Friday, 23 December 2005

Happy Holidays

So I'm off for the next week and I don't expect to update this blog until the new year. Thanks to all my readers and commentors for bothering and I hope to keep all six of you in obscure stuff, knob gags and occassional movie reviews in ought six.


For those who are here looking for a Samorost walkthrough (the vast maajority it seems) have look here, it's the official site's forum and has plenty of hints. Then give Hapland a try if you want a bit more of a challenge...

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

I Have The Retouch Redux

Here's a great flash animation showing how retouching subtly but completely "improves" a picture of a girl.

The point of it, I think, is to show how glossy magazines show unrealistic representations of women and that this is a bad thing. But I spent a good while making her tits bigger and smaller...

Via Boing Boing.

Monday, 19 December 2005

Reasons I don't Understand America Part 3

While Christian groups are warring to make sure that business and government workers say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," one place you won't hear either greeting this December 25 is at many of the largest churches in the country.

That's because [...] the churches won't be open that day.

From Christianity Today's Weblog via The Rage Diaries.

Personally, I think it funny how religious holidays become more and more secular. Christmas is about presents and dinner and stress. Jesus gets mentioned[1] in one or two of the carols, but not so much it would scare the children. St Patrick's day is an excuse to drink too much Guiness and wear green, it's almost pagan, really. As soon as England can come up with a drink and a colour they can agree on (Real Ale and red would probably be my choice) I'm sure we can turn St George's day into the bacchanal that it deserves to be.

[1] Warren Zevon wrote a song called Jesus Mentioned:
Can't you just imagine
Digging up the King
Begging him to sing
About those heavenly mansions
Jesus mentioned

Thursday, 15 December 2005

Praise Be To Bill

It is a distinct possibility, of course, that more young people are engaging in oral sex [...] because of the example set by former junk food junkie Bill Clinton.

Really?!? Can we get him a sainthood or something.

OK, so this is slightly out of context and the ellision is naughty, but still...

They Should Use That On The Poster

An excerpt of a review of Brokeback Mountain found on the Internet:
I'm sure this will win an oscar or something and now I have to start my life over because it made my husband turn gay.

Go. Read the rest...

Via The News Blog.

By the way, they keep calling this the "gay cowboy movie". That distinguishes it from all other cowboy movies, except maybe "Johnny Guitar", in what way? Oh right! It's no longer sub-text...

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Talking Toot: Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco pops up in the Telegraph to discuss the death of God, or something, perhaps it's the shrinking of God, or how he wrote a Da Vinci Code years before but he's not had a best-seller since Name of the Rose.

Along the way he brings up several old clich├ęs including this one:
"When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything." Whoever said it - he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

He uses the Dan Brown book and how people believe its "silly, sub-Christian superstitions" as an example of this. Because, as we all know, atheists really, really want to believe that Christ was King of France.

Earlier in the year, however, the New Yorker had atheists needing ghost stories because otherwise their real and imaginative worlds would be so impoverished:
Atheists need ghosts and kings and magical uncles and strange coincidences, living fairies and thriving Lilliputians, just as much as the believers do, to register their understanding that a narrow material world, unlit by imagination, is inadequate to our experience, much less to our hopes.

Neither of these ideas is generally true. People reject God for any number of reasons, reasons as varied as those for believing in him. It's a leap of faith either way. My darkened narrow material world is shared by any number of atheists, including, according to some list I found, Randy Newman, Joss Whedon and the agnostic Umberto Eco...

Then again, Eco isn't really talking about rejecting God so much as he's talking about rejecting religion:
Human beings are religious animals. It is psychologically very hard to go through life without the justification, and the hope, provided by religion.

It's hard, he's saying, to go through life without hope and religion is the easiest way he knows of giving hope. So there you go "become a christian, it's not as hard as the alternative" they should put it on a poster outside St. Peters tomorrow. Actually, as a sort of half-cocked Pascal's Wager it's honest, at least.

He then brings up a straw man of scientists who were also religious or believed in silly things. Eco must know this is a canard himself but he's decided that this Xmas will all need a little less X and a little more Christ so let's show that Scientist doesn't also mean Atheist. Of course it doesn't, why should it?

But, really, the whole thing is comprised of weasel words and slack thinking (and point scoring) summed up by this bit:
Many of the people who now go to the Louvre are there only to look at the Mona Lisa, solely and simply because it is at the centre of Dan Brown's book.

Perhaps given a generous definition of "Many" — "enough that you would remark upon it" maybe — this might be true. But as the French say with enough ifs you could put Paris in a bottle.

Turn Excel Into A Drum Machine

Some crazy guy has found a way to map sounds to keys using, I take it, Visual Basic for Applications in Excel (and a custom DLL) so that you can now use your keyboard to trigger your midi drums. Cool (ish). Someone else has taken the next logical step and made Excel store the pattern, which is slightly cooler, though it's only one pattern.

Of course, if you've got a computer and an internet connection you could just Google for, say, "free drum software" and come up with a page like this and save yourself a whole heap of trouble...

Monday, 12 December 2005

For Steve - A Huge Cock

Ba Dum Dum Tish! Thank you thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the veal it's excellent.

Friday, 9 December 2005

Good News For My Site Meter

Yes indeed! Jay over at Jay Is Games has posted the great news that Samorost 2 has been released (although at the moment, what with being possibly the most anticipated sequel of the year, I think their server has melted or something)!

For those who came here for the original Samorost Walkthrough — click whatever is clickable, click something else, try clicking the first thing again, repeat. Here's my Samorost 2 Walkthrough:
click whatever is clickable,
click something else,
try clicking the first thing again,


Strictly it's because I mispelled Samorost as Samarost that I get the hits, I think. Anyway here's to finding out.

UTA: Samorost 2 finally downloaded (or at least the first chapter), and there is slightly more to it that Samorost. Some times when you click something you pick it up, click somewhere else with that object.

Also sometimes when you click something other things become briefly clickable (taps and the like). Some taps need to be aligned properly.

Sometimes you need to click the thing at just the right time, like when a something can see something else.

For Ten-Bob

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

You're A Very Weird Person, Yossarian

Via Bookslut comes news of the annual Yossarian Book of the Year Awards. It seems that rather than fire their employees for a having a blog, Ottakars has given one of their employees official licence — and have done for 5 years, nobody tells me anything. Wisely Yossarian uses his awards to get a few digs in:
Dampest Squib of the Year
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
So, how much fun was it buying it in a supermarket, huh?
Worst Book of the Year
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
I like Hornby’s non-fiction, I really do. He’s a great writer on inconsequential subjects – songs he likes, books he has read or failed to read – but his novels, apart from High Fidelity, leave me cold. A Long Way Down starts with four people meeting on a rooftop, preparing to commit suicide. By the end of the first few chapters I was screaming “Jump, you two-dimensional ba****ds, jump!” Sadly, they didn’t hear me.

Also, he manages to recommend lots of other books that I might have to get round to reading soon.

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Difficult to Swallow

Not the constant reminders of the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards, they're quite welcome, actually. Ben and Jerry's on the other hand... (Yes I seem to be making a post that reference's blow jobs and ice cream, I'm not sure if I should be delighted or worried. Like Ten-bob Dylan tells me, though, may be I should get out more often).

Douglas Rushkoff has posted up an excerpt from his new book, Get Back In the Box, and it looks at how Ben & Jerry's position themselves as an ethical company while selling fattening luxury food:
[T]he company agreed to be acquired by Unilever in 2000. [...] Ben and Jerry attempted to reassure their remaining fans, explaining that theirs would remain a separate company with its own governing board. Of course, the truly radical move would have been to infect Unilever with a bit of Ben and Jerry's ethos from the inside out. By agreeing to be sectioned off, behemoth Unilever's standard operating procedures could remain unchallenged. Meanwhile, Ben and Jerry's adds yet another layer of contradiction to its already ambiguous mission: a socially conscious company selling sugar and fat to Americans, in the service of a Big Food conglomerate whose own practices Ben and Jerry's was originally born to contest.

Via Boing Boing

Isn't that the Definition?

A slight return to the ID debate. James Wolcott has a post calling Intelligent Design the "Opiate of the Dummies" and, while name calling is not particularly constructive, it's hard to disagree. What struck me though way this bit:
I suspect most conservative demagogues practice a strange form of hypocrisy: talking shit in public that they would be wary to do in private. (Most hypocrites do the opposite, talking trash one on one that they would never say over the sanctity of the airwaves.)

Isn't that there whole reason to exist? That they express the private hypocrisies of there audience, saying in public what their listeners wish they could say if only it wasn't for all that "political correctness bullshit" or the fear of a good kicking, which ever it is?

Thursday, 1 December 2005

I Hate To Say "I Told You So"...

What am I saying? I love it.

I told you so.

According to The Guardian's The Northerner, far from heralding the collapse of society as we know it drinkers in the North-East and North Yorkshire behaved themselves better:
Similarly, the Northern Echo revealed an apparent change in the north-east and North Yorkshire drinking culture as bars and clubs actually closed earlier than their licenses permitted, and police reported less drink-related trouble than normal. Even where the chance to gulp into the small hours of the morning didn't prompt a change in our drinking habits - such as Cumbria - the debauchery forecast never transpired; the Westmorland Gazette reported that the new laws had "hardly any effect at all" in their patch.