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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[ Thursday, October 30, 2003 ]

Quickly, now...
Starbuck [19:13] Comments: 0 []
 
Big "ta" to DJ Tim & Stu for covering my blog whilst I'm otherwise unavailable for comment.

Quickly, gabber gabber can't enunciate in a hurry, spookily (or not), I've just stumbled across myself on the blogroll of In The Aquarium, a very nice London blog, the author of which happened to attend the flash mob that DJ Tim saw in Covent Garden. Made me feel all homesick for London (in a positive way). Which I am looking forward to placate, by driving up there on Saturday to see the old crowd in some dire pub (I haven't got the time or energy to sort out a good place to meet; Pitcher & fracking Piano at Trafalgar Square it'll be, then, where a pint costs an hour's salary.)

No time to write, now. I'm off to my computer-free home, for an fun evening's shelf-building, bill-paying, and Matrix-Revolutions-at-Birmingham-Thinktank-IMAX-telephonic-investigating.

Laters, electrophiles.



[ Wednesday, October 29, 2003 ]

Starbuck via text message
DJ Tim [09:58] Comments: 0 []
 
I have been asked to blog these words of wisdom from Commander Aardvark, VSX Leader:

Never let ur mug spill and look out 4 things

Internal jukebox: Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack (Wigfield)


Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, shut up Clare
DJ Tim [01:52] Comments: 0 []
 
Hay guys it's my birthday (and I'd cry if I want too, you would too if it happened to you)

The 28th of October has 3 famous dates, my birthday, Simon Le Bon's birthday and my wife's parents wedding anniversary. The first two deserve a party but unfortunately the last doesn't. My father in law died in January this year and as a result the 28th was a day when thoughts needed to be the other side of the world.

Not to be too personal, but I had a long chat with my mother in law and she's doing ok. I'm not going to convey the conversation (and I don't think I should) but she's doing ok, considering.

Which brings me back to flash mobs. If all those people that took part in the said flash mob, had decided to expend even half the effort on just being nice to someone, this city would be a nicer place. (Not that I'm bitter or anything)

As for Stuarts comment about the un-Christian sentence. Well I have too agree in parts but I did say usually.

Anyway this has been far too serious and for the usual readers of starbukeroo's blog I'm sure your more interested in my internal jukebox or dumping habits. Suffice to say no music and a good dump this morning.

I was going to end this here but I thought I would share this with you. - Although it was a battle against Samoa we won though - roll on the Welsh, French and the Kiwis.



[ Tuesday, October 28, 2003 ]

The Viper Squadies flash mob
DJ Tim [16:46] Comments: 0 []
 
Time: 5:02pm
Date: 1st November
Location: Somewhere in Central London (precise details will be given nearer the date)
Target: Starbuck
Stupid thing to do: Engage the target in inane conversation while steadily getting drunk.

PS: Clare Grogan on my internal jukebox


Flash Bang Wallop
Stuart [14:00] Comments: 0 []
 
Can i just start by saying that i have fallen in love with Kirsty Gallacher.

Next, flash mobbing. I, like Tim, thougt it was rubbish and pointless. it certainly is not anti-anything, certainly not anti-establishment. and certainly not anti-mobile phone companies' profits. However, I now have personal experience of when it can be wonderful. Read on, intrigued reader...

Jane's Addiction (intrigued reader: "Groan...") have a flashmob thingie going on. Curious (not bi-curious, though), i texted the number on the website and waited to see what would happen. Lo and behold, on Sunday afternoon, I received a text telling me that on Monday there would be 100 signed copies of their new single in HMV on Oxford Street (for those who have not heard of it, this is a small anti-establishment Marxist record store) on Monday. And indeed, it was a flash-mobbed-text-message of much truth as i am now an owner of one copy of said signed wotnots.

I can expect more texts, apparently, and one at least will be details of a secret meeting with the band that might be all "anarchic" but will in all probability actually be a secret gig.

So, quite literally for these purposes "flash mob"="new marketing ploy" but i'd rather that than some ill conceived idealogical nonsense. I mean, i'm as anarchic as the next man, i've got No Logo (haven't read it mind) and the State We're In (gave up, was dead boring) so don't oppress me. Michael Moore's a genius though isn't he? He doesn't state the bleedin' obvious or nuffink does he? Knowledge is power, Roddick sold her soul didn't she, I mean i don't see Whatshername in a hair shirt do you, a bit of capitalism didn't do me any harm when i was a nipper, bring the tanks in i say, it's the only language they understand.

Ahem.

PS, the penultimate sentence of Tim's post is a rather (dare i say it) un-Christian one, is it not?



[ Monday, October 27, 2003 ]

Quick thoughts
Starbuck [18:59] Comments: 0 []
 
Gotta spew out a few thoughts, but I'm gonna keep it quick, as I've dropped in on a parental computer terminal on the way home, and I'm desperate to get back for dinner. (My folks are torturing me with a lovely-smelling Sunday roast. The day after Sunday.)

The move went well - suprisingly well. Things shouldn't go this smoothly in life - its just not right. I've been thinking of loads of stuff to blog about; however, not having a PC handy has kind of hindered that a tad. I should start writing everything down on parchment, to transfer into the electronic medium at a later date.

What I wanted to write about today was what I've been doing whilst lieing in our (inflatable) bed the last 2 nights. However, time is running short, and this bedroom activity will continue unhindered as far as I can tell, so I'll update y'all on it some other time.

Just don't get yer hopes up, you filthy net perverts (and you ALL are, all of you - just being on the internet means that, even if you don't do anything about it, you ARE a SICK and TWISTED individual, even if you don't know it.)

No, calm down. There's no bodily fluids involved. Its all nice and innocent, and I could have written about it in the time that I've wasted on the last 3 paragraphs, but time's getting even shorter now...

Must go - need food. I'm glad I've got a slight "poo-shoe" thing going on, which is putting my gastric juices off a bit (no solid residue, I must point out - a dog tainted my other set of shoe's with his faecal deposits, and I think I've picked up some stray molecules off my car's accelerator pedal. Nice!)

But, yeah, I also wanted to say, in response to Tim's flash mob rant, I disagree, but I've actually never been on one, let alone seen one, PTOTOOT notwithstanding some 10 years ago (note to all but sub-editors: don't bother. You won't understand. I guess now it'd look like a flash mob. But we all sort of new each other, in a "wacky" University society styley.) So I'm hardly in a position to comment. And, to be fair, Tam's experience seemed pretty hollow. (I guess it must be like the difference between seeing in person the stunts on Trigger Happy TV before, and after, Dom Joly became famous. When you can't be expecting it, its fantastic. When its more routine, its over.)

I certainly enjoyed my experience as a flashblog victim, though.


To flash or not to flash, unto the breach, Horatio
DJ Tim [17:50] Comments: 0 []
 
What is up with all this Flash mobbing and blogging? Is it just me or do other people think that there is nothing that is so pointless (and before anyone says anything, yes I know that's the point, which in fact means there is a point and hence it's not pointless) This weekend there was a flash mob at Covent Garden. A few hundred people turned up and walked round the square for a few minutes and then dispersed. Quite why this was called a flash mob I don't know, since several thousand tourists do exactly the same thing every day of the year. What's more strange, was that the BBC deemed this news worthy enough to include in their afternoon news.

The reality of it is, that it's got nothing to do with going against the establishment or other equally nihilistic ideals, but rather plain old exhibitionism. Would these people really do it, if no one took any notice? I think not. We live in a Pop Idol age where everyone all want to be famous. No one does anything for no reason and usually that reason is entirely selfish.

Rant over.



[ Friday, October 24, 2003 ]

ch ch ch changes
Starbuck [21:33] Comments: 0 []
 
Well then, peeps, I'm gonna be doing the big house move tomorrow. Though I'm not going to be actually moving much. Rather, the girlfriend's going to be moving loads of her stuff, and lazy Mr Powersurge is going to move his bed-side cabinet and his telly (I'll collect the rest of my stuff from my parents in dribs and drabs on the way home from work, over the course of the next 6 months or so.)

The upshot of this is, I may or may not get much chance to update the site over the next week, depending on "stuff". However, I will be picking up my computer desk from London next weekend when I return to remind my London mates that I'm actually a bit annoying and they should be glad I've moved away, so normal blogging may resume soon thereafter. Of course, sub-editors DJ Tim & comically-named "Stuart" may add their two-penneth (two penises?) to the site in the meantime. And, who knows, maybe I'll find a way. As chaos theorist Jeff Goldblum would say, when faced with Lycine-deprived dinosaurs - "Life finds a way".

And also, in the meantime, keep on checking the lovely Tam's site (always good for Total Entertainment), as well as the other good (and bad) blogs in my blogroll over there on the right (I never seem to update that damn blogroll - I sometimes mention some amazingly good blogs in the main text, but never get round to adding them to the "Other Blogs" section - I hope I've not left anyone heartbroken as a result. It's a project to be actioned upon my return; I bet you can't wait.)

Oh, and a big thank-you to I Could Have Been A Contender for the kind words, post-Flashblog. And for the picture of your dad.


Guns - lots of guns
Starbuck [21:00] Comments: 0 []
 
Sitting here, eyes glazing over the screen, I was just thinking about the last two films that I've seen. Very similar, but oh so different.

Number one - Bowling For Columbine. I've been meaning to see it since it came out, having loved Michael Moore's Awful Truth and TV Nation TV shows (especially the bits in the UK version, where he made us feel special by talking to us during what would be the American version's ad-break), and having been educated, amused and politically-stimulated by his Stupid White Men book. And I'd say that Columbine is essential viewing for everyone (and in an ideal world it would be on the US schools curriculum) - shocking and thought-provoking (although I may not have learnt that much that I hadn't already discovered, he says smugly, and the 2 hour documentary format maybe didn't allow him to do much more than touch on some areas which deserved more space. Oh, aren't I so perfect?). It's difficult to know what was more disturbing in the film - the sequence of CCTV footage from the Columbine High School massacre, soundtracked by the panicked 911 calls which were made from the school (which made me feellike vomitting); or maybe the sight of Charlton Heston, head of the National Rifle Association, unrepetant, and detestably uncaring and unthinking (example quote from a NRA conference, held in the town weeks after the massacre, holding a rifle aloft - "Not from my cold, dead hands". Moore's later interview, confronting Heston, was uncomfortable in the extreme.

But still, excellent stuff. And it proved beyond doubt what the problem is in America (and increasingly here, thanks Mr Blair) - the fear and the terror, created not by the "terrorists", but by the government and their media. I can only wish for more thought, more consideration, less hatred amongst Joe Public. More understanding, untainted by the extremes of the political (and religious) spectrum, should lead to fewer bigotted, racist, uncaring and unhuman bastards out there. And, with more thinking, we won't let our Masters grind us down. Now that right-wing politics is based on the politics of fear favoured by Big Brother (from George Orwell's 1984, not the reality-TV show), we need to keep our wits about us. Don't let our "rulers" take us for granted. Don't let them take the piss.

Enough ranting. The other film - City Of God. Equally stunning. The true story of slum life slum within Rio de Janeiro. Well acted, vibrantly shot, and very disturbing. Entertaining and illuminating.

A film showing the extreme danger society faces when guns become cheap commodities. Put guns in to the world of children, shatter their innocence, and they will grow up to be ugly and dangerous as human beings.

And after those two hard-hitting movies, I'm looking forward to seeing whether Matrix Revolutions will re-ignite my love of things that go "bang" on screen. I don't think I need worry too much.

(And by "bang", I'm not talking about Pornography - The Musical, the late night Channel 4 shocker which I, perhaps thankfully, missed this week.)



[ Thursday, October 23, 2003 ]

Flashblogged!
Starbuck [22:56] Comments: 0 []
 
(Big smile on face)

A shudder of excitement... or fear... went through me when I saw there were over 30 Comments affixed to Stuart's post about Nigel from Eastenders / Matrix Revolutions. "What the hell was going on here?" I thought out loud, using my mouth. "I hope my blog's not being used for cottaging again..."

But reading the trail of Comments - an amusing trail of discussion about hair and baldness - it slowly dawned on me.

I'd been flash-blogged!

This is all the more scary, as I'd presciently hoped back in August that people would spring this sort of thing on poor unsuspecting bloggers.

I especially liked the Comments relating to Nigel's hair and Doctor Who, which kept a thread of context to the original post, and stopped the whole thing from appearing too random or spam-like.

All in all, very amusing - it brightened up a mind burdened by moving-house-and-cash-flow worries. My brow is now fully unfurrowed again.

A bit of detective work on my stats traced it back to the Clear Blue Skies blog. If I had a large loyal readership, I'd demand that you all meet up there at 13.00 GMT on 5 November to textually re-enact a particularly good episode of Married With Children. But I haven't. So I won't.



[ Wednesday, October 22, 2003 ]

Nigel is the One
Stuart [13:45] Comments: 0 []
 
Two pieces of news: firstly, celebrity update. I took Kathryn to the Saatchi Gallery to see the Chapman brothers' various grotesque sculptures and who was there but NIGEL FROM EASTENDERS WITH WHAT I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WAS HIS SON! I don't think there's much that i can add to this earth shattering news.

WHAT FOLLOWS MUST BE VIEWED WITH EXTREME CAUTION. IT IS NOT MY FAULT IF YOU READ IT AND ARE THEN GUTTED THAT YOU HAVE DONE SO. IF YOU DIDN'T FIND IT HERE, YOU'D FIND IT SOMEWHERE ELSE WITHOUT THIS MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING. READ IT AT YOUR PERIL.

It's three early reviews of Revolutions, on the same page. The first review has no spoilers and is dull. The second one has a non-specific one. THE THIRD ONE HAS AN ENORMOUS ONE.

HERE we go.



[ Tuesday, October 21, 2003 ]

The Truth about David Blaine
DJ Tim [23:53] Comments: 0 []
 
This was a on the Reuters news wire:
It has been established that the whole David Blain stunt in the box was in fact an illusion. Blaine's people utilised a little know device, first discovered in New Zealand, that can make people in the vicinity of the device believe that what they are seeing is true, even though it is obviously make believe. This device was first used by the tourist department of New Zealand to make people think that Mount Cook existed. Although it had teething problems to start with, which meant that they had to pump smoke (aka mist) to obscure the fact that the mountain did not exist. It soon became a major tourist attraction. Thousands of people went to Mount Cook to see the mountain (and believed that they had). They even drafted in famous Kiwi climbers (Sir Edmund Hillary) to say that they had in fact climbed this mountain that does not exist. Even today, tours of New Zealand still put Mount Cook as one of the star items on their literary.
In fact Blaine (David) has been in hiding in Watford for the duration of the 'stunt' only coming out to watch his favourite football team at Vicarage Road in disguise. A local supporter said 'Even if I wasn't David Blaine I'd still come in a disguise - it's a blo*dy embarrassment supporting this team'
Official sources from the Blaine camp laugh off suggestions that anything untoward was happening. However sources from the WETA Workshops when asked did say that recently they had been working on the images of egg impacts on solid surfaces.


Head frack
Starbuck [18:49] Comments: 0 []
 
I know its been around the net a fair bit, and I've even started seeing bits of it on posters. However I've been meaning to link to this for months but haven't got round to it (unless I've just forgotten about it) - I was there first (lie). The Latest Works - a fantastic collection of head-fracking optical illusions. I especially like the rotating snakes. Makes your mind bleed.



[ Monday, October 20, 2003 ]

Chez nous
Starbuck [22:25] Comments: 0 []
 
And lo, it came to pass that Starbuck and Starbucketta collected their keys for their Hobbit Home, and verily it was good, for it proved not necessary to cleave the skull of Gazza in two. Ere sunday it shall come to pass that the gates of Leamington will be torn asunder in the siege led by Starbuck's steed, the mighty Peugeot 106, and the rightful Lords of the Ring-pull will take their place in the Royal Kingdom of the Spa, and there will be much rejoicing.



Or something.



[ Sunday, October 19, 2003 ]

Elite
Starbuck [21:57] Comments: 0 []
 
I've just read a very interesting article in yesterday's Guardian about the history of one of the most influential computer games of all time, David Braben and Ian Bell's Elite, a game to which I lost a sizeable portion of my childhood to. Its interesting to read how they created such a totally immersive, expansive universe in just a few kilobytes of code, using a a Fibonacci-like preset sequence of numbers as parameters - set up the seed value for the sequence of values, see what it generates in that individual galaxy, and only keep those that have evolved, by chance, into a playable, workable universe. The resulting game world appeared perfectly designed, much as natural selection in biological systems gives the illusion of purposeful design. This thing stole my imagination as a kid. In my mind I'm drifting through space again as I type, fearful of that pixel on the edge of my vision - Thargon mothership or roaming asteroid...

We take so much for granted in game design nowadays. Not ignoring the value that text-adventures played in pushing the gamer's imagination, Elite was where the evolution started. It showed where things could lead. In three glorious dimensions. Actually, make that four.

And my spatial awareness has never been the same again.


Metacortechs or Matrix cortex
Starbuck [15:04] Comments: 0 []
 
Someone - The Wachowski Brothers, or some other shadowy individuals, have set up a whole host of fake web sites pertaining to be part of our own real life, but relating to the Matrix Universe.

For example, Metacortechs is the company that Neo worked for in the Matrix. The web-site looks like a standard real business' website. Checking out the staff directory for their Redland office, and searching on Neo's details (AndersonThomas) reveals "***TRANSFERRED*** - No forwarding information available".... not suprising, I guess.

For other people, you might get their email details - for example, Steven Walsh, their new CEO, is at scwalsh@metacortechs.com. Dare I try it?
And Beth McConnell from their R&D Dept (blmcconnell@metacortechs.com); it also gives out her directory details on the Metadex project website (http://www.metadex.net/usr/emc2/bio/). And from there, a reference to her personal website, Little boxes, indicates she's aware there's more to life than what is at face value, with a healthy interest in the apparent paranormal... there's a lot of that around in the world of the Matrix. Etcetera.
They've even got their web-hosting company, Underscore Housing, covered for hosting all these websites.

This all (nearly) looks real, but it's obviously some clever game for those brave (or nerdish) enough to explore the realms where film meets reality. I've not got the time to really explore it right now, which is a bugger, as now I'm very excited! There's all these fake people to email, phone numbers to ring (in America, unfortunately), web-sites to hack and explore...

Thanks to this article on Matrix Essays (and eHacked.com - the self-proclaimed "worst website ever"!)


Move any mountain (of possessions)
Starbuck [13:51] Comments: 0 []
 
The rollercoaster of life continues apace - yesterday, we started our house-hunting, checking out a couple of places in Leamington and Warwick, all very casually and pressure-free.

And (fingers crossed, as the landlord has still got to ring us back), today we've found a place in Royal Leamington Spa. An actual house, tiny but cosy (but then, myself and my girlfriend are also tiny but cosy), on the end of a small terrace of old mews buildings, nestled a short distance out of the way of normal society, off one of the avenues in the posher area of Leamington. A few minutes walk from the centre of Leamington, so it'll be easy to get out of an evening, but very quiet and sheltered in itself (hopefully).

And its got a famous (read as: lookalike) landlord, in the alchoholic shape of ex-England / Newcastle / Spurs / Rangers / Gansu Tianma footballer, Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne. He'd actually managed to forget his keys when we turned up to visit yesterday afternoon (too much lager probably), which endeared me to him straight away, it being the stoopid sort of thing I'd do. He even told us we'd be able to fit a load of beer in the spacious fridge! Very Gazza. So we look forward to regular boozy maintenance visits from the gang of Jimmy "Five Bellies" Fivebellies, Danny "comedy genius/face for radio" Baker, plus Chris "Ginger Tossbag" Evans and his "lovely" wife Billie...

(Note to non-UK readers: you may not be aware of all of these people, but your lives are probably better off for it. Count yourselves lucky. Enjoy your ignorance.)



[ Saturday, October 18, 2003 ]

A bit more
DJ Tim [22:09] Comments: 0 []
 
Did that last message make any sense? I think not. Forgive me for being a little drunk. I'm sure that you can work out what I mean


Tim get's something of his chest
DJ Tim [21:54] Comments: 0 []
 
This was a day that saw an interesting turn out of events. The day started off great - we beat the bocks. But what I really what to talk about is the friends that were with we during this defeat of the springbocks with.I watched the game with a bunch of Kiwis (because I'm married to one) plus a Brummie. But one was a XXXX. He so not got the fact that that I actullay cared what the results was. Not that I would say his name but 'Hey XXXXXX your so fine, your so fine you blow my XXXX off mind'


Suffused with warmth
Starbuck [17:00] Comments: 0 []
 
I've never seen Warwickshire as picturesque as today, driving throughout it househunting . With the air still locked on to the summer's temperature band, the trees are still mostly shy about shedding their leaves. Everywhere you look they are resplendent with countless hues of dazzling yellows, golden oranges, autumnal browns. England must be the most beautiful place in the world right now.

Its as if the huge artificial indoor sun, Olafur Eliasson's new art installation hanging in the east of the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, is casting its glow across the country. Or maybe its just that, for once, a beacon of positivity is blazing away within me, bathing me in its glow, leaving me suffused with warmth and beauty. (Wretch!)



[ Wednesday, October 15, 2003 ]

"It's like those dreams where you're sitting at home and you suddenly see an unfamiliar door "
Starbuck [22:28] Comments: 0 []
 
For the first time in too many years I went to the theatre last night, to see the National Theatre's touring production of Vincent In Brixton. The couple of years that I was in London I was spoilt for theatric choice, but I never quite got round to taking advantage of it. Only now I've realised that I've got to make a lot more effort. Bugger.

Anyway, the play was brilliant. Its no wonder it won so many awards, and garnered so many fantastic reviews. For anyone who's not aware of it, its about the years that the then-unknown Vincent Van Gogh spent in Sarf Larndarn; this was before he'd endeavoured on becoming an artist, being an art-dealer under his father's thumb. Having said that, it was equally about the lives of the players in his life in London, the depression-prone widow (and her daugter) he fell in love with, the pragmatical other lodger (and laterly husband of aforementioned daughter), and their effect on his formative emotive state (and by proxy, his formative artistic state).

If that sounds a bit serious and wanky, then so be it. It wasn't. What it was, was a perfectly acted and perfectly presented representation of four people (later, five), living real lives, with real emotions. Despite being set in 1873, I knew these people - the human condition, perfectly portayed. Here were people who weren't standing before us as actors playing a part, as most actors tend to appear. Here were people who were these people. For all the good and for all the bad that that entailed. This was the cold truth of life. Deeply moving. But toweringly funny at times. Clare Higgins especially was superb, playing the widow who captured young Vincent's heart with pergfection. I suppose that if you play a part in a play night on night for months and years on end, if the script has this much quality, you can relish every moment without ever getting bored.

All day today, this thing has been sitting so prominently in my mind. (Which makes a nice change from the usual crap that drifts into my mind's eye). Bits of script keep resurfacing, which is quite a feat when you've got a memory like a sieve. And even more so, textures, feelings, emotions. A beautiful play; sadness can still be beautiful.

The fact that Vincent, as played by Ruben Brinkman, was a spitting image (complete with accent) of Avid Merrion from TV's Bo' Selecta, just goes to show how muchy of an achievement the production was - otherwise I would've spent the entire performance expecting Mr Vincent to say that things were so exciting they had "made him do a sex-wee!"



[ Tuesday, October 14, 2003 ]

Tarantino - oh - oh
Stuart [10:31] Comments: 0 []
 
Just thought i'd gloat by saying that i saw Kill Bill on Saturday. As you might expect, completely brilliant but irritatingly Tarantino.

BUT I'd like to point something out - in the film there is a group called the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Albeit that there are only four members, rather than ten, have you thought of suing?



[ Sunday, October 12, 2003 ]

Good television, bad television, and my infernal internal jukebox
Starbuck [11:48] Comments: 0 []
 
Normally being stuck with the five terrestrial TV channels, I'm like a kid in a sweet-shop when I'm staying round my girlfriends' parents' satellite-connected abode. Being a man of very little taste, there's so much cheap guff out there to perfectly suit those beer-in-hand telly evenings. That, and David Blaine, constantly moaning under his blanket in his box (I dread to think...)

And so, when the spotlight of your random channel-flicking glances across a televisual gem, it's like stumbling across a wifi-enabled Burger King whilst starving and lost in the Sahara desert with only your laptop for company.
That happened late last night on BBC4, when I rediscovered my only-seen-twice-before-but-still-my-second-favourite-American-comedy (probably) Curb Your Enthusiasm (the one written, about and starring Seinfeld-creator Larry David at his most painfully self-deprecating). True genius, and up there with that other canned-laughter-free-US-comedy-drama-classic, The Larry Sanders Show.
These things kill me. They may not be machine-gunning gags at the viewer, but they draw you right in, they make you think and feel, they're basically real, and all the more effective for it.

Also far-too compelling viewing is music television. Very bad for me mentally. Surfing from station to station, rock-caracatures The Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" seemed to be on permanently on one channel or another. A pretty funny video, fair enough, but its trashed my internal jukebox.
I've been fairly unwell the last couple of days (ahhh), which has resulted in some very disturbed sleep, and whenever I'd wake up, I'd have all this stadium-heavy-rock falsetto rattling around my skull. Worse, its leading my internal jukebox on to other long-lost trash metal anthems (current soundtrack: Zodiac Mindwarp And The Love Reaction's Prime-Mover - "Well I love TV and I love T Rex, I can see through your skirt I've got X-ray specs".
Not what I need. Especially painful when you consider that Zodiac was a cynical facsimile of myself in the hey-days of VSX...

Oh God, incoming is Tigertailz's Lovebomb ("You're not a lady your a love-bomb baby, love-bomb baby come and blow me away...")

Shouldn't I be using my spare mental clock cycles for something more worthwhile than all this?



[ Saturday, October 11, 2003 ]

It's just a game - depends on the shape of the ball
DJ Tim [01:53] Comments: 0 []
 
Well at the beginning of the week the was Blaine, Brown and Dibbo. One was stressed due to hunger (yea right), one was stressed due to an imminent Russian death (yea right) and the other was stressed due to a hideous work load (yea right, hey I'm doing this for you guys, you want to have a good teletext service on digital tv channels don't you?)

But then everything changed, well not completely Blaine was still a Rich...I mean Tosser; Brown was still ... well ... alive ... and Dibbo - well he had the rugby. It started on Monday - a small tingling sensation. Tuesday reading about how the latest training that was going. Wednesday the teams were announced. Thursday the nerves started to set in. Friday the off, the first game Oz against the Argies (thank God that we have TV's at work!) Great game (except what happened to David Griffin) Later today the men in black will humiliate the Italians, then the next day the boys in white will run out for the first time........ but before then we have a little game against the Turks, this time with a round ball.

No matter how much I love my rugby, when it comes to football....well that's what matters. I never dreamed as a kid of lifting the rugby world cup (yes I know it didn't exist then), I dreamed of scoring the winning goal in the world cup (football)(for Kiwi's Soccer) final for England. This game is more than just the qualification game for the Euro championships. There is a lot of bitterness involved and I don't believe it should be hidden. I'm not going to condone what the English hooligans do, but two years ago two Leeds supporters were stabbed to death by Turkish fans. Was any punishment given to Turkey for this action - No. I'm not claiming that we are by any means perfect, but there is one hell of a lot of difference between throwing a few glasses and turning up with knives.... and the using them. Nuff said.

Anyway roll on the 22nd November ... The New Zealand Vs England final. Whether my marriage lasts such a final is another thing, but the game will be one hell of a humdinger.



[ Thursday, October 09, 2003 ]

Darren not Derren
Starbuck [23:35] Comments: 0 []
 
I'm not going to endlessly go on about Derren Brown's use of blank ammunition in his recent televised game of Russian Roulette (I reckon Mark Borkowski pretty much summed it up for me in his Guardian column).

More interestingly, I've got a couple of "scoops" for you (and I'm not talking about Wesley "Two Scoops" Berry from Gladiators, thank god.)

A big thank you to J-Mu from SCi, who's been in touch to correct me. She points out that "Derren Brown was not called Derren V Brown at university but Darren V Brown. Yes, that's right, common or garden Darren Brown (presumably he added the "V" to make himself more distinctive, later changing to Derren. V sensible if you ask me)".
And this is coming from a lawyer, so it must be true. But then again, Darren/Derren (V) was a fellow lawyer as well, so sod that. Can't trust a word she says.

Brown Scoop Number Two isn't really a scoop as such, more of a public information service for Mr Brown himself. The above nugget of information instigated a Google search on the artist formerly known as Darren, and according to this piece in the Bristol University Law Graduates' Newsletter, Derren represented the Bristol University Dance Team at various inter-varsity dance competitions in 1993, and his ballroom dancing partner Siu Lin Goh would like him to contact her.



[ Wednesday, October 08, 2003 ]

Absence (of blogging) makes the heart grow Fonze'r
Starbuck [22:57] Comments: 0 []
 
I'm not sure how I'm going to relate to the title above - all I wanted to say was that I've not had much chance the last few days to read any other blogs, let alone write any of my own, and I'm feeling that I'm missing out on a part of my life (which probably doesn't say much for my life!)

And then, in writing the title that preceeded this entry, my stream of conciousness unexpectedly brought The Fonze from Happy Days into the equation. And now I'm struggling to do justice to that great man in relation to my current situation.

So there you go. I'm sorry that I've been a tad infrequent in my ramblings of late. But as I told Ralph Malph the other day, I'm struggling with the "chick's" parents' dodgy AOL connection on a machine with an unstable mind of its own (its taken most of the evening just to publish this little missive), and you and Richie can sit on it. Whatever that means. Heyyyyyy!



[ Monday, October 06, 2003 ]

Bristol, Brown and Badministration
Starbuck [20:32] Comments: 0 []
 
We travelled down to blustery Bristol over the weekend to re-crystallise my memory of its layout. Oh, and to visit a couple of couples that I know down there, some very good friends from University and beyond, and their recently-spawned offspring. Bristol was as lovely as ever, as were assorted Cooks and Thains. Unexpected downside: I've spotted traces of Bristolian infiltrating my unique Brummie-Londoner drawl again, making me sound even more freakish. Unexpected upside (your head): Slightly belated (10 months late) birthday CD's (Propellerheads' Decksandrumsandrockandroll, Leftfield's Rhythm and stealth, Supergrass' I Should Coco - cheers, Thain.)

And then, later last night, Derren Brown put the gun to his own head for his televised game of Russian Roulette, cranked up the tension, and left a quivering mess of terrified Starbuck, hardly able to watch. He wasn't the only one wearing Brown trousers last night.

And the new job? Not as good as being on the internet all day...



[ Saturday, October 04, 2003 ]

DJ Tim meets David Blfuckeraine
DJ Tim [23:32] Comments: 0 []
 
Excert from radio Waterloo (DJ Tim & DJ J visit David Blaine)

djTim: welcome listeners to a radio waterloo down at tower bridge , you are here with dj tim and dj mrs tim, and we're viewing the "richards" David Blaine.

firstly, we got Jane from tooting bec:

Dj Tim: Hello Jane what do you think of David Blaine:

J: Arrghhh, take that you bast***d

dj Tim: ahrrrg-ok looks like she's more interested in throwing eggs, than talking to radio waterloo

dj Tim : looks like we better move on , this is Dave from Chelsea: how is it going Dave ?

D: I'm (hic) ok and I love (hic) ok Blaine,

DJ Tim : Dave is obviously a richards, so lets move on , now we have Sharon , Hi , Sharon what do you think of David Blaine

Sharon : hee hee hee , is that a chat up line, hay I'm from Essex ,ok I'll do it,

DJ Tim: right moving on, finally, we have Pammy - (but as everyone else know her as Pamela Lee Anderson),
"How yoouuu dooing !!!!!!

DJ J: Hmmm , good interview techic, so can I get George Clooney in here , and I can ask him the same.

Click.....burp.....static....



[ Friday, October 03, 2003 ]

ASCII-Fi
Starbuck [16:39] Comments: 0 []
 
OK, so the ASCII-ified movie of the bullet-time Matrix Neo-Smith duel may be a textual little marvel, but these things often work better at a much more basic level.

And to illustrate this point ("."), you can watch a good portion of the first Star Wars film animated with nothing more than the predominant character set of modern day computers. Asciimation Wars Asciimation is such a joy! So funny, knowing the original like the back of my lightsaber, yet done so straightly. ASCII Chewbacca's especially cute. (And I hope that George Lucas takes notice of the Death Of Jar Jar short...)


Reading old archives
Starbuck [13:37] Comments: 0 []
 
Sitting here, legs crossed (staving off the urination urge), reading my June 2003 blog archives like some sort of self-obsessed introspective loner. Wait a minute, I'm a blogger, so that's what I am!

And as from next week, when I re-enter the world of work, I'm not going to get so much time for this stuff.

Still, its interesting looking at a month of old thoughts. All the expected stuff - Matrix pontification, isn't nature wonderful, music, TV, geeky stuff, Tsunami 2010 blah blah blah.

Good to see I'm still staying true to myself...


Doctor Who Jam
Starbuck [12:12] Comments: 0 []
 
According to Ananova, according to TV Plus, Tom Baker thinks that Eddie Izzard would make the best Doctor. Can't argue with that.

Typical Bakerish comment on having Melinda Messenger play his assistant - "Melinda would be good as she can scream and has bosoms. It doesn't really matter if she can act." Heh!


Kill Bill
Starbuck [12:04] Comments: 0 []
 
Catching my breath after my previous post, I just want to say - Kill Bill. Can't wait! BBCi thought it was fantastic. They also thought it was pants.


Anger about WMD / GM
Starbuck [11:52] Comments: 0 []
 
The US media is so in the pay of the Bush administration, that its no suprise that, even though its widely know elsewhere that Saddam had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, 69% of Americans last month still believed he was personally involved. And so its no suprise that, as detailed in editorandpublisher.com, when President George Bush admitted on Wednesday, for the first time, that there was "no evidence that Hussein was involved with the September 11th" attacks, most of the big US papers either ignored this, or deeply buried the story. It's funny how, in drumming up support for the war, every utterance, no matter how blatantly blackly propagandist (read: lies), no matter how hypothetical, was made out to be the only thing of importance in the world. As E&P describe, the story was even more dramatic because Bush's remarks came on the heels of an assertion to the contrary made by Vice President Dick Cheney Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." When asked about the poll that shows Americans overwhelmingly believe Hussein was involved in 9/11, Cheney replied that he thinks "it's not surprising that people make that connection. ... If we're successful in Iraq then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

So this war was based on lies about WMD, and shored up by purposely allowing the American public to be misled, by a complicit media who know where the money is.

Our govenment in the UK, however, just arrogantly ignores the questioning voices of the public and the British media. It just spins its way out of the pit. There's a hell of a lot of dissent within the Labour Party - on the whole they don't believe in what Tony Bliar and his gang are up to. They were driven to support the war by Blair (desperate for their vote and knowing that America would be sending in the troops, with or without the British democratic process), talking about the incontrovertible evidence that he had seen. Where is that evidence, and why can't we see it?

As the leader in today's Guardian states, talking about the interim report of the US-British Iraq Survey Group, here is not the familiar picture of a rogue state bristling with offensive terror weapons, as painted by the government. Here instead is a picture of a malign regime whose aggression and arms ambitions had in fact been very effectively restrained, curbed and contained over the preceding years. In any dispassionate analysis, Iraq in March 2003 was not a serious threat in terms of WMD. Iraq had already been disarmed.

I know it must be tough keeping a country on track; the political bullying being applied by America across the whole international spectrum means that you've got to swallow your principles and your pride sometimes, or they'll cut you bad. But I sometimes think we've got a Prime Minister (or people pulling the strings) who's on the Bush payroll himself. Maybe the delightful-sounding Camp David that he's always going to see in America is some effeminate hypnotist who's brainwashed Blair for Bush...

Money talks, as the cliche goes. Which is why I can't support GM food. I'd be happy eating the stuff - I know my science, and that's not a worry. And knowing my science means that I know it'd further mess with the already skewed ecological balance of the country. And all for the profit of multinational companies. They've already got enough influence on the political world. They're already fucking with the natural world, the world over. Planet Earth won't be a good place to live for that much longer. And I don't want them to erode this country's biodiversity at an even more accelerated rate. The natural world is an amazing, fantastic place. It's taken millions of years for this ecological balance to evolve. But now that there's just too much information being forced down our throats, interest in the trivial has replaced interest in the true beauty of this world at every level. I suppose its a very difficult world out there, and I'm blessed in my situation with having a fairly easy ride. But that doesn't give Big Business the right to fuck with us, or to fuck with our world. No matter how much pressure the US administration applies.

Basically, everyone wants to get one over everyone else. It's playground politics. And I want lessons to start again.


Freed
Starbuck [09:57] Comments: 0 []
 
I got the job. This morning I woke up feeling like some self-inflicted mental straightjacket has been cut away. I've been dancing around the house, air-guitaring like a berk.

As my girlfriend succinctly described it - I'm very chirpy today. Heh!

And tonight I'm off to Bristol to see some friends that I've not seen in years; should be good to finally escape from this place with a mind uncontrained by unemployment.


Blaine v Brown
Stuart [09:56] Comments: 0 []
 
I, along with Tim (I hesitate to prefix with "DJ"), have been asked by the Master of the Blog to provide David Blaine updates. I can provide two updates, one from day three and one from day 10. Which may not be entirely what he's after. He was standing up on both occassions mind, which is not what you get these days, so i understand.

Anyway, Derren is a master. Harvey is very uncharitable. I didn't think he zapped him anyway. i seem to remember that our illustrious leader had to shuffle off stage at some point as the hypnotism wasn't working on his gnarled, cynical mind.

Oh, and on the subject on rivers, from a couple of posts back, I heartily recommend to everyone in the whole world Three Men in a Boat. It's great. I'm reading it RIGHT NOW.



[ Thursday, October 02, 2003 ]

Dances with death
Starbuck [15:15] Comments: 0 []
 
Derren Brown, the git who hypnotised me at University whilst hiding behind the cunning pseudonym of Derren V Brown, will be playing Russian Roulette live (or not) on telly this coming sunday. Although he made me look like a bit of a tosser up on stage (making a willing prat of myself against my will, if you see what I mean), I've got to admit he's a pretty incredible "psychological illusionist". It's so much more impressive watching someone who claims no mysterious psychic power, someone who just uses his normal senses to perceive and understand people's thoughts and minds, rather than some lier like Uri Geller. As I've said before. (I'm such a stuck record).

Anyway, there's a pretty decent show on five in the UK at the mo - Secrets of the Psychics: Revealed, where magician Alistair Cook has been "replicates psychic performers' most famous feats from bending spoons to contacting the spirits", and "using psychological skills and sleight of hand to give demonstrations to the public of his 'psychic' abilities". Essential viewing for people too ready to believe in the unbelievable.

On a sort-of-but-not-very related issue to Brown's televised dance with death, I've read on the Register that death metal band Hell On Earth are to webcast the suicide of a terminally ill friend during a secret concert on Saturday. I'd like to think that the band are making a serious statement about euthanasia. This might perhaps be undermined by the fact that "past band performances have included sodomizing skinned calves and blending dead rats then having fans drink the concoction."


Blogrolled
Starbuck [12:37] Comments: 0 []
 
I've been Blogrolled by thefinalbroadcast of UK blog Jynxed From The Start. His tales of drinking-related morning sickness have shoved me into the nostalgia-zone, thinking of a time when I would tend to overdo my evening imbibing somewhat; either that, or my liver had not adapted to efficiently breakdown alcohol as well as it does now.

Shudder!


People in need of IT help, buy my unrelated goodies!
Starbuck [12:21] Comments: 0 []
 
There seems to be a fair few people surfing in looking for help on their problems with "MSHTA.EXE", as well as that old favourtie "IUCTL.CAB".

It's nice to feel that you may be bringing help and hope to fellow desperate people (desperado's?).

Any long-suffering Windows-users (and its always Windows-users who suffer most longly) who have popped in off one of the above search terms, just hit your within the page to find the help that you need. The archive's are over there on the left. Unless they've moved.

Or better still, read every single fracking word of wit and wisdom found herein, then contact me with regards to buying up some of our old merchandise. Unshifted VSX albums include "Silicon Invaders From Mars", Dieticians Featuring Fat's "Long Nig^ht In Arizona" is still in need of clearing, and as for the Lesbian Love Triangle Featuring The Leather Lads... nah, you might not want that one after all. Classic horror flick Hormone Hell's still available on VHS video, if you want so see me in a dress in McDonalds; however we won't be able to release the DVD (including the thankfully-shorter Director's cut) until we track down the flicking master tape.


All dressed up with no place to go
Starbuck [12:01] Comments: 0 []
 
I'm just back from a job interview, so I'm sitting here in my smart grey shirt looking pretty damn sexy, even if I do say so myself.

I now feel like going and walking round town in a self-important way. But I won't.

Is this why my grandad always wears a shirt and tie? I feel so much more on the ball like this!



[ Wednesday, October 01, 2003 ]

Canaly retentive
Starbuck [18:19] Comments: 0 []
 
I've had a good afternoon, this afternoon, making the most of some well-prescribed relaxation time. A refreshing walk along the Oxford Canal near Burton Dassett (think of a less impressive Ayres Rock, covered in grass and sheep). Although the weather is still convinced that its still mid-summer in Warwickshire, the trees are beginning to cotton on that this is no longer the case, and have started to replace their summer fashions with the yellows and browns from the autumn catalogue. It was so quiet and very beautiful, and we found some much-needed peace.

I've been hanging around waterways the last few weeks like a drug-dealer round the school gates. The other weekend took me to the Warwick section of the Grand Union canal. People just seem so much more friendly if they're on, or beside, a canal. People peer at you expectantly in order to instigate some brief form of communication ("Hello"; "grunt".) You feel bad if you don't jump up and down to greet passing barges. I end up manically grinning at passers-by like Tony Blair on speed. I'm just not used to it! Maybe its that the people living on the canals have found a better life - they can take their floating homes the length and breadth of the country at their whim. The pace of their chosen life just hasn't changed over the years. And even when travelling through the middle of the most built-up cesspit of a city, the cut of their canal lies within its own swathe of relatively-undisturbed nature that could be anywhere.

Yup, I think that I'm boring enough to live the boatman's life. A boat for christmas, please, rich philanthropical readers.


Comments are back; now with added safety precautions!
Starbuck [17:29] Comments: 0 []
 
As Harry of Blogspeak stated, "some asshat... was dropping scripts in user's comments which would redirect you to a pr0n page, and install a dialer". He's sorted it at his end now. Its a shame, as a lot of the potential HTML-customisability has gone, but then, as I have no HTML skills anyway, and Comments are there for Comments and not Code, its definitely for the best.

Something about bad apples and bunches.



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