Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Monday, August 30, 2004

The official Rocky Horror Show script with all the ad-libs! (Including the audience's)
Manchester, So Much To Answer For - How a boom ended Manchester's bust.

A returnee's view of Manc - myself, I get vaguely the same feeling when I pop back, the feeling that the reconstruction after the IRA bomb hasn't really worked and that the little shmatty shops that filled the corn exchange (indeed, the location of the Arndale before the Post-war planners blitzed it) were what held the Manchester spirit; the scrubby endless Stockport market that runs over cobbles streets and iron bridges and through old market halls, that always knew more of what Manchester was about than the frankly souless city-centre. Albert Square, Urbis, and the new Marks 'n Sparks - they all symbolise the absolute shittiness of the central town planners, who should have just left the place to develop the way New York did.

Toby and I have been discussing our genes. Unusually for an Indie-kid (perhaps because I've never really been a whole-hearted one) I'm quite looking forward to having sprogs. Yet most of the supposedly liberal set I know aren't; in fact, most of them are dead set against it. Phrases range from “I wouldn’t inflict my genes on another generation” to “I loathe the little buggers.”

Whether this is a reflection of the increasingly hardened hedonism that afflicts our generation, with even the most vocally socially progressive having little real regard for world concerns, I’m not sure. It could simply be disinterest, though I’d opine it’s genuine selfishness. Of course, my motivation is also unclear; whether it’s the biological imperative, a genuine mookish liking for kids, a desire /to/ inflict my genes on the world, or just a cunning subliminal plan to get someone in the sack, the real motivation is shielded even from me.

Anyway, we found this excellent site, if you’re thus afflicted by the Indie apathy; Man Not Included takes away all the responsibility of having a child from the commitment-fleeing male, and let’s you donate your semen anonymously to a Lesbian couple, probably in Scandinavia. Personally, I’d only do it if there was a financial reward involved, not through greed but as a pay-off for the inconvenience involved for me. Anyway, if you’re looking for advice on sperm donation, the excellent MSN Slate site had a good article on it here.
Oxford Tops UK Air Pollution List

NOx Cigarette Equivalent
in 24 Hours

Oxford 61.4
Bath 46.8
Glasgow – Kerbside 44.7
London, Marylebone Road 30.0
Kensington & Chelsea, King’s Road 29.6
Exeter 27.7
Hammersmith Broadway 27.3
Bristol – City Centre 27.1
Sheffield – Tinsley 27.1
Brent 26.7

For a non-smoker, it appears I've unfortunately averaged a 50 a day habit over the past six years. What the headlines (and study) didn't tell you, is that this is only nitrogen content; the carcinogenic tar adn nicotine aren't tested for, making for a frankly useless study.

Anyway off to Monkeyworld. No, don't ask why.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Liberated Games

Note to Toby & Terence - Linux games!
sacbee.com -- 24-Hour News: National News -- Company pulls toys depicting Sept. 11 attack:

"Small toys showing an airplane flying into the World Trade Center were packed inside more than 14,000 bags of candy and sent to small groceries around the country before being recalled."
Drug lords develop high-yield coca plant: "Colombian drug cartels have developed a new strain of coca plant that yields up to four times more cocaine, dealing a setback to a campaign against production of the drug that was beginning to show results."

Final proof that GM crops are bad for you, with the added bonus that they may lead to the U.S. napalming large areas of your farmland and funding right-wing paramilitaries which is somehow equated with a war on drugs... mmm...

Google Image Result for http://cas.bellarmine.edu/tietjen/images/tcptd009.jpg

Remind me not to do an image search for testicles, ever, ever again, mhmm?
Thatcher in balls munchies shocker: "opponents of despotic President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, claim he eats the testicles of executed prisoners in the belief that it boosts his sex life."

Nguema, Thatcher, and example testicles (a cat's).

Bad luck for 'Sir' Mark Thatcher, in that the dictator he may have been involved in over-throwing has a taste for prisoners' balls; also an indication that there may have been justification in the coup attempt.

How exactly did the arms-running son of Margaret "Sink the Belgrano" Thatcher end up a knight? If, as I suspect, it is to do with her being a Baroness leading to her heir automatically acquiring the title, then isn't it an indicator that something needs to be done about our honours system? An honours system that honours only politicians, rich businessmen, civil servants, and their kin, and throws at most an occasional mediocre MBE to the public services that deserve our congratulation. (Though if I talked about them, we'd be forced to bitch about them too...)

Friday, August 27, 2004

Darwinia . Exposure . Future Publishing Demo Day Look, I'm semi-famous! (The other shots are blackmail material...)
Ho hum; I just spent four days sat in a hotel conference room in Slough with five other lads. To disabuse you of the glories of PC games journalism, there's no quicker way than to point to the horrors of four days of young lives poured into a computer, producing nothing, relaxing in no way, but both compulsive and entertaining. For me games are a guilty pleasure, something not helped by my job; it seems expected that when I review a game, I do it in my own time, which I see as just unreasonable. I'm quite happy to work overtime occasionally, as my contract states, but that would institute it as part of my (already limited) free time.

Anyway, I got back into the office, and the atmosphere was poison. Alec had nicely warned me that bad stuff had been happening, but the place just felt like a fight had just finished and that I'd better keep shtumm unless I wanted to kick off a new one myself.

Moreover, I'd forgotten it was the bank holiday, and I've failed to organise anything, again. I'm terrified now, as I realised last weekend that I've lost touch with some of my favourite people from home and from university, and others I've been downright rude to. If any of you are reading, I apologise; get in touch. I'll *try* and do the same.
Yahoo! News - Revenge Really Is Sweet, Study Shows: "'After squeezing back the intruder, you can't help but notice a smile creep onto your face,' Knutson wrote in a commentary.

That instinct probably evolved to grease the wheels of human social interaction, the researchers said.

'For thousands of years, human societies did not have the modern institutions of law enforcement -- impartial police and impartial judges that ensure the punishment of norm violations such as cheating in an economic exchange, for example,' they wrote.

'Thus, social norms had to be enforced by other measures, and private sanctions were one of these means.'"

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Slickball Online Demo For all those lab-monkeys with time on their hands...
Sick to death of Bath. Maybe it's cos I'm away every other weekend, but 'm just tired of . I love it here when it's sunny, and I can lie outside in a deckchair, and read, and booze, and have pub lunches and have an occaisional kickabout. But when it's grim, I'm nailed to my flat and TV/PC screen, which is horrible. I'm going to book a holiday for the end of september, come back from that, and see if life feels any better. If not, I'll actually apply for one of those great jobs I see elsewhere - and if anyone sees anything, do forward it to me, eh?

The Woking Martian

My stepdad once played a referee in a boxing match on TV, who lasted about five minutes before being sucked up into a Tripod and brainplanted. Curiouser...
BBC NEWS | Health | Prozac 'found in drinking water' So, I guess we should be happy, nu?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

PC Games - GAME MIDIs Music For my own reference, TBH.
Being colour-blind might mean that my artistic proclivities should be somewhat stymied, but I've found that I still enjoy doodling and painting unduly. When I was doing pottery at school, I tended to daub my organic/architectural pots in garish oil paints because I was too lazy to test-fire colours on them I couldn't see anyway. For this reason, my teacher said I should look at Gaudi's work; I did, I loved it, pinched elements wholeheartedly, and fell headlong in love with that whole Catalan art thing; well maybe just Gaudi and Dali (I love Goya, but have no idea if he's from the same region.) Put shortly, the place I've single-heartedly most wanted to visit in the world was Barcelona, and particularly the Sagrada Familia, his eternally-building, monstrous cathedal at the city's heart.

Now I have (for a press trip, noch), and I'm still in love with it. I spent most of my free time in Barca climbing it, and I've stocked up my memory palace (See below) with another Cinerama-image from the top of the half-built church. It's fantastic, a molten mass of dark stone covered in mosaics, angels, snails, flowers and birds, with criss-crossing walkways and dark towers building to the sky. It's a petrified hand, a lava-clad crab, silhouetted against the cornflower sky. And inside it, there's nothing, a void packed with scaffolding, new traitorous architecture, cheap concrete replacing Gaudi's hundred-year stone. I swam on the beach at three in the morning and could still see the glinting gaudy towers...

(The memory palace thing, I'm sure I've mentioned before, but here it is in summary: A technique used by medieval types to keep important memories at close hand, the memory palace is a familiar place within which memories are embedded. It's mentioned by Umberto Eco in The Name Of The Rose I think. Until I hit the top of the Sagrada I'd forgotten all about mine, indeed forgotten the location. After scouring my brain, going through all my childhood locations I realised, to my shame, that the location I chose all those years ago was the first level of a game, Ultima Underworld 2, which I was more familiar with than any real world location...)

Crafty sheep conquer cattle grids Mmm, hmm! Hot mutton roll...
Simpler pump boosts failing hearts What's unusual about this artificial heart is that it doesn't produce a pulse - it produces a constant stream of blood rather than intermittent pumping; perhaps this'll help people live longer, though it sounds like it might lead to the atrophying of the muscle in veins and arteries increasing the chance of fatal hemorrages...