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...
Apart from when the entire journey is to be spent making minute manipulations to my slightly-buggered indicator stalk, which takes as a cue every slight external bump or internal pulse of the electrics to go into a double-speed very annoying clicking mode. Thankfully the actual indicator lights don't come on unless specifically switched on, but the noise is "driving" me round the bend. Driving! Geddit? Oh, suit yerself.
(The VSX webmaster apologises for the quality of the humour currently being broadcast)
Gah, I never want to shut my eyes again. Badger badger badger badger.
Whilst I'm over at Weebls-stuff.com, for that is the location I have been dragged to for this trilogy of torture, check out Cat Death Auto, for some very short-term cat-killing GTA-alike action. Top acapella Airwolf soundtrack there.
Superbly refreshing. A movie that is honest, real, imaginative and beautifully shot, original, funny, sad, warm, captivating, self-concious, and humourously self-aware. Do you get the feeling I liked it? Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.
Whether you've never heard of Harvey Pekar, whether you don't even like comic books, and if you've not had the chance to see the film as yet, it comes thoroughly Starbuck-recommended. Remind yourself how films should be made.
"His job...Steal it."
Along with what seems like every other flipping owner of these new-fangled online journals, I've recently started using Firefox for my web browsing needs. And not before time, as my copy of IE has been getting very unstable under the strain of 15+ windows.
So far so dreamy. Just being able to quickly open multiple simultaneous sites with easy tabbed access rather than being bogged down with loads of separate browsers makes all the difference. And it just seems so.... sleek; streamlined.
The one problem. I now realise that VSX is not Firefox-optimised. All that (minimal) effort in throwing a "high-tec" retro marquee-effect into my old duplicate-ad-box, only to now realise that a bigger overhawl is needed. Life's so tough (Note: irony)
None more Darko
Impatient Donnie Darko obsessives such as I would do well to head over to Cellar Door, a somewhat classy compendium of DD info. Very interesting to read about the deleted scenes (I've only got the no-frills video), but especially invaluable is their step-by-step guide to navigating through the official DD website. Its well worth the journey to the end, and a compelling narrative experience in itself.
Windows source code
With the source code for Windows NT4 and Windows 2000 having already escaped onto the net, Microsoft's already-hobbling Trustworthy Computing "policy" has now been dealt a crippling sledgehammer to the e-knees, as a vital chunk of the Windows 98 source code comes to light.
(The following code, as revealed to the world by friskygeek.com, is copyright them, etc).
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.11"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 95"); */
printf("Welcome to Windows 98");
system_memory = open("a:\swp0001.swp", O_CREATE);
Eggs of wonder
I know its late on a Friday, and in an attempt to emulate 50 Cent I've had a touch of bubb, but GROW is truly hurting my brain. It's yet another mad-as-a-lorry Japanese web-game.
Air on a zee string
Running out of the doors of my workplace just now, feeling so excited it felt like my busted rib was about to pop right out of my side, I must've looked a pretty sight. I've previously reported my habit of unconciously playing air-guitar under these circumstances... well, today I caught myself playing the air TRIANGLE in public (to some old Orbital song feturing an occasional triangle effect.)
Since getting home, I've been trying out a few more air-instruments in private. It feels fantastically liberating - therapeutic, even. This could be the start of a whole new self-help industry...
Top 3 SP air instruments - air trombone, air double bass & air xylophone. Nice.
Anti-capitalist Starbuck has finally got round to removing the duplicate ad, seeing as he's not being paid lots of moolah for it or anything. Look in wonder at the top of this screen - just one banner of advertising! And more to the point, wonder what the aesthetically-bereft Mr Powersurge will eventually put in its place. The scrolling text thing's already getting on my tits...
When it comes to web searches, I sometime take it for granted that Google is an integral part of the net experience. A quick insertion of the search query in the Google Toolbar, and voila, your uncle is Bob.
But after chasing through a Sitemeter referral to this site, and not wishing to mix my metaphors, I've jumped ship onto another search engine bandwagon.
Vivisimo is what has caught me eye - not a search engine, but a "clustering engine". It's meta-search service organizes the URL, title, and short description outputs of other search engines, and automatically clusters the results so as to organise documents into groups or clusters. Snore. For a geek like me, its "fascinating" (sort of) to check out what subsets of spontaneously-created hierarchical categories the search-input is separated into.
Trying to get back into the blogging stirrups after a short break along with everything else thats going on around me in "real life", its been difficult finding the time to do what I enjoy even more than writing blogs - reading other people's blogs.
So I'm going to just get Google to analyse some other blogs for me instead, and based on what links Google Adsense tries to sell to me, I'll hopefully be able to form a thoroughly accurate picture of their authors' writings.
You can play this game at home as well (if you're bored) - just put a website URL in the box below, and let Google do the do for you - it'll tell you what ads it thinks are relevant. (Code nicked from Google Weblog)
First up is Tam. Hmmm, not much luck there. A load of guff destined for bloggers. I get the feeling this may be a dead-end project....
Next up, Billy. More hmmming. Suspiciously similar results - blog commenting tools and the like. Same with Gary, Astolath, Maffy, Aaron, etcetera etecetera etceterbleedinra.
OK, Joy next. Result, - Bush-Cheney 2004 buttons. Something different, at least. Likewise, nothing suprising on Bush Lies - - a George W Bush paper doll being advertised. Huh? And more left-leaning Yankcentric ads over at the lovely Nurse Ratchet's place.
Gah, this wasn't meant to work like this. The last time I tried it, when I was obsessing over the Matrix all the bleedin' time, there was all sorts of kinky Trinity costumer links being offered to me.
And when I once briefly mentioned something about razers being electronically bugged in Tesco's, BANG, I was inundanted with endless ads for razers. And don't get me started on the dubious ads for celebrity lookalikes, Aaron Barschak concerts, classic BBC comedy videos....
Go on. Try it yerself on your own links. But just don't blame me for any disappointment.
Maybe its just a bad time for me to try this little experiment. Maybe no-ones blogging about any major zeitgeists right now. Or maybe Google are currently selling more blogging-tool ads than they were before. Or maybe Google has come to realise that pretty much all us bloggers ever talk about is blogging (as I am right now).
And maybe I'm just going to have to find the time to actually read my blog-roll instead. Woe is me.
Can I fill your void
I was watching the BAFTA's last night, being a sucker for such things. But its added to a seam of long-running low-level frustration within my mine(d).
Since its debut last year I've been desperate to see Touching The Void, Kevin MacDonald's drama-documentary depicting the true story of British climbers Joe Simpson & Simon Yates' disasterous attempt to scale the 21,000-foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes (Peter Bradshaw & Philip French's Guardian reviews of the film can be found HERE).
Unfortunately, unless you live in London, its often pretty damn difficult watching the films that you might want to see at the cinema if they're not thrust into the multiplexes by the cartel of "blockbusting" movie distributers. I'm one of the lucky ones - there's a couple of Arts Centres near me which show independent or second-run films. I had tried before my holiday to get tickets to see it at Warwick Arts Centre, but to my dismay it had sold out over a MONTH in advance. Which just goes to show how many more tickets they'd sell if they put the bloody thing up on more screens out of London. It was on at the other local arts centre for a weekend whilst I was on holiday, but no doubt it'd been sold out there for weeks as well anyway. And now... that's it, according to the wonderful Teletext cinema listing finder. There's no sign of life.
I've become fairly resigned to missing the films I badly want to see. But this one I was more desperate than normal. I love a good "man against the elements" hardship story. (I might say that they elicit that same fantastic feeling of overcoming overwhelming odds that things like Watership Down/The Animals of Farthing Wood/the Lords Of The Rings managed, but without the slightly unrealistic talking animals and trees; but then I'd be a berk to do so.) And the world seems to want to grind my face right in the misery of the situation. The film's been repeatedly mentioned a little too favourably in the British media over the last few months, just to remind me how good it is. In the French papers last week I read yet more trés bonne reviews about it. In Val D'Isere it turned out that they were actually showing it one night whilst we were there (though we'd already booked a meal for that night). At the airport a couple of nights later someone was looking like they were very much engrossed in the book. They keep throwing awards nominations at the thing. And then last night it wins the Alexander Korda Award for the Outstanding British Film of the Year. I think its all a conspiracy to make me miserable.
I live in hope that all this continued interest will force the industries hand, and get it a decent release. But I don't have that much hope.
(17 APRIL UPDATE: Ha haagh! Ignore all of the above, suckas. Got some tickets for it in APRIL!)
Erratum - the correction section
Post-script to my previous "column": My attention has been drawn to a statement made by the medical fraternity concerning the likely source of nociceptive innervation that is currently blighting my waking moments. I retract the terminology "badly bruised ribs", and hereby announce that my condition should be corrected in your memories to a "suspected hairline fracture".
But I will do my best not to moan on these pages. Too much. Thank Yoda for Tesco-branded Ibuprofen (a bargain hundreth of the price of chemically-identicle Neurofen, or something).
Achingly beautiful memories
Well, I have finally returned from my week-long hiatus from these pages, tired and battered, but content.
Yes, I have just returned from a wonderful week of skiing in the French resort of Val D'Isere with the missus-and-in-laws-to-be, and I feel very much at peace with the world. Nothing can drag me from my seas of tranquility - neither the pain from my badly bruised ribs, nor the tiredness accreted jaggedly across my synaptic circuitry throughout the course of the long journey home And after getting up at 5 a.m. for the one-hour flight from Chambery that was scheduled to arrive in Birmingham at 12.30 p.m., and 21 hours later following lengthy delays, a mystery-tour bus journey to Lyon to supposedly board a newly-chartered Jumbo Jet, yet more delays, and no hard information from Crystal Holidays or Excel Airways along the way, only to then have to wait for the baggage handlers to overcome "operational problems"... well, I guess I'd be forgiven for being a tad frayed around the edges. But no!
I have the juices of zen-ility seeping out of every pore right now. I shut my eyes, and I see slopes, gradients, contours to subconsciously adapt to, postures to subconsciously adopt. I see snow-draped mountain tops, blinding-white against the deep blue sky, a stream of silvery frosted particles, lifted from the triangular peaks, drifting in the breeze. I see the halogen-lit mass of the Face Olympique De Bellevarde towering in grayscale above the village, thrusting up towards the twinkling strip of stars high above the valley. I see the breathtaking view from the Glacier De Pissailles, a freezeframe of a turbulent ocean of clouds, breaking against the mountainsides below.
I had a few reservations when I first arrived. The room that we were sharing with the brother-&-sister-in-law-to-be in the Hotel Rond Point des Pistes was fairly cramped for four people, and the "sound-proof partition" dividing the room into two seemed to amplify rather than nullify every last breath and utterance. And on our first stroll around town on Saturday, I was struck by the amount of drink-and-drug addled kids screaming and puking their way around the centre - it was just like being at home in Leamington. Thank God for the vomit-hiding properties of a snowfall. However, the room turned out to be fine, the shock perhaps being due to the magnificent opulence of our previous skiing holiday's apartment Vail, USA. (And what a location the Rond Point was - right at the base of the Solaise and Bellevarde pistes and cable cars. No pisting about on a bus for us this year.) And the messed-up bingers evident on Saturday must've been too knackered to mess-up much further as the week went on, and the place turned out to be very pleasant, in a wintry, Christmas-trees-and-pine-cabin-buildings kinda way.
Nope, it was pretty perfect.
And most importantly, the skiing conditions in the whole Espace Killy region were perfect. The snow was deep and still thickly falling as we arrived at the resort on Saturday night, but for the rest of the week the skies were brilliant blue, save one day of flat-lighted whiteout midway through the week to add some variety.
For the record, the best restaurant of the holiday - Le Lodge. Lovely proper French food on the Menu Du Jour in the restaurant upstairs, nicely clubby in the basement. And for those entertaining father-in-law-to-be-playing-on-the-Playstation-2-in-grimy-conditions moments, Bentley's B@r. Heh!
And now, its back to normality, and Val D'Isere already seems a lifetime away, the holiday a crystal-clear dream. But as with all these experiences, my normality feels a whole lot richer than it did before...
Its funny how you adapt your mind to your body over time.
When I was young I was a sprinter. Masses of fast-twitch muscle in those finely-tuned tree trunk legs of mine, y'see. Years later I bacame relatively weighty. Too much fatty food and alcohol, too little exercise. It happened without me realising it.
And then, a few years ago, a very intensive exercise regime that I had forced upon myself, coupled with a trip to sweltering China, a drastic cut in my alcohol consumption, and a switch of diet from grill-steaks to carbohydrate (a reverse-Atkins!) made the stones drop off me (metric readers - 1 stone = 6.35029318 kilograms; thank you Google Calculator.)
I'd hardly noticed. OK, so some of my trousers seemed to have become too small to humanly fit my waist into - but surely my hip-bones have always been that width, there's no way I could have ever fit into them - they must've shrunk in the wash.
Or maybe I'd hardly cared - yeah, I was thin - too thin - for a while, as I exercised my body to the bone in a bid to exert some control over my life, control that I felt I was lacking in my mind, and that I could only grasp by changing it. More socially acceptable than self-harm, less self-servingly-self-destructive than bulimia. I had found what I needed to gain that mental inner strength without shame, to gain that control I was lacking, to confront my demons head-on in the sweat of adrenaline, and to boost my self-esteem by turning myself into a god. Everything.
And I did manage to find everything that I needed. I found myself. And I liked what I found. So I stopped exercising, no longer needing the pain, or the adrenaline, or the need to change myself, or the means to delve into the dark recesses of myself where I wouldn't normally dare to tred.
And, over time, my bodily volume has filled as adipose tissue has accumulated. Not a problem - I feel better not being able to feel bones through flesh, and I'm told I look good. I certainly feel healthier, in a different kind of manner to the healthiness I felt when I was running for hours every other night.
The problem, and the reason for starting this slightly digressive essay, is that I can't fit into my bleedin' salopettes, and I'm going to need them in a few days. Jeez, I shouldn't be sitting here writing this guff, I should be finishing off my packing before doing sit-ups for the rest of the night - otherwise, myself and my skiing trousers just aren't going to have a good symbiotic relationship. Grrrrroan! Maybe I can perform liposuction with a vacuum cleaner. (But not through that nozzle.)
So the Viper Squad Ten blog will be bereft of Starbuck-based excitement for a week or so. Hopefully my Sub Editors will keep the home-fires burning with their inimitable style of bollox. Whatever, I shall see y'all soon, complete with broken leg and a girdle of pinched-away flesh encircling the circumference of my waist.
# This is what you want... this is what you get #
I'm gutted that John Lydon has walked out of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He was by far the most interesting and amusing thing about this years c-list extravaganza. He made me larf so much! Now we're stuck with the rotten situation of "page 3 blow-up balloon" Jordan rubbing her pheromones off on dog-on-heat Peter Andre without any of Johnny's grit to aggravate their pre-coital displays. (Or should that be post-coital - whatever happened under the covers t'other night? And as for his physiological reaction to it, caught on grimey night-vision camera footage HERE (or HERE for you high-bandwith perverts)... well I'm glad that I wasn't watching it with my granny. Thank fruck my Windows Media Player is being a fracking clint, as Johnny would say, and not letting me see anything.)
Still, maybe its for the best. I'm going to have to suffer from an enforced break from television as of tomorrow for just over a week or so, and with Lydon out of the camp, I don't feel that I'll be missing much...
OK, so Stu wasn't impressed by my late discovery of Acno. Well, you'll probably laugh in my face when I highlight these 2 quick-reaction beauties, ideal for filling a few minutes when you should be doing something more worthwhile.
First there's Sonar Challenge, which is basically mouse-based keepy-uppy with a football. Oddly compelling. Worth it for the fantastic commentary alone.
And if you want to jab your pointer into a scary flinching eye instead, there's Sonar Challenge 2. Stoopid fun.
But this evening, mostly I've been playing Alehouse from Kingsley's Games, a beer-and-bear stained artifact from the days when we used to save people who'd jumped out of blazing skyscrapers by bouncing them across trampolines...
For all those Probotters who i understand have been visiting, the Probot store is open now HERE
For everyone else, marvel at the ridiculous designs. If I'm not mistaken, the picture is by, or at least in homage to Piggy's artwork on the Voivod covers. Anyway, i wanted the simple name design as sported by Jack Black in Time Out last week, and as that ain't here i'm not buying. In any event, i'm black t-shirted up after seeing the brilliant A Perfect Circle last night, so what do I care.
I am absolutely loving this little beauty of web game - Acno's Energizer. I've always loved this sort of Boulderdash-style "digging" game, but this is a cut above the rest. Its fast, intuitive, and clever. And Acno's so cute! I heartily recommend that you check it out now, me hearties.
I AM a beautiful and unique snowflake
I have never considered myself to have a strong accent. Of all the people I know, I would say that mine was the most neutral; at least, its by far the closest accent to the median of my experience, perhaps swayed by the fact that I've heard my voice a damn sight more than anyone elses.
I've become accustomed to piss-taking Southerner mates calling me a Brummie or a Northern Bastid just because I was brought up north of the Watford Gap. So it was with shock that I was asked by a work colleague whether I hailed from Birmingham - the work colleague being a Brummie himself! The temerity of it! I must be sounding like Barry from Auf Wiedersehen Pet!
I suppose that I've picked up some strains of regional enunciation from all the places where I've lived.. Bristolian burrs and South London lilts and that, my loves. I've got a hotchpotch of haccents. But I reckon that my piss-taking mates have been to blame for my current Brumingham timbre. They tell you that you come from "Dudlay, in the Black Countray" for long enough, and you subconciously start to develop your character around it. Maybe there's a certain amount of underdoggish pride in there - the Brummy accent is reportedly the most ridiculed and least attractive in Britain (something I would disagree with, despite not having one myself, of course). I think its warm and full of character. Kinda sexy! And its probably a whole lot better than what I'm lumbered with naturally. Babs.
"Crash hang wot no picture"
My PC's being slightly antisocial tonight. I think that 832894, the latest Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer, has given it the jitters. It doesn't much like change.
So as I spend the evening CONTROL-ALT-DELETE'ing, I was interested to read on the Register that David Bradley, the man who devised the Ctrl-Alt-Del reboot combination all those years ago, has revised. Modest to the hilt, in Bradley's words, "I may have invented control-alt-delete, but Bill Gates made it really famous." Heh!
#Return of the Tim, once again, return of the Tim, top of the world...#
Today (yesterday) is (was) a monumentous day. For today (yesterday) is (was) the day that DJ Tim - thought to be missing in action, having fallen off the edge of the blogosphere in a drunken rage of movie-disappointment - returns (returned) to his blog co-authoring duties. Praise the Lord and all that. I was even thinking about changing the site's title to "Where is Timbo" in clever homage to Salam Pax's blog during that Raed-free times...
But it wouldn't be that clever. And it would certainly be very insular and cliquey. And crap.
But most of all, it would be going against the sheer raison d'etre of this website... to spread the word about the greatest band to have ever walked the boards of 7 Carding Close, Coventry. And on that tip, sort of, to spread the word about the greatest horror film of all time, Hormone Hell, filmed over a decade ago so by now a bonafida classic, which will soon be available to all on VHS (us now having TWO videos in the house; although one intermittently doesn't record sound - gah!) GASP! as Starbuck pole-dances to Boney M in a short skirt, tights, and a goatee. MARVEL! at the stunningly gory but inventive special effects. WHIMPER! at the sight of Starbuck's new fiancee doing product-placement for Chivers Jelly... I'll have to at least get a transcript of the entire film up on this site at some point, maybe not even on a pay-to-read basis, you lucky people.
By the way, the slightly-obscure title of this "column entry" refers to DJ Tim's rather worrying handcuff habits. Much as in the same way that you'd hate to be sat on by a drunken and over-amorous Mark Morrison brandishing his cuffs, those years in Bristol being molested by DJ Tim and La La have surely made their mark, only to return in my darkest hours...
Whooo Yea I love you boy - About fing time!!!!!!!
DJ Tim [20:52]
Wow wot can i say - I was going to tell you all about how much I loved LOTR the second time I saw it. I was going to tell how I loved Revolutions when I saw it at the IMAX. I was going to say how much I enjoyed my hoilday to the US. But nothing beats the news about Starbuckeru and LL. I come back dreading messsages on my phone from work, but what do i get, the most joyous news possible; my mate H and LL.
Must sign off now since I'm jet laged, drunk and need to be at work tomorrow. I'm soooooooo happy for you two XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Snake, snow, spiral and seafood-based webgames
Hello there dearies. I've been hunting the best nice'n'simple flash games on the net, so you don't have to.
Unfortunately I've failed in my task, so instead here's some so-so additions to my burgeoning roster of webgame links.
From Miniclip, I've been rather enjoying the simplistic pleasures of Snake (thankfully not the original Snake). You get an enjoyable 5 minutes, at least, manipulating a snake. As it were.
For those wanting something a bit more complicated, try Trial Bike Pro, a "real-world physics" (sort of) stunt bike "simulation". You'll learn some new skills, or you'll cry like a child.
Those of you in the northern hemisphere (living within an area containing suitable geometric conditions, of course) may have been enjoying a little bit of snow of late. To exorcise those snowball fight deathmatch tensions in a cosy warm environment, you might want to try Snowfight 3D. Or, like me, you might not, as you might not think its very good.
Instead, I've been enjoying the more cerebral pleasures of Event Horizon, a much more enjoyable state of affairs - a spinning, matching-block-removal style puzzle game (just like the film). Much better than it first appears. I've been having trouble tearing myself away.
Also on Gamescene (for Event Horizon was theirs) is Something Fishy, which I rather loved (for the 10 minutes that I played it, anyway). Little fishie avoid big fishies. Little fishie eat little fishies. Little fishie become big fishie. Big fishie die. Such is life.
There may be much more enjoyable games on these sites. But I don't want to deprive you of the fun of finding them yourself. How philanthropic. I'm not at all being motivated by laziness here...