Viper Squad Ten
We're from the future. And we're stuck....
......VSX......                                                                                                              ......Been a little bit quiet lately......                                                                                                                                                                    

VSX, A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist: Starbuck Powersurge - a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of Viper Squad Ten, a long-disbanded group of stranded timetravelling troubadours, formed to help finance repairs to their time-machine. Now very much stuck in C21...

Sometimes guest editors: Mr Stu and DJ Tim.

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All text is copyright the Viper Squad Ten blog team 2003-2006 unless otherwise quoted or credited. If we've not credited you properly, please let me know. Throw us a link if you're desperate enough to use this guff...

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[ Friday, August 29, 2003 ]

Starbuck [15:35] Comments: 0 []
Alistair Campbell has quit. But without the Dark Lord of the Sith to guide him, will his padawan apprentice Blair be able to stay focussed on the dark side?

Oh Lordy, I'm getting scary Prescott The Hutt images seeping into my browser now...

Starbuck [15:26] Comments: 0 []
Heh, this little animation has just creased me up big time. Lots more weebl archives here.

Starbuck [12:54] Comments: 0 []
Every now and again you catch a programme on the telly which, once experienced, you feel that you will never be able to miss again. My first ever Monkey Dust, which I finally caught on BBC2 last night, was one such epoch-making moment.

The BBCi site describes it thus - "Monkey Dust is a cutting-edge comedy animation created by an award-winning team of writers and visualised by some of London's finest young animators. Set in a permanent urban nightmare, Monkey Dust is a nocturnal world and it's satirical targets range across the whole spectrum of British society." Myself, I'd just call it flicking funny.

Oh, alright, go on then.

Coming across like a League Of Gentlemen / Brasseye hybridoma, conceived under the narcotic influence of (Blue) Jam, and viewed through the lens of a graphic novel, it was quite simply the most imaginative and affecting comedy that I've seen in a while.

The sketches of three voice-over artists in the pub (and then at one of their funerals) damn-well nearly woke my comatose girlfriend from her deep sleep, the amount it made me roar.

I know that I might sometimes be guilty of big-up'ing things just a little bit too much, but you better believe it this time. It's AYCE! If you can, watch it. If not, you can still watch some of the individual sketches here.

Now, where's my payment?

[ Thursday, August 28, 2003 ]

Starbuck [16:23] Comments: 0 []
I feel that I should share, in my good-natured philanthropic way, the goodies that I purchased on Saturday. The acquirement of these treasures would not have been posssible without the magic tokens that I gratefully received from benefactors from SCi and SOAS to mark my departure from London, so thanks to all concerned.

Due to the limitations of HMV Coventry, the breadth of choice available to expand my audio-visual horizons was pretty much narrowed, but this forced the purchasement of some unexpected delights. But enough of this ridiculous writing style, on with the facts.

The Donnie Darko vid I raved about here. Also new to my video box is Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine. I can't believe I hadn't got round to seeing it before; I've still not.

CD-wise, I've been very much looking forward to Quixotic by Martina Topley-Bird, and I wasn't disappointed. A lovely, warm album, sensual and atmospheric. Less bleak than much of her work with Tricky, but not left lacking as a result.

I once knew someone who went to school with Martina T-B in Bristol, and continuing this tenuous Bristol trip-hop link, I also got Portishead's Dummy. An album which I already knew like the back of my hand, but one that I'd never actually owned. Hearing it brings back so many muddled-headed Bristol memories...

More reawakenings of old memories was brought about by The Future Sound Of London's Lifeforms. An ambient dream of some fictional wordless natural history documentary, the camera floating through the lower atmosphere of a fertile alien world, the plush flora and primitive fauna drifting in and out of each scene. Or maybe I shouldn't have eaten those mushrooms that I saw in the woods earlier.

And last, but far from least, UNKLE's Psyence Fiction, which is astoundingly good. Especially when the Jacob's Ladder sample kicks in (click here, music geeks, for a full sample list). An album where the quality of the music by DJ Shadow and James Lavelle ensures that the celebrity guests (including Thom Yorke, Badly Drawn Boy, Richard Ashcroft and the Beastie's Mike D) are not so much highlighted as fully complemented. Whereas Death In Vegas guests sometimes more or less make an individual track, these one's feel more like an unexpected bonus. It's orchestration for the future. And I should know.

[ Wednesday, August 27, 2003 ]

Starbuck [16:33] Comments: 0 []
I had a nice thought earlier. No, not one of those nice thoughts.

There must be so many poor lonely bloggers out there, sitting on their site traffic monitoring tools, feeling sorry for themselves because no-one reads their journalistic masterpieces (I don't need to worry about this, as my blog is a very long way from being a journalistic masterpiece!)

So, what would give them a lovely pleasant suprise, I thought to myself? If a few hundred people, say, would suddenly turn up at their site out of the blue? What a thrill that would be...

It would have to target someone with an externally-accessible site traffic monitor, of course. And, fair enough, perhaps it would be a bit pointless.

But still, I googled for ages for a site which might do something like this, as people seem to always manage to fill these internet niches, but came away with very little. Which maybe suggests that, yes, it was a useless idea in the first place. That's what blog PR and blogrolling are all about anyway. Respect. Or maybe I'm just rubbish with Google.

Just so this train of thought hasn't been wasted, though, I was interested to see, on similar lines, that people are trying to bring flash mobbing out of the real world and in to the blogosphere (Blogjacking is one such site, still in its early formative stages, dedicated to the virtual flash mobbing of unexpected bloggers' Comments sections.)

Then again, on a large enough scale, could all this unexpected traffic equate to an orchestrated denial-of-service attack?

Everything has repercussions, kids. Use your loaf.

Starbuck [11:07] Comments: 0 []
Gah! How did I forget to watch Live Forever (documentary film about the nineties Britpop phenomenom) the other night after having looked forward to seeing it for so long? (I watched the Top 100 TV Characters Of All Time instead. Again. All 5 hours or so of it. Bliss!)

Double gah! Why can't I get my head around my Matriculated thought processes to just write something like this?

Yip! Stu's finally returned my copy of Chester Brown's wonderfully tasteless Yummy Fur comic masterpiece, Ed The Happy Clown. About bleedin' time. I've been quite a well-adjusted young man these last few years without it's off-kilter influence. I look forward to cutting away some of the fat of my overbearing niceness with it's serated edge. Heh!

Yip yip! Someone's gone and bought some of my lubberly Blogshares. Aston Villa fan Lee of the blog Black Country Villan (although I have zero interest in football, there's a thread of Villa support running through my family, which is a not-very-interesting-and-not-very-coincedantal coincedane), and Elouise of WeezBlog, a sometime Professor at R.I.T. in the States. And I hope that my shares do them proud.

[ Tuesday, August 26, 2003 ]

Starbuck [23:54] []
British readers. Fracked off with the Royal Mail website for hiding its postcode/address finders behind a wall of registration? Narked off with its naffness and its need for bandwidth? Then head over to its version for people with disabilities. Quick, smart, and immediate - no need to register, no need to log in. Bookmark it now!

Why don't they do this as standard?

Starbuck [16:20] Comments: 0 []
Following my excitement yesterday that was generated by Neil Gaman’s Matrix short story, I really should try to find more time to read fictional stuff, and these sort of self-contained short stories are an ideal way of exploring a whole range of themes, images, and styles. It’s a shame I’m just so lazy when it comes to getting round to it.

I’ve only just finished Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby, which I last mentioned here but actually started reading in January. A brilliant book, written in his trademark vividly fluid style, and one that, along with the rest of his works that I’ve already read, would be a pleasure to re-read again, despite knowing the outcome, just because the words are so well put together (unlike this sentence).
His stuff is art. It’s poetry. Often bleak. Sometimes funny. It has the power to make you reconsider the way that you think, the way that you are. As the narrator concluded at the end of Fight Club, “We just are, and what happens just happens”.
The paperback of his new book Diary is on its way, which is way up there with William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition on the Starbuck excitometer, so I’m just going to have to get these old google-eyes retrained.

Starbuck [12:06] Comments: 0 []
My mind's ear is being thoroughly syringed out with eighties music today, mostly Tears For Fears. Yikes!

About a year ago I saw Donnie Darko at the cinema, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The months passed, and although the shape of its magnificent whole remained solid and clear, the minutiae of the film faded.

Over time, my internal jukebox would sometimes plague me with some tantalising snippets of music, music I recognised but could not place. One song I couldn’t shake off, I could particularly imagine being played out over the last few scenes of an elusive film or TV show, a song which seemed to mean everything to me, though I didn't know why. "Its a mad world..."

And having now watched Donnie Darko again, it all fits into place. This soundtrack that's been eluding me, tumbling frustratingly across my subconcious for months, but now tied in to the correct mental recess. It’s strange, but a tiny part of my mind, previously turbulent, now feel a sense of calm, of order, of placement.

I loved this film. And for some reason it makes me weep buckets. Therapeutic Fight Club type tears. (“tears for fears”?). I don't know what it is about DD that I empathise with so much. I mean, I'm not a (possibly-schizophrenic) teenager. I've never seen a figure in a bunny costume called Frank who's warned me about the end of the world. Yeah, I've felt troubled in my earlier years, but then, who hasn't. It's also true that I have done much time-travelling, of course - there is that. Though that's not the basis of the film, even if it is the crux of it.

Maybe it's just that I myself can now understand so clearly how my world, how the whole world, works. This is something of which I am sure. And I know what's important, and what I would do to protect that. Donnie doesn't understand until the end. And its beautiful to see.

Whatever, I'm still not totally sure what the film’s actually all about. Though it looks like working a way through the suitably freaky website should help... A quick delve in to it, and I'm already making connections...

[ Monday, August 25, 2003 ]

Starbuck [19:06] Comments: 0 []
A wonderful moment. Regular readers (hypothetical) will know that I am a little bit keen on the Matrix films (in much the same way as the Pope is a little bit keen on catholicism, or Tony Blair is a little bit keen on spin). I keep a regular eye on the wonderful Matrix Essays blog, but have otherwise tried to keep my pitiful addiction under control. I've even so far resisted buying or downloading the Animatrix shorts. So it was with great delight that I followed a link from the aforementioned site, to chance upon Goliath, a glorious self-contained short story by Neil Gaiman. It may date back from 1999, but it's opened up my whole way of thinking about the Matrix Universe. Damn it, this thing's cracked my imagination open full-stop. Read it here.

Lots more stuff at the Comics section of the official site (top left monitor of the Mainframe panel). I look forward to finding the time to enjoy them...

Starbuck [15:00] Comments: 0 []
A mundane blog moment.

My car's going in to the garage for its annual MOT tomorrow, so, in an desperate attempt to prevent those machiovelien mechanics from conjuring up a whole lot of faults that weren't actually there before it went in, I'm trying to make it look as good as new. So I've given it a good wash, and vacuumed out the insides. Subsequently, my car is nice and shiny and it smells of dogs. I've never actually allowed the dog into my car, but judging from the stale aroma of dog-hair that's now permeating it's interior, I'd say that he must've mustered the paw-power to manipulate the vacuum cleaner. And knowing what a randy canine scamp Henry Hound has been known to be, that is extremely worrying!

Starbuck [13:03] Comments: 0 []
I see that Tam (of the premiere Kiwi blog Tam I Am) has got a fantabulous new look to her site. Very pure, very uncluttered. And the design that was replaced was pretty fracking lovely already. This all makes me face up to the fact: The Viper Squad Ten blog might be looking a little rough around the edges.

No, scrub that, it's a retro look. Yes, that's it. Old school. Brand new your retro. Chic in the way that the visual interface of an ancient mainframe might be considered chic. The use of a pre-designed basic Blogger template, the code tinkered with here and there chiefly by guesswork rather than by elaborate design, has created a tattered but functional look, so as to visually portray in HTML the state of my mind. Yeah, that'll do. I've allowed it to evolve to reflect my persona. It's nothing to do with me being lazy, stylistically stunted, and a coding ignoramus. No. Not at all.

Though, just for the fun of it of course, I may have to ask DJ Tim to apply his coding genius to test out an alternative template sometime. Just to see what it would look like. Not that I would want to use it. And not because I am heartily sick of the black-background-orange-headers-weird-background monstrosity that I am currently polluting the internet with. Oh no...

Post-script sort of thing

Moments after publishing this post, I've just found the following email from DJ Tim lurking amongst my junk mail: I had a look at the HTML code of your blog and I think the reason the highlight mess up is to do with the whole template design which is done using Absolute Positioning. This is not a good way to write HTML since you run into lots of problems like this. You should employ someone to write you a better one!!! And get rid of the picture of a Golf ball!!!!!!!!!!Ahhhhhh!
My going rate is two pints of beer. Tim.

Two pints of beer. That's one less than Teletext pay him. Bargain! Maybe I should ask him to rewrite it identically but without this "absolute positioning", whatever that may be (apart from a way of preventing easy highlighting of blocks of text). As for the golf ball, that's an image of one of my old satellite-homes. Have some respect, man!

[ Friday, August 22, 2003 ]

DJ Tim [17:04] Comments: 0 []
Whose arm is this?


Starbuck [15:03] Comments: 0 []
Sitcoms. I love them. And especially British sitcoms. Apart from any of the ones that are on the box at the moment. So I feel it is my duty to vote for Britain's Best Sitcom on the BBCi site. It's a pretty good list, and there's a lot of my old favourites on there - I would have had difficulty getting the choice down to 20, let alone 10, but then again I'm just an old sitcom tart. You can also add your own nomination as well if you are awkward like me. There's a few pieces of utter shitcom tripe on there as well (Shelley? Sorry!? French/French Fields?) that were so bad it almost seems worthwhile voting multiple times for everything else. But still...

The one classic missing from the list - Chucklevision! Vote Chuckle! Chu Chuckle! You know it makes sense. cough! Btw the official Chuckle Brothers website is currently offline for maintenance at the mo, and if that shoddy pair of imbeciles are doing the work themselves, you can soon expect to see a very broken internet... (Additional btw, I met the Chuckle Brothers filming in Leamington Spa some years back. They seemed quite humbled to get some fan-style attention from someone other than awestruck 5-year-olds. Bless! The poor deluded souls.)

Starbuck [14:19] Comments: 0 []
I love the Japanese. Not wanting to make any sweeping generalisations, I find it very endearing that they ALL love giant robots and hi-tec gadgets. I'm sure in twenty years time the Metal Gear will be the vehicle of choice stomping along the highways of Japan. So it was with great joy that I saw that the Japanese Prime Minister had decided to bring a talking robot named Asimo to a state dinner with the Czech Republic PM in Prague.

I can still only hope that perhaps the next time Prime Minister Koizumi attends a state dinner he'll be challenging President Chirac to a gut-busting speed-eating contest, or maybe we'll see whether he can endure sitting naked in a tank of blood-sucking leeches for longer than Tony Blair, or possibly he'll insist that Helen Clarke dresses up in a revealing latex school girl outfit. (That last one a particularly scary thought!)

Starbuck [11:02] Comments: 0 []
It's a strange feeling having shifted my butt back to the countryside from a place as full-on as London.

The sense of freedom of being able to drive! At a speed faster than walking pace! That is good.

And its brilliant, of course, to be close to my family (and family-to-be).

But I also can't shake that sense of feeling a little lost right now.

It's not just the more easily qualifiable things - people I'll miss, the security of my work, and so on. It's more like the feeling one gets from culture shock. It's all so quiet, rather than busy. There aren't many people around, as opposed to the jostling crowds. And they're all too white, rather than the multicultural blend that I'm used to. And, dare I say it, they just seem too old. Or too young. There isn't that background hum of traffic, the piercing whine of brakes from the streams of London buses, the perpetual throb of unseen trains. I miss the planes, so low in the sky, passing over every few-score seconds, that deliciously rich London sunlight glancing off their contours, and I miss the daily sight, and sound, of Concorde, roaring gracefully above the city.

These aren't necessarily things that it's bad to be away from, of course. Far from it. It's just the shift in surroundings rather than the new surroundings that can prove challenging.

(If I was witty I would make some comment about how, if you remove the all (in German!) from challenging, you're left with changing; I would make some wise comment about it. However I'm not, so I can't, and won't. Please delete this paragraph from your memory banks. Abort!)

[ Thursday, August 21, 2003 ]

Starbuck [17:33] Comments: 0 []
There's an article in Iraq Today for any of us of the Westerner ilk who've been thrown into bedlam, and out of proportion, by power cuts. Enlightening, if you excuse the bad pun.

And as with all Bush policies, you have to wonder whether America's energy crisis was at some level engineered to provide lubrication for when he rams his energy bill down his country's throat. He's got so many people to pay off, we might as well kiss unspoilt Alaska goodbye.

Maybe I should stop posting so much about America. It's not as if I'm American. And our own lieing heads of government in the UK (whose necks will surely be on the block before long) are perhaps nearly as cynical, however many honest MP's there may be in the Labour Party (none so near the top, unfortunately.)

[ Wednesday, August 20, 2003 ]

Starbuck [16:51] Comments: 0 []
Snapped out of my web apathy by a wave of electronic nostalgia surging through me, in the form of a web-conversion of the puzzle-game-classic, Lemmings. (Thanks be to blog. Without them I would never unearth such unexpected treasures)

Starbuck [16:24] Comments: 0 []
After a seemingly endless wait following submission, this blog is now listed on Blogshares. So get yerself there right now, and buy up some of my vastly overpriced shares. If you can be arsed.

On a similar fake stock-exchange tip, for too damn long I've been meaning to register for Celebdaq, trading in celebrities depending on the amount of press coverage they receive. Nice. But I've not been arsed. And still can't. Thoroughly and sluggishly entangled in web apathy this afternoon.

Starbuck [11:17] Comments: 0 []
As a bit of a Francophile with limited vocabulary, I'm going to be trying to sharpen my abilities with the language using Merde In France, a nice bi-lingual blog. Merci beaucoup mes amies.

[ Tuesday, August 19, 2003 ]

Starbuck [17:52] Comments: 0 []
The geezers at Google (google-geezers?) just keep on tweaking their little beauty to perfection. I saw on the Google Weblog (via groovymother) that the search engine of the gods has now got built-in calculator-functionality which goes beyond basic arithmatic into the misty hinterlands of long-forgotten complicated mathematics. Just type what you want to know into the search box. Personally I'll find it useful for unit conversions, stuck in the quagmire of metric and non-metric units as I am ("mass of the sun in stone": 3.13201288 × 10^29 stone; fantastic - that's been bugging me since I first materialised in the 20th Century. May need to do a solar sling-shot some day, but we're all metric in the future.)

However, Google's main essential function for me (apart from as a search engine), will remain as a dictionary/thesaurus. Oh, and as pop-up blocker with the Google Toolbar (incidentally, the Google Toolbar 2.0 has just recently come out of beta, so go get it, late-adopters.) And not forgetting the rather lovely Google News aggregator, of course. And as a way of getting hold of comedy photos of yesteryear's lamer celebrities...

Starbuck [12:49] Comments: 0 []
New to the blogroll, and chanced upon in the "recently published blogs" section of the Blogger homepage, is Bush Lies. It does exactly what is says on the tin - a blog that "attempts to track and document the unfathomable dishonesty of the current Occupant of the White House and his minions". Very informative. Don't let them get away with it, American cousins. For the world to look up to you, and for democracy's sake it does need to look up to you, your government must become accountable.

[ Monday, August 18, 2003 ]

Starbuck [16:46] Comments: 0 []
Further to my earlier post about the joys of living in the countryside post-London, below is a photo of Rocky Lane , the path that pretty much leads from my current abode to my girlfriend's. The photo says it all really.


Starbuck [16:20] Comments: 0 []
Assessments that the the UK has been ranked 10th in the world for its vulnerability to a terrorist attack shouldn't worry us unduly, as we're all doomed anyway. We need a radical shift in world environmental policies. We're not going to get them. This thought makes me want to drink beer to forget. So maybe its not such a bad thing after all.

Btw we may be "still in a designated public state of emergency in regard to international terrorism" according to the government, but they don't keep on banging on about it ad nauseam. It's funny how, now that they don't need to ratchet up the tension to back an illegal and publically-opposed invasion, they don't keep on reminding us about it...

Talking of Iraq, the "Baghdad Blogger" Salam Pax is still doing sterling work on Where Is Raed. Check it out, daddio.

Starbuck [13:20] Comments: 0 []
It's such a relaxing change to be living in the countryside right now. The soothing ambience of natural sounds, the increased brightness of the colour green (in contrast to the city's greys and browns), the same smells that have been stimulating human noses for aeons. And the opportunity to drive my car whenever I want, rather than whenever I need, as was the case in congested London. It offsets the complete lack of phoneline bandwidth that comes with it, and the absence of pubs in easy walking distance. There's a lot that I'll miss terribly of course, but I can already feel the relationship between L and myself blossoming nicely like the flowers in the garden(puke!).

A few thoughts on what I've been watching and reading, in true boring blogger style.

I watched Adaptation for the second time on Saturday (my original thoughts on it from earlier in the year can be found here). Such an honest, beautiful, funny and thought-provoking film, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again. And if any film snobs can't accept the final half hour for what it is, that's entirely their problem. (And if you've seen it and enjoyed Charles Kaufman's wonderful final screenplay, check out draft work-in-progress scripts at the scripts section of You completist git.)

Other film stuff: The very amusing "overall review" of Matrix Reloaded at But "Main Character Intelligence - Smarter than most other characters"? Blimey, there really can't be much mental activity going on in their world (therefore discrediting the human minds being used as battery lie that we've been sold.)

Elsewhere, daytime television is already causing me much distress. No mental activity going on there either. Too much blind reliance on obviously incorrect and ridiculous beliefs being presented as truth (examples, so many of the shows discussing astrology, UFO's, and the like. ("UFO's have been sighted everywhere. As you would expect, considering that we are soon to have intergalactic travel. But what if some of these sightings are not actually real?" AAAAGH! WHY DO OUR PIG-IGNORANT PUBLIC AND THE LAZY TV BASTIDS FEEDINGS THEM THIS SWILL DO THIS? WHY TREAT THIS RUBBISH AS FACTUALLY ACCURATE WHEN IT OBVIOUSLY ISN'T TO ANYONE WITH HALF A BRAIN-CENTRE? NO WONDER WE ARE A BECOMING A NATION OF IGNORANT SHEEP.)

Calm down, SP. Don't shout. UFO's are one thing, anyway. There could well be plenty of logical explanations. But sitting here watching trash about astrology being presented as truth, that really winds me up. WAKE UP, PEOPLE! READ THIS! ASTROLOGY IS SOOOOO MUCH MERDE, AND BY NOT ACKNOWLEDGING IT, ANY TV SHOW, NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE IS BASICALLY SAYING TO ITS USER-BASE, "YOU ARE A BUNCH OF IMBECILES." And what I hate is when people get as far as being semi-sceptical about it, without being able to nail their colours to the mast. "I don't think its probably true, but I wouldn't rule it out." In other words, I don't want to alienate huge swathes of the weak-minded viewing public. God knows what panic'll ensue if the truth gets out that the earth isn't flat... Christ, why can't we think, why can't we reason, why can't we educate? This thing is about money, and people lieing to steal their money. It's obvious. Get over it. No wonder we have so many people believing in any old New Age nonsense or getting involved in cults etcetera. If we tolerate this lazy, dangerous thinking, the jump to more dangerous (or just plain exploitative) thinking is so much smaller.

And don't get me started on Uri Geller - the messiah of all Believers Of Daftness ("here comes Bod"). Derren "V" Brown has ably demonstrated that he can do anything that these "mystical" types can do, and he'll then tell you how, and he'll tell you that they're all fraudulent liars. Uri Geller is nothing but another David Blaine - a tricksy showman.

Then again, if belief has arisen as an evolutionary advantage to the species, I shouldn't get so worked up over something that has allowed humanity to fluorish. Like a virus.

And I was feeling so peaceful before I started writing all this....

Starbuck [00:02] Comments: 0 []
Big shout out to DJ Tim for the blog-based leaving present (note: tosser-speak = intentional.) Latest score: 116 seconds. Your next challenge for gaming code for the blog - a team-based first person shooter with graphics to rival Half Life 2, starring the Viper Squad Ten team (myself, Aardvark, Durm & Valium) up against the cast of characters from Hormone Hell with a Dieticians Featuring Fat soundtrack (Fat City Arizona would be appropriate). And don't use too much bandwidth - I think that my dad's modem must be water-powered, and their stream's pretty dried up at the moment. Go on son, you can do it!

I must thank my London possum (is that right?) for the outpourings of love (and bile) that I have had sprayed across my person regarding my departure. I am now securely installed in a secret location in the midst of Warwickshire, safe in the knowledge that this was the right decision. Hot in the heels of spotting Jim'll Saville jingle-jangling around my old London neighbourhood t'other day, I spotted this utter playing card (follow dodgy link from here) sniffing around (for food?) near my local Tube station at the end of an otherwise perfect final London night. Definitely time to leave...

[ Friday, August 15, 2003 ]

DJ Tim [17:11] Comments: 0 []
Here's your leaving present - Enjoy - BTW Just click to fire....

Time: 0 secs



  Left    Right  

Starbuck [13:58] Comments: 0 []
Well here we are. With one day to go, my time in London is now virtually complete. On an infinite timescale I wouldn't have the chance to experience everything it has to offer. However the two years that I've spent here have given me something that will hopefully last for the rest of my own personal timeline. They have shown me that, if I'm ever feeling bogged down in the mire of life, I can climb my way back to steady ground. They have shown me how I should experience life, to dwell in the beauty of my surroundings, to soak up every droplet of the love of my friends, and to appreciate my time with my family. They have given me a real sense of importance - in this big old city of mine, I feel equality with mostly everyone, whatever their social standing. And they have given me the self-confidence to appreciate myself fully, without which I wouldn't have found the love of my life, ironically the reason for my imminent departure.

Enough introspection, bored reader(s). Here's my top 12 London thingeys (in no particular order). I'm not including the obvious personal stuff - the friendships I have, my Perfect Flatmate/Landlady, etc. Just other stuff.

1 - The public transport system - I know people knock it, but I've been to no other place in Britain where its as easy to get around. The buses are regular, their routes prolific. The Tubes allow thought-free journeys, essential for those midnight drunken moments when you need the beer-compass to get you home. And there's the trains to fill the gap. So wherever you work, it's never a chore meeting up with your mates after work.
2 - The weather - several degrees warmer than the rest of the UK - nice!
3 - The architecture - so many palacial buildings (as well as the palaces).
4 - You are never far from a park, and some of the Royal Parks are so expansive, you might as well be deep in the countryside. All very different in style and atmosphere.
5 - Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (the intimate cellar bar). As some bloke said on this site, "best pub in London". I agree. And the cheapest!
6 - The view from Waterloo Bridge - the skyline from the Thames is incredible. Especially when bathed in night-time illumination.
7 - Sitting at the front on the top deck of a double decker bus, drinking in all these views.
8 - The view from the top of Richmond Hill - on a clear day, the best view in London.
9 - The South Bank. Vibrant and attractive.
10 - There's always so much going on. It's so easy to catch a show (not that I do), and there's so many cinemas your never stuck with the choice of watching one blockbuster or another.
11 - Walking around the centre, you never cease to uncover new hidden gems (gardens, statues and the like, historic "stuff", and best of all, nice boozers.)
12 - There is no twelve. Insert favourite attraction or activity here.

[ Thursday, August 14, 2003 ]

Starbuck [17:59] Comments: 0 []
Thank you DJ Tim for rising to the challenge that I'd set you last night. I would say that this must be the best web-game I've ever seen on the net. Better even than Junkbot. Well done!

You've got me all nostalgic for the Micro Machines video games now. They were such classics. I'll have to dig out the old Megadrive sometime soon for a quick blast on Micro Machines (as well as Micro Machines 2, Micro Machines Military, and Micro Machines Turbo Tournament '96) and the Playstation, if its still working, for Micro Machines V3 (do you get the feeling I kind of enjoyed this series?)

It may even placate my Tsunami 2010 addiction, which is reaching dangerous proportions (The sense of progress as your skills and reactions improve is too enjoyable, its just too damn compulsive. I dream this game; when I shut my eyes I see pulsars moving down the web towards me, before my mind's eye warps on to the next. It's like a psychedelic phosphene imprinted onto my subconcious. Man.)

DJ Tim [17:04] Comments: 0 []
Well starbuck asked for micro machines on his blog and I'm not one to turn down such a request. So Enjoy (if it actually works and that the blogger software doesn't insert any doggy characters to render my beautiful code useless!)

Just press start and then move your mouse over the direction pads to steer you car.

  Left    Right  

Speed (Bigger number = slower)

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Starbuck [15:59] Comments: 0 []
Two days to go until we see what happens when the Blaster virus (aka Lovesan) does its worst to the Windows Update website. Now, like the paranoid geek that I am, I'm always fully patched up on Windows critical updates, and hide all my ports firmly behind a firewall. However I know too many Windows users who never download critical updates from Windows Update, and their computers' security must be holier than the Pope at a Hole concert. Eating swiss cheese.

But with Blaster on the loose, you don't even need to have received a single email in your life to get your computer scuppered. It'll get you anyway. Scary.

So to these people I say: Update your security NOW before it's too late. Go to Windows Update, download the latest antivirus definitions for your a/v software, and get yourself a nice firewall (like Zonealarm - go on, its free! And lovely!)

And if you've never downloaded a Critical Update in your life, and theres a few score big patches waiting for you to pipe down your crappy two-tin-cans-and-a-bit-of-string dialup internet connection, at least start it off with this one for the RPC vulnerability that Blaster targets...

Sermon over.

(As a Windows Millenium Edition user, I am proud to have an operating system that the vulnerability does not affect. I knew that perseverence with this piece of coding-cackness would pay off some day...)

Related: Here's an interesting little post from Digital Hamster regarding the waiting game that system administrators have been known to play when a security vulnerability comes to light.

Starbuck [12:53] Comments: 0 []
Not that I'm a wimp or anything (perish the thought), but I've been denied entry to the bathroom by a wasp crawling around on my dressing gown. It's a sleepy one, and they're the ones to watch out for. Stealth wasps. I've been most pathetic for the last half hour, throwing books and magazines in through the door in an attempt to prompt it into flight, but to no avail. The trouble is, I'm desperate for the bog. I've tried lifting the dressing gown out of the room on the end of the punishment stick (4 foot pole), but every time I try the little blighter wiggles towards me threateningly. How can something so small exude such menace? Maybe its gone now. Go on, Starbuck, be brave. (As Googlism so aptly describes me, "starbuck is no one's idea of a extraordinary warrior")

Starbuck [02:04] Comments: 0 []
I am now back at home, after a grrrrrrrr8 evening with my friends in London celebrating/commiserating (depending on my position in their friendship-index) my imminent departure from this conurbation formerly known as Londinium. A really good night's catching up with everyone in a lager-ish capacity.

Not wanting to sound too much like DJ Tim in late-night-inebriated-blogging-shocker, I will so much miss my bunch of friends down here. I love them all so dearly. They are all incredibly special; they facilitated my move to this city, they tempted/persuaded me down here in the first place, and made it all so worthwhile. And it has changed my life so much for the better; it has put me on a whole new plane of eXistenZ, it has rescued me from a difficult hole, it has given me hope and self-belief, and it has shown me how things should be in my life. And most of all, it's been fun.

In different ways they have each built up my self-construct into what it is today, but to all I am eternally grateful. I wouldn't be here like this without them. And I always want to be there for them as well.

And it's not as if I'm never going to see them again. Far from it.

But to have them there tonight, and to share such warmth, even though I (for one) am not always the most expressive man alive, was so valuable for me (cue everyone predictably saying, "but Andy, you are just soooo empathic." . As someone who perhaps doesn't enjoy indirect-interaction (e.g. the common telephone) that much, I will so miss having them so close at hand.

I know them all so deeply and closely, but it still makes me wish that I'd mined the depths of their friendship (to use a shite synonym, if that is the right word (unlikely)) so much more when they'd been so (physically) near. Unless that would drive them batty.

But enough of this tipsy guff, loves. This move needs to be done right now; my friends will always be there, but I've been assured that my love for my love demands close attention too. And she certainly deserves it.

By the way, in referral to Stu's earlier question, no, I've not seen T3 yet, though I did see some bloke selling the DVD on Regent Street for £6.

[ Wednesday, August 13, 2003 ]

Stuart [16:24] Comments: 0 []
DJ Tim sends posts a blog in day light hours shock!

Has anyone else seen T3 yet? I saw it on Sunday and it's bloody berrilliunt! I think. Compares VERY favourable with Reloaded in terms of FX, story, theory munching; the works!

I am a celebrity, of sorts, as Kathryn and I went to see the premiere of a new Billy Connolly film called the Man Who Sued God (which wasn't to my mind blasphemous or nowt, to allay teh fears of any fellow sub editors out there - I don't think I'll burn in hell for that one) and MR Billy Connolly was there and did some stand up stuff at the start (which now i come to think of it did contain a bit of God-baiting) and it was very cool and we felt all important. Sort of. it being such a high profile film and all... er...

Obviously all this blog activity is in honour of our collective excitement about Andy's drinks tonight. Excitement and great sadness. and lager.

DJ Tim [15:07] Comments: 0 []
Here's a very naughty link, click if you dare

A naughty link

Starbuck [10:23] Comments: 0 []
News just in that Arnold Schwarzenegger's films may not be shown on local TV stations in California in the run-up to elections for the state's governor. Now, if only Simon Cowell would put himself up for election in my area...

(Prediction: a million other blogs will be using this self-same "joke".)

DJ Tim [03:45] Comments: 0 []
Sorry - just realised that all you non Watford supporters would have no idea what I was taking about.

Jimmy Davis was a Manchester United player who was on loan to us for a season who died early Saturday morning in a crash on the M40 (I was going to give a comment to the yanks and the kiwis, but it doesn't actually seem the right time to do it)....God bless him and his 'orns

DJ Tim [03:32] Comments: 0 []
Click....burp....static Cut to the chase I'm sorry about that, but I've actually got something serious to say, what happened to Jimmy Davis on Saturday, makes you think that the beautiful game is nothing. May he rest in peace, God bless - you 'orns.... click...sob....sadness...(thoughts with his girlfriend)....rrrrrrrrrrr....

I know this is starbuck's blog, but it had to be said.....DJ Tim signing off click....burp...hizzz....static

[ Tuesday, August 12, 2003 ]

Starbuck [18:04] Comments: 0 []
Just dipped into, to find an electronic cornucopia, overflowing with funniness. Excellent stuff. Links of note following a cursory sift-through:

# Top laugh-out-loud animation - Stephen Hawking & Davros Together in Electric Dreams. Inspired genius. If you like that sort of thing. Patrick Moore Plays The Xylophone also filled me with glee.

# Compulsive combination of Top Trumps and celebrity c***'s in C*** Trumps (those muthaf*****s who don't like the word c*** had better not f****** go anywhere near this s***)

# And on a more constructive tip, Biz Wiz, a shop-assistant game, which I've been using to hone my fairly useless mental arithmatic.

Stuart [14:26] Comments: 0 []

STARBUCK'S NOTE: I included a link to a direct NTV-sourced stream of this classic Matrix-style ping-pong clip in the midst of a long boring post back on 14TH July. You just can't get the staff these days... But it's so good I'd not be suprised if fellow subeditor DJ Tim decided to link to this beauteous Japanese gem as well. How come British TV isn't this enjoyable?

Starbuck [12:05] Comments: 0 []
Any IE-using Blogger users like me who were wondering where the lovely standard two-pane Blogger interface had gone, it could well be time to update your version of Internet Explorer. I'd been stubbornly intent on sticking with IE 5.5 until the day I (or, more likely, my computer) died, but only LoFi Blogger now seems compatible, and I can't stand it any more. So it's "so long IE 5.5, it's been fun. Kind of. I'm joining the red line masses. You never know, one of these days they may force me to finally get rid of Windows Me (I use it 'cos I'm a masochist). That'd be philanthropic of them.

(From Google Zeitgeist - browsers used to access Google)

Starbuck [00:22] Comments: 0 []
It's funny what you stumble across when you're looking at other things on the internet. How things so often come back to your own life's trail.

Grafiti-artist maestro Banksy used to touch upon a lot of my life in Bristol. Every street seemed to have evidence of his work. And they were individual works of art. They would snap me out of my self-enclosed mental prison; their subversive incisiveness, their occasional sharp beauty, the way they summed up whole ideologies of thinking in one stencilled masterpiece, the way they highlighted the reality of existing in this country of ours. Some intricate, some simple. I've only chanced upon a few Banksies since I've been in London, but after coming across his website I'm burning up on nostalgia.

Or maybe I'm just drunk.

[ Monday, August 11, 2003 ]

Starbuck [23:23] Comments: 0 []
Talking to a friend tonight about problematic pop-ups on the internet. I can only reiterate to any users of Internet Explorer - you MUST download the Beta version of Google Toolbar 2...

Starbuck [11:47] Comments: 2 []
Reading on BBCi about the first successful Flash Mob to target London made me feel very old; we used to do this sort of stoopidly-daft thing (as well as putting things on top of other things) with PToToOT when I was young and innocent in Bristol a decade ago. Reading the report of London Flash Mob #1, I know I would've been drawn to it like a fly to the Honey Monster had I been in town. Because I'm a berk.
I once read a book, Distraction by Bruce Sterling, which predicted this phenomenom, but with further-reaching political and/or criminal consequences. In his example a seemingly random mob suddenly comes together to completely destroy a bank in under two minutes. In real life they're currently being used for entertainment, and they provide the attendees with a new sense of social belonging, of being a part of something unusual. If there is anything political, it's saying that, yes, we can do this, please be aware that the people can still motivate themselves, but don't worry, we're just going to be a bit silly. However, in the future, smart mobs may provide the powers-that-be with a whole more challenging problem...
(What's that sound? It's the future echoes of our civil liberties being chipped away as our governments crack down on free thought.)

Starbuck [00:36] Comments: 0 []
Just seen Stir of Echoes on the telly, which I thought would be a fairly undemanding but entertaining Sunday night film, as Kevin Bacon films usually are (he's always great in a bad sort of way). Mildly chilling. Much more effective horror (if you can lump it into that catagory, though psychodrama is probably a lot more accurate) is Jacob's Ladder, one of my favourite all-time films. I caught another glimpse of it late last night; I've seen it many many times, and as the BBC seem to show it every 6 months, I was happy to just watch 15 minutes this time to get the internal film-reel going in my head... no wonder I couldn't sleep!

[ Sunday, August 10, 2003 ]

Starbuck [20:23] Comments: 0 []
(choke choke cough)
Just arrived back in the hot oven of London with a sour taste in my mouth. After making the mistake of nurturing a single piece of chewing gum the whole car journey back from the rain-lashed Midlands, the upper portions of my gastro-intestinal tract now feel like they're coated in thick melted plastic. How very nice.

But what a very nice few days it's been. The big move up north has begun - on Thursday I drove most of my possessions up to my parents' place, with the good intention of driving back again that night to sort out some more bits and bobs back here in the Smoke. However, the temptation of a barbecue proved too strong to resist.
That night I had a premonition - I dreamt that I was going to London Zoo, and they had a dinosaur enclosure there - Jurassic Park-style shenanigans of course ensued. Unbeknownst to me, in real life I would be invited to the Cotswold Wildlife Park the following day. I was most relieved to experience an escaped-dinosaur-free environment. (Which kind of messes all over my previous "premonition" statement, but there you go.)
Continuing the twin themes of the Cotswolds and barbecues, on Saturday the girlfriend and I booked into a very nice B&B in Upper Swell in the aforementioned region. More stomach-bloating-fun was undertaken that evening at a barbecue in a pub in the even-more-amusingly-named Lower Swell.
And then, today, no barbecues alas, but two sausage-fests all the same, and to continue our Cotswold Capers, a hike up the magnificent sheep-poo-slopes of Cleeve Common.

All in all it's left me quite exhausted. AND IN NO MOOD TO TAKE ANY OF STU'S LEMON JELLY DISSING! It's a fantastic album, full of fabulous tunes and beautiful melodies, and it all holds together like an intricate dream. It cuts through the cynicism prevalent in Western adulthood, and transmogrifies your mental shape to its state prior to it being stained by the negativities of life. Life-affirming, I believe is the word (or 2). And I write this as, blasting from my speakers, the tortured soundscapes of "Finding The Bomb" from the Dust Brothers Fight Club OST attempt to rip apart whatever construct I have in lieu of a soul. So it must be good.

That NME review does sound pretty funny, though. Tough I can't help but feel though that their cynicism is too deeply-ingrained to trust the buggers' opinions. They never treated Dumpy's Rusty Nuts with the amount of respect appropriate, for example. (The best band I've ever seen where the fat bearded lead singer, covered in luminous face-paint, played the motorcycle handlebars at one point.) Cough.

[ Friday, August 08, 2003 ]

Stuart [17:10] Comments: 0 []
I don't mean to constantly snipe (well, okay, i do) but LEMON JELLY? I bought it, I hold my hands up, I did. I believed it was good. But it is irredeemably BAD. I read a review in NME which described it as the aural equivalent of being hugged by a sweaty pilled up Norman Cook, and that it was music for people who don't like music. This is being overly kind. The most insipid music, combined with the most irritating vocal samples ever committed to tape. A rare feat.

I'm not sure that i can conjure a top ten of the last year, but of the last month:

1. Kings of Leon - it really is brilliant. I will never want to listen to it again in six months, and will file it with BMRC and the Strokes. But right now, it's the best thing ever.
2. Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking and Strays in equal measure.
3. The Clangers Soundtrack album - the ultimate drift off to sleep CD.
4. Underworld -dubnobasswithmyheadman - Cowgirl. Class.

Anyway, whose blog is this? F*** off, Richards!

Stuart [14:15] Comments: 0 []
This is bloody funny.



[ Thursday, August 07, 2003 ]

Starbuck [11:51] Comments: 0 []
News that Arnold Schwarzenegger is to run as a Republican candidate for governor of California is the perfect excuse to run my hilarious (note: irony) Arnie jokes...

What's Arnie's favourite classical composer?
(I'll be) Bach.
What's Arnie's favourite component of a tree?
(I'll be) bark
What does Arnie hate the most about dogs?
When they (I'll be) bark in the night.
Who's Arnie's favourite Star Wars character?
(I'll be) Chew-bacc-a.
Who's Arnie's favourite easy listening composer?
(I'll be) Burt Bach-arach.

Haaaagh haaagh harrr. heh.

Still, up against Arnold (aka Gary Coleman) from Diff'rent Strokes, surely he's got no chance. The Democrats should drop Screech from Saved By The Bell into there...

Starbuck [10:34] Comments: 0 []
In further blogging news, another rarified entry to my blogroll goes to The Adventures Of Flossie, a name I seem to remember from the Digitiser days. I like his style. Maybe when I leave London I can continue to read Flossie and place myself in his fur-lined shoes. Not that I want to seem scary or anything. This blog and the aforementioned Groovymother discovery resulted from searching for Digiworld on Technorati to see how far the news has spread in the former Digitiser community...

Starbuck [10:14] []
I saw some of these laverly ironic Patriotic Posters illustrating a Guardian magazine article some time ago, but could not (be that arsed to) find a link to them. But chancing upon some blog (Groovymother), lo and behold, there's a link to it at satire site Nice.

[image removed due to bandwidth probs. Or summat. Just follow the link...]

[ Wednesday, August 06, 2003 ]

Starbuck [16:51] Comments: 0 []
Enough of your Think Tank dissing, Richards. It's a top album.

In fact, if I was to work out my (admittedly not very imaginative) Top 10 of my most listened to albums of the last 12 months, it'd certainly be in there:
1 - Eminem - The Eminem Show
2 - Nine Inch Nails - And All That Could Have Been
3 - Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons
4 - Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
5 - Aphex Twin - Drukqs
6 - Themroc - Beyond These Things
7 - Blur - Think Tank
8 - Radiohead - Hail To The Thief
9 - The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Verses The Pink Robots
10 - Death In Vegas - Scorpio Rising

... with David Holmes "Lets Get Killed", Radiohead "Amnesiac", The Orb "Orblivion", Goldfrapp "Felt Mountain", Gorillaz, Orbital "The Altogether" & Adam F "Kaos The Anti-Acoustic Warfare" biting at their heels. Plus probably some others I can't think of right now.

Stuart [14:58] Comments: 0 []
Helloooooooo. Can I just pass on one piece of musical knowledge. I have discovered the soundtrack to the heatwave. It is being played a lot on MTV and it is truly the greatest song ever written (subject to the usual caveats). It's by the Roots. You can watch the video and hear the song here - the song is called the Seed. It is great. If you buy the album expecting it to be more of the same, you'll be surprised at how much heavy rap there is. I speak from experience. But THIS ONE SONG - it puts the whole of Think Tank to shame (he says, being deliberately controversial).

At the end of the day, who can argue with a song whose chorus goes thus:

I push my seed in her bush for life
It's gonna work because I'm pushing it right
If Mary drops my baby girl tonight I would name her rock n roll

Starbuck [11:25] Comments: 0 []
It must be baking in London at the moment - although I'm sheltering indoors out of the sunshine, the heat has forced me to break my week of grooming-lethargy, with a much-needed shave. Also, the fact that my blossoming white-flecked beard made me look like Harrison Ford at his roughest in the Fugitive was pretty good reason to shave. The webcam in my mirror provided this shot:

(I look scarily similar there to old Harrison, plenty of photos of which can be found here, ladies.)

Gah, it's come to this - I'm blogging about having a shave, and providing public-service links for sexually-frustrated females.

MUST.... EXTRICATE.... MY..... SELF..... FROM..... THIS...... MACHINE.....

[ Tuesday, August 05, 2003 ]

Starbuck [18:05] Comments: 0 []
More avoidance-tactic surfing which should actually prove very useful in the future - this article seen at the Google weblog. Google have "introduced a new advanced search feature that enables users to search not only for a particular keyword, but also for its synonyms. This is accomplished by placing a ~ character directly in front of the keyword in the search box.". A list of operators for use in advanced Google searches can be found here.

Starbuck [16:44] Comments: 0 []
Thanks, Stu, for the link. A good dictionary site. It's potential usefulness superceeded by the fact that there's something incredibly amusing and strangely liberating about getting your computer to swear out loud...

I'm back on the computer, having been defeated for now by the trials of packing. Hell, I've not even finished unpacking from my holiday, and I'm trying to pack for my big move from London.

As I type, I'm coated in a thick shroud of dust made up of disintegrated spiderwebs, the shells of dessicated wasp carcasses, and ancient rat-poison, having been trawling through the attic for empty carboard boxes. In this heat its like the furnaces of Hades up there. (A very spiderwebbed, wasp carcassed, rat-poisony Hades, anyway.) It made me feel quite faint.

I'm reviving myself with a little internet exploration, anyway. And anyone (in the UK) who was a big fan of Digitiser (now defunct analogue-TV Teletext-based industry-baiting daily games magazine, full of irreverent humour and characters) will be interested in registering for Digiworld, an internet analogue of Digi being un by Biffo et al. Teletext Digitiser got me through my post-sleep coffee every morning with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments - I couldn't face the day without it, and felt genuinely sad on its last day (reproduced here in all its glory). However, now that I've unearthered Digiworld I feel life being breathed back into a part of me that had withered away....
... No, not that part!

Enough smut, Mr T's back on hand, in all his Digitiser'ed glory...

Stuart [11:04] Comments: 0 []
Right, I'm crashing this here Blog again, but i think i'm justified as, Matrix-style, Starbuck left a white rabbit in one of his earlier posts which i'm pretty sure only I will have noticed.

I can say this with almost absolute certainty as it's a misquote from a Godflesh song, called Xynobis. Which may or may not be the word for a condition whereby you see so much that your eyes get burnt. I have checked on my dictionary site of choice, Merriam Webster (I hope i'm doing this pasting links thing right now i've started!) and it doesn't like it. This site is my favourite because you can listen to a bad american accented computer program pronounce the words, and you can cut and paste the sound clips to make amusing sentences to play people down the phone. For instance, you could get it to pronounce the word "Andes" and then the word "a", which would sound like "Andy's a..." and then the possibilities of a third word are quite literally endless.

PS I saw O Brother Where Art Thou last night. I love Mr and Mr Coen, but i wasn't that keen on seeing this one, and god-dang if it wasn't jus' one of their best! It has almost inspired me to buy the soundtrack, which would be something of a musical departure. anyways, ah'm a gonna R-U-N-N-O-F-T now...

[ Monday, August 04, 2003 ]

Starbuck [19:36] Comments: 0 []
Oh be still my aching sides! Mr T Verses the Matrix.

Starbuck [19:21] Comments: 0 []
Whilst I've got Mr T on hand for the previous post, I've asked him to rewrite my blog for me. The results of his hard work can be found here. Absolutely flicking fantastic!

He's a pretty speedy typer, and if you follow any of the (non-wav file) links, Mr T will re-write the site in his own inimitable style. There, he's just rattled out a copy of mine & Mr T's China Holiday Diary for me. The man's a genius. A crazy fool genius.

Head your browser over to the T'inator site to get Mr T to re-write any web-page for you. Oh, what joy this is. Briefly.

Starbuck [19:04] []
A report in the Register about yet another virus, Mimail. These things continue to push the envelope, using more devious methods in place of a reliance on PC users' mass gullability. I occasionally get forwarded hoax virus warnings from friends, having been told to search and destroy a (potentially-important) file on their hard-drive and to tell all their contacts to do the same.

If only the education of all PC users could be enforced.

Mr T says: PATCH those SECURITY HOLES with WINDOWS UPDATE! UPDATE your ANTIVIRUS definition files! And if in doubt, DO a GOOGLE SEARCH on elements of a suspect email, or SEARCH for the symptoms your COMPUTER is EXHIBITING. Fool!

(Pic from the frankly absurd Celebriducks website. Ayce.)

Starbuck [16:23] Comments: 0 []
Bugger. As is always the way, I've stumbled across an interesting Matrix theory (written by Galvatron) on the forum pages of NGEMU (next-generation console emulation website - I'm sure you're not interested). The post is fairly entertaining, and worth reading if you've got too much time on your hands like me (you'll have to highlight the hidden spoiler text to read it - just press CONTROL-A). However, although I do so very much hope that it's wrong for the sake of my enjoyment of Revolutions, and there's a lot that of interpretation that I disagree with, it does raise some interesting points and ideas. Having waded diligently through pages and pages of further discussion on this theory, Agrajag42 produces a well thought out counterpoint arguing against it, and some great analysis of the films, further bolstered in fine style by Ampburner. Most likely, intelligent, and well worth reading, more so than most of this stuff. Much more in tune with my thoughts. I, of course, have got the whole thing worked out 103.14159%, but I've not got the linguistic skills to put it down on screen. Anyway, enough. I'm 10 pages into a 26 page discussion thread, and I should just switch off the monitor and do something less boring instead (to paraphrase TV nightmare Why Don't You). I've read so much - burns my eyes!

Starbuck [13:02] Comments: 0 []
Now that I'm back in the UK, and mulling over my week in the paradise of the Dordogne, here are my Top 10 Best Bits About France (in no particular order):
1 - The Food.
2 - The Wine.
3 - The French (contrary to popular non-French opinion).
4 - The lovely old (dare I say it) quaint towns.
5 - The language.
6 - The rolling arable farmland countrysides.
7 - The sense of unchanging tradition and history that permeates the place.
8 - My mate Christiane.
9 - The fact that Laughing Cow cheese is called La Vache Qui Rit
10 - The Merovingian.

Starbuck [11:13] Comments: 0 []
The downside with having had such a good holiday is the comedown. That period of adjustment, as your world shifts from a place of sheer peace and contentedness, to the mundanity of normality. Although, having said that, normal is not exactly normal at the moment, as a very different life away from London is raring to go. Uncertaintanty and anxiety (home and work) healthily mixed with excitation (as I yearn to move closer to, and ultimately, in with, my girlfriend).

It was difficult last night. After so long in Lucy's company 23 hours a day, and with my flatmate Gill being the saviour that she's needed to be elsewhere at the moment, this old place felt emptier and emptier as the evening wore on. But before I know it, my Kenilworth counterpart will be keeping the chill of loneliness away...

[ Sunday, August 03, 2003 ]

Starbuck [20:41] Comments: 0 []
I'm back!                  

Finally, I am reacquainted with my computer after a week or so's hiatus, having today completed the short journey down the M40 from Warwickshire. Back in my London home (or what will be my home for less than two weeks now.)

And my, what a lot's been going on in the meantime around these blogabouts. I'd like to use this opportunity to publically thank my guest editors Stu and DJ Tim for the endless stream of bollox that they've been spewing out. I think that Tam pretty accurately described the situation as "two entertaining nutters" having been left in my absence... You are now hereby promoted from guest-editors to sub-editors, to opine as you please (with the emphasis on sub, y'hear?) Although your views are usually not the views of The One Like Starbuck (examples: Tim's opinions on Peter Jackson's pre-LOTR films, or Cameron from Big Brother - get with it it Tim, Jon roolz in a sad pathetic kind of way, Cam is evil. Also, anything that Stu writes. Although I did like Themanwhofellasleep, thanks Stu. Even though the similarity of the name to The Man Who Couldn't Stop reminded me that you still have my copy of Chester Brown's Ed The Happy Clown -classic icky graphic novel from the pages of Yummy Fur comic. Currently not in stock.You git.)

Anyway, its good to be back on this internet thingey again, although I'm not going to deplete the rest of the evening's spare time on it. Especially since David Attenborough's aggravating sharks with some robo-shark monstrosity on the telly at the mo' - fantastic - natural history violence with added provocation!

And its good to be off the motorway. It's way too hot to be sitting in traffic jams right now. Although there was a modicum of enjoyment to be gleaned from the experience. Starbuck's likes and dislikes about sitting on the M40 on a Sunday afternoon:
Plus-point 1: Gazing up through the sunroof at the gliders circling in the sky overhead around junctions 4 and 8, rather than concentrating solely on the deadly-serious job of driving a hunk of metal at great speeds. Whoops.
Plus-point 2: Oxford Welcome Break. KFC, BK, fountains, **and** a shop which seems intent on flogging hundreds of "Managers Special" woolly jumpers on one of the hottest days of the year. Classy.
Plus-point 3: I've done the journey most weeks for the last year, and my car's become like KITT from Knight Rider - total autopilot, but without the posh voice done by that bloke from Boy Meets World (or something), and no turbo-boost or logic-defying remote cameras
Plus-point 4: The scenery, heading southbound, as the motorway cuts through north-face of the Chiltern Hills, and the expansive bowl of the verdant green landscape opens up in front of you (OK, so I didn't get that today, apart from a tiny bit in my rear-view mirror, but my imagination filled it in.)
Plus-point 5: I managed to listen to the Matrix Reloaded soundrack (CD 2) three times straight-over. Which further got my imagination going. Plenty of burly brawling going on in the driver's seat! It got me thinking, though. In the places in the film's score where classical "operatic" chants are used for cinematic effect, what, if anything, are the voices saying when translated from Latin (or whatever) in to English? Or, if I listen more carefully, will it be a little more straightforward, as it was in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back (the Latin-style chant, when Jay thinks that Justice has been blown up, being "Justice is dead... or so Jay thinks." Heh!)
Minus-point 1: The heat! (Someone once told me that, to stop your car radiator from overheating in hot weather, you should keep your car heater on "hot" rather than "cold". So I end up getting casseroled in the midst of summer as a result. No-one else should follow this advice.)
Minus-point 2: I didn't feel compelled to buy the bargain-priced Managers Special woolly jumper as a result. And they were so stylish!

And today's driving highlight - a rare kerbside spotting of a Famous Person - Jim'll Saville on South Lambeth Road, dressed in trademark bad tracksuit, looking like he's being kept alive by god-knows what drugs or sorcery as he jangled past.

But enough blogdruff. I need food. And wine. So I'll leave this Blogenstein's Monster alone for now, and will get back to it at another time, with all the important stuff that desperately needs pushing into the public domain. Like what my holiday was like.

See ya wouldn't wanna be ya! (Jeez. Need another break.)

[ Saturday, August 02, 2003 ]

DJ Tim [05:18] Comments: 0 []
If you can't blog when your pissed what's the point! At least I said a few things that may be normal sober (DJ) Tim wouldn't have said - (Oh God I did didn't I). Having said that that it's 04:30 now - I've had a barney with the wife - and yes I'm drunk again!! But can I just say that there are gorgeous people out there - particularly one of our concierges (Tom) that I have just spent a long time chatting to. The only way that I can describe him is if you imagine Andy 30 years older. For those of you who don't know Andy think big fat bloater wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt (Just kidding!!!!!) ;) (God I hate smiles)

Sid send his regards by the way. He had to rush off after the show - probably because he kept butting in and stealing the lime light from yours truly - but that's Sid.

Anyway our guest editorship is soon to be over, the loverly starbuck is coming back off holiday. Before I go and you all hear the final crackle, can I just love it up for a bit. (like I haven't already, but this time I'm serious)

For those that have stumbled across this site (Haven't you anything better to do!) I must just say that the author, not me, but the real one, namely starbuck, is - how do I describe him - well put it this way, I got married a year ago and I needed to have a best man - when I told my wife to be, who my best man was going to be she just looked at me, with glazed eyes and said thank you. This might sound strange, but my wife is a Kiwi and we were going to get married in NZ. What I actually said to her is that Andy/starsparkle will be my best man and that I would get him to NZ anyway I can. The reason that she was so happy was that she knew what Andy/starburst ment to me and that she wouldn't have been happy 'dragging' me to NZ to get married, if I couldn't have had my bestest pal by my side. So when I said, that no matter what, Andy/starwars will be my best man she was convinced that all would be fine.

Having said that......the day I asked Andy/strudel was fantastic and I will never forget it, because Andy/Seaweed was (well the only way I can describe it, is by saying that he was Andy, for those of you that know him will understand, for the others I'm sorry but there is nothing else to equate to the emotion and joy that went on)
but suffice to say everything was very very happy.

Let's cut to the chase.
Andy is ...... My best man
Andy is ...... the person that I would always turn to (after my wife)
Andy is ...... now with a girl that he deserves (and believe me I have high standards for my mate)
Andy is ...... one of the very few people that I would do anything for xx
Andy is ...... not going to let me write on his blog

[ Friday, August 01, 2003 ]

Stuart [15:44] Comments: 0 []
Well, I'm off to Milan this evening to see my sister. I'm still wondering whether part of the traditional Milan itinerary includes going to see T3. I hope so.

Anyway, that's quite pointless, but at least I'm not DRUNK every time i put posts up. Ha!

By the way, in reply, briefly: you and too many other people are expending unnecessary energy getting wound up by the fact that adults like Harry Potter. Deal with it.

I am wasting unnecessary energy getting wound up by the fact that you thought BB was even worth COMMENTING upon. It isn't. and wasn't.

I have been listening today to the new Prong album and the Kings of Leon album. They are both highly recommended, but i know, don't I, what that counts for in your eyes.

I'm off to Milan tonight - oh, I've done that bit.


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