muse, which brought the band in question significant scorn and acclaim in mixed baskets.

- Jacob Martin
AKA "Jake of All Trades"

The Blogger's Code

Try this link:

This O'Reilly seems to be friendlier and aiming for a better cause than the OTHER O'Reilly... you know, the Fox News one!

As a blogger, this will affect me, but how do I factor in all these rules without careful analysis of the proposed rules?

There really is a need to support civil and polite blogging, yet what I've noticed is the popular ones, like Maddox's blog, maintain interest by throwing politeness out the window.

An ethical code of blogging is good for maintaining factual content, but a simple message that warns people that some viewpoints may offend people would do a better job at making sure people find appropriate content. I am not calling for censorship, what the classification system has done for movies is, however limiting it is for what younger people can see and the general stigma of certain ratings, it does on many occasions give a good idea of the content within the film itself, and the positive aspect of a classification system is that of a way to decide, instead of netfilters censoring artwork blogs with accusations of nudity when the blog is merely presenting the human form (in my experience my school's filter system used to block much needed websites for the study of artists because of nudity that was justified by the idea behind the artwork in most cases).

But an ethical code of blogging could well be, if constructed with thought and reason, not a tool of repression and censorship, but an electronic era code of ethics that would guide bloggers into making the right choices in their content and manner.

More needs to be looked into though, there's a whole bunch of dense material to sift through in order to gain anything from it. A simpler, layman's code would be more effective in the long term, as bloggers have notoriously short attention spans (it takes one to know one) and even non-bloggers thinking of starting up a blog would be helped with a simpler code for use in their blogging activity.

I will bookmark this code immediately!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My birthday is coming soon...

And I'll be 18 years old. *Gasp*

After already completing a New Years Resolution before 2007 is even finished (completing reading a book I've been meaning to finish reading months ago), I have to put things in perspective. First of all, I'll need to pick the one beer I'm allowed to drink on my birthday (Drinking alcohol is legal at age 18, but I do not intend to use this occasion as an excuse for debauchery). In Australia, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to beers, and I am puzzled at which one I would possibly pick. Heineken or something like that would do, but what if I want something exotic?

Also, I need to plan my party. Which is Disco Themed thanks to my strange twin brother who listens to old music constantly. What am I going to wear?

And what of my birthday present? I have concluded that I want a Nintendo DS Lite for my present, however I am not 100% sure my parents have been convinced that I need one. However, I believe that since I have shown them one of the games I got for Christmas, "Brain Training", they have taken the bait. My father is also interested in using the planned DS Lite to play "Brain Training", so I think I've convinced him now.

What will I do on my birthday? Probably clean up the house for the party, and generally veg out in front of the TV. In any case it should be a good event.

- Jacob Martin
AKA "Jake of All Trades"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I played a Wii on Christmas Day

But it wasn't mine, I'm sad to say. (Hey, that rhymes)

Wii Sports is one of the most innovative videogames I've seen in a long time. And I've seen a lot of videogames in my time... this one actually tires you out. You need to be fit to play Wii Boxing, and Wii Tennis, as well as be prepared to have your concentration and coordination at their peaks for Wii Bowling.

Unlike other videogame systems, Wii actually gives you the weariness of the character on screen, (or at least the weariness that your character would feel in real life if constantly doing whatever they do). After playing it for 20 minutes, I saw why people want these babies in their living rooms, perfecting Wiimote control is a satisfying aspect to Wii ownership, as well as the fun multiplayer games it has.

I was late posting this since I was very busy for the past two days, and hope to post more if I can.

- Jacob Martin
AKA "Jake of All Trades"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Terry Pratchett has Alzheimers

This is really sad. I've met this guy in person, and he seemed really nice. He's one of my favorite authors.

But then again, he's trying to be cheerful about it. Nothing ever gets Terry in a depressed muddle, so there is hope for him.

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

The Wonders of Demo Tape Recording

I've been recording some demo tapes with just singing to send to my musically minded colleagues, in order to give them some idea of how I could make the song work with their riffing.

I do not yet feel the confidence to post links to downloading the said demo tapes. It's humiliating enough to have one's closest friends hear your musical efforts, I feel that I don't need the entire Internet laughing at my expense. When I have more polished versions of my songs with music added, then we might see some download links. But for now, I have more demo tapes to record...

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Soccer and the Zen of Videogaming

I've come home from a day of real life soccer and the biggest workout of my life, as well as an introduction to the world of philosophical videogaming.

It started innocently enough, as an old friend of mine, Alex, decided that we should play soccer in the park directly outside my house, since it was a very nice day that was too beautiful to waste on playing Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne and simply lazing about the house.

I accepted the challenge, only to find that this was a cunning ploy of Alex's to get me fit. He had been trying to find a way to get involved in my exercise routine ever since last year, and he is a good trainer, but he works you hard. When I first played soccer with him today, I was wearing trackpants, which were long and too hot for a boiling day. We kicked the long neglected soccer ball from my back garden around to the extent that all the grimy pot-plant dirt and spiderwebs were gone from its surface, revealing an aged, but beautiful piece of sports equipment. I was drenched in sweat, as the sun beamed down on us. My shirt was so damp from my efforts, that it was drenched by exertion. I decided to apply suncream, since it was quite sunny. It was a wise choice, as it was not only a protection from nasty skin cancers but a chance to change into sportier attire. I changed my shirt and pants to short sleeved and legged clothing, as well as changing my shoes from slip ons to lace ons.

I was pumped for more, as I ran after the ball, kicking it far and near, and even succeeding in outsmarting my twin brother in the soccer art. After I was completely exhausted, it was time to go to my mate David's place. We had tried to get him out of the house previously that day, but it seemed that he was out. The second time we knocked at his door, he was responsive.

We played more soccer, but before that, I had room-temperature water instead of cold at David's house, at Alex's recommendation, as he said to me that room temperature is more refreshing for exercise. I was still drenched in sweat, but I felt like a king. So this is what Fight Club was supposed to make you feel like, minus the severe pummellings!

As I said, we played more soccer, and I scored a goal. We decided, that we could test our skills of soccer on David's new Xbox 360, which had Pro Evolution Soccer or some football related game. I even had a try, though I am not one to commonly participate in videogaming, and despite my losing to David by 2 to Nil, I did not feel at a loss. I simply felt like playing the game for its own sake. I was told that my soccer game skills on this particular game were quite good for a first time player. I simply played the game using my mind rather than the button bashing that the others were doing, and loved every moment of the game, not caring whether I would win or lose. It saddens me when I see people playing videogames only to win: videogames must be played by simply playing them, victory or defeat, Pro or n00b, there is no meaning to any of these terms in true videogaming, the real meaning is in the experience of playing, using your mind to contemplate how more effective gameplay and mastery of the controls could be achieved. I was even playing very well, as Alex told me, and I was judged as a better player of this particular game than my twin brother. Surely this could not be!

Will post more after I have had a rest. I am severely tired after a big day.

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

Thursday, December 6, 2007

HumaniTEA: A Manifesto

HumaniTEA: A Manifesto
By Jacob Martin

Tea is the beverage of kings, queens, commoners and the wealthy alike! HumaniTEA is the group who say “no more!” to those who disrespect our noble drink! These are the goals of our beverage revolution:

1: The de-stigmatisation of Tea. Tea is a drink of the people, not just the British who sip from their expensive, gilded cups! We must fight to ensure that Tea is recognised as the beverage of a united world, as Tea comes from all kinds of places that produce it, such as Japan, Kenya, Tanzania, and India. One beverage can unite our broken world, and we will achieve equality among creation one sip at a time. We must ensure that those who forsake the joys of Tea are made aware of its pleasures, and in good time the whole world will be drinking Tea! (Except for Mormons, it’s hard to convince them to disobey one of the laws of their religion by making them drink Tea, but it’s their loss. You should still respect their views, but they need to respect yours too)

2: Fair pay for Tea industry workers. Only buy Tea that has been produced ethically, as unjustly manufactured Tea that uses exploitative labour leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

3: Good promotion of the benefits of Tea is one of the core steps in our Tea revolution, that even Coffee, that caffeine laden opiate of the masses, will be overthrown in favour of a beverage that is far healthier and enjoyable than many other beverage choices. Tea is healthier than energy drinks as well, and is better for you than a soft drink or cola!

4: The overthrowing of Coffee and energy drinks must be achieved by non-violent means. These evils cannot be repaid with evil, only the good works of HumaniTEA members with peaceful, home economical methods of eliminating Coffee and energy drinks that have oppressed the working class for too long, will prevail in the end! Simply do not buy Coffee or energy drinks, they are addictive, but like smoking and alcoholism, they can be beaten, and Tea will set you free!

5: Tea is what binds us together, we know no discrimination in race, creed, gender or blend of choice. Every cup of the noble drink unites the people around you, as they drink with you. In an ideal world, Tea will end wars, reconcile the harshest enemies, and bond families as one.

6: The final goal of HumaniTEA, after uniting humanity as one world, and one beverage, is to preserve this peace we have earned with the leaves of toil, and the calming effect of a cup of Tea will sooth the wracked nerves of those who fought so hard to achieve these goals. Drink to peace! Drink to equality! Drink for all Humanity!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Changing Faces of Corporations

Take a look at the link below. Read it before you read this blog entry.

At least he said sorry, but I'm still not getting a Facebook account until I am convinced the privacy issues are sorted out for good.

I was previously convinced that Facebook was the face of evil corporate greed, but sometimes I see improvements in how CEOs of companies act towards their faults, and make their companies more consumer friendly.

I have significant respect for people who admit that they are wrong. If they are geniune in their remorse that is. But Mark Zuckerberg deserves the right to be forgiven, provided that he makes sure he doesn't try to pull something like this again.

The age of the corporation is upon us, and there are some internet based corporations that have taken steps to give their customers better privacy. Google earned back my respect when I saw their new privacy policy, and their option of not giving your information for use in statistics or advertising research or corporate studies.

In a previous post, I have said that Apple is a greedy company that is rotten to the core. This, in the instance of their constant re-releases of new iPod technologies, is true, but they do not deserve a complete boycott, nor my complete scorn. I own an iPod, that I cannot hide, and I use it often. I am more concerned with their iTunes downloads only working on iPods than I am with their constant new iPod products, honestly. When a downloaded song or album from iTunes works on nothing else but Apple products, this is an example of corporations trying to freeze out competition. However on the other hand, they allow you to rip music onto your iPod from CDs, something I do often. This redeems them in some aspects, as at least they let you get your CDs onto iPods. CDs work on most Media Players, and that is why I use and buy them.

I also cannot ignore Apple, because in my heart, I know, that although I might dread replacing my beloved PC that has served me for years, an Apple computer would be more sophisticated and capable of using many new developments in creative software. As a creative artist, I need these programs to do my work. And the way Windows Vista is going, (I've heard terrible things about Vista from a friend who has a Vista PC) it wouldn't suit my needs well. I cling to my Windows XP PC in fear, as it will not be able to handle Vista due to its small capabilities.

In this new age of corporations, we should ask ourselves not so much how we should fight all the time with corporations, but to work together with corporations in order to make a better world. Put good people in CEO positions, and they will be more likely to do good works with that position. However, corporations are also about profit. We need to address, in the 21st Century, how profit and ecological factors can be reconciled so that we won't kill the planet. Picketing corporations won't solve much, as CEOs in the past have ignored such means of change. You can make corporations friendlier to humanity by getting a job with them. Get enough good people at work with corporations, and with time, positive solutions will be had.

But you might disagree with me. After all, I'm just a 17 year old wannabe Author who rants to much. Or am I?

Blogging is a good place to discuss issues in society, but as we have seen in the past few years in China, the blog is not mightier than the Great Firewall's sword. Bloggers need to work as much in the physical, RL world, as they do on the Internet. Actions speak louder than words, but words with action combined is a force that may change the world more than each one can achieve alone.

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Matters concerning the Negative Review I got for Small Worlds: A Miscellany

I am no longer bitter about this. I have refrained from posting about it here before I was ready to.

Here is the review I got for my short story collection, Small Worlds: A Miscellany most recently:

As you can see, my first collection of stories missed the mark somewhat. Perhaps I should apologise for my crimes against literature, but I have learned three things from the experience of how one review, no matter how constructive its criticism, can propel a young artist into a pit of despair:

1: It seems that I would make a good writer for Saturday Morning Cartoon shows. Initially I was insulted by the remark: "Most of the stories read like scripts for a Saturday morning cartoon (and I think they would make great cartoons).", but I learned after clarification from the author of this review on the social networking site I use, that this remark was not meant as an insult. It was my fault that I reacted badly to it. This person was only trying to help me, and my experience with Yoram Gross cartoons in my youth had left me with a mediocre understanding of what Saturday Morning cartoon shows could be. (Yoram Gross is the guy who made the Blinky Bill cartoons, but since then he has unleashed more horrors onto Australian children's minds than anybody else, his Flipper and Lopaka show was so bad that you wondered how he got away with it. Tabaluga on the other hand, that was a great show!)

2: Art cures Art. The best thing you can do, after recieving a negative review, no matter what creative field you work in, is to create something. It may sound against your bruised muse to say "I will move on, inspire me, Calliope", but creating something new is as good a cure for review related depression as you can get. Even if that thing you have made to cure your injured ego is recieved poorly, create more Art, and always do so. If you were born to do it, you must do it, or you will die in a miserable state of regret.

3: People are forgiving. You must forgive them also. You must be forgiving to your critics, as Jesus was. I know "What Would Jesus Do?" sounds lame and contrived coming from a guy who writes Fantasy books with multiple gods and goddesses in them, but I am a religious man, as I have seen things you wouldn't believe. Jesus didn't just die and come back, he also dealt with many critics himself. His critics said things like "He has Beelzebul in him!" and "Only God can forgive sins!", but he died for them anyway, and while he was doing his thing in his pre-crucifixion days, he never yelled at a critic without a righteous anger. I know I'll get angry letters from my atheist friends and readers, but I am less ashamed of my beliefs than I used to be, and I am able to use a basic knowledge of the Bible, forced on me in a Ministry and Leadership class I only took to get the extra HSC unit, to illustrate my points. But although I am a religious man, I also believe in a mixture of sacred, and secular teachings. Secular teachings, like Jane Austen's proverb: "First impressions are often misleading". A negative review often contains advice, but a bad review, often confused with a negative review, deliberately sets out to attack you. Most wise reviewers do not write bad reviews, negative ones are given, if they feel the work deserves some pointers on prose or style or artform, but rarely, unless Ego becomes a monster, do they deliberately attack you.

So that's my discourse on the Negative Review. I'm off to study now, I'll post again soon!

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

More on the Kindle: Like most of it's features, but not all

Now I've said some pretty harsh things about the Kindle. Having watched the updated site, there are some good features of the Kindle, like free Wikipedia on the go, and the free dictionary that you can access while you read, however, the PDF conversion issue would still stop me from buying this object. Yes, it's convenient, but as most e-books are in PDF, particularly the ones I read, personally I would wait until this "experimental" stage, as they call it, is finalised and fixed.

Also the price tag is a bit much for a black and white screen device. Yes, the technology is great, but what happens to my $400 dollars about three years down the track when the new colour screen version is released?

Like iPods, I predict that the Kindle will constantly have new variations, unless, unlike Apple, Amazon develop a spine and decide that the world doesn't need endless versions of the same product. By the looks of things, it seems like you wouldn't really need any new versions of the Kindle past the colour screen, and once the price tag goes down, the PDF issue is fixed, and colour screens for Kindles can be had, I'd consider buying one if I had the money. Which I don't, at the moment.

I hope that this device becomes popular, since once the bugs are taken out it could become a well designed product, however I hope for all our sakes that Amazon don't turn into the greedy Apple that is now rotten to the core.

More will be said later.

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Technology Madness

More proof that Facebook is bad news. Be vigilant against social networking sites run by corporations!

A Microsoft bungle. Nuff said.

*WARNING: Lengthy Rant about Internet and Gadgets Ahead... Yuppies and Snobs be Warned!!!*

This article got me thinking. For a lot of people, the only reason why people download files illegally is because they are not available for legal download. This is mostly due to traditionalist media clinging onto old forms of distribution. Because the Internet offers things in a matter of seconds or hours depending on how big the file is, it's a lot faster to download something than to wait for it to come out in Australia, which has often been a victim of the tyranny of distance, our isolation means that neither imports or exports can be released quickly. Also, postal schedules are horrific if you order a book off, meaning you have to wait weeks to obtain your order. And with the development of E-Book readers, I predict that in the future, printed books will become like CDs or Records, people will still buy them, however the portability of new E-Book readers will make E-Books take off like MP3s, especially if colour display E-Book readers are developed at an affordable price with high compatibility with most file formats. I prefer the Cybook to the Kindle because Cybook supports PDF, the leading format of E-Books, and Kindle does not, as it has DRM and Amazon forces Kindle users to buy E-Books from their service, oppressing the consumer in the name of corporate greed. In the future, we may well be technologically enslaved by corporate brand names into buying things from inconvenient services, but I say we should fight such enslavement before it begins. Even the Ipod lets you upload your own CDs onto it. Kindle should support PDF in the same way, as it is a very nice file format that has almost become a universal standard in online bookshops. We should demand a better technology at a cheaper price, instead of being conned by gadget companies into buying expensive paperweights that will become obsolete because of a new release from the same company months later. Non-ecologically sustained economics will be the downfall of humanity if we do not act now. Consumers that suckle on the teat of instant gratification from new release technology that cashed up yuppies buy and brag about and generally stick up their noses at those less wealthy as them, must be weaned.

I am not a cashed up yuppie who can just go out and buy the latest gadget. Often I must wait years until I can afford one new gadget for Christmas. I had to wait years until I was permitted to have an iPod Nano for Christmas last year, and you know what happened? Now Apple have released an even better version than my Ipod Nano that I can't afford, but I am content with my humble 2 Gig iPod Nano. It is the fact that I own it at all that is a privilege. It was either a 2 Gig one or no iPod Nano at all, for that was all my family could afford. My brother bought one with a higher Gig limit, but then again, he always tends to con my parents into giving him the snazzier gadgets. Not that I mind. He shares, at least.

So I might not have the latest gadget, or the latest phone... So what! I barely use my mobile phone except for emergencies, and my iPod Nano is well loved, because I earned it. I take care of it instead of casting it aside and demanding an upgrade. I do this because I do not buy gadgets I know I will not use. I simply can't afford to make a mistake with a gadget purchase. Books, DVDs and CDs are products I consume more, and thus I buy them more often, as I know I will use them. My brother sometimes shakes his head at the number of books I buy and read, however I do not feel guilty about my purchases, at least most of the time. This is because I save up money of my own, and I have a right to spend it. And I spend it widely, as well as wisely.

The problem with gadgets sometimes is that a corporation like Apple rises up and becomes so popular that you are looked down on for not having their latest product. And sometimes you almost agree with them, that is the sad truth of brand propaganda. Even the most popular brand may not be the best product. I have had friends who wanted their iPods repaired, and the Apple stores refused. This is because of the Huxleyan "Ending is better than mending" consumerist mantra of our Brave New Digital World. It serves a company's interest to create a product that will break down, even if it costs a lot, it will not necessarily last long. The point of this is so that you are forced to buy a new product.

I believe in quality products, and the iPod Nanos I have found to be better design and far more long lasting than the larger iPods, mine has survived a lot, whereas brand new 60 Gig iPods have broken in days. I am certain that this problem is not unique to Apple, the X-Box 360 had flaws and the Playstation 3 no longer sells consoles that play both PS3 and PS2 games. Always remember that brand loyalty is not wisdom, it is blindness. A consumer who considers their purchases and opts for the best products, not buying them as soon as they come out, but waiting until they become better designed / cheaper, is one who enjoys the most use and life out of their gadgets.

I honestly do not care if people say that I am a supporter of inferior products for my support of products I think are superior, at least for my personal use and simplicity in operation. I also use my gadgets until the day they die, keeping my Nintendo 64 that still works and playing my Game Boy and Game Boy Advanced games when I can get the time.

Technology was meant to make our lives easier. Instead brand gadgets have made life harder, as social stigma for thinking outside branding has created a society of drones who only listen to Our Ford who tells them that they need the latest phone that's also an internet viewer which you have to pay to use. I remember when Phones were simple things used for communication purposes only. If I wanted to play games I had a Game Boy Advanced to do that, and I took care of the gaming consoles of my youth, enabling my children to enjoy them if they last into my middle age.

It doesn't have to be this way. My support for the iPod Nano comes from its usability, rather than its brand focus. I shall not be buying another iPod, because of Apple's constant rereleasing of a new version of it. Instead I will look into other options if the unthinkable happens and my gadget shakes off its mortal coil.

My brother once gave a Viking funeral to his broken record player. I think gadgets must be used to the end, they may not be trendy in the future, but use your old gadgets until their circuits fry. Better a gadget dies with honour, fulfilling its duty, than to be tossed aside like a rake discard lovers when he has found them boring, which is an insult to the product that once brought joy and ease to a formerly complicated Luddite life. Not that the Digital age is any simpler. We have merely exchanged physical exhaustion for mental exhaustion in our embrace of the computer generation.

I will be posting more about technology later on, but for now, I bid you goodbye, for I need to study. I have a HSC to do.

- Jacob Martin,
AKA TeenAuthor

Friday, November 23, 2007

The 2007 Federal Election (And why I'll turn Punk if Howard wins it)

It's Election time again, and I'm on the edge of my seat (pun intended).

I consider myself no longer a Labour exclusive voter, I have now realised that the only reason why I would vote for Kevin Rudd, is because I am tired of John Howard. However, I would be so peturbed by a John Howard victory, that I would seriously be shaken to the core about my faith in Australian democracy. I support a free society in Australia, and instead of being a Party Bore I have now become aware of my lack of subscription to any one political party. I'll even vote for The Greens if they have a good grounding in environmental policies that Liberal and Labour seem to be slacking off on.

Why am I not voting today? It's simple. I'm not yet 18 years of age, the milestone where a male becomes not a boy, but a Man. I already consider myself a Man in my own eyes, yet my society's structure says that I am not capable of making an informed political decision until I am 18. I say that's bollocks.

What disturbs me even more is that because I can't vote today, I can't have my say and express my views. And the fact that many people my age are not interested in voting at all. A lack of interest in the politics that run your country leads to a slumber of judgement, allowing tyrants to rule over you like despots. Voting solves this problem, in theory, because a democratic election allows for a change of government. Trouble is, if too many people disagree with you, because the majority rules, your choice of government may not be someone else's.

This causes, in the Australian system, to vote in a government for periods longer than it is safer to have them. A new system, where each Prime Minister had a limited number of terms in power, would solve this, instead of forcing Australia to live under one lackluster PM like John Howard for eleven years or more. A lack of change in government results in a lack of change in new policies, and Prime Ministers that hold onto power for the sake of it, as well as not changing Australia for the better. The problem arises: Australians are comfy with one PM constantly in office, and do not care about the effects it has on people who are not big business owners. WorkChoices, that Orwellian double-speak for lowering wages and increasing working hours, does not provide choice for employees at all, and Karl Marx, if he were alive today, would decry such an exploitation of the working class. However, Communism wasn't that good an alternative either, because that system was just as oppressive as the old one. So what do we do?

I honestly will not know until every last vote is counted tonight. And as I have told my mother, if John Howard gets in power again, I will be going Punk. I will not be a violent terrorist, but an example of the friendlier face of Anarchy, peacefully protesting by taking a CD Player with batteries in it to blare my The Clash Singles album at the City, and hopefully, that will wake up Australians from what Paul Keating described the Menzies government as: The Rip Van Winkle Years, a term that equally describes John Howard's geezer aristocracy.

I will be going to pick up my brother from the airport now, as he is returning from Schoolies Week, and I will greet him warmly. John Howard will not be getting so warm a greeting from me if he wins, instead he will be the enemy of my penstroke, which is mightier than the sword...

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

My First Royalty Check (and an Internet discussion)

I got $8.98 Australian for my first Royalty Check. Not much, in Author Superstar terms, but this reflects that I currently have people interested in my work.

This also reflects that although some may frown on Lulu Authors as unprofessional, because I have been paid for my efforts, no matter how small the payment, it is my first foray into professional writing.

Will Self and his ilk can cram it for all I care. Money talks, and intellectual snobbery doesn't even walk, it just sits at its armchair and complains about how people who are using the New Media of the Internet to make a name for themselves are encouraging supposed mediocrity.

I also recieved encouragement from friends and internet forum buddies that showed me that the Internet can be more than just an ideological battleground, it is a wild land, not so much a jungle of mediocrity, but an untamed, digital intellectual biosphere, that like the real environment in the physical world, must not be destroyed by Internet trolls and those who merely use it to rant and rave their own ideas with violently verbal arguments. If the internet is to become "civilised", we must not make the mistakes of the British and Roman Empires of colonialism, and the noble savages of the Internet, those who started it as a peaceful Eden of the expression of thought and forum of peaceful discussion, must not be murdered and have their land taken from them. In order to make the Internet a better place, we must work together with the traditional medias and the Netizens of the world, for a better Information Highway, a well build road of trade, safe travel, and the lack of constant attack, quite unlike the marauder infested road more akin to the Mad Max movies than the safe Information Highway it once was.

I dislike "Writer's Group" forums, as these groups often attack Lulu and Self-published Authors and claim that they are not Authors at all. I have experienced much backlash for arguing with rigid traditionalists, quite unlike the peaceful traditional-press published Authors who have given me a good deal of support on other forums that have more merit to them. I could address the bias against Fantasy Authors that occurs on the Internet and elsewhere, however that is a whole 'nother discussion altogether. I long have since abandoned MySpace, since it was bought by that media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as I dislike major corporations taking over websites that were once for the people, and not concerned with corporate profit. I have boycotted Facebook, because I have read several articles about unreasonable collection of personal data that goes on there, that you can find in the Sydney Morning Herald Archives. I also have boycotted Facebook because although it provides a useful service of connecting with old school friends, it comes at the price of your privacy. Which is why I consider Blogger to be my chief outlet of my web presence, as well as the fabulously intriguing new web-cataloging site, which does not collect personal information for the purpose of selling it, it is entirely a benevolent entity that is for the sole purpose of booklovers and a love of literature and the Arts in general. And I dearly hope and expect that it stays that way.

MySpace was an entirely useless waste of exhibitionist drivel that used the fixation of celebrity (and now, Web-Celebrity) to exploit the egos of the masses who wanted their 15 minutes of fame, and most never got it. Not only that, but the friend adding system was incredibly annoying, you add one band that you like, and then every band on the damned site wanted your "friendship", even though they barely knew you, and had no interest in you other than to use you to spread the word about their music, whether they be talented or not, to others. And then there was the fixation of MySpacers who had committed suicide and posted their suicide notes on their MySpaces for the world to see. Suicide is a tragedy in itself, and ever since Romeo and Juliet, The Sorrows of Young Werther, and even Ozzy Osbourne's song Suicide Solution, a cult of the suicide has been established, and the Internet has been used to express sorrow in a way that the shy and powerless felt comfortable using. In Japan, suicide has its own chat groups on the web. But that has as much to do with the suicide culture of Bushido, or "death before dishonour", as the Internet being a place that influences the young and depressed. MySpace became a phenomenon where the cult of self-destruction came to the West, and copycat MySpace suicides appeared in varying frequency, reported in newspapers that used the shock and horror of teenage suicide to shamelessly exploit the fears of parents to not only sell papers, but to market fear, causing parents to restrict Internet use of teenagers.

The appeal of MySpace and Facebook was that young people would have a place of their own, not having parents over their shoulders when they expressed themselves, but I have heard horror stories of paedophiles stalking MySpacers, and bosses checking employee's MySpace and Facebook activities to judge their suitability to work for them. What the young and ignorant did not realise is that the Internet is a place where the whole world is watching you, for good or ill. I place myself under significant risk by posting this very message, as some of you may think I am a ranting teenager with no idea about the subject I speak of.

But here is my somewhat uplifting conclusion:

Hopefully as technology changes, it will change for the better. But every web surfer must take account of the waves in the digital sea, and make sure they are not caught in the riptides of self-oriented Egocentrism. The Internet is bigger than everybody, that's a fact. It's all our digital world, we just live in it.

- Jacob Martin
AKA TeenAuthor

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And we're back... with a Debate Vengeance!

I do not need to apologise to my readers for being away for so long, I have a HSC to do, you know, and I've got a ton of work that needs completing.

Instead of going into my emotionally wrecked state resulting from a new school term after all my Year 12 buddies my age have gone onto their own careers, while I'm still stuck in the Board of Studies education system due to the Pathways Program, I'll present you with something I call an open debate. Send your comments and we can try and come to a conclusion about a matter that concerns us all... well, most of us have bought a CD once in their life if they're under ten years old, right?

I have taken to stocking up on albums that I consider worthy of my shelf. Gone are the days when one can afford to build a massive rare record collection like my brother's, as they don't make records no more, sonny! (Well, they do make records, but they're all digitally remastered and have no soul like the vinyl of old did.)

In my youth, I had terrible taste in music. I confess to owning an original "Hampsterdance: The Album" CD first pressing. Back when I was around twelve to thirteen, I tended to get "compilation CDs" of various artist's pop chart hits, even if there was only a few songs worth listening to them on them, that was how shameless I was in my consumerism of trashy pop music. Then I got older, and I mooched music off my brother for a while, storing it when I copied it off his albums onto my portable 30 GIG hard drive. But then it got full, after many years of use. I still use it, and it still works. My logic works like this: If I just want a few tracks, I can mooch it off my brother's CDs, but if I like an album, and I REALLY like it, I'll buy it on CD for my personal collection. (That reminds me, my brother never did give me back my BeeGees "Number Ones" album...)

But hang on, now there's MP3s I can download. Trouble is, even if I did download songs, legally or illegally, if legally, I would forever be annoyed by iTunes suggesting new songs that "other people" who bought the same stuff downloaded, plus iTunes songs don't work on other MP3 players, because Apple is no longer the cheerful alternative to Microsoft it once was, now because of the iPod success, it will find ways to make sure you buy iPods without a second thought. If illegally, Google tracks my searches to "help me". Now I've said some bad things about Google before, but their new privacy policy and options to not have your information sold, has redeemed this corporation in my eyes. What you'll also notice in their Privacy Policy when you sign up for Google Reader or something like that, is that they comply with legitimate search warrants and law courts. Which, in essence, means that if you're a paedophile searching child porn on Google, or, on topic, if you download songs illegally by finding a search engine using Google to locate it for your pirating activities, you're screwed if Google decide that the courts or police need your searching information.

CDs, on the other hand, even "Best Of" collections, which are worth less than actual albums, will generally provide you with a hard copy of an album or a collection of songs which is reliable for use in a good, non-spin CD Player Stereo system. What's also good about CDs is that you can upload your songs from them into your iPod or any other MP3 player without any hassle usually.

Trouble is, with CDs, they can scratch, or break, or warp in the sun, or wear out from overuse. As my Mum discovered, they can also get stuck in some CD players by accident, forcing you to listen to "The Best of Mozart" over and over again on that player. That is why backing them up as MP3s is a good idea, for personal use only and not to distribute like a hooligan on the web.

The other good thing about CDs, is that you actually feel the satisfaction of owning something you can physically hold in its case. This nice touch of CDs on a shelf may not be as impressive as records were, but their compact size allows you to keep them on a shelf space in large numbers.

Another downside of CDs is that sometimes they cost too much for new release albums. However, such is the state of modern pop music that you're actually better off buying classic (and cheaper) albums, since although there is the odd post-2000 album that really resonates with the soul, most of them are commercially manufactured drivel if they're Top 40 chart albums. There is a solution to this, there are a few shops in Sydney near where I go to school in the City that sell CDs cheaper than usual, like JB Hi-Fi, Rock Bottom CDs and the rest.

Now I'm not dissing MP3s, it's just that the legal download services like iTunes have somewhat limited archives of music, and it's hard to find some obscure artists there. CDs on the other hand, deliver a wide variety of musicians. Yet sometimes CDs of the artist you are looking for are far and few, or are not even available. That is where MP3 wins in its ability to be collected in an archive easier, unable to be destroyed by mildew or weather conditions.

In closing, I have no other things to say. The rest is up to you to argue.

- Jacob Martin

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pictures from Google Images that relate to "Jacob Martin"

Here's a whacky collection of images somehow related to my name... at least Google thinks so anyway!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I ain't dead yet!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This is the Indian Cricketer named Jacob Joseph Martin, and he's hogging the Wikipedia article on "Jacob Martin", which means I'm not really famous enough to get my own Wikipedia entry. I say "Good for him", since India needs good Cricketers to beat Australia.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I sincerely hope people don't think this is me...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Or this either... What is that?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

That's more like it! If only I actually rode a motorcycle and wasn't terrified of crashing, that would be me, only slightly nerdier.

- Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NanoWrimo starts Tomorrow!

I hope NanoWrimo doesn't hurt my HSC study too much, my final Visual Arts exam is next week, and yet, I feel the urge, that sprawling fantasy epic urge, to write a book.

Will post new news soon!

- Jacob Martin

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Almost done on The Unwritten Book

I've been working on a book called The Unwritten Book. What that is, you'll have to wait and see when I publish it...

- Jacob Martin

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Interesting Movie essay

Hold onto your hats, traditionalists, if ye dare to tread the murky depths of industry change, reflected in this essay, which I found very interesting.


- Jacob Martin

The Early Bird gets the Worm

I am speechless at this announcement. I really have nothing to say. The article speaks for itself.


Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Dumbeldore, according to this article, is gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide.

Frankly, I think Dumbledore coming out of the closet in book 6 of Harry Potter would have been better, at least in book 7...

But could this be a desperate cry for attention from Rowling since the book series is over?

Possibly not. Book publishers, particularly for children, are conservative in what gets published, and Dumbledore's "Village People" tendencies could have been left out due to pressure. However, it could well be a cry for attention, we need to know more about Dumbledore and Grindlewald's "Brokeback Mountain" adventures!


Jacob Martin

P.S.: I am fine with gay people, and know two male and one female homosexuals personally. Hopefully I do not offend them with my various euphemisms...

Busy with my HSC

It's exam time, and although I completed my first half of the English Advanced exams, Paper Two looms over Monday. But I don't feel stressed.

Basically a late realisation of why we are studying these texts and what they really mean has come in handy, and I don't fear my impending exams, my Visual Arts exam has no flies on it, as we Aussies used to say.

At this time of year, a good study plan, as "Angstoberfest", the period where the HSC student gets really stressed and hates all life in the Board of Studies, comes to an end, is vital. Don't rush your study, you remember more when you have a clear, rested mind. Jot your practice papers on notebook paper, and your thoughts will sort themselves, say what you are writing so you become one with the knowledge within!

As you may have noticed, my posting on this blog has been erratic due to study and various creative projects. Remember, the Internet is your friend, except during study lockdown. IGNORE your friends on MSN Messenger or any other IM, and only talk to them during study breaks. Even blogs must be neglected in the name of the HSC.

Creative types really get hit hard by the HSC because their creative projects get put on hold in order to study. If you write books, poems and stories, do not neglect the Arts entirely, write notes and organise them. Take a notebook wherever you go to jot down inspirations for later, and download KeyNote to organise them on your computer. (Google it now)

The Board Of Studies, although heading the English Advanced course down a slippery slope, want to help you. Ignore everything I said before about the Board of Studies, particularly when I said they're scum. But everything about Julie Bishop and the Education System is wholeheartedly My Humble Opinion, take it or leave it.

Anyway, I have to get back to study. My Mum is still nagging me, and I must go.


Jacob Martin.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I'm entering NanoWrimo!

I'm entering National Novel Writer's Month this year, which is actually international now.

I'll be writing a book called "The Very Worst Book Ever Written" which is a title that should speak for itself.


Jacob Martin

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Movie Review: Midnight Cowboy

I'll tell you this, it's sad.

Not Gone with the Wind sad, but...


Hamlet sad, possibly even more tragic!

Midnight Cowboy is about two Male prostitutes trying to survive, and one of them, Rico, wants to go to Florida to start a new life outside of New York slums, away from his unheated apartment and poverty.

Telling you anything else would be a spoiler.

You must see it. I give it 10 out of 10 "Radios".

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Bit of Fry and Laurie - Mr Dalliard - Models

Stephen Fry as an Evil Model Airplane Shop-Owner! ROFL!

A Bit of Fry and Laurie - Psychiatrists

Stephen Fry as a crazy person? That boy needs therapy!

A Bit of Fry and Laurie-The Polite Rap

The Polite Rap. Rap need not be about dissin' bitches and ho's, they need respect and courtesy too. Word up!

A Bit of Fry and Laurie -

"Where is the Lid?" That is the question Hugh Laurie asks in this song.

Hey Jude

Hugh Laurie sings "Hey Jude" in a Chipmunk voice. LOL...

A Bit Of Fry and Laurie - Barman

Let's see if this Fry and Laurie sketch will post... my favorite ones won't!

A Bit of Fry and Laurie - Privatization of the Police Force

I'm trying to see if I can successfully post a Fry and Laurie sketch on my blog without getting an error message, Heeeere goes!

Musical Review: By Jeeves

Now, I can say that I am a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals, The Phantom of the Opera in particular, however I had mixed feelings about By Jeeves, which is Webber's musical interpretation of P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" character cast. Essentially this musical, like the books and stories that spawned it, is like an exhibit of dinosaur bones, greatly entertaining to look at, but also preserving the fossilised values of pre-World War II British society.

Bertie Wooster gets into a jam, he has used another man's name in court when he was arrested, and the man he has impersonated impersonates Wooster. That is the basic plot that is the start of many, many further "jams". But what makes this interesting is the lack of the spectacular, crowd pulling scenery, the premise of this filmed production I saw of it on the Ovation channel, was that what you see is a stage revue of Bertie Wooster playing the banjo, yet his banjo has been stolen, so Jeeves encourages him to entertain the audience (which you can see, the camera is used to portray you, the viewer, as one of the audience in one of the most clever production tricks I have ever seen) with "reminiscing" about the muddle he has gotten himself into before coming to perform on stage. As Jeeves says, the props rely on imagination, and many are representational. And therein lies the fun, with Jeeves and Wooster "breaking the fourth wall" in a sense whenever Wooster cannot bear the various messes he has gotten into.

I'm not an expert on Wodehouse's characters, but I know enough to figure out that from what was depicted in this production, the style and humor of the characters were accurate to Wodehousian literary standards.

Yes, it does drag on a fair bit. This is partly why I have mixed feelings about it. But all the same, I feel it is one of Webber's best, despite it being a theatrical failure at the box office as I have read that this musical was.

Wodehouse fans will be happy with this, and it serves as a good primer for the Jeeves and Wooster newcomers. I give this 8 out of 10 "Jam Jars" for its efforts.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cat Talking

Just a test video of Cats talking, as I don't think my YouTube video posting is working at the moment. At least this isn't a bad quality video, it's entertaining to say as much.

1000 Hits!

This is a momentous occassion for this blog, as 1000 hits, is... well... 1000 hits. Needless to say, throughout the ages, 1000 is a special number. It's a millennial number.

I don't know much about Mathematics, but in my books, the number 1000 holds a significance in the way it sounds... one thousand...

But it also means this blog is a step closer to becoming half as popular as the more popular blogs out there. Neil Gaiman's blog gets over a million people visiting a day, but that's because he's more famous than I am, and he's been blogging for longer. Chris Sims's blog is also a long running blog, he's not nearly as famous as Neil is, but he deserves to be.

Maybe I just need to put some more content up that people will read, and I'll get more famous for that. Hopefully.

- Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I got attacked by a Butterfly!

It's great to go outside from your cave-like bedroom, and experience the garden you rarely visit. So I thought some fresh are and nature inhaling (Please, inhale nature responsibly, and don't inhale any nature that looks suspicious). Since I was going out there, Mum made me water the garden. (Not as bad as it sounds, it's good for your health)

I was watering the garden, when suddenly, a small butterfly launched out of the bush and bumped against my face...

Either it was trying to kiss me, or it was trying to defend its home from Ye Water Dragon Known as The Hose Beast of Abbotsford. I like to think it was trying to kiss me.

It looked kind of like a Fairy, so that might be what it was also. You never know...

- Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author

Drop - by Osamu Tezuka

A short Tezuka Anime about a sailor who is very thirsty. This is the first time I've watched it, so my analysis of this Anime isn't exactly developed enough to make a long comment, other than the fact that it's a quirky cartoon about the old paradox of a thirsty sailor in an ocean of water that's undrinkable. Enjoy!


Another Osamu Tezuka short Anime, about the nature of memories. I really ought to let more people know about his short Anime's, because although Tezuka was famous for his TV animations which were longer, he could create short works that were just as profound. I had not seen this one before, but I was awestruck!

Rush Hour 3 - He is Mi and I am Yu

This is a funny clip from "Rush Hour 3" that my mate Angus sent to me. He's Chinese-Australian, so he loves Asian styled humor like this. So I'm really posting it for him...


This is another Osamu Tezuka short Anime that he completed before he died. The premise of it is that it is a single view shot the whole way through the film, without changing the "camera" angle from a single directional view shot. It's also fun, too. Hope you enjoy it!

Osamu Tezuka - Broken Down Film (1985)

Neil Gaiman isn't the only creative person I like. Despite being dead now, I have an appreciation of the Anime of Osamu Tezuka, who practically invented Japanese cartoons. Other than doing "Astro Boy" and "Kimba the White Lion", he also made a few independent Anime films. This is one of them, and you're in for a real treat. "Broken Down Film" is structured like a very old cartoon on a worn out film reel, so that the characters are inconvienced by jumps of the picture, and grainy resolution that interrupts interaction between the characters. Enjoy!

Demon Cats

Cats can be funny, but if you don't treat them right, they can be downright scary. These cats are very angry, as you can see. Their owners are idiots who won't leave them alone when they try to rest. I own a cat, and I would never treat my cat like the cat owners in this video do. These cats have so many "issews" that they need Dr. Phil.

TeenAuthor's SQB: New direction in postings

Well, you may have noticed that instead of giving you links to YouTube videos, I can give you the actual videos now, since I got myself a YouTube account. This enables me to post videos and still acknowledge that I did not make these videos, so that I do not break any copyright rules.

Posting YouTube videos is an exciting new feature of my blog, however, for those Media Traditionalists, the SQB will not, I repeat, will not, become merely just another Video blog. This blog is about me. I simply wish to share with you the YouTube videos that I like watching.

However, I started out on this blog, as a mere Luddite stepping his toe into the World Wide Web. I still hold a commitment to posting original material, as well as news about my writing career.

Hopefully I will be able to share with you this piece of cyberspace in a new, and refreshing way, and theoretically, that will get me more visitors. In closing, the original material/YouTube material quota will be balanced for fairness to my loyal readers.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.


Just a funny collection of Feline related clips I found on YouTube. Hope you like it!

Neil Gaiman and Scandanavian Death Metal

This is the last installment of my "Neil Gaiman YouTube Extravaganza" since I can't get the "Neil Scary Trousers Gaiman" one to post to my blog. Enjoy!

Neil Gaiman at Keplers - Jewish upbringing

Not many may know this, but Neil Gaiman is Jewish, though his upbringing may not be obvious when you see what he writes, he drops it into his work occasionally. Enjoy!

Movie Review: Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny

Movie review time again.

Those familiar with the legends of Rock and Roll will recognise the many references to Metal Mythology as presented in this entertaining, but crude, motion picture. It is a fictionalised telling of the formation of the band "Tenacious D", a rock band with Jack Black and Kyle Gass as the members of a musical dynamic duo.

On this project, Jack Black was given full reign over the creative process, and it shows. This is purely a Rock and Roll romp, with lots of swearing, innuendo and "power slide" stage moves. It is a tribute to Rock music, but at the same time, it references the many "Quest" genre films and stories. Ben Stiller appears in this as a long haired Guitar shop worker with too much time on his hands, and Meat Loaf stars in the opening "Kickapoo" sequence as Jack Black's father.

All in all, only the Musically minded of Rock and Metal will appreciate this film, but it has universal appeal for those not quite as entrenched in Rock music as Jack Black is. I give it 7 out of 10 "Picks of Destiny".

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Neil Gaiman Discusses H. P. Lovecraft

Neil Gaiman talks about H.P. Lovecraft, another Horror writer, in a very entertaining way. One of my favorite YouTube Videos.

Authors@Google: Neil Gaiman

This is a nice video that YouTube of Neil Gaiman doing a book talk and reading. I post this as part of my "Neil Gaiman YouTube Extravaganza", which will feature at least Three YouTube videos of Neil. Enjoy!

Movie Review: Edward Scissorhands

It's that time again, where I review a movie I have just seen, and I wrestle with my memory of what I have watched to put together a meaningful review that informs and entertains.

And all I can say about Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" is...

Wow. Just... Wow.

You wouldn't think now, since Johnny Depp has become a teen idol persona again, that he can also play outsider characters that touch your soul. In this, he plays Edward Scissorhands, the created man made by a Professor who looks remarkably like a very old Vincent Price... wait a minute, that IS Vincent Price, giving the last ever film performance of his life!

Anyway, the Professor dies, before completing his creation, only Edward's hands are incomplete, leaving him with scissors for hands. These scissorhands, are both a blessing, and a curse. He is gifted in topiary cutting, hairdressing, and dog grooming, and his uniqueness brings joy to a suburban neighbourhood, yet these scissorhands are also a curse. He cannot touch things without destroying them, and cannot touch the woman he loves most. And what makes things worse is that the townsfolk exploit his talents and outlook on life for personal gain.

I won't give away the ending, but let me tell you this. I almost cried, my tear ducts were about to burst, as it was so beautifully sad. Johnny Depp is alone in a world that doesn't understand him, in a movie back before everybody wanted a piece of him in Hollywood. Depp, when he works with Tim Burton, works at his best.

Tim Burton is the King of Gothic cinema, and has endured long after the Gothic movement declined. He reminds us of the beauty of what the Gothic movement stood for, and its emphasis on the unique over the conforming society that the young had to start out from. This movie, next to "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is part of Burton's eternal connection with Goth, influencing many film-makers and directors since his humble origins as a Disney animator.

I give this 10 out of 10 "Scissorhands" as my Movie Rating.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Finally done Issue #3

Supervillain! Issue #3. You know you want to read it.

Come on, it has Ninjas attacking a picnic. Now I bet you can't resist.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Supervillain! #3 almost done

I've almost finished Supervillain! Issue #3, which sets the new format for the series, as a collection of stories that is serialised monthly. This one, in my mind, is the best one I've done so far. There is a balance of action with the dialogue of politics (I try my best to make the Politics interesting: "Mayor Moonshard vs Oscar Wilde" will serve as the politics side of the series for the "Decision 2050" story arc. Also, the first multi part story of the series begins with "Leroy's Big Score: Part One". Needless to say, the title suggests what might be happening with that plotline without giving too much away. What kind of "Big Score" is Leroy in for? Read Issue #3 to find out!

Another story I will keep under wraps apart from this, it will introduce Edgar Allan Poe to the plot continuity of the Supervillain! universe.

I will use the remainder of this post to remind my loyal readers to inform others of Supervillain! if you enjoy the series. Also, in the back of every issue of Supervillain is my "Unpaid Ads" section, where I promote blogs and websites I like. This issue's starring Unpaid Ad will be for Chris Sims' "Invincible Super Blog", a Comics and Pop Culture blog ( If you think I would like a blog you know about, contact me at in order to secure a spot in the next issues' section. Remember, my publication is aimed at the educated, tasteful reader of (relatively) mature literature, so no tasteless Porn or Insurance company links please.


Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Trip to the Art Gallery of NSW (and other places)

So I was taken to the Art Gallery after a really bad exam, which went horribly. Essentially my Mum took me to cheer me up, also to take me to see the Bookbinder's Exhibition before it closed the next day. There were some good bound books, and the one somebody made of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" was particularly interesting, as were the Aesop's Fables one and the Patrick White book.

Anyway, I discovered a Book Sale at the Reference Library where the exhibition was being held, and for $1.50 I got a great looking art catalogue for a German exhibition and a book of education sociology, which to me looked very interesting indeed, and when I have time I will read both. Also, Mum bought a hardcover catalogue for my Art Exam research, for $10.

Anyway, after we had to go to the car since the Parking Meter was ticking away, Mum took me Shoe Shopping. Ever since I was small, I loathed shoe shopping, but this experience wasn't nearly as bad as I remember Shoe Shopping as being, and I came out of the shop with a pair of black, slip on shoes, and they fit me rather well.

Then, I needed to get some afternoon tea, so we went to Rozelle (I live in Sydney) to Baker's Delight, which had Cinnamon Rolls. I was sent into the shop with $10 to buy two Cinnamon Rolls, and an Almond Roll for Mum. However, the lure of the Darling Street Books shop was too great, as the man who owned the place had looked out for me and tried to see if Carl Jung's "Man and his Symbols" was in stock. It was, and I bought it with $11.50 of my own money, and rushing to Baker's Delight, I bought the Cinnamon Rolls and the Almond one. However...

When I reached the spot where Mum needed to pick me up, she complained of traffic, and was "miffed" that she had to go around several times looking for me because I was in Darling Street Books. She argued with me in the car, happy for me that I was able to find the book I wanted from Darling Street Books, yet she was angry (and rightly so) that I had made her forced to circle the block to find me, when she could have found a parking spot.

I had found Jung, but at what cost? Perhaps more than $11.50, I can tell you...

A true story from today's adventures of mine.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Supervillain! Issue #2

This is the latest installment of my serial, Supervillain!, which is still a free E-book issue.

Currently I'm working on the third, action packed Special Edition issue that has three stories "for the price of none"...

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Dialectizer! Internet Fun for All!

This site translates any webpage or text (apart from Wikipedia, though I'm working on how to get past that barrier) into many humorous dialects.

Try it on blogs, on company websites, on anything! It even works on Gutenberg Project e-books with HTML features, which provides endless hours, of linguistic entertainment.

Here is the link to the Gutenberg Project:

What hath the Internet wrought?

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Supervillain!: Issue #1 Out Now!

The free e-Book of my serialised story sequence, "Supervillain!" is out now from, and in serialising it, I hope to be able to write more in less time, as my HSC is looming over me again like a vulture. It's a fusion of Fantasy with the Superhero genre of comics, only it's a prose serial.

It's wacky, it's weird, and it has elements of real world history in an alternate world where Fey Folk co-exist with Humans. In this, some celebrities are Fey Folk and thus are Immortals: Oscar Wilde is running for Mayor, H.P. Lovecraft teaches a 3rd Grader class, while around them, the world is changing and they must keep up with the times.

But really it's me having fun as a writer, building a mythology with parts of the world we know and sticking it together in the world of the imagination that I know.

Here's the link:

Hope you like it, and if you do, tell your friends about my serial so circulation increases.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Free E-Book: "A Taster Plate of Scrumptious Previews"

This is my free E-Book designed to showcase my upcoming work in the book world. I love to write, it is why I live. All are unfinished drafts, so don't take the works featured in it too seriously, but if you have some pointers for me, please leave some comments.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, Former Teen, Still Author.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Can I really call myself "TeenAuthor" anymore?

I feel like I'm growing up. Not in the physical sense, but the metaphysical, in maturity as well as body. After completing my final Christian Ministry and Leadership course, which I did not want to do and was forced to do for the 1 Unit towards my HSC, I feel like I have completed one of the rites of passage, that await me as the end of my Year Group's schooling career approaches. As a Pathways student, I will be left behind by my friends to complete my HSC, but despite the immaturity of the Year 11 group who will take their place, and which I will become part of in a sense, I cannot help, after a long, philosophical (and non-drugs influenced too!) conversation with one of my closest friends, that it could well be that I am becoming a man.

I am not yet 18, the official mark of manhood for Australians of Y Chromosome ownership, but yet, other cultures have boys that become men at much younger ages, such as in the Jewish religion. Perhaps, it has come the time when I have to finally confront the end of my childhood. But as much as I miss my childhood, I feel the urge to join into my age group's celebration of Adult Life.

I contemplated the nature of my joyous and mournful writing career. Am I more than just a teenage author, now that my childhood is ending and my identity as a Man has come? Will my talent transcend fleeting youth?

I say, it will, as I live to write, and I write to live. My work is part of my being, the way I reach out to people.

I write, to be loved. Not for fame, fortune, and material gain. Simply, to be loved. It is Human to want Love, and it is also Human to create. Will I be loved by my readers? Only my development as a writer will be able to tell me that. I used to think I could do without a single edit, now, I feel it must happen, or my works will be like Peter Pan, never developing past adolescence, in eternal childishness forevermore, and I would be ruined as an artist and creator.

But I will not give up. I had even begun my first sign of growing in wisdom. I was not discouraged by criticism of my work by a friend, and I will continue the book I discussed with them, taking on board the advice I was given, advice which breathed new life into a book struggling to learn to walk, after crawling so long as an infant idea.

I am a young man, and young men grow. I must develop, lest I grow stubborn in my old ways, facing reality as much as I write my literary fantasies that make people think.

And I will grow, oh yes. And I will conquer.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin. Former Teen, Still Author.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Made Up Angst-Words

Here are some words I made up relating to Angst:

Angst Sandwich:

Meaning 1: A metaphorical food that represents something that is particularly Angsty, Emo, Gothic, gloomy, or just plain Dark.

Man, Interview with a Vampire was a complete Angst Sandwich!

Meaning 2: (phrase) "To feel like one has eaten an Angst Sandwich": This is the feeling one gets in one's stomach when you are miserable.

Gee, I feel like I just ate an Angst Sandwich since my Girlfriend dumped me!


1: Something connected to or provoking feelings of Angst, extreme Angst in fact.

The Used's lyrics are Angstalicious!


1: An artwork, poem, musical composition/song, or work of literature that is so profound in its Angst, justifying every instance of it, that it trancends mere whining, it is ART.

The Catcher In The Rye is an Angst-erpiece and a Half!

Seriously though, contemporary words are popping up all the time. As long as history continues, new words to define it will emerge. Spread these ones around, and remember:


Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

100 Posts-a-versary!

I was waiting around for some decent material to bump up the posts before I started celebrating, as filler posts are bad.

Happy 100 Posts-A-Versary!

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Man Jailed for Jaywalking! APEC Outrage!

Yes, Australia is turning into a totalitarian regime now. Hopefully once APEC is over this police brutality will stop, but I'm too wise to think any better of the Government.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Movie Review: Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome

I liked this Mad Max outing the best out of all the trilogy.

Mad Max has his camel cart stolen, which leads him to Bartertown, where he must do battle in the Thunderdome to get it back. The rules of Thunderdome are: Two men enter, one man leaves, and there are no rules.

Also, Max finds a lost group of children and adults who want to find the Tomorrow-Morrow Land of the Cities and Skyscrapers.

Plus, Tina Turner stars as Aunty in this. She's scary not because of her character, but because of her fashion wardrobe.

I give this 8 "Thunderdomes" out of 10.

Movie Review: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

This Mad Max outing has more emphasis on the dystopic future than the last one, and a prologue of the history that precedes it is presented at the beginning.

Mad Max must get gasoline, and the world is becoming more brutal and ruthless in Humanity's struggle to survive. A fortress with a supply of "juice" is under constant attack from the Humungus Gang, and Max's only hope of survival is to help out the occupants of this fort.

There is more action than the last one in this sequel, but I didn't like it as much as the remarkably less grim and gritty original film.

I give it 7 "Gas tanks" out of 10.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Movie Review: Mad Max

This is a movie that requires no intellectual effort to enjoy. Mel Gibson stars in this back in the days of big hair and big egos.

The violence that lies in the underbelly of 1970s Australian society is reflected here, and although it sometimes appears over the top, George Miller sparingly uses it to show just how far into madness people can go.

Melodramatic but fun.

8 and a Half "Muscle Cars" out of Ten, that's what I'm giving it.

Movie Review: Stranger than Fiction

Will Ferrell has an actual emotional range. Despite what his lowbrow comedies which he tends to star in these days would have you believe, he's a really good actor.

An author is planning to kill off her main character, but has writer's block. Her character is Harold Crick, an IRS Tax Man, and he is real as the next real person.

CRINGE: as Harold struggles through his dull, bureaucratic lifestyle, infuriating others and himself!

CRY: as Harold struggles to come to terms with the impending death that awaits him!

Say AWWW!: as Harold discovers his love interest and rejects his boring bureacracy that formerly dominated his life!

I give this 8 "Wristwatches" out of 10...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Movie Review: The Pursuit of Happyness

This is a heartbreaking movie. Having seen Will Smith in such comedy classics as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air TV show, and Men In Black, you wouldn't think his emotional range is that big. But in this film, about Chris Gardner, even he can make you teary.

Gardner's life as portrayed in this movie is a struggle between poverty and keeping enough face at the corporate company he works for to make an impression that lasts, so that he gets hired out of his internship, his only ticket out of financial destruction and homelessness.

Watch it. You have to. If you don't, you'll never know how fine the line is between survival and living below accepted standards of health, happiness, and love of life.

I give this 8 out of 10 "Bone Scan Machines".

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Movie Review: The Simpsons Movie

This movie, although entertaining, will not win an Oscar by any means. It is a remarkable technical acheivement, and many of the subplots are fun, but like many of the later Simpsons episodes, you either like them or you don't.

It's a good movie. I'm not saying it's bad, but it probably won't change the series all that much. A subplot development between Bart and Ned Flanders is one of the most interesting, just as memorable as the "Spider Pig" moments. After years of abuse, Bart is looking for a new father figure who respects him and his needs.

Social commentary about the environment and government power in crisis (possibly making a slight at the Hurricane Katrina crisis in New Orleans, when Springfield is "domed") is rife, and many of the witticisms bring deserved laughs.

I give it Three and a Half "Sprinkled Donuts" out of Five.

Friday, August 31, 2007

My APEC protest

I'm moving my APEC protest, non-violent as it is, to my Blog, to avoid being hassled by policemen in the wake of John Howard's draconian terrorising of his own people.

I will not be beating up anybody, instead I post my words on my Blog, where I cannot be silenced.

Here is the article about APEC, so you can make up your own mind.

Sincerely, TeenAuthor.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back Again

I passed my English Trial Exam.

I handed in my Visual Arts Body of Work.

And I'm completely OVER school in general.

More news as it develops.

Sincerely, TeenAuthor.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Very Busy! Can't Post for another Week

I have been very busy on both my new book and my HSC Study. Will Return Soon.

- Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Somebody bought a copy of MY BOOK!

I have earned $1.45 in royalties from the sale of a copy of my book, Small Worlds: A Miscellany!

This might not seem like much, but this means two things:

1: People are actually able to buy my book off

and 2: Somebody, somewhere, is reading my book...

Buy your copy of Small Worlds: A Miscellany off my Lulu Shopfront:

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

This is a children's book unlike any other I've seen. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a book about an orphan boy who tends the clocks of Paris, having learned the trade from his alcoholic Uncle, who has long been missing. He steals things not only to survive, as his Uncle cannot provide for him (he's missing, remember?), but also to repair the mysterious Automaton, a mechanical man which he found in the burnt out ruins of a museum, one of the clues to an unfolding mystery that has been driving him all his life.

The book has it all, serious yoink-ing (the avant-garde of thievery), the history of early cinema (and presented in a non-boring way), a French girl who has a taste for books, an old man who makes clockwork toys, and a guy with an eyepatch who befriends our protagonist.

I give this 9.5 "Clockwork Gears" out of 10, minus 1.5 for the constant thievery which may set a bad example for younger children.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is like what the Moon Landing Footage in the 1960s was to that generation, only for our generation. In BOOK FORM. Hundreds of pages long, it is a mammoth epic, that leaves no questions unanswered about the characters. Wizards and Witches will die, One who cannot live while the other survives will fall, and an epic battle over many pages that left me half expecting King Leonidas from 300 to turn up to say "THIS... IS... HOGWARTS!", will blow your mind.

Unexpected plot twists are justified in this final Harry Potter installment, and do not feel unnecessary at all. Provided that nobody spoils this book for you (however, you will be pleasantly surprised), you will be shocked, relieved, shaked, rattled, and of course, Rolled, by J.K. Rowling's send off for the boy wizard that earned her millions.

I give this 10 out of 10 "Horcruxes".

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Boycott Angus & Robinson!

This is an outrage to anybody who is an author and even a reader in the 21st Century, and if big business is charging big bucks for books to even be stocked on the shelves, don't support it.

There's always Dymocks and Borders and Kinokuniya instead.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Almost Finished Reading Harry Potter 7

Review (spoiler free) coming soon for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finished my Trial Exams


I did pretty well on my exams for English Advanced as well as Visual Arts (I think, since the marks haven't come back yet).

At the moment I'm working on my Visual Arts Body of Work again, my illustrations need colour added to them.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I got my LT Author Button!

This truly acknowledges me as a published author. LibraryThing is a great site which supports authors who use it, by giving them a big yellow button to declare their literary cred.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Gone Studyin'

I have to study for my HSC Trial Exams, so you won't be hearing much from this TeenAuthor for at least a week.

Sincerely, Jacob Martin, TeenAuthor.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Manga Review: Yotsuba&! Vol. 1

There is a lot of Manga in the world today, as Japan and Globalisation have expanded the borders of this artform. One master of the medium is Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy. He made popular what Manga is today. But at the moment I'm reviewing a work by Azuma Kiyohiko, called Yotsuba&! Vol. 1.

Anybody familiar with Azuma's other work, Azumanga Daioh, and the anime series that came from it, will recognise the distinctive art style used in Yotsuba&!, In fact, some of the characters cleverly reference the appearance of the characters from Azumanga Daioh, Asagi in Yotsuba&! looks slightly like Sakaki, Yotsuba looks like Chiyo-chan in subtle ways, and Ena resembles the immature teacher Miss Yukari from Azuma's earlier work. But despite the similarities, Yotsuba&! is not a retread of Azuma's Daioh.

Yotsuba is a little girl and new in town, like Chiyo-chan from Daioh, but instead of the child prodigy Chiyo was, Yotsuba is naive, to the extent she does not know what a swing or an air conditioner is, and this series chronicles the days when Yotsuba discovers new things in the world, always with wonder and a sense of enjoyment of everything.

Yotsuba's father, an unkempt but incredibly mature young man, tries his best to raise the girl he adopted. He is one of the best characters, and one of the most intriguing. As the volume progresses, one finds out more about this mysterious man. We are not told why he has moved to a new town with his daughter, and we do not find out what his job is until later in the volume, but this allows us to speculate what might have happened to him earlier in his life to make him what he is, a sometimes irresponsible chap who strives to make sure Yotsuba grows up right.

What struck me about this Manga volume was that it actually made me laugh. I have difficulty expressing laughter, and it takes something really funny to provoke a true to life


Really, it will make you laugh. If you do not, you probably need to see a psychiatrist. The nature of this Manga is pure, simple humor. Azuma uses Yotsuba's naive understanding of the world to deliver laughs, with Asagi often taking advantage of Yotsuba's nature to get enjoyment. An example: Yotsuba finds out about global warming by having Air Conditioners explained to her, thus convincing her to think A/C units are evil. But when she finds out her Dad has installed one in the house, she is without doubt that her Dad is the "enemy of the Earth".

It's even funnier with the pictures. You need to see the expressions used in this to fully appreciate the effort that goes into every gag.

I give this Manga Volume "10 out of 10 Summer Cicadas".