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|Wednesday, November 9th, 2016|
You think you're disappointed
NOVEMBER 9TH, 2016
A grey-suited man sits at a desk, his eyes closed, thumb and second finger of his right hand massaging the bridge of his nose. After a time he takes a deep breath, opens his eyes, and - with a quick glance to make sure that the door of his office is firmly shut - puts his hand on the mouse on his desk.
Swiftly he navigates to a folder buried deep on an encrypted drive. He double-clicks on the file labelled "shitwecanttrusthimwith.txt"
A long, exasperated sigh is heard.
|Monday, September 14th, 2015|
|I'd say you had them scared, but they're always fucking scared
I'm wondering what percentage of the ridiculous, hyperbolic fear-mongering over the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be going on over the election of literally anyone else
as Labour leader.
I'm thinking at least 80%.
Hate and fear. Fear and hate.
Someone is coming! Someone is coming to take away what is yours; to raise your taxes, to steal your laptop, to lower your house prices, to seduce your offspring, to explode in your city centres. The other, the outsider, the thief, the reaver, the betrayer. Hate them, fear them, destroy them!
Hate and fear, fear and hate. All the time. Lie hard enough and fast enough, and by the time an election rolls around people will dislike your target even if they can no longer remember why.
And whilst the right-wing press were claiming that Corbyn was the direct cause of airborne gypsy Ebola AIDS, left-leaning types were busy complaining that he hadn't picked enough women to be in his Shadow Cabinet - this is before the majority of the Shadow Cabinet appointments had even been announced, mind you.
Then he maybe had
picked enough women, but he hadn't given them prestigious enough jobs.
Then he hadn't picked enough people from Scotland, Wales, the North, or wherever else.
But this is a trap, a riddle with no correct answer. If he picks the person who he thinks is best for the job, he's bigoted against any possible subgroup of person who didn't get the job. If he picks someone because of their gender or social/cultural/ethnic background, he's guilty of tokenism. Pick too few women, and you're a misogynist. If you were to pick too many - assuming you had that many available to pick from - then you'd have been swayed by the evil feminazi agenda to disempower men, or you'd be an aging lothario surrounding yourself with a harem, or some other damn stupid story.
You can't win, you can't break even, and the dealer keeps changing the rules and lying about it.
Meanwhile, outside the gates, elderly reactionary billionaires buy words by the million to prophesy the coming apocalypse.
Because scared people vote, and you only need to scare 20% of the electorate to scrape a majority and carry on selling stuff you never owned to your friends for a pittance.
I have no massively strong feelings about Corbyn yet, but I'm sick to the back fucking teeth of two parties swearing blindly that there's no alternative to austerity, to relentless privatisation, in the face of all the evidence.
|Thursday, September 19th, 2013|
|Some things must be done
Hello! I am in New York. Despite being planned for months, and threatened for even longer, this is still coming as something of a surprise to me. I think it's something to do with the cultural shadow New York, and America in general, has cast over my viewing and reading habits - it is outright weird to see and hear things that, whilst completely commonplace and plausible, have until now only ever existed on the page or the screen.
I saw a fire hydrant earlier today and sort of wanted to pee on it because, well, that's the trope.
I can hear crickets right now - Queens is really
quiet at night - and it makes me want to tell awful, unfunny jokes so that there will actually be the sound of crickets in the silence that follows.
On which subject, in the Hall of Primates in the Museum of Natural History today Sarah was remembering a gibbon we saw in Malaysia that would not keep still
for her to take a photo.
"You've never been able to let that go, have you?" I said. "In fact you could say it's still... *remove imaginary sunglasses* unforgibbon
Yep, that's it. Perfect.
My first meal on American soil was a pastrami melt sandwich in Astro's Diner on Avenue of the Americas. It was good.
I had been in Manhattan less than an hour before I saw my first ironic hipster with an elaborate moustache. Shortly after that I saw a Pontiac Firebird with a gimp mask. I don't know what the deal was.
After Astro's we walked up to Central Park and strolled through it towards the aforementioned Natural History Museum. There were no ducks on Central Park lake; Sarah suggested the terrapins had eaten them all and sure enough the next thing we saw was a basking terrapin floating just below the surface.
The Museum of Natural History is huge; we spent an entire afternoon there and saw maybe a third of it. The dinosaur collections are particularly amazing. If I'd been there when I was six I'd probably have died of excitement, but as it is I think I managed to keep my dignity.
ZOMG DINOSAURS Allosaurus styracosaurus plesiosaurs giant therizinosaur
claws and the world's meanest duck OH SO COOL AAAAAAHHHHH
My second meal on American soil was a pepperoni, onion and meatball pizza at Lombardi's
, corner of Spring Street and Mott Street. It was no-kidding-holy-shit amazing.
On the way out we walked through the ten billion street food stalls that are out for the Festival of San Gennaro
and had funnel cake for dessert. I bought it largely because I had no idea what it was; turns out it's batter mix poured straight out of a jug (or funnel) into hot oil, where it is fried until golden brown and delicious and served with icing sugar. Think unshaped churros, or really informal doughnuts.
On the way home we stopped off at the local corner shop, where I snagged a sixpack of Lagunitas
American IPA for $11.
It was the best day ever.
|Wednesday, August 28th, 2013|
|Stick at nothing
Back in the day, there was such a thing as stick-man kung fu - this
is the best link I can find - which was awesome.
Now someone has done a game called "One Finger Death Punch" in very much the same style. It's a timing-based rhythm action game - think "Guitar Hero" only instead of waves of boring coloured blobs proceeding towards gas burners, there are waves of dudes proceeding towards your fists AND THEIR OWN INEVITABLE DEMISE - in which there are only two buttons, and both of those buttons
are "straight-up kill a dude with your bare hands".
Although sometimes there are swords, and throwing knives, and some sort of death football. The Xbox version has had a good review from Eurogamer
, and the demo is fairly generous.
, Steam Greenlight page hyah
|Friday, July 19th, 2013|
|I don't like the scenery, and I don't like the set
As mentioned in the pub last week, t'missus is away this week so it's time for an evening of awful films. My place, from seven, Saturday July 20th. That's tomorrow, fact fans! On the programme will be some, none or fewer of the following:TACTICAL FORCE
: The force that uses tactics! Answering only to the mysterious Bureau Department and led by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin - not because he's the best, but because he's too goddamn arrogant to follow anyone else's instructions - Tactical Force is on a routine training mission when things go horribly wrong!
Because, you know, plot.
Before they know it, they're involved in a life or death struggle with not one but two criminal gangs! Normally an elite special forces team should go through mere criminals like a chainsaw through a cardboard cutout of a tree, but - possibly due to "A Bit Nippy's" inspired leadership - they're unarmed and cut off from help. Or maybe Weapon Having Force is a different unit.HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN
: As if the idea of a poor person with no fixed abode wasn't scary enough on its own, this one has a shotgun!
Also, he's Rutger Hauer
. Yeah. Not so funny now, is it? Rutger must dispense vigilante justice on dudes, because they were assholes to him and he doesn't stand for that kind of thing. Or because he's completely delusional and thinks he's setting a new world record at the clay pigeon range. He'll come to, covered in blood and brains and cordite, and be all "Hey! Where's Jacques Rogg with my goddamn medal?"ARMAGEDDON, NO NOT THAT ONE
: More Rutger Hauer. This time he goes to Russia in order to do crimes, is betrayed by evil crime boss Mark Dacascos, brought back to life by secret Russian biotechnology, and predictably enough seeks revenge. Basically it's "Kill Bill" but with an uglier protagonist.
You're picturing Rutger Hauer in that tight yellow jumpsuit now, aren't you? That's a freebie. Enjoy it.CYBORG³ - THE RECYCLER
: The blurb on this one suggests it's trying for grimdark cyberpunk, but then reveals that the heroine is the first cyborg to get pregnant and the whole thing collapses under the weight of unanswered questions. Do cyborg women normally replace their wombs whilst they're upgrading their reflexes and having thermographic vision installed? Are they just usually too busy doing hostile extractions and assassinating corporate executives to manage a steady relationship? And then it starts wittering on about Cyberdellos and Mechano-whores (as distinct from Meccano whores, who will... let's move on) and any chance of taking it seriously is lost forever. Stars Malcolm "Well I can always use another house" McDowell - the go-to guy for B-movie villainy - and the kid from Gremlins, the go-to guy for nothing very much.
Also when you're selling this stuff as "double DVD collection" with "2 Full-Length DVD movies!" do you really get to claim that one of the movies is a bonus? You promised me two movies to begin with! A third film would be a bonus; this is just fulfilling your contractual obligations.
Which is probably how these films get made in the first place. Anyway.THE SWORD AND THE S
: On loan from the Matthew Kelly, No Not That One, Terrible 80s Fantasy Movie Collection. Evil cultists awaken a terrible power that has slumbered 'neath the earth for lo these many centuries, because that never ends up going badly for them. The evil one promptly helps himself to the throne of the kingdom of Generica, slaying all of the royal family.
Twenty years later, a young swordsman with a mysterious past and a strangely familiar-looking sword - I mean it's got three blades, for fuck's sake, how many people have one of those? And not pointing backwards or concealed in the hilt for discouraging people from nicking your sword. No, these are three parallel sword blades - returns to the kingdom and oh guess what? He has a destiny to fulfill! Well I never etc etc.
On the upside, it's a lot of fun spotting places where the Evil Overlord List
could have saved the day.COCKNEYS VERSUS ZOMBIES
: A thoughtful and heartwarming period drama, the last film completed by British character actor Richard Briers before his death - and surely the one for which he would wish to be known. Also stars Alan Ford, from "Snatch" and "Star Wars
: It's got the same premise as "Police Academy". The poster is laid out almost exactly the same as "Police Academy". It uses the same font for the title as "Police Academy". I'm sure it is in no way a poorly-written, cheaply made copycat rushed out to capitalise on its far more successful cousin. Stars George Clooney, probably with a lot more hair, and maybe even for more than six seconds.
So yeah. Seven tomorrow. Bring whatever drinks/snacks/holy writings you require to get you through the coming ordeal.
|Monday, June 10th, 2013|
|From the sublime to the ridiculously sublime
Gunpoint, mentioned below, is a side-on retro 16-bit styled tactical espionage game with puzzle elements, a neo-noir cyberpunk feel and excellent writing. Using stealth and hi-tech gadgets you proceed through sterile corporate facilities to uncover the truth behind murder, police corruption and illegal business deals. You wear a hat and a trenchcoat, because that's the kind of guy you are.
Hotline Miami is a top-down retro 8-bit styled tactical gangland massacre game with puzzle elements, an 80s-neon-acid-trip feel and a hypnotic synth soundtrack. Using knives, baseball bats, shotguns, golf-clubs, crowbars, swords, sledgehammers, SMGs and pool cues you proceed through seedy Russian Mafia hangouts to absolutely positively kill every motherfucker in the building, because a cryptic message on your answering machine told you to. You wear blue jeans, a letterman jacket and a variety of rubber animal masks, each of which gives you some special power, because that's the kind of guy you are. Unless you're not really a guy. Unless none of this is even happening.
This is a world where one hit from a weapon is lethal, where recklessness is the best plan, where the same faces appear over and over, where fat blokes are immune to anything short of a shotgun blast or half a mag of 5.56mm rounds.
And even then, sometimes they keep coming.
It's gory, ultra-violent, surreally brilliant, smart, uncompromising and accessible.
It is also in the current Humble Bundle
, which makes it - and its ten (ten!
) companions - ridiculously cheap. I mean it's less than six bucks, so under a fiver even if your card of choice slaps on a "processing fee" for a foreign currency. Because exchanging money
is a hard thing for banks to do.
You have just shy of two days to pick it up, and frankly no excuse.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and unlock all the masks, find all the secrets, and - above all - kill all the dudes
|Insulting the hat was also a bad move
6 dead. 20 injured. 20 jobs. $13,000. The week echoed in my mind like something that happened in the last week.
They don't let me name names on this blog, but the person behind the hit I was investigating is dead now.
In fact, I may have killed more people than I actually avenged here.
The trigger man's going down. I thought that would feel good, but there's no escaping what it cost.
I don't know.
I guess I picked the least shitty of two incredibly shitty sides.
Maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe all that matters is justice.
Either way, I need to get out of this city.Gunpoint. Slick, fun, clever, and - unusually for a game - very well written. Not terribly long, but worth it. Try the demo; also available on Steam.
|Thursday, May 2nd, 2013|
So a while back, the missus was due to go to a cider-tasting evening with ceehoss
and some other fans of strategically decomposed fruit juice.¹
It got cancelled, because of reasons. I can't even remember. Snow? Let's go with snow.
They've now re-scheduled it, but they've put it on the evening of May 24th. So we have a conversation like this:
"The new date for the cider tasting clashes with your birthday, so I can't go."
"Why can't you go?"
"Because it's your birthday."
"But I'm not doing anything for my birthday."
"It's still your birthday."
"It's not, like, an important number
or something. It has no significance."
"But it's important."
"No it isn't. I'll be thirty-eight. No-one cares, not even me."
"It's important to me, and I want to spend the evening with you."
It's hard to say why this bugs me so much. I can't blame her for wanting to spend time with me, because I am after all completely great
. However we spend a bare minimum of three evenings a week together. To put it in economic terms, the supply of me is abundant.
And getting more abundant all the time, ba-dum cha!
Thus it makes no goddamn sense to me to give up a one-off event that she will enjoy in order to spend time doing something that she did last week, and will do again next week and the week after and the week after that and so on until the inevitable demise of one or more of her, me, or our marriage.
So I try and convince her to go to the cider-tasting.
"There is no birthday. It's not happening. Forget about it."
"No. It's your birthday."
"Is it? It just occurred to me, my birthday is actually the 25th
of May. I must have forgotten." ²
"No it isn't, it's the 24th."
"What if I don't feel like going out? What if I just want to sulk and play Civ until my eyes bleed?"
"Then I will be in the house with you. I want to be where you are."
"What if you can't be? What if I'm unavoidably detained by work?"
"I would come to the unit and keep you company."
This isn't working. She has an answer for everything.
Then it hits me: to defeat your enemy, you must use their strength against them.
"For my birthday... what if I wanted... to go to a cider-tasting?
Silence. I've got her. YES! I AM BULLETPROOF! I dance a jig. She tries to rally:
"But... but you don't even like cider!"
"That's right! I will sip each suspcious orangey-brown sludge, make a face and say "bleagh!" and then hand you the glass! You get extra samples!"
Middle of round three and I'm only getting kinder. BOOYAH! How you like me now?
"You don't really want to do this."
"Sure I do! Sort us out some tickets!" I lean closer and lower my voice slightly. "I'll even drive.
There's no coming back from that. I have won! I have successfully manipulated and browbeaten my wife into doing something she enjoys and wanted to do in the first place. I am the bestworst husband EVAH.
We have agreed she that she will go the cider tasting, but that she will not force me to do the same, whilst sober no less. As a sop to her pride, I agreed to meet her in a pub after the tasting session.
So, Sheffield Tap - that's the one in the station, pub location fans - from about eight on the
24th, if you fancy it. It's a Friday.
¹ She also likes blue cheese, and yet you would not believe how seriously she treats "use-by" dates.
² With hindsight, I should have claimed that she'd mis-remembered the date. I might have gotten away with that.
|Thursday, December 6th, 2012|
Hello! Just a quick reminder that FFS tomorrow is at the Riverside Cafe. That's the one in Middlewood, just round the corner from Hillsborough Stadium. Not to be confused with the Riverside Cafe-Bar, which is the pub in Neepsend.
We have the entire ground floor room reserved for us, they have proper beer on tap and my lovely (but demanding) wife has arranged for Weston's cider to be on draught via cider-box. The Christmas menu needed to be booked in advance, so too late if you haven't done that already, but they do have their full normal menu and the food seemed great at the Chivers' anniversary bash a couple of months back.
Hope to see you there.
|Wednesday, September 19th, 2012|
|I always like to perform for an angry mob
I'm going to publish pictures of the Prophet Mohammed looking at the Duchess of Cambridge's tits and offend everybody at once.
The accompanying article will be scattered with greengrocer's apostrophes and common malapropisms in order to enrage those of you who are relaxed about the depiction of mythologised religious figures and/or ladybits.
|Tuesday, June 5th, 2012|
|That River Pageant Schedule in full
0600: Reporters shivering on rain-swept river bank.
0602: Just think, a thousand boats will be passing this very spot... in just eight hours from now!
0630: Sixteenth mention of how many boats they're expecting.
0643: "Obviously we hope the weather will improve..." That is obvious, you're turning blue. Go on, how many boats are there likely to be?
0700: Only another seven hours to go before anything happens!
0720: Posh-looking bloke explains how it took him two-and-a-half years to make boats float down a river.
0723: Fifty-seventh mention of expected number of boats; posh-looking bloke has bumped the number-of-boats-estimate-per-minute rate up considerably.
0800: Eamonn Holmes turns up, looks like he's had whiskey for breakfast. You can't really blame him.
0835: Interviews with people dressed idiotically, saying idiotic things, who have turned up a good six hours before anything interesting is due to happen and are standing in the rain with their flags wilting.
0837: Eamonn Holmes refrains from calling them retarded, because he got into trouble for that before.
0900: Still time to learn Swahili before anything happens.
0913: Eighty-eighth mention of how many boats they're expecting. Estimate bumped up to "over a thousand boats, of all shapes and sizes". But mostly boat-shaped, one presumes.
0948: Reporter standing under umbrella confirms that the rain you can see in the background means it is in fact raining. Asks other reporter five hundred yards down the river what "the situation" is there.
0949: Other reporter confirms that it's also raining five hundred yards downstream, believe it or not.
0951: Eamonn Holmes hasn't been on screen for a minute or two, interrupts them to say he's about a mile away and it's raining where he is too.
0952: "We're still hoping that the weather will improve..." Cut to weather forecaster in nice warm studio who explains that their hopes are in vain. Also, the universe is essentially random and uncaring and their suffering is meaningless.
0959: One hundredth mention of how many boats they're expecting, in just before the hour.
1000: "Coverage of Diamond Jubilee River Pageant will begin at twelve noon." What the fuck has all this been up until now then?
1025: News headlines. Apparently a thousand boats are expected to float down the Thames this afternoon, also nothing else has happened in the entire world.
1034: "Welcome back! If you've just joined us, you've missed four and a half hours of absolutely fuck-all
1039: A duck floats past; ratings soar.
1049: Interview with the dudes who will be crewing the Queen's battle-barge, the
Spirit of Chartwell. After they've driven home, had a couple of hours' kip and a fry-up and come back because even after all this we're still a good three hours from anything happening.
1103: One hundred and twentieth mention of how many boats they're expecting. They're slacking off.
1107: "Obviously we're still hoping the weather will improve..." So did the Germans at Stalingrad, pal, and look how that turned out.
1134: Another duck floats past. Actually this is downstream, so it might be the same duck. The reporter tries to interview it out of sheer boredom, but the duck isn't having any.
1200: Coverage of the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant starts! A mere six hours after the reporters started talking about it, and a mere two hours before the Pageant itself!
1202: A confused-looking Gary Neville tries to explain the tactics each side will be using. He anticipates that the boats will float by in a standard 400-400-200 formation, and the Queen will stand off to one side of the pitch and wave gently. He further suggests that they're both great teams, that both of them will be looking for the full three points, and that it's really too early to say who will walk away with the result.
1226: First sighting of a boat! Wild excitement ensues; reporters try and figure what role it plays in the pageant.
1227: It's probably just a boat. The bloke steering it looks a bit uncomfortable at the attention.
1228: One hundred and fiftieth mention of how many boats they're expecting.
1300: Interview with well-known sailor, marine architect and naval historian Jo Whiley. With her characteristic insight she informs us that a thousand boats will soon be floating down the Thames.
1342: Reporters cut from one to the other to confirm that yes, Eamonn, it is raining here still. And here. And here. In fact it's raining right across
this ten-mile slice of central London, in what must surely be one of the most average rain-showers ever recorded several hundred times each year.
1343: "Obviously there's still time for the weather to improve..." Yeah, keep hoping.
1355: Having sat through nearly eight hours of preamble, doze off right before stuff is due to happen.
1415: Rocket-boat jousting with electric harpoons! Boats explode, bodies fly through the air, passing swans are barbecued! Brian Blessed wins after a tense showdown with HMS Belfast, which ends when he shouts at it and it sinks with all hands.
1438: Arrival of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. She promptly leads the adoring crowd in a specially re-written version of I'm On A Boat
1439: "Everybody look at one, 'cos one's sailing on a boat!"
1535: Wake abruptly. There are boats! Yes! The boats, so long prophesied, are here!
1536: That don't look like no thousand boats to me!
1537: Well has anyone counted them?
1538: Just because Eamonn Holmes says something three hundred and fifty three times, that doesn't make it true!
1539: Oh really? What are their names then, these boats?
1540: "Mr. Boat"? Really? That's what you want to go with?
1548: Speculation on how many layers of thermals the Queen is wearing.
1555: A canoe full of Maoris playing freeze tag floats past.
1557: A barge with a belfry near the prow appears. That means that in the case of this particular boat, the front can legitimately described as "the bell-end".
1558: Chortling, also despairing looks from wife.
1601: Bored of boats now.
1609: Can't believe the Queen has stood up through all of this. I'd have had a sit down by now, and I'm not 86.
1615: Tower Bridge explodes like a 200-foot damp squib.
1616: The Queen opens one of those transparent plastic umbrellas and instantly transforms herself from "regal monarch" to "old lady on way to shops".
1617: News bulletin. Apparently a thousand boats have floated down the Thames! You'd think someone would have mentioned it.
1618: Highlights of coverage.
1632: Coverage of highlights.
1637: Highlights of coverage of highlights (etc etc)
1645: Thousandth mention of how many boats they were expecting. The word "boat" sounds weird now. They've broken it.
1646: Boat boat boat boat. Boat boat, boat boat boat boat boat!
|Sunday, May 6th, 2012|
|The difference is clear
When I was a kid, if myself or one of my siblings were caught teasing the dog by offering it food and then snatching it away, we were forced to give the food to the dog.
Fortunately this rule is not in general use, otherwise...
|Saturday, April 7th, 2012|
|Linkity-link chequebook (includes pen)
Mostly stuff I was boring people with in the pub. You know the drill by now.
Okay, so it's been six months, but hey - it's like riding a bike!
Actually, it's fuck-all like riding a bike, but I'm sure you can figure out the intricacies of clicking on the bits that are underlined
Except that bit. That was just an example. From now on, it counts
Apart from that one.
Shit, how does HTML work again?Oglaf
! Usually rude
, often hilarious
.Bod. Except, he's Dredd.
Linked by caerban
but enough people have claimed not to remember it that I'm reposting it.
So I overstated how much the Shadowrun game
Kickstarter had raised. It'll get there, just you wait. Sadly all the donation options where one of the creators of Shadowrun comes to your house and runs a Shadowrun game for you and your friends are sold out already; sorry Paul!
I want to play Shadowrun now.
Finally, the missus has expressed an interest in going to the Manchester Museum
on Easter Monday. It appears to be full of interesting stuffs
and is free to get in. We're thinking of taking the train there and back to avoid Easter traffic - anyone fancy coming along?
|Friday, February 10th, 2012|
|For some reason I thought I'd already posted about this
Bad movies, my place, tomorrow from 8 pm. Special Guest star will be caerban
and his collection of appalling shark movies, assuming he can make it across the Pennines in time.Update
expressed concerns about being trapped in Sheffield by snowfall, and thus will not be gracing us with his presence. Or his appalling marine biology-based creature flicks.
I'm sure we can find something worth watching though. Samurai Death Bells
|Friday, September 30th, 2011|
|The magic of cinema
Yes, the missus is away again so time once more for dreadful movies, this time featuring some, none or fewer of the following:Us Seals
: Either an unofficial pinniped-themed sequel to the Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd vehicle "Spies Like Us", or a low-budget under-the-top action movie full of explosions¹ and unconvincing gunfights. I know which one I'm hoping for! Starring
: Jenny McShane from "Shark Attack 3: Those Are Nice, Dear, But John Barrowman Doesn't Really Know What To Do With Them".McBain
: Retired from the elite Division Squad, McBain spends his days fishing and scowling at people. An SOS from an old friend forces McBain to reunite with his former colleagues from Bureau Group in order to effect a rescue. But against an entire army, even McBain's Team Unit training might not be enough...Starring
: Christopher Walken, Michael Ironside, Steve James, why isn't this a better film?Vampire Hunters
: Hark Tsui is one of the most respected producers in Hong Kong cinema, a driving force behind the seminal "A Better Tomorrow" as well as the brilliant "Iron Monkey" and the "Once Upon A Time In China" series. Unfortunately for this one he also decided to write the screenplay, and with a whopping 4.5/10 on the IMDB that may have been a bad decision. Still, the plot involves kung fu masters who fight zombies having to avenge - and, given the vampire/zombie theme, probably re-kill - their fallen master, so how bad can it be? Right? I mean, right?Starring
: The guys who went on to play the gang leader and his lieutenant in "Kung Fu Hustle", a bunch of other guys.
My place from about eight on Saturday 1st Oct, bring beer and any terrible films you wish to share with the rest of Section Department.
¹ Or more likely the same explosion several times from slightly different angles.
|Monday, September 19th, 2011|
|Notes from a surprisingly large island
We're back from Mallorca; sorry about all the parties, baby namings, raids, pub nights (etc) that we missed.
We'd arranged to go over at the same time as my sister Roisin and her husband Paul. My other sister Siobhan lives there anyway, so it makes for a pretty good family reunion.
Certainly nicer than Sheffield in a snowy February, which is the last time we met up.( I realise that"s kinda faint praiseCollapse )
|Thursday, August 18th, 2011|
|Leprechaun 7: Leprechaun Vs. The IRS
I've seen people advance the argument, with all apparent seriousness, that the first three Leprechaun
films are actually genuinely good horror movies.
Well they may be right, but unfortunately those ain't the Leprechaun movies I happen to have.
So this Saturday's crap movie night will feature:Leprechaun 4
: The Leprechaun is in space for some reason; hilarity ensues. Frankly all horror film franchises should be in space by the time they reach their fourth installment. Jason Voorhees was a very late bloomer in this regard, since he didn't reach space until Jason X
, and I don't think Freddie Krueger has made it even now.
Michael Myers' expressionless mask of hatred can of course be seen to good effect in Star Wars Episode V: Send In The Clones
, in which he plays Anakin Skywalker.Leprechaun 6
: Skipping over the events of Leprechaun 5
- largely because grok_mctanys
and I laughed so hard we nearly asphyxiated when we watched that - Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Tha Hood
sees the Leprechaun once more trying to protect his stash of gold coins from acquisitive young urban persons from the eponymous 'hood. A subtle and deeply moving metaphor for the conflict between working-class Irish families and the African-American communities that have sprung up around them since the 70s, Leprechaun 6
won five Academy Awards including best original screenplay, best actor in a leading role (Warwick Davies) and best giant comedy afro wig on a gangster rapper turned actor.
My place, Saturday, from about eight. Bring your own consciousness-deadening beverages.
|Friday, August 12th, 2011|
|Wheels (may contain wheels)
I remember years ago a policeman friend of mine told me how Mrs. Thatcher had been careful to increase pay and improve conditions and up recruitment for the police force because she knew she'd need them when she rammed the poll tax down the country's throat.
It seemed logical.
When I heard that Cameron was going to cut... well, everything, I thought he was a douchebag.
When I heard that Cameron was going to cut everything including the police
, I thought he was an idiot.
Now the first serious unrest has occurred and he's still talking about slashing police budgets and numbers - pending a sudden Cameron I-Turn™* - which means one of two things.
Either he's a dangerous fantasist who genuinely believes that as soon as he dismantles the government our entire citizenry will immediately enter a glorious private-sector utopia where waste and selfishness do not exist** and the market solves all problems instantly and proportionately.
Or this is part of a complicated medium-term plan to turn everyone into frothing right-wing corporal punishment enthusiasts, demanding everything from eviction and termination of benefits**** for anyone wearing a hoodie right up to Saudi-style amputation or decaptitation for...
I see it now! THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO INTRODUCE SHARIA LAW TO THE UK BY STEALTH! Cameron is the puppet of the trans-national Caliphate! The Daily Mail
is secretly promoting a repressive Islamofascist state! All this time we've been assuming the liberals are the ones who are courting the global dominance of Islam, when actually it's the conservatives! Black is white! Right is wrong! Oceania has always
been at war with Eurasia!
Man, no-one tell Anders Breivik. When he finds out that he should have been pointlessly murdering conservative kids rather than pointlessly murdering liberal kids, he's going to feel terrible
* The I-Turn™ is Cameron's signature move; it's where he publicly announces that he's been forced to change his mind by public outcry and is humiliating himself by submitting... then carries on and does whatever the hell it was he wanted to do in the first place once the fuss has died down. cf. sell-off of public forests, NHS privatisation bill, etc.
** Anyone would think he'd never worked in the private sector. Maybe PR is just a really nice friendly honest industry?
**** Personally I think I'd be more likely to steal if I had no money and no home, but what the hell do I know?
|Wednesday, August 10th, 2011|
|I ain't the wurst that you've seen
So there I was, innocently reading a rambling discourse on fusion cuisine
. I followed their currywurst
link and saw the first picture and suddenly I'm all ahglagughlaglagl
Bought frankfurters on the way home, knocked up a quick-and-dirty batch of currywurst sauce (ketchup, curry powder, garlic powder, dash of Worcestershire sauce, splash of vinegar) and didn't bother with the chips, just put the sausage in a bread roll. God damn that's good
. Germany, I salute you.
|Wednesday, July 6th, 2011|
|The Shiawase Decision
When I were but a lad, back in the early 1990s, my friends and I got a good deal of enjoyment out of a roleplaying game called Shadowrun
. Set in a dystopian future of unchecked capitalism, radical human bio-modification and resurgent magic, the players took on the roles of renegade hackers, bulletproof cybercommandos, urban spell-slingers, techno-spies, ninja swordsmen and assorted other outlaws acting as deniable/expendable assets for and against the megacorporations that dominated - literally and figuratively - the world.
The corporations in Shadowrun
had managed to obtain two key rights - the right to recruit and maintain private military forces, and the right of extraterritoriality. In short, they were subject to no rules but their own. The governments of the setting essentially signed away their right to monitor and regulate the activities of such organisations and, by extension, those of their employees.
Every time I read about phone-hacking, I wonder when I sideslipped into Shadowrun
We're talking about an organisation that has illegally accessed or tried to access the private correspondence of thousands of well-known people and some of the highest elected officials in the country, possibly including the Foreign Secretary and a serving Prime Minister. Oh, and some MI5 officials as well.
And yet a couple of guys who were directly involved are given nugatory four or six month sentences, whilst there isn't even a hint of censure for the parent organisation. Quite the opposite, in fact: they're allowed something they really want - full ownership of BSkyB - despite strong concern from the regulator and every other media organisation in the country. Politicians who (foolishly) express opposition to Murdoch are reprimanded. Police investigations are quietly allowed to die. Calls for public enquiries are dismissed - well, until it starts to look like someone may have hacked into the voicemails of murdered girls.
Pause for a second to appreciate the irony of tabloid papers being caught out by a backlash of the public outrage they themselves helped to stoke, because of actions that they took in the hope of being able to further stoke that outrage
. It's almost beautiful, in a way. Like a cathedral made of crusty syringes and excrement-smeared banknotes.
Back to the point: anyone else who'd done this would right now be poring over the provisions of the Official Secrets Act looking for a piece of small print that means they don't have to spend the rest of their natural in Belmarsh. Yet for Rupert and his vast number of minions, hirelings, underlings and henchpersons... basically nothing.
Now I am not, myself, the sort of person who demands that people be hung, on the grounds that it's the only language they can be considered likely to understand.²
But I cannot - for the very life of me - understand why the government isn't making a bigger deal of this. Okay, it was embarrassing to have hired one of the guys who may have known/been responsible/whatever for the hacking, but he resigned months ago and you could distance yourself easily enough.
(I'm going to completely bypass any moral or ethical arguments for reacting to the whole hacking thing because we're talking about politicians, and politicians - especially Tory ones - tend not to be very good at that kind of thing. Let's keep it purely in the realms of realpolitik
Now the government - whoever they happen to be at the time - is popularly acknowledged to be continually currying favour with Murdoch Inc. in return for broadly supportive coverage. That has to grate, after a while. So with general public support and the full weight of the law on your side, how is this not
the point to pick this fight? Even if you shy away from trying to break up his empire or even reduce his influence, you could effectively shunt the BSkyB thing onto a siding and make him wait however many more years for that particular bauble. At the least, at the very lowest possible level to retain a basic negotiating position - and self-respect - extort some sort of concessions from him. Put him to the trouble of having to buy you off, if nothing else.
But no. Vague talk of a public enquiry - or possibly more than one, or possibly a bunch of little ones that join up into a big one with Lord Archer forming the head.³ Basically nothing, again. Is Cameron that soft a touch? Are the Tories genuinely that bad at cut-throat business negotiation?
Unless a deal has already been struck. Unless Murdoch has already been put to the trouble.
¹ Also, does this mean I'm about to turn into an ork?
² Although I did briefly want to break the arms of a guy I saw today who carefully carried his empty Lucozade bottle off the tram, walked past a bin, and deliberately threw the bottle onto the grass. I was still on the tram, fortunately, otherwise my mouth might have attempted to write money orders that my body would not have been able to cover with funds presently available.
³ You know full well which head.