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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Dexter Season 4 finale review
Now that's magic!
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All text is copyright the Viper Squad Ten blog team 2003-2006 unless otherwise quoted or credited. If we've not credited you properly, please let me know. Throw us a link if you're desperate enough to use this guff...

[ VSX Latest ]

[ Tuesday, March 30, 2004 ]

Firefox - browsing by stealth!
Starbuck [20:45] Comments: 0 []
I was just poking around in Third Daughter's SiteMeter stats after discovering myself to be her 2000th visitor, and I discovered something suprising.

Now I'm nowadays thoroughly dedicated to Mozilla Firefox for my internet browsing needs - not only is it much more user friendly than Internet Explorer, its a whole lot more stable, fast, and (presumably) secure. Oh, and its free to download, and has nothing to do with M$, blah blah blah.

One of its most handy everyday advantages over IE is tabbed browsing. Right-click the Bookmarks toolbar to create a new folder containing all of your favourite web-sites, then select "open in tabs", and before you know it, 20 different websites commence downloading before your very eyes. Sleek.

However, it seems that opening a site in new tabs, or even opening a site in a whole new Firefox window, won't reveal to the new website from which site the reader has just arrived from (at least in version 0.8).

Which is generally a very good thing, given everyone's concerns about internet privacy. Brilliant, even. Unless you're someone like me, a stoopid member of the blogging community, who is so damn polite (or insecure!) that they want their fellow bloggers to be able to trace from where they've been referred from. Some of us are never happy.

Small things...
Starbuck [15:53] Comments: 0 []
Its beautiful outside - summer is here, if only for the day. It negates the humdrum workday existence, as I hurtle on a wave of adrenaline towards the end of the day. And, already being a very smiley person, its making my jaws ache.

In fact, a massive face-hurting rictus grin has just set in, upon hearing someone down the corridor whistling. I've got the utmost respect for natural whistlers, as opposed to forced whistlers who deserve shame and humiliation and pain for trying to put a brave face on life in such an annoying manner. Natural whistlers, however, are the champions of the human race. And this muddyfunster was whistling, wait for it, THE EYE OF THE TIGER, by SURVIVOR. You know, the one off one of the Rocky films. It takes guts for anyone who'll whistle such a tune in public. Guts and respect. Heh!

Talking of whistling, my whistling tune of choice is "Just Bugging" by Eighties "comedy" hip-hop crew, Whistle. Oh the joy of creating such ripples of subtle ironic background noise to peoples lives, just by pursing my lips...

[ Monday, March 29, 2004 ]

A wider world
Starbuck [21:52] Comments: 0 []
I finally saw the magnificent In This World last night (Guardian reviews HERE). Not just a honest and daring piece of film-making, but an exceptionally beautiful one as well.

A road-movie of sorts, following Jamal and Enayatullah, two refugees displaced from Afghanistan by the West's bombing of the Taliban regime, having brought passage to London from Pakistan to find a better life for themselves. Not much happens. Its not full of Tarantino-style dialogue. But you really are there with them, every fearful mile of the way.

Most of the actors, including both leads, were nonprofessionals; indeed, Jamal and Enayatullah were both Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. Director Michael Winterbottom shot it on digitial video, giving him a real "guerilla filmaking" straight-in-and -out approach as the entourage followed the Silk Road to Turkey.

Its a film that the more hate-filled and fear-fuelled diciples of the right-wing tabloids (hello Dailies Mail and Express) should be forced to watch, if only to show them these small-minded idiots the humanity inherent in those "evil" asylum seekers.

And Winterbottom being the genius behind 24 Hour Party People, he understands enough about the importance of music to make the soundtrack swell in all the right places.


[ Sunday, March 28, 2004 ]

Dust to dust
Starbuck [18:42] Comments: 0 []
We scattered my Grandad's ashes on Friday. The vicar said some words for the few family members present, and then my dad poured the contents of the cremation urn into the small block of soil that had been cut into the turf.

The event was low-key - we'd already said our goodbyes at the funeral, after all. No fuss, no further ceremony to close the chapter of his life. Just a few quiet moments reflection.

It was strange seeing the dust that made up what had once been my grandad's body. As the urn was emptied, wisps of ash, caught in the early-evening sunlight, sparkled like his spirit; whirling eddies, picked up by the breeze, drifting across the graveyard. It was quite beautiful. The dappled twilight, the sounds of the nearby river, birds singing all around.

Now I'm not a religious or spiritual man, not in any way. I believe that Man has his propensity towards faith - faith in anything he cannot understand or easily confront and his belief in the unbelievable - hardwired into him genetically in the same way as violence and aggression are also hardwired in. My own "faith" is backed by science, and I feel that I can see the belief of others in the supernatural (of any sort) for what it is - an evolutionary advantage that has seen Homo Sapiens Sapiens rise above all of the other hominid species, succeeding where other manlike creatures have failed. Through community, through shared awe, through society. I believe that this self-protective mechanism is where mankind gets its most unappealing and unfortunate traits - racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance. Thankfully it evidently also provides much strength, nurturing kindness and support and community. Its just a shame that 21st Century society hasn't progressed far enough to fully embrace humanism, to give people the power to care because people are people. But I digress. Although I feel that I am correct in my lack of faith, other people - members of my family, my grandad - would equally feel that I am wrong. And we all must work within the parameters we're given.

Whatever you believe in, with this final act, the scattering his ashes, this wonderful man was laid to rest, and I felt the shudders of his passing so deeply in my soul, if I truly did believe in the soul.

Wisps of a great man, blowing in the breeze, returning to the earth. His memories live on in our hearts, our memories, our stories. And when my generation is dead and gone, his atoms will still live on in the grass and the flowers, the insects, the birds and those that prey on them, and in people just like him or me. He will be part of the soil, the nutrients, the river, the sea, the clouds, and the rain.

And one day far from now, as we all were sourced from stardust, then stardust he will again be.

Thinking now about my own inevitable death, it's a strange realisation that it excites me so much to think that my constituent elements will one day be returning to the lowest levels of the ecosystem. In the same way that I feel a heady thrill from the simple act of dropping a clipped bud or a fruit or berry far from its parent plant's habitat, the thought that I will one day merge with and affect this beautiful thing called nature provides me with an unusual feeling of joy and comfort.

But then, I guess that's not so strange. There's nothing to fear in death.

[ Friday, March 26, 2004 ]

My favourite joke
Starbuck [08:00] Comments: 0 []
Person One: Knock knock
Person Two: Who's there
Person One: Doctor doctor there's a fly in my soup
Person Two: Oh, alright, come in then.

Sorry, readers. I felt you, like me, might be in need of a Friday-morning lift (non-GMT readers or those not viewing this immediately post-publishing - insert date-time here: ) . You can blame eighties TV-pant-swingers Trev & Simon for that Wilde-like witticism. Its the way you tell 'em. Etc.

[ Thursday, March 25, 2004 ]

Referrer bait
Starbuck [20:46] Comments: 0 []
Quality-connoisseur readers - please ignore this post, and jump to the next. Spurred on by people arriving at VSX looking for TV detritus, I am just trying to further gauge net-surfers searching habits for some rubbish TV characters (I get enough hits already from people looking for info on Emu-nemesis Grotbags, Wesley Two Scoops Berry from American Gladiators and nude pics of Vicky Michelle...)

I will bait the trap thus, with the names of two American TV sitcom characters from yesteryear who put the "h" in "sitcom" (as the old joke goes):

Doogie Howser MD and Major Dad - perfect examples of why nothing apart from the Simpsons should ever be let near the 6 O'Clock strand on BBC2 again.

Etymological entertainment
Starbuck [20:21] Comments: 0 []
World Wide Words. Interesting and informative.

I'm rather at a loss for words myself tonight, so rather than just pilfer the link from Clear Blue Skies, I'm going to half-inch Dave Clear Blue Sky's text as well:

"It's a website that traces the origins of English words and phrases and documents their meanings and mis-use. It also has regular reviews of books about language, longer articles and sections for topical and weird words, all of it written by Michael Quinion.

So, if you have ever wondered why we say things like "It's raining cats and dogs" or where the word flummox comes from then why not pay a visit and find out.

[ Wednesday, March 24, 2004 ]

Zombie Eaters
Starbuck [21:08] Comments: 0 []
Zombie fever (or should that be "rage") is starting to infect cinema audiences again, what with the remake of Dawn of The Dead gnawing away at cinema audiences (and not forgetting Shaun OTD of course...)

So it was with interest that I've observed a "small surge" of people hitting VSX in search of Zombie Infection Simulators. Click through to the September 2003 archives for the original links, or for something new, try Hardcorepawn's version to engage in some zombie-nuking revenge.

A moments respite
Starbuck [18:25] Comments: 0 []
Sitting here, stuck at work... eyes straining to the point of streaming... brain straining to the point of screaming...

[ Sunday, March 21, 2004 ]

Get creative - the sound of the city
Starbuck [17:26] Comments: 0 []
This was a rather fantastic sunday-afternoon browser-based flash-game find...

A Break In The Road - point-and-click your way around a strikingly-visualised city, recording aural fragments of urban life on your Mineedisc - the bass throb of a passing car, the humming of a girl drying her hair beyond an open window, the sound of a gate blowing in the wind, drunken pub conversations - then take your collected beats and melodies back to your studio. Mix them into your very own track - the world's yer lobster here - before trying out your minute-long set at your mate's club. The better your tune, the more impressed the crowd will be. Make sure you don't skip the well-presented intro either.

Nice one, Luke Whittaker. You verily are the main geezer. Innit.

Starbuck [16:14] Comments: 0 []
Dave from Clear Blue Skies is hosting a so-called Bloghunt event over the course of April. CBS was behind VSX being flashblogged last year, the repercusions of which am still reaping, with some brilliant blogs added to my regular blogroll (its just a shame that all the flashblog Comments have been lost from that era). I subsequently feel it is my solemn duty to big-up his latest endeavour.

So any of you self-proclaimed bloggers who may have drifted onto this page should click through to his preliminary description for the low-down.

#We curare alot#
Starbuck [15:44] Comments: 0 []
Thanks to the ever-reliable Cyber-Satan for further ramping up my enthusiasm for Shaun of the Dead link to the official site.

In Zombie Dave's words: "Rrrrrrrr crrrrrrrrrnd frrrrrrrrrgrrrrrrrrrrn wrrrrrrrrd."

[ Saturday, March 20, 2004 ]

Sonic Mario
Starbuck [17:32] Comments: 0 []
I vaguely remember my elusive occasional sub-editor DJ Tim mentioned sometime in December about how sound played such a massive role in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And that.

The great man was right. Over on, there's a trilogy of flash animations set in the Super Mario world. The visual effects are basic (in a good, retro way), as it uses rips of old SNES sprites and backdrops, but with a decent soundtrack, it actually becomes an exciting cinematic treat (aside from part 3 where the storyline sags somewhat).

Follow the following links to view:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

(The animations are 2 Mb plus size-wise, so poor dial-up'ers might have a bit of a wait.)

Daleks Law
Starbuck [14:18] Comments: 0 []
Good news. Christopher Ecclestone has been cast as the next Doctor Who. Not a bad choice. I was concerned that the BBC had been using their webcasts as a Timelord-training ground for Richard E Grant.

Ecclestone's got a good background of sufficiently diverse and inventive acting roles behind him, so I reckon it won't just be "another job" for him.

[ Thursday, March 18, 2004 ]

Reflections on a dead bloke
Stuart [10:40] Comments: 0 []
Isn’t amazing how the imminent anniversary of rock star’s death can re-ignite a past love for his music (and boost sales to boot)? Up to about two months ago I hadn’t listened to Nirvana for maybe a couple of years (oh, bar buying the compilation for the new song) but now I’m Nirvana mad again, having yesterday bought the singles box set (for those all important 6 new tracks that I didn’t have elsewhere) and finally succumbed to buying the five volume Outcesticide bootleg series on ebay. Not the originals, CD-Rs, on the basis I’ll never listen to the things anyway. I have unfortunately had to postpone the 10th anniversary party I’d planned with my mate John as we are finally moving flat on 2nd April (party was in for the 3rd, being the nearest Saturday to the generally accepted date of his death). This is having effects on me outside of strictly Nirvana too, he says, realising that there is a reason for him currently listening to Foo Fighters.

So, yes, flat – in a few weeks I will finally own some bricks and mortar (or at least the mortgage company will). I am already dreaming of where I’m going to put the speakers and my recently retrieved vinyl collection. And leaving everything else to Kathryn to sort out.

Then we just have the wedding to organise. Once that’s out the way, he says romantically, I’ll need to think of a new goal to strive for. Or just muddle along until I die. Which is to be? And who is to say what will intervene? As Kurt said in an interview that’s recently surfaced; "It might be nice to start playing acoustic guitar and be thought of as a singer and a songwriter, rather than a grunge rocker because then I might be able to take advantage of that when I’m older. I could sit down on a chair and play acoustic guitar like Johnny Cash or something, and it won’t be a big joke."

SOB! That didn’t happen did it? I still remember that Saturday morning in Bristol when I woke up to my clock radio playing radio 1 and a tune of the time that was a lot like, but wasn't, Here Comes the Hotstepper thingy, and then the song finishing and the DJ saying simply "Kurt Cobain is dead" and me burying my head in the pillow to shed my one and only hero-related tear.

Anyway, enough morbidity; I will save that for the inevitable drunken solitary play-through of all their albums in a tearful tribute. Black Books tonight – I wonder how (in a good way) such a show makes a third series, on the basis that it’s hardly Only Fools and Horses, but then you see people travelling from all corners of the web to post on this (admittedly wonderful) site and you realise the ground swell of popularity it has. I’m soooo looking forward to the DVD as my memory of series two is hazy (except Manny inside the piano – comic genius) and I’ve worn out the etching of my series one DVD. By the way, I’ve watched last week’s episode THREE TIMES now - beat that!

While we’re on eth subject, let’s get our pens to diary pages for Shaun of the Dead, which was filmed (partly) on my doorstep on Crouch End reservoir (where I’ve spent a fantastic very done-in night looking across to an illuminated London town, but that’s another story).

And while we’re on the subject of zombie flicks, let’s also remember that the remake of Dawn of the Dead is nearly upon us. It is bound to be rubbish but the trailer is ace!

[ Wednesday, March 17, 2004 ]

oooowwweeeeeeooooough (approximation of TARDIS rematerialisation sound effect)
Starbuck [23:10] Comments: 0 []
If you have you ever doubted my credentials as an ex-time traveller, I can now prove it to you. There is a portal hyperlink embedded in this page, and there are packets of data from ever-popular Kiwi blog Tam I Am tumbling down a wormhole from there...

Today's date as I write is 17 March 2004 23:00 GMT. And, if you're quick, you can drag from the future some links from as far ahead as 20 March 2004, whilst Tam's main page is still settled on current NZ time (12 hours ahead of GMT). I think I've now settled any doubts that may have lingered.

(Fingers crossed that Tam doesn't fix this, should it just out to be a blog error rather than a bona-fida time-warp phenomenom, thus making me look to be the biggest cile im be town of imbecile.)

[ Tuesday, March 16, 2004 ]

Grin as wide as a harbour
Starbuck [08:18] Comments: 0 []
A quick TV review for those interested in the comedy currently emanating from the Isles of Olde Britaine.

Judging by the first episode, the new series of Black Books on Channel 4 is looking to be as classic as the previous seasons. Its very rare for something to elicit actual "laugh out loud" noises from deep within myself, but this had me chortling and giggling, and yes, lol'ing like a lunatic. Pure, fresh, silly fun. Apparently my grinning face was a treasure to behold!

Likewise, Nighty Night, which has just jumped across from the digital no-mans-land of BBC3 onto the firm terrestrial grounds of BBC2. Extremely good, as you'd only expect from something starring Julia Davies and Kevin Eldon, amongst other. Very dark-humoured, very funny. It put me in mind of a narrative-based Jam, or a less weird and fractured League of Gentlemen. And, featuring ertswhile Chris Morris collaborators Davies & Eldon, its causing all sorts of horrific Jam flashbacks to bruise my innocent mind... that acupuncture "crucifiction"... ugh!

And Ant And Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Noel's House Party has been reborn! Hurrah!

[ Saturday, March 13, 2004 ]

Word Up
Starbuck [12:00] Comments: 0 []
The Surrealist Compliment Generator - does exactly as it says on the tin. Link harvested from Tam. You could write write a novel off the back of this thing!

More lexiconological treats over on this Summarise a Novel in 25 words thread at the boards (link sighted under my bed within last Thursday's Guardian).


Watership Down (Richard Adams) - "Funny-named bunnies leave home based on psychic premonition, join cult, leave, find new home, notice no lady bunnies around, steal lady bunnies from farm."

The Bible - "Good opening chapter. Main character arrives halfway through, but gets killed off early. Some decent (if dated) commandments. Cracking ending. Slighty too open to interpretation."

Requiem for a Dream (Hubert Selby Jr.) - "Heroin and diet pills are all fun and games until someone loses an arm."

The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien) - "Little guys go to a lot of trouble to get rid of stolen jewelry."

Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk) - "I hate my life. Almost as much as Marla. Anarchy is liberating. No, anarchy is bad. Wait, anarchy is, I don't know. Ask me. The other me." or "I read this book. Because Tyler read this book." or "The first rule of Fight Club is you don't summarise Fight Club."

Naked Lunch (William Burroughs) - "Heroin eyeball. Razor. Control fuck. Is."

1984 (George Orwell) - "2004."

[ Friday, March 12, 2004 ]

Izzy wizzy Jack gets busy
Starbuck [08:21] Comments: 0 []
To continue my recent theme-of-sorts concerning soundalikes (Doom zombies, farting dads etc), I've just noticed that the guitar solo in the White Stripes' Ball and Biscuit (track 8 off Elephant) is not in fact a guitar solo - it actually sounds like Sweep (of Sooty fame) has wandered into the recording studio and is having a right drunken rant. (A not particularly representative reminder of what Sweep sounds like is available on this wav file).

[ Wednesday, March 10, 2004 ]

genetic trait or mimicry?
Starbuck [18:26] Comments: 0 []
Haaatschooo! Excuse me. Haaaaaaghtschooo! Parp! Oh, pardon me!

I'm a walking wind-machine today (if you include sneezing as wind, which you probably don't). And its got me pontificating.

My sneezes, you see, are exactly the same as my dad's sneezes. They are identical. But, apart from him, I have never heard anyone sneeze like me. My dad's farts, and I'm sure he'd want me to share this with the world, are also identical to my own - not explosively deep, but quite "tuneful" and tight.

There must be something to this. Is it a genetic, or does this trait develop subconciously by mimicry? For a start, I don't sound at all like my dad in speech, so my vocal chords might not be involved in the sneeze response. Actually, scrub that, its a bad argument. Sneezing comes from a lot deeper down, and maybe its too violent a response to be a purely larynx-determined noise - its all about the tension exerted on the vocal chords and the air pressure within the glottis. Or something. And accents are not a genetically-mediated phenotype anyway. But then, at the immense levels of air pressure which the diaphragm must build up to force that long-undisturbed residual air from your deepest-of-deep alveoli, the tension within the muscular vibrating folds of the larynx and its chords, as well as the dimensional and tensile dynamics of the rest of your airwaves, must all come into play - its not something that you'd subconciously be in control of. Unlike the obviously psychological traits of sneezing - individuals who endure multiple sneezes in as session, always equally-spaced temporally. Anyway, those people are just weird.

I'm getting nowhere. This is why I stopped being a scientist! I'll just say its a bit of both.

And as for farting - in relation to genetic verses learned behaviour - there's no time for a in-depth look into the workings of my anal chords, you lucky people; my girlfriend's essay is still causing complications in the labour of love that is VSX. So I shall end this report now. The end. Fin.

[ Tuesday, March 09, 2004 ]

Check your brakes.
Starbuck [23:16] Comments: 0 []
Phew. A close shave, there.

Now I use a relatively-stable version of cranky old Windows Millennium, which of course doesn't allow you to defragment the hard disk unless you shut down all running programs (except Systray & Explorer - its not that miraculously stable!), which then prevents you from rebooting or shutting down normally, which leads to ScanDisk, and GAH! Therefore, I always boot into Safe Mode for my obsessive-compulsive disk defragmentation.

However, some time ago I noticed that my computer was refusing to boot into Safe Mode, no matter how deft my keyboarding skills at start-up. Thank fruck then that I had managed to force the boot menu (click Run from the Start menu, bring up the System Configuration Utility by typing msconfig, click Advanced on the General tab, check Enable Startup Menu, in Millennium at least), because my computer has just been REFUSING to LOAD up the DESKTOP without BSOD'ing loads, and then, when I turn the box off & on again and ScanDisk naturally kicks in due to improper startup, it was REFUSING to either COMPLETE it or to LET ME CANCEL, GODDAMMIT! And without Safe Mode coming to the rescue, the monitor before me would have a Starbuck-shaped fist in it.

So my previous lesson to you, dear friends, is this: check yer brakes before its too late. And clunk click every trip.

[ Monday, March 08, 2004 ]

Prepare to evacuate soul at the age of 75...
Starbuck [21:25] Comments: 0 []
I've not been able to spend much quality time in front of the blog-console of late - the girlfriend's got an essay nearing boiling point which takes keyboard priority.

So just a quick link today to Third Daughter, who has a LINK to a piece of evil lack-of-fortune-seeing digital hocus pocus - the Death Test. Good to know I've got more of a chance of death by nipple-electrolysis than suffering from an alcoholic demise...

[ Sunday, March 07, 2004 ]

VSX - for all your naughty weekend needs!
Starbuck [17:33] Comments: 0 []
A wonderful weekend has just been spent straddling the Warwickshire/Oxfordshire border. For the Other Half's birthday treat, we stayed in the fantastic Castle Inn at the summit of Edgehill. So called, because it's a castle (well, sort of - it's a tower, like wot you find in a castle, started in 1742 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Edgehill and opened eight years later on the anniversary of Oliver Cromwell's death, history fans!), and because its an Inn (as of 1822). Do you see what they did there? (And Edgehill is on the edge of a hill. Do you see? Do you?)

Regular readers will be sick of my over-enthusiastic gushing about how beautiful places I've visited have been, so I'll reign myself in on this one. Apart from to say that the views from the hilltop (which we traversed on foot for a good hour without reaching the other "edge") were outstanding... breathtaking... etc. It felt like most of England was laid out before us just for our viewing pleasure, with the distant foothills of the Welsh Mountains peeking through the haze. And as the sun drew low in the sky, myriad shadows broke across the hillsides in the foreground, resolving the ridge and furrows of the toiled fields of yesteryear (which always "does it" for me). And to have these views from the windows of our room near the top of the main tower... stunning!

As was the Hook Norton beer. Just what you need after all that trecking through the hillside woods. Good food too. The place has even got its own ghost as well, and the fields below are swarming with the restless spirits of the fallen soldiers at the Battle of Edgehill, the first major battle of the English Civil War. Except that ghosts don't really exist, lets face it.

You can't get much more romantic than a little Cotswold-stone castle, and it receives Starbuck's Highest Recommendation. Take your bird/bloke there next weekend, and tell them I, Starbuck Powersurge, sent you. I might get a pint of Old Hooky out of it.

(Please note: if you don't live in Britain, its maybe not worth travelling halfway around the world for just a weekend. It'd probably rain.)

[ Friday, March 05, 2004 ]

Ding dong!
Starbuck [23:24] Comments: 0 []
So the winner of Back To Reality was.... (drum roll)... Major James Hewitt! Congratulations, sir (if on the very-off chance you are reading this.)

I must admit I've always thought of him as a bit of a git, but I guess that's the "love rat" image that the media have forged. His 3 weeks locked in the Back To Reality mansion/studios have showed him to be a lot more likeable. And in a weird fluke of timing, his win comes just as his former flame, ex-Princess of Hearts Diana Princess of Wales, is still casting major media-ripples from beyond the grave...

Being a big fan of rubbish telly, I must say that, despite its luke-warm public reception (according to the media, again), BTR has been consistently so very much better than the more-watched "reality" shows - Big Brother, I'm A Celebrity, and their ilk. Infinitely so. Its just a shame that, in the Entertainment Barrel, shit (BB) will tend to float to the surface, whilst gold (BTR) might sink like a stone. Still, I enjoy a bit of crud with my crudite.

Loaded like a freight train Flyin' like an aeroplane Feelin' like a space brain
Stuart [16:08] Comments: 0 []
Hello there. Increasingly infrequently contributing contributor here.

Due to it being Friday and my having exhausted my workload and myself, I thought I should use my few moments of spare time wisely and contrbute.

I should first of all say that Shameless was indeed most good. I hadn’t seen it, so welcomed the repeat. Angels, on the other hand, was terrible and didn’t even have sufficiently attractive characters in it to hold the alpha male’s attention. Such rubbish shouldn’t be allowed.

Hustle, on the other hand, we like a lot, despite the panning it got in this edition’s Private Eye. I like a con as much a the next man (except the one in Confidence, the film, which I saw on DVD this week and which was rubbish).

Of course, all other TV programs may as well pack their bags and leave after next Thursday, when the wonderful Black Books returns to engage and enlighten us. I’m especially pleased because I resisted paying £45 to see Bill Bailey in London last year and instead have recently secured tickets to see him at the Wycombe Swan for less than £20. there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

21 Grams this weekend. I saw Infernal Affairs this week and it was, I have to say, nowhere near as good as it has been hyped to be. Some great bits, but overall “slight”. That’s my review; “slight”.

Time to crank up a bit of Appetite For Destruction to get me through these last couple of hours.

Thanks for your time. I have only spoken about imaginary things. I am playing my cards close to my chest. I shall not reveal anything of myself in this post, beyond the foregoing comments, which may in themselves reveal aspects of my character.

An observation on game-immersion turns into a right load of llobox before your very eyes
Starbuck [13:10] Comments: 0 []
I think I've lived and breathed too many computer games during my formative years. They've become the kernel of my audio-visual programming, the very essence of my sensory core.

I was sitting in a toilet cubicle at work earlier, and in the cubicle next to me was a Zombie Guy, escaped from the code of Doom; the eerie sound of a zombie which hadn't been alerted to my presence. At least, that's what the gutteral heavy breathing sounded just like. And the staple-gun on my photocopier sounds identical to one of the eight-legged nasties (the Spider Mastermind / Arachnotron). Scares the hell out of me.

But not as much as the geese down by the lake where I've just my lunch, which lumber relentlessly towards onself, fully erect (as it were) and full of malicious intent, looking like those bad-ass chickens from Chuckie Egg.

I look at buildings and landscapes, and I see geometries, vectors, polygons, gouraud shading, texture mapping, bump-mapping and specular reflecting, all light sourced or surrounded by a haze of particle effects. I dream in digital.

I can only imagine what effect full-on virtual immersion will have on our world view when technology lets it loose on us. I would say that it 'd facilitate the evolution of our concept of self to itself evolve. But I'd sound like an idiot.

[ Wednesday, March 03, 2004 ]

"Time to die"
Starbuck [17:36] Comments: 0 []
Maybe I'm getting old. Or maybe I've just been living my life suffering from a sleep-deficit for too long now. But whatever the reason, I seem to be spending so much of my time in a rosey day-dream of beautiful memories. As I lie in bed at night, I picture the most wonderful environments that I've existed within. And sitting here at work, my mind keeps drifting into the past. From the places near and far that I've visited across this globe and the next, to the places where I've lived in Britain - terrabytes of visual and emotional data which keeps flooding my RAM.

I'm very lucky I guess. When you've learned to find beauty in every aspect of your surroundings, and when you've got memories as crystal-clear and valuable as these, you'll never be found wanting in life.

Roy Batty would understand. "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain..."

[ Monday, March 01, 2004 ]

Repeatedly Shameless
Starbuck [23:00] Comments: 0 []
I don't like to preach on these pages. If I ever fall into that trap, its because YOU the reader DEMAND to be told what's RIGHT for you.

But I will just inform any of you UK-bound Brit TV-watching sods who missed Shameless on Channel 4 the first time round that its being repeated from tomorrow (Tuesday), only a week after the series finished. Very good indeed - indeed, the Guardian described it as the best thing on British TV in ages. You might dislike it at first - you might have difficulty empathising, or liking, the characters as the first episode unfolds. But stick with this mutha, and you'll discover it to be, yes, the best thing on British TV in ages. Unpretentious and joyous, funny and poignant, unjudgemental and larger-than-life, its not TV as we know it. Unmissable.

Extreme beauty
Starbuck [22:46] Comments: 0 []
I sometimes get lost in the magical beauty thats the backdrop to my everyday life.

Sitting by the lake just down from my workplace over my lunchhour today, watching the geese, the ducks, the swans; some of them ducking and dabbling within the small pools between the sheets of ice, others skating and running across the frozen surface, the ice creaking and cracking under the weight of the larger birds as they scramble towards my bench and towards my sandwiches.

And then later, leaving work following a frustrating day of technical failures, a frozen flame of vapour trail, pink neon dissecting the pure blue of the early evening dusk sky.

And yesterday morning, from the hilltop at Dyserth in North Wales, surrounded by a plethora of panoramic delights; all my favourite visual stimuli in one fantastic vista - the distant snow-covered mountains, reaching down to the headland stretching out into the sea; the beach arcing towards me from the distant head until becoming hidden by the trees clinging to my hill's side; the sound of the waterfall behind me; the cottages of the village below, huddled within the shallow valley; farmland, fields of cows and sheep; and the wind farm, resting on the horizon of the tract of water. Sights both natural and artificial, filling me with their awe.

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