Monday, December 15, 2008

I Won A Book!

Congratulations to Dan Griliopoulos, winner of our Medical London competition. We asked for a piece of trivia connected with medicine in London, and Dan provided this:

The premier London medical story has to be that of Samuel Pepys' stone. Not the actual operation - which was long and painful (without anaesthetic) or highly dangerous (without modern medical techniques they had to cut up through the perineum to actually reach the kidneys where the stones were forming) - but his later love for the tennis ball-sized lump of crystalline urine. He'd carry in his pocket everywhere, show it to friends, and once considered spending 24s (a hefty sum) on a display case so he could show it off in his house. He also had yearly dinners to show his appreciation at surviving, where guests would drink and eat themselves into an absolute stupor, pretty much guaranteeing that they too would end up with similar kidney problems to his...
So a copy of the much-praised tome Medical London is on the way to him.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

On Dominos

Clack-clack-clack, the dominoes fall, and not all of them are actually dominoes. Heath Robinson machines (Damn yanks, he predates your plagiarising Rube Goldberg) of this type can take any form and it's always damn fun to trace the threads of seeming causality and see if you can spot an origin.

For example, look at Vietnam; the whole reason Kennedy popped all those yanks in there was the Domino Theory; that the collapse of one country and its turning to Communism, was an infection and that more countries would topple. As Eisenhower said in '54 "You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences." The actual idea behind the fine words being that other local rebel groups would then have the moral and material support to take over their countries.

Isn't it nice to see that theory in effect? The domino set that is Modern Afghanistan and the Indian Subcontinent was created by the British Empire in its headlong retreat from its expensive colonies post-1945 and the random borders imposed on it created (like the trisected Kurdistan) a bunch of angry locals (specifically the Pushtun) pissed off at having to have passports to cross imposed borders into ethnically homogenous areas and take their laws from another ethnic nation. The endlessly pissed-off people there, armed by the Brits and Yanks, stopped the Sovs in Afghanistan during the 80s and stopped the communist Dominoes there, like they were in Africa and South America.

Except they didn't really, as the dominoes just fell a different way, to nationalist fundamentalism, so they needed another knock. Clack. Which pushed that fundamentalism into the NW frontier province of Pakistan proper, knocking out America's ally in the region, Musharraf. So now, there's no real government in Pakistan, as Bhutto's corrupt widower and an equally corrupt nationalist prick who also happens to be the country's richest man (remind you of anyone?) battle it out for the increasingly wormy soul of the nation, while the once-disciplined army falls apart. Clack.

Now it turns out that the terrorists who buggered up Mumbai yesterday were probably Lashkar-e-Toiba, a terrorist organisation who've declared Hindus and Jews as enemies of Islam and backed by elements of the Pakistani army, to destabilise India and Afghanistan. (Because Destabilising your neighbours is a damn good idea, right?) These elements only got away with it, because the massive Pakistani army doesn't know what it believes any more and the politicians are too obsessed with power to hold it to account. Meanwhile, now India looks unstable and its Prime Minister looks angry. No-one has time to worry about Thailand, where the army is getting restless and a vocal urban minority is trying to destabilise the democratically-elected (rotten-as-riverwood) government.

In fact, the most stable places in the region look to be the autocratic (Burma), communist (China), and the post-communist (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the rest.) Once the democrats and fundamentalists have worn themselves out and all the pieces have fallen, they'll still be standing, ready to knock them back the other way.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shameless Plug

Which Champion Are You? | Champions Online Official Site

I'm not handling PR for this particular MMO (though I am for its predecessor, City of Heroes), but I'm interested to see how it goes. They've got a nice What Hero Are You generator on the website, though it seems to have read me rather too well.

Raised on a steady diet of comic books, you grew up to be an unstable lunatic, whose wacky ambitions are only matched by your delusions of grandeur. You're too crafty to get caught, otherwise you'd certainly be locked away in the loony bin!

Take the quiz!

My Questions Answered!

Ask OxSciBlog: Higgs Boson - University of Oxford
As you've been busy sending in your questions for Oxford scientists I thought we ought to start giving some answers:

First up is a question from Daniel Griliopoulos which is answered by Alan Barr from Oxford's Department of Physics.


Q: What's going to happen if they don't find the Higgs Boson?

[Also regarding that; to this layman, it just looks like physicists are trying to bury something they don't understand (gravity) in another fundamental particle, am I being unfair?]

Alan Barr: The Higgs mechanism was proposed by Prof Peter Higgs of Edinburgh (and others) to explain why many of the fundamental particles in the Standard Model of particle physics have mass. The experimental results obtained so far – for example at the Large Electron Positron collider, which was the predecessor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN – are fully in agreement with Higgs’ theory. A further prediction of Higgs’ theory is the existence of the particle which bears his name, but which has not yet been directly observed.

If the Higgs particle (also known as the Higgs Boson) is not found after many years of successful operation of the LHC, then the theory in its simplest form cannot be correct. This would be a very important discovery, and would inspire further research, and alternative models. Alternative theories of mass generation would have to be found, and those theories would be guided by the measurements of the LHC experiments, ATLAS and CMS.

Despite being a description of the source of mass, the Higgs theory has surprisingly little to say about gravity. To incorporate gravitational interactions into the Standard Model would require further theoretical advances. Some progress has been made through routes such as string theory, but a quantum theory of gravity remains elusive.

It is an important feature of science that we do not bury things we do not understand. Instead we address them directly and attempt to understand them. Based on the results of existing observations we construct models which we use to make predictions about future measurements. This allows the theories to be tested against empirical evidence – which is exactly what we will do with the Higgs theory at the LHC.
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On Getting Mullered

BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Robert Peston
Then there's the plight of all those overseas businesses that manufacture cars in the UK.
They're being mullered by a massive contraction of available credit and a collapse in sales.

(My bold)
The premier journalist for these days of collapsing economies, Robert Peston, uses a phrase I've only heard in pubs and student haunts, where it means "badly damaged or drunk." What a strange word it is too and, of uncertain, recent derivation; how odd for a BBC journalist to be using what is still considered an outsider, slang word. The peeps over at World Wide Words find an OED entry saying it was used earliest in UK prison slang in the 1950s to mean "badly beaten up", with the OED editor Jonathan Green thinking it derived from the same root as "mulled", as in wine, from some odd indo root meaning "die". Elsewhere, I've seen the derivation as that coming from Gerd Muller, who played football for Germany in the 1970s (third-highest scoring striker of all time.) My feeling would be that the word will have been popularised by this, but was already in circulation amongst lags by that time.

Considering how recent the common usage is and the crucial "er" in the middle, I'd think it must come from a famous name of the era; the only two I can find easily are a chess-player and a radio physicist, so I doubt it was either of them. I'd suggest Franz Muller, an infamous murderer of the 1860s, who not only beat up a banker then threw him to his gruesome death from a moving train but then became even more famous for the strange cut-down beaver hat that he wore and left at the scene, which became oddly popular (Winston Churchill was the most famous wearer).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Big Picture

This is rapidly becoming my favourite daily website. These things are straight out of Dan Dare:

Peering into the micro world - The Big Picture -

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Probably the most beautiful video I've seen this year.

A Sea Biscuit's Life from Bruno Vellutini on Vimeo.

Also, this is cool: an image of the relative occurence of words in my blog... Jew seems to feature quite strongly...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fragmentary Day

I stopped blogging for a long time, I don't know why, comfort perhaps. Stimulus to restart? "Holocause is Coming", "All Jews Must Die" and "Juden Mord" written in chalk on the road outside my house in Golders Green - not targetted at me, but at the local community. I thought our area was wonderfully mixed - Hindus, muslims, jews and Eastern Europeans - turns out someone disagrees.

Uncomfortable with fiction where necessity is for realism.

I'm reading Norwegian Wood at the moment. Haruki Murakami is really the paragon of lonely, alienated writing - makes me feel cold and alone just reading his wonderful communication of bachelor tedium.

Glad at my suppression of overly-snobbish disgust instinct at African woman carefully-but-gruesomely handlessly-eating fruit from a plastic bag and spitting pips on tube this morning.

Got scammed on my company credit card - smooth, fluffy feeling of calmness has been replaced by cold depressed anger.

Oh, god, driving lesson. Turning into a free-travelling grown-up is so much work, especially in these dark days.

God Hates Signs

westboro baptist church and me, originally uploaded by Burstein!.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Post 1.001 - Conversational Fragments

Auden is darkly, depressibly comic, eloquent, concerned both about the wider world and the horrible authorities in it, and with the very, very personal and embarassing. He's like an Elliot without the unnecessary stretching for benchmarking references... It's a sad poem, of a man past his prime or never in it, lusting in the carefully-instituional structures of yesteryear... I found myself walking through Kings Cross yesterday and, catching sight of a flapping wing feeling sudden joy at some life other than the massed shoulder-pressed humans, before I realised it was a stuck shred of paper flapping in the tube-train's gale... ...Even the parks are homogeneous - pigeons and ducks, reptilian wonders... I just want the wooded edge of a cornfield and a me-shaped hole to swelter in... It sounds perfect, glorious, but I couldn't move there because of the terror.... It feels like there's inevitable erosion of enclaves coming, always; even Byzantium fell.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Trade hails its media darlings | Gaming Industry | News by MCV
It also featured a very special Games Media Legend award which went to Future veteran Steve Jarratt, the man who launched Edge and Official PlayStation Magazine.
The winners were decided by a vote that was thrown open to MCV’s entire readership.

Having lost out to Imagine’s GamesTM last year, Future’s Edge claimed the Best Magazine crown. And the market’s leading publisher scored another win with Tom Francis of PC Gamer being named Best Specialist Games Writer, Print.

Gratz Tom, Steve, Edge and Ellie! Sorry Log, they should have made a special Ricky Grover award just for you.. :(

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

John Cleese on Sarah Palin

"I used to think Michael Palin was the funniest Palin".

Awesome put-down (Thanks Johnny Minkley).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Height on a Log scale

He used a logarithmic scale. A Log scale. How beautiful is this?

Also, that cat at the top-right is the size of several hundred million galaxies. :-o

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Awesome little Gif

I remember being astounded by the first music video to feature this technology, it seemed like a bright future of plastic surgery - now it's being used to turn Gordon Brown into Stalin and Mr Bean. Is the future any less bright?


IGN: Multiwinia Review

My multiwinia review goes up; can understand how some people enjoy it, buy I'm personally unlikely to go back to the game; too shallow and unfair for someone who loves complexity and justice. :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

One of the reasons I love my job


We are pleased to submit the following quotation:

1 x Stork @ £550 per day

Mileage is charged at the rate of 80p per mile

We have public liability for £2,000,000.

Yes. I love my job. Apparently the stork is quite placid, though it won't carry things.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dreamlords, Yawn

Dreamlords: The Reawakening Review - Page 1 // MMO /// Eurogamer - Games Reviews, News and More
Last night, I travelled home angry. I nicked a seat on the tube, I bullied stumblebums out of my way; I was generally a bundle of passive-aggressive geekery. Why? Not because my day had been bad or because I'd messed up in the office. It was because the Chancellor (boss) of my Convergence (guild) had kicked me out, after I'd pressed the "mistrust" button on Dreamlords' rudimentary web interface.

Another day, another dollar.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Room With A Private View

A Room With A Private View, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

I think this is in Slough... If you know for certain, you're a betjeman than I...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Out Of The Ocean

Bioshock: Why 2K Boston Aren't Making BioShock 2
2K Boston, with help from 2K Australia, made BioShock. And what a great game it was. But they're not making BioShock 2. Somebody else is. Why somebody else and not 2K Boston? Ken Levine (pictured, emerging from the ruins of Rapture clutching the last remaining...Coke Zero!) explains:
Bioshock's Ken Levine

I'm always excited when someone uses one of my pictures...!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eye Contact

The Last Thing The Field Mouse Sees

Rattling along underground in a vicious humour, all around me are temporarily like me; none can see the blue of the sky. The tube disgorges beneath Kings-Cross and we all barrel out, the stick-wavers, the 20-20s and me. There's probably some of my kin around too, but we never make eye contact, head for the city. There's a city in all of our eyes, great towers of rhodopsin raising up, the rods and the cones, an empty city that collapses at the touch of light. In my city the architect's plans went awry, or he lacked imagination and my city looks all samey, not enough variety in those towering discs. As in the eye, so in the world and my world, outside the vitreous humour (if it's really there) also has lost something from that failure; colour.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


My cat champers has been dead for at least seven years now. I still miss him.

Monday, July 21, 2008

According to my timesheet at work, last week I worked sixty five hours, not including freelance. If I'd been at Future, I would have begrudged every moment of that stolen time, in my penury and misery, but here in the glossy, happy world of PR it's varied, exciting, and interesting; my only irritation is that I can't spend every hour of every day with Maria - oh, how low this onetime bachelor hath sunk... Anyway, that week of schlepping was tolerably pleasant because it included a day trip to Paris to see the really interesting city-building MMO Cities XL and 2 1/2 days on the Hop Farm at the War & Peace show (large numbers of scary men in military/Nazi uniforms or 1940s civvies walking around buying cheap machetes and "decommissioned" machine guns, mortars. And one very brave Vietnam war protestor) demoing Men of War, a very cute and clever realtime tactics / roleplaying game that reminds me of nothing so much as a non-pausable Hidden & Dangerous II. Now, back to the working week...

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Warslow Beef Restival 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

How StarCraft Beat Chess

Eurogamer Front Page 02/07/08, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

Look, I just wanted to use a Wired-style complete hyperbollicks title, okay? God, I hate forumites. Anyway, my big interview with the creators of StarCraft is online over at Eurogamer, finally. Childhood ambition complete (tick!)

Eurogamer Front Page 02/07/08

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frank Sanazi : Strangers On My Flight

Ooh. Now, that's tasteless.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Real Lawmaster

Dark Roasted Blend: Mystery Photo: One Seriously Empowered Motorcycle.

A knocked-up Vespa with a recoilless M20 rifle on top, used by the French to suppress the natives the world over. Surprisingly effective, apparently. Joe Dredd wannabes can probably make their own fairly easily.

Good Critique of Modern Games

Lookspring » Ralph Baer changed my Powerpoint
Margaret Robertson's powerpoint show from NGLD is a good basic summary of the challenges facing modern game developers - she's actually bothered to think rather than throwing her hands up in disgust and shame like so many of us (me included).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ladybird Lovers #3

Ladybird Lovers #3, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

Sorry about the recent silence on here - soon to be rectified, as soon as I rebuild my frazzled PC.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Large Jam Collider

CERN Podcast | Chris Morris

Chris Morris, creator of the Day Today, Blue Jam, etc, in front of some crazy bit of kit at Cern in Geneva, where humanity's first black hole is going to happen. Thanks to brother Dov.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Comic Strip : G.L.C. The Carnage Continues (4of 4)

The main reason why you should vote for Ken Livingstone today is his portrayal in this classic Comic Strip. He's played by Robbie Coltrane playing Charles Bronson playing Ken.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


My creation, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

Various photos I've taken recently.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cities From The Air

For most cities from the air, the weather takes a more dominant role than any topographical or construction oddities; sunlight bleaches the landscape, snow blanks it out, clouds blank out even that blanking out. Once you're in the city, the homogenisation continues; you're lumped in the back of a vaguely-recognisable car marque and hustled through unfamiliar traffic before a dolled-up desk assistant at your hotel takes a credit card number and dispatches you to an internationally-acceptable hotel room, distinguished only by the leaflets on the business desk and the brands of toiletries / beverages supplied.
But there's a brief window, between weather and hustle, where you see the city for what it is, just as the plane swoops in: Dubai was empty desert punctuated by giant “f*ck-you”s built by sheikhs with too much oil; Vegas was a single gleaming street amidst suburbs that stretch out into desert shacks; Vancouver (or was it Toronto?) tastefully stretched into the mountains, demure and quiet, L.A. distastefully sprawled to the limits of its land-mass, London looked like Eastenders, and so on.
Moscow teases you with its size, interrupting endless woodland with fields and estates. The latter vary from tiny collections of shacks on massive allotments to housing estates comprised of country Estates and mansions, to a single gleaming dome of gold I caught sight of looming above the treeline; nearly all are brand new. When you finally get near the city centre, it's a terrible combination of 70s blocks of flats, amazing monolith Soviet official buildings and weird tasteless new buildings built presumably with oligarchs fattened on fleecing the state. All of these are encircled by a solid steel band of unmoving traffic that fades at night and midday but never really disappears.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Elf (Dick's)

Quint from the Disney Presentation! Disney's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's KING OF THE ELVES! -- Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news.
WALT DISNEY’S KING OF THE ELVES, based on the Philip K. Dick story about a gas station attendant who receives a knock on the door one rainy night. It’s a group of elves. Small, maybe a foot tall each. They are all green, with leaves and foliage growing off of them.

They beg him for shelter from the storm. Despite his better judgment he allows them to stay and as reward he is made king of the Elves.

Not one of Dick's finer works then...

Star Trek: Time Warp

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rexona | Futurisk

Best. Deodorant. Advert. Ever.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The real-life staring contest

'Mind Gaming' Could Enter Market This Year

Two players sit across from each other at a table, focusing on a small white ball. The objective is to make the ball roll toward your opponent and away from you, using only your mind. Headbands measure the players´ alpha waves, and the ball rolls away from the player with the calmest mind.

Of course, the logical next step is the removal of the ball. Then you just have two wirey, intense people sitting opposite each other, trying to remain as calm as possible, staring into each other's eyes... and.... must... not... blink!

(I'm really happy that Wikipedia has a whole useful entry on the rules for a stare-out contest.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fafblog is BACK! YAY!

Fafblog! back to save the universe.
"Screw this dump!" says Giblets. "This universe is old and fat and smells like smelling and Giblets is busting out!"
"Should we go over the wall or take the tunnel?" says me. I been diggin a tunnel.
"Nuts to the tunnel!" says Giblets. "What we do is we make like we're sick. Then when God comes in to check on us we punch im in the liver an run out the door!"
"They'll be on the lookout so we're gonna need disguises if we wanna make it the resta the way," says me. "If we bop Europe an Australia on the head we can sneak out in their continent costumes!"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Classic Pepys

Sunday 26 March 1665 (Pepys' Diary)
At noon home to dinner, my wife and I (Mercer staying to the Sacrament) alone. This is the day seven years which, by the blessing of God, I have survived of my being cut of the stone, and am now in very perfect good health and have long been; and though the last winter hath been as hard a winter as any have been these many years, yet I never was better in my life, nor have not, these ten years, gone colder in the summer than I have done all this winter, wearing only a doublet, and a waistcoate cut open on the back; abroad, a cloake and within doors a coate I slipped on. Now I am at a losse to know whether it be my hare’s foot which is my preservative against wind, for I never had a fit of the collique since I wore it, and nothing but wind brings me pain, and the carrying away of wind takes away my pain, or my keeping my back cool; for when I do lie longer than ordinary upon my back in bed, my water the next morning is very hot, or whether it be my taking of a pill of turpentine every morning, which keeps me always loose, or all together, but this I know, with thanks to God Almighty, that I am now as well as ever I can wish or desire to be, having now and then little grudgings of wind, that brings me a little pain, but it is over presently, only I do find that my backe grows very weak, that I cannot stoop to write or tell money without sitting but I have pain for a good while after it. Yet a week or two ago I had one day’s great pain; but it was upon my getting a bruise on one of my testicles, and then I did void two small stones, without pain though, and, upon my going to bed and bearing up of my testicles, I was well the next. But I did observe that my sitting with my back to the fire at the office did then, as it do at all times, make my back ake, and my water hot, and brings me some pain. I sent yesterday an invitation to Mrs. Turner and her family to come to keep this day with me, which she granted, but afterward sent me word that it being Sunday and Easter day she desired to choose another and put off this.

As far as I recall, being cut for the stone involved an incision in, of all places, the perineum and then a lengthy procedure to take out the blockage from the relevant organ (bladder in this case, I believe) through that slot. Without anaesthetic or antiseptics. Eek.


The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Re-review // MMO /// Eurogamer
LOTRO looks absolutely, astoundingly right. Characters look correct, the world is beautifully crafted and enemies match the best drawings that the Tolkien Legendarium has attracted in sixty years. The Shire looks as good as the movies, Bree (though bigger than we expected) is gloriously rickety, like an old medieval English town, and the build of the Elven and Dwarven towns nail ethereal and indomitable respectively.

My re-review of LOTRO is up, at last. If you've never been arsed enough to read any of my writing and you count yourself a friend, would you kindly have a gander? It's not brilliant, but it's surely solid.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shuffle Sex

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language

I think my most embarassing one has to be the entire Best of Bonzo Dog Doodah Band following in quick sucession - nothing kills the mood like the Intro & Outro ("Please welcome - Adolf Hitler on vibes") and then trying to save a situation by miming to "In The Canyons of Your Mind". I seem to remember the lovely girl in question ("And arent;t they all lovely girls, Ted?") collapsing into unrecoverablew fits of giggles for some reason...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Heh. Reminds me of the fags in Fifth Element - y'know, the ones that are all filter and no ciggie and are in a red box warning you of imminent death on the wall. (Thanks Alec!)

Identity Crisis.

For any users of Skype out there, my username is Griliopoulos. Duh. For MSN, it's iddleyiddle at For Google Talk it's daniel.griliopoulos at On Xbox Live I'm OXM Grill (but email me first, as my list is always full.) On Lord of the Rings Online, I'm on Snowbourn and my name's Warslow Wobbleguts. If you're on any social networking site, my full name's my name. If you're on any other site with profiles, I'm likely to be on there with the name Griliopoulos.

Legacy Names
On Planetside, I was Picoc. In City of Heroes, I was both of the heroes Y'gor and The Bomb,and some arbitrary villain. I'm Kip Brasken in Guild Wars. I can't even remember my name in Tabula Rasa. I had a thousand names in World of Warcraft, among them Grittle and Ungolim on Daggerspine and Grill on Bloodscalp. There were a couple of characters in Everquest II and some in Ultima Online, Shadowbane, Auto Assault (dead), D&D Online, EVE Online, Final Fantasy XI, Hero Online, ForumWarz, Kingdom of Loathing, RuneScape, Toontown and many more that I forget...

With this many identities, it's a wonder that I exist at all any more.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Achievements Quandary

Xbox 360 achievements let you get points that total up to mean exactly nothing. Hence, I feel no obligation to play games for achievements and even feel a little disgusted with myself for playing games with achievements. Hence, I don't want to play Xbox 360 games.

However... I also get a feeling whenever I'm playing a game that doesn't have achievement points (PC or even Wii) that I'm wasting my time because I could be getting points. No matter that I don't want to, no matter that I think they're a worthlessI grinding measurement towards inevitable death, I still get that urge to get them when I'm not playing 360.

I'm finding it almost impossible to play any game for more than an hour at the moment. Help!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

...Watchmen Character Art


Watchmen help pass the time, here is your first look at some of the Watchmen characters.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Do coat hangers sound as good as Monster cables? - Boing Boing
The cables made by Monster Cable (the company that enjoys suing other companies that have the word "monster" in their name) sound no better than coat hangers, according to a man who ran a blindfold test to compare the quality of audio running through each.

Ha! I remember when these guys made some HDTV cables for the Xbox 360 which they proceeded to charge five times the cost of other perfectly-acceptable generic cables for (around £80 I seem to remember). When they came in, I noticed that they had 1) proprietary optical connections, which made them fairly useless and 2) no HDTV-SDTV switch meaning they were actually much worse than the official or generic HDTV cables.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Smell of Space

HSF - International Space Station
It reminded me of my college summers where I labored for many hours with an arc welding torch repairing heavy equipment for a small logging outfit. It reminded me of pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes. That is the smell of space.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Magarita The Movie

SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel | SCIFI.COM
Mikhail Bulgakov's supernatural novel The Master and Margarita is being adapted for the screen by Stone Village Pictures and producer Scott Steindorff, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Master and Margarita begins in pre-World War II Moscow, where the devil appears as a mysterious man who insinuates himself into a literary crowd. Amid a series of deaths and disappearances, the devil brings together the title characters, a despairing novelist and his devoted but married lover. The story shifts to the setting of the master's rejected novel, Jerusalem in the time of Pontius Pilate, and then to a supernatural world where satanic forces have taken over Margarita's life.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

That's It.

I had a horrible moment on saturday morning, about 2:30a.m. where I woke up suddenly and couldn't catch my breath. My temperature musta passed 40C. My hands, legs and feet were initially all pins and needles, then went plain numb and useless, which (along with the weakness and shaking) made it very difficult to dial for the ambulance. I knew it was just flu, but I don't know anyone around this area, my housemate's away and I didn't like those symptoms so I seriously didn't fancy dying from a cold; it'd be so humiliating.

So the paramedics came, checked me out and said I might need some antibiotics. They drove me to Lewisham hospital where it was my privilege, feverish and tired, to wait for four hours before a doctor turned up. There was a nice woman there who'd got drunk with her boyfriend, at which point he'd kicked her out of the house, then grabbed her by the hair and used her head to beat out a rhythm on the floor; he was in prison. There was also another exhausted flu sufferer and a man who's leg had spontaneously stopped working.

By the time, I'd finally got to see a doctor the fever had quieted (due to lots of paracetamol, water and fresh air), so he just looked me over, said I had viral flu, but there was nothing they could do for me. Well, actually, he said "Take nurofen", which I observed to him was basically ibuprofen + nice packaging = placebo effect, woo, and if I knew about the placebo it was unlikely to work, so could I save £7 and just buy the 90p generic ibuprofen instead?

I'm not 100% yet, but I have to go back to work tomorrow. I can't afford to spend any more time in bed, as I'm getting better far too slowly now and I know there's loads of stuff waiting for me, so I'd better go back in tomorrow. Ho-hum.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Grow Flu

GROW nano vol.3

While I've been sat at home, cultivating this Flu (last night I thought I'd try that old party game of "Waking Up Every Hour Shaking Like A Leaf") I've been playing the lastest in the excellent ten-minute GROW series, which Alec pointed out.It seems the series creator On is similarly bed-bound and has made a excellent illness-recovery game. Ace, give it a try. (Cough, splutter, wheeze.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One Flu Over The Cuckoo's Lungs.

Influenza can also be transmitted by saliva, nasal secretions, faeces and blood.

F*ck you, G*d. I've not been near any of that shit which isn't my own and yet you let me lie here, gibbering at the pretty elves dancing on the ceiling, while my lungs try and escape through my mouth.

I wish I believed in you so I could blame you, you massive arse.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Family abt 1888 (2)

Family abt 1888 (2), originally uploaded by Dimitri Kissoff.

The Welsh side of my family, circa 1888.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Harlan Ellison on the WGA Strike Settlement

Pinched in it's entirety from Warren Ellis' blog. Awesome vitriol.

Warren Ellis » Harlan Ellison On The WGA Strike Settlement



Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the
Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board
twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket
lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have
heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I
fuckin’ LOVE the Guild.

And I voted NO on accepting this deal.

My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be
saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their
heads; but this I say without equivocation…

timorous generation that has never had to strike, to get their asses
out there, and we had to put up with the usual cowardly spineless
babbling horse’s asses who kept mumbling “lessgo bac’ta work” over and
over, as if it would make them one iota a better writer. But after
months on the line, and them finally bouncing that pus-sucking dipthong
Nick Counter, we rushed headlong into a shabby, scabrous, underfed
shovelfulla shit clutched to the affections of toss-in-the-towel summer
soldiers trembling before the Awe of the Alliance.

My Guild did what it did in 1988. It trembled and sold us out. It
gave away the EXACT co-terminus expiration date with SAG for some
bullshit short-line substitute; it got us no more control of our words;
it sneak-abandoned the animator and reality beanfield hands before
anyone even forced it on them; it made nice so no one would think we
were meanies; it let the Alliance play us like the village idiot. The
WGAw folded like a Texaco Road Map from back in the day.

And I am ashamed of this Guild, as I was when Shavelson was the
prexy, and we wasted our efforts and lost out on technology that we had
to strike for THIS time. 17 days of streaming tv!!!????? Geezus, you
bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape?

You deserve all the opprobrium you get. While this nutty festschrift
of demented pleasure at being allowed to go back to work in the rice
paddy is filling your cowardly hearts with joy and relief that the
grips and the staff at the Ivy and street sweepers won’t be saying
nasty shit behind your back, remember this:

You are their bitches. They outslugged you, outthought you,
outmaneuvered you; and in the end you ripped off your pants, painted
yer asses blue, and said yes sir, may I have another.

Please excuse my temerity. I’m just a sad old man who has fallen among Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards.

I must go now to whoops. My gorge has become buoyant.

Respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan Ellison

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

deludedangels: 02/2008
jess and i have gone swimming. rich is there too, alternating taking work phonecalls with doing butterfly strokes. in the corner of the shallow end of the pool is The Greek from season 2 of The Wire, eating an omelette with fennel in it. i am translating the season into Italian for the producers, and his next line is meant to be "look what they put in my omelette - why do they put fennel in an omelette?" and I am shocked. "Do you mean to say the writers have presumed that an elderly gentleman of European origin such as yourself would not like Fennel? How absurd!" we decide to change the line for the Italian dubbers, knowing that such a thing would entirely destroy the whole series' credibility in the Italians' eyes.

I wish I had dreams like Chrissy. Rather, I wish I could remember my dreams like Chrissy - with my current hip/back-pain and insomnia, I can't say my dreams haven't been pleasant or simple.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fargo Meets Woody Allen

SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel | SCIFI.COM
Sony's Columbia Pictures has acquired screen rights to Michael Chabon's alternate-universe novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union and set Oscar nominees Joel and Ethan Coen to direct, Variety reported.

I've not read the book but I will now. Wikipedia makes is sound like a fairly standard alternate history-cum- detective novel, but what the Coens will do with that will be a funny Fargo packed with us Jews and Eskimos. Can you imagine a better gift to a pair of comedy clowns with a sense of the macabre than assassinated chess geniuses and an alcoholic cop fighting rabbis?

There's also some really, really politically-controversial scenes in the film, on the basis of its plausible alternative history where the Jewish refugee state is Alaska, not the Middle East. SPOILER:

The dome of the rock getting exploded by the Beth Din?!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Armchair Generals

Gameplayer - Australia's Premier Gaming Website
Feature: The Armchair Generals - Official Xbox 360 Magazine
It's no fun being the odd one out. As the only team member with an attention span counted in hours rather than seconds, I'm regularly taunted in the office for loving PC strategy games. The other team members treat me as if I'm backward and nerdy; and it's true I do love strategy games, tactical combat games, turn-based games. Yet there's a shift going on, a shift of strategy developers towards consoles, both in the numbers being developed for the Xbox 360 and how they're being altered to fit it. Soon there will be more strategy games on the console than beat 'em ups, an unthinkable thing five years ago.

A super-long feature I did on console strategy games as my Parthian shot at OXM has gone on-line. If you like sending thousands of men to death and/or glory it's an involved and in-depth read - read the Gameplayer version though, as it's more legible. It involves interviews with Michael de Plater from Creative Assembly, Jim Vessella, Associate Producer on the forthcoming expansion Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath, Jim Bottomley, Lead Designer of Vivendi’s recent PC hit World in Conflict, Barry Caudill, Executive Producer at Firaxis Games talking about Civ Revolution, James Carey from Creative Assembly, and Mike Kawahara and Jim Ngui from Namco, developers of Mark of Chaos. That's a lot of developers!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

NOTICE, South Bank, London


To Shop Assistants

at 6.00 a.m. until 9.00 p.m. all the year round.

STORE must be swept, counter, base shelves and showcases dusted. Lamps trimmed, filled and chimney cleaned, pens made, door and windows opened.
A PAIL of water and scuttle of coal must be brought in by each clerk before breakfast, if there is time to do so and attend customers who call.

Any employee who is the habit of

will surely give his employer reason to be suspicious of his INTEGRITY and alround HONESTY

Each employee must pay not less than ONE GUINEA per year to the Church and attend Sunday School every Sunday.
MEN are given one evening a week for courting purposes and two if they go to prayer meetings regularly.

After 14 hours works, spare time should be devoted to reading good literature.


Monday, February 04, 2008

I've gotta resubscribe to Wired

Gallery: Inside the Navy's Armed-Robot Labs
The Navy's MDARS-E is an armed robot that can track anything that
moves. Told that I was the target, the unmanned vehicle trained its
guns on me and ordered, "Stay where you are," in an intimidating robot
voice. And yes, it was frightening.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dystopian Bias

Judge Dredd Writer: My Nightmare Vision Of A State Gone Mad Has Come True (from Sunday Herald)
"It's not funny anymore. I find it hard to write Judge Dredd now, I really do."

...Grant and Wagner would read tabloid newspapers to find social trends such as youth gangs, unemployment, overcrowding and neighbour rage that they exaggerated and placed into the future.

"It's pretty horrific when you realise that what you've written, admittedly an extrapolation of a trend, has got stronger and stronger," said Grant. Going to Glasgow airport and seeing police officers armed Judge Dredd-style confirmed to Grant the state of society. "We are living in a dystopia, and pessimistically I can only see it getting worse. I think the world that we, and I include myself, are bequeathing to our grandchildren, is a horrible, horrible place."

(caveat: I read a lot of Sci-Fi.) I have to agree with Grant that our society resembles more closely the dystopias that early generations imagined than it does the utopias - but that's because there's very few utopias involving humans in Sci-Fi. Indeed, the numbers of dystopias massively outweighs and has always outweighed the utopias in all forms of writing, from Asimov to Borges to Corinthians. The elements where writers have conceived of positive things has been in man's innovations, which our current society excels in - the do-all terminal of Ian Banks' Culture novels, touch-screens, consumer-led location and organisational systems. Yes; the sh*tty bits of Britain have got no better and we're more aware than ever of those crapulences; but we're more aware because, firstly, we focus on the negative more than ever in the media and, secondly, Grant originally sourced those story ideas from the press - indicating they were a problem at that time too!

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Monday, January 28, 2008


Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- A controversial new electronic device could revolutionize the field of Islamic jurisprudence and allegedly issue more accurate Shariah fatwas [religious edicts]. The device, currently in production in France, will be known as the 'Electronic Mufti' and will depend on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to issue opinions on contemporary Muslim affairs and matters.

Engineer Dr. Anas Fawzi...describes the device as "a very large capacity computer on which all the information that is relevant to a given [historical] figure is uploaded; everything that has been mentioned in history books or chronicled documents that indicate his/her responses and attitudes towards all positions adopted in his/her life. Through a process that relies on AI, the computer then simulates responses based on the available data so that the answers are the expected response that the person in question would give if they were alive," said Dr. Fawzi.

Would a simulated prophet, the product of sometimes-conflicting historical records, be coherent or plain insane?

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

HAHAHAHA. We're all dead.

'Safe Ebola' created for research

HAHAHAHAHA. We're all dead.

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Sexual lifestyle of long distance lorry drivers in India: questionnaire survey
The table shows that 87% of subjects (4949 men) were sexually promiscuous, of whom only 11% (563) used condoms during commercial sex. The percentage using condoms decreased with increasing age. In the 21-30 age group (n=1766), 78% of unmarried sexually promiscuous men (331/425) reported having 31-60 sexual partners during the past 12 months.

It appears that Indian lorry-drivers are some of the most promiscuous people in the world; combine this with relaxing in a cab all day, eating crap food from roadside caffs and being hero-worshipped by legions of of Lorry-Spotters and one might say they have the world's most fun, irresponsible lifestyle.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

People are Too Much about buses.

The other side of Greenwich, originally uploaded by Hot Grill.

Claire Pendrous Pro User says:
DVLA details for this old Volvo bus are:
Date of Liability 01 12 1996
Date of First Registration 23 11 1979
Year of Manufacture 1979
Fuel Type Heavy Oil
Vehicle Status Unlicensed
Vehicle Colour MAROON

Hot Grill Pro User says:
Where the hell did you get those details from?

budgie2007 / Rich B. Pro User says:
This Volvo Ailsa B55 with Alexander 79-seat body was one of a batch of 20 of the type delivered new to Central SMT between October & December 1979. It was number AH25 in that fleet.

Budding Photography #2

Grasshopper's Suda 51 Interview // Eurogamer

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Budding Photography

No More Heroes director SUDA51 talks punk, violence and Wii games.

The event I was doing on Monday and Tuesday was hosting interviews for Suda 51 at the Wii flat. But, see! People are using my photos! Excitement!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bananas + Ham + Cheese = MMM, mmm!

Heavy Metal Madness: You Are What You Eat

Thatsa tasty, uh, banananaanana. (Hmm, gotta learn how to stop saying that word...)

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pulpit Rock.


The next place I want to go walking. Hmm. 600m up, a random lump of stone 25m by 25m, floats above a Norwegian Fjord. Looks nice, nu?

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