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...
Results of the Clutterbuck Computer Challenge Cup
Finally. FINALLY! After almost a year, I have the results for the Clutterbuck Computer Clutter Cup. And they're not pretty.
It all started in January, when the disgraceful state of my home computer workstation was revealed...
From that point on, I received an unexpected response from some of the most muckiest of pups to have ever disgraced the blog firmament.
After much internal debate and conflict I've decided upon the eventual victor, well-deserving of the magnificent trophy on offer.
But before I reveal all, may I run you through the plucky runners-up. In some sort of date order... cue tension-building drum roll...
All of these people will be sent prizes. I admit not very good prizes considering their individual valiant efforts towards chaos, but prizes all the same. Hopefully they won't take as long to reach them as the results did.
By now you'll be dieing to know the identity of the victor. Which is sadly apt. For I can now reveal that the winner of the Clutterbuck Computer Clutter Challenge Cup (who unknowingly named the competition within his submission's covering note) is...
Lawn has sadly passed away since his entry into the Clutterbuck competition, no doubt drained of his energies following his prize-worthy dedication to detritus, but I'm sure that as he drew his final breath he felt proud of the values that we are celebrating today.
And since he is no longer of this world, I'm afraid that the Clutterbuck Cup will not be awarded this year. A heartless judge would deem that Billy probably deserves to claim the prize following Lawn's untimely demise, however I've already got the blinking thing engraved. Maybe next year your own name will still deserve to lie beneath that of Mr Greengrass...
I tell thee, mine own certainly won't.
For the personal computer of Starbuck Powersurge is no longer an abomination towards feng shui...
Since moving away from London my sport of famous people spotting has suffered greatly.
Whereas I would once chance upon such luminaries as Punt & Dennis, Avid Merrion and Michael Winner in the most unexpected of places, nowadays my main source of celeb excitement is SMS-based. My co-editor Stu, for example, keeps me constantly delighted with his ongoing surveillance of Dr Legg from EastEnders (aka actor Leonard Fenton) down at his local doctor's surgery of all places.
I've personally had to resort to spotting photographs of famous customers in restaurants for kicks (Bill Maynard and Rolf Harris in the Seetar Tandori last night).
Talking of the Rolfaroo, I've received two seleb-spotting texts from Usher Rich over the last week. One was Mr Harris (splashing paint around in Trafalgar Square), and the other relates to crisp-eating legend Gary Linekar...
JUST MET GARY LINEKAR IN A TOILET IN SPAIN. HE KEEPS POSING FOR PHOTOS BUT YOU CAN TELL HE'S REALLY PISSED OFF.
As you would be if you kept being asked to pose for photos in a Spanish toilet.
A first for everything
I texted a radio station for the first ever time this morning. Not to hear my name on the radio - I was walking from my car to my workplace at the time. Just for the pleasure of it.
According to the Kaspersky website today:
On September 22 at 2:00 pm antivirus databases were located on the Kaspersky Lab server. Using the server, wextract.exe file is detected as Trojan-Dropper.Win32.agent.vj. This is Kaspersky Lab false positive. Updated databases with the false positives deleted have already been located on the server.
Raaar, well "already" isn't soon enough to have utterly unmade my day!
Being a good (ar)soul I was running Windows Update on my boss' computer whilst she was away. However something nasty happened, by coincidence, just as the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool was installing, and lo, I ended up deleting something whiffy from C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download blah blah blah.
Cue a Windows File Protection warning - "Files that are required for Windows to run properly have been replaced by unrecognised versions. To maintain system stability Windows must restore the original versions of these files." In true Pulp Fiction style, lets go back to that first sentence. Piss. I wouldn't have care so much if it was my own computer...
It reminds me of my a problem that happened when I used to have Norton Antivirus 2004 (version 10.0.1.13) installed at home. Running Live Update the following error flashed up:
Error: "LU1812: An update failed to install. A program that was part of this update failed when it ran. This update was not applied."
Further analysis revealed:
Symantec Common Client Update - LiveUpdate has determined that this machine is running a pre-released or beta version of a 2004 Symantec product. This version of the software is not supported by Symantec and cannot be updated. Please contact the vendor that you purchased the software from to request a released version of the software.
Starbuck's troubleshooting solution: Uninstall Norton antivirus. Don't forget to uninstall the bits which the uninstall won't touch via Add/Remove programs. And delete those sticky boot tweaks as well (e.g. Norton eMail Protect - C:\PROGRAM FILES\NORTON ANTIVIRUS\POProxy.exe NAV definition alert - C:\PROGRA~1\NORTON~1\DEFALERT.EXE Norton AutoProtect - C:\PROGRA~1\NORTON~1\NAVAPW32.EXE /LOADQUIET)
And finally, download some decent freeware - AntiVir will do.
Et voilà, good antivirus software, no rip-off charges, and a massively speeded up machine as a freebie bonus.
That'll teach me for blashpeming so much yesterday. I've been struck down - possibly from upon high - with an ear full of horrible wax-induced pressure. A lightning bolt would've been preferable.
I won't go into details about some of the residues that I've managed to dislodge. I've been antisocial enough in print this week by chronicling my pilonidal cyst experience.
Still, at least its not vestibular neuronitis. The dog had that a few months back. Something to do with the vestibular canal of his ear (I'd hazard to do with a sudden imbalance in the afferent neuronal input to one of the two vestibular apparatuses), which made him act like he'd had a stroke.
And I don't mean he wagged his tail and rolled over for me to rub his tummy...
OK, so I may be nothing more than a non-believing heretic of a worm, so driven to frustration at the religious world that I've began to consider putting stickers on all those Alpha Course signs asking "What is the meaning of life?" (it being easily answered with a healthy dose of common sense, a belief and wonderment in science, a lack of fear of the unknown, an understanding of how evolution has created superstition and shaped human supernatural beliefs, and the need as a species to just fracking-well grow up. Or something.)
But just because the unenlightened know that all I'm fit for is to drift for evermore on the eternal winds of oblivion or to burn in a lake of fire, it doesn't mean they should be able to censure what I want to experience within my life. Hell, surely its people like Christian Voice who veto their right to take part in any sensible debate on blasphemy with their painfully-medieval beliefs.
Christian Voice were the group who massed the protest against the BBC when they broadcast JSTO earlier this year. You can read their Press Release here concerning the upcoming tour. Go on, its good. Its up there with some of those al-Qaeda press releases in terms of rational modernity.
I've got no problem with moderates, of course. Which is good, because that's what most religious people are. Including most of my friends. And I was delighted to yesterday see members of the Church Of England standing up against the "Ghostbusters-view" of the Book of Revelation (sort of). But the poison of radicalism can be sweet-smelling to those with a sweet-tooth, and that's how Christian Voice get heard.
The trouble with this nasty group, who too many Christians are willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with, is that they've got some very nasty views. As you would expect from people still living in the hell of the dark ages.
Remember kids - you can only ever be truly happy if you are absolutely sure that you're not being taken for a mug.
Whether by our fellow humans, or by psychological evolution.
Fans of the work of VSX's freewheeling freelance writer Stuart ("he may be a master in gonzo journalism but its more Muppet Show than Hunter S...") will probably, like me, have his 28th July review of Brit horror flick The Descent framed on their toilet wall. Great stuff.
And in support of his ravings, Usher Extraordinaire Rich had this to say:
"Descent is the scariest film I've ever seen. Nearly had to leave because I was too scared. Ending was crap as well though."
Which has got me all a-quiver (apart from the bit about the end), 'cos I'm off to see it at my local picture house tomorrow night.
I'm looking forward to the bit where they blow up the nuclear core of the spaceship, and they have to try to painfully negotiate a maze of glitching Doom-style tunnels in three dimensions.
I've been suffering from a bit of a cold the last couple of days.
And its great!
I am so very rarely ill that I find myself getting nostalgic for past times that I've experienced similar symptoms.
One of my happiest memories - bed-ridden at University - was the only time I've been struck down with flu; I somehow dragged myself to the pub for some celebration or other, and sat there shivvering like a transgenic mouse, utterly unable to imbibe.
(Another good memory that I'm happy to not have repeated, however - sitting on my knees, playing my very first demo of Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation, body dry and powdery from endless therapeutic salt-baths, unable to sit down due to the unstoppable flow from a pilonidal cyst... but you probably don't want to know about that).
But with a cold, I find it kind of exhilerating as I feel my body pulling out all the stops - that woozy fuzziness-of-being as the immune response becomes liminal.
And being such a rare sickboy, and not that I'm exactly lacking in this department from my ever-loving wife, I must admit to enjoying the extra care and attention that I get...
Google Short Message Service
Just stumbled across Google SMS.
Although people like me still using ancient mobile phones which predated the mobile internet (such as my trusty prepaid Nokia nk402) may not miss being able to access the web on the move, sometimes conversation brings something up which make you wish you had a search engine handy.
Whilst down the pub I often vow to look up a little intriguing something or other as soon as I get home, only to have completely forgotten once back at the Powersurge residence.
Well, from now Google SMS will come to the rescue.
Send a simple text message to "64664" ("6GOOG") and you'll get texted the results of your query.
As well as business listings (using Google Local data), directions, film showtimes (including average critics rating!), definitions ("define") and facts and figures, you can get it to return "web snippets" from the Big G's main search engine (by including a "G" in the search terms).
Which is nice. 'Cos now you can read the whole of VSX, in tiny little pieces, by using 'g "viper squad ten"' and the last word or two of the previously-quotes snippet. Which I'm sure you'll all be doing.
Google Blog Search
So, Google Blog Search... not bad at all, considering the haphazard instability involved with using some alternative blog-search engines... especially if you've bothered to read the instructions and have ramped the number of returned-results up to 100...
But all this jibber jabbering that people are doing about them not having indexed stuff earlier than June 2005... the earliest VSX posting they've got listed is from January 2004. Stick that in your syringe and shove it in BA's arm (or in your pipe and smoke it).
Some strange moments involving the extended family this lunchtime.
First of all my 7 year old nephew was wearing his Vyvyan Bastard "very metal" jacket... he knows more about The Young Ones, than I do, including stuff that had the rest of us stumped (e.g. the name of Alexei Sayle's character - Jerzei Balowski), and endless verbatim quotes ("My knickers are so old, it's only the stubborn understains that are holding them together.")
I got quite a sore throat from all the requisite Vyv impressions.
And then my 2-year old niece started singing - and I kid you not - "Welcome To The House Of Fun" by Madness. And she seemed to know most of the lyrics. Through watching their Young Ones performance in the Kebab & Calculator (in real-life, fact-fans, the Cock O' The North in Bristol, and home - at least when I popped in there some years back - to an East3nders fruit machine and not much else of worth.)
Still, Cliff knew that the best time to to sing is while you?re young...
I no longer eat potato crisps for the taste.
Instead, crisp intake is purely centred around the generation of feelings of nostalgia.
As such, I only ever buy Smiths Chipsticks and Walkers French Fries.
Cue wistful childhood memories of their purchasement at the swimming pool vending machine, or their wintertime consumption on the smokey top deck of a double-decker bus as it forges its way through the slush and snow...
 I must share the one thing that I have learnt today.
It may not be news to my Australian reader(s), but a "galah" is an Australian make of cockatoo, a bird of pink breast and blue-grey plumage.
So it makes my repressed British self sick when I think of all the times that I have heard Alf "Sixth Sense" Stewart (ertswhile star of Home & Away and Prisoner Cell Block H) ranting about his Good Neighbours being nothing more than fracking cockatee, the foul-mouthed Beaker Double. Remove the last two syllables of "cockatoo" and what do you get? A disgusting piece of slang for the penis, that's what.
And that's not all. It turns out that galah's can be taught to speak, and as such can be trained to swear. It doesn't take too much extrapolation to work out who taught them that trick. The flamin' mongrel.
I am going to elaborate on the short review from me below. Forgive me for always writing about music, but it's the only thing I know anything about.
I have been spoilt rotten (by myself) with gigs over the last two weeks. Friday I was at Reading Fest (jus' for the day) and saw the Pixies!!!! and the Killers, and QOTSA, and DFA1979, and Fightstar being bottled for not being "real" when they sounded exactly like Green Day, which the youth of today seems to think are the epitome of everything punk stood and stands for, but I digress. I also was around the stage when GLC, Wedding Present, Elbow and Graham Coxon were on, but none of them particularly registered. The truffles weren't as good as at Ashton Court, but otherwise it rocked.
On Saturday I went to Clapham Common to see Carl Cox, Sasha and Digweed, but that was rubbish. never really liked bland superstar DJ stuff but have always wanted to see Sasha. Boring. Cox won for playing rock tracks, acknowledging in the process that dance is dead.
Tuesday, see below. I had never seen Iggy before and he is a god. They played Funhouse! It was great!
Last night was the Pixies at Alexandra Palace. I like AP because it's such a weird building with a fascinating history, and it's only a short walk from my flat. Although it doesn't always hold up as a gig venue, it rocked last night, the sound was good n' crisp n' loud, and I was a happy man. Until we lost my brother in law. He phoned at 1.30 to say he was alright though (you'll be pleased to know).
Have you ever had coffee from a polystrene cup where the cup has tiny holes in and the coffee kind of leaks out in little brown bubbles? Well I've got one now.
"Should've gone to Specsavers"
Mrs Powersurge was standing at the check-out in Sainsbury's earlier today, intent on buying several bottles of wine and a flask of Wye Valley Brewery's Butty Bach ("The Friendly Ale").
She was quite pleased when I saw her afterwards... they'd asked her to prove that she was over 18. She had to point out that she's in her thirties! Early thirties...
Last night at the Rolling Stones concert in Ottawa! For a bunch of old guys they still put on a great show. Also learnt how to make a potato cannon last night... really looking forward to building my own one when I get home...
1 September 2005 from Stu of VSX co-editorship fame:
I saw the Stooges the other night. Best gig ever. Ever.