Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Don't Learn.

A big part of Christmas for me, at least in recent years, is discovering just how horrible the Doctor Who Christmas special is. Every time I assume that this will be the year that they don't royally fuck up their most expensive episode, and every year I'm disappointed.

This year's was particularly vile. Amongst the offences:
  • Every other line was an in-joke.

  • A seemingly endless shot of The Doctor walking towards camera.

  • Twee 'Magic of Christmas' bullshit.

  • A huge, melodramatic "I'm the Doctor" speech.

  • A need to come up with at least 8 deus ex machinas for when a sonic screwdriver just will not cut it.

  • The whole script.

It's been pretty bad for the last two years , but this one was pretty much a crime. There. It's out of my system now.

Monday, December 24, 2007

False Advertising.

I've recently succumbed to some vague notions of modern male grooming. This is not to say that I am not some sort of grunting, hairy ape-boy, because I am. I just happen to be one that owns moisturiser. What I will say to those following my pioneering trail is this: dermatising microgranules is just a fancy term for very small grit. Do not be fooled.

In other news, I am occasionally stroking my signed His Dark Materials boxset (number 999 out of 1000, I'm sure that means something), and making little purring noises. My family are beginning to get used to the idea.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Work Haiku.

I have had enough
Boy, activate the device
They will soon know fear

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ghost Rider - Update 2.

Ghost Rider is not as bad as X-Men 3.

Ghost Rider - Update.

Do not watch Ghost Rider.

When Stunts Go Bad.

I'm watching Ghost Rider. I think it might be one of the worst films ever made. It barely makes sense, which is an achievement, given that it's a dumb action movie about a flaming skeleton chasing down the kid from American Beauty and his three emo friends.

It makes Daredevil look like a masterpiece. More when it's over.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm Doing Science.

Hello there, internets. I am not dead. In other news...

Monday, November 26, 2007

The War on Dumb.

Worst. Terrorist. Ever.



Wanted man. Caught at a checkpoint. In a wedding dress. How did anyone think that was a disguise?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Welsh are Coming.

Jeff Minter is upset. This doesn't happen often, as he's a happy-go-lucky scamp. He spends his days frolicking in the Welsh hills, popping home every now and then to tend to his llamas, ingest mind-fucking quantities of mind-fucking psychotropic drugs, and program unplayable videogames.

Says Jeff:

"OK, we get the message. All you want on that channel is remakes of old, ***** arcade games and crap you vaguely remember playing on your Amiga. We'll shut up trying to do anything new then. Sorry for even trying."

Jeff's upset because an old, ***** arcade game, Frogger outsold his latest game, Space Giraffe by 10 to 1 last week. Jeff thinks it's unreasonable that no-one wanted his nice 'new' game. Jeff's new game is essentially another remake of Tempest, an old, ***** arcade game, but with different enemies and a more complicated scoring system.

It seems churlish to point out that people may have bought Frogger because they weighed up their options, and went for a game that doesn't make your brain slough away and trickle through your nose in fleshy chunks. But I did it anyway.

***** means shite, by the way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

That's Good Newsing! We Done News!

For some reason, I feel myself compelled to read pretty much any time I possibly can. This means that if I'm left alone for more than two minutes, I fire up the web browser on my phone and start reading the news. Unfortunately, there are only certain sites you can access for free on my tarriff, so I'm pretty much restricted to reading the ITN news portal for mobile browsers.

As you might expect, this is some pretty lousy news. I'll use the first story I read today as an illustration (apologies for lack of linkage, but I've no idea where to find it in a standard browser, and can't be bothered looking). The headline is 'Beowulf Premiere Hits London', and these are the edited highlights, with translation:

Quote: "Beowulf battles three enemies, Grandel (Newcomer Crispin Glover)..."

Translation: Despite having 45 screen credits, including the Back to the Future trilogy, The Doors, Wild at Heart, and the Charlies Goddamn Angels movies, as well as 2 directing credits, none of our staff have heard of Crispin Glover, who started his acting career in 1981.

Quote: "The image has been digitally enhanced using the latest animation techninques, giving Jolie's natural curves a bit of a boost."

Translation: The film is entirely CGI.

This is where I get most of my information about the world from. Explains a lot.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Speaking of Duality...

New competition. I now want song titles that are really fucking good song titles, but genuinely appalling names for porn films. And when I say appalling, I mean that they will, like medication bought from unsolicited emails, induce vomiting. I'll get the ball rolling, with the first track from The Wombats album:

Tales of Girls, Boys and Marsupials.

The gauntlet is down, folks. It is down.

Stealth Atheists - Secular Ninjas.

So, this December the His dark Materials trilogy is getting a movie. From what I've seen of the trailers, I'm not optimistic. But then, I'm never optimistic. I'm a grumpy old man. But that is beside the point.

The books have been perceived as anti-religious, and that's certainly one way of reading them. I take that with a pinch of salt, as I say worse things about religion before my first cup of coffee, then faster and more perceptively after. What they are is humanist - they promote a shared humanity that is far more important than any text. The 'villains' of the piece are those who lose sight of that - those who would harm people for their own ends. Sometimes those ends are religious, but the forces seeking to end religion (which has a palpable presence in the world of the books) also do terrible things to acheive their ends.

What the movie has done is reignited the supposed controversy over the books. From the IMDB, on the Catholic League:

League president William Donohue tells America's Entertainment Weekly magazine, "Parents might be inclined to say, 'Hey, our kid really enjoyed the movie, why don't we buy him His Dark Materials for Christmas?' (It) introduces the kid to atheism. (It's) a stealth campaign."

Excuse me, but how in the name of living fuck do you introduce a child to atheism? I'm sorry, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a child is born an atheist. The water you sprinkle on it's head doesn't change that for a moment. A child is basically programmed to believe whatever it's parents say. A child also has an inherently dualist mentality - it's very hard for a child to realise that the voice it hears when it thinks is generated by a couple of pounds of electrically charged tissue. So religious notions fit very straightfordly into a child's worldview. I think if you raised someone to 18, with a normal education but no word of God, then presented them a bible, you'd still have an atheist.

Apologies for the stunningly obvious nature of this argument (to most), but the idea that there's a stealth atheist agenda makes me very, very angry, quite amused, and with a peculiar itch to start one.

Vital Information.

For those of you who have an interest in the American political process, or more specifically just how painful it is to watch it from within, then may I direct you to the mighty Gin and Tacos. Funny and savage, it's well worth a read. Observe:

"... I would like to recommend one of my favorite pieces of public opinion research, one that goes a long way toward understanding why our national political discourse is one step above a throng of retards slap-fighting in a mud puddle."

I've learnt some important things today, myself. One is that the new Wombats album is pretty fucking good. It has all the handclaps, la la la's and closed harmonies I expect from pop-leaning indie, along with some spiky guitars and amusing lyrics about doing stupid things and getting dumped for it. I proclaim it to be delightful.

The other thing I've learnt, and will pass on in case it's any use to anyone is this: if you've split your middle finger in two with a blunt knife, it can't hurt to lower your typing speed. It doesn't make you any less of a man. Knocking bloody chunks out of your hand though, quite literally, does.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Movie Time.

Despite a late entry from Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang with:

Shot In The Shoulder / Narration / Black Comedy / Corpse / Breasts

the great 'dumbass keywords' debate was never going to be won by such half-arsed attempts. So, ladies, gentlemen, may I present:

Toupee / Group Vomit / One Night / Lifting Person In Air / Blender

Goonies = for teh win!

The Right to Bear Arms.

This man is a true American hero.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No, Really. Horribly Wrong

It's like joy, wrapped in more joy, dipped in chocolate, and given a dusting of yet more joy. No, actually, it's extremely fucking daft.

If the scriptures are turning out to be too hard to understand, I'm willing to lend elements of my own, admittedly controversial, philosophy to these needy pastors. It goes something like this:

Don't be a cunt.

You'll probably find it works better than sermons on ancient Middle-Eastern tax law.

How Much Cretin does $11 Million Buy?

You've got to feel sorry for Fred Phelps. Just because he and his followers gatecrash hundreds of funerals every year to spread their vile, idiotic, hate-filled message, they've left themselves open to a little spot of litigation.

No, hang on a second, you don't have to feel sorry for him at all. He's one of the worst human beings on the face of the planet, and every second he's not on fire is a second we're not correctly using all this oxygen we have knocking about the place.

Glad that's cleared up.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Correct Use of Astrophysics.

This is totally unfair. I've killed several large ruminants this year, and no-one thinks I'm that valuable. Some people seem to actively disapprove.

Hallelujah!

I have always said that if I was presented with convincing evidence for some sort of higher power, I would recant my naughty atheism.

That day is here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Web 2.Ohforfuckssakepeoplearecretins

The IMDB is a tremendous resource. For the nerd who simply must know every little tiny bit of movie trivia, it is indispensable. It recently added a new user-generated feature, however, that is hurting me in the soul and a few other places.

You can now nominate plot keywords for movies, so that people can browse for things they like to see in movies. Here's an example:

1990s / Vomit Scene / Civil War / Border Crossing / Jeep.

Wow. Because I'm betting the guy who searched for '1990's' and 'Vomit Scene' was of course looking for Three Kings, a fairly harrowing black comedy about the first Gulf War, and definitely not looking for really weird porn.

Let's try another:

Mustache / Corpse / Limousine / Split Personality / Fashion

Give up? It is, of course, Batman Begins. Those are the five words that most adequately sum up that film.

So here it is folks. Audience participation time again. I want you to look the single most preposterous set of keywords for any movie on the IMDB. A pat on the back for the winner. Not an actual one, but an internet one. Which is better.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Hard to Overstate My Satisfaction.

I have spent a genuinely terrifying amount of time with the various components of The Orange Box, and it's been great fun. I want to go into Portal in greater depth at some point soon. I haven't even touched Team Fortress yet, as I've been plowing through the four singleplayer components. They're all pretty great. The Source engine doesn't really look too great these days, but it features wonderful physics, and must be forgiven.

The mention of this brings me onto a soon-to-be-released game Bionic Commando. A sequel to/remake of the original arcade/NES game of the same name, it looks to be running heavily with the Havok physics as well. Anyone who's ever had the misfortune to have to watch me playing videogames, or listen to me talk about them, or really spend any time near me at all, will know that I am obsessed with physics in games. Utterly obsessed. I've been playing the things for over 20 years, and I'm pretty tired of shooting things and jumping on their heads. What I'm about these days is crushing them with bits of the environment, throwing them into walls, and generally being cruel and unusual.

What you probably didn't know is the original Bionic Commando is responsible for this. It was the first game I ever played that featured interesting physics. You shot out your bionic arm like a grappling hook, grabbed a platform, and swung across. To my 6-year-old self, this was like crack. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. I could never get past the second level of the damn thing, but it didn't matter, because I just loved making the little guy swing around shooting bigger guys with beards.

I knew that this was in development, but it wasn't until I saw the video, and more importantly, heard an orchestral version of the them song I know so well as a four-channel midi, that my inner child had a joy-seizure (I blame the sherbet dib-dabs myself), and I felt compelled to get this all out.

I think a worrying amount of my psyche may be hinged around this game. If this remake blows, I think the whole house of cards may come tumbling down. Woe betide those in my way.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spam On!

Today's spam entry is a different format to those previous. It's not the subject bar, but the body text I shall be detailing. I hope I don't lose anyone with this radical overhaul. With that fully in mind, cautiously onwards we go:

If you are looking for information concerning in which manner you are able tospan some more mass for your reproduction organ, get what's gonna help.

blind olaf grimm birgit ahead wattle vat ! we're we'll.
icicle.


A work of astonishing power and insight, I'm sure you'll agree.

Inappropriate Touching.

This made me laugh harder than anything in the last few days, and I watched a guy kicking a puppy.

You've got to admire his dedication to the job, but when your company has to issue a statement explaining how he "handled the truffles innapropriately", you know you've taken it too far.

The Shame of it All.

Most people, when they find themselves in a position to stare bleary-eyed around a room upon waking and think "What did I do last night?" will be looking at discarded tequila bottles, a cowboy hat, maybe a dead hooker or two. Not me. I look at my DVD shelf, and spy both The Fantastic 4 and Casshern.

In the depths of the foulest mood yet to come upon me this year, which is really saying something, I decided I needed to watch some fairly trashy movies. Now, Blockbuster's 2 DVD's for £10 has previously supplied me with some fairly decent movies (also the Nicolas Cage version of The Wicker Man, but that's for a bet). Last night it provided me with those two.

The Fantastic 4 is nowhere near as bad as people make out. It's a kid's film, based on a comic book that has never really gone for any particular depth, and working purely on those terms it succceeds. It's fun, no-one really lets themselves down too badly (except Julian McMahon, who is the least threatening villain ever, although his previous ouevre has been so shit that I don't really think this represents a significant drop for him). It's also remarkably smutty in places, which I always get a laugh out of in a kids flick.

Casshern is a movie I've seen before, and I have no particular idea why I bought it. It's a bizzarre CG/live-action blend from Japan. It's about a guy who gets reanimated (also, superpowers) shoved in a spiffy white suit of armour, and heads off to kick the shit out of giant robots. The bits in which he does this are some of the most inventive and outright fun fight scenes in any film. Unfortunately, they are bookended by two hours of torturous and nonsensical exposition. You can really get more fun by watching the trailer over and over for a couple of hours. Still, it is full of giant robots. And I does love me some giant robots.

In other news, I seem to spend most of my gaming time not getting called 'a gaywad' by American teeenagers on Halo 3, but instead playing Probotector 2: a 20 year-old NES game. Peculiar behaviour, even by my standards, but the game holds a special place in my heart. For one thing, it was one of the games on an old Playchoice 10 cabinet in my local leisure centre, and the story of it's release in the west amuses me. Originally the series was called Contra. A couple of things got changed in translation. The human main characters and enemies all got changed into robots, so our sensitive European tastes would not be offended by all the violence. Also, and more obviously, the name got changed from Contra to something that sounds like a sci-fi themed sex aid, presumably so no parent would have to endure a conversation along the lines of:

"Mummy, what's a Contra?"

"Why, they're South American guerrilla fighters, Jeremy. The US government funds them to fight communists with money they illegally gained by selling weapons to Iran, a sworn enemy of the state. Don't trust whitey, Jeremy, whatever you do, don't trust whitey."

Or so I imagine. Thanks, Konami, for your enduring sensitivity.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I Have a Hard Time Finding the Dignity in This.

This wasn't going to be my next post. I had a lovely post lined up, about truth, and beauty, and art. But of course, religion had to go and rear it's ugly head.

This whole thing, which most people found amusing for a while, ceased to be even that a while back. But now, seemingly purely for publicity's sake, the Dean of Manchester Cathedral is once more shaking off the binding chains of clear and rational thought, is digging out his soapbox, and he's yelling to the three people that will listen. And yes, I've lapped it up. And yes, I'm transmitting it (albeit to a very small number of people). But really? "Sacred digital rights"?

How daft do we have to be here? We are talking about a game that depicts a war between man and alien in an alternative 1950's in which WW2 never ended. If you were exceptionally sensitive, and I guess some folks are, I can see this causing a problem. But, if you are that sensitive, you have bigger problems, such as the acquisition of truly epic amounts of rubber sheeting.

Sacred. Digital. Rights. You heard it here first. Pesky freedom of expression pales next to 'em.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Truly harrowing.


Who could do such a thing to a book? Sacrilege.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Meanwhile, in Videogames...

Been a while since I wrote about games. Good for those of you who skip these, bad for me, because it means I've been doing things like socialising, reading, even smiling. In short, all the things I do when I'm between meds.

First things first: Halo 3 is really quite good indeed. It would be a churlish man who decided it to be less than splendid.

Now my main point. Xbox Live Arcade has been up and running for two years, but has somehow only this week managed to get a version of Tetris. I even have Tetris on my phone, for Ben & Jerry's sake. I like Tetris. Two years should be plenty of time to put together a game that bears some passing resemblance to Tetris.

Oh God. It's so profoundly horrible. The one thing I genuinely do not need, absolutely have no use for, is a tutorial in how to play Tetris. But this seems to start itself whenever you load the game. This, to my mind, is villainy. No less. I could also do without the breathy voice of a day-release mental patient panting 'single' and 'double' when you clear lines. It doesn't help.

Here's the thing. It's Tetris. Anything you try to add inevitably detracts. Please stop fucking about. It was fine in 1987, it would still be fine now if you didn't need a handheld the size of a small family saloon to play it on.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Manicure.


Work can be genuinely peculiar.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Time Wasting.

I have been trying to write, which is a difficult thing to do when you have fuck all by means of inspiration and an internet connection. Procrastination is the order of the day, which leads me indirectly to this.

For most people reading, this will be the single most pointless thing they've ever seen, but I want you to know a couple of things.
  • I'm really procrastinating quite hard.

  • Batman-logo peanut sweets are looking like being the high point of my life to date.

If you could properly capture a sigh in text, this one would be both drawn-out and world-weary. It would also smell like the quite excellent Islay malt I bought for 'inspiration'.

Proof, if Proof Were Needed.

Swearing is both big and clever. Because when someone like, say, CNN comes out with a headline like, say "F-Word Bush Editorial Splits Students" they sound like a simpering idiot child, trying to get away with saying what they actually want to say in front of a stern parent.

For the record, the word in question is fuck, and not only is it a word that you can say without being struck by lightning or getting boils in sensitive places, it's flat-out hilarious most of the time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

200 Posts.

As the title would suggest, this is my 200th post on this blog. A time for reflection, I think, a time to ruminate and think about what the last year of spilling bilious HTML has been about.

Well, reading back through the posts, it seems I have spent the last year very angry indeed. This is of very little surprise to anyone, as I have some crazy ideas about how the world should be (here's a hint, it'd be nice if everyone stopped fucking each other over for spare change), and a very, very low tolerance for stupidity.

I don't feel too bad about that, truth be told. The fact that I'm angry about these things simply suggests that my brain is still working, despite it's advancing years and chemical impediments. On reflection, I would also seem to be quite intolerant. But then, there are plenty of things just not worth tolerating.

I also made some gags about genitalia. There has to be a balance. Here's to the next 200 posts.

Cock.

Loathsome Goons.

So, apparently Blackwater Security are going to have their staff taken to trial for killing Iraqi civilians. All well and good, you might think, people who kill folk should probably have that sort of thing happen to them, but this is fairly major news. It shows a couple of very pertinent things:
  • That the Iraqi Security Council has finally developed enough of a spine to stand up to the US Governement.

  • That the days of providing money for the GOP being rewarded with a blank chequebook might be drawing to a close.

  • Finally, that if this does end up embarassing the US as much as it should, they may start to regard these lunatic mercenaries as just that, rather than a prudent investment.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Great Experiment Has Failed.

Thanks for your two responses. You two may live (except you Dave, I know that was you outside my window last night).

I'm afraid to say I went against the tide of popular opinion. Somewhere at the back of my head a little voice told me to stay the course. The reason being, she might realise that my sole reason to cross the road would be to get away from her crazy arythmical jerking, upsetting her endlessly, and impinging upon her fundamental rights to be a crazy dancing lady.

That and i thought she had a knife. No-one wants to be stalked by a crazy dancing lady with a knife.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Audience Participation Time.

OK folks, I know you're reading this, but it's time to get over your fear of the comments field, because we face the greatest moral conundrum of our time, and we're going to have to put our heads together if we're to get anything like a working model.

My question, based on a real-life encounter (as in, I'm not making this up, not 'it didn't occur in World of Warcraft'), is this:

Is it OK to cross the road to avoid a middle-aged women in cut-off jeans who is singing along to whatever is on her discman (yes, discman) and is fucking dancing?

I want to know what you folks think. I'll let you scribble it down and then I'll tell you what I did. I judge you first. That's how this works.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just So We're on the Same Page...

The new Go! Team album is utterly fucking great.

That is all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Declining Standards.

You've decided you want to establish a neo-nazi group, for whatever reasons you see fit *cough* repressed *cough* retarded *cough*. And you think to yourself, I'm leaving my home country anyway, where would really benefit from my fresh take on an age-old irrational prejudice? Where could I find an awful lot of Jews?

And then it strikes you. It seems so simple. I will form a neo-nazi organisation in Israel!

Seriously, how stupid is that. Were I so inclined towards irrational prejudice (mine are well thought-out, thankyou and goodnight), I would hope that I would not be so dumb as to form an antisemitic organisation somewhere that is chock fucking full of Mossad.

Wasting Yet More Time.

I and others have a new work-related blog, an illuminating set of examples of human inadequacy in practice. I realise it's been done before, but fuck it, we're pretty funny, and have a staggering concentration of idiot in our daily lives. You will read. You will enjoy.

It is here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pills.

Going by my intermittent rantings on these here internets, you could easily confuse me for someone who is currently healthy, or at the very least, cogent. Why, I almost did myself about an hour ago, when I set out into the unknown on a bold and noble quest for soup and ibuprofen.

The first thing I noticed was that my sense of balance is shot to all hell. I was kind of aware of this before, but it's a whole different matter when you are no longer surrounded by furniture and other soft things to fall on, but instead giant spiders and serial killers. Nonetheless, I needed a tin of ol' Muligatawny, and continued on to Asda. It's at about this point that everything started to break down. As far as I can tell, I spent the best part of five minutes wandering around, trying to find ibuprofen, all the while mumbling "pills" as loud as one can mumble.*

Long story short, I had to spend some intimate time with a burly security guard named Barry**, who was as much of a gentleman as one can expect, given the circumstances. When I returned home, I found someone had managed to get into my ebay account, tried to buy some otaku shit, cancelled the order, and got me banned.

One suspects the dread hand of the cosplayer at work. Who else would want a "Harajuku Juicy Cute Girl Panda Carry Tote Bag"?

*True.
**Not even slightly true.

Oh, Those Priests

Just how much Child Abuse does $200 million buy you? I'm assuming that as it's for religious purposes, it's tax-exempt.

Amma sore un da headpipes

About a month ago, Michael Bay took a pretty good stab at retrospectively ruining my childhood. He almost succeeded. After a brief convalesence at a top secret location where my head was scrubbed inside and out with bleach, I felt that I was ready to step back into the world again. That I was cleansed, and no more harm could come to me, or to the flimsy structures shoring up my mind. I was so very, very wrong:



Know this, cosplayers, you will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

Update:I've just realised that is a branch of Waterstones the manshecreature is standing in. There's a possibility it's in this very town. I'm going down as soon as I'm mobile again to check the layout. Heads will roll.

Huzzahs!

I am currently feeling like pounded crap. No matter, because help is at hand. I mean, that's pretty much the definition of good news.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Michael Behe just peed a little.

Whilst it's been common knowledge for a long time that viruses and bacteria may pass on DNA to their host species (the Human Y chromosome is little more than a short stretch of DNA that roughly transcribes to 'hairy, with a cock' strapped onto a whole bunch of parasitic DNA), this is the first time the whole genome of a parasite has been found in it's host.

Obviously, this could allow for large, rapid evolutionary movements for the host. It could become immune to the parasite, freeing up resources and giving it a competitive advantage. It could develop new atrributes. Or it could just die. It'll definitely be interesting to see where this goes.

Don't Look Behind the Curtain, Dorothy.

According to a new book, President Bush does a lot of crying behind closed doors at The White House. It goes on to reveal the top causes of Presidential Temper Tantrums:

  • When Dick Cheney stood next to him in the big boys bathroom.

  • Not being allowed ice cream for breakfast

  • Unable to find Mr Snuffles (toy Scotty dog)

  • Not being allowed to stay up late to watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre on cable.


I would hope, though very much against hope, that he might have shed a tear when his administration ignored warning services for a full 24 hours and allowed the levees to break in New Orleans, reclassifying the disaster from a federal emergency into an 'act of God', and passing the buck onto insurance companies, that he might have shed the odd tear then. After all, they cost the lives of thousands of US citizens as a cost saving measure. Might just tug at the ol' heart strings, give perhaps a twinge of guilt?

Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Troubling Development

There is a shower of grotesque bastards pulling up the road outside my house. I am not best pleased at this. I have two options.


  • 1. Go out. Sit and drink coffee very slowly. Read. Remain sane.

  • 2. Stay here and make a primitive napalm analogue from swarfega, creme de menthe and cat hair.


We'll see what transpires.

Hot Druid Action - Oh My!

OK folks, this is a little exercise in what we call 'logical fallacy'. This man claims that he won the lottery because he is a Wiccan. His new age book store somehow gave him the power (maybe winning lottery numbers spring forth from ley lines) to discern that particular weeks winning numbers. I might be wrong on this, but I had thought that lotteries had been won by at least several non-Wiccans in the past.



I mean, just look at him. Doesn't he look like the luckiest guy you've ever seen? He's stood in front of a magical fucking twig, for God's sake. What I wouldn't give to have his glamourous life.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Grindingly Inevitable.

Dear Australia,

You are no longer to be considered a developed nation by the rest of the world. Whilst we realise that your contributions to any overall world culture were slight at best, please do not consider this an outright snub. We will be sending anthropologists in due course. In the meantime, might we suggest you pass the time by killing and eating a few of your insufferable soap stars? Just a thought.

Yours sincerely,

Everyone Else.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Yep.

Good. Now that's out of the way, we just need a working theory as to how anyone could ever believe the 'Celtic Faerie Tarot' could allow them deep insight into anything other than their own inadequacy and lack of financial prudence, and we can pretty much put this whole thing to bed.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Express Ex Mortis

Sad news today, as the headline on CNN.com, 'Diana Recalled as Princes' Guardian, Friend' was not, as I had hoped, a spot of Daily Express-sponsored necromancy, but was merely another example of the atrocity heaped upon the English language by those that consider themselves to be journalists.

A great shame, on so many levels.

No pictures.

*A note before we begin. Arachnophobes, do not click on the link. You will never sleep again.*

Wow. I'm slightly baffled by this. Behavioural ecology is kind of my thing (it passes the time, but is so much tidier than casual violence), so I will be pretty interested to see what people think is going on here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Barbarians at the Gate.

At work today, I was approached by a gentleman with an apparantly keen interest in Evelyn Waugh. The conversation went roughly like this:

Gent: 'Er, yeah, so you don't have what I'm looking for, and I know there's a Waterstones, but I'm from Lincoln.'

Me: 'It's pretty much right outside our front door. We have almost everything by Waugh, what was it you wanted?'

Gent: 'I don't know. I'll know it when I see it. I'm from Lincoln.'

Me: 'OK. Did you actually look at the bookshelves?'

Gent: 'Yeah. You don't have any books by Evelyn Waugh. I'm from Lincoln. Where's Waterstones?'

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sometimes I Get Angry

I really can't stress enough how much I hate Asda supermarkets. Huge, hanger-like buildings filled with the lowest possible quality goods, harsh lighting, and endless false-cheery anouncements about delightful special offers (something my own workplace is sadly eager to imitate). I occasionally have to venture in to the one behind my house when I forget to pick up everything I need from the much better supermarket near where I work, or if I simply need booze. I could, if I felt the need, go in there whenever I felt the need to see a wondrous, stereoscopic display of how not to raise a child - to be in an Asda store is to be surrounded by a hundred screaming kids, being ignored by a hundred disinterested parents as they shovel sugary processed crap onto a conveyer belt, finishing chemically what their behavioural cues have started.

This isn't really going anywhere, I just felt the need to get it off my chest. The one ray of light in the shitstorm that is this hive of modern commerce is that today i found a marvellous product. Or rather, the packaging was marvellous.

"Pork Scratchings - Low in Carbs!"

Marketing genius.

One thing that doesn't depress me is Bioshock. I've been playing it for every spare minute of the last three days, and would seem to be only about halfway through. The sheer amount of content is incredible - it's so incredibly detailed, and the amazing thing is that virtually nothing in it has a real-life counterpart. Virtually every surface, machine, item of clothing has been designed from scratch. OK, it's drawn from a twisted revivalist art deco style, but that doesn't really diminish what's been created.

So, It's pretty much all I wanted. Huzzah. It's a pity it launched the same day as Blue Dragon, as I was planning on using that as my jumping-off point back into the creepy and obsessive world of Japanese RPGs. It shall have to wait.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Grow Discouraged by the Tone.

If I were a less civilised man, I'd embed a midi file of 'Ride of the Valkyries' to go with this.



Go, Bill, Go!

Kicking My Heels and Waiting for Bioshock

I'd warned the people of Japan to pay more attention to their limbs, but apparently they they just did not listen. If they're going to refuse my help, there's very little I can do about events such as these.

In gaming news, the latest game from ruminant-bothering Welshman Jeff Minter hit Live Arcade today. Space Giraffe (yeah, that's right) is kind of like Tempest, but seems like it's been put together by a drug-addled Llama farmer in his mum's cottage. And with very good reason. I think I like it, but it's so odd that I can't be sure. I'm almost certain that it's the sort of game that has quite a degree of hidden complexity. I'm also certain that it's the sort of game in which the closest thing there is to a cheat mode is guzzling peyote and spinning round in a big fucking circle.

Also investigated EA's challenge to the Tony Hawk franchise, the irritatingly lower-case skate. Difficult to control, but all the more satisfying for it, there's a chance that EA will steal the top spot in yet another genre. Peculiar thing is, this time they might deserve it. A few other demoes have appeared in recent days. Fatal inertia is some sort of futuristic racing game; also abomination. Blazing Angels 2 is very similar to Blazing Angels 1, insofar as it is wilfully, Earth-shatteringly shite.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Buzz buzz buzz

Sometimes , there are just no words. And sometimes there are the words "Dude, you held up a betting shop with a dildo, what the fuck did you expect?"

Bees!

Bees! Everywhere!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Much worse than that chicken...

It's a good day when you click on a headline like Beijing's Penis Emporium and it's not just a story about Second Life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Sentiments Exactly.

A Certain Degree of Abomination.



Apologies for the orientation of the picture. I am not yet fully back up and running with all my technologies, and so am reliant on sending things from my phone to add pictures. What I will not apologise for, however, and what you can clearly see is what I spent last night doing, is ramming a beer can up a chicken and setting it upon a barbecue.

This is not something I did purely for comedy value, or from a desire to shock, though it is very, very funny (particularly the jaunty angle on the wing -steppin' out!). It's a classic (insomuch that something can be in this context) piece of redneck cookery, and I felt compelled to try it. It works really well. Lovely juicy meat from being steamed with beer, nice charred skin. It was definitely the tastiest abomination of recent days.

In other news, it would really please me if the people of Japan would pay more attention to their limbs. They're useful for all sorts of things.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Of Giant Drills, and Whether You Kill Things

So, Bioshock then. The demo finally downloaded, a full 12 hours after I started it. Were hopes and dreams fulfilled? Shattered, shat on?

Mostly fulfilled, as it happens. You're never going to get the best (by which I mean the open ended moral and economic choices of the best RPGs) that you get in this sort of game from a short demo.

What you do get from this demo is the impression that this is a game that has been designed with genuine care and intelligence. It was fun, a bit more shooty than I was expecting perhaps, but good. The only real mis-step, to my mind, is having a main character called Atlas.

We got it.

A plea for Moderation

It turns out that, should you be a bit daft, it is possible to overdose on caffeine.

To give perspective, this girl drank fourteen espressos. I am 6' 2", 17 stone, and a coffee whore. I could only drink that much coffee in a full day if I really pushed myself. After the first 4-6 I start to feel paranoid and quite unwell. How you push yourself past that point, especially over such a short period of time, I really do not know.

I like the fact that she's dedicating herself to stopping others doing the same profoundly stupid thing that no-one in their right mind would do in the first place. The denial-laced comments from the father are a joy as well. You don't have to peer to hard between the lines to see a broken man muttering "She's a cretin. A fucking cretin." over and over to himself.

Ponderous

There's a demo of Bioshock on Xbox Live Marketplace. A progress bar has never moved so slowly. I needs me some art-deco-Randian-ultra-leftist-social-engineering-gone-wrong-in-a-fucked-up-undersea-world action. Needs it bad.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A spot of bother.

People more moderate than I have said that religion should be tolerated, in spite of the incredible damage it does to society, because of the joy it brings to individuals. Normally I would dismiss this as piffle, and strike them soundly about the skull with whatever came to hand, but today religion has brought me a certain happiness.

Let's assume for a moment that we are evolved from some sort of precursor species. One that perhaps did not have all of mankind's intelligence and capacity for self-delusion. That creature would behave much like every other animal demonstrably does - that is, attempt to find food and breed. Maybe the males would help look after their offspring, though that would depend on whether the food available and the level of danger in the environment would make it a better bet to father and abandon many children, or protect and nurture one to developmental maturity.

Assuming the latter is the case, which seems likely as this is how humans tend to behave, males should show a preference for partners they think to be loyal, reducing the chances of their wasting time and resources to raising another male's child. This brings me, in a roundabout way to my point.

One of the most obvious ways of assuring a female was, if only to begin with, faithful, would be if she was a virgin. Therefore males that actively selected for this (I'm assuming this precursor to be social because of overwhelming evidence that I'm not listing here) should have more luck reproductively, and a greater chance of passing their genes on.

The huge, belly-laugh inducing irony therefore is that one of the traits of the major religions (no sex before marriage) held up as an example of how humans are somehow inherently different from other species, that they possess some spark of the divine, is simply a ritualised form of a demonstrably evolutionary trait.

I'll be chuckling under my breath for weeks.

Sometimes, the world makes me very tired.

I was aware that various loons were pushing for the re-establishment of a Muslim caliphate, but I wasn't aware that so many women were keen on it. Not to worry though, if you're feeling like your fundamental rights as a human being are not being infringed upon enough, the fine, fine folk at Hitz Ut-Tahrir can help. Not feeling enough as you're being treated enough like property? You know who to call.

There's a reason that Muslim law is not embraced the world over. It is because it is insane.

Trouble in the Colonies

Earlier today, I had written a little piece on gun control, on how it's good, I like it. It was focusing on how countries in which you can't buy a gun have lower crime rates than those in which you can. However, I decided to spare you all that, as it's pretty much common sense, providing you don't live here.

I couldn't let the day end without bringing up this little gem. Seriously. Why are they keeping up the pretence any longer? If someone's buying a gun, it's not for self defence. They either want to rob you, or shoot their fucking cat. Pure and simple. The sad fact is, as long as sales tax is paid on guns, they remain vital for the protection of freedom. If sales tax on guns was dropped tomorrow, I think the US government might start to consider the possibility that they have a role in violent crime.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A minor discovery

This is a work of pure fucking genius, and it allowed me to create this:



I'm petitioning these guys to produce the same thing for NES carts as soon as possible.

Semantics

There comes a time in a young man's life where he must ask himself a very important question.

Not "Is my vacuum cleaner on fire?" - that much should be obvious, there are flames coming out of it, after all - but rather "Is my vacuum cleaner on too much fire? Could I not get that big spiderweb out of the corner before being consumed by the uncaring inferno?"

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hmmm...

Good news for Cillian Murphy, bad news for almost everyone else.

The study points at features like curved eyebrows being a deciding factor, but unfortunately for me neglects to mention what your chances are if you have a single, gargantuan eyebrow straddling your face like Brian Blessed on his birthday.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dear Thailand...

Because nothing says 'vicious military coup' more than anthropomorphic cats.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hahahahahahahahafuckyou!

A human skull with neanderthal features? Why, that would seem to be one of those things the religious have been so very worried we might find. What's it called? A missing...

It's on the tip of my tongue.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

F'n Metal!

The lead singer of Whitesnake fought a bear and won!

Seriously, terrible band. But he fought a bear.

Friday, August 03, 2007

No, we are just King.

Anyone who knows me has seen the powerful love I hold for Katamari Damacy. It's one of the few things that warms the cockles of my usually joyless black heart.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ouch.

Oh God.

Actually, whilst I can't pretend that this bit of news doesn't upset me, it's easy to remain philosophical. A year in which I can still look forward to Assassins Creed, Bioshock, Mass Effect, Halo 3, Haze, Super Mario Galaxy, Call of Duty 4, The Club, Zack and Wiki, Half Life 2: Orange Box, Left 4 Dead, Burnout Paradise, Rock Band, Metroid Prime 3 and Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is not a year that needs a Grand Theft Auto game, per se.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bringing Me Some of That Good News.

Coffee apparently helps prevent cancer these days. I am fucking invincible. Ignore the bit about exercise, I'm sure it's not important. And anyhow, Wii counts.

And They Have a Plan.

I have now been up for almost 24 hours. Most of this involved lifting heavy objects. A small amount involved playing Monkey Ball. This is a balance I intend to redress.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Havajajabagah.

Moved house. Van went boom. Rear window of emergency replacement went boom. Did heavy lifting for seventeen straight hours. Pissed off agency. Fell over. Drank beer. Getting food. Need shower.

Monday, July 30, 2007

This week we have a special on Methuselah.

"Mom, can I get the Job action figure with the realistic weeping sores, or the Abraham with child-killing action?"

"No Bobby-Joe. You'll only start asking for the God figure with the believer-restraining grip to go with it."

The really worrying thing is that American teenagers will be able to recreate the fundamentals of my psyche with their toybox. Every time I lay down to sleep it's just 8 hours of Spider-Man kicking God's arse.

An epiphany.

After a few days of quiet reflection I have decided that Transformers is not, as I had previously claimed, the worst film I've seen in three years.

It is the second worst. My repressed memories of X-Men 3 have returned.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Press 'A' for Roundhouse Kick

Last night, a Welshmen chewed the top of my skull. Whilst a novel experience, it was still deeply unpleasant. It did, however, confirm a few things for me.
  • Everything I thought about the Welsh was 100% correct.

  • The many hours I've spent preparing for zombie attack have given me useful skills to apply in other areas of my life.

Valuable stuff.

Friday, July 27, 2007

They're in disguise. As pure shit.

I have just seen Transformers. A lot of people told me that it was a pretty good movie. Various magazines that I will usually give the time of day to gave it strong, if not raving reviews.

They were all wrong. It was an absolutely grotesque shambling abortion of a movie. And I use the term 'movie', not 'film'. I don't think I went into this with unreasonable expectations. I wanted big robots, knocking the crap out of each other, and/or shooting each other. I got that, for all of seven minutes.

The rest of the time I got the single worst-written movie I've ever some across. I can't honestly cope with how bad it was. The techno-babble was the standout piece-of-shit, lack of research bad writing cliche that you expect from this sort of thing. I thought we'd left "They're giving our system a virus!" behind with Independance Day. We have not. What's worse, is we've gained "They have taken all our internets! They've literally taken them, and stuffed them under a hat somewhere!" And: "It's full of gigabytes! We need fewer! Or maybe more! With quantums!"

Without wanting to spoil it for anyone, the film ends with the main human characters getting nasty on Bumblebee's hood while Optimus Prime watches. If that's not enough...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Serendipity.

My current feelings on religion, casually summed up by a random act of the uncaring universe, in this case book placement at work.



I just want to make it perfectly clear that this was not posed, that these were, and belong, right next to one another.

The Future Baffles Me

A few weeks ago I got my first experience of finding out major news about one of my friends via facebook - namely that she was now in a relationship. I realise that I'm pretty far behind virtually everyone else on the planet in terms of pop culture (saw Heroes last night, I liked it) and technology uptake, but I did and still do find it peculiar that people below a certain age will now find out major events in the lives of those they're close to via a status change on Facebook.

On booting my laptop this morning, I found that someone I know is getting married. I'm not sure I'll get used to this sort of thing anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

All kinds of everything.

This will be a multi-purpose post, trying to encapsulate all the topics usually only covered by a months worth of my online outpourings. Firstly, the zombies:



Next up, I played a video game. Bomberman Live is delicious.

A strange news story.

And I think the Catholics are up to something. There, we're done.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence"

Following a peculiar conversation with my brother earlier, in which he revealed to me that he has actually met someone in the UK who believes in Intelligent Design Theory (referred hereafter as IDioT). I had though that we had managed to isolate this form of stupidity to the United States, and was alarmed to find that this was not the case.

What does a good, no-one fearing atheist do in this sort of situation? Well, thankfully we are prepared.

  • The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    For the two people with internet access who haven't stumbled across this, it is a masterful display of how to manipulate statistics in order to prove whatever you damn well please. What is even better, they get perpetual hate-mail from good, forgiving Christians who believe it to be a genuine religion, rather than a cunning display of the myriad logical fallacies that underpin Intelligent Design.

  • Richard Dawkins.

    Yeah. He's a prick. There's no argument here. However, for the most part he's right. Apart from his infuriating insistence on referring to atheists as 'Brights', he's pretty much worth listening to. The God Delusion would be an obvious place to start

  • Daniel Dennett.

    Slightly less aggressive than Dawkins, so slightly less annoying. He goes one further than Dawkins, and portrays religion as a biological process. I don't entirely agree with him, but he annoys people so much it's worth reading his work.

  • Sam Harris.

    Sam Harris is probably my favourite writer on the harm religion causes society. A few months ago, I posted about something from his book Letter to a Christian Nation. I quite honestly defy anyone to read that book and still labour under the misapprehension that faith is a power primarily for good. It is mainly focused on the Conservative Christian right in America, but as a dicourse on the unspeakably foul acts that often pass for religious morality, it is invaluable.

  • Christopher Hitchens.

    I like Christopher Hitchens because he's an angry little man, and I therefore find it pretty simple to relate to him. His most recent book, God is not Great is, after Sam Harris' work, the best non-scientific argument against religion I've come across. Focusing on the harm religion causes society, it is rhetoric, but rhetoric that is the same time impassioned yet sensible.

  • Ann Coulter.

    Not an obvious one for this list, I'll admit, given her ravening insanity, but she does play a valuable role. In reading her work you can clearly see the desperation and willingness to lie, cheat and mislead that such staunch defenders of Christianity are willing to go to, in order to maintain the compliance of those not smart enough to filter through her gibberish. The best example of this comes from Godless: The Church of Liberalism, in which Ann claims that the 150 years across which biological archaeology has been practiced is absolutely long enough for us to establish a complete fossil record. Of course, that's not really enough time to investigate the entire surface of the Earth, including all sea beds, to a depth of at least 60 feet, much more in places, then catalogue and correllate every finding. Of course, if it's what you want to believe, it comes over as a valid point, and will pass by unconsidered. As such, it's one of my favourite examples of overwhelming stupidity presented as valid logic or scientific fact. It still scares me that there are people out there who could read it and believe it.

  • DNA.

    This is kind of important. If DNA behaves in any of the ways we can unequivocally demonstrate it does, then it is pretty much impossible evolution does not occur.

  • Seriously, where do these people think disease comes from?

Let's not forget the Church's wonderful record on matters of science. For a long while it was imperative that everyone believed the Sun revolved around the Earth, because to think otherwise was to diminish the importance of man in the cosmos. And wait, if they could be wrong about that...

It's bad enough that the church has been willing to imprison, torture and kill people for their unwillingness to repent 'heretical' ideas that happen to 100% fucking true. Let's not forget that they are also perfectly willing to invent a concept, such as witchcraft, and then persecute people for this utterly impossible-to-commit crime. The Vatican still maintains exorcists, who are sent out to torture Schizophrenics who are unfortunate enough to have parents ignorant enough to both maintain Catholic faith and be unable to recognise Schizophrenic behaviours.

Whenever someone from a major religious organisation figures out the implications of quantum physics, it's going to make this whole 'evolution' problem seem like a pillow fight.

Well, that's that.

Just about recovered from the Harry Potter launch now. It's been a tumultuous few days, most of which has been spent arguing with teenagers and people old enough to know better. It is not how work usually goes, but what the hell. We mostly survived, though we were perhaps missing 'military precision'.

Oh, and I read the thing. Underwhelming.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I have used up all my English...

I work in a bookshop. That's pretty depressing all by itself. This certainly does not help:

I'm bothered.

The rest of E3 was of so little consequence I decided not to bother writing. Bah.

On the walk home from the cinema last night, a car passed with a roof rack bearing in large letters the brand name 'Thule'. Now, I'm not a marketing guru, but I would have thought a quick Google search just to make sure you're not naming your product after a far-right, pre-war German occultist organisation, one that by a process of degrees effectively became the Nazi party, would just be common sense.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

They said it would never happen

Another E3, that is. But the shining cubic zirconium lurking in the crown of the gaming calendar is upon us once again, and that means more gaming news than even my brain, custom-made for the task as it is, can handle. I shall be brave though, and press on through.

One of the novelties of the age we live is that we get content straight from the show, as soon as it's out there. The internet is filling up with trailers that I can't watch due to the ineptitude of my aging laptop, but much of it falls off Xbox Live and onto my television. Something that did this today was the new Halo 3 trailer. I played the public beta of the multiplayer, and was in no way particularly impressed. It was more of the same, and I'd played a lot of Halo 2. I'm not much one for more of the same. The single-player campaign that was shown off today did stir me a little, and I have to say, without anything really standing out, I am definitely looking forward to it. Going to a midnight launch looking forward to it? We shall see. Haven't been to one of those in over a year now, so it may be worth doing just to reaffirm my alpha geek status.

A couple of demos appeared as well. Ace Combat 6, as you might guess from the facts:

  • That it's called Ace Combat

  • That it's the sixth in the series

is a staggeringly bad game. It's afterburner, but takes place on top of a crudely pixelated Google map.

Thankfully, there's also Blue Dragon. It looks lovely, with some great character design by Akira 'I inflicted Dragonball Z upon the world' Toriyama, and surprisingly decent English voice acting. It's far too complex to really appreciate from the demo, but what I've seen so far appeals to me, much more so than most Japanese RPGs. I'd been looking forward to it, as it's appearance on the release lists was really the first major sign that the 360 wouldn't suffer the drought of decent Japanese software that the original Xbox did. Seems my patience has been rewarded.

2 more days of overly-keen analysis to go, folks...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Now finish the job...

I'm sure I'm not the only person out there who finds the idea of an enraged gorilla pelting Will Young with rocks the size of a small child amusing.

Prime Fritters

A previously abandoned feature makes an unwelcome return today, as we take the richest, creamiest subject lines from my inbox's spam harvest:

Require Additional Size Adolf?

Gah.

Why must they keep doing this?

From the BBC, a new Japanese invention:

"The Boyfriend's Arm Pillow, shaped like a man's torso with one sturdy arm, has been on sale since December and has so far been snapped up by 1,000 singles."



"It keeps holding me all the way through. I think this is great because this does not betray me,"

Japan, please stop poking witches and hugging pillows for just a moment and take a look at yourselves. Seriously. You're starting to weird me out a bit here.

Bee Watch: That bee is fucking huge.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Florida Bar to Jack Thompson

"Dear Mr. Thompson,

It has come to our attention that you are a ravening batshit loon. Please submit your brain and no less that 2/3 (two thirds by weight) of your spinal material with our crime lab. For testing and stuff.

Love 'n' hugs,

The Florida Bar Association."

Yes, the folk that get to say who's a lawyer and who isn't have come across the fact that Jack is just far, far too mad to really make an effective lawyer. Shame that. Damn shame.

Monday, July 02, 2007

His Rich, Tasty Courage.

Bought and finished The Darkness over the course of the weekend, and I have to say it's one of the best first-person shooters I've seen in a long while. It's also staggeringly violent. It's the only game that I know of in which you level up your character by eating your enemies hearts.

Good voice work and storyline don't hurt either. The developers have taken the brave and sensible step of redesigning almost everything from the comic. Makes sense, given that the comic was originally illustrated by Marc Silvestri, one of the many hacks that formed Image, and insisted on drawing in exactly the same style as Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, et al. So, as a result the main character doesn't have a ridiculous superhero suit made out of 'darkness'. This can only be a good thing.

Crazy Folk of the Hinterlands

From now on, whenever anyone asks the question 'what are you doing?', I am going to have to respond with 'I'm killing a vampire!"

It may take some getting used to, but we'll all be richer for it.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Oh my...


Work do. This sort of thing happens.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Oh Lucasarts, I could kiss you, if only you weren't an abstract corporate entity.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Uh, wait a second...

So, apparently the German military has decided that it will not allow Tom Cruise to film in Germany because he is a Scientologist. Now, I believe Tom Cruise, and Scientology in general, to be mad as a sackful of greasy stoats, but it would be churlish not to point out that Germany has had a fairly poor record of discriminating against people on religious grounds in the past.

Illness watch: still ill. Have eaten toast. Didn't help.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Know You're Full of Diseases

Or more to the point, I am full of diseases. I am feverish, have lost my voice and have been, rather disconcertingly, crying uncontrollably. This is due to the fact that there is so much pressure in my sinuses that it's forcing the liquid out of my eyes. Every twenty minutes or so I go blind, and resemble the old Spitting Image Gazza doll.

Good fuckin' times.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thank Fuck

Well, at least this country is slightly more sane than America. In america, preventing hideous debilitating disease is considered immoral and Unchristian.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And it was all going so well...

The new Batman film was looking pretty good. Hell, it still might be. But, and this is a big but:



Stupid motorbike with guns. Oh well.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A change of Direction

Due to commercial pressures, development on Cuchulainn has been diverted towards a more mainstream project, a witch molestation game. All assets will transfer to Emo Boy Touching Fringe Surprise Yes! Is go!. Out in Japan and rural America this summer.

No, we actually did some work.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Let's see if I've got this straight...

This frankly terrifying little game from Japan would seem to be a VOIP phone-sex service, but you're meant to understand that you are not, in fact talking to a borderline-suicidal Japanese housewife, you are talking to this:



Eroge. From the nation that brought you a game about molesting witches. Please Japan, just stop it.

Yep, this could work

Sweetholycraponastickitsoptimusfuckingprime!



In other geeking the fuck out news:



After the Joker car last night, now these two pieces of geeky loveliness. Don't know that I can take much more.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Shiny

If this is, as has been rumoured, The Joker's car from The new Batman film, The Dark Knight, then I will be a very happy man indeed. I will try to use fewer commas by way of celebration.

Increase my killing power, eh?

This seems like exactly the sort of research that won't get abused horribly. No, it's definitely got a ring of the old 'pure and simple benefit for mankind' about it.

Still, cyberpunk's all coming to life and shit. There's something.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Thought For The Day



That is all.

Oh, the agony.

I loved the first two X-Men movies. They were smart, funny, and pretty damn well made. The third was both an insult and a bad joke, but that's not what we're here to talk about.

It's long been rumoured that there would be a Wolverine spin-off movie. This was taken as good news, though I think most folk who care about this sort of thing were worried that it might simply be a cynical attempt to squeeze a little more money out of a franchise that has been driven into the ground by the twin machinations of Tom Rothman and Halle Berry.

Well, according to this that's exactly what it is. These are two bad directors. But Len Wiseman is the worse of the two by a long way. Unfortunately, by the time the unfortunate Die Hard 4.0, which he's directing, craps onto the screen, old Len is going to have a bit of clout. So I think he'll get the gig. Having made Underworld 2 and Die Hard 4.0, he's already the Hollywood go-to guy for utterly extraneous sequels.

This is a man who managed to make a film about vampires and werewolves kicking the shit out of each other not only bad, but boring. If anyone can make a film about a guy with blades coming out of the back of his hands who, like, totally flips out and kills, like, a hundred guys boring, it's Len Wiseman.

Take a bow, Len.

Crunch Time




This is my first mobile blog. For those of you who don't know, that means I'm sending stuff from my mobile, and it publishes here. Basically, do something stupid anywhere near me from this point on, and I'll throw you at the internet. Hard.

In other news, I saw so much fake tan at the supermarket i now need to stare at a goth to recalibrate my eyeballs.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I think it's happening.

Old age is upon me. Playing the Shadowrun demo last night, I found myself simultaneously enjoying it and thinking "Oh well, shame I'll never have time to play this."

I think it's actually the first time I've been put off buying a game purely because of the investment of time it would require. This does actuall scare me more than a little bit. An element of proper grown-up may be creeping into my psychological makeup, and I don't like it one bit.

Either that or Shadowrun has been designed purely for ADD teenagers.

I also played Overlord, something I've been looking forward to for a while now. When the prompt flashed up: "Set fire to wheat field to incinerate Hobbits.", I knew that my wait was not in vain.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mr Sandman...

I am more tired than I have ever been. Let's just accept this and move on. I cannot sleep. My usual sunny demeanour may occasionally be blotted out by slight crabbiness. Sarcasm may ensue. I will try to keep this to a minimum.

And if you believe that, then why, I have these fine magic beans you may wish to purchase.

I thought I would be able to get decent quality work out of myself for the final few hours I can remain propped up this evening. I though that if I drank a whole load of coffee and listened to The Go! Team real fucking loud that I might just be able to invigorate myself into turning out more dialogue for our game.

This did not happen.

I drew a little doggy.

Cuchulainn

I mentioned the Irish myth game idea. It's happening. It's happening here.

Please watch our progress, and chide us if we seem slow.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I don't know art...

...but I know what I like.

The Little Things

There are few pleasures to be taken from working in a commercial bookshop. The hours are bad, the pay is largely non-existant. There are some good people to be found, but they seem to be a dying breed. You have to make your own fun, if there's to be any.

There's a section in our store called MBS, which is where hippie nonsense and conspiracy theory books go. If it's batshit crazy, it goes there. Which is why we've taken it upon ourselves to put all the creation science books on a big display there, right next to the David Icke books. The crowning glory though is a row of books, alternating between Ann Coulter's 'Slander' and a charming book called 'Who Built the Moon?'.

It's nice to poke a little gentle fun now and then.

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to turn the Ulster Cycle of Irish myth into a computer game. I'm now trying to turn a jumbled and confused myth into a chronological story, and flat, illogical characters into actual human beings. It's like trying to turn an episode of Neighbours into Citizen Kane. I'm going to have a headache for some considerable time.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Zelda, the post-match analysis

Just finished playing Twilight Princess. So now I'm in the position of having nothing in the way of Wii games that can provide more than a few minutes distraction at best. I'm sure this is a problem that will begin to vanish as dev teams get more used to the system, and stop just putting out cheap ports of PS2 software (not so sure that'll happen any time soon, though).

I was a bit sceptical of Twilight Princess when I first started playing it. It's very slow to get going, and recycles previous parts of the series to an almost ludicrous extent, but it now sits just behindd ocarina of time in my estimations for the series. I do still love Wind Waker, especially the absolutely incredible design, but Twilight Princess just edges it out because of the relationships between the central characters. The character that fulfils the role of the guide in this game is Midna, a strange little imp-type creature. Initially she's pretty antagonistic towards Link, but gradually softens, and they start to depend on one another to a far greater degree. It's strongly reminiscent of the relationship between the central characters in His Dark Materials, in fact some of the parallels are out-and-out spooky. I'd be very suprised if His Dark Materials wasn't the basis for a lot of the story, but then I'm not sure it's ever been translated into Japanese.

It's rare that there's good story in games, even more rare in a case like this, where one character is essentially mute. There's a lot to be said for the character modelling here - they are fantastically expressive, Midna in particular.

Ah well, it's back to Wii tennis. I've never been particularly desperate to have story as the central focus of a game, but now that I've finished Twilight Princess, I find mysself even more keen for Mass Effect and Bioshock.

It seems that a cheeky member of HMV staff has the same love of Jack Thompson as I do:



Delightful.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I feel we've reached an accord...

According to this report the main cause of gun crime is, well, guess what? Guns.

Turns out the root causes of crime are the same sorts of things we always suspected, such as poverty, disaffected youth, all that jazz. But apparently, and this is the really shocking part, if you want to shoot someone you'll need a gun.

I know, I was shocked too. I've seen one of these 'gun' things, and I can't even see where you would put a copy of Grand Theft Auto in one.

Twats. Staggering twats.

This is the logical extension of the whole nonsensical Top Gear culture we have going on at the moment.

Cars are big and heavy, and if you drive them too fast, they're hard to control. Surely people realise this by now?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

OMG M$ IS TEH SUXOR!

Sat here, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the Halo 3 beta to happen. Not much going on here. Just... waiting.

I thought I might pass the time by downloading the free Live Arcade game Microsoft have been touting. But that's not online either. Turns out it's only available in the states. Europe gets shat upon once again.

Never mind. I'll troll around for online petetions. Advanced old age is setting in at 26.

"Dear Sir, you suck. Yours sincerely, ZombieDave. p.s. Asshat."

My letters wil be the stuff of cranky old man legend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What I did in May.

Seems I don't spend as much time as I used to in front of my computer. I'm sure a large part of this is down to the fact that I'm working my way through a huge glut of games that were rushed out to meet the end of the fiscal year. A brief summary:

Zelda: Twilight Pricess - A wizard did it.

God of War 2 - A giant pituitary retard in a skirt did it.

Crackdown (with added bonus shiny) - A giant pituitary retard in a tank got of his tank and did it. With a harpoon gun.

So that's what I've been up to. Games now have harpoon guns in them, and I'm not looking back. It's all harpoon gun, all the time for me. This means I can only ever play Crackdown and XIII.

Slightly less appealing is the demo of the Pirates of the Caribbean game. Just as it was looking like a game being a movie tie-in didn't automatically mean it was shit, this comes along. And it all starts so well. A little in-engine cutscene, Captain Jack looks like Captain Jack, moves like a drunk everything seems fine. Then you take control.

Suddenly Jack moves like he has a broom in him (he might do, it's Johnny Depp after all), and you engage in some horrible, horrible combat. Here's how combat works:

You press 'A' twice. The enemy turns away. You press 'A' again. The enemy falls over. Then you get hit by an off-screen enemy because the camera is in no way dynamic. And you have no way of knowing how many enemies are in the room, because they spawn offf camera. So, unless you spin the camera continually, you don't really know what's going on.

There are some vague attempts to expand the combat, but they're all equally clumsy. It's a piece of shit, basically. It might be aimed at kids, but that's no excuse.

Oh, and captain Jack speaks twice in the 20-minute demo. I couldn't quite tell if it was Johnny Depp doing the voice, as it sounded like it was recorded down a phone line. In the seventies. I don't think it was though.

I don't quite know why this bothers me, as it's not as if I would have ever bought this game, but it has. To sum up: it's a piece of shit.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It has come to my attention...

...that the country of my birth is being run by a homophobic religious demagogue and a man who believes violence to be a legitimate means of affecting change in government.

Who says Britain can't do US-style politics?

Friday, April 27, 2007

But I wants it...

Or, to be grammatically correct, I want them. Gaming sneakers? That aren't entirely horrible designs? I must have them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

That's not Betty!

As I sit here, wondering how I'm from the same family as anyone who would watch Ugly Betty, I find myself thinking of a fun little game. If you catch anyone watching this show, repeatedly and insistently ask them "Is that Betty?" whenever someone who isn't the main character is on screen. If she is on screen, stay silent. I can now confirm that this drives them absolutely nuts. Great fun. The downside is that they think you're a shambling cretin.

Speaking of fun games, I've been playing a lot of GRAW 2. Or Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2, for those of you who aren't into the whole brevity thing. It's great, but you are fighting a ridiculously PC war. Basically any element of the war being morally dubious has been stripped away. It's hilariously clean-cut. Go USA! Despite that, it's great fun. There are a lot of set-pieces this time around, a lot of variety to the levels.

I've also been playing God of War 2, which thanks to the ineptitude of the folk at Currys in town, I've picked up a few days early. I've played about an hour of it, during which time my character has destroyed the Colossus of Rhodes (which was brought to life by Athena), been killed by Zeus, and clambered out of hell. It's pretty intense. It's staggeringly silly. It's on the PS2, but looks almost as good as anything on the new systems.

Oh, and in the first five minutes you kill, like, a hundred guys. I missed my calling in marketing. Though I can do better than one game I saw today, the sole selling point on the back being: "Game and manual in English!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Yurgh...

I wish we had more knee-jerk right wing commentators in the UK. I'd love to hear Jack try to tie this to Counterstrike.

"He had trained for this in the game, which is why he was able to sever his penis so calmly. If you measure the trajectory of the spurts of blood back to the height of his mangled groin you can tell that his heart beat never got above 60 bpm."

In other news, the storm of inadequacy that is My Chemical Romance is on the TV right now. I'd never noticed before, but the singer looks suspiciously like Jack Dee.

Well, Kal-El, I guess you're just fucked

I'm not referring to Nicolas Cage's kid here (though your dad's a twat and your probably heading the same way: dem's the breaks), but to Superman himself.

A newly-discovered mineral from a mine in serbia has the exact chemical composition of Kryptonite as mentioned in Superman Returns.

It's not green though, it's red. Keep an eye out for evil Superman then. Don't go near any driving test centres any time soon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

100!

It's my 100th post, and of course the topic is... Jack 'Motherlovin' Spoonful' Thompson.

Jack has a habit of randomly trying to set various offices of the law onto anyone who disagrees with his lunatic rantings. This is almost everyone, and he has to sleep on a matress stuffed with his own shed hair at some point, so he tends to focus on those that bother him most.

In this case, Jack and I have something in common: we both hate forumites. Jack, however, thinks that if someone on the internet says a bad thing about you, you can set the FBI on them. If everyone knew about that little trick, each and every male in the US between the ages of 12 and 25 would be in jail right now.

Jack's targeting Kotaku, pretty much the only gaming blog to have professsional journalists working on it. That's a problem for Jack right there. They tend to be pretty thorough about things like telling the truth. Another problem that Jack has is that he can't tell a single comment on a forum from a sustained campaign of abuse. I'm pretty sure the FBI can.

Jack has occasionally claimed to be a lawyer of some kind (though he's dangerously close to being disbarred), something that requires some intelligence. What sort of intelligent man starts a letter "Dear FBI"?

My heartfelt congratulations go out to the guys at Kotaku. You've quite clearly broken him, and you stand a good chance of being the ones that finally take him down.

Work

A brief encounter with a gentle soul today:

Him: "I'm looking for books on the photographer Such-and-such."

Me: "We've one book on Such-and-such. This is it here."

Him "I see. Do you have any others?"

Sometimes words fail me. But not today! Cock.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

For Jack, with careful consideration

When Rush Limbaugh is more liberal than you on any issue, pretty much all that's left to do is grow a little moustache and invade Poland.

Monday, April 16, 2007

And it quacks like a weasel...

Every cloud has a silver lining, and every tragedy has a grotesque right-wing opportunistic scrabble for publicity.

I don't honestly know how this can even be possible, but Jack 'Looks Like a Man But is Really a Stack of Weasels in a Cheap Suit' Thompson was able to get on American TV to throw his two cents into the ring on the VA shootings. The worst mass shootings in US history. In order to make best use of this horrible event, Jack got straight onto Fox News (naturally) and singled out videogames as the cause.

I could just about understand this behaviour, if the guy responsible had even been named. But he hasn't. We (and Jack) do not yet know who he was. I could understand if he'd waited even a day before doing this. But he didn't, he decided to strike while the anvil was hot and peddle his twisted viewpoint on TV, this time trading off the deaths of (at present) 32 people.

Way to fucking go, Jack. You've graduated from being a misguided annoyance to being a man with a genuine lack of morals or respect for human life. Good for you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Once again...

Good Lord, it's been a while.

I'm not very good at updating this with any degree of frequency. Since I know there at least five people mewling for the tiniest trickle of information from me, here we go. I'll try not to be so shoddy in future.

I have my first wiinjury, and by logical extension of that, a Wii. It's great. Not really got much in the way of software yet, but it's all been good fun so far. This doesn't mean I've abandoned my other platforms, oh no. Well, it kind of does in the case of the 360, though I have a suspicion I'll be back to that.

Gaming fun has mostly been from the handheld platforms at the moment. Mostly Portrait of Ruin on the DS, and Gitaroo Man on PSP. Gitaroo man is right up there in competition for the sweetest game ever created. It's not too saccharine though, it's just that Japanese naivete about it. For those who don't know, it's a rhythm action game in which you play a Japanese schoolboy who turns into a guitar-wielding superhero at various inopportune moments. And the guitar is kept somewhere within his dog. Obviously. So that's fine then.

This is quite possibly the best thing ever:



UCSC students built a four-storey Donkey Kong mural out of Post-it notes. They did this because they are true heroes.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

So very fucking sick of this now

Let's imagine, for a moment, that we are mayor of New York City. Let's imagine that we have an awareness of that city's history, and how it has been portrayed in literature and on screen.

Let's say a videogame, spuriously based on New York City is to be released. That all data available on the game is from a short trailer. Let's say that the entire trailer is based on The French Connection, a film based on true events that occured in New York City.

What do you do? Do you sit back and wait for said game to be released, waiting until the facts are in, and a sane and sensible judgement can be passed? Or do you just throw words around, in a series of nonsensical press releases, with as little basis in actual fact as possible?

It's B folks, it's B.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What do PS3 and Soylent Green have in common?

The answer, predictably, is that they're made of people. And not in an interesting way, either, just in the ramblings of a demented Sony Executive. Now, this time it's not Jack Tretton, who has said some fairly 'interesting' things. This time it's Ray Maguire, or as I like to call him, 'Commander Batshit'.

"If you take what's considered to be the most expensive and the least expensive - consider the US with its massive land and cheap people. Then you look at the UK - a little island where rent and rates are at an absolute premium, and the cost of people is a lot more. "

Please, someone tell me. What does that even mean? That's meant to be an explanation as to why the PS3 costs more in the UK than almost everywhere else. He's managing director of Sony America, so it seeems that the further up the chain you go, the higher the class of lunatic you encounter. Presumably, if you get promoted far enough in Sony America, you get made President of the USA.

In other news, the PS3 has launched in the UK. I know this because I was in town getting software for virtually every other console - part of the joys of trade in. Found some genuine crap in local stores, but crap that's worth money. Took it into town and turned it into Japanese madness. The system works. I saw four people carrying PS3's on my way into town. Extrapolating, I guess that means they sold more of them than they've produced. I'll look into that. I may have miscalculated.

Apparently not many people have been buying software with the machines. Not entirely suprising, given the quality of the launch titles, but it really seems that a lot of people are buying it as a Blu-Ray player, just as people bought the original PS2 as a DVD player. Makes sense if you want one, it's very cheap compared to all other Blu-Ray players on the market.

In other news, I just made the best burger of all time. Seriously, it was truly the greatest. Just thought folk would want to know.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gentlemen, activate the retardamopod!

Brief update:

Saw Casino Royale. Apart from the scene of the woman riding up the beach on a white horse, it was much less camp than most Bond movies. That scene, however, was as camp as all the rest put together. I digress. I liked it. It was gritty, had a pretty decent plot. Looked nice, all the rest. The last 20 minutes were flaccid, right up until the point where it becomes clear that Bond likes nothing better than to put on a spiffy suit and torture someone for fun. That he is, in the literal sense of the term, mad as a sackful of stoats. And suddenly, all the other Bond films make sense.

Venezuelans are also insane: A group of Venezuelan religious leaders are trying to block the sale of Mercenaries 2, a game that, if past performance is anything to go by, precisely seven people will buy, on these grounds:

"Our concern is that this game will only deepen an already antagonistic relationship between the U.S. and Venezuelan governments".

That's right, the game will cause the U.S. government to reassess it's stance on Venezuela. I'll just let that sink in for a moment.

Did I mention that quote was from a letter to Bono? Because it was. And so, the prosecution rests. Ladies, gentlemen of the jury. Venezuelans are insane.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ta Da

Apparently, playing racing games will make you a bad driver. Most of the report here is common sense, but the thing I find troubling is the part where it states that drivers who play games are likely to have slower reaction times.

This goes against virtually every other study in the field (there are some particularly convincing reports on the benefits of gaming in boosting the skill of surgeons). I wonder if the study group used one of the Need For Speed games? They bear about as much resemblance to driving as they do to clay pigeon shooting.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Vomit Leprechauns

St. Patricks day, and Cambridge's take on festivities for the day has left me with one thought:

Everything is covered in diabolical fluids.

Possibly the least pleasant trip up Mill Road I have ever had.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Water on Mars?

Uh...yeah. Quite a bit, as it turns out. So, that's that then.

In about a years time, the 'life on Mars' question will be settled when sattelites discover a mile-thick layer of elephants.

Warren Ellis gets subtle

Every single thing Warren Ellis has had published by Avatar Press, up until this point, has been an absolute piece of crap. No exceptions. Avatar seems to exist purely to publish Warren Ellis concepts that no-one else will touch.

This one could be a little different. It's typical Ellis high-concept stuff. But it might just not suck. And I only say that because it should be familiar territory for him from Planetary and half a dozen other things he's written. He usually seems more energised when he's riffing on pulp classics.