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12/1/10 06:35 pm - Here Lived An Idiot

Every so often I come across a mention on metafilter sites of The Day My Arse Died and it fills me (strangely enough) with such a warm feeling inside and reminds me of why I used to do this blogging thang. Most surprisingly, given the rabidly vicious nature of the average internet user/cunt, most of the comments left on these sites are positive. In the main people find it to be an inspirational story of what can happen when a silly man does a stupid thing. Explains the popularity of Jackass I suppose.

It's only the second time that I've posted something which took on a life outside of my Friends' list, the other being the Cardone incident which attracted a fair amount of criticism but did the unholy work of pushing "Cardone Fundies" to the top of Google's results whens searched for. For a little while, my post appeared in the top ten of any search just for "Cardone".
I accept in that the latter case I was probably - on balance - in the wrong but even so my revenge was sweet and we all got a chuckle out of it in the end.

That's what counts isn't it? I do a stupid thing. You laugh. The world is a better place.

11/30/10 07:46 pm - Dirge for November.

So long November o vilest of months.
So long to illness.
So long to misery.
So long to not knowing and not going.
So long.

8/15/10 06:33 pm - I don't wanna be in your London dungeon...

Against all reason we did another adult thing this week, and I'm not talking about using a midget's gaping asshole as a urinal.
We made an offer on a house. Like, to buy it n shit. The only thing you possibly need to know about this house is that the current owner has built a bar in the cellar and put in pub seating! So, while Ruth has been looking at the prices of fridges, sofas and beds I've been on ebay looking at neon signs, pub mirrors, massive movie posters and life-size poseable zombies. Ruth doesn't know about the lifesize poseable zombies yet so let's hope that she doesn't read LJ anymore, huh?

I've also been giving a lot of thought to the general theme. Tiki-Lounge? New Orleans dungeon? Underground Speakeasy? Irish fuckwittery?

The phrase 'Voodoo Lounge' kept going through my head until I recalled that it's the name of a Rolling Stones album and then because I thought about the Rolling Stones I instantly got bone cancer. Fuck the Rolling Stones.

Fuck The Beatles too while we're at it.

And John Lennon.

Scouse hippy twat.

I digress.

Seriously. Fuck the Beatles!

Anyway: Cellar bar! We're gonna party like it's Cinco De Mayo!

8/11/10 09:40 pm - The Money Pit

The only way that your life could be like mine is if you're:

a) fourteen years old

or

b) retarded

What's it like to be me?
Well y'know something Mean Gene, I spend a considerable portion of my time watching cartoons and horror movies while eating sweets and crisps. I like comics and Star Wars and comics about Star Wars and I like metal and punk and I'm a huge fan of double-entendres which refer to anal sex.
The only material difference to my own life as a fourteen year-old and my life now is that I go to work instead of school (although bizarrely my colleagues tend to act like school children), and I now drink beer almost as often as I drink Pepsi.

The whole point of this preamble is to highlight just how surreal it's been for me this week to do a proper adult thing, and by that I don't mean exposing myself in a branch of Sainsbury's. Nope, this week I've mostly been looking at houses with a view to purchasing one...y'know, for cash. Or someone else's cash anyway.

We've seen a bunch of nice places and although we still have some to visit, I think our hearts are set on a very elegant little house in the town of Moxley (although I'm also hankering for an outrageously beautiful apartment in a grand Victorian house in Moseley Village).
Certainly the strangest of the bunch was this place:



Yeah, it's pretty much a miniature castle.

We were greeted at the door by an elderly gent who took us through the hallway into the kitchen. Immediately I was impressed. The tiled floor and the huge windows were all 1930s originals and the improvements he'd made were very sympathetic to the period. He'd recently refitted the kitchen with cherrywood worktops and built the cupboards himself. He apologised that he hadn't got around to fitting handles or buying an oven yet.
He took us through to the utility room which he'd built himself and from here we could also see the huge conservatory, though it didn't have a roof, floor or door. He was keen to tell us that he'd intended to finish it but had run out of money when he lost his job (I was guessing he'd been forced to take retirement). When pressed he admitted that he wasn't likely to finish it before the property was sold.
Still - not the end of the world.
He showed us the living room which was incredibly charming and old-fashioned with a very unusual curved radiator under the bay window - again a 1930s original. Then it got really weird. The bedrooms all had bare floors and walls, including his own bedroom which contained only a bed, a few piles of books and the odd strip of linoleum. What's more, nowhere in the house was there a bathtub or shower.
He continued to enthuse about improvements to the property however, talking about where the door to the en-suite toilet would go and how he intended to build a grand balcony on top of the conservatory.
In the rear garden he was no different, talking about how you could build two bedrooms on top of the garage and where the summer house was going to go. This seemed even more hollow when the rotten steps to the house broke beneath me and I narrowly avoided a broken leg.

Unsurprisingly we decided not to purchase it, though perhaps I would have felt differently if we had £30,000 just to spend on improvements.

The impression I was left with was that after his mother had died three years previously he'd thrown himself into a massive programme of total regeneration only to eventually run out of money. Now, forced to sell his home he's stuck in this big, perpetually unfinished property. It was an incredible and strange place to visit but I could only feel sad for the guy. I also feel bad about breaking his step...

We have a few more places to see but I think the Moxley one is a winner. Hopefully we can make an offer as early as this time next week.

7/30/10 04:29 pm - listening to "Sunn O))) & Boris - Etna" on Blip

Best DM story ever: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1296282/I-dosing-How-teenagers-getting-digitally-high-music-download-internet.html

7/29/10 11:20 am - listening to "the obsessed-tombstone highway" on Blip

This is one of those songs...well, if you don't like it then you should probably be killed. It'd be for your own good too.

7/23/10 07:39 am - listening to "Goatsnake - El coyote" on Blip

I've been playing 'Flatout' on the 360 today. Already I'm sick of the Jock Metal soundtrack. Jock Metal is the problem...this is the solution.

7/22/10 01:15 pm - listening to "Stumm:Chokehold Narcosis live@Tvo,Turku 7.11-09" on Blip

None so sludge

7/22/10 08:44 am - listening to "Teeth of Lions Rule The Divine - New Pants & Shirt (Killdozer cover)" on Blip

The intense humming of evil

6/20/10 05:55 pm - Thorin Starts Singing About Gold

I've been playing a bunch of games lately. Let me tell you about them:

Lost In Blue 3

Considering the Japanese origins of this game, there’s a surprisingly Protestant work ethic running through it. Yes, LIB3 is a spiritual brother to the Harvest Moon Games in that the daily grind of existence is transferred horribly intact to the video game medium.
The plot revolves around some little nonce who washes up on a desert island with nothing other than his Diesel jeans and standard anime-bumlord-haircut for company. Twenty minutes later he meets his ex-girlfriend who he doesn’t remember and shortly afterwards he starves to death in a cave. Thankfully the latter can be avoided by catching and preparing food, making tools and remembering to drink from the river roughly every seventeen seconds. The rest of the game (or the two hours which I endured) is spent traipsing back and forth around an alarmingly lifeless jungle before starving to death near a waterfall.

Now, I’m as big a fan of The Sims as anyone and so the thrilling world of work-u-tainment isn’t foreign to me, but The Sims really is an accurate replication of real life in that the purpose is to eliminate all of the time-consuming necessities of daily life by buying better appliances, hiring a maid or – when I play it, having children just so you can enslave them.
I’m also not opposed to a gaming experience devoid of action and alien weirdies, rather I think that there’s too much of that type of thing around and I welcome any game that gives the player time to stop and smell the pixels. The best parts of Oblivion for me were the bits where you ride your horse through beautifully-rendered forests with the dappled sunlight and the glistening dewdrops and the glaven…

I digress: LIB3 is a game about wandering back and forth through a bland landscape while starving to death. The end.

Additional: I would have provided a screenshot, but just imagine your own crushingly tedious existence, then add a few coconuts and a girl you can't have sex with.

Neighbours From Hell

This game instantly wins points for not having the following plot:

Imprisoned for having beautifully sculpted facial hair, Rock Hauser escapes his confinement only to find himself aboard the SS Thrusting Manhood, a galactic cruiser en-route to the planet Dystopia. Hilarity ensues when Hauser discovers that the entire crew have become Zombies and weird things that look like an inside-out leopard.

Instead, NFH is about a reality show in which the main character Woody must play practical jokes on his neighbour Mr Rottweiler in order to entertain the audience. Elderly gamers who recall How To Be A Complete Bastard and the early Spy vs Spy games will instantly be at home with the cut-away view of Mr Rottweiler’s house as well as the prank/trap based gameplay.
For the less elderly, it’s essentially a point-and-clicker in which the purpose is to find the purpose of the various objects you find in the house. Some are obvious such as placing a bar of slippery soap on the kitchen floor, some not so much such as replacing Mr Rottweiler’s sweets with bath pearls.
When the hapless neighbour falls foul of each prank, he goes through a short pre-rendered animation of disgust and rage and his anger-meter starts to rise. This reveals the real object of the game for perfectionists; keeping Mr Rottweiler’s anger levels at maximum by creating prank-combos for audience appreciation.

Simple but fun, the final word should go to the claymation style of the graphics which are a perfect match for this stylish but insubstantial game. Precisely as much fun as not starving to death on a desert island.

Ninja Town

Here’s the thing: I don’t like Tower Defence games. Sure some of the early flash-based ones were good, but almost every elaboration of this new genre has wound me up no end. See, I’m a plotter and a thinker which is why I prefer my strategising to be turn-based rather than real-time. The much-lauded Lock’s Quest gave me the fear with its relentlessly frenetic pace which is precisely why I resisted the charms of Ninja Town for so very long. However, I’m happy to say that I have lived a deluded and wayward life because Ninja Town is very good indeed.

Perhaps it’s the cutesy design or genuinely amusing dialogue between Ninja Master and his minions (including the utterly improbable Ninja Management Consultant) but this is a game which draws you in immediately. Otherwise it’s sort-of-but-not-quite business as usual, building structures along a route in order to prevent waves of demons from getting from A to B.
Rather than the standard variations on gun emplacements, all of the defensive structures are houses, each providing two Ninjas with varying capabilities such as the White Ninjas who freeze their enemies, Sniper Ninjas who can fire upon flying enemies and the frankly inexplicable Business Ninja who slows enemies down by bashing them with his mobile phone.
When enemies approach, the Ninjas rush into the street and a pitched battle results. What raises Ninja Town further above the level of most Tower Defence Games is the amount of latitude that the player is allowed to obtain victory. Unlike many others in the genre, there rarely seems to be a ‘perfect’ way to finish each stage and the various ‘Ninja Master Powers’ and other bonuses do a lot to turn around a situation that you might otherwise have completely buggered up.

In short, a strategy game that remembers to be fun (are you paying attention, Lost In Blue?)

Pandemic II

Flash game based around the fun-packed world of Virus-design. Yes, in what may be the game in poorest taste since Erotic Ebola Brothers 4: Every Hole’s A Goal, this 'virus simulator' gives every bedroom biohazard fan the chance to create a nasty disease and unleash it upon the world at large.

Beginning with the choice of Virus, Bacteria or Parasite the disease begins in a random country and slowly begins to spread. As more people become infected, evolution points are awarded to further mutate the disease and giving it fun new features such as “Transmitted by Rodents”, “Resistance To Moisture” and the always fun “Causes Dementia”. Meanwhile world governments respond accordingly by handing out bottled water, closing their borders and burning their dead.
The real trick seems to be to keep your disease as low-key as possible, initially afflicting enormous numbers of people with a non-fatal but highly contagious disease. The less serious the symptoms, the less likely it is that anyone will attempt to devise a vaccine. Then, just as you reach 5 billion people with a case of the sniffles, you whack on a brand new mutation such as heart-failure and squeal with joy as the whole planet gets clogged up with the dead.
I was particularly proud of my Super Plague which was transmitted by just about everything walking, breathing and sneezing and caused violent insanity, killing 21 million people a day at one point. Bizarrely, the good people of Peru, Argentina and Madagascar remained unaffected.



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