Friday, April 30, 2004

Thanks be to Toller for this:

Chuang YC, Lin TK, Lui CC, Chen SD, Chang CS.

Department of Neurology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung,
Taiwan, ROC.

We report a 41-year-old woman with complex reflex epilepsy in which seizures
were induced exclusively by the act of tooth brushing. All the attacks occurred
with a specific sensation of sexual arousal and orgasm-like euphoria that were
followed by a period of impairment of consciousness. Ictal EEG
demonstrated two events of epileptic seizure that were provoked after tooth
brushing for 38 and 14 seconds, respectively. The interictal EEG showed
epileptiform discharges over the right anterior temporal region and interictal
single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan showed relative
hypoperfusion in the uncus of right temporal lobe. Brain magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) revealed right hippocampal atrophy. We suggest that tooth-
brushing epilepsy, especially with sexual ictal manifestations, may provide
insight into the cerebral pathophysiology at the right temporolimbic structure.
Thanks to Mark Meredith, I'm now very, very disturbed…

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

BBC - End of Story Worth a shot

(Yawn!) says Deadlined Dan...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I’ve had a stay in Santa Monica, I’m now in San Fran, and I’m starting to feel like I’ve bushwhacked by randy kangaroos. This trip is definitely a working trip for me, more than for any other hack out here; I’ve been kept busy every hour I’ve had awake, and the time I’m not interviewing or filuming, finds me sat in LAX or some other godforsaken airport being endlessly checked, having to unpack my bags, take off my boots sign more forms than , and then either run for my plane or wait many, many hours for it. I saw Vegas for a day, had a half-hour stroll on Santa Monica’s beachfront and pier, but beyond that I’ve had no respite. Grind, grind and indeed grind.

Each night I find myself in hotel rooms which are spectacularly gorgeous and cost hundreds of dollars a night, which I can’t appreciate because I’m too knackered. Each morning I wake up at five, jet-lagged to mother mary, more tired than the day before. On top of that, all the footage I’ve taken is useless as I’ve just found that the camera guy neglected to give me a microphone for the camera. Arse. So every piece is dead-silent developers mouthing to themselves in some parody of a silent movie. And now I’ve got to write four pages on what I’ve seen so far. Games that is, not airport interiors.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Vegas is dust. It rises from nothing in the arid desert, and at first you think some travelling circus has got mislaid, in its death throes setting up in the desert. Then the scale hits; those buildings are big, enormous sprawling masses of concrete and cheap paint arrayed into shapes from all though history filtered through the perceptions of Hieronymous Bosch. Yet your first impression isn’t wrong; the place is a theme park, it is designed to entertain and entice adults only. As adolescents this place is taken by the theme park, children have the playground, a baby has its blocks and toys, adults have Vega$, a place gaudy enough to make liberace weep, where binge eating and drinking is cheap and staying up all night acceptable; it is Pinnochio’s dreamland, a hedonist’s heaven, a puritan’s purgatory, and all the expected iniquities are visited on the visitors.

I’m in Vegas, and I’ve been awake for 32 hours. There's a Jacuzzi next to my double bed. I’ve slept 12 hours in the last four nights/days. My body is covered in these strange blotches, my feet are only held together by Dr Marten’s patent leather, and my mind is wondering how the hell we ended up pissed in a scummy lap-dancing club a few hours back, and whether I got any receipts for my expenses. Celine Dion’s finally shut up downstairs. The 24 hour buffet is still going strong amidst the shopping centre splendour of Caesar’s palace, as are the slot-jockeys, who strike me as in serious chance of popping a vein, and my hands are shaky (and my mind reciting old Woody Allen jokes) as I reach for the Eggs Benedict.

I think... This is just what Vegas should be.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I've been criticised recently for putting too many shit links and not enough of myself into this blog. This criticism is fair; you go to sites like B3TA and Rotten news and get most of what I whack up on here. But the reason I'm tonking this mufti up is that I?m not entirely sure that you, beloved audience, are going to be actually interested in what I've been doing.
Because what I do is mundane, as far as the techy whirl I live in would allow me to be. A hundred years ago I would have been playing games and reading books, if I'd been a member of the same indolent middle class I am now. Now's pretty much the same; I?ve been playing computer games and reading far too much, like some info-hibernator storing up ideas for a coming winter, which'll either never come or has been here all the time.
The two big games that have fix'd my flitting eye have been Planescape: Torment and World of WarCraft; If you don?t care about games skip the next two paragraphs; if you don't understand, stick around and I'll try to explain.)
Remember those role-playing games that the spotty kids at school indulged in, hurling dice and shouting as they binged on coke and pizza? Well, they're unfortunately the basis of the most innovative games around at the moment, the Role Playing Game (RPG). Planescape (and look at the website) is the simpler of the two; a gorgeous fixed viewpoint game, you take the role of an amnesiac (cheesy we know) who simply can't die. Upon waking . Gathering a motley band about you consisting of various tormented and damned souls (a floating skull who's a wicked sense of humour but no-body to share it with, a redeemed succubus, a pyromaniac human torch, a walking suit of armour motivated solely by Justice, and so on.) as you seek the reason for your immortality and who or what has killed you so many times. The locations range from the city of Sigil, mounted atop a infinite screw's head with holes punched through it to a thousand world, to a town toppling into hell, to a logic puzzle in the void.
World of WarCraft has a simpler plot, if there's one there at all. It's the typical fantasy world, with dwarves, orcs, dragons and elves, all drawn in gaudy cartoon delicacy. The thing is, it's online, massively multiplayer and persistent; and there are several thousand people wandering around, chatting, mining, manufacturing, duelling and hunting 24 hours a day, seven days a week; all the characteristics of a frontier state. And at the moment, it's just in a testing stage, and there literally millions of people around the world wanting to get into it; Korea is mad for it, but people simply can't buy accounts, as they've been allocated by the PRs. It's addictive and endless, and very, very time-consuming, as your character gradually learns magic powers and new abilities... very sad I know, but, hey, it's my job.

Meantime, the books; the books are getting silly; I'm reading them at a rate of about one every two days, and to detail them all would be both boring and foolish (like many of the books.) The best one of the lot by far is Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman; it's simply anecdotes by the greatest film scriptwriter of the 1970s and 1980s, each presented in digestible chapters, with a pretense of structure. Similarly fun and wholesome is Alan Clark?s Diaries - The Early Years; watching Clark's staggering egoism (hypochondria mixed with equal portions of megalomania, patriotism and lechery) develop is fun and educational, when you realise that his personality is the lot of most politicians. On a difference tone, but with the same extremism, is Under the net by Iris Murdoch; coming from the viewpoint of someone who has only read her arid philosophy on virtue, this depiction of London as a playground for a irredeemable rogue and his larger-than-life chums is astonishing and laugh-out-loud funny, her sharp ideas hidden beneath blobby comic farce.

Phoow? enough for one night. Oh, yeah by the way I got promoted! Games Editor now apparently. Will put feelings on that down another night though.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Your Party - where you are in charge
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Multi-coloured chicks for Easter
Impact effect studies site

Wondered what would happen if your house plummetted from space towards earth? Enter its stats into this site, and you'll find out the effect of a semi-detached impact.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Service Busy

Have been sat here for 4 1/2 hours waiting, anticipating that this webpage will change from a fecking server busy page.