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

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

Sometimes guest editors: Mr Stu and DJ Tim.

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

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[ Monday, May 31, 2004 ]

Googlewhacking hell
Starbuck [17:33] Comments: 0 []
Myself and The Other went to see Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure last night, and very funny it was too. Mightily impressive.

Being me, its got me desperately looking for googlewhacks within the VSX site. Which, come to think of it, is kind-of cheating anyway, not only because I have written much of it myself, but also because I am trying to reverse-engineering them.

The closest I came was "gabber electrophiles", which would have cut the mustard, if only the site was not duplicated in a distasteful mass-market www-version. CURSE YOU BLOGSPOT FOR BLIGHTING MY PLANS!

Rock on, Tommy
Starbuck [17:03] Comments: 0 []
Having spent my teenage years sailing the good ship Rock across the Seas of Spandex, I very much enjoyed THIS ARTICLE in the Guardian's weekend magazine. I had "interesting" musical tastes in my formative years. Lots of dubious Heavy Metal, a smattering of acid house, and more Pet Shop Boys than you could shake Neil Tennants' dog's stick at. But metal was where my heart was, however ridiculous much of it was on retrospect. All these blokes looking tough in their spiky dog collars and studded wrist-bands, all mummy's boys at heart, helping old ladies across the mosh-pit. And that.

[ Friday, May 28, 2004 ]

Starbuck [17:46] Comments: 0 []
It's no suprise that more people don't bother taking advantage of the web to allow one to express oneself freely, what with all the deceitful tykes that are out there.

Not so long ago Harriet reported on discovering that someone had copied her rather lovely blog In The Aquarium.

And just now I've just read that dyslexic readers of Jen's Inside My Head run the risk of being shunted to a scarily-hardcore Christian site if they type blogpsot instead of blogspot in the URL.

In fact, I've just tried it on VSX's address as well. Damn them, my mispelled URL heads to "Aaron's Bible" as well, the scum-suckers! There should be some rule against this sort of shit. It makes me angry. I have the exact opposite beliefs to these (in my humble opinion) brain-washed nutters, and I resent the fact that a mistyping of the word blospot is being used to trap the vulnerable. And I resent the fact that this MADNESS shapes our foreign policy by association with America. If the end of the world is nigh, its these guys that are bringing it on...

Remember, non-evangelists. Evangelise against the evangelists. Society belongs to mankind - don't let the tooth fairy knock your teeth in. (And to my evangelist friends, don't worry, I'm just acting as counterweight to help people test their faith - think of me as your fulcrum. There, hopefully covered that - I don't want to ruin any friendships, now!)

[ Thursday, May 27, 2004 ]

World's funniest joke
Starbuck [23:19] Comments: 0 []
To make up for inscribing my previous guff-filled post across the interweb, I give you the best joke that I've heard today, courtesy of Sub-Editor Stu:

I was walking down the street and I slipped in some dog poo.

As I was cleaning my shoe, I saw someone else skid in the same patch of poo.

"I just did that", I said.

So he rubbed my nose in it.

All About Your Editor (part 2)
Starbuck [23:07] Comments: 0 []
I don't do many of these question-and-answer memes much, but I'm sure you're all dieing to know a little more about the founder of these pages (note a tinge of self-deprecatory irony in the pixels above.) Its not journalism, its not even as important as self-indulgence; it's just... "stuff". But as I myself like to know a little bit more about those I read regularly about, you lot aren't going to escape scot free - I'm going to give it a try.

1. What is your Full name: Starbuck Powersurge
2. What colour trousers are you wearing now: black, and not nice
3. What are you listening to right now? the screech of my PC's fan
4. What are the last 2 digits of your phone number? not interested
5. What was the last thing you ate: veggie bean-burger & chips down the pub, as the steak was "off"
6. If you were a crayon what colour would you be: fish
7. How is the weather right now: warmish night-time
8. Last person you talked to on the phone: Girlfriend - "I'm by the lake!"
9. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex: being a man, it depends what you mean by "notice"
10. How are you today: Mellow, at the back-end of an excitable day
11. Favourite Drink: first coffee of the day
12. Favourite Alcoholic drink: Tesco green lager - Earth's own Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
13. Favourite Sport: Tsunami 2010
14. Hair Colour: brown-grey
15. Eye Colour: Hazel O'Connor
16. Do you wear contacts: this is getting boring now
17. Siblings: One. Still boring. The question, not the brother
18. Favourite Month: December - lots of pressies!
19. Favourite Food: Whatever I'm eating
20. Last Movie you Watched: Half of Kill Bill, entirety of Chinese bootleg of Men In Black 2 (complete with people getting up in front of the screen)
21. Favourite Day of the Year: Today
22. Are you too shy to ask someone out: Not when it counted
23. - 29. Just too bleedin' boring to bother with
30. What books are you reading: Phase Space by Stephen Baxter
31. What's on your mouse pad: Homer Simpson - I'm so unique!
32. Favourite Board Game: Buckaroo
33. What did you do last night: Ate, drank, slept
34. Favourite Smells: Frying onions, thruster exhaust fumes
35. Can you touch your nose with your tongue: Only other peoples...
36. Who inspires you: myself
37. Buttered, plain or salted popcorn: It should all be banned. NOISY ANTISOCIAL GITS!
38. Favourite Flower: Carnations
39. What is the first thing you think of in the morning: Bugger!
40. Do you still talk to your best friend(s) from school? Yes
41. Pets: 1 dog by proxy, 12 year old black-coated retriever who no longer mounts legs
42... onwards - jesus, this thing doesn't end. And the questions just seem to get worse, if thats possible. 30 valuable minutes of my life wasted in front of a computer screen. At least my insomnia feels cured.

You can blame my cousins Bec & Est for this. Blame them with a baseball bat...

Gluttons for punishment - part one was HERE.

TUMIKI Fighters ver 0.2
Starbuck [20:54] Comments: 0 []
A last minute addition to my Game Directory thingummy - TUMIKI Fighters. Not your everyday side-scrolling shooter. Make it big, Number One!

[ Wednesday, May 26, 2004 ]

Starbuck [12:18] Comments: 0 []
I waxed lyrical about my early impressions of Google's Gmail service right at the start, and a month later, I'm utterly hooked.

Its just so damn SLEEK and SEXY!

I'm not just talking about those pared-down good looks and those clever javascript tricks that make it feel more GUI than website. Its the way that it automatically collates all of those emails in a "conversation" (that's "thread" to non-Google employees), rather than cluttering your Inbox with shite (as most of my emails tend to be). Click on the Conversation, and it'll display all of the emails, both Sent and Received, in a stack like a deck of playing cards. I'd reckoned on it being a gimmick at first, but now I find it indespensible.

And call me a sad information-obsessed geek, but I am very much enjoying those oh-so-controversial "targetted adverts", as they reveal the meta-data that makes up my cybernetic interface, or something. I never click through on normal adverts, from banner ads to Google AdWords. However, somehow these personalised ads have drawn me in a couple of times now. For example, I was chatting about the BBC's Hound of the Baskervilles production t'other day, and GMail served up a tasty link to the Beeb's HotB website. Though fellow testee Tam failed to drum up any links with an email containing "Fuck terrorists XXX download pr0n Dubya cows Viagrax". Shame.

Current Gmail testers have each been granted two invitations to invite others onto the service, and there are already hundreds of these being auctioned off at eBay, so as a special offer to regular VSX readers, please place any bids via the Comments link above. The starting price for you, my special friends, is a bargain-basement £500 sterling. Plus administrative charges.

This is part of a chain of posts linked together by word association. The previous link in the chain was HERE. If you want to write another link here's what to do: Find a word, phrase or theme from this post to inspire your own and go and write it. It's that simple. Try not to write something that's similar to this post. That way the subject of the posts along the chain will vary. E.g. if I write about going to the doctor's, then don't talk about the last time you were ill, instead describe how you used to play Doctors and Nurses with the girl next door. Get the idea? Your post can be in any style you want. Copy this paragraph and tack it onto the end of your post, updating the link to point here, then leave a comment here that points to your new post.

[ Monday, May 24, 2004 ]

Web game roundup
Starbuck [21:26] Comments: 0 []
The VSX website has of late been suffering somewhat from the neglect of necessity, as other areas of my life have impinged on its virtual space. And once again tonight, the timeline available is short. In fact, in the words of Tyler Durden, "on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero"; this is something that the wine-muddied waters of my thoughts would have had me believe is relevant to this paragraph right now, that is until I read back to my previous sentence. Ooomph!

I think the only thing that can rescue this website from oblivion is a quick reminder of those lovely web-game links that are sitting in the side-bar over to - wait for it - the side of the screen.

Junkbot - will leave you addicted like a crack-addicted lego Lemming.
Sodaplay - organic vector physics web toy. Not a game.
Orisinal - an assortment of java games. Sweeter than the sweetest sweet. No liquorice.
Playerthree - diretory; includes the spermy one.
Psychopong - Pong for masochists
3D Pong - Ditto, but less Pongy, more pongey.
Grow - wtf?
A Break in the Road - blunted drill effect, man. Unique music game.
Lords3 Catapult - a bit like summat I had on my Spectrum. But better. Catapult game.
Event Horizon - not a bit like the film. I'm crap at puzzlers.
Acno's Energizer - where's Rockford?
Samorost - point & click adventure. Mess your dreams up for life.
Crimson Room - another point-and-click puzzle. How much do you hate yourself?
Viridian Room - more polished than Crimson, grrrrrate!
Trial Bike Pro - very amusing stunt-bike simulator. Springy.
Plastic Balls - like Breakout. But circular. With a drain.
Whizzball - not like the Amstrad thingummy. Ballocks.
Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy - Java version of classic Spectrum text adventure. No saves.
Future Impact - can't remember what this is to be honest. Its been sitting on my homepage, untouched, for about 3 years. Probably not very good.
Shockwave - lots of lovelies - get thee to Defender. Or Inklink.
Keelhauling blog - OK, this guy seems to know more about this stuff than me - you might as well just go here instead. Includes a very nice game directory.

I hope that that fulfills your web-game needs. And I hope that the links still work, though you might be better off if some of them don't... And remember, flash-heads - full-screen ahead, mofos.

Oh, and for the Kazaa'd-up Children of the Bittorrent revolution, I might as well clunkily throw in Uncle Starbuck's Recommended Free Game Download list.
Tsunami 2010 - best thing ever - its Tempest 2k (with the right music MOD downloads). Evening-sapping in-the-zone pschadelic gaming.
SpheresOfChaos - hectic asteroidalike. Colourful. Noisy.
Super Mario Pac - does exactly what it says on the tin. Crazily addictive.
Parsec47 - retro-modern vertical-scroller.
DX Ball 2 - yet another Arkanoidalike.
Sentry - Sentinel remake.
Klass of 99 - Bak 2 Skool, tarted up.
Head Over Heels - yet another Spectrum classic, polished beyond belief.
Uplink - Hacker simulator. Compulsive.
Tumiki Fighters - pastel-coloured side-scrolling shooter with a wreckage-attachment gimmick. Nice.

[ Thursday, May 20, 2004 ]

Simply Annoying
Starbuck [17:33] Comments: 0 []
I've only been using Windows XP at work for a month or so now, but there is one thing that is really getting on my man-tits...

Those cursed default Windows Xp Logoff and Logon sounds that you get when you lock or unlock your workstation, damn them!

It all started as a minor niggle when I realised that they sound vaguely like notes from a Simply Red track ("Stars", I think it is). But reinforcement by repetition can have devastating effects on one's mind. And now, every time I reawaken my peacefully resting workstation, the terrible image of a crooning Mick Hucknall (not only the title-holder of The Most Annoying Man In Pop but also a strong contender as The Ugliest as well), looms to the forefront of my tortured mind...

Readers - simulate this for yourself by clicking on the following wav files whenever your hands approach or leave the keyboard: LOGOFF, LOGON. Repeat until insania sets in.

(Footnoted bah!: Putting this into words has reawakened my previous mental audio-torment - the Darkness incident - curse you God for making my internal jukebox this way!)

[ Wednesday, May 19, 2004 ]

Gopher's hole
Starbuck [22:33] Comments: 0 []
VSX's Sub-Editor Stu maintains, a mite controversially considering he contributes to a blog, that bloggers are nothing but failed would-be journalists. And re-reading through some of the guff that has silted up my Archives over the past year, maybe he has a point.

Some people weren't meant to write, but do. Some people were meant to write, but don't. And some, such as I, straddle the two Venn sectors like an ungainly blog donkey.

One person who was meant to maintain a blog, but doesn't, is my old globetrotting pal Kev, who has entertained his friends over the last few years with his highly amusing and well-written emails from around the world, but did not know what a blog was. Ahh, sweet innocence!

I mention this for two reasons.

One: I have had his kind permission to set up a blog for him, where I'll be archiving his entertaining missives for the world's benefit. (Or, once he sees how easy this new-fangled "blogging" lark is, hopefully I'll be able to offload all the hard work onto the author). More news when/if I get round to it.

Two: It is a very roundabout way of thanking him for the following link, to the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum (from Travel Email 28 blah blah blah).

From the University of Calgary newsletter:
Torrington, Alberta (pop. 192) is an idyllic prairie town an hour northeast of Calgary. Surrounded by rolling grassland, it has the typical small town amenities; a nondescript post office, hair salon, restaurant, and general store with one rusty gas pump.

It has also generated a fantastic amount of controversy over the last four years due to the presence of the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum.

About the size of an RV, Torrington Gopher Hole Museum features stuffed gophers (actually, "Richardson's Ground Squirrels) posed to resemble the townspeople. Exhibits include gophers dressed as a priest, bank robber, RCMP officer, duck hunter, firefighter, and beautician, among others. Dressed in elaborate costumes and framed by elaborately painted backdrops, the gophers pose in cabinets, their glassy eyes indifferent to the media attention they provoke and the letters pouring in on their behalf.

Some fantastic pictures. And if Des Kelly from the Mirror happens to be reading this, its not a hoax!

[ Tuesday, May 18, 2004 ]

As it's sunny outside...
Stuart [09:30] Comments: 0 []
... a reason to stay indoors with the curtain shut - a follow up to the Crimson Room is here

[ Sunday, May 16, 2004 ]

But software. What light through yonder Windows 98 breaks
Starbuck [17:47] Comments: 0 []
Realising that my entire notion of culture was becoming that comfortingly-smelly stuff that grows behind my ears, I jumped at the chance of heading over to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon on Friday to watch the RSC's production of Romeo and Juliet.

Arriving at the Theatre in the warm light evening, I felt a chill of trepidation come over me when I saw that an a number of fleets of coaches had disgorged several armies of restless schoolchildren, and they were swarming, noisily, up the steps of the theatre. I remembered my own school trips to the theatre to see Shakespeare, and I remembered the distracting hum of disinterest that our philistine selves created in the auditorium.

We took our places right up in the Gods, and the sound of a thousand excited chattering conversations about how, like, my boyfriend is so, like, selfish, and do you like my pink mobile phone cover washed over us. I thought to myself that this would no doubt be a painful experience, but that at least it might form the bedrock of an interesting blog post, before considering that such thoughts perhaps meant that I was too reliant on this blogging outlet (COME ON WORLD, PISS ON ME! I CAN WRITE ABOUT IT!). But I digress.

I shouldn't be so cynical - they were good as gold - quiet, and obviously interested enough to laugh at the bawdy bits ("my naked weapon is out" - !)

And it was a very good production. I must admit that I usually lose it a bit in Shakespeare - I struggle with the Olde English language, and I did for parts of this. However, maybe I enjoy these things more, when I'm unable to concentrate on every last word, but I know the gist of the story; I subsequently feel less constrained by processing every sentence, and can just enjoy the mellifluous flow of speech. Excuse me for being intellectually-lacking, but it felt akin to listening to ambient techno at times - you can let it wash over you and enjoy it, but you can also focus in on the intricacies when the fancy takes you...

And what intricacies! Years of endless soaps and gameshows must have ground my intellectual capacities into dust - I'd forgotten just how powerful some of these words were, and just how visually beautiful Shakespeare's poetry could be.

And then last night I watched Fight Club for the umpteenth time - perhaps Palahniuk is what Shakespeare would be doing if he was still alive today. That, or he'd have turned into some bloated wee-smelling Ben Elton-Lloyd Webber amalgamation...

The Swindon Lot
Starbuck [17:01] Comments: 0 []
New to the blogroll, by way of the Technorati-sponsored VSX link-exchange scheme - its Swindon Tales ("the dullest town in the UK").

Now that's magic!

I went to Swindon once. It had the best roundabout in the world - The Magic Roundabout (see left). It also had a swimming pool complete with a beach and "tubes", so the rest of Swindon must be flicking dull if these two most-wonderful constructions can't elevate its status to even the second dullest town in the UK...

[ Wednesday, May 12, 2004 ]

Less is Moore
Stuart [16:42] Comments: 0 []
Look, I've just read that the Moore film will be picked up (by the Weinsteins themselves, personally, as they have done twice before, once with Kids) and that F9/11 will be shown on Monday at Cannes and is up for the Palme D'Or.

As Mr Moore would no doubt say himself:

"This is NOT coincidence! This is a man who CHOOSES to kick up a storm about his film less than TWO WEEKS from the time it will be shown at Cannes! A man who KNOWS it will be picked up by someone else, possibly by the individuals who back the company who are being told by their parent not to show it! In this way, BOTH Moore and the Weinsteins win! They both get increased profit because in Moore's case the film gets more publicity and more chance of winning awards at Cannes, and the Weinsteins get brass in pocket while not having to deal with Disney, knowing that because of the self-made controversy they have a hit on their hands!"

And you lot will still bleet on about censorship, you f***nuts.

[ Tuesday, May 11, 2004 ]

Ding dong, Avalon calling
Starbuck [20:52] Comments: 0 []
I used to play a lot of text adventures on my "personal computer" when I was a kid, back in the days when computer graphics couldn't hope to compete with the imagination. Years later, in the pre-web world of early University, I progressed onto MUDs - many an hour was wasted telnetting into the world of Viking MUD (and, berlimey, a quick Google search, and its still up and running; I tried it again a few years back but my telnet wasn't working, I was too impatient to find another way round, and that was that; Maybe next year.)

I also used to play a lot of dice-based role-playing games as a youngster, and one of the best was Paranoia - mainly because it didn't take itself at all seriously - it was all played for laughs and for the sadistic pleasure of the Gamemaster. And why bother too much with complicated rules if they get in the way of a good jokey set-piece.

So it was with bubbling excitement that I read in some geeky magazine recently that an online version of Paranoia existed - JParanoia. Unfortunately, its not browser-based, and I can't get the bleedin' downloaded software client to work. This has hurt me deeply. And once again impatience has got me by the throat.

So now, to satiate my new-found need for some, any, text-based online adventure game, I've grabbed one out of the Googlesphere at random and without any research - the suitably cliche'd-monickered Avalon, which, importantly, can be played in that lovely bit of java that's no doubt embedded in your own browser. And its already awakened in me that familiar over-excited feeling that these things have always caused me over the last 20 years...

Its really a bit too early to say whether its class or gash as yet, but if you try it yourself, and you see some useless toss-bag by the name of Bait aimlessly wandering around the Avalon universe, then please go easy on the poor bugger...

[ Monday, May 10, 2004 ]

Starbuck [21:37] Comments: 0 []
I don't usually do requests. Jeez, I was never some desperate-to-please local radio jock, even at the lowest points of Radio Redland's existence - you got what you were given.

However, when a reader is in distress, as Shagmatty understandably is over the loss of his much-in-demand domain-name, then I'm nothing if not accommodating (as Noo-Noo said to Tinky Winky!)

He pleads - "stick these trogon (sic) links on yer blog". Well, I owe him a drink, so just for this pitiful specimen of a reader, here's some links to some "comedic condom adverts":

All New Blogger
Starbuck [21:11] Comments: 0 []
Hmmm, this blog is being brought to you by the All New Blogger.

Things I like - built in flexible Comments, opening up an individual post on its own Post Page, MT-style (though I'll stick with Haloscan for now) - very nice, should I get round to turning Post Paging on. More HTML & CSS formatting support as well. And stuff.

Things I don't like - it burns my eyes. In fact, one of them has just melted into the cracks in my keyboard. I liked the previous interface. I may be a know-nothing idiot, but to me, it seems like the interface regressed stlyistically to the one before that. Ugly. And it seems to "chug" in the same way as well, whatever that may mean.

Still, if it improves the end-result for the reader, then I guess I must'nt grumble. Now where's the "make funny" button?

[ Sunday, May 09, 2004 ]

Starbuck [15:06] Comments: 0 []
Now anyone who knows me knows I'm all about fast cars and Alize, partyin' all day.

No wait, that's Dr Dre. Losing myself, there.

Now anyone who know me knows I'm all about ancient 8-bit microcomputer games and stoopid songs, playin' all day.

So three big cheers to Evil Robot Maffy for bringing my attention to Hey Hey 16K. This is what the early eighties were all about... very funny (for those of us of a certain age). Click HERE to watch.

C'est vraiment une offre tres speciale...
Starbuck [12:26] Comments: 0 []
This blog's been gathering a fair bit of dust over the last week, as Real Life intrudes on my Virtual Existence.

So as a gift to you, dear readers, today I offer you something to enhance your own Real World existence.

The Times newspaper has been offering return trips on the Eurostar from London to Angers, Besancon, Caen, Chalons-en-Champagne, Charleville-Meziere, Dijon, Deauville/Trouville, Epernay, Futuroscope, Le Havre, Le Mans, Les Aubrais, Orleans, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen, Troyes, St Pierre des Corps, Tours, Bale, Belfort, Cherbourg, Clermont-Ferrand, Laval, Limoges, Metz, Mulhouse, Nancy, Strasbourg, Le Creusot, Chalon sur Saone, Agen, Annecy, Aime-la-Plagne, Angouleme, Bordeaux, Bourg St Maurice, Brest, Chambery, Chamonix, Grenoble, La Rochelle, Libourne, Lorient, Lyon, Lyon St Exupery, Moutiers, Nantes, Quimper, Rennes, Valence, Valence TGV, Vannes, Antibes, Arles, Avignon, Avignon TGV, Biarritz, Briancon, Cannes, Carcassonne, Collioure, Lourdes, Marseille, Menton, Montpellier, Nice, Nimes, Perpignan, St Raphael, Tarbes, Toulon, Toulouse or Aix en Provence TGV, all for the bargain price of £70 return (or £140 first class).

Being used to shoddy British trains which proceed at walking pace with a man strolling in front holding aloft a red flag, I was very much looking forward to whizzing down to Marseille this Summer by TGV, guzzling champagne, and watching the cows braying "moo la la" from the top deck of the train. So I snaffled up the necessary passwords from back-issues of the paper in the Library, and dancing around in front of my computer, set about making the order. Mais malheureusement, I was only to find that the offer did not apply to when we wanted to travel. Merde!

Still, I don't want all my hard work to go to waste, so my gift to you, loyal readers, is THE LINK, and the following useful passwords:

18/04/04 WINE (Sunday Times)
19/04/04 CUISINE
20/04/04 CAFE
21/04/04 CULTURE
22/04/04 RELAX
23/04/04 TRAIN
25/04/04 COUNTRY (Sunday Times)
26/04/04 BEACH
27/04/04 VINEYARDS
28/04/04 OLIVES
29/04/04 LAVENDER

You know it makes sense. Just remember Jimm'll Saville's wise words: "this is the age..... of the train."

[ Wednesday, May 05, 2004 ]

Of Mice and Jebba
Starbuck [23:14] Comments: 0 []
These pages used to be a lot more political than they are nowadays. It's ironic that as I myself have become more and more politicised, this web-site's political and sociological content seems to have faded, without any concious decision to "self-censure".

I guess I've been leaving the cause of spreading the Truth up to greater, more eloquent, more committed minds than I. So I was very disappointed to find out that Disney are doing their best to block Miramax giving Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 an American cinema release. (Moore's own early thoughts on this can be found HERE.)

I'm not suprised. I've never liked that Mickey Mouse, murine Head of Disney. He's a corrupt corporate rodent, and is no doubt worried that Jeb Bush might block his supply of cheese.

Dirty Den
Starbuck [20:42] Comments: 0 []
The British tabloids are having a feeding frenzy at the moment over news that Fort Boyard star Leslie Grantham flashed his "manhood" (an archetypal tabloid word, there) at some "old boilers" using his webcam whilst "pleasuring himself" (very tabloid) and berating his EastEnders co-stars (though, to be fair, calling Jessie "Kat Slater" Wallace a "vile dog", Shane Richie "big-headed and self-infatuated", and Wendy Richard a "wanker" probably isn't too libellous.)

All in all, a fairly tawdry business for the Biggest Name In British Soap.

But I do fear that the papers have blown it all a bit out of proportion. I mean, its not as if he's gone and murdered someone.

No, wait - I take that back; I'd forgotten about that ill-fated taxi driver...

[ Tuesday, May 04, 2004 ]

Waves of unreality breaking at the shores of my Sea of Dreams...
Starbuck [21:24] Comments: 0 []
Its been a Bank Holiday Movie Bonanza this long weekend, and its been splashing great washes of technicolour across my dreams. Incredibly vivid images captured from my REM sleep, people and places and themes, filmic textures imprinted on my dreams. Its been… interesting.

First up was Kill Bill Volume 2, which was an incredibly enjoyable piece of cinema. Despite my ravingly enthusiastic review of the first volume (buried within the December 2003 Archives, VSX fans!), I had, on later reflection, been left with a bit of a disjointed feeling, a slightly unsatisfying feeling of incompleteness. Although the film was a fairly blistering roller-coaster ride in itself, the characters still sometimes felt two-dimensional, and the whole (or the half) of part 1 maybe seemed more like a series of sketches at times. However, that was just half of the film in its entirety, and Volume 2 sewed everything together very nicely indeed. No unanswered questions, plenty more dialogue (an area where the first was lacking), and plenty of shading in of the characters which had, out of necessity perhaps, been sketched in as simple line-drawings in Volume 1; the film had lots more character full stop. I suppose it can be difficult comfortably absorbing and accommodating a film within your mind if you don't know, or can't understand, the motives of the players. Volume 2 soon set about resolving this. And David Carradine’s Bill was an especially watchable creation. Cinematic crack.

Yup, twas very nice. If Volume 1 was Final Fantasty VII on the Playstation1, Volume 2 was Broken Sword 3 on the X-Box. I imagine.

Anyway, enough of my guff. You know you want to see it, even if you don't think you do. And if you don't, then go and watch that Sleepless In Seattle video again. From a locked safe. As it plummets down towards the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

But talking of the gloriously-stylish violence of the KB films, and some people's aversion thereof, this was just how I had felt myself, at least for a day or two after seeing Gus Van Sant's Elephant, a film which, quite rightly, I could not enjoy, but that I certainly appreciated. I haven't really written about it yet on these pages before, but it made a big impact on me at the time. It's been a long time since a film has left me feeling so utterly shellshocked - I walked out of the cinema alone (my girlfriend had been ill that day), and felt like breaking down in tears. I just wanted to cry out loud at the sickness of the world that turns privileged American high-school children into merciless killing machines.

It feels exhausting and somehow petty me trying to put into words the technical style of a film which made me sick with the reality of what it was portraying, but to quote some of the LoopDiLoop blog's review of the film, it was "almost dreamlike in its fractured narrative, with timelines overlapping, jumping backwards and forwards, several scenes shown from multiple points of view, time slowing down in some scenes, speeding up in others" the rest of their review can be found HERE, and very acute it is too.)

In many scenes, nothing much happened for painfully-long periods, the camera floating ethereally amongst the characters, tracking them as they walked through their everyday lives, watching as they talked about nothing much at all, just as real people, as opposed to cinema characters, really do talk.

The set-up left you believing in these characters – it wasn’t as if you were watching a film, but more like you were invisible, watching, having opened a window onto someplace else. And you felt for them, as they made the best they could with their journeys through the awkwardness of adolescence. And so, when the pointless, unexplained final tragic act commenced, it was your own innocent friends you saw being shot up. The violence wasn’t at all graphic, visually. But you felt every bullet.

I came away, thinking I’d turned a corner, and that I’d never be able to watch trivialising Hollywood violence again. I actually thought, through mental sobs, that I wouldn’t be able to watch the next Kill Bill film now.

It didn’t last long…

But enough of this. The main purpose of movies is entertainment, and the second full film of my Bank Holiday provided that in droves – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This one really got my dreams all messed-up!

Now anyone who’s enjoyed screen-writer Charlie Kaufman’s previous work (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation et al) will either have already seen this, or they'll already be worked up into a lather of anticipation. It’s yet another exploration into the workings of the mind from Kaufman, and its as different to all the other films that are out there as you’d expect from him. Real believable characters in unreal unbelievable parameters. It’s also a love story with a difference, and it made me cry, big fat genuine tears. Not the manipulated tears of most love-stories, but heartfelt personal tears, tears of knowing love and the pain that would rush to fill its vacuum in its absence.

But enough of me being a soppy sack of shite, its fresh, and original, and different, and it forces you to think. Jim Carey (thankfully not in clown-mode, and showing himself to be a terrific actor) played it wonderfully vulnerable as Joel, and Kate Winslett's Clementine was rather wonderful as well (just keep an eye on her hair).

Sod it, I feel like I’ve been writing for ever, what with yesterday’s blogging failure, and today’s repeated multi-application software meltdown in GDI.EXE blah blah blah. Jeez, in fact, I HAVE been writing this for well over 24 hours now. Gah! In the words of Joel, “Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.” I think there's a lesson for me, there. You'd be best off getting it straight from the horses mouth. Just head over to Lacuna Inc, and let Dr Howard Mierzwiak explain what its all about – “Bringing you the revolutionary painless non-surgical memory erasing process.”

Myself, I must abort, before I erase my hard-drive out of spite.

And I’ve not even started banging on about Run Lola Run yet

G - A - H!
Starbuck [00:12] Comments: 0 []
Grrrr. A temporary moment of carharthis, a momentary venting of spleen, as I write, here and now, that right now, I HATE BLOGING!

Or, rather, I hate the blog entry I've been trying to write this evening. I started it early evening, before heading out to the pub. Upon my return, head slightly fuzzy, I set about amending and adding to it - it was something important, and it needed proper justice done to it. It needed nurture. But it got complicated. Old versions got copied and pasted into the wrong place, raw live text on the Blogger webpage got accidentally deleted, and now I'm back to the bog-standard draft of the first paragraph, with all the wisdom and carefully-crafted intricate beauty of the piece lost forever...

I guess I should stick to guerrilla-blogging in the future. Beautific artistic creation sucks donkeys.

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