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...
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...
For anyone who'd acccessed my Comments within the last 24 hours
 Blogspeak have acknowledged the virus / spyware problem that's been bothering my site and their Commenting system. If anyone's clicked on the Comments (before I removed them) within the last day or so, or if peculiar things have been happening, I'd advise you to run a virus-check, and/or a spyware checker (BlogSpeak recommend SpyBot, I use Adaware, which didn't detect anything, but then, I think my Zonealarm / PC Cillin combo zapped it at birth.)
And refer to my previous posts to mend any damage that may or may not have been caused, and to hopefully heal the HTA flaw for the future: Here and here.
I guess that my JAVA.NEEDY.A virus may have been embedded (using the HTA scripting flaw) in the HTML of a spammed Comment; maybe these scum are targetting bloggers, spamming our Commenting tools on mass where susceptible, in an attempt to mass-hijack our browsers to their dodgy sites. Why can't they just pick on people already looking at porn? A lot of kids are bloggers.
The engine's cannae take it captain
My internet connection seems scarily fast right now, and what with all the problems of the last 12 hours, that sets the alarm bells ringing.
Or maybe the simple act of setting all web security to its highest setting, thus disabling anything but the essential nuts and bolts, has given it a major boost. I don't know.
But in trying to type this, I've discovered, that DAMN! Blogger needs Active scripting enabled. I just don't know anything anymore...
What I **do** know, is that I wanted to talk about the Top 20 British and US Sitcoms. However, I've run out of time, what with all this geek-hassle. (Good to see Larry Sanders in there, though.)
Comments taken offline, hijacked or trojaned or summat.
I've had to take the Commenting tool off-line for now.
After having some infected code drift through my browser last night, there's been a few funny things going on. There were Comments posted to my email and to the blog for the last 4 posts, without any actual text or sender or whatnot.
On trying to go into the Comment on the blog, my Zonealarm firewall kicked in, telling me that MSHTA.EXE (Microsoft (R) HTML Application host) was trying to contact the internet... scary, I thought. I looked at the top pane of the blank browser pop-up (there in place of the normal Comments pop-up), and it said something even more scary, about the site being "coolanalsite.com" or something, so I'm glad Zonealarm kicked in when it did...
A quick check on Google, and over to Spyware Info website, which says that "A file is dropped onto the infected system using ActiveX drive by, the file is run, and then immediately loads the Windows application MSHTA.EXE from the Windows folder. MSHTA.EXE is put into "hot standby", ready to accept HTA scripting within a web page and then EXECUTE what is embedded IN the page as if it were a program. In other words, this flaw makes it possible for a malicious website to embed trojans, worms and/or viruses directly into a web page and infect visitors using Internet Explorer."
Well, I'm downloading HTAStop2003, and am gonna see if this heap of junk web-browser works OK without active scripting and the rest, so we'll see what's what. Adaware hasn't picked up on anything, and my antivirus system states I'm no longer infected, so fingers crossed.
Bizarre. My dad's internet connection has seemed at least twice as fast as normal tonight. Brilliant, I thought. Maybe that scandisk (induced by the usual failed shutdown) had fixed something significant.
And then the virus alarm went off. This little Trojan goes by the catchy little moniker of JAVA_NEEDY.A. Looks like it doesn't do anything more annoying than attempt to hijack your browser, and I didn't let it do that (hopefully), but it just goes to show. All I was doing was visiting some random blog in my Blogring, and the bugger turned out to be an infected website. Just goes to show the importance of protection. But then again, maybe the antivirus companies seed the web with these sites containing low-risk-low-damage code, just to keep us sharp. But then again again, probably not.
And if it turned out that the nasty piece of malware was actually the thing that was thrusting me through cyberspace at hyper-speed, maybe I'll have to go try to catch the little blighter again...
Old people! Click here for a new video for Van Halen's "Jump", sang by Donkey Kong, in a MAME-emulation styley. How my heart raced when all those ancient arcade game images flashed across my monitor...
A boldly imaginative, unreal and almost comic-book visual style (or maybe that was the wine/lager/whiskey haze), it held my attention as much as it needed to, without jumping out and forcibly rubbing itself up against my affections.
Hopefully George Clooney will spend more time on this other side of the camera.
I felt that he'd adsorbed the textures of various films that he's been involved in onto his directorial style. Shades of Three Kings, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, From Dusk Til Dawn, Return Of The Killer Tomatoes...
Doctor Who next incarnation thoughts (continued)
Read in today's Sunday Telegraph (my parents') an article pondering who's likely to play the next Doctor. Apparently the front-runners are "Alan Davies, Richard E Grant, James Nesbitt, Jonathan Pryce, Bill Nighy, Alan Cumming, Ian Richardson and Paul McGann". Now Alan Davies will forever be Jonathon Creek in my eyes (Jonathon Creek being A Good Thing, but not for the role of the Doctor), I'd be too expectant of REG saying things like "Davros you terrible clint" (or something like that), James Nesbitt will play him as James Nesbitt and I've had enough of James Nesbitt being James Nesbitt. But the rest of the list looks A-OK to me. Especially Nighy & Pryce. And Richardson.
It's Friday night - that means DJ Tim
DJ Tim [02:50]
Yo, Tim and Sid 'ere. Just finished our Friday night Radio Waterloo Show, thought we'd check in on the old Viper squadies. During our show, we some how managed to watch Pulp Fiction. It must be about the 30th time I've seen it but I still think it's fantastic - although having said that I haven't actually watched it for about 15 months - so it was about time for a re watch.
There's been loads of Revolutions (matrix) chat recently - but I have tried to ignore everything because as I said in a comment to a previous post, the film has been shown to the press. So stop reading anything about it now if you don't want it ruined, because there is going to be some bright spark out there who will pretend that he hasn't seen it, but has.
Fantastic info Richard Hill (English rugby player)(and for those that know, mate of la la) is a cousin on Peter Jackson!!!!
As for me well - stop this, it isn't my blog so no personal insights!! (for a change!)
Thanks Tam for that link to Courtney(sp?) Place. Surprised that an Auckland girl so freely promotes Wellington. ; ) It might sound silly, but that web cam meant so much to me earlier this year when my wife was over in NZ (due to her father being very ill). Although she was down in Invercargill, it meant so much to me, being able to see at least as far as a street in Wellington that I knew well; It made me feel that at least I was (sort of) in the same country as her.
Boring stuff follows:
Starbuckeroo is complaining about the speed of down load of his blog. I've run it through the analysers and they say on a 56K modem it should take a conservative 12 secs to download (takes about 7 for me) - which is a good speed. We took 3 months to bring teletext's web site down from 30 secs to 14 secs. The only thing I would say to you 'buckeroo, is ditch the images that don't download in the blog content (they'll slow thing's down). Images are the killer to download speeds (even small ones!).
This is probably the best televisual news of the past decade. And with a decent writer Russell T Davies on the case (Bob and Rose, Queer as Folk, The Second Coming, Touching Evil, The Grand), hopefully they'll do it some justice.
Not sure who I think should be the Doctor. Tom Baker's still utterly suffused with the Doctor's character (as shown with his expert portrayal of Mr.Wyvern in the Beeb's Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) remake. He could easily walk the part again. (His autobiography, Who On Earth Is Tom Baker, is a must-read for Baker fans, by the way.)
I used to get Russell T Davies confused with Russell Churney, Julian Clary's pianist on Sticky Moments, which got me thinking about having someone like Julian play the Doctor. That'd be interesting; he wouldn't have to necessarily play him in a camp as christmas manner, let alone making the Doctor gay as a window, although the Doctor's always struck me as being very open-minded, maybe a little on the ac/dc side (all those assistants of both sexes...) And Clary could do the job easily, if fluffy tap-dancing legend Lionel Blair thinks he can pull it off. As it were.
Revolutions trailer description
Just in case the Comments aren't working for Stu's previous post (as is occasionally the case), and in case anyone like me is suffering from a very thin pipe (fnar!) through which to funnel the internet, here's a link to a description of the Matrix Revolutions trailer...
Exitement overload! I really must get Animatrix now...
Reloaded Trailer (editor's correction: Matrix REVOLUTIONS trailer!) Stuart [09:54]
There's a new one online, which you must see NOW! It's got two jaw-droppers in, at least (and they're story draw droppers; the effects themselves are like, phewwww). Look's like a proper sci fi rollercoaster. Looks are all I can go on, because i have a version of Quicktime loaded whcih is out of date so I don't get sound. Sigh. And something is now flashing on my computer because I ignored a warning that watching the trailer was overloading it. Oh well. Some things are more important.
Changing tack - at the end of Harry Potter v.5. Tim, listen up. Never has a book been so long getting to the point, but when it gets there - cor blimey guv,nor! I'm not sure the Famous Death (don't worry, no spoilers) is quite so sad as has been made out, mind.
We at the Viper Squad Ten blog seem to be having a few technical hitches at the mo', which means that my archive pages are currently offline. This problem also affects most of the many of us whose blogs are hosted at Blog*spot, so a whole bunch of outward links to other blogs are currently broken as well.
The David Blaine Assassination Game
Earlier on in the month I'd opined that Blaine, despite being a bit of a berk, still must be pretty brave, when you think about what a good target he is going to make for any nutter with an air rifle and some metal ball bearings.
Well, I've just been sent a link to the David Blaine assassination Game, where you sick psycho fruckers can live out your twisted fantasies without doing anything stupid in real life. Worth persevering with for the end movie.
Trip to the barbers
I'm just back from my most recent attempt to get my grey hairs shortened (a tricky enough procedure, as the barber's got to counterbalance this with my desire to clutch hold of any remaining straws in my thinning thatch; consolidation of keratin, that's the name of the game.)
I really do hate going to the barbers. It's not the process of getting my hair cut thats the problem - I relish the massive improvement that the results make to my already dashing looks, and I like the feel as the clippers create order out of the follicular chaos.
It's just the social part I don't like. The two people with their necks on the block before me set the bar for conversational excellence, both talking about the weather, and whether the barber's got any more holidays before christmas, before a single hair had been cut. I felt that the barber'd think I was taking the piss if I used the self-same conversational gambits to break the ice.
So I tried to keep quiet, apart from a terse "Number 2 back and sides and cut short on top, please." Jeez, just that single sentence unleashed a torrent of interrogation from the barber. "So what do you do, not at work? Where do you live? Why did you move from London? Must be quiet, isn't it? Your village'd be better if it had a proper pub - where do you drink?"
It was like the fracking Spanish Inquisition. Stuck in the chair, with no chance of escape. I think I'm gonna become some unkempt hippy. Or a skinhead.
Dreaming in digital
Reading this post from Iron Monkey, I know exactly how Tom feels. Much to my girlfriend's chagrin, I'm constantly wanting to explore, wanting to look round every corner, to look at everything that exists, just in case there's something important I've missed. With my shotgun.
I've been playing video games so long . . .
. . . when I see the words "Solid State" I misread it as "Solid Snake."
. . . I think of real-world objects as having a "high polygon count."
. . . when I walk into a room I look for a "save point."
. . . whenever I see boxes or barrels I want to smash them open for the power-ups inside.
. . . it bothers me that most real coins are silver, not gold.
. . . objects in the real world seem to travel much too slowly.
. . . when I get a performance review at work, I keep expecting to hear that I have "levelled up."
. . . I expect all stores to buy my old items back from me . . . even if it's not the store I bought them from.
. . . when I find something I'm looking for, I'm disappointed when the act of discovering it doesn't make a sound.
. . . I find it disorienting to drive with my point-of-view inside my car.
Zombie Infection Simulation v2.3 Starbuck [20:31]
I've been spending way too long tonight on this fabtastic web toy. Brilliant. A randomly-built city filled with pixel-size zombies and humans; just set them off and watch the mayhem commence. It's like watch George A Romero's entire "Dead" series in miniature and on speed. And when you see one of the ickle weeny humans left running heroically alone in a city fallen prey to total infection, you can't help rooting for the guy. How can something so simple be so damn compelling?
And for even more imagination-stimulation, check out this version where the humans fight back!
Not wanting to sound like some shyster radio DJ like Dave "Roll Another Fat One" Pearce or something, I must send a big belated shout out to a blog which'd (sort of) shouted me out recently. SHOUT!
And a big polite hello as well to Astolath of Cyber-Satan.com fame, who's not only got a much better name than me, but his blog looks a hell of a lot better than mine ("hell" - geddit? Ahem.), despite VSX's flash new look; the bastid writes better than me as well.
Talking of cyber-satans, Fat from my first band, Dieticians Featuring Fat, also went by the moniker Natas. And we used to obsessively play Doom for dangerously long sessions. Which left me seeing cyber-satans in real life. Which was nice. But not entirely interesting for you to read about.
Damian Hurst would be proud
DJ Tim [02:56]
How could anyone come up with a colour scheme like that. Get DJ Tim to tell you how to change the colours at once. Bring back the black. Sorry about the java games but to make them work with your old templates, a lot of frigging was needed (believe me) I might still have a copy of the games that will work with the new template (ie non bastardised version) but does anyone really want to play them???
Sorry, but my mind has moved on - try to keep up. It's wonderfully that Starbuckeroos blog is read by at least one Kiwi (Hello Tam) because in some ways it combines the two people that I love (her in doors and him in a space rocket). Although at this point I would like to include a link to a Courtney(sp?) Place (that's in Wellington, NZ, for all you non NZ'ers) web cam link but I don't have it at home; because it points directly at the main cinema where the premier of LOTR will be shown, and judging by what happened during the last couple of films it will be well worth a watch.
Finally I must say that I like the design a Tam's blog a lot and that my poor attempt with starbuckeroos pales into insignificance, but hay I'm a programmer not a designer so give us a break. S**t is that the time, I'm on air in 5 mins.
I probably won't get the chance to mess with the design over the weekend. (Unless DJ Tim wants to have a go if he thinks he's hard enough...) But normal service may resume next week if the colour scheme's knackering up my eye-sight.
I'm on a movie set!
DJ Tim [13:44]
Well not quite, but they are filming Red Light Runners in the office next to us. It's got Harvey Keitel in it - cool huh. Tune into Radio Waterloo tonight for all the on location gossip.
Shiver me timbers. And that.
Well well, me hearties, I'd not really taken on board until now, whilst stumblin' around the Keelhauling blog researchin' me previous post, that its Talk Like A Pirate Day today, and thar's a handy tool that will help translate for you landlubbers.
I was just lieing in bed, thinking about web games. No, the truth be told, I was thinking about Tsunami 2010, which I've not been able to play for a while, since my dad's PC can't handle it without inducing "Pokemon cartoon"-style epileptic fits.
But that got me thinking about web games, and how I once had oodles of time to waste on such things, even when I'd started downloading more sophisticated stand-alone apps.
Harking back to the joys of discovering Junkbot, sceptical about something that was part of the Lego website, but revealing itself to be my most addictive puzzler since Lemmings...
And the hours of old-school blasting reliving my youth on the Shockwave site playing Defender, all those years ago. Not to mention the horribly addictive InkLink.
And, although it's not a game as such, the wonderfully fluid, wire-frame world of Sodaplay - create your potential organism, and set it loose in the mathematical Java aquarium, constrained (or set free) with the physics of your choosing. So compelling. A stunning, bafta-winning time-waster, as their PR might say. Feel Good to be God. And don't let natural selection get you down.
And now that I've just newly stumbled across some good directories of webgames, I'm hoping that I haven't reignited my addiction to browser-based freebasing...
Internal jukebox / internal goggle-box
Nagging away in my head, the incessant horn parps of Phoenix City by the Klezmatics or Les Misérables Brass Band or the Skatalites or something (thanks, Thain). Interspersed with Ted Bovis' desperate shouts of "Ted can't hear you, Hi-De-Hi" from Brit sit-com "classic" Hi-De-Hi. Over and over again.
Response to Tim's thoughts on Gulf War 2
I agree wholeheartedly with Tim's comments on the second Gulf War. It makes me mad when you see the people being whipped in to a pro-war stance by the government propagandists (read as: media) for an agenda that is basically to make the very richest richer. Why do people always so readily swallow the shit that's fed to them? I suppose society's got us believing in any old crap (note to self: calm down before I start ranting about astrology and New Age beliefs again, and don't get me started on religion). If we so readily accept all of this, then why should we ever believe that our leaders are not acting solely in our own interests?
Oh God it's him again
DJ Tim [00:39]
I think Starbuckeroo's last post was beautiful. There is a certain thing that you only experience when you run for more than the usual 30 min get fit quick 30 min session. The only thing that I can equate it to is like meditation. You go through an experience where it just you and the constant pounding of your feet, giving you a beat; I'm sure that it causes Starbuckeroo's internal jukebox (not heard much mention of that recently??) go wild, but for myself it make me think about my life the universe and everything. (I know that's a Douglas Adams (RIP) book) but it sums up my thought process. Believe me I've solved all my 'problems' during a run. The only problem that I had was that training for a marathon, I ran so much that I pretty much sorted my head out, then I relied on the fantastic Radio 5 Live.
I say fantastic because it's my life blood. I'm a bit of an insomniac. You would have never guessed that from the times of my posts on this 'er blog. But I go to sleep every night listening to 5Live (I would do a link here, but surly you can work out to go to www.bbc.co.uk and follow the links) and it's the one thing that actually makes me want to go to bed (to sleep guys, to sleep, don't you start thinking anything about my wife). Is that sad? but I actually love listening to the late night chat on this fantastic radio show. It also give's me loads of Kiwi info to outstand my wife with (since they often interview kiwi's since they are still awake at that hour) the next day.
But to be serious, I'm writing this with a program about the latest gulf war on in the backgroumd. Not really watching it, but it makes me think - how superficial is all I've said. I'm speaking from a life that is well? - easy. No matter what you think about the pro's or con's of the war. When you watch the reality of the war you think s***. I challenge anyone who actually supported the war to go and actually experience it. No, that's stupid because you wouldn't. What I do challenge you to do is for a start, is to watch 'The Deer Hunter' - Once you've done that, then we will talk.
Anyway, I'm not sure that Starbuckeroo a) like's me calling him Starbuckeroo and b) Want's me spouting my insomnia crap on his blog. Well all I can say is that, in the words of Sid the sound man; 'ello Tim 'ere, Tim the talk crap man' Good night click.....burp...click.................
OK, not quite. Bit I do feel good after getting back from my first run in ages, my attempt to eradicate the ambient despondency and low-level anxiety which has of late been casting its hazy shadow across my fun-loving self.
The first half hour was hellish, as my lungs evacuated gallons (possibly) of phlegm in a desperate bid to rescue some residual air capacity; my aerobic system must've recruited alveoli that hadn't had a sniff of oxygen in years.
The last half hour was hellish, as my poor, strained frame decided that it wasn't quite so prepared to support the several extra stone in weight that have creeped on since my last fitness frenzy burnt itself out.
But the trance-like middle half hour was bliss. A beautifully hot and sunny day, the fields around Kenilworth Castle and the empty lawns of the Abbey Fields parkland glowing with swathes of greens, and the picturesque back streets of Kenilworth, and the surrounding country lanes, mostly devoid of traffic.
Less peacefully, my endeavours were fuelled by an endlessly-looping internal soundtrack of double-speed renditions of The MBM Dub Edit of Boss Drum by The Shamen and D12's Purple Pills (CAN'T..... MAKE....... IT......... STOP!) And some car-driving stalker seemed intent on keeping tabs on me, popping up every now and again to no doubt document the progress my progess for MI6, and forcing me to go off-road (to paraphrase The Offroaders, sort of). Irk!
But my thought of the experience on the whole: nice! (to paraphrase Jazz Club)
Just me, my trail of phlegm, and a clear mind. Grrrrreat.
Still, along with a recent influx of people of a Parkouristic bent looking for Jump London downloads, it makes a refreshing change from the usual lot searching for Jingling Jimmy Saville wav downloads, Adaware 6.181 cracks, links to the David Blaine webcam, or the lyrics to "We're All Going To The Zoo Tomorrow" (note to those in the latter camp - don't bother. Think about it. Its simple. I mean, c'mon, the only words in the first verse are "We're all going to the zoo tomorrow", ferchrissake!)
DJ Tim Speaks crap
DJ Tim [02:21]
I must invade my dear starbuckeroo's blog to inform him and my good friend Stu of the situation I found myself in on Wednesday. Imagine the scene, One thousand CD's laid out on a table, all by unknown (that is unknown to me, despite being a DJ on Radio Waterloo!!!?!!????) artists, and you can buy them for 50p each. How is this possible I hear you ask; well since I work for a company that reviews music, we get sent everything that is ever released and every now and then we have a sale (for charity) of all the albums that we are sent, hence the table with the one thousand albums on. Well shall I tell you what I picked up (I hear the groaning of Stu 'It can't have been Queen, surely' (don't call me Shirley!!))
Well, to start with a complete shot in the dark that I am listing to at the moment, I got Euphoria 'White label Level 2, Mixed by John 00 Fleming - I like it a lot. The Blake Dog & Black Sifichi didn't go down so well with Mrs DJ Tim, but I thought it was alright. The very best of Paul Hardcastle double album was too good to miss (How has he managed to fill two albums????) Bellylicious was a mistake (Crap Indian music). Wheatus - well OK. Blue Man Group - thought they were the blue man group we saw in Las Vegas - but don't think so. Enigma - well it's Enigma so it's good. A three CD set of Mozart's best bits - fantastic (Starbuck and Stu that's classical music) And a couple that I haven't played yet - Lisa Marie Presley (got that for the misses) and Jose Nunez - Who da funk( No idea but liked the cover)
I'm sure that if Strabuckeroo or Stu are still reading they are tearing their hair out and are livid with me for picking up such a crap set of albums - Well all I can say is - I have a radio show and you don't!!!!!
BTW If you are wondering why I keep posting on Starbuckroo's blog at such unearthly hours it's because I've emigrated to NZ and it's actually a relatively healthy time of 3 in the afternoon.
Blaine in the neck
Reading this very amusing article in the Guardian about The Encapsulated David Blaine's treatment in the hands of the British public made me really wish I was still living in London. Sounds like top after-work entertainment to me, being part of the "good humoured, but predominantly satirical crowd". Heh!
Looks like we Brits don't need to organise any sorta Flash Mob to attempt to out-freak the Blainster (though the total failure of the one documented here, attended by just two "David"s, made me smile big-time - reading about cringingley rubbish Flashmobs is so damn funny - check out Tam's flashblog from the first Kiwi mob here for more shatmob laughs.)
Whilst satiating my breakfast television fix this morning, I caught an interview with British acting legend Bill Nighy (of The Lawless Heart, amongst many other things - a wonderful, moving, and most importantly, very real British movie - sob!)
He was plugging the forthcoming Underworld, where he's playing the supreme vampire overlord, or something.
I'd forgotten this little beauty was on its way (a by-product of my current internet-self-limitation regime, not to mention having moved to a tiny village miles from civilisation), and am now wetting myself in anticipation. (Actually, I am nearly wetting myself, after 2 cups of coffee, and 4 cups of tea this morning.)
Hopefully I'll actually get round to seeing this one. Unlike the rest of my recent must-see films (Springtime In A Small Town, Terminator 3, Buffalo Soldiers, Whale Rider etceterbleedingra).
I realise that perhaps I should just get in line and simply interact with this blog by way of commenting, now this new facility is in place, but this isn't really a comment on anything Starbuck has said; it's a discrete, unique, individual, stand alone nugget of thing, so I'm doing it as a post. Apologies if by doing so I am abusing an etiquette taht has been bolted upon the site by the advent of the comment facility. Debretts should do an edition for this kind of stuff.
ANYWAY, two fiscal matters to raise:
After my consternation at the huge price tag on Reloaded, Amazon is doing pre-orders for £16.99, a whopping ten quid off. I don't care if tehy have the interest on my money from now til October; you know it makes sense.
(digressing, having now seen Reloaded on IMAX, all my doubts are erased - it is truly a marvellous film. Nearly finished the game too - unfortunately as Ghost, which means i need to replay it as Niobe to get the Niobe/Oracle conversation; also have the new Fluke album, Puppy; which has a mix of the dance scene music on it - cool)
sorry, secondly; Starbuck - almost all the Metallica albums are £7.99 in HMV! Bow to the Leper Messiah...
I've just discovered something intriguing in my Sitemeter referral stats. It's DJ Tim's blog [Link removed to protect the innocent]
Hmmm. Not much content. The Highspot being his "Another testing test" entry. Heh!
And it seems to have my title, description, links list, etc.
Wait a minute... Why the dirty little thief! I bet he's trying to use my Starbuck identity crisis to try to take me down...
(Alternatively, if I'm to be a little less paranoid, and more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, I hope Tim, as my Technical Director, wasn't planning on suprising me with a nice new blog template for fatcityarizona.blogspot.com... oops!)
What a wonderful couple of hours of television I've just experienced in British TV Land.
A typically brilliant CSI: Miami episode - once again, another slice of vividly unreal ultra-reality from the Jerry Bruckheimer stables (as you can't experience something first-hand on a screen, make it jump out of the screen.)
I followed that up with 15 minutes of The Games. I unexpectedly felt quite wholesomely uplifted by the sight of some normally abnormally-annoying c-list celebrities ("comedian" Bobby Davro, Queen Of Hearts Cad James Hewitt, the bloke that's not H out of Steps, and one of the So Solid Crew) breaking their limits weightlifting.
But what I was holding out for was Jump London, a documentary film about the phenomenom of Le Parkour (or Free Running), whereby groups of brave/insane Parkouristes (or Free Runners) gracefully leap, jump, glide, cling to and bounce off any urban surface imaginable, the higher the better.
The film followed Seb Foucan's group, with a number of London landmarks and rooftops being their stage over the course of a day's shooting. Truly breathtaking - it just goes to show that films like the Matrix and Crouching Tigeraren't so far-fetched after all.
And it was good to see my beautiful former home-city on the screen in the way that I've always seen it. Through Jerry Bruckheimer eyes.
Ugh, since adding Blogspeak to the blog template, the Blogger Nicknames (eg Starbuck) of all but the current posts seems to have been replaced by the firstnames of the posters (eg Bert). Not sure why. Unless Blogger itself is bloggered.
I'm having an identity crisis! It's bad enough keeping track of my roots without all this...
Post-script (written 12/9/03):
Now sorted - I am Starbuck again! It was Blogger, not Blogspeak's fault; maybe something to do with the upgrades that Blogger have recently implemented. Faith restored. In fact, Blogspeak is excellent - and unlike some other Commenting Tools, this one'll email you any Comments without having to register and upgrade. Nice.
Further Post-script (written 13/9/03):
However, it doesn't appear to be working at present, and the bloke who runs it is out of cash. Curses!
OK chaps and chapesses, after much deliberation (read as: too lazy to bother previously), I've finally relented so as to add a Commenting tool to the website, so you can argue with / ignore any of the words of wisdom posted herein.
Next step (next year?), getting rid of my site's scabby design...
Sometimes its just so important to get away from it all.
Over the weekend, myself (and 19 other family members) descended on the hotel-restaurant L'Escale in Escalles, Northern France, for my Uncle Phil's birthday. As usual I managed to out-Blaine Blaine, by miraculously managing to get more food down my gullet than I have body volume.
A quick accidental-paddle on the beach (click here for a photo, and here for more), and some brief exploration of the local towns and villages (as well as their restaurants), and all in all, that 24 hours in France may well have been 240 hours, it was so relaxing.
There's something that I particularly love about Northern France. Maybe its because it feels closer to home for me, culturally, than the more southern reaches.
But maybe its more the poignancy of its position within World War Two, something that you are never far away from, what with the abundance of the cemeteries and the memorials, the monuments and the museums; the way that the flags of every nation fly proudly across the towns, ensuring that we can never forget what happened there, the way that the world pulled together, and the bravery of the men who did what they had to. Maybe that's just it - I look at the scenery, and I see my Grandad, 60 years younger. I can only imagine his fear back then. But I can feel and share in his pride today.
I was saying at the start that sometimes its just so important to get away from it all. But maybe, sometimes we just need the time to think, the time to absorb our surroundings, and to share that time with those that we care about.
Ahhh! What a Blessed relief! (A phrase which puts in mind all sorts of unwholesome images of a certain portly Flash Gordon actor!)
I've been struggling with the Windows Update website on my dad's PC for the last few days, and its got me climbing up the walls. That old situation where they've updated the Windows Update software itself, thereby making it unaccessible to unfortunate techno-illiterates such as I.
First of all, its warning me about some unsigned or potentially unsafe ActiveX controls ("Your current settings prevent running activeX controls on this page. As a result the page may not display correctly". I try changing my trusted sites to the various M$ update sites, then change my mind (trust them?, and amend my ActiveX Security settings to "prompt" and warily carry on. It now warns me that the publisher for the certificate of http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/cab/x86/ansi/iuctl.cab (at a retrospective guess) cannot be determinded, as the Authenticode signature was not found, or something like that. Paranoid old me first of all assumes that someone's hacked the Windows Update site. After much googling, I'm reassured that this probably isn't the case. I try hitting "yes" to accept it, but it just loops back round again.
I shift my attention to the Usenet Newsgroups (where the geeky and the desperate hang out), particularly microsoft.public.windowsupdate. Much more satisfactory. There is hope. I try deleting my Temporary Internet Files. No luck. I try downloading the Win98 ActiveX controls manually from http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/cab/x86/ansi/iuctl.cab; and have all sorts of trouble trying to extract the files from it using Winzip. Apparently the cabinet file iuctl.cab is corrupted. What I don't realise is that I must in fact Shift-Rightclick-Open With Explorer in order to extract it (in a different styley), rather than trying to unzip it. Still can't find the iuctl.inf file to right-click-install, though. So no luck with that strategy. Gah! Is this getting interesting yet?
I try deleting my Temporary Internet Files again. Just in case I'd dreamt my previous attempt.
I'd missed this nicely disparaging story a few days ago. Newly fattened (for the moment) illusionist (or "performance artist" as the BBC snidely refer to him) David Blaine conjured up a bloody bit of publicity the other day, when he supposedly hacked a piece of his ear off in a press conference.
Although I've been swept along by his PR street "magic" skills on the telly in the past (before having the "secrets" revealed that he simply doesn't broadcast his failures or the bits where someone tells him what the punter wrote on their card), I must agree with top turn Paul Zenon's comments - "He says there's no trickery involved - I think there's a clue in the fact that he's a magician. That's what we do - we tell lies."
And sub-editor DJ Tim (himself a master in the black arts of magick) would agree, if I can correctly recall one of his drunken rants.
Still, I shouldn't diss him too much. He's going to spend 44 days and nights trapped inside a small transparent box suspended over the River Thames, with a constant video feed supposedly being taken on the inside (of the box, not of his insides, though that would perhaps be interesting from a biological point of view). When you think about what a good target that is going to make for any nutter with an air rifle and some metal ball bearings, you've got to admit that he's certainly got guts. Even if they are soon to be collapsed ones.
At a time when I should be finishing off my CV tinkering for the day and getting on with something more constructive, I find myself glancing once again through the wondrous archives of B3ta.com. Therein, I find something truly worthwhile - What's New Pussycat, the cat-based memory game. All in the name of mental enhancement, of course. It's for the good of my career, dontchaknow.
I remember being highly disappointed when I saw this. Though, then again, I was only 9-years-old, so maybe I was lacking any sharp critical judgement. Maybe I just didn't like the fact that it was missing the Doctor Who music. And Doctor Who.
And as for the machines sending Goliath out (Neil Gaiman Matrix short story) rather than doing the job themselves, perhaps its just not in their being to lose any part of their collective whole - they do recycle any of their code that has rotted, after all. And who's to say anyway that a machine is better than a human in all regards, especially a modified human - we do have something within our mental structure that they want to develop for themselves, after all. (And someone like Neo can control the Matrix program better than the agents can work within its confines.)
I really must get a Comments function shoved onto this blog sometime, so anyone else can have their say on world-changing (note: irony) matters such as these...
Alright i've relented and am posting. Mainly due to my renewed Matrix interest pending my visit to the IMAX on Sunday to see it! Hurrah!
Just read the Goliath. Good apart from the HUGE hole in the story.
"Well," he said, "the short answer is that you were designed to do this. We've improved a little on the basic human design in your case. You're bigger. You're much faster. You have faster processing speeds and reaction times."
Yes, maybe, but since when would they be faster than the machines' processing speeds and reaction times? Eh? Eh? I did like it's gothic English feel though - that early 70s Sapphire and Steel type feeling... whither that fantastic show? Or the truly creepy one-off K9 spin off episode, where K9 infiltrated a wierd satanic cult in the middle of the countryside (which only i seem to be able to remember).
(I digress) Seeing the other Matrix comics (some of which are shockingly illustrated), i once again realise that it's all a geekstep too far... he says, ploughing through the game, and contemplating buying the Animatrix.
By the way, were it not, presumably, for the fact that neither party wants to reduce the impact of their respective brands, and because it sounds a bit stupid, it could have been called the Matrimax. Just think on that.
Oh yeah, didn't mention before, I finally saw Pirates Of The Caribbean (Curse Of The Black Pearl Blah Blah Blah) Friday night, in a cinema full of terrified 5 year olds and goatie-bearded arts critics. Very enjoyable, very pantomine. Especially Johnny Depp's hilarious pissed-up Tommy Cooper impression. Not enough wooden legs, however - just the one brief cameo appearance in the foreground. Good parrot action in the second half, however. And a ensemble pirate "aaarrrrr"! My buckle felt well and truly swashed.
One of the things I've always liked about the original URL for this site (http://fatcityarizona.blogspot.com) was its utter lack of www'ness (because, like, the world wide web is so passé, man!) So, slightly gutted was I to discover that it can also be found in amongst the unwashed masses at http://www.fatcityarizona.blogspot.com with exactly the same content, but with a smaller Google PageRank, curiously. But not so curious that it should really merit this gratuitous and confusing-to-anyone-who's-never-seen-it link to a picture of The Curious Orange from TV's TMWRNJ. Although it does turn me into a big smiley idiot!
By the way, Fat City Arizona was the title of one of Viper Squad Ten's better tracks from the nearly-mass-released album "A Long Nig^ht In Arizona", though perhaps it was more notable for its juvenile innuendos than for its addictively catchy musical form.
Ahh, bless! I've just received the following email from one of my occasional ickle sub-editors, Stusie, who seems to be a little shy today; I will impart his words of wisdom, all the same. Poor little mite!
Heh! I like the LOTR selling model - sell the first edition cheap, £8.99 vid, not much more than the rental cost so its a worthwhile buy to satiate the cravings, and the delay allows us to really savour the "definitive", less compact, edition when it finally washes up.
I can't believe Reloaded would give you so little for so much money, though, considering the wealth of free goodies that are hidden away on the website...