Monday, December 24, 2007

Why I am not a vegetarian (work in progress)

After a discussion with my brother as to why I still eat (free-range) meat, I came up with the following. Criticism and arguments welcome in the commments please!

1 The most important thing in any life is to be free from pain
2 The next most important thing in any life is to have your desires satisfied
3 There is no life after death, for man, animals, plants, rocks or anything else
4 All things die.
5 A death which the individual does not forsee and is free from pain is the best death. (From 1 & 2 3.)
6 A life which is free from pain, involves the satisfaction of necessary desires and ends according to 5 is called humane. (From 1 & 2 & 3 & 5)
7 The length of the life does not matter, as long as it fulfils all conditions of 6.
8 If an animal or human is raised and dies in a humane condition, it is the best life. (From 7)
9 Animals' desires are simple and satisfiable.
10 All things considered, animals desires in the wild are satisfied less and they suffer more pain than animals' lives in humane captivity.
11 Free range farming and the use of a regulated abattoir is more humane than a life in the wild.
13 For an animal, a life on a free-range farm ended sharply in a professional abattoir is the best life.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Caption Competition

Log: "You're all on TV!"
Dov: "Blimey, you can house my sea from here."
Boss Nonnu: "Open the pod bay doors, Hal"
Meerling: Hillary Clinton's rejuvenation deemed a success. "Now I'm as pretty as Obama!"
Dov: "The fumes bring on a state of euphoria before overcoming the victims"
Me: *New!* The Bad-Taste Pod can defend against the most awful decor. Orgasmatron attachment extra.

These pods are absolutely awesome, especially for the orgasmic look they imbue this woman with. Boss Nonnu commented that in "in a decade, we'll all be working inside one" and I have to agree; one day things like this will shielding us against the mental vampires of big government.

Apparently, it actually uses air to measure your body's volume.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Naruto Episode 32

Or the one in which Ino watches Sakura get beaten to a pulp while she has a series of increasingly irrelevant flashbacks about what great friends they used to be.

Naruto is increasingly ace. It also reduces me to tears on a worringly ferquent basis.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sick of Cake

Look, I'm tired of your pathetic cake jokes, m'kay? I mean the vast majority of them aren't even jokes are they? They're Proustian madeleines, reminding you of something very personal only you and the elect understand; they're just you saying the word cake and then giggling like a schoolgirl doped up with nitrous oxide and poppers (innocent m'lud, I have access no to NO2). You make me ashamed of my virtual friends, you really do.

So I'm going to supply for you, my lovely overly self-referential chums, a near-complete set of cake and baking-related puns, just so we don't have to mention the c-word again. Between us we might raise the tone, leaven the atmosphere, even come up with something not half-baked. There is little margerine for error, so don't tell your friends these jokes are stollen and work on a knead to dough basis; most importantly avoid loafing about like bloody spongers (the Devil makes food c*** for idle hands, according to Eccles-iatisicals anyway) and if you can't think of one that doesn't provoke an icy/frosty response, make a joke about something simnaler. If you can't think of anything, petit force yourself - it's all grist to the mille-feuille after all.

(Sanity says: shit, this is degenerating rapidly. Finish him!.)

It's a piece of c*** really. Just remember that Jaffa C***s are really tax-dodging biscuits.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Jonty, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

I've been playing with an auto-rotascoping tool at which produces some awesome results. Click through to my Flickr page to see more.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fry's Delight

Stephen Fry » Blog Archive » Let Fame
Let the pheme f be the gene of celebrity, the base unit of fame; its only function is to replicate itself by planting the awareness of a given famous person, x, into the host minds of the masses, m. The pheme of x, f(x) does not demand that you like x, respect them, admire them or even know much about them, only that you are conscious of them enough to pass on the pheme in some manner.

Holy crapola. Steve Fry's first post on Smartphone wasn't simply a one-off - the man thinks and opines at length all the time, on topics you wouldn't expect a light entertainer to discuss, especially not with the erudition displayed here. A genuine insight into the mind of a genius.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Another Little Disappointment » Who Will Ride Me Like The Horse That I Am

1. Can you ride me like a horse please, like I am a big proud horse
2. Can I knock on your overhanging forehead please, I want to see whether it’s like a block of wood or an aquarium
3. Please can I stand you on the handle-end of a fork, then slam my hand on the stabbling end, and you go flying through the air
4. Can I see your teeth please, I want to see if you’re adapted for an omnivorous lifestyle
5. Get your cocktail sausage hands off my tits please, this stopped being charming some minutes ago and I can see your erection

But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I got up a few times and moved backwards and forwards, but I got nowhere near actually saying “ride me” to a dwarf. Annoyingly, this is because I respect people in real life, getting my kicks instead from being a dick on the internet. Vile reprobate Will Porter has no such qualms. People are his playthings.

Jon "Logathon" Blyth is parasiting off my dwarf story by pretending he thought of dwarfs first, they all belong to him intellectually, and indeed invented the whole concept of "relative measure". He even used my terrifying Will Porter picture.

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Big Daddy & the Hobbit.

Big Daddy & the Hobbit., originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

I’m already having one of the most stressful days of my life, when the phone on my desk rings and our imperturbable elderly receptionist says “there’s someone to see you” in dulcet tones that sound like she got sleeping sickness in 1920 and is just getting around to waking up. (She is *lovely* though.) At which point I remember that the also-lovely, batshit mental Lunch PR team were meant to be sending someone over to see me, though they wouldn’t say who.
So, leaving my oft-interrupted writing with a rueful glance, I grabbed the lift down and emerging from the darkened corridor I saw a small figure in a pointy brown cape… “Oh no”, thinks my stressed, tired brain “They can’t have. They wouldn’t. Not in this day and age. ” A look at the serried smiling faces of the PR team, laden down with cupcakes convinced me they had. Not a famous one, not one in character, just a normal dwarf. Dressed as a hobbit.

Friday, September 21, 2007

That Ram Raider Chappy

The RAM Raider: Future Publishing Readership Goes From "Strength" To "Strength"

Xbox 360:
Officially Corrupt Xbox 360 Magazine: 65,673 (gaining 22,993 readers)
Xbox World 360: 30,296 (gaining 7,113 readers)

“We’re delighted to be leading Future Publishing’s assault on traditional moral values by definitively proving once and for all that honesty is not the best policy,” said a spokesperson for Officially Corrupt Xbox 360 Magazine, yesterday. “These results conclusively demonstrate that lying to our readers, reviewing unfinished code, and awarding artificially high scores in exchange for advertising payments does pull in readers.”

An interesting alternate viewpoint on Future Publishing's position in the games industry is available over at the Ram Raider's site. We've never taken any money for coverage or high scores (when I've overscored it's been through stupid enthusiasm rather than evil corruption), or reviewed code we've been told isn't okay to review from, and I personally have never lied to the readers knowingly, but I found the article fun and a refreshing take on the games industry. I'd highly recommend clicking through to read the next paragraph after this one... ;)

Burgeoning Ego does not endorse his comments, nor does it condone the language employed or agree with the statements therein. (Yes, I'm really scared of getting in trouble for merely referring to this, but this is fair comment, surely?! I'm allowed to refer to other people's comments on my magazine, aren't I? On a completely different note, the paranoiac stress inculcated by living in a seeming panopticon where any misstep might lead to an eternity of pain and suffering could really get a man down, couldn't it? He says, theorising, apropos nothing.)

(And, no, I'm not the fucking Ram Raider, though I'd like to know who is, just to put me out of my misery.)

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sick Boy

When I moved flat on wednesday, I neglected to bring a duvet or pillows. I also forgot I'd left my sleeping bag with Maria in Bath. Hence, since then, I've been sleeping in the nud, as is my wont, with the window wide open and no covering. The neighbours must have had an eyeful...

Surprisingly, I caught a cold. I am now sick as a dead parrot. Well, not quite.

However, this has allowed me to explore my surroundings today, now I've recovered a bit. I've been hacking back the weeds in the garden and I sat down and thought "ah, back to nature." Then I looked around and tried to spot the nature. Fence? No. Stone flags? Machined, no. Gravel? Nah? Plants? All ornamental, bred for man. Weeds? Thriving on man's by-product. Sunlight by which I see the world? Filtered through poisoned atmosphere and glasses covered with dust & dead skin... hum.

I'm going back inside, where I can be near comfortable artificiality.

(Seriously, the gardens brilliant. You're all invited whenever you want to come and have beer & barbie. That includes the stalkers, mkay?)

Friday, September 07, 2007

I *only* called to say I love you.

Playing on the false equivalence of "only" and "just", Dave wrote this cartoon. He can be very creative when he wants to be...

Jennifer: Some Of My Lost Loves

Log is the funniest man alive. COS HE KILLED THE FUNNIERS.

Charlie Branaski

Peanuts, by Charles Bukowski

The dog finished his supper and disappeared into the doghouse. A minute later, he walked out wearing a leather jacket and dark glasses and padded right past Branaski and out the gate.

“You ungrateful son of a bitch. I oughta let you starve.”

Thanks to Ed Boucher for this.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dave & Dan at Green Man Festival

2007 01 Home (6)

2007 01 Home (6), originally uploaded by Dimitri Kissoff.

Daftness runs in families apparently.

Friday, August 24, 2007

World Exclusive Bioshock Review.

Review: Bioshock - Official Xbox 360 Magazine
Amazingly-written and beautifully constructed, it's a complete emotional-rollercoaster that we can't draw any parallels with, not because it defies comparison but because any such comparison would give away some of the plot and it would be a tremendous moral crime for us to spoil this gem in any way. If you want to avoid ruining this game for yourself and others, would you kindly not talk to anyone about it until you know they've completed it too?

My review's gone online, about 40 days after I wrote it. World Exclusive means Jack Shit a month later. Magazine lead times are shit, y'know?

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The French Maid

Tuesday 23 August 1664 (Pepys' Diary)
Lay long talking with my wife, and angry awhile about her desiring to have a French mayde all of a sudden, which I took to arise from yesterday’s being with her mother. But that went over and friends again, and so she be well qualitied, I care not much whether she be French or no, so a Protestant.

Fascinating quote from Pepys' diary. In Pepys' time, a maidservant from France was seen as a sign that your lady wife might be converting to Catholicism and for a government servant like Pepys this was a dangerous sign, as Catholics were still seen as a fifth column in the country, obeying the Pope over King & Country. Nowadays, the husband is keen on the French maid; it's the wife who's concerned.

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redandjonny: young stormtroopers in love

What a great shot!

My Average Friend

You’re my average friend (on Facebook, at least). You like music above all, with a slight fondness for writing, technology and poker. You went to Oxford, where you did English and Law, you’re liberal, and your first name is James (it would be James, Ben, Martin, Mark or Adam but only James is the average length). You live in London, England.

Your top ten movies
“ ”
Fight club
Donnie Darko
Star Wars
Shaun of the Dead
Hot Fuzz
Pulp Fiction
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Requiem for a Dream

Apparently you are a NIHILIST who likes nothing above all (incidentally, isn't Walter's line in The Big Lebowski, in response to Donny's shout of "Nazis" "No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of" an excellent summary of nihilism?) Nothing, that is, except semi-fantastical action with a dark edge of humour.

Your top TV:

Peep show
Family guy
Brass eye
The Simpsons
Battlestar Galactica
Curb your enthusiasm

So you’re an escapist then – Coronation St and Eastenders don’t make your top ten, but the kooky soap opera that is Lost is easily your favourite show. You’re also deeply sardonic/sick/wrong and take more of your culture from the USA than the UK.

Your top music:

Arcade fire
The smiths
Foo fighters
Jeff Buckley
The killers
White stripes

I’ve never listened to the Arcade Fire. How can you be a friend of mine? Assuming they’re like the rest of your tastes, you like droney depressed white men singing about how weird life/relationships are.

Your top books:

Catch 22
His dark materials
Slaughterhouse Five
V for vendetta
Fight club

Notably, you don’t read that much; you’ve only entered half as many books as you have movies and a quarter as many as TV. Again it’s all escapist stuff, with an edge of depression and mental illness. Nice.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

USB Stone

That is is so sweet. I need to get me some resin to turn all my USB sticks into needlessly heavy stones.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Automatic Stalinism

Rossignol. I like the way you can automatically erase people from pictures. Imagine if we'd had this in the 30s and 40s, Stalin could have liquidated all those photo-erasing types with ease. Instant image manipulation is ripe for - imagine if this were in-camera and you could just point to the bit you wanted gone, the inadvertent element that didn't agree with your story and upload it instantly. There would be no truth in photography any more, no belief in the world as it is. Awesome.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stolen from the Stoa

Philip Oltermann confers with some great brains about their guilty pleasures | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited
Although I argue vehemently against modern pop music, on grounds of its musical incompetence, verbal impoverishment and general morbidity, narcissism and salaciousness; although I fiercely object to disco dancing as a sacrilege against the human form and a collective rejection of civilised courtship; although I defend reels, minuets, galliards, sarabands and (as limiting cases) waltzes and polkas as the only ways in which ordinary humanity should dare to put its sexual nature on festive display, and although I regard the 12-bar blues and the flattened subdominant seventh as the lowest forms of vulgarity in music, I find rock'n'roll in general, and Elvis in particular, irresistible, and would happily dance away the night to it. I cannot explain the thrill of delight with which I hear the first bars of Jailhouse Rock or the eagerness with which I at once search the vicinity for a partner: but there it is, appalling proof that, despite all my efforts, I am human.

Excellent Roger Scruton quote from the Grauniad (stolen from Chris).

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BBC Blog Ban

I appear to have been banned from posting comments on the Newsnight pages - though I've never posted one before AFAIK! Very odd. It just tells me "Your comment has not been allowed" which isn't very helpful at all. Ho-hum. Well, i'll just post it here then.

"The BBC's already lost the young generation - they prefer to download all their media - and though the Beeb's commercial arm is getting closer with its deal with the Bitorrent firm Azureus, it's sad to see the main corporation not following. Why doesn't the beeb simply put everything for free online? I'm sure it wouldn't undermine the sales of their DVDs that much, as the two markets are fairly distinct, and it might even boost them the way iTunes sales and internet radio has boosted the sales for CD sales. At the moment, the BBC has a reputation as a well-meaning but dusty organisation that's technologically crippled and confused about it's purpose, as well as being overwhelmed by bureaucracy. It must move online and use free content to drive people to its commercial wing, not cripple its public service side for the benefit of the commercial side."

Bioshock - the most Jewish game since the Shivah?

So when I was sat reviewing Bioshock a month or more back, Ken Levine walked up behind me (it was just after that moment, so I understandably feeling charitable to this god in human form) and I asked him who he'd named Sander Cohen after, as the character was obviously Jewish (Cohen is about the most Jewish name out, for the ethnically-uninformed). Levine looked a little puzzled and said "it's my wife's maiden name, why?" Sez I, "you're Jewish?! That's funny, you don't look Jewish." He didn't get the joke, making me think he's gone all secular, so I explain the joke at tedious length to him. I'm nice like that.

I also observe to him that there's a substantial proportion of Jewish people in the game, more than any other game in fact, what with the concentration camp survivor Tenenbaum, Cohen and others whose audio logs you encounter. He says "he hadn't really thought about it" and mentions how something about how it would be hard to build a futopia of the creative and talented without Jews. Odd how the Jews in rapture are the doctors and artists, the Americans and English are the rulers, while the Irish are the workers and detectives - everyone falls into their stereotype, perhaps because it's set in the 50s when this implicit caste system was the Western norm, perhaps because the game doesn't quite escape the clutches of pulp fiction.

Anyway, this game has the highest kosher content of any game going, AFAIK and, like real life, that's both associated with high levels of violence and intelligence. The concentration camp references put the game in a nice historical context, even if the accent they're delivered in is rubbish.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

experiment 029

experiment 029, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

Possibly the most disturbing shot I've ever taken.

Secret First Sequence of Postal - The Movie by Uwe Boll

Oh, my. That's supremely tasteless and slightly funny. I apologise for saying this, but I may have to see another Uwe Bolle movie.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bye Bye Mr Magic

Kieron points to Tony Wilson's death. And then blathers on about context and contextualisation like he's swallered a sociolinguistics handbook, as is his wont.

The weird thing is, he was someone I grew up with, on the peripherary of my childhood. He was a friend of my parents when I was a kid (they said he was an absolute bastard, but a nice guy) and I remember going Christmas Tree shopping with him when I was really little. He was really excited about it and was bounding all over the place, and ended up buying the biggest tree I ever saw. And then I heard stories about him, like the one about a friend of my mum, who ran the Hacienda for him, getting in the lift there with him and trapping him in so she could have a good shout at him without him running away. Exploitative, generous, lying, mellifluous, money-grabbing, egocentric, friendly, untrustworthy - a true Mancunian.

And I’ve never seen that movie, but I’m sure it portrayed Steve Coogan perfectly. Most things he’s in do.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tasty Green Meat

My pound of flesh is sizzling away on the hob, producing murderous juices, and on the radio I'm happy to hear my supply of tasty corpses is being maintained. Yes, the Foot & Mouth quarantine has been lifted (a bit prematurely in my case, as my mouth is still foul and my feet are no better) so tomorrow all over the country doe-eyed calves, calf-eyed lambs and possibly even lamb-eyed does will be taken off to the abbatoirs and boltgunned for our delectation. Mmm & indeed Hmm!
But what's this? A butcher stands up (metaphorically; he was on the radio and it's hard to stand up on something so small, though I've listened to plenty of MPs stand down on it, which must be easier or something) and says that us carniphages are in trouble. Apparently, there's a great meat shortage across the country at the moment and all of the national suppliers are sold out! Not a kidney to be had for love nor money! It sounds like for the next two weeks we're reduced to greens & beiges rather than tasty reds. (Not that my colourblind eyes can tell, save for the implied screams bound up with every tasty chunk.) Again! This cannot continue, this cannot be allowed to continue.
That's why I've developed a plan, and it doesn't involve mandatory stabilisers for all radio appearances of potential stand-up types. (comedians or otherwise, which reminds me ((via the Comedian)) that the cast line-up for Zack "300" Snyder's movie of The Watchmen has been finalised - look ee here and marvel at the lack of name recognition. Back on topic!) As far as I can see it we have three options; stop eating meat (not an option); stockpile meat, living & dead (which the tube trains seem an excellent prototype for); or we stop other people eating meat, which leaves more for us (and shut up you damn economists with your concept of reduced demand leading to a systemic adjustment downwards in the meat supply). So I'm going to start preaching vegetarianism to everyone else and painting all my meat green as a disguise.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Bloody English

There's a man stood behind me in the queue verbally abusing his wife. (What the fuck am I doing at Morrissons anyway?) I glance back. They're both in their sixties, broken-down. He's got a thicket of white hair, and looks he shaved with a lump of broken glass, she's got a sadsack face that's sucked right in from biting her lip too much. She's carrying the basket, he's carrying his stick. Then he's dropping his stick. Then he's abusing her for not picking it up. He says "I'm going to get rid of you, you're useless." Her face puckers up some more. He swears at her, then bites that they're going to the pub after anyway, like that's somehow connected. She makes a little choking noise, and I look around to see a dumpy old lady with a face like a dried-up pear and great round glasses about to cry. Then he growls that "she should stop that, don't even start that." And I can hear her trying to hold the tears in, blinking them back so they spatter on the glass.
After a bit, while I'm moving my shopping along, and placing the crappy Next Customer nameplate for them, she asks, hesitantly, if "we can go to get a cup of tea". He roars at her, a belly-roar, and says "No! We're going to Rosie's pub." Then she asks if he "wouldn't mind carrying some of the shopping" and he gets really nasty. He says No! I can't, I'm holding my stick, and if you don't stop that, you'll feel it around your neck soon." He shakes the stick for effect. "You're so damn lazy, I've got to get rid of you." At the neck comment, I've turned around, as it's obvious he really does use the stick on her and I want to intervene, want to stop him, and tell her to leave this filthy old monster, so she can be a lonely unabused old spinster but all I can come out with is "I think you should calm down mate." He laughs at me and says"You don't have to live with her, she's lazy, she's useless." Another growl, at her. I turn away and pack my bags, and don't look around again.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hot Summer

What a way to spend a Saturday. My acrophobia agoraphobia caught up with me again this weekend, and I found it almost impossible to leave the house. I kind of reflect it when I dress, veering between completely black clothing and bright pink Hawaiian shirts twinned with green-grey combat shorts. The nearest I got to getting outside was climbing out of my window to sunbath on the scaffolding, which allows me to exit without having to see people. Even then, I get a hit of anthropomorphizing paranoia every time the curtains billow out of the window over my head, seeing a great muumuu-ed figure leaning over me... at least when you're mad, you're never alone.

Karma Chameleon

There are twenty million people in the old Imperial India currently displaced by floods. They're without food, shelter or water, in dire straits. Yet I feel no human impulse to donate money to them. Why should I? Out of empathy? The imperative simply isn't there, or I'd already be doing it. My brain occasionally says "karma", drags up that Christian "give & thou shalt receive", but without an overseeing God I don't believe in any such ordered universe, nor do I believe gratefulness transmits across such numbers or distances. Even if it were true that the people of India were grateful to the people of Britain and we one day needed their help, it's still easy to bandwagon. I could pour my paltry contribution into the million needy mouths of charity, without it making a dint, without hearing even the echo of it hitting the distant bottom. There is no end to man's need, and a simple end to my own. Perhaps I should just pour my excess to a particular sponsor, somewhere I can see the effect, somewhere I can be the recipient of justified gratefulness. This thinking is the way that patronage works, I think, the way the romans did charity - cynical, sceptical, greedy.

Hmm. Anyone need a patron?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dream of Sand

I remember my dream, for the first time in months. Now little is extant, but I remember a great chamber, so dark you can hardly see the walls, the floor strewn with rubble, half an ancient theatre or a great school hall, half a war zone, kipple everywhere. We're all children (I sense my mother is involved somehow) and we're running amidst the rubble against the opposition, trying to acquire something that's half typewriter, half bomb, half radio, but is very valuable. I hang back in the struggle for the macguffin, but eventually, too late, I join in and almost grasp it as the opposition take it, following the captor as he takes inside a doorway in the chamber's corner, on their side of the chamber and into a cluttered small room with a stairs blocked by a closed door, shelves beneath. I lie down beneath the stairs' shelving as he places it in front of the door, thinking it secure, and he passes by me. I think I can grab it and sneak it out, think I've not been spotted, but a gentle, resigned hand shakes my shoulder and the illusion of stealth evaporates.
Later, I am outside, in a great sandy desert enclosed by high smooth slopes, like arena seating with no seats. A sandstorm whips up and I sink into it, losing sight of everyone, if there is anyone. The sand doesn't hurt, doesn't abrade, just smothers. I can't breath through the whirling particles and am buried, managing, through flailing my hands, to keep my mouth of the sand as it settles. I am completely buried,save for my mouth and someone comes to help me out.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Life Update 27/07/07

Beer Festival
My mum and step-dad organised a food & drink festival in their village up north, Warslow, round the corner from Alton Towers. We had 21 kegs, 1700 pints, all of which got drunk, 300 sossies (40kg), 14 kg of ribs, 120 burgers, all of which was eaten, an enormous marquee. I think I may have served most of that, and eaten & drunk about half of it myself. Father Dimitri recorded it all on his old dv cam which he then gave me (footage to come. It was amazingly good. They took £5000 home at the end of the evening. Then they were made to give it back.

I'm dating a girl called Maria Vassilopoulos. She's lovely and stuff. Look.

Hiding Maria

I went over to review Bioshock. I had to run to the airport, so didn’t have any clothes with me, leaving me stinking for three days until I eventually broke and ran to the nearest H&M. I now have new clothes! Everything works out that this is the best of all possible worlds. Bioshock is ace but I'm not allowed to talk about it.


I now live in Finsbury Park, for at least another month. It's great.

Medal of Honor Airborne
I went and stood in a field and jumped out of a plane repeatedly, shouting one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three.., before bracing for impact (crouching like you’re dying to crap) and then. I also learned to walk in rhythm, something I now find myself doing whenever my brain’s vacated.

Private Grill

I drank lots recently. Maria has called me alcoholic. I also met this Joshua feller near the pub. He really got nailed.
Pepsi Refreshes 9/10 Messiahs

No country for old men: Trailer (June 16)

Coen Brother's new movie. Wanna see.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Algorithm March! with Ninjas!

Holy... watch the first half and it's cute. Watch the second half and see how the moves from the first half interact. :DDDDD

Edit: Once you've watched that, watch it performed by 967 prisoners!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Non-targetted Rant

Please, please, please. All of you. Stop blogging about your fucking cats. I like the murderous devils as much as the next spittle-sodden ball of knives, but if I wanted a slideshow of the minuatie of their lives I'd staple my eyeballs to their heads.


Monday, July 16, 2007

The E-vader

Vader Custom Helmet, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

I've not been posting recently because I've been, busy & knackered, which is usual, dating, which was unusual but has become increasingly usual (yay!), and travelling to lots of events. I'll do a series of *fascinating* update posts, so brace yourself...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tom on Boston / Bioshock

Boston and Bioshock

Tom writes about our trip to Boston to review the game we're not allowed to talk about, Bioshock. It's ace.

He's also reviewed our trip over here.

This is almost like me blogging by proxy. Awesome.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Whales!, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

I took literally too many photos of humpback whales. Go see.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bioshock Screen

Bioshock Screen, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

I've finished it and all. BUT I'M NOT ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT IT. Best plot in the world, ever though. Must buy game.

Monday, June 18, 2007


That Alan Johnson's nicked Madeleine McCann, hasn't he? Never see them in the same room, eh? Eh?

Today's post is in tribute to greatly late Bernard Manning who died for the last time today.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Come On Nietzsche

Come on Nature by the Proclaimers.

Why did I assume they were saying "Come On Nietzsche"? Would they walk five thousand miles to see some shadows cast on a cave wall? Would they send a letter to America declaring the death of god? The only link between them and the ubermensch is twin studies...

This site is excellent: The Nietzsche Family Circus.

Apologies, I've been in the office too long. Rambling, dangerous rambling again. Home, Dan.

Friday, May 25, 2007


# Being MADE to review Splinter Cell because no one ever wants to review Splinter Cell because Splinter Cell is boring, too hard and rubbish, and only liked by weirdos who pay fat prostitutes to sandpaper their cocks in dungeons at the weekend while they let out the tears of pain away from the wife and kids.

Gary, that needed to be said. Thank you.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tom's GalCiv Game

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PC Gamer Blog: GalCiv 2 War Report: Final Entry - PC Gamer Magazine

GalCiv 2 War Report

My family did the whole Easter thing a week early this year, for reasons that you'd have to be a Francis to ever truly understand, so I had no religious festivals this bank holiday weekend. So I felt I owed it to the risen corpse of Jesus Christ himself to spend the lion's share of it conquering a vast galaxy in my boxer shorts.

If you've ever played a strategy game. Galactic Civilisations is the best Civ game I've ever played and I recommend it to anyone who likes losing days of their life. My friend Tom Francis has written an excellent ramble extolling its virtues; go, read.

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Happy Cheesecake Day

Yes, for Jews all over the world this is Cheesecake day! The day where you're obliged to eat Cheesecake or Blintzes, Shavuot, the festival of, uh, cheese. Wikipedia has this explanation of "the night before the Torah was given, the Jews went to sleep to be well-rested for the big day ahead. However, they failed to rise early, and Moses had to come to wake them up to meet God, Who was already waiting atop the mountain". So they were rewarded with Cheesecake. The Jewish aspect of the monotheist's god is a wonderfully arbitrary chap and the fact that he'll massacre 15,000 people for saying Aaron's a bit greedy about his clothing but doesn't mind his entire nation sleeping in and forgetting about this book he's written , that he'd like them to memorise and study intently every day for eternity.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It’s not complicated, it’s over.

So. Jill split up with me. Here’s how it went.

My friend Chiarina, who I’ve not seen for too many years, had mailed me months ago with a life update, demanding I send one packed with revelations back to her. Being an open sort of person, I was open about nearly all the crap that’s been happening in my life (you need to hold some juice back for the biopic, mhmm?) She recommended, on the basis of what I said about only seeing my girlfriend three times this year and hardly talking, that I leave Jill immediately (and drop out and sleep in a car, but, y’know, I’m working on it.)
Perturbed by this, I wandered over to Facebook and was fiddling around, when I noticed the relationship status options included “it’s complicated”. Feeling that was apropos, I changed it to that from “in a relationship with Jill O’Reilly”. At which point it said “this status update has been sent to Jill O’Reilly for confirmation.” Which scared the shit out of me, but I had other, bigger, things to worry about, so forgot about it.
Until, that is, I was sitting in the BFI on the South Bank and I noticed it has free wireless access. So I dug out my PDA and checked my emails and found, lo and behold, my Facebook message has prompted Jill to end it, albeit in a very sweet way.
So, after a year of bollocksing about, I’m single again. After a month’s hiatus, any offers to set me up with your smelly sister (by which I mean “nun”) will be wholeheartedly considered.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gmail Wipe!

Finally! Google has finally seen fit to introduce the "select all" function to Gmail. I have now marked all of the 25,420 unread messages in my inbox as read. Please don't fill it up as quickly again, chaps.


I'd like to point out that since my cameras both got nicked, I haven't been able to take any photos so I'm resorting to uploading stuff from my mobile phone and thinking *really* hard about the photos I want to take. I'm going to start writing down spots and go back to them when my camera finally arrives.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Film Baton

To quote my pal Pettitt (see, I can still spell it Jimbo) “SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 films, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, go to your own facebook account / blog, paste this as a note. Then, put x's next to the films you've seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click post at the bottom. Have fun.” He got 115, I got 100. I plead books, the internet and computer games as distractions.

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
(x) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
Total: 9

(x) The Princess Bride
( ) AnchorMan
( ) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
(x) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
( ) Anger Management
( ) 50 First Dates
( ) The Princess Diaries
( ) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 12

(x) Scream
( ) Scream 2
( ) Scream 3
(x) Scary Movie
(x) Scary Movie 2
(x) Scary Movie 3
( ) Scary Movie 4
( ) American Pie
(x) American Pie 2
( ) American Wedding
( ) American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 17

(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Harry Potter 5
(x) Resident Evil 1
( ) Resident Evil 2
( ) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
(x) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 25

(x) Finding Nemo
( ) Finding Neverland
(x) Signs
( ) The Grinch
(x) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
( ) White Chicks
( ) Butterfly Effect
( ) 13 Going on 30
(x) I, Robot
(x) Robots
Total so far: 30

(x) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
(x) Universal Soldier
( ) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
(x) Deep Impact
(x) KingPin
( ) Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
(x) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
( ) Joe Dirt
Total so far: 37

( ) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
(x) Final Destination 3
(x) Halloween
(x) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving X-MAS
( ) Flubber
Total so far: 41

( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
( ) Practical Magic
( ) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
(x) From Hell
(x) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
( ) I Am Sam
( ) The Whole Nine Yards
( ) The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 43

( ) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child's Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
( ) Nightmare on Elm Street
( ) Sixteen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 44

( ) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Sleven
(x) Ocean's Eleven
(x) Ocean's Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
( ) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled
(x) Predator I
( ) Predator II
( ) The Fog
(x) Ice Age
(x) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
Total so far: 51

(x) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
( ) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(x) ET
( ) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
( ) Maid in Manhattan
(x) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
( ) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 55

( ) Best Bet
( ) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She's All That
( ) Calendar Girls
(x) Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
(x) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
(x) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
( ) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 63

(x) X-Men
(x) X-2
( ) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
( ) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
( ) Freaky Friday
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
( ) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 70

( ) Swimfan
( ) Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
( ) The Notebook
( ) K-Pax
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
( ) The 40-year-old Virgin
Total so far: 70

(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 76

( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
( ) Elf
(x) Highlander
( ) Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History X
( ) Three
Total so Far: 77

( ) The Jacket
(x) Kung Fu Hustle
(x) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
Total so far: 83

( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
(x) Hulk
( ) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicles Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(x) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
Total so far: 88

(x) Kill Bill vol 1
(x) Kill Bill vol 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re-Animator
( ) Army of Darkness
Total so far: 90

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x)Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
( ) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 96

(x) The Matrix
(x) The Matrix Reloaded
( ) The Matrix Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
(x) Evil Dead
( ) Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America: World Police
( ) Red Dragon
( ) Silence of the Lambs
( ) Hannibal
Total so far: 100

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You've Changed, Dude

Dan & 1990 Henry J Beans, originally uploaded by Steve Hogarty & Dimitri Kissoff.

Me now and 17 years on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Spice, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

An old spice / incense box a couple brought back from the East to a museum in Bournemouth. Click through to see some really interesting materials.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Islington F**k Club

The panelling was quite obviously laid by Jackson Pollock, seemingly randomly accreted in different corners and heights around the oddly columned room that some aspiring architect with a sledgehammer has carved out above the Horseshoe pub in Farringdon. The people were odder still, a collection of people who look like they'd fought tramps for their clothing and lost. (In a nice way. Folk people do everything nicely). The manner that some seemingly random person in the crowd would be called up onto stage, to then sing an amazing song, even gave the place a missionary air.

I'd told my friends I was going to see Martin Carthy, at the Islington Folk Club, but my mumbling had rendered it as the F**k Club, confusing them somewhat about my proclivities; just to emphasise, yes, I like sex, but I'm not the King of the Swingers. Sorry, yes, I was there to see Martin Carthy, father of the British folk scene (though he's getting into grandfather territory these days) and expected him to come on soon after the 7.30 start, but there are no rules about Folk Club. That was evinced by the opening.

First, the Angel Band warmed up. They're a good group of mainly squeezebox players (they had a hurdy-gurdy, which I'd never seen before!) So far, so NFF (Normal For Folk). Then some thin guy at the front started ranting in rhyme, and all the people behind me started singing a kind of slave chorus alongside with him, which was disturbing to say the least. It turned out the madman was the compère, as evinced by him next shouting "and, as always, the Singing Doorman" at which point the oddly dressed buttoned-up psychopath type by the door starts singing with the voice of an angel and the filthy, florid mind of a Vaudevillian.

Then it turns into a church meeting, with the thin madman ruffling the crisp monochrome of his floral silk shirt with every James Brown expostulation, calling on all and sundry to come up, a woman called Rosie, a webmaster who sang a sweet song about a wife running away with the hairies and the hippies (which I reproduce below), lonely cowboy Stanford Stan (or summat), another woman called Rosie, and, only after nearly everybody else in the room had sung, Martin Carthy stopped his supping and started playing - great as always, though he stumbled over his fingers a little.

What always amazes me about traditional folk music, as recovered and recorded by Mr Carthy, is how bleak it is. It's full of murder, death, suicide and incest, an endless angry roar against the injustice of the world. Tonight I heard that King Willy found his mum had bewitched his lady love, so she was nearly dead and unable to give birth, poachers were deported to the colonies for 14 years hard labour, and father-of-six Georgy got sentenced to death for an unnamed crime. The only positive bit is where the impoverished and undertrodden rise up and murder some authority, an aristo or landowner, or buck some law, as in The Devil and The Feathered Wife, where the devil is foiled in his plot to claim the soul of a henpecked farmer by a wise wife who rolls in cowshit and feathers to fool him into thinking she's some fabulous animal. Dumb Devil, but the rural heroes buck authority to keep living in squalor. Woo.

Oh, yes, I came back and found Toby still playing Guitar Hero II at fantastic speeds on expert and was only released from my rabbit-like hypnosis by Vicky staggering in AMAZINGLY DRUNK. I can't believe she was upright. She was like one of those drunks you see in movies or comedy shows, where the brain is completely gone but they're still upright and teetering. Anyway, here's the lyrics to the hippies and the hairies, taken from here. It's not quite what the feller sang tonight (he swapped freezer-o with stere-o) but it gives you the gist of modern folk, ye naysayers, ye harlots of the guitar and the drum.


It was late one night Mr. Jones came home
On the nine forty-seven from Euston O
He was big, he was fat and he wore a bowler hat
And he hated the hippies and the hairies O

As he stopped before his mock Tudor door
He called to his wife I am home dear O
The train was delayed, I'm late I'm afraid
Must have been the hippies and the hairies O

As he stepped inside a note he espied
The au-pair came to greet him O
Saying Madam is not here she has gone I fear
She has gone with the hippies and the hairies O

Go prepare for me the MGB GT
The Roller's not so speedy O
And I shall drive 'till I find her alive
Or dead with the hippies and the hairies O

So he rode North and he rode South
'Till he came to a field near Knebworth O
And there she did stand with a joint in her hand
Getting into Harper with the hairies O

What makes you leave your house and car
Your Habitat kitchen and your freezer O
And the children three, not to mention me
And go with the hippies and the hairies O

Oh what care I for my house and car
My Habitat kitchen and my freezer O
A fuse I've primed and the whole thing's timed
To explode in the middle of the Jimmy Young show

So now I'm free of the Bourgeoisie
And the cosmic twits at the golf club O
So Chorleywood you can stuff for good
I'm spaced with the hippies and the hairies O

Golden Compass Daemon Quiz

This is quite cutesy. What's your demon - there are 70,000 different daemons on the site, apparently, and they morph depending on other people's input on you. At the moment, mine's a Jackal. Please contribute and you'll change it into something else.

Online Review Summary List

I thought I might as well have a list somewhere of all the reviews I've done; I'll update this when new stuff appears online.

PC Format
Hidden & Dangerous 2
Day of Defeat
Evil Genius
EverQuest II
Empire Earth II
Freedom Force Vs The Third Reich
Galactic Civilisations
Guild Wars
Ground Control 2
Homeworld 2
Hidden & Dangerous 2 Sabre Squadron
Hidden & Dangerous 2
Heroes of the Pacific
Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile
Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Knights of Honor
May Payne 2
Medieval Lords
Neverwinter Nights: Premium Modules
Rome: Total War - Alexander
Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion

Rome: Total War
Silent Hunter III
The Lord of The Rings: The Battle For Middle Earth
The Sims 2
UFO: Aftermath
World of Warcraft
Worms 4: Mayhem

Official Xbox 360
Def Jam: Icon
Brian Lara Cricket
Superman Returns
Battlestations: Midway
Shivering Isles
Call of Duty 3
Import Tuner Challenge
Open Season
The Godfather
Ninety Nine Nights
Lego Star Wars II
The Battle For Middle Earth II
Table Tennis
Top Spin 2
Far Cry Instinct Predator
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

PC Zone
Battlestations Midway
Neverwinter Nights 2
Heroes of Annihilated Empires

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn't everyone in Asia have a headache? | Food monthly | The Observer
The anti-additive movement (check out the excellent and informative admits that 'natural' and 'industrially produced' glutamate are chemically the same, and treated by the body similarly. So why doesn't anyone ever complain of a headache or hyperactivity after a four cheese and tomato pizza (where there's easily as much glutamate as in an MSG-enhanced chicken chow mein)?

I love MSG. I buy it in bags for my friend Neil when he runs out (mainly because I love carrying small bags of white powder around with me), I stuff myself with Chilli Oil until my innards are outards, and I'm so happy to learn it's probably safe. Even if it probably corrodes your nerve endings.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Old Kurt's dead,
He fell and banged his head
And didn't get up in the morning.

After the initial blow, he was fortunate to have another fifty-five years of life before the discombobulation of the event caught up with him. Around the world, a thousand "So It Goes" echo into the uncaring, arbitrary void.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Log Off

Either I'm going paranoid (considering the unbelievable amount of stress I'm under, etc, etc) or my bloglines accounts begun reading itself... I think I'll change all my passwords pronto.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Static, Smoking & Stench

I left my MP3 player on top of Toby’s speakers whilst he was playing Death Metal Grindcore and some of the horror crept inside and killed my folk MP3s. Now it just crashes when I try and play anything. So on the way to work I listen to the Radio, when I remember, which is rarely. Most of the time I remember just in time to get into the Underground, so I have a brief Hallelujah of Melvyn Bragg’s voice, before it segues into blessed white noise. On the underground, nothing but static pouring into your ears, rather the grunts and sweaty silence of the angry commuters, it’s a blessing.

I’m currently nursing something that Jamie from Zone described as “pleurisy” so I’m having trouble walking, standing or breathing without trying to turn my bronchi into high-pressure chambers. Hence, and otherwise, I can’t wait for the smoking ban to come in. Seth keeps saying pubs are going to stink of stale beer and sweat when the smoke vanishes, but as my sense of smell has been killed by the endless colds I get because of my lungs’ weakness due to all the shit in the air, I couldn’t really care less. I’m sure it’ll just be another thing we’ll all get acclimatised to in our pursuit of the demon drink – hey, we might even get a Pavlovian reaction and start liking it! Roll on the 1st of July, woof!

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's in his face.

Does he love you so? Maybe it really is in his face…

Men with highly masculine faces were judged more likely to get into physical fights, challenge their bosses, sleep with many women, cheat on their partners and knowingly hit on someone else's girlfriend. Those with more feminine faces were judged to be more likely to be good husbands, be great with children, work hard at their jobs even though they didn't like them, and be emotionally supportive in long-term relationships.

So this has established that men who look manly will be more bastardly. Awesome use of the chicken and the egg there - if people have these assumptions, they will treat masculine men accordingly; do men treated this way behave this way? If someone looks at your face and decides from it that you're going to be "trouble", they're going to treat you cautiously, probably not nicely, which'll make you more likely to be trouble. Excess testosterone does cause growth of the cheek and jaw bones, but it also weakens the immune system, so only "healthy individuals with high quality immune systems can afford to produce the hormones required to produce masculine characteristics." Handsome individual combine the characteristics of both feminity and masculinity - full lips and full jaws, big eyes and high cheekbones. Women tend to select masculine men at their peak fertility and feminine men at other times - so we should expect masculine men to be single as the years run on.

Actually, shit, why am I writing this? It's bollocksing 7.30 on Friday night. Gah. Home!

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Metal Brains

Heavy metal 'a comfort for the bright child

The results of a study of more than 1,000 of the brightest five per cent of young people will come as relief to parents whose offspring, usually long-haired, are devotees of Iron Maiden, AC/DC and their musical descendants.

Researchers found that, far from being a sign of delinquency and poor academic ability, many adolescent "metalheads" are extremely bright and often use the music to help them deal with the stresses and strains of being gifted social outsiders.

Um, "rock on" chaps!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ego Blogging

A few more of my 360 reviews and previews have popped up online:

Def Jam: Icon
Brian Lara Cricket
Superman Returns
Battlestations: Midway
Shivering Isles (preview)

Paper Angels

The delightfully simple Paperboy (available on Live Arcade since 14/02/07) has reminded me that there simply aren’t enough pacifist games, still less non-competitive ones. Being a conscientious objector myself, I would never handle a firearm (I’ve always turned down trips that promised this as a feature), I don’t believe in glorying in violence and I appreciate developers that bravely stay away from the easy visceral thrills provided by guts, gore and sex. Some bloody games manage to surpass their violent content, either by providing a more strategic air which moves away from the warlike nature of the game; others, like Call of Duty, claim there are historical lessons to be learned from shooting other people in the face. I take this with a large pinch of salt but at least it’s a move in the right direction.

Few games, save puzzle games, can manage what Paperboy does, to produce a game that involves slapstick humour (which, yes, can have an element of violence but always with humour and never designed to gratify by itself) and a compelling, difficult game mechanic without ever resorting to anything crude, nasty, violent. You have three tasks in Paperboy: to keep your paperboy pedalling despite the hazards of the course; to deliver your papers; and to get to the end of the street on time. There’s an optional fourth task, to maximise your score by smashing non-subscribers’ windows, dealing with burglars and stopping fights; essentially anything that can be construed as antisocial behaviour from the viewpoint of the paperboy. It’s a game about doing the right thing that disguises itself as rebelliousness and that’s why I think it’s great.
Sad to say, but the reported 'lost at sea' status of Battlestations: Midway sometime after its announcement in 2004 wasn't greeted with the usual sorrow and rending of hair, but more with the irritated 'tch' noises people make when the cat's pissed on your second-favourite rug. Considering the lukewarm emotion attached to it, the game's return, steaming at full speed back from the horizon, isn't likely to be greeted by cheering crowds on the dockside. Rather, there's more likely to be a mild interest as to where the f*** it's been. Not all escapees of development hell get the welcome of Prey.

Ooh! My reviews seem to have started going online for PCZone. About time!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Just got a message from my newly ex-flatmate Jamie, saying that we’ve got away with moving out and that, having checked the inventory, they’re going to refund our deposits! It’s amazing what you can do to massive scrapes all over the plasterwork with a free tube of poster paint… apparently the flat flooded from the sink backing up while the landlord’s agent was looking it over, which must have won us a few plus points.

I’m SOOOOO glad to be out of that flat.

360 Hangovers

My face feels like it's stuck to the pillow, and there's a ringing in my ears that isn't just the alarm. I vaguely remember dreaming about fighting a knight in a train, then eating some chokeberries. I drag my head up and the instant headache and scummy mouth is so repugnant, I assume I must have been drinking. I check my pockets and am nicely surprised; a wodge of cash is still there, there's no outrageous taxi receipts, no ludicrously priced bills for London cocktails or ladies of the night (slightly cheaper than the cocktails, I hear). Thinking some PR must have been buying the drinks, I stumble into the living room, and the TV's on. A familiar theme tune bangs out, with Patrick Stewart intoning over the top. Everything clears up. Playing Oblivion 'til three again? On a work night? I wish I'd been out drinking…

I shouldn't be playing this game this much. I know off by heart the locations of every shop in every city, have run over the map for hours on end, just for kicks and yet, a couple of hundred hours in, I've still not completed half the quests, am nowhere near completing the main quest and have only just stopped being a vampire (thanks to the Vile Lair download pack). I've not only stopped doing the quests, I've started making up my own. Taking pictures of the flowers, seeing how high I can get my bounty, making the largest pile of naked dead people in a city square, and endlessly just exploring dungeons, just to see what's in there. Oh and lots of running away. I speak to the members of the Thieve's Guild more than I do my family (but, then, my family aren't so hot at laundering goods.) I've wondered about checking into that clinic in Amsterdam to see if I can cure my addiction.

I recognise now that unless I complete all the quests, I'm never going to be able to let this game go. So, thanks to suggestions from friends, I'm now rebuilding my life around getting the game finished. I now do sit-ups whilst watching the screen, nap at work in my lunch-hour to recoup those precious minutes for later play, and have set up a credits system, where an hour of cooking, cleaning or eating bags me an hour fighting gobbos. I'm even aiming to take up smoking when the quests end just so I've got a secondary addiction to take over. The only cloud on the horizon is Bethesda; they insist on realising new, addictive downloads every fricking fortnight, and won't promise me that they'll stop doing it because they're making a nice profit out of me.


I Want Candy (2007 film)

I have four exclusive free tickets to see the preview of I Want Candy on thursday night in Soho, London. Anyone want them? I can't make it... :(

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Down and Out in London.

I remember little of my dream from last night – something about being praised for my singing, which is pure madness. I’m now officially homeless, of “no fixed address” in the parlance of the time. It’s quite liberating, but also enormously panick-inducing. If anyone has a sofa within an hour’s commute of London that needs forming into the shape of a hairy GreekWelshJewish Mancunian for at least a week's period, I’m your man. I also do weddings, barmitzvahs, christenings, funerals… Anywhere there’s free food basically.

Good Ship Venus by Loudon Wainwright III is awesome filth, almost Tiger Lilies standards. All must listen!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Famous at last!

Xbox 360 - The Official Magazine - Shivering Isles priced and dated

The Shivering Isle in which this expansion pack is based also boasts a completely different design ethic to the rest of Tamriel, with our own OXM Grill describing it as a “distinctly Alice in Wonderland styling,” in our mammoth preview.

After playing it extensively, he’s sure Oblivion fans are getting value for money. “It’s worth every penny,” he shouted over to us as he ran away from a pursuing band of goblins. “It’s enormous; what you originally think is a fairly small area opens up to reveal towns, dungeons, massive bosses…”

Everyone seems to think I spend all my time in Oblivion running away from Goblins. I mean, that's true but not what I want people to know. I want them to think how cool I am for playing it, and how nicely arranged my library in Frostcrag Spire is.

Anyway, I completed the Shivering Isles today. You end up with lots of cool shit for knocking it off, believe me!

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Mort Gauge

I’m getting so fucked off with this mortgage thing. The mortgage broker feller, who sounds increasingly sullen every time he rings me, has just told me for the second time that I don’t exist. Apparently, Abbey National, who I’ve been with for 14 years, can’t find any record of my existence at my previous addresses. I told them to check with HSBC. I know I’ve only been with them for 12 years or so, but I’ve kept them more up to date with my movements. Again I get a call saying I’m a non-entity, according to the Abbey Mortgage people. If this continues I will walk around to their office and, with my steel-toecapped boots, show them just how real my existence is by impinging on the physical reality of their testicles. Grr.

Abbey people, or prissy stalkers, if you’re reading; please, this is just frustration I’m sharing with my friends. I’m not about to hurt anyone, unless they really deserve it.

Friday, March 09, 2007

This is how educated PC Zone are.

This is how educated PC Zone are.

Suzie is shouting about Titan Quest, when Will wanders over to correct her as to the location of Agamemnon in the Elysian fields and the story behind his ending up there.

I just overheard Editor Jamie say, “No, we can’t pluralise demo on that page because it’s a homonym for the Greek demos.”

I walk over to ask Log about wine and cheese, only to find him idly browsing Wikipedia’s Mantophasmatodea. When I joked that he’d only gone there because he fancied Wolf off Gladiators (Mantophasmatodea being an order of carnivorous African insects known as gladiators), he bristled smilingly, saying “I’m saddened you think so little of me.”

PC Gamer, trump that!

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"Puppy-Dog Water"

Tuesday 8 March 1663/64 (Pepys' Diary)

Up with some little discontent with my wife upon her saying that she had got and used some puppy-dog water, being put upon it by a desire of my aunt Wight to get some for her, who hath a mind, unknown to her husband, to get some for her ugly face.

Pepys is a little screwy today.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Down In The Hollow

85 - Inside the Hollow Earth « strange maps

That's just plain beautiful. This is a summary map of the Hollow Earth, with all its different entry points and layers, including a small floating sun in the middle. So this is what people reverted to after the flat earth was discredited. Strange maps has the best stuff - including this wonderful image of the most generic country imaginable.

My Musical Preferences

Pandora Internet Radio - Find New Music, Listen to Free Web Radio

We’re playing this track because it features electronica influences, a subtle use of vocal harmony, major key tonality, prominent use of synth, acoustic sonority, folk roots, dynamic vocalists, acoustic instruments.

After months of listening to Pandora, it seems to have calmed down and gives me regularly music I love. Now when I check "why did you play this track" it gives me the some version of the above answer nine times out of ten. Apparently, that's me, which is awesome. Now to look up sonority...

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Cat Ladders

On 2 Mar '07, 8.08am GMT flyerjimmy said:


I wonder if i can use this picture (see link)

Cat Stair

On my cat-ladder site - a site about Cat-Ladders :)

Here's the address to the site:


Where is the picture taken? Which town/country.

Yours sincerely / Jimmy Robertson - Stockholm/Sweden

Uh, yeah. Sure. Cool site and all!

Buzan's Box

BF Skinner was a world famous psychologist who did experiments on conditioning, following Pavlov, where he showed you could get anyone to do anything with enough positive reinforcement (negative reinforcement isn't as effective, oddly). Humph. Lauren Slater has written a very personal book Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century all about Skinner and several other famous psychologists. BF Skinner's daughter Deborah Skinner Buzan responds to Slater's book in the Guardian, claiming the writer failed to do her research, citing several allegations Slater . However, it feels like it's Buzan who's not done her research, as Slater is clear that Buzan didn't suffer from any of the things mentioned; she mentions them only to debunk them. She does say that Buzan slept in the "heir conditioner", a sealed cot designed to provide the perfect environment for a growing baby, but then so does Buzan. Buzan's big problem seems to be that Slater never got in touch with her; but Slater tried to, spoke to Buzan's sister and generally made the effort. That said, Buzan got to write an article for the Guardian and, knowing their page rate, she had to say something controversial...

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I'm all preregistered. Now to decide whether I actually want to go.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Penny Arcade! - The Home Of The Gods, Part One

The thing that really gets me with this whole thing is that the kid knows full well that by equating what he’s done to a video game, that he will generate controversy and media coverage. It makes me sick that the media is jumping all over this, because that is exactly the result that he wants.

Kids kill a guy, blame it on violent video games. Penny Arcade's Gabe says it's nothing to do with games, it's the parents to blame. Turns out one of the (step)parents is reading, writes in saying the kid "just makes my blood boil" and that he was evil from the off, but intelligent/psychopathic enough to hide it from the authorities. Born psychopaths - what do you do? (again, I'm reminded and terrified of my manipulative and psychopathic uncle and cousin.)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Guilty Pleasures of Literary Greats

Via Boing Boing. Groucho's obsession with Shakespeare and Nabokov's concerns over (the American) Dennis the Menace's bastardy cracked me right up.

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Amazing Musical Hoax

"Last week, a critic at the Gramophone magazine got surprise when he put a Hatto recording of Lizt's 12 Transcendental Studies into his computer. The iTunes player identified the disc as being recorded by another pianist, Lászlo Simon. He dug out the Simon album and found it sounded exactly the same as the Hatto one.

iTunes had stumbled on a hoax. To identify albums it calculates a 'discid' from the duration of the tracks and then connects to the Compact Disc Database online. The Gramophone critic tried another disc - Hatto playing Rachmaninov - and again iTunes identified it as belonging to someone else. Again, the named recording - by Yefim Bronfman - sounded no different.

Gramophone decided to go to expert audio company Pristine Audio. Their detailed webpage on the Hatto case shows what they found, and lets you listen to the evidence. Examinations of the waveforms of Hatto recordings confirmed what iTunes had suggested. Many are direct copies of other pianist's work - some are tweaked versions where a recording has simply been slowed down."

The question is: did Joyce Hatto ever really exist? Or was she a classical Milli Vanilli?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pancake Day

Ugh. Remind me never to eat part-cooked, part-burnt, but definitely inedible batter again. Even with lemon juice and salt.

It just smelt so tasty!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Layout

Thought I'd update the layout on this thing, after five years. Whaddya think?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Shit on a Stick

It is now 1 a.m. Last night at eight of the clock I got back from working late at the office, to find my brother dave, now 25, lying in bed very ill. Putting the kettle on for some soup, I immediately scraped together some cash to get him some drugs, and went back out of the flat to get the lift to the ground floor. As I pressed the button for the lift, the power behind me in the flat died and everything kinda groaned to a halt. The life immediately popped up an error message - luckily I'd not got in there five seconds earlier else I would have been stuck for three hours. I checked the trip switches in our flat - nothing had tripped. Moping around our floor, I found that our neighbours had power but no water - it's powered by the electric pumps on our side of the building. No power meant no water and no heating and it got cold quickly. Going further down I found that the entire side of our building was dead. I went down to the bottom floor and went into the "Danger No Entry Death" room to find a bunch of anciently smashed electricity boxes and piled metal. I went back up to my flat, grabbed my tealights and distributed them to everyone on my side of the building. Then I went out and got my brother some lemsip powder. I met an old resident leaving who explained this happens "every time it rains heavily and they know all about it - there's one landlord who won't let the others do anything about it though." My fingers have acquired a grasping, flexing itch for the throat of this person. Two hours later the lights came back on. The water is still off as is the heating but now I can sleep, so I do. I shower at work.

Tonight I got back to find that the man upstairs had turned his taps on when the water went off and forgotten to turn them off again before going out. The water from his flat was leaking down through our mains power box into our storage cupboard. Again we are without mains power (though the plug sockets are working, perversely) and have several hundred damp items scattered throughout the flat now. I am very, very annoyed.

I Wish They'd Fix Our Flats

This windowframe is an example of how our building is maintained. It is a veritable deathtrap - amazingly bad walls, sewage pipes that lead nowhere, electricity connected by the medium of loose cables dangling through hacked holes in the ceiling/floor.

EDIT: Woke up this morning to find the power had gone completely again, so no shower for me before popping out to view houses. Hurrah!