Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I’m starting (finally) to get worried about ID cards. The government’s going to be collecting too much unnecessary information, and is *definitely* going to be allowing the banks to verify people’s identities against it. The multinational banks with no remit as to the information’s security, the banks who’ve larger turnovers than most countries, the banks who could start asking for more and more information for you to verify your identity, which they could then extract from the government; criminal record, birthplace, blood relatives, any genetic diseases identified by your biometric tests, short-sighted, credit rating…?

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Big Space Fuck

I picked up Harlan Ellison’s Again, Dangerous Visions because it contained a Kurt Vonnegut story called “The Big Space Fuck.” Yes, I like swear words because they are both big and clever.

And goddamn, while we’re in the book barn, prideful I show my find to Jim, who says “yep. Kieron got a different collection because it had that story in.” Jim can break anyone in ten seconds.

We both managed to find this story in here:

How? Why? Are we that predictable? Perhaps there’s a lovable fairy that’s placing Vonnegut short stories beneath the hands of impressionable writers, perhaps every other book in that barn has that story in, and perhaps we’re just exceptionally attuned to vulgarities.
Was reading a Ross Rocklyne SF piece (speculative fiction called ‘Ching Witch’ – and FYI speculative fiction was a 70s uppity name for Sci-Fi) inspired by visiting his sons on Haight in San Fran back in the day and experiencing this new 'free love', the early blossoming of Hippydom; I find myself contrasted. I see my father’s generation (who were those suns) riding motorcycles, talking about being at the first Woodstock and Glastonbury, being banged up for possession, loving this free love (I still remember the day, and am increasingly convinced of its unreality when my dad drunkenly told me that a friend of his put up with him, cos dad slept with his wife for him) and I feel more like that old man visiting his son than the son should. Role reversal and all that. I have lived my life in rebellion against my parent’s rebellion, being stolid, staid, solitary, and as sober as I could manage

My brother complained to me once about my telling him off for not working at uni; he said it was unfair on him, because he had the pressure to match me, and he didn’t feel he could. I responded by saying that he didn’t understand the pressure of having to be the good son. Well, he’s just finished uni, got his result (a third, which he says he deserved and I don’t disagree), so he can go and be as bad as he likes; he’s out of the family clutches now, unless he returns prodigal and humbled.

Oh, yes, family information; my black sheep cousin (the blackest of us five cousins) turned up in Manchester, pursuing my slowly fleeing uncle (who left him in Israel when he went off on a business trip fifteen years ago) as he has pursued him through England, Florida, Panama, and now England again. Their relationship is a murder in slow motion. The cousin, who incidentally trained in the Israeli marines (I’m reminded of the Grosse Pointe Blank quote “he has a certain… moral flexibility”), turned up and we were all terror-stricken – my grandma refuses to talk to his dad or him (after the incident when he was a kid when he was given a wodge of cash for his mother back in Israel and it never reached her, nor did she know about it until we rang to check it had been received.) Anyway, one of his international acquaintances got him a job selling stuff in the Trafford Centre, so we were relieved - perhaps, inshallah, god willing, he was going straight?


That job disappeared pretty swiftish. So instead, he was employed as a security guard at a local girl’s private school, with food, accommodation, the works.
He got fired again.
Apparently, for sleeping with the six formers.
Oy. Gevalt.

Of course, this is all hearsay through the family, so could be lies. Rafi, if you’re reading this *don’t* come and murder me in my bed, just post a comment. In addition, I’d just like to say I *respect* your life-choice, I envy your clear-cut sociopathy.

The point of all this is, with my family history, I’m happy being prudish, stolid, and only safely strange. There’s altogether too many melanin-rich sheep genes floating about in the pool for my liking. My brother can risk his toes testing the waters and see if he comes up all Dolly.

Friday, June 24, 2005

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | John Cleese writing Aardman film: "'It will be great comedy adventure about a pre-historic culture clash between two tribes, one comparatively evolved tribe, and one un-evolved tribe,' he said.

'Some might consider one tribe might be the English, and some might consider that the other to be the French, the Gauls.

'Let's just say it's the start of the Entente Cordial and it explains why the English Channel is there.'"

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I’m not really a writer for long posts; my attention span is about as long as… anyway, I find it irritating to have to read. Bloglines hasn’t really helped with this, and there needs to be a winnowing of my links (apologies to any who disappear in this purge, but your families will be informed/liquidated) as I simply can’t keep up with everyone’s posts. The things I’m *really* interested in, like food, film and filosophy, take a big back burner, while I do my job and pore over the latest interminable games news (“EA promises no more original content, ever”)
We had our future summer party on Friday (and it bled into satruday) and,it being Future’s twentieth anniversary of ‘not going bankrupt yet’ we were all subsumed in the querulous delights of a mini-Glastonbury festival all to ourselves, complete with camping, bands, vaudeville (a fantastic old-fashioned act where a woman hammers a nail into her own head, has an audience member pull it out, then breathes fire, eats fire, and generally depilates her entire body with fire. She was *hot*.)

I spent a large part of the party (or so it seemed) commiserating with a friend who was in love, and unloved. ‘Unrequited’ is such a technical, refined term for this thing that reduced a friend to silent horror for hours on end; there was an unreasoning, lost distraught look that squatted immovable on her face; she’d turn this look to you when you tried talking, and just blast you with it emptily, and then turn back to looking nowhere. I cajoled, I threatened, I pleaded, I reasoned, but nothing would provoke a reaction from, not a word for hours and hours. If you left her alone for five minutes, she would wander off and look for this supposed belov’d, who was (simply put) sick of the attention and trying to hide. Bloody awful situation.
Grill’s Grills.

(This was an occasional column I did in PCFormat, where I made disgusting high-calorie snacks to keep gamers going through long lonely nights. I just fancied a quick resurrection.)

Recipe – Spicy roe dumplings
Canned Cod’s Roe
1 large beaten egg
Chinese chilli oil (1 tsp)

I’ve no idea what cod’s roe is. I thought it was the eggs of the cod, mushed into paste, but opening the can seemed to indicate that it was, in fact, the basic ingredient of cat food. Or so the smell inferred. However, unlike its fishy brethren, it slices really well, indeed I’m sure you could sculpt all sorts of Boschian monstrosities out of it, if you were so inclined. I sliced the jellied lump into ten chunks, dunked them in the beaten egg, into the cornflour, into the egg again and into the cornflour one last time. Then fry (deep or shallow) for five minutes, flipping over when golden brown. (Leave it too long, or not use enough oil and the dumplings will revert to a pasty white colour as the water seeps out of the roe; if this happens, pour the water off, more oil in and turn up the heat.) Season and serve with a finely shredded green salad and the chilli oil for dipping.

Accidental discovery
Mixing a teaspoon of cornflour and 1 beaten egg makes for an excellent base for lovely fluffy light omelettes. Alternatively, mixing 2 beaten eggs with 1 tbsp of greek yoghurt makes for a thicker, more spending-all-day-in-the-fields, working-life-out-just-to-keep-life-in kinda omelette.

Cornflour helps with everything. Mix it with the juice of a roast, and you’ve got a great gravy. Mix it with butter and you’ve got the basis of a rouĂ© and hence a great white sauce. Mix it with HCL and put some rice in, and you’ve got a lethal paste for sticking on the end of your umbrella when wandering across London bridge. (Ric-in. See what I did there? Georgi Markov anyone?)

Embarrassed admission
I’d meant to use Matzoh Meal for all these recipes, but I short-sightedly picked up the wrong box.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

God, I feel parochial. This island, Enlightenment.

create your own visited countries map
Right; time to update you on my life. Sorry for the extended hiatus, but I've been busy/depressed/lazy. First off: I'm moving jobs. As of July 11th I'll be Reviews Editor of The Official Xbox 360 Magazine. Woo!

Thoughts; I spent the majority of yesterday at Lionhead studios, where I saw Alpha code for The Movies, Black & White 2, and Fable: the lost chapters. All of which look fecking excellent, and I will be playing lots when they come out, assuming my computer can handle them by then. Considering the last time I played Black & White I spent a day thinking I was a orangutan, I'l try and ease down on that one. I spent most of my time, though, sat in chairs in various locations, discussing with people about our philosophies, our perception of the society we're living in, and what we can do to change it. These people varied from Amanda, our photographer, to the lovely PR Cathy Campos, to Sir Peter Molyneux himself (if only there was a Von or De in the middle of his name).

I tried, subtley like, by getting Peter to talk about his problems with the governments support for the UK games industry and by mentioning that Jonathon Ross had stated that he'd only accepted his OBE so that he could give it back when he got annoyed, to get Mr Molyneux to agree to give it up in order to highlight the plight of UK games. But he was ahving none of it, just moaning "precious, my previous" to himself. (N.B. All statements attributed to persons living or dead are fictitious and should be taken as such - H.P. Squithin pp Pumrole of the Bailey.)

Looking at my diary (my memory is seriously shot these days) I spent the weekend in the park, playing Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines (yes, I am addicted. But, mmm, sweet ghoul blood), reading Umberto Eco's The Name of The Rose, Iain Banks' The Algebraist and John Wyndham's The Trouble with Lichen, listening to Radio Four and watching dumbass film. Batman Begins was alright, couldn't be more painting by numbers if Tony Hart and Neil Buchanan's bastard love-child had daubed it, Once Upon A Time In The West was fan-dabbie-doozie, though I always get Charles Bronson confused with Charles Manson and think that he killed Roman Polanski, and the original Litle Shop of Horrors from 1960. To be fair, the latter has aged worse than its sequel and its by turns grotesque and bumbling, but is worth picking up for some of the individual performances - Dick Miller (the old guy from Gremlins) is great as a flower-eating nutjob, Jack Nicholson's cameo is passable and the two incidental cops have wonderfully hard-boiled dialogue.

Det. Sgt .Joe Fink: How's the wife, Frank?
Det. Frank Stoolie: Not bad, Joe.
Det. Sgt .Joe Fink: Glad to hear it. The kids?
Det. Frank Stoolie: Lost one yesterday.
Det. Sgt .Joe Fink: Lost one, huh? How'd that happen?
Det. Frank Stoolie: Playing with matches
Det. Sgt .Joe Fink: Well, those're the breaks
Det. Frank Stoolie: I guess so.

When I can remember what else I've been up to, I'll get back to you.
Chiarina The eminently admirable Chiarina has established a blog using MSN Spaces; go visit. I've added her to my blogroll as well.

MSN Spaces is quite obviously MSN's attempt to get involved with , but it's been very cleverly done. Any contact with an MSN Space on Messenger has a little asterix next to their name every time they're updated, and as it combines their photo section, profile, music they're listening to, links, and so on, to form a coherent and well-presented home page. And it supports RSS feeds, Unsurprisingly well done TBH.

And yes, as she says, I never write enoguh about myself putting too many random links up here instead. I'll update soon, promise.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Loads of pictures from the Future summer party

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Don't Stand By Me - Surviving a lightning strike. By Joshua Foer: "Unlike garden-variety electrical shock, which finds the quickest route directly through the body, lightning can flash over the outside of a victim, sometimes blowing off clothes without leaving so much as a mark on the skin. The high-voltage electricity that zips through the body does its damage in just a few milliseconds. In many cases, there are no visible burns, though temporary fernlike bruises called Lichtenberg figures sometimes appear. Medical tests like MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays usually come back normal. But those are anatomical tests of how the body looks, not functional tests of how it works, and they can be deceiving. Zap a computer with an electrical surge and its hardware will appear unchanged, but that doesn't mean it'll still be able to run Leisure Suit Larry. The same is true of humans."

Stolen from Boing Boing.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I love Wikipedia. An enjoyable evening for me is sitting down with a cup of steaming bullshit and flicking though its virtual pages. Though, of course, I no longer have broadband access, so that's a straightforward lie.

However... now I have discovered... this!

Main Page - Uncyclopedia: "Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia that anyone can edit."

Completely devoid of any practical porpoise! I love it! I even added an entry on the Mustache Edict
Wired News: New Tech Protects Ancient Torahs: "The Burlingame Police Department circulated a bulletin to other law enforcement agencies listing their stolen Torah's vital statistics -- 40 pounds, 175 feet, 600 to 800 years old, 'contains the five books of Moses' -- but nothing that would help a cop pick it out of a lineup."

The tricksy and very profitable art of torah stealing.
Man With Chain Saw Allowed to Enter U.S. - Yahoo! News: "BOSTON - On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres. Then they let him into the United States.

The following day, a gruesome scene was discovered in Despres' hometown of Minto, New Brunswick: The decapitated body of a 74-year-old country musician named Frederick Fulton was found on Fulton's kitchen floor. His head was in a pillowcase under a kitchen table. His common-law wife was discovered stabbed to death in a bedroom."

Praise be to Jonty for picking up on this.
In Tokyo, a Ghetto of Geeks: "'There are some people who do lose their grip on reality, but that is not me -- or most of us,' said Ishihara, a chubby man with glasses who this year started dating a woman steadily for the first time. She's an anime artist. 'For me, the pillows have been my source of unconditional love, a reminder of when I used to be hugged by my parents. There is nothing strange about it.'"

Geeks in Tokyo have formed what amounts to their own commune filled with glasses adjustment kiosks, dress shirt salesmen and thick leather shoe shops. Drinks are served by girls dressed up as anime characters with oddly high voices. Odd.