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...
My nostalgia glands have been in a state of perpetual moistness** ever since ITV4 started repeating the irrepressible Monkey weekdays at 6pm.
Wonderful - its as good as I remember from my formative days, back in the mists of time when I had just one digit to my age.
Monkey is one of my earliest TV memories. As I type I can clearly remember sitting with my Weeble* in my hand**, captivated in front of the adventures of Monkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy round at my chum Ben's house (oh the shame, as the memory resurfaces of dropping one if Ben's Weeble's down the toilet ON PURPOSE; oh the joy, recalling how I would fly his parents sofa as a make-shift pink cloud, fighting off Pigsy Ben with my staff**)
The downshot of all this is: When I get excited, I've started making that "tcha-tcha-tcha-tcha-tcha-tcha" noise that Monkey makes when he's excited. Around the house. Around the workplace! I'm so embarrassing.
So this is me, dear reader, Starbuck of the parish Viper Squad Ten.
Look on in pity as the picture of your author further resolves before your eyes. Watch as I run up the stairs doing my "one arm outstretched the other behind my back" Superman impression, bursts of Eighties heavy metal riffage spilling from my internal jukebox and out of my mouth, punctuated only by gibbering Monkey Magic impressions.
Look on and weep.
* note to Playskool: the new design for Weeble's is shite; change it back. ** this all sounds a lot more dodgy than it was, you filthy lot
Grumble. I patiently sit through 22 episodes of Invasion, only to find a real Summer Holiday of a cliff-hanger, and silence from Channel 4 about its future. Turns out that it hasn't been recommissioned for a second series.
I am slightly miffed. This was the V of a new generation, for Chris' sake.
Having said that, V started to taste pretty shitty once the flakes from the bottom of the barrel started to sediment up the telepump.
Still, fellow geeks might want to go and sign the petition HERE.
Not that it worked for Star Trek Enterprise, or for that matter attempts to convince the studio to create a series based on Captain Sulu's voyages abroad the good ship Excelsior (according to Wikipedia). Still, you Trek guys have still got the hope of Colonel J.J. Abrams' involvement in Star Trek: The Beginning or wotever... Incidentally, Abrams dreamt up hit TV series Lost whilst mulling over his Eighties hit Trapped... "I'm lost; like a fool I'm in a cage. I can't get out, you see I'm lost. Can't you see I'm so confused? I can't get out; you see I'm lost"
Rejoice! Thanks to the national obsession with football, the cross of St George has finally been reclaimed from the racists. Nowadays, when you see an England flag on a car, sprawled across a T-shirt, or flapping from a novelty hat, you no longer assume the owner is a dot-brained xenophobe. Instead you assume he's just an idiot. And you're right. He is.
It's a great piece of visual shorthand. Imagine the outcry if government passed a law requiring the nation's dimbos to wear dunce's caps in public. No one would stand for it. There'd be acres of newsprint comparing Blair and co to the Nazis. We'd see rioting in the streets - badly organised rioting with a lot of mis-spelled placards, but rioting nonetheless.
Instead, every numbskull in the land is queuing up to voluntarily brand themselves. They even pay for the privilege! As brilliant ruses go, it's the most brilliant, rusiest ruse you could wish for. I can't wait for stage two, when they're persuaded to neuter themselves with safety scissors...
The EMF ("they're unbelievable") are saying that their public service role is "minimal" and that "since they attract the highest radio audiences both stations would prosper in the commercial sector".
But let's face it, one of the major reasons that Radio 1 and 2 attract such high audience ratios is that they aren't commercial stations - however good the DJs or the playlist a station might have, its the annoying adverts that put a potential listener like me right off.
Speaking as a long-time Radio 1 listener (read as: "sad bastard"), I know that the daytime playlist is pretty dismal. However it captures a wide variety of listeners (and especially younger listeners) who will then be introduced by association to the "specialist" evening DJ's - music that they might not otherwise seek out.
Will Smith live review
I went to see Will Smith on tour the other day. Not Wickie Wickie Wild Wild West Will Smith , but Jersey's best-loved Marillion-obsessed comedian, Will Smith.
Verdict of the Misplaced Childhood show: Very good. However, I think he was a little harsh on Jersey band Overload.
Will "dazzling" rapper Daz Sampson and his bevvy of scantily-clad schoolgirls be able to defeat evil Finnish shock rockers Lordi?
Teenage Life versus Hard Rock Hallelujah - you decide!
Having seen Daz on the telly the other night I must admit that I quite like him. He's no Eminem (he makes John Barnes look like an accomplished rapper), but he seems to be a thoroughly personable and decent chap.
But then again, Lordi have called an album "Arockalypse", and let's fact it, you can't really argue with that.
It's already gearing up to be the strangest Eurovision ever...
I'd be over the moon, aside from the fact that I'm releasing honeymoon photos in tantalising dribs and drabs over on my site, and I've lost the use of that handy tag text field from the Photostream (RIP) itself for copy/paste purposes - I've had to create a text file replacement. On my ZX Spectrum. That's how much I hate change.
Keck (or kek), is the traditional name for cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris, also known as Wild Chervil or Wild Beaked Parsley). Like many olden terms "keck" is dying out. Cack.
Sir Walter Raleigh planted the first potatoes in England at "Little Virginia" on Castle Green, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Shipped over from the New World they were, dontchaknow, and from Virginia, natch.
In order to identify copyright theft, some commercial cartographers LIE to users of their maps about the geographical features portrayed by their publications. The nonexistent "Lye Close", a cul-de-sac supposedly located off Canynge Square in Clifton, Bristol, is one such "trap street". Bastards.
Big Brother VSXclusive speculation
According to JK and Joel the world is abuzz with speculation about what gimmicks the forthcoming series of Brit Big Brother will incorporate. Well, I think I've nailed it.
Last time round on Celebrity BB the USP was the inclusion of non-celebrity Chantelle, tasked with the challenge of persuading her bona fide "celeb" housemates that she was famous(ish).
So this time round they could include a proper zed-lister celebrity, whose challenge would be to persuade the other hopefuls that he or she is actually a "normal" member of the public.
Apologies - essay deadline anxiety currently being experienced by the Powersurge household's other computer user are precluding any worthwhile internet-related activity by the owner of this blog.
Those awaiting any insightful pearls of wisdom from myself should in the meantime point their browsers in the direction of Hoff Invaders.
Newsprint and new books
I buy a newspaper every day. The Guardian, it is. And there's a lot of words to take in every day.
I've also got an awful lot of unread books stockpiled, and I've not managed to read a novel in nearly a year now. I need to catch up, though I've got enough to take me through my retirement as it is.
This morning I vowed that I would restrict my newspaper purchases to Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (I would restrict myself further if I didn't enjoy those days' inner sections so much.) This would give me some valuable extra time to bury myself within fictional texts again, to recharge the cores of my imagination.
I popped into the local shop for lunch. They were giving away a free books (Random House Vintage Classics) with each newspaper.
I brought three. Oops.
New book inventory: The Sorrow of War - Bao Ninh Nineteen Twenty-One - Adam Thorpe Lovely Green Eyes - Arnost Lustig
Those of you who are without, but who might still wish to live (or relive) the experience, should head over to www.flickr.com/photos/starbuck_powersurge/ anyway, click on Sign-up in the top-left corner, hold your nose as you acquire yourself a Yahoo! ID (you don't have to sign up for yet another unwanted email address, don't worry, and its FREE!), ask me nicely to make you a Contact, and if you're lucky you'll be then have 447 lovely wedding photos at your disposal (including some cheeky ones of men stripping, gals!)
OK OK, I know, 447 photographs is perhaps a little heavy duty. And I exercised an element of restraint there! But you just don't get married every day...
With our first wedding anniversary imminent I'd dreamt up a mischievous plan to mislead Mrs Powersurge about what anniversary gift I am actually going to give her.
The intention was to write "in secret" on this blog about what I had bought for her, knowing that she very very occasionally takes a look at VSX to see what rubbish I've been spouting.
I was then going to put something in the Comments section explaining to anyone who'd bother to read it (but hopefully not Mrs P) that it was all just a Machiavellian scheme cooked up as a smokescreen to raise (or lower) expectations.
However I got so excited about the thought of all this that I promptly went and told her about it. Ooops!
Sometimes I just find it too hard to keep from Stabucketta exciting secrets such as presents - I just want to share it right away!
For example, I've twice this week had to stop myself telling her about when I was in the showroom at the weekend getting her present. I told the car saleswoman that the present was for our anniversary, and she got all quite teary about it, telling me that her husband of forty years had died at Christmas... but that my own wife would absolutely love the gift... and all that time I was hoping that no-one I knew would walk past...
Lost about the Hanso Foundation
After watching the first two epidodes of Lost Season 2 on Channel 4 last night I started ranting about nanomachines and nanatechnology to the long-suffering wife. "It's got to be the answer. It could explain everything! The 'mechanical' smoke creatures, the recoveries from paralysis".
And then there were the planted adverts for the Hanso Foundation within the ad breaks. And now I read the following press release from Hanso:
HANSO FOUNDATION RE-LAUNCHES WEBSITE ACCOMPANIED BY A NEW AD CAMPAIGN "REACHING OUT FOR A BETTER TOMORROW"
ADVERTISEMENTS BEGIN AIRING INTERNATIONALLY MAY 2nd ON THE UNITED KINGDOM'S CHANNEL 4 NETWORK
(May 2, 2006) The Hanso Foundation, a world-leader in social and scientific research, announced today that it will re-launch its website (www.thehansofoundation.org) and debut a new ad campaign "Reaching Out for a Better Tomorrow" Tuesday, May 2nd, on United Kingdom's Channel 4 Network. .
The Hanso Foundation is committed to securing a brighter future for all humanity by fostering social and scientific programs designed to further the cause of human development. The advertisements will provide contact information for those interested in learning more about the passion, dedication and mission behind the Foundation.
"Our new website is a fresh, dynamic interactive setting that provides a comprehensive view of the work within the Hanso Foundation," said Hugh McIntyre, Communications Director of the Hanso Foundation."We are confident our work to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the human race will resonate with a significant proportion of the audience."
Projects supported by the Hanso Foundation include:the Mathematical Forecasting Initiative, the Worldwide Wellness and Prevention Development Program, the Educational Outreach Imperative, the Electromagnetic Research Initiative, the Institute for Genomic Advancement, and the Life-Extension Project.
About the Hanso Foundation
The Hanso Foundation stands at the vanguard of social and scientific research for the advancement of the human race. For forty years, the foundation has offered grants to worthy experiments designed to further the evolution of the human race and provide technological solutions to the most pressing problems of our time.
"From the dawn of our species, Man has been blessed with curiosity. Our most precious gift, without exception, is the desire to know more - to look beyond what is accepted as the truth and to imagine what is possible."Alvar Hanso, Address to the U.N. Security Council, 1967
On my mind's keyboard I'd composed an angry rant fueled by the sour acidity of my despondency. Having realised that I'd missed the closing date for a rare job vacancy that would probably quite suit me, a vacancy that I might be in with a chance with, in an environment that I knew, and with a big salary leap to take me out of fiscal No Man's Land, I was feeling raw with regret and self-loathing. Who need financial security? Who needs any sort of career path?
I'd felt like I'd had the stuffing knocked out of me.
I'd even got the lyrics lined up for some pertinent songs that were rattling round my internal jukebox. Paranoid Android, for one. Halo Eight track 13 for another. Blimey, teenage angst or what!
And then I speak with someone who's struggling with something else and I realise just how an incredibly minor and selfish my own problems are.
If I was a religious man I'd end this piece in a state of inner calm and empathy with two words for whomever is reading them: Bless you.