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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[ Tuesday, March 29, 2005 ]

"I love it when a wedding comes together"
Starbuck [23:35] Comments: 7 []
I've been way too busy within both my work and homelives recently... there's been a lot going on. A lot of exciting things for sure, but still, it's a lot, all the same.

It's been evident in my dreamstates... desperately processing the fizzing cloud of chaotic stimuli with all the reserves that the Powersurge support program can muster... I certainly feel like I'm overclocking my dreams at present.

My many dreams. My rich, fulfilling, exciting dreams, dreams of change, of transformation, of transition. In six month's time I'll fondly look back on this pre-nuptial epoch, recalling that everpresent effervescence of being.

Wedding preparation dreams... dreams of the wedding in preparation, the main Feature of each night's broadcasts. Fuller in scope and colour than most of my dreams. Everything more vivid and detailed, remembered, potentially-valuable than ever before. I guess I'm in a state of heightened alert.

At night I've been an indistinct member of the A-Team a number of times over the last few weeks... a soldier of my own fortune, going about the business of getting married as if a part of Hannibal Smith's heroicly life-affirming crew. A wonderful slumbertime entertainment.

Even the future Mrs Powersurge has been lately experiencing vivid dreams, and she doesn't usually remember such things. Last night I was leading her through a field full of chocolate flowers. There must be some connection with the thought of squeezing into a wedding dress somewhere there (although I must say that she won't squeeze into her dress; rather, she will flow into it, I'm sure.)

So now, as midnight approaches several minutes west of the meridian, and I prepare to rest my head some fiftysomething degrees latitude north of the equator, I look forward again to the departure of consciousness...

[ Friday, March 25, 2005 ]

Easter Bunny fun *
Starbuck [21:10] Comments: 1 []
Ah, the Easter Bank Holiday weekend - a four day public holiday to celebrate that Christ is risen! Alleluia!

The Easter festivities are actually a bit lame for those of us not sharing a belief in the supernatural. However we can still appreciate the arrival of Spring (ah! the sweet smell of freshly cut grass! the warming rays of the sun!), not forgetting the FOUR DAY PUBLIC HOLIDAY (if you don't work Saturdays). And to help fuel the celebration, today's commercial purchases include: "Funeral" by Arcade Fire, "Employment" by the Kaiser Chiefs, "Kasabian" by Kasabian, and "Hot Fuss" by The Killers (Amazon reviews HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE, grandpa), as well as some flowers and a bottle of Glenfiddich Special Reserve. Nice.

But you're not interested in that, you're interested in what I can do for you. And what I can do for you, guvnor, is supply you with some Easter-flavoured webgames to incorporate into your own festivities. So what have I got hidden under my Easter bonnet for you today?

First up its one for the all the old gits out there. Its a full-screen (nearly) emulation of classic 8-bit egg-based platformer Chuckie Egg. A lovely slice of nostalgic quiche for play within the confines of your webbrowser. Those of you of a more daring bent may wish to download Chuckie Egg - The Next Batch, an interesting homebrew C21 revisioning of the game with better graphics but worse music (warning: the original contained no music).

There's no explicit Easter connection that I can find with Boulderdash. However I used to love this game on the Spectrum as a kid, and having seen the online emu whilst "researching" Chuckie Egg I thought I'd link to it here for future self-reference. Its a selfish business, this blogging lark.

A bit more relevant is Easter Eggin', a poorly-titled and thinly-veiled Gold Miner clone where instead of gold its eggs that you are a-grabbing. Still as fun as ever, mind.

And since the true meaning of Easter is apparently capsulated within the oval, thin-shelled reproductive body of a bird, here's a link to The Amazing Dare-Dozen, part of the impressive Orisinal's impressive oeuvre. Simplistically addictive.

As is High Delivery, somewhat lacking in Easter imagery, but a lovely piece of interactive artistry that taxes those well-furrowed hand/eye-coordination pathways. It's not exactly festive, but I'm disseminating it by way of a belated Valentine's Day link. Rather wonderful.

So there you go. Some nuggets of gaming beauty hidden amongst the banal ugliness of the interweb brought to you with minimal editorial effort. Enjoy.

* Games may not feature actual Easter Bunnys

[ Wednesday, March 23, 2005 ]

A momentary lapse
Starbuck [17:03] Comments: 8 []
Sometimes you wish that a jet engine would just fall from the skies directly above you.

[ Sunday, March 20, 2005 ]

Anti AV
Starbuck [20:51] Comments: 12 []
Damn antivirus applications. They're the bane of my life, especially when they belong to the older generation of family members.

Today's hassle - my dad's creaky Trend Micro PC-cillin 7.5, as running on his croaky Windows 98 machine. Or it was, until the machine froze during an update yesterday. Luckily I forced the machine into Safe Mode by punching all the buttons during bootup, and after performing a few diagnostic start-ups via Run-msconfig PCCIOMON.exe looked to be the guilty party.

Time to reinstall it then. Unfortunately IsUnist.exe failed during the InstallShield process, and any further attempts where hampered by it being "unable to locate installation log file uninst.isu" - that's because the damn log file had just been deleted.

In times like these one decides to try a few easy things which sense advises really won't work, so I emptied the Windows Temp file - no luck, as per usual.

Searching through the Trend Micro website it looked like PC-Cillin 7.5 was no longer supported - its End of Life date was June 2004. My dad had been sent it free by the Halifax, concerned that their users were likely to be vectors of electronic diseases. So even if I could reinstall it (not possible without uninstalling first) I might not be able to reregister it - and after a quick Google the one person I'd discovered with the same 7.5 problem had been told by Halifax & Trend that they wouldn't be able to update it even when they had reinstalled it. Bugger.

However I believe in keeping my fingers crossed. Even though, according to Trend's website (and much of the internet) PC-cillin 7.5 doesn't even exist (unlike version 8, aka PCC 2000.) And hidden within the Halifax website was a reference to another Trend Micro Support Portal website, from where I could download PCCTOOL.exe to uninstall it when the uninstall feature doesn't work. It didn't work.

What did work was hacking a great chunk out of the Registry (a lá the first help page I'd looked at, looking out for the different product name within the registry entries. PCCIOMON.exe wasn't where it should have been, lurking within the duplicate keys Run- and RunServices-, which is probably the source of the problem. Though I know naff all about it.

And after deleting to my heart's content the fabulously free Trend Micro PC-cillin 7.5 could again be safely reinstalled on the system, and no hassles with the updates.

The lesson learned (its been a long time getting here) in the words of Kate Bush is DON'T GIVE UP. I just hope that this is of use to some fellow desperate sod some day. If they can be arsed to read this far down.

Now just don't get me started on Norton Internet Security 2005, and its "bonus" feature of turning the innards of your four-year-old machine into a ZX Spectrum emulator. Gah!

[ Friday, March 18, 2005 ]

VSX in a nutshell
Starbuck [16:55] Comments: 1 []
Huzzah! It's Friday, its hometime, the sun is shining, and I'm off down the pub. But before I go I'd like to just cry out what a wonderfulfilling feeling it is to see what web search engines visually make of my little site... to see what the great artificial intelligence that is slowly coalescing unbeknownst to the majority thinks when it processes the words "Viper Squad Ten".

And what an eye-opener it is to see the last two chronic years chronicled, summarised and condensed (aside from the later bits as it takes fracking ages for images to be indexed).

Firstly on Google Images - what the hell is all THAT about? Dogs with brushes, dressed-up gophers, phallic toys, stars of TV and film, and my ever-so-clever Star Wars photoshop. So that's what I'm all about.

The profile by Alltheweb and Alta Vista was EVEN MORE THOROUGH, containing lots of stolen funnies, plus THAT photo involving a vacuum cleaner called R2. And it wasn't even filtered as adult content!

Right, enough twaddle, I've got to waddle.

[ Thursday, March 17, 2005 ]

Comment backup
Starbuck [20:39] Comments: 0 []
ORANGE ALERT! In times of emergency the powers that be sometimes find themselves making rash decisions. And because the Blogger service has been a bit patchy lately, especially in terms of the availability of Commenting, I have decided to revert my decision to hide the Haloscan Commenting tool from VSX behind a wall of whitespace (greenspace?).

So if you're inflamed enough to want to rant about some of the drivel on this site but you can't click through on the Comments links, try clicking on the [!] symbol (or replacement text) instead.

Just be aware that you're opinions will NOT be immortalised as the free version of Haloscan hides Comments when they reach four months of age. The cheapskate bastids.

(Blogger users - remember to keep an eye on Blogger Status to find out what the problems are just that little bit too late to help!)

[ Wednesday, March 16, 2005 ]

Days like these
Starbuck [16:51] Comments: 2 []
I sit at work in a sweltering office, the wintertime central-heating not having adjusted to the sudden onset of warmer weather.

Every movement, every slight jolt, is magnified into a grinding pain behind my forehead, as my gradual slope of dehydration over the last few weeks finally constricts around my lobes.

I drink bottle after bottle of water, prompting visits to the downstairs urinals every 20 minutes with each step pounding up through my body like a sledgehammer to my brain.

I sit here, ravenous, having replaced my usual lunchtime foodfest with a slight salad - got to get in shape for the big day, getting ever closer.

I get up to fetch a box of drawing pins and return to my desk. The box slips out of my hand, tacks flying everywhere. I stoop down to pick them up, one by one, from around and within the desk furniture, all 141 of them.

And then the bottom of the half-fill box gives way.

Life's retribution for having enjoyed the weekend too much.

[ Sunday, March 13, 2005 ]

The Castle Inn, Edgehill
Starbuck [19:57] Comments: 5 []
Long-in-the-tooth readers of VSX may recall that it has been 371 days as I write since myself and my betrothed first resided at the Castle Inn, Edgehill for a weekend of fine ales, hearty food, and long walks cutting swathes across wooded hillsides. Newcomers, passing surfers or VSX veterans whose memory-related neural circuits have became rather overrun by rampant astroglial cells may wish to read last year's informative and fascinating account of our stay HERE.

Knowing that we'd likely feel like a break from our wedding arrangements we rebooked our room at the top - once again we stayed in the Rupert Suite, the room at the crest of the Round Tower that commandeers the finest of views. I know that you wouldn't appreciate all the "lovey-dovey" stuff about what a nice time we had - you can get such romantic / dodgy guff elsewhere thank you very much - so instead let me tell you that we walked for five and a half hours, we saw what might have been an escaped puma and two wild deer, we were nearly attacked by a pack of dogs (two big brutes being goaded on by a rabble of little shrimps) and bombarded by model airplane enthusiasts (the area is within an area where airline flightpaths are forbidden, so plenty of gliders and RC planes, but a refreshing lack of aircraft noise).

It's always heartening to take a nice polluting drive into the countryside to see what's on your doorstep but you're just too shortsighted to see it. When I win the lottery we'll probably stay in a different B&B every night. Until the police catch up with us (I don't buy lottery tickets).

And now, for your delectation there now follows a selection of photographic images sifted across the sands of time from last year (click to zoomify):

And for the boring people out there who, like me, enjoy comparing the minute differences that each year brings, herewith follows some photos taken this weekend:

[ Friday, March 11, 2005 ]

Recipe for being left alone
Starbuck [10:42] Comments: 3 []
The stench of life can be as unbearable as the stench of death, but sometimes one can reap the benefits of a malodorous breath. Today at work, for example, I am living in a bad-aired bubble, a hermetically-sealed halitosis zone where anyone approaching me with work-related intentions is quickly repelled.

You too can get your own personal bad breath bufferzone, with Mrs Powersurge's patent homemade garlic bread.
Four pieces of pitta bread
Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic

Lightly toast the pitta bread within a toaster. Remove the toasted pitta and pour lashings of olive oil onto the surface. (You may be required to disect the pitta into two equal surfaces thus removing the internal cavity, though I'm not entirely sure. Bugger. Might be worth making a test piece first.) Chop the cloves of garlic and sprinkle onto the pitta. Place it within a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius and leave it for, erm, a while.

Eat as a fantastically garlicky and crunchy snack or a tasty compliment to any meal.
Next time - Starbuck's Crunchy Garlic Vodka.

[ Thursday, March 10, 2005 ]

# Why don't you
Starbuck [20:56] Comments: 2 []
Just switch off this website and go out and do something less boring instead #

So go and visit some of my blog heroes whilst I'm being all timed out.

Such as the latest offering from blogedy genius Saturnyne, How to Be An Evil Genius (On The Cheap)(kind of). Knowing the hassle of posting and linking to multiple images being hosted by Blogger via Hello, his work is something of a marathon feat!

And The Immigrant Problem (Cont'd) charts voice-of-reason Astolath's response to some very closed minds. My small contribution to the issue is this attempt to up the PageRank by donation of a humble hyperlink. Or two.

[ Tuesday, March 08, 2005 ]

Clutterbuck Computer Clutter Challenge Round 10
Starbuck [18:51] Comments: 4 []
Just enough time to showcase the latest entry in my too-long-running quest to find the most messed-up desktop in clutterdom.

And this one's a corker. Mainly because it belongs, believe it or not, to one Andrew Clutterbuck.

Andrew asks, quite reasonably, whether being a Clutterbuck carries any weight in the Clutterbuck Cup. Well Mr C, I pride myself on my fairness, although I am open to bribes. Considering the closeness of the competition I shall look beyond the obvious name advantage to study your entry in close-up. Missus.

Lets see... mysterious fluffy items on desktop - CHECK. Minimal bare desk space - CHECK. Assorted pens and papers - CHECK. Plastic bags - CHECK. Briefcase from Pulp Fiction - CHECK. And as a bonus, what looks like either a baby's bottle or a penis-enlarger pump. Not bad. Not bad at all - the jury is out, and hopefully it won't be well hung.

Many thanks to Andrew for his submission, and many thanks to the Clutterbuck blog, the source of his inspiration.

[ Thursday, March 03, 2005 ]

Starbuck [19:47] Comments: 8 []


[ Wednesday, March 02, 2005 ]

Nine Inch Nails ticket takeaway
Starbuck [20:40] Comments: 4 []
Way back on Wednesday 18 January, sometime co-editor Stu wafted under my nose the news that tickets for Nine Inch Nails at the London Astoria on March 30-31 - the only announced date at the time - were about to go on sale, but at a pre-sale the day before they were snaffled up in 25 minutes.

Curses, I thought. The two NIN concerts I've experienced were amongst the very best I've ever experienced. From the gig at the Birmingham Powerhouse (or something) during the electropunk Pretty Hate Machine years which birthed the nineties - where the moshpit was a near riot, as was the stage itself, Reznor trying to electrocute his keyboard player with buckets of water and pieces of equipment being smashed into pieces - to The Fragile extravaganza in the Brixton Academy a few years back. And I wanted more.

So I was quietly overjoyed to hear them announce some more UK dates in July - London Brixton Academy (July 4), Glasgow Barrowlands (7), Birmingham Academy (8), and Manchester Apollo (10), tickets for which have today gone on sale. Stusie and Kathryn have already got some. And this is where you come in.

I've been way too busy today to phone up myself, and should a ticket for the Brixton Academy be offered my way (pretty please, Mr Stuart) I'm not sure whether I could afford the time off work. Devastatingly the Friday night tickets for Birmingham have sold out according to the NME ticketline. But if you really love me, and you know that you do, you'll get me some from eBay. Get to it, friends.

[ Complete Viper Squad Ten blog archives ]

April 2003 / May 2003 / June 2003 / July 2003 / August 2003 / September 2003 / October 2003 / November 2003 / December 2003 / January 2004 / February 2004 / March 2004 / April 2004 / May 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / June 2008 / September 2008 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 /

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