16-30 June, 2002

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Date
20020616
South West Trains
Time
18:00
Have you noticed the new stock rolling about of late? A few months ago, the Advertising Standards Authority had a go at SWT for claiming that 785 new ‘trains’ were on the way, when in fact it was more like 785 carriages. SWT’s defence was that it could claim whatever the hell it liked in its leaflets, describing them as ‘PR material’. So, don’t believe anything you read in SWT’s PR material, becuause they feel justified in filling it with complete bullshit.

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Date
20020616
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
18:10
Which Willy Wonka character are you? gets plugged because WW is one of may favourite movies and provides perfect fodder for this kind of quiz.

O2’s Which footballer are you? on the other hand, scores a mention mainly because it’s yet another commercial attempt to cash in on the quiz craze that’s missing even the most basic functions that make such a quiz spread virally. Nice try, guys. Next time, do some research.

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Date
20020616

Time
18:17
The word ‘blog’ is going to be in the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Still no emoticons, though.

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Date
20020617

Time
09:24
I find it quite telling that, knowing full well that the monarchy (via Black Rod) was ready, willing and able to tear New Labour a new arsehole, certain MPs would start a very public campaign about freeloading royalty. Ho hum.

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Date
20020617
Monday, Monday
Time
11:28
Well, that’s it. Andersen are screwed. Caught with their fingers in the shredder, as it were.

Also, as part of their rebranding to ‘Monday’, PWC Consulting has just spent 5 million US dollars on the domain name and brand onemonday.com

Anybody else got a domain name with the word ‘Monday’ in it? Time to cash in, methinks…

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Date
20020617

Time
11:31
Who was Deep Throat? Pat Buchanan named by students as the ‘most likely’ candidate.

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Date
20020618
London Underground
Time
09:45
The London Underground’s regular promo spot in the back pages of the free commuter paper Metro today touts the availability of the LU for filming. They helpfully point out that this costs £200 per hour with train hire from £400. They also close by pointing out that the following restrictions apply:

LU’s Byelaws do not permit filming of: vandalism or graffiti; ticket touting; assaults on passengers/staff; fare evasion; use of Firearms or other weapons; misuse of escalators; unlicensed busking; begging; smoking or drug taking.

So basically, if you want anything approaching realism, you had better start building a set.

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Date
20020618
Googlebombing
Time
10:23
The Google Challenge is sure to get slapped down sooner or later by the increasingly temperamental purveyors of the world’s greatest search engine, but – damn it – I just can’t resist a challenge.

[BTW, topping Blogdex today is an article about how Google googles itself. That makes you go blind, y’know…]

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Date
20020618

Time
11:05
Take a look at your online linkage family via kartoo.com – the most novel approach to search engine data I’ve seen in quite a while. Just enter your own website or blog to see how it works and start playing from there.

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Date
20020618
Hollywood Is Out Of Ideas
Time
11:16
They’re making a movie version of The Greatest American Hero, erm, believe it or not. (Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself…)

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Date
20020618

Time
11:20
Go on, get it off your chest

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Date
20020618

Time
11:24
How to resuscitate a drowning cat. There may well be more than one way to do it, but this is my favourite.

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Date
20020618
South West Trains
Time
14:06
Something I didn’t mention in last week’s rant, and that was the good impression you get when you first approach the staff room on Platform 1. I was pretty sure nobody would believe me – but I did happen to have a digital camera on me this morning and managed to get a halfway decent snap of the doorway – and the sign on the locker that pretty much leaps out at you as you look through it.

I do apologise for the fuzziness of the pic, but the nature of the message seems pretty clear – and quite indicative of the attitude most SWT staff have towards their customers.

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Date
20020618

Time
14:15
A colleague just got a very interesting email from a complete stranger with the same last name as her. At first, I thought it might be one of those viruses that deliberately looks as if it’s arriving from friends or family – but she opened the attachment before I could stop her.

No, no virus – just a very interesting timetable that is clearly maps out the best times in which to conceive a child.

The chap seems to have had sent it to name.lastname@isp.co.uk instead of namelastname@isp.co.uk (which we presume to be his wife’s email address).

She sent the attachment back with a polite refusal – saying basically that she was flattered, but spoken for.

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Date
20020618

Time
17:19
Eat more fruit!!! (nsfw)

Be sure to scroll down to the comments.

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Date
20020619
Movie Of The Week
Time
10:54
We have a new front-runner for ‘Worst Movie Of All Time And No Mistake’. Previously, my favourite tragic failure was Starcrash, the nasty Star Wars knock-off starring David Hasselhoff as the hero and Christopher Plummer as his highness, the Emperor of the First Circle of the Universe.

Timemaster beats Starcrash for pure awfulness on all counts, plus gets bonus points for one very special reason; everybody tried so very, very hard.

In fact, if they had a token trophy for participation or even ‘most determined player’ as part of the Oscars ceremony, Timemaster would have walked away with it in 1995, there’s no doubt of that in my mind.

The scriptwriter, bless his heart, threw everything he could into this movie and boy howdy, does it show. Normally the director’s inability to bring such an inspired script to life would cause friction – but happily, in this case, the writer and director are the same person. Sadly, the genius James Glickenhaus (for it is he) hasn’t written and/or directed since. (Simpsons fans, however, will be delighted to note that he actually made a movie entitled McBain in 1991 starring Christopher Walken, and we can only hope that this movie is equally awful.)

The actors push their limited talents, erm, to the limit. Right from the opening narrative, I knew that this was going to be a special movie. Even the kids are something special. If what George Lucas squeezes out of child actors makes you want to retch, then this movie is sure to increase your tolerance for such things by a factor of 10.

The cinematography is beautiful throughout (you can literally see the money that’s been spent on it) and a special mention goes to the stuntmen who visibly earn their pay, but have no doubt been forced to leave this movie off their CV.

Similarly, some of the best sequences owe their timeless charm to the best efforts of ‘not the best special effects studio in Hollywood’. Clearly challenged by the inability to present a halfway convincing illusion, they still try so very, very hard.

Make no mistake about it; this is a movie that everybody should take the time to see. Should you happen across a copy in the dusty back rows of your local video store, you can rest assured that it is well worth the cost and any bewildered looks you may get from the staff.

Watch it alone if you must, but for peak enjoyment, I suggest viewing this excellent movie with a circle of close friends. Get a few cans of beer in, rustle up some popcorn, and get ready to throw both at the screen.

Timemaster awaits.



[UPDATE – If you want to purchase this excellent film via Amazon, it will cost you over 90 US dollars!! If you don’t believe me, go and see for yourself. The reviews alone are worth the click-trip.]

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Date
20020619
South West Trains
Time
11:04
Well, it’s nice to know that I’m having some effect.

The offending sign in the staff room at Guildford train station has been hastily removed.

This means one of three things:

A – The staff saw me take the picture and are smarter than they look.

B – The staff saw this web page.

C – The copy I sent to Andrew Haines (MD of South West Trains) had the desired effect.

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Date
20020619

Time
11:13
Enjoy speedstacks.com, online home of the grand old sport of Cup Stacking.

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Date
20020619
PWC Consulting
Time
12:42
Of course, by now you’re aware that PWC Consulting have, as part of their “Criminals? Us?” rebranding exercise, spent very silly money on the domain name and trademark onemonday.com and launched a top-heavy flash show to celebrate at introducingmonday.com

What a shame that they neglected to register introducingmonday.co.uk, which is now under the control of B3tans.

5 million for ‘onemonday.com’ and they can’t spare the 5 quid for one lousy .co.uk domain name?

Idiots.

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Date
20020619
Well, Burger Me
Time
13:17
Fast food is sending Japanese schoolgirls into a sexual frenzy. Apparently your standard burger-induced bonk is available immediately, but if you want a schoolgirl sandwich there’s a 3 minute wait.

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Date
20020619

Time
14:55
If NASA gives them more coffee, they’ll never come down.

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Date
20020619
Sore Losers
Time
15:38
Italian soccer club Perugia has dropped South Korea’s Ahn Jung-hwan from their club after he scored the goal which knocked Italy out of the World Cup. Nice.

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Date
20020619
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
17:12
I know it’s old news, but there’s still a few danger seekers who end up here by searching for ‘pretzels’ and ‘president’ in Google. We’re No. 2 for this, just under the lovely Betty Bowers.

I know, pretty dull huh?

OK, how’s this for today’s example – search for ‘photoshopping’ and we’re No. 4

Better?

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Date
20020620

Time
13:15
Celebrity Boxing, your days are numbered. Cat Boxing is here!

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Date
20020620

Time
13:16
I just finished reading John Cassidy’s excellent book dot.con (available at Amazon in the US, the UK, and wherever good books are sold).

It’s a great read, and includes the following quote that I feel honour-bound to repeat here:

“The United States is a nation of many strengths, but facing up to reality isn’t one of them.”

Heh. Love it.

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Date
20020620

Time
13:23
The paedophile ratted out by “Dear Abby” just got eight years of probation for possession of child pornography.

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Date
20020620
PWC Consulting
Time
13:30
Oh boy, they really don’t know what they’re doing, do they? Bad enough that they let introducingmonday.co.uk slip through their fingers, but the rebranding to ‘Monday’ is sure to be complicated by the fact that they don’t own monday.co.uk either.

Find out more. You’ll be greatly amused, I assure you.

[UPDATE – Hooray! Our shenanigans rated a mention at The Register.]

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Date
20020620

Time
14:15
Proof positive that Corey Feldman met Spinal Tap.

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Date
20020620

Time
17:08
They’re not porn films, they’re morality tales.

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Date
20020620

Time
17:12
Following in the footsteps of the Globe of Blogs is this great London Bloggers Tube Map. I’m at Chiswick Park, and therefore a Zone 3 Blogger.

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Date
20020620

Time
17:17
It is my duty to inform you that, should you wish to link to the NPR website, then you will first need to fill out this form. Thank you.

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Date
20020621
Don’t Ask…
Time
08:43
I’m a lucky fella

And I’ve just got to tell her

That the cream works topically

Because fungus grows between my elephant’s toes

And nobody knows like me

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Date
20020621

Time
08:51
I reviewed the fantastically awful movie Timemasters a few days ago, and noted that the director had done some other stunning work, including a movie called ‘McBain’. J Tirrell wrote in with the following:

Indeed, I have seen the movie McBain, and it was completely because of the Simpsons. It is quite a terrible movie, with some sort of loose plot about Christopher Walken rescuing his Viet Nam POW buddies (or something). Film highlights include an airplane-flying Walken shooting down a jet with a pistol. As Rainier Wolfcastle says, “Up and at them!”

I notice a few second-hand copies floating around here and there, so I do believe I’m going to hunt one down and see it for myself. Watch this space for a review entitled “Worst. Walken. Movie. Ever.”

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Date
20020621
PWC Consulting
Time
08:53
Lots and lots and lots of visitors from all over the place are dropping by to see the Monday, Monday feature. Referral stats show not only a big spike via El Reg, but also a growing number of visitors from a variety of discussion groups (including one over at Motley Fool).

Yesterday, I tried a few good email combinations that would work with this domain name (I looked up things like ‘admin’, ‘info’, etc. before settling on the harmless yet amusing ‘chairman@monday’). Today, just about all of these combinations are gone.



Use them wisely, children – we don’t want this to end in tears…

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Date
20020621

Time
09:05
It has come to my attention that there’s some kind of feetball match on at the moment, and that I should be watching. It has also been suggested that I pretend to care, for the sake of my own health.

Oh, go on then…

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Date
20020621

Time
09:08
Supeheroes and science? Screw the feetball, I’m in geek heaven!

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Date
20020621

Time
09:11
Argh! Being dragged away from desk. Don’t want to go to smelly pub. Want to stay here and bl

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Date
20020621

Time
12:54
Well, that was fun. Well worth the trip. I’m sorry that turned out to be such a downer for the all the England supporters out there. In fact, I’ve prepared the following pick-me-ups to help brighten your day:

Have a laugh at this Brazilian Beatles cover band. They look just like the real thing.

Laugh even louder at this Brazilian heavy metal band and the sheer ingenuity of their web designer.

Gaze in wonder at the Brazilian restaurant in Sydney, Australia that lets you eat barbecued chicken, lamb and beef – all in one sitting. (Confession: I actually made a television commercial for these chaps back in 1997. It was full of juicy chunks of meat and jiggling dancing girls. Quality stuff.)

Take part in this Brazilian Boycott, protesting the cruel treatment and high-tech mind control suffered by John Gregory Lambros.

And finally, consider the following:

Average life expectancy in Brazil: 63.24 years

Average life expectancy in the UK: 77.82 years

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Date
20020621

Time
17:10
Wired have picked up the NPR link popularity story. Blogs do it again.

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Date
20020621

Time
17:11
Q&A with the Googlemeister.

(link lifted from http://weblog.greenpeace.org/)

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Date
20020621

Time
18:56
Please remember to rewind your DVDs.

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Date
20020623
Don’t Ask…
Time
12:20
I’ve been a very good boy, and have yet to employ any major weapons from my SEO arsenal. ‘My elephant’s toes‘ comes in fine at No. 1, but rules is rules and for ‘elephant’s toes‘ alone I’m all the way down at No. 11. I’m cool with that – but next week I get nasty.

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Date
20020624

Time
10:34
I always wondered where they picked up those undersea bases and ‘one-size fits all’ silver jumpsuits.

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Date
20020624

Time
10:41
Tourists flock to mystery hole in road. Obviously not a lot happens in Woodinville.

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Date
20020624

Time
10:44
Beer orders to the official suppliers to the Palace of Westminster have apparently doubled since October. One pundit puts it down to disillusioned MPS who don’t want to sit around in the Commons chamber, but need to stay in the building to vote. According to this article, ‘the multitude of drinking dens are crammed full’.

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Date
20020624

Time
12:31
Here’s a list of the Top 10 evil people of all time followed by a list of the Top 10 good people of all time, sorted in order of evilness and goodness. Also comes with many, many reader’s comments.

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Date
20020624

Time
13:04
Where’s Waldo?

This gag is getting old by now, but the executions are getting more effective with time.

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Date
20020624
South West Trains
Time
13:55
Reply received. Discussion initiated. Report to come.

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Date
20020624
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
13:58
Actually, I can kind of relate to Which Enemy of the Christian Faith Are You?, but it rates me as an atheist. I’m not. I’m an Interactivist, and proud of it! (Never mind little rubber things, my religion lets you wear anything you damn well please on the end of your John Thomas.)

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Date
20020624

Time
14:05
Osama bin Laden is alive and well and waiting to strike. If you want, you can create your own terror warning here or just try not to think about it.

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Date
20020624

Time
17:16
An open letter to spammers. Only one reader comment so far, but I have a feeling that this is about to change…

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Date
20020625
Googlebombing
Time
10:21
My performance in the Google challenge is improving. I’ve gone from No.11 to No.3 for the search query elephant’s toes, and I’d like to think that I’ve done it in style by using the words in a sensible and enlightening context. Here’s that song again, just for your reference:

I’m a lucky fella

And I’ve just got to tell her

That the cream works topically

Because fungus grows between my elephant’s toes

And nobody knows like me…

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Date
20020625
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
10:33
It’s been a sleeper success for some time now, but we’ve just got a fresh crowd over to the

Make Baby Jesus Laugh or Cry page thanks to a plug at grouse.net.au

BTW, just in case the meaning escapes you, here’s the listing for ‘grouse’ from the Macquarie Concise Dictionary:

grouse

adjective Australian, NZ Colloquial

1. very good.

–phrase

2. extra grouse, excellent. [origin unknown]

This small page has been floating around for a while, and I must admit that I have been neglecting it. The bloody counter still resets almost randomly. Still, it did what it was supposed to do, the end result I wanted was a search result like this. It’s still only No.7 for the more generic search query baby jesus, but we are getting there.

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Date
20020625

Time
10:49
A group of Australian school students were busted when they tried to use some fake photo licences that they knocked together using school equipment. What gave them away? They wore school uniforms for the photos.

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Date
20020625
Crush, Kill, Destroy…
Time
12:30
Scientists in Yorkshire have created a robot that actually thinks.

Not surprisingly, its first big idea was an escape plan.

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Date
20020625

Time
15:14
Japanese schoolgirls (who, if you remember, are sent into a sexual frenzy by fast food) have taken up wrist-slashing to relieve stress. Well, it does decrease blood pressure, I suppose…

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Date
20020625
Christianity Watch
Time
15:20
No doubt it takes a special kind of person to go out and mime for Christ. Do they do that classic impersonation of Jesus on a rubber cross? Somehow I doubt it. I’m picturing moves like ‘trapped in a box by Satan’ and ‘walking against temptation’. Hmm, now I think about it this would make for a great show. In fact, I’d pay to go and see their upcoming performance at Winfield Prison.

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Date
20020625

Time
17:13
Lonely, desperate, law-abiding? Date an inmate. The list of women inmates is $3, but the list of men is free, so I might instead write to a male prisoner and make him my bitch.

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Date
20020626
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
10:53
As predicted, the Google Challenge has been shut down after advice from Google that it ‘may be a good idea’ to do so. A pity, because I was doing so well with the old elephant’s toes.

Some good came of the exercise. A fellow contestant emailed me with questions regarding link popularity and how I seemed to be performing better than other sites with a (seemingly) higher indexing than myself. The answer to this question is something I’ve decided to call ‘dark links‘. (Scientists haven’t seen dark matter, they only know it exists because of the way things around it behave, thus the name.)

There are a lot of people listed in the Google database who have, instead of linking to the core URL, instead linked to a specific page or folder. These links don’t show up in your standard link popularity tests (Google bar, link: etc.), but still have a pronounced effect on my ranking.

So there you go, now you know.

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Date
20020626
South West Trains
Time
11:10
You may notice by the time of my first post (below) that I was a little late getting into work this morning. Actually, I started out trying to get to work earlier. Unfortunately:

WE ARE SORRY SERVICES FROM PORTSMOUTH ARE SUBJECT TO SEVERE DELAY, DIVERSION OR CANCELLATION DUE TO TRAIN FAILURE AT HAVANT

Well, crappy old rolling stock will do that to you every once in a while – or every other day.

The result? The customer information screens (not the new ones that still aren’t working, but the old ones that are just hanging in there because they haven’t been maintained properly because everybody expected the new sysytem to be online by now) made for a very depressing read. Here’s the rundown:

7:52 Waterloo – 80 minutes late

8:07 Waterloo – 70 minutes late

8:22 Waterloo – ‘diverted’

8:32 Waterloo – ‘diverted’

8:50 Waterloo – 5 minutes late

The best I can hope for from this? A partial refund on my overpriced ticket. Maybe. Will I get that hour-and-a-half of lost work time back? No.

I honestly don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. Last time I was this reliant on SWT, the experience drove me Right. Into. The. Ground – and I’m sure I’m not alone.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020626

Time
13:20
Who cares if there’s some guy in a white coat up to his elbows in my mouth? I want a relaxing foot massage from one of them there dental nurses.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020626

Time
14:27
12-year-old girl summoned to court for overdue library book. Frightened girl sends Mum in her stead. Judge says ‘not good enough’ and sets a new court date, insisting the girl attend – presumably so he can personally tear her a new arsehole. What a hero.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020626
LOTR
Time
14:32
‘Two Towers’ trailers. Go get ‘em.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020626
Latest Viral Agents
Time
14:51
Car, cars, cars, cars, cars!

Smart Getatway is a nice looking piece of work, but that’s a big bloody download just to sign up for the competition.

This Holden game (see the link on the right entitled ‘Cruze-O-Meter’) is equally pretty but I know I’ve seen this exact execution plugging another car in the UK before. Not that this is a cardinal sin, but I only remember the previous incarnation because I sent a comment to the agency responsible, pointing out that it had sweet bugger all to do with cars. I suppose that’s what makes it so easy to recycle…

*sigh*

Oh, and guys, if you want stuff like this to spread more effectively, it works better if people are able to link directly…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020626

Time
15:30
Young men aren’t buying chickens because they get the eggs for free.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020627
South West Trains
Time
08:03
More info on what happened yesterday (see below). Apparently, the 6:19 out of Portsmouth Harbour got stuck at Havant because somebody pulled the emergency cord and, because of a technical fault with that system, they were unable to start the trains again. I’ve seen the exact same thing happen on old rolling stock before. IN fact, I’ve been on the train in the dark for 45 minutes while they sorted it out.

Anyway, the train was stuck at Havant. There used to be a passing point at Havant, as well as two others at Petersfield and Liss. They aren’t there anymore. I don’t know why they took them out, but I can only assume it was somebody’s brilliant plan to cut costs.

So, much joy further up the line at Guildford. None of the usual Waterloo services could get there, so for the most part passengers were stuck from about 7 to bloody near 9 with no way to get to London.

No, wait, I tell a lie. Two services via Cobham (known affectionately as ‘the scenic route’) did go in this time. Packed to the hilt, of course.

There were no extra services put on this in this time to help passengers get to London. A wide selection of rolling stock sat within view of the station, and many passengers asked why these couldn’t be put into action. The answer? “Out of order, sorry.”

There weren’t even any special shuttles (or shuttle buses) to get passengers to Woking so other services could get them to London.

In short, it was a shambles. This is a network just scraping by, so when the shit hits the fan, SWT just can’t cope.

This morning, train services via Clapham Junction have been disrupted due to ‘emergency engineering works’. SWT announce that ‘short notice alterations and delays of up to 30 minutes may still occur on many trains’.

Another morning of chaos, in other words. I’ve had it. I’ve really bloody had it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020627

Time
13:20
OK, folks – it’s activity time again. A big challenge, this one – but there’s a few quid in it if you want to join in:

Can Weblogs Sell My Mate Steve’s House?

Heh – it’s probably the last time he’ll make a bet with me, but who cares?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020627

Time
20:08
From the folks what brung you www.portalofevil.com comes diminishedresponsibility.com, which includes very efficient – and I think quite fitting – use of newsisfree.com

It may even make it into the navigation bar shortly…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
10:45
Last Friday night, vandals smashed every window at the All Saints Church in Woodham Lane, Woking.

That’s not funny.

Each stained glass window will cost up to £15,000 to replace, making the estimated repair costs £270,000.

That’s not funny.

Cllr Margaret Gammon (Con, Horsell East and Woodham) said: “I am absolutely shattered.”

Now that’s funny.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
11:06
A few weeks ago, the three co-founders of the now-fucked dotcom Den, Marc Collins-Rector, Chad Shackley and Brock Pierce, were arrested in Spain on charges relating to child pornography. The linked article also states that “the men have been sued in the past for allegedly raping, drugging and threatening to kill teenage boys while they still ran the now-defunct DEN.net” (though those in charge of the wreckage are trying to distance themselves from these sordid shenanigans). The full implications of this blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda. Look, you don’t really want to read all of this distasteful dross, now do you? I tell you what, do yourself a favour, wait until everybody goes to lunch, and instead watch the whole saga in this glorious Flash animation. You’ll bust a gut.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
12:29
While we’re on the subject of pornography and fleeing the country, read about the Bill Gates of porn, Seth Warshavsky and his flight from the US with a computer under each arm and a song in his heart. You’ll never guess where he ended up…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
14:57
It’s all very Otto Sump (look it up), but if you do want to look truly unique, you could do far worse than choose from this excellent selection of fake teeth.

They even have the early Celine Dion model, which impresses me greatly.

(Thanks go to TheGlasgowKiss for the link.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
15:04
Explore the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.

Should only take you most of the day. Enjoy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
15:11
Look for me (or you) in this picture of weblogs.

It’s an applet, so it requires gentle handling and patience.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
18:03
This is what my youngest son made at pre-school today.

(Not the carrot, just the mutilation.)

1. What are they teaching these kids?

2. Do we need to lock the vegetable crisper from now on?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
18:51
Attention all bloggers!

If you get indexed daily, you might want to join our latest experiment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
18:52
The latest edition of Celebrity Bestiality is hot off the presses. This month: Victoria Beckham.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020628

Time
07:44
Another gem, as found by ultimateinsult.net:

Throw kids at R. Kelly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020629

Time
12:07
First Worldcom, now everybody is nervous about Xerox. Hmm. Perhaps I should take more stock in the contents of yesterday’s FuckedCompany Sporadic. Pud warns:

I know none of you Sporadic subscribers give a fuck about business n stuff… but still, I have to say… we’re in red-alert mode. FC usually receives a few internal memos everyday, but it’s usually stupid shit like cafeteria menu changes, office supply bandits, and “stop stealing my lunch out of the fridge” type of stuff.

But the last flurry has been hardcore… in the past few days alone, hefty memos from Worldcom, Lucent, Cnet, Digex, Accenture, Excite, 3com, Verio, Hewlett Packard, Dell, and more… heed this warning people.

Run for the hills.




Remember folks, you heard it here, erm, second.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020629

Time
12:11
We do have some cheery news this morning. The latest Can Weblogs..? project just enjoyed its first big win. The target site is currently top (or top 5) result for almost every target search query. And it only took two days to achieve. And it only took the support of two weblogs.

If you’re into SEO and not researching weblogs right now, you need your head examined by a professional.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020629

Time
12:20
Hang on… it’s Saturday! I’m not supposed to be working…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020630
Babies, Etc.
Time
09:05
Ladies and gentlemen, baby Josie’s first word has arrived, and that word is….

“Dad”

Or more, to the point, “Dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad-dad”.



I know mothers can be very sensitive about things like this, so I would just like to close by saying:

VICTORY! VICTORY IS MINE!!!!

AHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAA!!!!

(/me closes by doing a small dance and shuffle, then pops out for more nappy bags)








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Disgraceful Service Of South West Trains

This is going to be a very strange blog today, and I apologise for that, but after putting up with years of bullshit from South West Trains, and after what happened last night, I really feel that I must speak out.

It began, as most of my travel adventures have in the past, at Waterloo Station. I arrived in plenty of time to catch the 9:20 but, sadly, it had been announced on the boards as being ‘expected at 9:45′.

A multitude of passengers waited, staring hopefully at the electronic board.

About 20 minutes later, as a seasoned passenger of SWT, I asked why a number of platforms had been confirmed ahead of ours, when our train was listed as due (at 9:45, but the time had been and gone without advice).

“Well, as late as it is, it is confirmed for Platform 9″ came the quiet response from the man manning the ‘information’ desk, “But of course, I can’t confirm that…”

This triggered something inside me. Nothing big, but enough to make me do what an Australian will do ahead of a typical Englishman. No, I didn’t whinge selfishly; I simply spoke up in a loud voice to the majority who were waiting for the same train (and staring hopefully, if you remember, at the electronic board).

“This” I intoned, with as much senatorial control as I could muster, “is typical of how bad this situation is!

“The train is now over half an hour late – and nobody is complaining! And do you know what? Everybody here is hoping that you won’t complain!”

I went on to give a very loud, and I would think quite lucid, account of why privatisation of public transport doesn’t work. A local drunk helpfully chipped in by adding “England!!! England!!”, which pleased the SWT Trains bods no end. It gave them the perfect excuse to pack up and leave.

Yes, they actually lifted the entire information desk and shuffled away with it. I shit you not.

But this (my faithful friends who are actually reading the entirety of this text) is just the beginning. The rot goes much deeper than this, as you’re soon about to find out…

The platform was announced, finally, as Platform 9. I had to shake the drunk off my shoe to get there, but get there I did.

I arrived just in time to see our train – formed of the front four coaches only – arriving. The multitude or former electronic board watchers herded onto this train.

The only SWT staff member who was semi-helpful on this journey pointed out that the subsequent express (also running late) was arriving on the opposite side of the platform.

Not surprisingly, I opted for this eight-carriage train instead of the other (which by now was already standing-room only)..

The journey was uneventful.

I did, however, arrive at my destination a mere minute after my connecting bus – the final service for the night – had left.

I headed straight for the Station Manager’s office and pointed out that it was due to South West Trains’ failure to provide the scheduled service as promised that I was now facing a 3 mile walk home in the rain.

Here’s where the fun begins…

All I wanted was a cab. A simple service, and provided for under the meagre charter that allows for delays over an hour or more. A cost of six quid, to be precise.

He informed me that he was not responsible for buses.

I informed him that he was responsible for trains, and from about then on, he ignored me.

The discussion collapsed irretrievably when he shut the office door in my face.

So, here I was with an unexpected cab fare home that I couldn’t pay for (due to an un-cleared cheque that is a matter for later blog-whinges regarding banks and their archaic ‘7 day clearance’ system in this modern age of instant email and what-not) and a corporation that, rightfully, owed me at least a single fare refund. This single fare refund amounted to pretty much the cost of my cab fare (if you remember, about 6 quid) so, as it was raining quite heavily, I tried to reason with him as a human being.

Big mistake.

Mr Tiddles, as the Station Manager shall be known from this point forward, took great offence at the suggestion that he should be called to authorise such an extravagant expenditure.

His solution was to call ‘the police’.

Now, when an SWT stationmaster calls the police on you, there’s something you should be aware of. When he refers to ‘ the police’, he is, in fact, referring to the Transport Police.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting…

This ‘policeman’ turned up, as if by magic, at about the time when I felt compelled to stage an impromptu sit-in by blocking the doors of (yet another) late train.

I even drew up a sign, being the stubborn little fucker I can be forced to be occasionally, reading:

THIS IS AN OFFICIAL PROTEST

SOUTH WEST TRAINS DID NOT PROVIDE ME WITH THE SERVICE THAT WAS PROMISED AND WILL NOT HEAR MY COMPLAINT

This ‘policeman’ turned up as yet another drunk turned up to take my side. Perhaps God sends these people but, God – if you’re listening – I can do without it.

Ho hum.

Anyways, I stood well clear as the ‘policeman’ cleared this chap from our lives, as in his current state he was no more than an unwelcome distraction.

So, here I am, waiting patiently for the ‘policeman’ to address me.

I explained the situation in some detail, and here – critically – time gets fuzzy.

What it all boiled down to, after roughly thirty minutes of discussion, was that he insisted that he was “merely a keeper of the Queen’s peace”.

Please remember this, as there will be a test later…

At the close of our long, long discussion (during which, I was constantly worried that he had better things to do) I pointed out that the Station Manager held the solution to the problem – not me – and not me – had best take it up with him.

I was certainly not going to endure an hour’s walk home in the pouring rain because SWT had fucked up, and if the Queen’s peace was at stake, then the only resolution lay in the hands of the Station Manager because I was in the right and, subsequently, an immovable object.

It was about this time he pointed out that, as a member of the Transport Police, he was – in effect – employed by South West Trains as part of their security force.

This is the bit where I failed to absorb important information. I take full responsibility for that. I was thrown off by the fact that he had a radio, black uniform and bobby hat like What Those On The Bill wear.

Stupid.

Stupid.

Stupid.

He went off to ‘meet’ with the manager in what looked to be a small office on the far end of the station. I waited 5 minutes, 10, then close to 20…

Then a woman in her late 30’s turned up. She was quite distressed, because a late train had resulted in her missing the last bus (sound familiar?).

I was a prick.

I was so intent on using her to support my cause, that I didn’t see the full scope of her problem.

I asked her to stay where she was while I tracked down the officer from the Transport Police and/or the Station Manager.

I went to the small office they appeared to have disappeared into, knocked politely, and announced: “I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I have someone here with exactly the same problem as I have. You may as well deal with both of us.”

No answer.

The woman was getting more and more agitated, so I headed back towards her.

She informed me that she now she had a lift, but she would hang around for ‘a few minutes’ while I tried to sort this out.

I went back and knocked at the door again, but as I looked back, I noticed something particularly strange about the manner of the man who was obviously her promised lift. It’s hard to describe, but he seemed a little too insistent, if you know what I mean. When he saw me looking, he backed off again.

Suddenly, my priorities had (finally) changed. I walked across to the woman, and ensured her she would be able to get a cab. Even though I couldn’t afford it, the last thing I wanted to do was let her go off with this man. She seemed so desperate to get home, but I was looking less and less like a sure bet as the station staff ignored me and/or disappeared into the woodwork as I asked about the whereabouts of the Station Manager.

In the end, she opted to go with the stranger. I did not feel comfortable about this at all. If he’d stepped forward at any time I might have been OK about it, but he seemed so intent on orbiting this distressed woman until she was alone that he made me very suspicious.

I looked toward the small office once more, but she had gone. I chased after her. The stranger was ushering her toward the road near the station.

Say what you like about my paranoia, but by now all sorts of alarm bells were ringing in my head. It didn’t seem right at all.

I ran back into the station (about 12 steps, not a big run) and pointed out what was happening and the possible – if unlikely – ramifications. The staff, bolstered as they were by my status as a troublemaker, ignored me.

I was dumbfounded.

I asked the eight men present (that’s eight of the fuckers) if they were going to let this woman walk away with a stranger.

“Not our problem” said the fat bastard who claimed to be ‘just a cleaner’ (who from now on shall be known as the ‘Fat Bastard Cleaner’).

Of course, at this time, I still had a vague notion that there was a real policeman somewhere nearby – so I this time I *hammered* at the door the member of the Transport Police and Station Manager had seemingly disappeared into.

No answer.

I rushed back out to the front door just in time to see the woman being rushed/ushered out of sight.

Yes, I will admit at this stage that consensual sex between two strangers happens from time to time, but this woman hadn’t been out clubbing all night – she’d just arrived on a train from work. And the surreptitious way in which this woman was spirited from the station made me feel very, very uncomfortable.

So uncomfortable, in fact, that I felt compelled to call 999.

Too far away to give chase (after being under the illusion for so long that a police officer was in attendance) I did so.

It was quite reassuring, after all of the negative and/or ‘who gives a damn’ attitude I had experienced on the platform to hear someone on the other end of the line who actually responded with a reasonable amount of care.

Real policemen were on the way, and by the time I had made it back to the platform it had finally sunk in that Mr Tiddles the Station Manager and the officer of the Transport Police had (instead of making their way into an office) actually disappeared from the station via a nearby set of doors.

I informed the remaining staff of my concerns and told them that police were on the way. Much hilarity ensued. I pressured them again and again as a concerned commuter to reveal the whereabouts of the Station Manager. Hell, I even tried to appeal to them as fellow human beings.

Again, a big mistake.

Fat Bastard Cleaner threatened me with physical violence at least twice. Another gangly git from the security team (hereby known as ‘The Gangly Git From Security’) not only refused to give his name, but even the name of the company he worked for.

“Right,” I said, “Let’s ignore the last hour or so. As a concerned commuter, I want to contact the Station Manager, and I want to do so now.”

The Gangly Git From Security responded with; “Nobody orders me around, mate!”

No help from staff, no management in sight, and no police. Yet.

In desperation, I picked up the same phone Mr Tiddles had used to call the Transport Police. I figured anything was better than nothing. I informed them of the situation, they informed me there was nothing that they could do. Hooray!

So I asked about the previous call-out to get the real name of the ‘policeman’ who had attended the original call (he had reluctantly given his name as ‘White’ or ‘Whyce’ before swiftly changing the subject).

They informed me that no such call-out was made. I asked them to widen their time-frame and/or check if there were officers on duty at the time. After a muffled pause, they claimed to have no record.

The real police arrived at this time, and were Perfectly Reasonable. They listened to what I had to say, and did their best to take action.

They interviewed me, and the staff that were present. Acknowledging the possible gravity of this situation, they requested access to CCTV footage.

Miraculously, Mr Tiddles turned up about 5 minutes after this formal request. He gave his version of the story – at least, the bits he was there for – and was quick to point out that I had wrongly claimed a refund because my train was only 13 minutes late. (If you remember, I had caught the alternative train – so technically he was correct. Score one for Mr Tiddles.)

Mr Tiddles wisely gestured Fat Bastard Cleaner away, but The Gangly Git From Security had already mouthed off once, and was determined to do so again. I’ll leave his description of me to your imagination. You know enough swear words already.

So why all this fuss? What’s my problem?

My problem is that, at the end of the day, these goddamn jobsworths were so intent on protecting themselves and defeating one problematic commuter that they ignored what may have been a much larger problem.

I’m praying it wasn’t.

I also have a slight problem with the fact that South West Trains have their own goddamn Gestapo who obviously act in the company’s interest whilst strutting about in a policeman’s uniform that amounts to little more than a stage costume.

But then, that’s just me…

UPDATE – She’s OK folks! I’d given the woman in question one of my business cards when we first met, and she got in touch. She was most appreciative of the effort I made and the concern I showed, and described as ‘the only gentleman on the platform’.

Guess what? The guy who offered to get her home didn’t have a car. He did, however, offer to walk her through Guildford. It was when he then wanted to go via a dark underpass rather than the High Street that she became fully creeped out and simply walked away from him.

The distance to her home was over 2 miles. It’s at this stage that I should probably mention how old she is. 50.

Charming, isn’t it? Because of the inaction of South West Trains staff, this 50 year old woman was walking through Guildford, alone, about an hour after chucking out time. Happily, she had a key for her mother’s house, which happened to be on the far side of Guildford. She made it there safely, let herself in quietly, and stayed the night.

I gave her the names of the (real) police officers that I spoke to, so by now she would have been in touch to let them know that she is OK and given her account of the incident.

Now all that remains is to make South West Trains answerable for the disgraceful behaviour of their staff. That starts, but doesn’t end, with this web page.

Thanks for your time.

UPDATE II – RB wrote in with a few points:

“I have just had read your SWT article and would like to clarify a couple of points for you (I do not work for SWT, and I do not like SWT services!)… British Transport Police are a special police force who cover the whole of the British Isles and who have different divisions around the country… BTP are NOT security guards for SWT nor any other Train Operating Companies, they are there to keep the peace and to arrest anybody who has committed a criminal offence against railway property.”

Here I should point out that, while the BTP do not work directly for SWT, they are funded fully by the industry, primarily the train operating companies, who contribute 50% (with Railtrack contributing 30% and London Underground 20%). I’m sure you can guess where their priorities lie.

Mr Alex Robertson, the Chairman of the British Transport Police Federation, said the following at their annual conference on 17 April, 2002 (a full transcript is here):

“Turning now to the Force itself, the BTP remains saddled with being funded by the Train Operating Companies. In turn they are driven by commercial priorities in the very difficult market of railway transportation.”

Having a privatised railway system is bad enough, but a privatised police force? It boggles the mind!

FEEDBACK – Many folks have written in with positive feedback. Thanks, everybody. Best quotes are below.

“Today’s entry was actually the best thing I’ve read on your site so far. Don’t get me wrong, I do like your site a lot, but I was very impressed with the way you handled the situation, and the way you expressed yourself. Anger and frustration can be a powerful impetus, both to positive action and to making an interesting read. You did completely the right thing, and more people should have the same sense of civic responsibility.” – Linus

“South West Trains clearly were bang out of order.” – Martin

“Keep the moral high ground, stay calm and aloof…. but above all… get your formal complaint in.” – Paul

“Good for you, I hope you get at least an apology.” – James

“It’s about time this type of thing got some publicity and I hope you have some serious interest from the web community.” – Simon

“What a load of wankers.” – Elizabeth

UPDATE – Oh, you’ll love this… I’ve just been informed by the woman in question that she has finally been contacted by South West Trains… who sent her a bunch of flowers.

SEE ALSO – They never learn. Read about the latest adventure at South West Trains Does It Again.

FINAL UPDATE

So what did I do after being pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed? I did this:

South West Trains – How To Complain

You’re welcome to join. It’s ever so much fun.








Posted in South West Trains | 2 Comments

Weblog Marketing: Bloggers Vs. Blaggers

The industry buzz has been getting louder and louder over the last few months, and weblogs are just about to go mainstream in a big way. This means that more and more companies will be approaching their chosen digital or marketing agency, asking about weblogs and how they might be exploited commercially.

Of course, having seen an article or two – and maybe even a real weblog – they’ll know what it’s all about. The marketing team will be equally prepared for action, because Geoff down in design has been running his own blog for weeks now (and is more than happy to sit in on a brainstorming session where he’s allowed to speak for a change).

Ta-dah! A weblog strategy is born!

Any actor will tell you that when a director asks you “Can you do ride a horse?” your answer is “Yes!” This leaves you with the single challenge of learning to ride (instead of, say, another month’s worth of auditions whilst living off popcorn cast-offs in the stairwell of the local cinema).

I don’t think I’m being overly cynical by suggesting that a design agency would behave in much the same way for much the same reason. If you doubt me, just take a look at the large number of viral agents and mechanisms that were produced over the last 18 months, almost purely because the client wanted one. Oh, wait; you wouldn’t have seen most of these. Because they were crap. And they weren’t viral. They did, however, closely resemble existing viral agents and mechanisms – and the important thing, of course, was to quickly wrestle the client to the ground in a Half Nelson while they had their guard down and their chequebook out.

Hordes of small businesses and individual entrepreneurs are equally likely to dig in and have a go themselves after reading yet another exciting article on the subject of weblog marketing.

I’m not suggesting for a second that the commercial world has no place in the weblog community, far from it. My only fear is that, should it become the buzzword of the season, that a lot of people who don’t know the first thing about it are going to start diving in the deep end (or maybe even having a sly pee in the shallows).

I’m sure the weblog community will be able to ride out the storm, but who wants to spend seemingly endless months being splashed by a bunch of hoons whilst swimming in a pool that’s 39% urine?

A lot of people have been convinced by past failures that viral marketing doesn’t work. This simply isn’t the case. It’s just that people who had no fucking idea what they were doing either commissioned or produced the majority of executions. This leads me to believe that a similar number of misguided ventures are going to result from the weblog buzz, and the hardcore bloggers will have the singular honour of being involved in a phenomenon that launches a million cheques, while still enjoying the relative poverty that comes with being a dedicated surfer with a short attention span.

(I should point out here that, while I do enjoy relative poverty and a short attention span, I don’t consider myself a hardcore blogger. Yet. I’ve merely been watching weblogs closely for about a year and, while I do run a moderately successful blog, there are many folks who have been doing it longer, bigger, harder and faster. Erm, and deeper. I’ll get back to the point now, before my trousers explode.)

In other words, I don’t think we just talked ourselves out of a community, but I do think that now is the time for the bloggers to speak up and take control of a few ‘real world’ initiatives before the blaggers take over the game and fuck it up for everyone.








Posted in Weblog Marketing | Comments Off

Big Brother: The Eviction Experience

Early on Friday 30th May, we instigated a campaign to unclog Alex, who had been feeling the effects of stress and a significant change in habit. As part of this, we suggested a number of scaled activities to ensure that Alex received treatment for his condition.

Let's Get Alex Moving!

While sending a full range of Senokot products to the producers was entertaining and quite fulfilling, we pretty much came to the conclusion that a live protest at an eviction was a step forward that really couldn’t wait a week. By now it was midday. Could we get tickets? Could we get there in time? Would our protest be heard? Most importantly, would our message reach the television audience?

The care package we sent to Endemol

Getting The Tickets

The first step was to get tickets. These are normally available through a company called Powerhouse (020 7240 2828), who supply free tickets to a hundreds of audience-based shows. The difficulty being, of course, that we were after tickets for that very night. Not easy.

I won’t tell you how we managed it in the end, because we don’t want the poor dears to be overwhelmed by last-minute demands for Big Brother tickets. Let’s just take it as a given that mere mortals such as your good self are required to book at least a week in advance – probably much earlier as the show nears its end and excitement reaches a fever pitch.

Getting There

The easiest method for most who live in and around London is by public transport, with the nearest station being Elstree & Borehamwood. Be warned, however, that it’s a fair walk from the station to the studios and they don’t let you out until around 11:00pm (so you really have to hightail it back to the station to get back to Kings Cross in time for the last trains).

If you drive like we did, don’t park in the Tesco car park (which is right next door). Do so and you will be clamped. There are bright pinks signs that will direct you instead to a council car park a few blocks away that’s free after 6:30pm. Here’s an online map showing the location and its proximity to the station.

Getting There Early

To ensure a full house, Powerhouse actually ‘oversell’ tickets to off-set the risk of no-shows. Unless you’re blessed with a ‘guaranteed entry’ ticket, you’ll probably have to arrive at least 2 hours ahead of the scheduled entry time (8:45pm). We arrived pretty much bang on 7:00pm and managed not only to get in, but also get a good position one row back from the front, close to the studio doors (this gets you more Davina-time – see below). Again, as the series progresses, you may have to get in even earlier.

Standing In Line

Standing around for two hours is kind of dull. If you’re going alone, take a book. If you want to make friends, take a portable television set. One chap armed with such a device found himself to be very popular, especially as Lynne’s eviction was announced. As you might guess, nearly all of the conversation centred on Big Brother, but we quickly found ourselves on the outskirts of most exchanges once our fascination with Alex’s bowels came to light.

Security and production crew will drop by in advance to make sure you’re not carrying anything offensive. This really is quite important information, especially if you’re arriving by public transport (if you can’t take it in and you have nowhere to put the contraband, you’ll have little choice but to throw it away or stay outside with it).

Placards and Signs
These will be inspected very closely – front and back – for offensive messages and brand names (both frowned upon). Signs with sharp edges or long handles will similarly be rejected for reasons of safety. Our placard had an extra-long handle, which we had to break in half to please security. The sharp edge that resulted seemed much more dangerous to us, so we spent the next 20 minutes blunting it against the tarmac.

Food and Drink
You won’t be able to take any food or drink in with you, but you should also avoid overdoing it while standing in the queue, as there are only a few portaloos inside (and trotting off to any one of these is sure to lose you your place). There is a McDonalds across the road if you feel you must fuel up with sugar and grease, but you should expect this outlet to be very busy from about 6pm onwards.

Smoking
Smoking, surprisingly, is permitted.

Other items not allowed inside the studio grounds include:
– Cameras
– Recording devices
– Alcohol
– Anything that could be remotely described as an offensive weapon

You will be searched, frisked and scanned with a metal detector on the way in. I made the mistake of taking my work bag, which was full of metal items and presented a big headache for the security team. Thankfully, I arrived just as there was a backlog at the main gate, so I wasn’t responsible for holding up the line – but having to juggle items from my back, front, rear and coat pockets as I opened various side pockets on my bag was not something that I’d want to repeat. The moment when they produced not one but two bottle openers was hard to top for its sheer embarrassment factor, but what I entirely forgot was the large box on Senokot tablets that I had in my jacket pocket from the photo shoot earlier that afternoon. I got through pretty quickly after that, but in the end, they felt they had to object to something, so the larger of the two bottle openers did end up in the bin.

Our advice is to check your bag and belongings before you go and shed anything you have any doubts about.

Being Herded

Once the ‘guaranteed entry’ ticket holders and those with colour-coded wrist bands (i.e. the beautiful people) have been escorted to the front, it’s time to let in the rabble. This is done in groups of about 100 people, who are herded past the Big Brother house and into place in the fenced reception area.

The first thing that strikes you when you see the Big Brother house is how small it is. The other is how big the security dogs are. Don’t even entertain the notion of yelling a message or throwing anything over the fence as you go past, unless you want to end up as a late supper.

Waiting and Watching

Once you’re let in, there’s yet more standing around to be done, but they do at least have ‘live’ footage from the house projected onto the plain white wall that faces the reception area.

From time to time the warm-up man will get you to yell and scream for a bit and hold your signs in the air. This lets the producers and cameramen line up what they consider to be the best shots.

Similarly, the lovely Davina will make an early appearance to fish for material from the front lines. This appearance will be brief and fleeting, and she won’t get anywhere near the core of the crowd (at the bottom of the stairs). We used this opportunity catch her eye with our extra-large banner and inform her of our Let’s Get Alex Moving campaign.

Famous for 0.15 seconds!

Blink And It’s Over

After over an hour of ‘very soon’ this and ‘a few minutes’ that, it’s time for the show. By now, the crowd is well-revved up you’ll find yourself with much less personal space as the harsh reality of the cameras sets in and people naturally surge to the front.

Davina did her preliminary walk-past and did, as it turned out, mention our banner and the campaign behind it – but we didn’t know about this until we got home and watched the recording. The crowd was that loud.

Lynne was evicted from the house and guided past the one-sided gauntlet. Davina and Lynne made their way past the crowd and into the studio within a matter of seconds. One idiot jumped over the fence and was quickly spirited away by security. I think they fed him to one of the dogs.

All that remained was to watch the post-eviction interview on the house projection but, truth be told, after 4 hours of waiting resulting in 40 seconds of activity, most of the audience outside was wondering when they would be allowed to go home.

That time didn’t come, of course, until half an hour later. Davina appeared just once more (again, getting nowhere near the core of the crowd) to get some vox-pops, and was quickly spirited back into the studio.

Announcements were made, gates were opened, and all that was left was the march past the Big Brother house and the ever-vicious guard dogs. We did, however, have one more task before our evening was over.

Damn it, we had a campaign to run, and pamphlets are central to this. We made our way to the head of the crowd as best we could and turned around to face the oncoming multitude. Cries of “Help us to help Alex” were largely ignored and for a moment it looked like we would go home with nearly all of our 200+ pamphlets. An ingenious change in promotional tactics followed, where we instead implored the crowd to “Help us to help Alex’s bowels”. We ran out of pamphlets in less than a minute. Go figure.

All in all, it was an educational experience, but not one we see ourselves repeating. Unless, of course, Alex looks to get the boot this Friday, in which case you should keep an eye out for us front row, centre.

Cheers all.

Let's Get Alex Moving!

Support our campaign to unclog Alex.

Check out this enormous collection of Big Brother links.

This site is in no way endorsed or recognised by Endemol, Bazal or Channel 4. You can access the official Big Brother site here.








Posted in Consume! | Comments Off

01-14 June, 2002

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Date
20020601

Time
09:48
The gifted visionary who was behind the worst Eurovision entry of the year (possibly of all time) has threatened to sue after accusing producers of sabotaging his performance. He claims that bad sound mixing, not bad singing, was to blame.

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Date
20020602

Time
11:52
Many thanks go to DVD Fever for their support of our Get Alex Moving campaign. You can check out their main site here or their Big Brother section here.

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Date
20020605

Time
09:15
It had to happen – worldcupblog.org is here. I’ve got a collection of World Cup ‘virals’ that have been festering away in my Inbox for a few weeks now. Perhaps I should bite the bullet and lay them all out on one page. Or not. After all, we already know who’s going to win.

By the way, do you mind if I say something offensive?

“SOCCER! It’s called SOCCER!”

Thanks.

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Date
20020605

Time
09:23
Loose Lips Sink Ships: Then and Now.

The highly secretive National Security Agency has gone public with an advertising campaign urging members of the military to protect information that might be of use to terrorists.

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Date
20020605

Time
09:36
Further indications that Google is turning to the dark side. This time: censorship.

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Date
20020605

Time
09:43
Evel Knievel is back and ready, we assume, to jump into his own grave.

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Date
20020605

Time
09:52
Spare a thought today for James Russell who, while rummaging in his pockets for money to pay an overdue parking ticket, dropped a small bag of marijuana. A subsequent search by a passing police officer turned up 46 packets of crack cocaine.

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Date
20020605
Cat Lovers Inc.
Time
09:58
A singing kitty with a hole within his soul. Not where I’d put it…

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Date
20020605
Latest Viral Agents
Time
10:00
Dancing Paul, which was re-invented as The Stereo MP’s for MTV (and was, to be fair, the biggest viral agent of last year’s general election) has now been hastily recycled for the Jubilee. When you’re onto a good thing…

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Date
20020605
Big Brother 3
Time
12:48
We were there on Friday to see Lynne evicted. Find out what it’s like to be in the Big Brother audience here.

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Date
20020605

Time
19:25
Newsflash: Posh Spice is rubbish.

Well, duh.

BTW, it was reported by Popbitch that Posh wouldn’t be dropped from her label until after the World Cup, but it seems that this report itself has had an effect on the timing of the announcement. There’s a word for this that escapes me. There’s also a few thousand words that escape Victoria, but I’m sure she’ll make do with some choice four-letter selections.

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Date
20020606

Time
09:04
Wyclef Jean of the Fugees was among those arrested in New York City on Tuesday at a rally protesting proposed cuts in the city’s educational system. Jean, 32, said he wanted to ‘speak on behalf of the kids’ who, presumably, have a core message of ‘one time, one time’.

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Date
20020606

Time
09:14
There’s an old joke about a college graduate who starts work at McDonalds as a trainee manager and wax cup supervisor. On his first day, the manager gives him a mop and instructs him to clean the floor.

“Excuse me,” he protests, “I’m a college graduate!”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” says the manager, “Let me show you how to use the mop.”

If you’re not too overcome with laughter, perhaps you’d like to pause and compare the above article with this version. The only difference between them is that one can be found with an internal search engine and the other can’t. Find out why.

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Date
20020606

Time
10:22
Swimmers are being warned to stay away from a “sexually aggressive” dolphin that has made its home at a popular tourist resort on the English south coast. Of course, if you do want to get this close to nature, you might want to read this classic FAQ first.

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Date
20020606

Time
10:25
A Milwaukee man poured gasoline on his clothes, set them on fire and jumped into Lake Michigan to douse the flames in a Jackass-style stunt. Too bad his mate’s video camera ran out of battery power at the critical moment.

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Date
20020606
There Is No God
Time
10:30
An Australian man, one Mr Joey McNicol, is being sued by a spamming outift because he complained and the company was blacklisted as a result. The claim is for $20,000 ‘to compensate for the 20 days of lost income while awaiting a new internet connection’. The obscenity of this claim astounds me, but at least I can take action.

In other news, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that computer-generated images of minors engaged in sexual acts are not illegal and are in fact protected by the First Amendment.

My, it is turning out to be a good day.

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Date
20020606
Big Brother 3
Time
12:35
More Big Brother links than you can poke a stick at.

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Date
20020606

Time
12:54
The betting pool to end all betting pools. Quite literally, I fear…

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Date
20020606

Time
15:19
How’s this for a weblog title?

The never-ending ever-lasting party in my pants.

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Date
20020606

Time
15:32
The chap in charge of an enormous electronic document archive has died. Administrators have since made a public appeal for help from hackers, as he took many of the core passwords to the grave.

See? You can take it with you…

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Date
20020606

Time
16:53
Make your own South Park character. This is me. Notice the crow’s feet and bags resulting from overexposure to computer monitors.

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Date
20020607

Time
11:05
The Sun seems mystified by the sudden run on bets that Alison is for the chop. Have they not heard of Popbitch, then?

(For those who came in late: Popbitch yesterday announced the following on their front page and in their widely-received weekly mailout: “Expect a massive hatchet job on Alison in tonights Big Brother. The producers, who are very proud of their new £1.2m set, are increasingly worried by the hyperactive heavyweight’s destructive properties.” The rest of this entertaining scoop is here. Enjoy.)

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Date
20020607
Another Reason To Hate Pop-ups
Time
11:29
I don’t know about you, but I’m a ‘hunter and pecker’, so I watch the keyboard more than I do the screen – and I hate it when I’m typing text into a data field on a web page, only to look up and discover that my typing has been interrupted halfway through because some pop-up has thoughtfully made itself the main browser window. All pop-ups must die.

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Date
20020607

Time
11:42
Yasser Arafat’s bed bombed. Goes on to win Turner Prize. Etc.

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Date
20020607

Time
13:28
I’m sitting in the middle of a very empty office right now. Apparently there’s some kind of football game on at the moment. Everybody seems terribly excited, but then, football isn’t everything.

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Date
20020607

Time
14:08
Who doesn’t need a naked Hitler doll with moveable hands?

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Date
20020607

Time
14:09
No, I don’t get it, either…

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Date
20020607
Flash Games
Time
14:26
Play Alien Attack

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Date
20020607

Time
15:28
I know, I know, it’s sooooooooo last Tuesday – but if you have even a passing interest in Penthouse’s recent Anna Kournikova stuff-up, then you can’t afford to miss this great article and *ahem* pictorial.

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Date
20020607

Time
15:38
A personality test that’s destined for weblog greatness.

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Date
20020609
Mustard Man II
Time
09:03
Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to announce that we can now, at last, finally and once and for all, reveal the true identity of Mustard Man. Be prepared for a feeling of mild surprise.

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Date
20020610

Time
10:32
I was at the xcom2002 event yesterday. I met some interesting people, and enjoyed some first-time facetime with people I’d previously only known online. Highlights? The free badges they were giving away emblazoned with the messages ‘Steal Music’ and ‘Steal Content’, erm, on a table right next to the security guard whose job it was to ensure that you paid your £3 to get in.

I really wish I’d worn a suit, though. Then I really would have stood out as an establishment figure.

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Date
20020610

Time
12:08
God has a blog but, typically, has already tired of the affair and wants to give it up so he can get back to work on version 1.7 of the Platypus.

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Date
20020610

Time
12:10
Arnold Schwarzenegger has his say on who would win in a battle between a vampire and a werewolf. It’s good to see Hollywood movie stars are finally speaking out on important social issues.

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Date
20020610

Time
12:13
Tony Blair lives in a dump.

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Date
20020610

Time
12:26
10 Ways My Dog is Capable of Advanced Logic.

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Date
20020610

Time
12:30
Get your stinking paws off my mobile you damn dirty ape! Police in London are hunting a chimpanzee after it broke into a house and stole a mobile phone.

Of course, this kind of thing happens all the time.

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Date
20020610
Flash Movies
Time
15:00
This series of traffic lessons is the funniest and best-presented flash offering I’ve seen in a long, long, time. If you steal one link from my blog today, make it this one.

Damn it, it’s so good, I do believe I’ll blog it twice!

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Date
20020610
Flash Movies
Time
15:03
This series of traffic lessons is the funniest and best-presented flash offering I’ve seen in a long, long, time. If you steal one link from my blog today, make it this one.

Damn it, it’s so good, I do believe I’ll blog it twice!

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Date
20020611

Time
09:47
A growing collection of unresolved endings.

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Date
20020611

Time
09:49
Attention women! We men have a few rules of our own. (Erm, if that’s OK with you…)

Rule 1: Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

Etc…

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Date
20020611
Ebay Weirdness
Time
10:00
Some bright spark on ebay is asking for you to pay for his wife’s boob job. In return, you get to cop a feel. The link to the auction is here, but the spoilsports at ebay don’t want people who aren’t from the US viewing ‘Adult’ auctions (I suspect this is a government-funded initiative to reduce the ‘only in America’ effect). The auction is also likely to be withdrawn. Not to worry. Cruel.com has it mirrored.

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Date
20020611

Time
10:11
Can somebody please drop by cyberskiving.co.uk and tell them that they need a ‘weblog’ category? Thanks.

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Date
20020611

Time
10:27
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you the first overtly commercial personality quiz. Too bad they forgot to include the basic component that makes these things spread so fast (i.e. the ‘cut and paste’ graphic and/or text link code normally presented with the results). Kind of like this one (that’s far from a perfect example, but is currently riding high on Blogdex):

“I act like I’m 18. This test was brought to you by Mel – She’ll bite you ;o). Take it here.”

So that’s Blaggers:0 Bloggers:1

Next!

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Date
20020611

Time
11:40
Listen to the Homer MP3 that Fox does not want you to hear. Save a copy to your hard drive for future generations to enjoy.

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Date
20020611

Time
14:15
We reported last Thursday that administrators an enormous electronic document asked for help from hackers, because the primary archivist died and took his password with him. The problem was solved within 5 hours of their appeal being released. As it turns out, it was cracked, not hacked. The password was the dead gentlemen’s name, with the letters cunningly rearranged back to front…

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Date
20020612

Time
05:26

This is going to be a very strange blog today, and I apologise for that, but after putting up with years of bullshit from South West Trains, and after what happened last night, I really feel that I must speak out.

It began, as most of my travel adventures have in the past, at Waterloo Station. I arrived in plenty of time to catch the 9:20 but, sadly, it had been announced on the boards as being ‘expected at 9:45′.

A multitude of passengers waited, staring hopefully at the electronic board.

About 20 minutes later, as a seasoned passenger of SWT, I asked why a number of platforms had been confirmed ahead of ours, when our train was listed as due (at 9:45, but the time had been and gone without advice).

“Well, as late as it is, it is confirmed for Platform 9″ came the quiet response from the man manning the ‘information’ desk, “But of course, I can’t confirm that…”

This triggered something inside me. Nothing big, but enough to make me do what an Australian will do ahead of a typical Englishman. No, I didn’t whinge selfishly; I simply spoke up in a loud voice to the majority who were waiting for the same train (and staring hopefully, if you remember, at the electronic board).

“This” I intoned, with as much senatorial control as I could muster, “is typical of how bad this situation is!

“The train is now over half an hour late – and nobody is complaining! And do you know what? Everybody here is hoping that you won’t complain!”

I went on to give a very loud, and I would think quite lucid, account of why privatisation of public transport doesn’t work. A local drunk helpfully chipped in by adding “England!!! England!!”, which pleased the SWT Trains bods no end. It gave them the perfect excuse to pack up and leave.

Yes, they actually lifted the entire information desk and shuffled away with it. I shit you not.

But this (my faithful friends who are actually reading the entirety of this text) is just the beginning. The rot goes much deeper than this, as you’re soon about to find out…

The platform was announced, finally, as Platform 9. I had to shake the drunk off my shoe to get there, but get there I did.

I arrived just in time to see our train – formed of the front four coaches only – arriving. The multitude or former electronic board watchers herded onto this train.

The only SWT staff member who was semi-helpful on this journey pointed out that the subsequent express (also running late) was arriving on the opposite side of the platform.

Not surprisingly, I opted for this eight-carriage train instead of the other (which by now was already standing-room only)..

The journey was uneventful.

I did, however, arrive at my destination a mere minute after my connecting bus – the final service for the night – had left.

I headed straight for the Station Manager’s office and pointed out that it was due to South West Trains’ failure to provide the scheduled service as promised that I was now facing a 3 mile walk home in the rain.

Here’s where the fun begins…

All I wanted was a cab. A simple service, and provided for under the meagre charter that allows for delays over an hour or more. A cost of six quid, to be precise.

He informed me that he was not responsible for buses.

I informed him that he was responsible for trains, and from about then on, he ignored me.

The discussion collapsed irretrievably when he shut the office door in my face.

So, here I was with an unexpected cab fare home that I couldn’t pay for (due to an un-cleared cheque that is a matter for later blog-whinges regarding banks and their archaic ‘7 day clearance’ system in this modern age of instant email and what-not) and a corporation that, rightfully, owed me at least a single fare refund. This single fare refund amounted to pretty much the cost of my cab fare (if you remember, about 6 quid) so, as it was raining quite heavily, I tried to reason with him as a human being.

Big mistake.

Mr Tiddles, as the Station Manager shall be known from this point forward, took great offence at the suggestion that he should be called to authorise such an extravagant expenditure.

His solution was to call ‘the police’.

Now, when an SWT stationmaster calls the police on you, there’s something you should be aware of. When he refers to ‘ the police’, he is, in fact, referring to the Transport Police.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting…

This ‘policeman’ turned up, as if by magic, at about the time when I felt compelled to stage an impromptu sit-in by blocking the doors of (yet another) late train.

I even drew up a sign, being the stubborn little fucker I can be forced to be occasionally, reading:

THIS IS AN OFFICIAL PROTEST

SOUTH WEST TRAINS DID NOT PROVIDE ME WITH THE SERVICE THAT WAS PROMISED AND WILL NOT HEAR MY COMPLAINT

This ‘policeman’ turned up as yet another drunk turned up to take my side. Perhaps God sends these people but, God – if you’re listening – I can do without it.

Ho hum.

Anyways, I stood well clear as the ‘policeman’ cleared this chap from our lives, as in his current state he was no more than an unwelcome distraction.

So, here I am, waiting patiently for the ‘policeman’ to address me.

I explained the situation in some detail, and here – critically – time gets fuzzy.

What it all boiled down to, after roughly thirty minutes of discussion, was that he insisted that he was “merely a keeper of the Queen’s peace”.

Please remember this, as there will be a test later…

At the close of our long, long discussion (during which, I was constantly worried that he had better things to do) I pointed out that the Station Manager held the solution to the problem – not me – and not me – had best take it up with him.

I was certainly not going to endure an hour’s walk home in the pouring rain because SWT had fucked up, and if the Queen’s peace was at stake, then the only resolution lay in the hands of the Station Manager because I was in the right and, subsequently, an immovable object.

It was about this time he pointed out that, as a member of the Transport Police, he was – in effect – employed by South West Trains as part of their security force.

This is the bit where I failed to absorb important information. I take full responsibility for that. I was thrown off by the fact that he had a radio, black uniform and bobby hat like What Those On The Bill wear.

Stupid.

Stupid.

Stupid.

He went off to ‘meet’ with the manager in what looked to be a small office on the far end of the station. I waited 5 minutes, 10, then close to 20…

Then a woman in her late 30’s turned up. She was quite distressed, because a late train had resulted in her missing the last bus (sound familiar?).

I was a prick.

I was so intent on using her to support my cause, that I didn’t see the full scope of her problem.

I asked her to stay where she was while I tracked down the officer from the Transport Police and/or the Station Manager.

I went to the small office they appeared to have disappeared into, knocked politely, and announced: “I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I have someone here with exactly the same problem as I have. You may as well deal with both of us.”

No answer.

The woman was getting more and more agitated, so I headed back towards her.

She informed me that she now she had a lift, but she would hang around for ‘a few minutes’ while I tried to sort this out.

I went back and knocked at the door again, but as I looked back, I noticed something particularly strange about the manner of the man who was obviously her promised lift. It’s hard to describe, but he seemed a little too insistent, if you know what I mean. When he saw me looking, he backed off again.

Suddenly, my priorities had (finally) changed. I walked across to the woman, and ensured her she would be able to get a cab. Even though I couldn’t afford it, the last thing I wanted to do was let her go off with this man. She seemed so desperate to get home, but I was looking less and less like a sure bet as the station staff ignored me and/or disappeared into the woodwork as I asked about the whereabouts of the Station Manager.

In the end, she opted to go with the stranger. I did not feel comfortable about this at all. If he’d stepped forward at any time I might have been OK about it, but he seemed so intent on orbiting this distressed woman until she was alone that he made me very suspicious.

I looked toward the small office once more, but she had gone. I chased after her. The stranger was ushering her toward the road near the station.

Say what you like about my paranoia, but by now all sorts of alarm bells were ringing in my head. It didn’t seem right at all.

I ran back into the station (about 12 steps, not a big run) and pointed out what was happening and the possible – if unlikely – ramifications. The staff, bolstered as they were by my status as a troublemaker, ignored me.

I was dumbfounded.

I asked the eight men present (that’s eight of the fuckers) if they were going to let this woman walk away with a stranger.

“Not our problem” said the fat bastard who claimed to be ‘just a cleaner’ (who from now on shall be known as the ‘Fat Bastard Cleaner’).

Of course, at this time, I still had a vague notion that there was a real policeman somewhere nearby – so I this time I *hammered* at the door the member of the Transport Police and Station Manager had seemingly disappeared into.

No answer.

I rushed back out to the front door just in time to see the woman being rushed/ushered out of sight.

Yes, I will admit at this stage that consensual sex between two strangers happens from time to time, but this woman hadn’t been out clubbing all night – she’d just arrived on a train from work. And the surreptitious way in which this woman was spirited from the station made me feel very, very uncomfortable.

So uncomfortable, in fact, that I felt compelled to call 999.

Too far away to give chase (after being under the illusion for so long that a police officer was in attendance) I did so.

It was quite reassuring, after all of the negative and/or ‘who gives a damn’ attitude I had experienced on the platform to hear someone on the other end of the line who actually responded with a reasonable amount of care.

Real policemen were on the way, and by the time I had made it back to the platform it had finally sunk in that Mr Tiddles the Station Manager and the officer of the Transport Police had (instead of making their way into an office) actually disappeared from the station via a nearby set of doors.

I informed the remaining staff of my concerns and told them that police were on the way. Much hilarity ensued. I pressured them again and again as a concerned commuter to reveal the whereabouts of the Station Manager. Hell, I even tried to appeal to them as fellow human beings.

Again, a big mistake.

Fat Bastard Cleaner threatened me with physical violence at least twice. Another gangly git from the security team (hereby known as ‘The Gangly Git From Security’) not only refused to give his name, but even the name of the company he worked for.

“Right,” I said, “Let’s ignore the last hour or so. As a concerned commuter, I want to contact the Station Manager, and I want to do so now

The Gangly Git From Security responded with; “Nobody orders me around, mate!”

No help from staff, no management in sight, and no police. Yet.

In desperation, I picked up the same phone Mr Tiddles had used to call the Transport Police. I figured anything was better than nothing. I informed them of the situation, they informed me there was nothing that they could do. Hooray!

So I asked about the previous call-out to get the real name of the ‘policeman’ who had attended the original call (he had reluctantly given his name as ‘White’ or ‘Whyce’ before swiftly changing the subject).

They informed me that no such call-out was made. I asked them to widen their time-frame and/or check if there were officers on duty at the time. After a muffled pause, they claimed to have no record.

The real police arrived at this time, and were Perfectly Reasonable. They listened to what I had to say, and did their best to take action.

They interviewed me, and the staff that were present. Acknowledging the possible gravity of this situation, they requested access to CCTV footage.

Miraculously, Mr Tiddles turned up about 5 minutes after this formal request. He gave his version of the story – at least, the bits he was there for – and was quick to point out that I had wrongly claimed a refund because my train was only 13 minutes late. (If you remember, I had caught the alternative train – so technically he was correct. Score one for Mr Tiddles.)

Mr Tiddles wisely gestured Fat Bastard Cleaner away, but The Gangly Git From Security had already mouthed off once, and was determined to do so again. I’ll leave his description of me to your imagination. You know enough swear words already.

So why all this fuss? What’s my problem?

My problem is that, at the end of the day, these goddamn jobsworths were so intent on protecting themselves and defeating one problematic commuter that they ignored what may have been a much larger problem.

I’m praying it wasn’t.

I also have a slight problem with the fact that South West Trains have their own goddamn Gestapo who obviously act in the company’s interest whilst strutting about in a policeman’s uniform that amounts to little more than a stage costume.

But then, that’s just me…

UPDATE – She’s OK folks! I’d given the woman in question one of my business cards when we first met, and she got in touch. She was most appreciative of the effort I made and the concern I showed, and described me as ‘the only gentleman on the platform’.

Guess what? The guy who offered to get her home didn’t have a car. He did, however, offer to walk her through Guildford. It was when he then wanted to go via a dark underpass rather than the High Street that she became fully creeped out and simply walked away from him.

The distance to her home was over 2 miles. It’s at this stage that I should probably mention how old she is. 50.

Charming, isn’t it? Because of the inaction of South West Trains staff, this 50 year old woman was walking through Guildford, alone, about an hour after chucking out time. Happily, she had a key for her mother’s house, which happened to be on the far side of Guildford. She made it there safely, let herself in quietly, and stayed the night.

I gave her the names of the (real) police officers that I spoke to, so by now she would have been in touch to let them know that she is OK and given her account of the incident.

Now all that remains is to make South West Trains answerable for the disgraceful behaviour of their staff. That starts, but doesn’t end, with this web page.

Thanks for your time.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020612

Time
15:57
Due to the incredible amount of support for today’s blog and some subsequent media interest, it has been mirrored at http://www.bloggerheads.com/swt.asp. If you wish to link to this article, please use this URL instead of linking to the front page, which will updated with the usual bloggage by this time tomorrow.

Thanks.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020613

Time
07:42
RB wrote in with a few points:

“I have just had read your SWT article and would like to clarify a couple of points for you (I do not work for SWT, and I do not like SWT services!)… British Transport Police are a special police force who cover the whole of the British Isles and who have different divisions around the country… BTP are NOT security guards for SWT nor any other Train Operating Companies, they are there to keep the peace and to arrest anybody who has committed a criminal offence against railway property.”

Here I should point out that, while the BTP do not work directly for SWT, they are funded fully by the industry, primarily the train operating companies, who contribute 50% (with Railtrack contributing 30% and London Underground 20%). I’m sure you can guess where their priorities lie.

Mr Alex Robertson, the Chairman of the British Transport Police Federation, said the following at their annual conference on 17 April, 2002 (a full transcript is here):

“Turning now to the Force itself, the BTP remains saddled with being funded by the Train Operating Companies. In turn they are driven by commercial priorities in the very difficult market of railway transportation.”

Having a privatised railway system is bad enough, but a privatised police force? It boggles the mind!

Many other folks have written in with positive feedback – thanks, everybody – but I’m still to hear from Andrew Haines (Managing Director of South West Trains) who I emailed at about 5:30am yesterday morning. Andrew and I have had words in the past, both friendly and otherwise. I can only hope he hasn’t had time to return my email because he’s too busy kicking arse.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020613
Unintentional Googlebombing
Time
13:29
(Hooray – something that’s not about South West Trains!)

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m heavily involved in online marketing and search engine optimisation. I was quite amused to be informed on Tuesday evening that the search result that gets the most traffic into UKNM (an online marketing mailing list to which I contribute regularly) is ‘simspons porn’.

UKNM turns up somewhere around No. 4 for this search query, and has done so for some time.

Why?

Because I included an example of an automated keyword spamming function in this post way back in Dec 2000. The link popularity of UKNM does the rest.

An interesting turn of events, but not something I can show potential clients.

Well, not all of them…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020613
Photoshopping
Time
14:43
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the front page of today’s Mirror. You can see a larger version of this here (or, if you’re reading the archives, you might want to go here instead).

A tabloid has yet again ripped off the work of a Photoshopping artist and used it for their own benefit without so much as a name check, much less any kind of compensation.

What is it with journalists who assume that if it arrived by email or came from that dark mysterious thing known as ‘The Web’ that it must be free?

They did this same thing with the Harry Pothead picture and the Queen Mum Yoda mix. Such works, being transformative as they are, are covered under ‘fair use’ in that they have created a new work from old images. This new work is covered by copyright – copyright that the Mirror has violated by reprinting the work without permission. On the front bloody page!

All the redtops know that the front page is what sells the paper, so if I were the artist involved, I would stick it to them for a massive fee.

Bloggerheads Says: Come on you slack bastards. You’re supposed to be journalists. Do your research. Find the original artist and get in touch, instead of using their work without permission!!!

UPDATE – I just called the picture desk at The Mirror. I pointed out that the front page image was missing a picture credit and asked where it came from.

“Reuters” said he, “it was released two weeks ago on the Reuters network, and that’s the image we’ve used”

“No it isn’t,” I replied, “This is a new work by a Photoshopping artist that’s protected under fair use.”

“No it isn’t,” he retorted, “It’s the same picture with artwork on it!”

“Can I quote you on that?” I asked.

“And who are you?” he smarmed.

“I’m a photoshopping art..*click*

Cheeky bugger. Shows how much they care for our opinion, doesn’t it? Make some noise if you want; they won’t listen to me:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/contactus/

UPDATE 2 – A reader from Belgium writes:

“The picture of the daily mirror has been published the first time on a belgian newsgroup called “kotnet.absurd”, this newsgroup is a private newsgroup of the university of Leuven. It was posted by “De Phanne” on Sat, 8 Jun 2002 13:05:50 +0200 (with the) Topic: “Re: waar is de tijd dat voetballers echte mannen waren?”,

It was also this student who created the image.”

There. That took me less than two hours to find out. The Mirror had over two days, but didn’t bother. Why not? Are we not worth bothering with?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020613

Time
17:18
An Oslo man was fined after threatening to sexually violate a mailman or anyone else delivering unwanted advertising to his mailbox. It seems the standard ‘no advertising’ sticker had little or no effect, so he decided to spice his up a bit.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020614

Time
21:31
I’ve just had to travel all the way to Hull and back to discuss laxatives. I’d consider this to be particularly ironic considering the amount of shit I’ve had to put up with this week.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020614
Mustard Man II
Time
21:43
The word is spreading, right back to where it ‘began’.

Muchmusic is encouraging their viewers to take Mustard Man as a date to their MuchMusic Video Awards:

And if you need a date for the MMVAs, look no further – Mustard Man has been revealed! You may have heard me mention him on MOD. This is your chance to ask out the one and only “Mike ‘Nug’ Nahrgang.”

Get to it, girls. He is, after all, only one man. (Erm, but with his mate Peeps, he’s two…)

Mind, it’d be nice if Muchmusic put on a limo and maybe a nice dinner…








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Let’s Get Alex Moving

Let's Get Alex Moving!

Viewers of Big Brother will be more than aware of Alex’s recent lack of reliable bowel activity. Such a condition is quickly and easily attributable to a combination of a sudden change in diet and/or habit, and stress (though the presence of a camera in the toilet is a contributing factor that cannot be discounted).

The ever-lovely Narinda (from Big Brother 2) continues to suffer, associated as she is with the stigma of stubborn stools. This is an association that most of viewers of the show will carry with them forever, so we are concerned not only for Alex’s general well-being, but also his future as a photographic model. The last thing we want is for his career to be tainted by people wondering whether that gorgeous pout is strictly for the camera or a sign of general discomfort.

This we would consider to be extremely unfair. The producers, knowing full well that this kind of thing can happen, should have taken measures that ensured a high-fibre intake to offset the dangers of this sudden change in lifestyle and the effect it can have on one’s digestive system.

Sadly, the time for dietary solutions has passed – but, while Alex has actually been in the diary room suggesting the possible need for a suppository and lubricant, affirmative action need not be this extreme. We do live in the 21st century, after all, and many far less intrusive measures are available to us. (Unless, of course, Alex would prefer a suppository – in which case we would support him wholeheartedly. At the very least, it would make for very interesting television.)

Even if Alex has experienced some relief recently, it does not necessarily mark the end of this condition. To ensure that Alex and the rest of the housemates have the opportunity to remain happy, healthy and regular, we intend to employ the following progressive plan of action.

Step One
Voice our concerns to the producers of Big Brother.

We’ve already emailed Endemol to advise them of our position, making very clear our intentions to escalate activities should we not see and/or be informed of immediate and decisive action. We would also urge you, the concerned viewer, to send an email yourself, expressing concern for the housemates’ health. Similarly, it would also help if you could spread the word regarding this campaign (see below).

Step Two
Ensure that the correct treatment is on hand.

This morning we picked up the following range of treatments from the country’s leading laxative brand, Senokot. The pharmacist quite rightly asked us why we needed so many laxatives, so we explained about the campaign. He was a Big Brother fan, and subsequently really helpful! He confirmed that 6 out 10 constipation sufferers atttribute their condition to ‘changing routine, changing diet and water, or going on holiday/away from home’. He then spent the next five minutes outlining the differences between the products. Which we’re now going to share with you…

Our care package includes:

Senokot Tablets (20 pack and 100 pack)
A single dose at night gives a ‘predictable result by morning’.

Senokot Syrup
This was described as a ‘pleasant fruit flavoured syrup’ suitable for adults and children over 6 years old. So even if Alex has a problem with tablets, relief is but a spoonful away.

Senokot Granules
We liked this product the most. These are chocolate flavoured granules that can be eaten ‘off the spoon, mixed with milk or sprinkled onto food’. We think they’d be pretty yummy on top of ice cream, but he’d have to keep it well clear of Alison.

Let's Get Alex Moving!

The above products were then packaged and sent by courier to the producers of the show, along with a letter that, yet again, voices our concerns for Alex and the rest of the housemates. As with the email, the letter also makes clear that, unless action is taken soon, we will have no recourse but to escalate the campaign.

Step Three
Operation Enduring Obstruction

On the same shopping trip, we also picked up some extra tablets and a few tennis balls. Close followers of the show will be aware that it is relatively easy to throw or hit such a projectile well over the security cordon and into the central compound itself.

Our tennis balls, however, will contain a ray of hope. Stuffed inside each ball will be a blister-pack of 20 Senokot tablets and a photocopy of the instructions. Only one need reach a fellow housemate for Alex to finally have access to a more-than-ample course of treatment. There should even be enough left over, even in this single emergency supply, to address the discomfort of a number of other housemates.

We do not wish to encourage this kind of loutish behaviour, but as a housemate is at risk, we don’t see ourselves as having much choice.

Let's Get Alex Moving!

UPDATE – We’ve been emailed by yet another helpful pharmacist (what is it with these guys?) who informs us that sending treatments like this in such a fashion could be interpreted as ‘sampling’, which is little bit naughty, apparently. So, no tennis balls.

Frankly, we’re quite relieved. While at the Big Brother house (see below) we got a good look at the layout and saw several good launch positions – but we also got a good look at the size of the security dogs.

Step Four
Operation Overkill

Should our efforts to place the treatments directly in the housemates’ hands fail, and if the producers still refuse to address this issue, we will have no choice but to take our protest further into the public domain. Grass roots action will begin at the evictions themselves, where supporters will be present to not only hand out informative leaflets to concerned fans of the show, but also carry out a formal protest come airtime with chants, placards and at least one dog on a string.

We have the materials and a number of concerned followers on hand for this activity, but if you would also like to take part, we would welcome the support. Email us today.

Let's Get Alex Moving!

UPDATE – We were there for Lynne’s eviction. We not only managed to get our main placard on screen twice, but we also got a direct mention from the lovely Davina who pointed out our sign and explained; “I think it has something to do with Alex’s bowels”. (Quite helpful of her, we thought. Perhaps she should think about a career in pharmacy.)

We also handed out hundreds of pamphlets outlining our cause and directing people to the website. We started handing these out with the phrase ‘Help Alex’ and didn’t get many takers, but once we started up with ‘Help Alex’s bowels’, folks couldn’t snap them up quickly enough. We ran out of pamphlets in less than three minutes.

After all of this, we still haven’t heard from the producers, so it looks like we may have to start cooking up a Step Five. We welcome suggestions by email.

How To Support This Campaign

We welcome all levels of support for this campaign. Any or all of the following measures will help us to achieve our goal.

Email a Link To This Page
Even if you don’t have a website or weblog, you can spread the word by emailing a link to this page to your friends and family.

Link To This Page
One of the most powerful things you can do as a site owner or weblogger is link to another site. Doing so by either or both methods below lets your audience know about our campaign.

This first link is your standard ‘go and look at this’ plug. How and where you do this is completely up to you, but you can cut and paste the following to make it easier if you like:

Use Our Protest Button
A nice, eye-catching way to ensure that your audience sees and understands the importance of our mission. Again, all you have to do is cut and paste the following into your weblog.

Let's Get Alex Moving!

We appreciate your time, and will be publishing updates here as they happen. May your bowels remain happy and healthy.

[UPDATE – Read about our adventures at the eviction @ Big Brother: The Eviction Experience.]

[FINAL UPDATE – Hooray! Success! Big Brother did give Alex the treatment he required. Out of the choices provided, he chose the syrup and has commented on air at least twice about how tasty it is and how it didn’t make his insides explode ‘like you see in the movies’. We don’t know what kind of movies he’s been watching, but we suspect they have something to do with cliched teenage pranks. Hooray for Hollywood and visions of exploding bottoms!]

This site is in no way endorsed or recognised by Endemol, Bazal or Channel 4. You can access the official Big Brother site here.








Posted in Consume! | Comments Off

Ananova’s Orange Makeover

Orange Ananova

After a slow and gradual shift into the background, the search function at Ananova has now disappeared altogether. The way in which they did this led me to suspect that the function would be reintroduced at a later date under some form of subscription service.

I was wrong. The real reason for it is far more entertaining.

If you call the customer service department, you’ll get the message that they’re ‘streamlining the site in keeping with their partnership with Orange’. Remember that statement, because there’s a grain of truth in it.

You may also be aware that a message was delivered to subscribers of their email news alert service, who were informed last Friday that the service would stop, erm, this Monday. An official release followed that, instead of addressing what was missing, directed your eyes to a brave new world of news updates.

“Ananova is teaming up with Orange to create a ground-breaking new mobile news service,” it trumpets, going on to say that, “You will be able to follow all the news, sport, business and entertainment subjects you are used to seeing on Ananova, on your Orange phone.”

On your Orange phone. Remember that, because it’s important too.

Ananova isn’t ‘teaming up’ with Orange. Orange bought Ananova nearly two years ago. At the time, Orange’s CEO said that “Ananova is a key element of our plans to develop our overall portal platform…”

Damn right it is.

A call to the main office for Ananova for some more information was enlightening and amusing from the start (the receptionist answers the phone with ‘Hello, Orange!’).

Customer Services were very nice to me, as was the lovely lass in their PR department, who informed me that the Ananova site was being slimmed ‘so as to better address mobile phone users’.

“And by that, you mean Orange mobile phone users?”, I ventured.

“Um, yes..” she admitted.

It’s hardly Watergate, but for all the noise the Ananova site will make about ‘streamlining’, the hard fact is the guts of the operation is being moved over to provide content and services for Orange subscribers. No news alerts, unless you subscribe to Orange. No search function, unless you subscribe to Orange. I picture a day in the not too distant future when the only thing left at the Ananova site will be a few animated gifs of tumbleweeds blowing across the page.

Most web users will be well aware of the reaction Ananova would get if they announced an introduction of charges for ‘value-added’ services such as a search function. Perhaps that’s why they’ve taken these measures to bypass the issue by putting the service in the hands of customers (who are already parting with their cash) under the banner of a new service.

But where does that leave those of us who previously relied on the useful tools that Ananova provided? Can we opt to pay a subscription to access the service? No, we can’t. If we want to keep using the useful version of Ananova, we have little or no choice but to sign up with Orange.

Erm, or maybe stick two fingers in their general direction and make do with Daypop.

So long, Ananova. It was nice knowing you, but the Orange makeover just makes you look like another ginger tosser.

:oP

UPDATE – Ananova, for reasons unknown, had a sudden change of heart – and policy – about a week or so later. While email alerts are now only available to Orange subscribers, the search function is now back in place.








Posted in Teh Interwebs | Comments Off

16-31 May, 2002

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020516

Time
07:46
The inventor of sliced bread didn’t get rich – or famous. His name was Otto Rohwedder.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020516

Time
07:49
More on US ‘intelligence’. They knew that pesky Osama was up to something involved with planes…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020516

Time
07:52
Meet Momo. It’ll only take a minute.

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Date
20020516

Time
07:53
I want my religion to be on this list by the same time next year. A mass suicide oughta do it. Any volunteers?

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Date
20020516

Time
08:02
A woman called in the bomb squad after discovering a mysterious object that had been left in her mailbox. She thought it was a pipe bomb. Nope, it was a pipe bong.

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Date
20020516

Time
08:06
Ricky Martin and Britney Spears look-alikes beware – the Baptists are coming after you!

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Date
20020516

Time
08:08
Copy-protected CDs can be ‘fixed’ with marker pens and electrical tape. Never underestimate the ingenuity of the average cheapskate.

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Date
20020516
Viral Marketing
Time
08:11
It had to happen. After several miserable attempts to invent fake people that love their products, corporations are now inventing fake people that hate ther competitor’s.

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Date
20020516

Time
08:15
Here’s one thing you probably didn’t know about Coca Cola, and here’s another.

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Date
20020516

Time
08:21
I hope you appreciate that I woke up early just to please you guys. Now I gotta go to London. I’ll try to bring back something nice.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020516
Star Wars Watch
Time
20:47
Just seen it – and, yes, there are dialogue moments somewhat akin to the Ep IV auditions I’m sure you’ve all seen – BUT – it is worth watching (and then some). Yes, the Yoda fight scene will take you by surprise. Yes, you can take your kids to see it. I will. Cheers all.

PS – Once Were Bounty Hunters (coming soon)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020517

Time
08:34
“If you are a Mormon male, and if you more-or-less discreetly marry as many females as you possibly can without going to jail, and if you keep them all pregnant from the ages of 12 to 50 (the ideal Mormoness never touches a Tampax in her whole terrestrial life), and if you persuade your vast armies of spawn to join the church, and if you teach these new members to tithe – then, upon death, you will become a Mormon god yourself, and be furnished with your own planet, and a harem of numberless wives.”

Damn, I knew I forgot something when I was drafting my religion – sex. Oh well, perhaps if I can discreetly tack porn onto the outer flanges, no-one will notice. Ho-hum. Anyways, cynics will enjoy this fine opinion piece over at nthposition.com

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Date
20020517

Time
08:58
The top ten worst sequels of all time.

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Date
20020517

Time
09:08
“Well, fortunately small boys are springy and elastic.” – Willy Wonka

Sex scandal rocks Wonka factory.

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Date
20020517

Time
09:11
Private Eye readers will already be familiar with this issue: Tony Blair has defended Labour’s decision to take money from Richard ‘I don’t do dutch’ Desmond.

Why is this a big deal? Well, Richard Desmond is the media magnate behind OK! magazine, the Express newspaper, erm, and a few spicier titles including Nude Wives, Asian Babes and the new mag – which WH Smith surprisingly refused to stock – Spunk Loving Sluts.

Next time you catch your Mum reading OK! magazine, ask her if she’s read any of its sister publications.

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Date
20020517

Time
10:42
I do apologise, but this image is only funny if you’ve seen Star Wars Ep II and this fine film.

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Date
20020517

Time
11:27
“Jeff had agreed to let us build a life-size Millennium Falcon in his backyard. We told him it would only take us a month to build and tear down. I don’t think he fully realized how much of his yard a full size falcon would take up. After all, the falcon was over 40 feet wide and 12 feet tall.”

Yes, they actually did it. Kind of. Now I want one.

I’m sorry, I don’t think you heard me…

I want one!

I want one!

I want one!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020517

Time
12:41
Well, how about that. We’re No. 3 for the search query ‘porn report’.

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Date
20020517

Time
12:43
Finally, a waste-free watermelon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020517
Videos, Etc.
Time
12:51
Free Porn!

“This movie requires Quicktime. If you don’t have Quicktime, invent your own video compression format and design the appropriate conversion algorithms.”

Hehehe. Love it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020517

Time
13:09
Want to cross swords with Mastercard? Simply put together your own collection of ‘priceless’ pics like this one over at osrm.net. Mastercard are getting smarter about this (kind of). Instead of going to the webmaster, they take their complaint straight to the hosting firm (who usually caves in immediately). It’s called ‘fair use’, Mastercard. Deal with it.

(BTW, if you’ve got some thoughts on the matter, drop into the Orsm Forum and speak your mind.)

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Date
20020517
Games
Time
15:37
“Claire (from Steps) wasn’t getting very far with her yoga meditation. She’d got the posture right and had had no trouble clearing her mind of any thought – but nothing happened until H (erm, from Steps) came up with a fantastic idea. He whipped out his alpenhorn and now together they can reach enlightenment.”

Yet another inexplicably addictive game from b3ta.com.

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Date
20020517

Time
16:05
Tee-hee. Reknowned know-all Ann Landers falls for an urban legend.

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Date
20020520
Tiscali 10.0
Time
08:52
I hate the new Tiscali commercial. Hate it with a vengeance, I does. Happy third world children gambol in the surf, for life has been made worth living thanks to an ISP catering to ignorant westerners who wouldn’t know their URL from their elbow. As with those warm and fuzzy bank ads that we all know and love, it’s a fair bet that a brand that goes purely for emotional appeal has very little to offer in the way of reality – but perhaps I’m being unfair. After all, Tiscali’s browser is 10.0 (compared with AOL, who can only manage a mere 7). Yeah, and my volume knobs go all the way to ‘11’.

Tiscali’s new browser is based on Ultrabrowser 6.0, BTW. About the only practical difference between this and other browsers is a few buttons that point you in the direction of default applications (or ‘carefully chosen partners’) and the ability to access your bookmarks remotely. I prefer this version, myself.

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Date
20020520

Time
09:12
Never mind the coffee, watch out for the burgers. A woman in the US claims a Wendy’s chicken sandwich “exploded” onto her face and hands and caused severe burns.

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Date
20020520
Christianity Watch
Time
09:15
Punks and Skins for Christ is here ‘to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ’!

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Date
20020520
Get A Head
Time
09:20
A South African police sting operation has bagged a murderer and the human head he was trying to sell.

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Date
20020520

Time
09:26
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to pop a water balloon in space?

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Date
20020520
Star Wars Watch
Time
09:28
Empire Good. Republic Bad.

Well, at least they make the space freighters run on time.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020520

Time
09:44
Leonardo da Vinci – what a weirdo.

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Date
20020520

Time
09:51
How to convince women to take their clothes off in front of a camera.

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Date
20020520
Latest Viral Agent
Time
11:09
I’m happy to plug this fabulous game promoting The Time Machine.

This is a simple, playable flash game with real retro appeal (think ‘Pitfall’ with Morlocks). An X-Box is up for grabs for the fastest time and everybody can enter a draw for a one year cinema pass. Good mechanism. Applause for the creators who will no doubt track down this link.

(Hi guys, BTW!)

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Date
20020520

Time
12:46
“From the summer of 2002, Nominet is planning to expand the reply message returned by the WHOIS. This will include the name and address of the Registrant, as well as the date on which the domain name falls due for renewal.”

Well, thanks, you cheeky fuckers, just what I need! A change in your service that gets my home address published – without my consent. Nominet is giving Tag Holders a ‘three-month period before the WHOIS goes live’, but judging by how long it took to get .co.uk certificate at the peak of their activity, I don’t think that they can even hope to successfully process this massive exchange of information inside 3 months if, and I say if, they get this cockamamie scheme off the ground in the first place.

I’m as mad as hell about this, and you should be too. Take action.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020520

Time
12:50
The top 100 video game engrish of all time. Be warned that there’s a screenshot for every example, so she’s a big download.

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Date
20020520
Viral Marketing
Time
13:03
Re: Spiderman

Compare this offical offering with this simple exploitation of current weblog trends. Which do you think will get the most direct referrals? Thought so…

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Date
20020520

Time
13:14
Britney gets drunk and goes looking for a little action. Wow, could she actually be human?

Also from the ever-reliable National Enquirer this week – Bill Clinton’s love child.

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Date
20020521

Time
08:13
The most entertaining ebay auction in weeks and I missed it. Oh well, at least we can look back and laugh…

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Date
20020521

Time
08:14
A Greenpeace boat collided with France’s America’s Cup yacht during a protest against the team’s nuclear energy sponsors.

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Date
20020521

Time
08:17
It doesn’t get any bigger than this.

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Date
20020521

Time
08:20
This is an excellent article on the subject of sites like CIA for Kids.

Non-coders/designers should look away…. now!

(Take a look at the front page, BTW, and see just how seriously the CIA takes their ALT Text…)

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Date
20020521

Time
09:07
Dell is using prison labour in its PC recycling scheme.

The reactions over at Fark can only be described as typical.

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Date
20020521
Star Wars Watch
Time
09:19
Lucas is under fire over racial stereotypes. Again.

Oh, and this (ahem) thoughtful and balanced piece appeared in yesterday’s Guardian.

Oh, and a couple in the US were arrested last Thursday. They went out to see the premiere, and left their 2-year-old hearing and speech-impaired child at home. Alone. They got back home at about 2:45 am, and didn’t realise until the police dropped by about half-an-hour later that their child was missing (he had been taken into protective custody just after midnight).

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Date
20020521

Time
10:46
The 15 Finest Moments from The X-Files

WARNING: This article is peppered with spoilers that appear with little or no warning. If you haven’t seen the last episode yet (and want to enjoy it), then go somewhere else – like maybe this competition that asks you to submit a plot synopsis for the next X-Files movie.

(So it’s true. Hollywood has run out of ideas…)

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Date
20020521

Time
11:05
Here’s a little Pro Life document for you to ponder over. Which do you find more disturbing – the graphic content or the child-like scribble?

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Date
20020521

Time
11:24
The guy they based ‘Crocodile’ Dundee on was a speed-freak. Oh, and his girlfriend is a right nutter.

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Date
20020521

Time
14:22
In case you missed yesterday’s blog, here’s a link you don’t want to miss if you own a .co.uk or .org.uk domain name.

“From the summer of 2002, Nominet is planning to expand the reply message returned by the WHOIS. This will include the name and address of the Registrant, as well as the date on which the domain name falls due for renewal.”

You can take action here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020521
Lego Geekage
Time
14:30
I’m already on the case with the SW Ep II vehicles. First was a vast improvement on Lego’s official (and rather boring) Jedi Starfighter. I’ll have a full set of images live at lugjam in a few days.

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Date
20020521

Time
15:14
Take a look at this close-up JPEG of the DVD cover for M*A*S*H – Season Two. Is that not the worst example of photoshopping you’ve ever seen in your life? I know that images of Hawkeye saluting are kind of thin on the ground, but sheesh!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020521

Time
17:17
Yes, I’ve seen the bald chicken. It’s been all over B3ta today, and has its very own Photoshopping thread over at Fark. I even submitted an entry. So, yes, I’ve seen it.

No, really, I have seen it. No more emails, please.

Look, I just told you, I’ve seen it, OK?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020521

Time
17:23
Read about the boy who was attacked for making a mistake when playing badminton. Now the poor little sod can’t function without an artificial anus. I know that sounds like a joke, but it isn’t.

(Boy, howdy, they sure did tear him a new asshole.)

That, that was a joke.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020522
Mustard Man II
Time
06:23
(DAY, ERM….)

I’m really starting to develop a dislike for the production team over at muchmusic. After over a month without a reply regarding Mustard Man, now they have the cheek to feature my site without so much as a single notification email. It’s called courtesy, you cheeky buggers. Try it sometime.

(Oh, Mustard Man will be revealed soon, gang. We’re just ironing out some of the finer details.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020522

Time
06:31
Oh, dear God! The’re actually going to remake Logan’s Run! If you’re not familiar with the movie (or TV series), quietly count your blessings then check out The Highly Unofficial Logan’s Run FAQ or the City Of Domes site (the latter contains many, many tragic images for you to enjoy).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020522

Time
06:42
This isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened, and it won’t be the last. The little town of Bensalem forgot to pay its bill and bensalemtownship.org has now fallen into the hands of a pornographer. Apparently, this is most outrageous thing to happen in the town “since they found the spanking tables at the ‘House of Pain’ in Andalusia back in 1994″.

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Date
20020522

Time
06:52
OK, I’m off to do the London Thing today. And tomorrow. And the day after that, etc. etc. etc.

I’ll let you know how the whole thing goes, but I’ll try not to rant about the crap service of South West Trains every day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020522

Time
10:43
British troops in Afghanistan were furious yesterday after learning they are to be entertained by 20st Pop Idol reject Rik Waller. American forces got mini-skirted girls.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020522

Time
10:53
A teacher supervising an exam was pretending to work on his computer. What he was really doing was looking at lesbian pornography! What a shame he forgot to unplug the projector. The images appeared on a large screen behind him, much to the ‘shock’ of students. The teacher is now on stress-related sick leave. This is what is known in the industry as being ‘as sick as a parrot’.

The best quote that relates to this story isn’t featured at the BBC URL, so is repeated here as a courtesy to those who study British priorities and the gentle art of downplaying.

Said the head teacher in an official statement:

“The exam was a mock exam, so there is no effect on the results.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020522

Time
12:20
First Ananova dropped the search box from the front page – now it’s done away with the search function altogether. I suspect its something to do with this, but I can’t shift this uncomforatble feeling that they’ve made it disappear in such a subtle fashion to minimise backlash when they (re)introduce it as a charged service.

Anyway, if you want to have a little fun with them, you can quickly and easily report the missing search engine as a 404 error.



[UPDATE – OK, I’ve looked into it, and no, they’re not introducing a subscription service. Well, not really. Read Ananova’s Orange Makeover for the full story.]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020522

Time
17:05
A Russian policeman has been captured on film punching a mother and a little girl in the face during a protest in Vladivostok. Lieutenant-Colonel Alek-sandr Lysenko, Vladivostok’s traffic police chief, has been suspended pending an inquiry. The pictures tell the story, but the full poop is over at The Times.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
10:51
Stuart Goddard (aka Adam Ant) appeared in court yesterday, denying charges that he broke a pub window and threatened a man with a gun. For the record, I should point out that it is alleged that the Ant-esque one threw a car alternator through the pub window. Not a common brick or bottle, but a car alternator. If you ask me, that alone shows an artistic flair that warrants leniency. BTW, the courts have yet to hear the real story behind the case. If justice is to be done, then all the facts must be presented.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
11:00
A suspicious vehicle cruising in a parking lot was approached by police. A naked man was inside. I won’t give away the ending, it’s far too entertaining to ruin.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
11:05
Freaky Secrets of the Presidency.

(Link lifted from ultimateinsult.net)

A lot of historians downplay the fact that George Washington grew hemp, as it was a common source of rope, fabric, etc. at the time. Diary entries by the man himself outlining plans to seperate the male and female plants before pollination are not widely publicised, as this practice is undertaken solely to enhance the plant’s (ahem) medicinal properties.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
11:22
In case you missed yesterday’s background to the article Ananova’s Orange Makeover, the disappearance of the search facility and subsequent enquiries revealed that the sneaky chappies are slipping everything useful out the back door for the exclusive use of Orange subscribers. Nice.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
11:47
Are you missing? You might think that you’re all there, but it pays to be sure. Confront a co-worker today and ask that all-important question:

“Am I here?”

With any luck, you’ll not only receive some form of confirmation, but also be mistaken for something of a closet philosopher. If this happens, wear a toga tomorrow and make the most of your new reputation.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
11:52
Plaid Cymru has apologised for poking fun at the late Queen Mother and local residents on one of its Web sites. What a pity that the Yoda picture at the centre of this story is actually the work of a B3tan. Perhaps they need to apologise to him as well for taking credit for this sublime creation?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
12:23
Six people were arrested in South Africa last weekend on suspicion of being involved in the infamous Nigerian email and letter fraud. And about time, too. Now perhaps we can get on with shutting down the wankers behind the white van speaker scam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
12:38
If you suffer from hayfever as badly as my Mum does, perhaps you’d like to check the pollen index and see if you’re allowed to take any oxygen nasally today.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
12:43
I do hate to harp on about this, but from the summer of 2002, Nominet is planning to expand the reply message returned by the WHOIS. This will include the name and address of the Registrant, as well as the date on which the domain name falls due for renewal.

If this alarms or annoys you, then click here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
16:30
Baby in the microwave? Yes, I know it sound like an urban legend, but it has happened. The mother at the centre of the trial even has her own official website. Watch out for the tear-jerking music on that last link, BTW.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020523

Time
16:37
Yet another ‘broken’ link intended to provide momentary amusement. Here’s the original.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524

Time
09:55
US comedian Tom Mabe went undercover at a telemarketing convention and called telemarketers in their hotel rooms just a little before dawn. I haven’t seen his stuff before, but I like the guy already.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524

Time
10:00
There are three things that help you to start that long, uphill climb out of a hangover. Shower Shock, the caffeinated soap from ThinkGeek lets you undertake two of these activities at once.

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Date
20020524

Time
10:40
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has released a CD-Rom featuring more than 200 websites containing animated hate games ‘and other examples of transnational hate and promotion of terror after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.’

Wired has the story. Film at 11. The custard stops at Hatfield.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524

Time
10:42
Researchers at France Telecom have developed a fabric woven from plastic optical fibres that glow with a series of different images, like a TV screen. Presumably so we can now pay even more to wear an advertisement on our chest.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524
Flash Games
Time
10:47
The Ultimate Insult always manages to dig out the best of these. HubLo has a great look and presents some challenging but fun gameplay. This shark game is an oldie but a goodie, involving divers and a rogue shark. You’re the shark. Fun.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524
Oldies But Goodies
Time
14:06
Next time you’re approached in the street by a happy clappy chappie who is fearful for your soul, set his mind at ease by showing your Get Out OF Hell Free card.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524

Time
14:33
Hitler killed the dinosaurs.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524

Time
14:34
Check out losers.org for a comprehensive collection of cautionary examples. I could sit there simply submitting all day and be happy – but there’s lots to look at, too. In fact, it was via losers.org that I discovered BitchyCat, who is borderline SFW, but by no means the kind of girl you bring home to your parents. Hmm, maybe some of you think that’s a good thing, so let me present you with the following (which also includes a nice link collection for Natalie Portman fans):

“Is it me or has Natalie Portman gotten seriously hot? I’m not a lesbian or anything but I do appreciate the female form… When I was looking for pics of her on the Internet, I found a shit load of sites dedicated just to her.”

http://www.nat-sanctuary.com/

http://www.natalie-portman.net/

http://www.natportman.com/

http://www.nat-portman.net/

http://www.natalienews.com/

http://www.natalie-portman.org/

“I guess I’m not the only one who thinks she’s hot. And these are only a few of the sites I found. Damn, if I were her I would be scared shitless thinking about all the whacks out there wanting to fuck me.”

Like I said, not really parent-meeting material.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524

Time
15:16
In a job that sucks? Feel powerless? Good news! It won’t be a problem for long.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020524

Time
15:34
Some useful Pocket PC software for the slut in your life. The customer reviews for this are particularly amusing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020525
Big Brother 3
Time
09:19
Yes, there will be passing comments about this from time to time, but the focus won’t always be on the housemates:

The sound kept dropping out on E4 last night. The following message appeared superimposed over the image of Jade flapping her lips:

“We apologise for gaps in the sound. As soon as the housemates stop being foulmouthed, etc…”

What a load of rubbish – and what a cheek. It was perfectly obvious that they were blanking out Jade, who was explaining in great detail which, what, where, why and who regarding the journalist who managed to find out who some of the contestants were. Ironic that Big Brother would want to protect the private details of a journalist, no?

This seemed a pity, because it was one of the few times that I was actually interested in what she had to say. She certainly likes to talk a load of old garbage. In fact, though she’s sure to be first one out, she could get a job immediately as a fly-catcher in her local kebab store.

She’s a bit of a bushpig, too – but that’s just the superficial Australian in me talking.

OK, back to those lovely producers…

Have you noticed the increased call charges for voting?

Year 1 – 10p

Year 2 – 20p (with a percentage to charity, to calm us down presumably)

Year 3 – 25p (no word on how much to charity – yet)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
09:33
A collection of synopses for those loveable Mentos commercials. Can you guess which one is missing?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
09:38
An interesting and rather wet creation theory.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
09:42
A family doctor’s indecent-assault trial in Canada is producing some pretty damning evidence. One young flu sufferer was given a rectal exam. Another complaining of headaches was asked for a sperm sample. The good doctor offered to help out when things got awkward. A true humanitarian.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
10:00
The political portal Spinon has discovered the power of bloggage.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527
Big Brother 3
Time
10:25
I was expecting to see this in today’s papers, but I only read broadsheets this morning and there was no sign of it. Oh well.

Here’s the exclusive that everybody is scrambling to take credit for, that the BB house is soon to be split into two sections; Heaven and Hell.

Two factors make me inclined to believe this:

1. The deplorable state of the beds on one side of the house.

2. The fact that it’s claimed that the info was ‘hacked’ (for want of a better word) from the channel4 BB website which, traditionally, has always been something of a disaster from a security and usability point of view.

[UPDATE – Producers of the show, Endemol, have been denying rumours of the ‘heaven and hell’ format since early March.]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
10:30
A minimum of three million people would be killed and 1.5 million seriously injured if even a “limited” nuclear war broke out between India and Pakistan.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
10:33
From the clever folks what brung you Hitler Killed The Dinosaurs:

How to Get Rich Off the Internet.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
11:50
If you’re currently torn between the need for the love of a good woman and a preference for cold impersonal sex with a doll, then allow me to present to you the perfect woman. From your point of view, that is. You twisted sicko!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527
Big Brother 2
Time
12:04
Big Brother veteran Narinder Kaur has warned that appearing on the reality television show nearly ruined her life. Funny, that. Seeing her on Big Brother sapped my will to live. This woman is so ‘scarred’ by fame that she’s now telling this same story to anyone who’ll print it – so she can use the opportunity to plug her new series called ‘Undercover Lovers’. The irony is richer and thicker than an impacted stool.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
12:24
Some woman just poked her head around the door, said ‘Baguette’, and then closed it again. She does this every day. If my brain weren’t so jellified from overwork, I’d think of a suitable one-word response for tomorrow. Any suggestions?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
16:01
The laptop with crabs. And you thought cybersex was safe…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020527

Time
16:15
If you think that the Greek entry for Eurovision was the weakest thing you’ve ever seen, then you haven’t seen the artist’s website yet. Hosted by the Technological Educational Institue of Larissa (mmm, classy) and with an ugly Flash interface that will make your hair curl, Miahlis Rakintzis’ site – quite incredibly – outdoes his performance onstage. (In case you missed it, he and his backing singers looked and sounded like a bunch of effeminate road warriors who had unwisely elected to perform Karaoke drunk on a bet. They still got 12 points from Cyprus, though.)

[UPDATE – Read about the smart folks who knew alll along that he was a bad choice. Said link is authentic and hindsight-free.]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
09:09
Firda has discovered that Falling coconuts kill more people than shark attacks. I can top this. In Australia, if you order your basic fish and chips, more likely than not you’ll end up with something the marketing bods call ‘flake’, which is basically beer-battered slices of shark. In short, more people eat sharks than sharks eat people – but it still pays to be careful. Don’t go thinking that swimming around with a little plastic fork and a sachet of vinegar is going to frighten them away.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
09:24
Nothing says ‘and finally’ quite like children driving large vehicles. This two-year-old managed to climb out of his car seat and drive a van backward across the two lanes of highway – with his four young cousins inside – while Mum was off dragging yet another tot into school. (Not, we assume, a driving school.)

A quick-thinking trucker stopped him from hauling ass to Lollapalooza.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528
Flash Music ‘Video’
Time
09:37
You’d think that this full-to-the-brim Flash piss-take of Blur’s Song No. 2 would be the mutt’s nuts, but’s just kind of… bleh.

Perhaps I’m getting hard to please in my old age. Maybe I’m just distracted by the impending arrival of the mysterious lady who turns up every day to poke her head around the door and say ‘baguette’. I still don’t know what’s up with that. Perhaps it’s the secret password of the French Resistance…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
11:32
Aspiring young models, who stripped naked thinking they were auditioning for a television soap advertisement, unexpectedly found themselves to be stars of a smash hit porn flick. The story is entertaining in itself, but the design of this employment ad that appears next to the article is the icing on the cake.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
12:20
My MASH Quiz has featured in all sorts of places over the last few months, but none more entertaining than the Family, Friends & Firearms site. The link appears in this forum thread, which is immediately followed by this post:

You Might Be a Gun Nut If…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
12:40
Get your fortune told here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
12:43
I can’t bring myself to type the title of this new B3ta quiz. Describing it is equally out of the question. Sorry about that. (NSFW, obviously…)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528
Big Brother 3
Time
13:09
The BB producers are charging £9.99 a month for access to live video streams from the house. I personally think that they’re taking the piss, and I’m not alone.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
13:54
According to this Popbitcher, the Mark Thomas Comedy Product was cancelled last Friday afternoon by C4. The C4 microsite appears to have been withdrawn from the server on Monday.

[UPDATE – Whoops, the microsite is still there. It probably collapsed temporarily under the weight of traffic resulting from the Popbitch post…]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020528

Time
15:49
Dave Prowse, who wore the Vader costume in the original Star Wars trilogy, wants to repeat the role for Ep. 3, despite arthritis and a dodgy hip. Can I say that he finds their lack of faith disturbing without getting shouted down?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529
Richard Desmond is a Pornographer
Time
14:31
Private Eye reports that www.spunklovingsluts.com contains a subtle yet important message.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529

Time
14:49
A fun little website that’s riding high on the blog charts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529

Time
14:51
tinyurl.com is all the buzz today. It’s basically a copy of makeashorterlink.com, but the taskbar tool does look tempting…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529

Time
14:57
Bored? Give the boss the shock of his life by showing him the new version of the company website.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529
Recycling Corner
Time
15:02
Compare and Contrast:

This 2002 article by Toby Young rubbishing Star Wars Episode II

This 1999 article by Toby Young rubbishing Star Wars Episode I

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529

Time
15:38
A US-based Iranian male dancer has been jailed after returning home, accused of corrupting the youth by giving dance lessons. Can I make the Dancing In The Sheets joke first, please? Oh, go on… pleeeease?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529

Time
16:34
The selection of e-cards at MSN Germany is far more interesting than our dull selection over here in Generica.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020529

Time
16:48
Adam West has lost his Batphone privileges.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
09:23
Oh. My. God.

We finally have an e-minister who may know a thing or two.

Your mileage may vary if you try to visit his website, but this is to be expected after your typical Reg hammering. I’m greatly impressed that he runs a blog on his front page. I might even send him a nice email today and see if we can’t sort out this whole Tony Blair email thing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
09:33
Super-dog leaps out of car at 70mph and survives.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
09:35
Cybersex counts as cheating, apparently. According to Australian women, that is. It is interesting to note that – despite being such a laid-back country – your typical Aussie woman is pretty uptight. I suspect it has something to do with the heat.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
11:36
It’s a long article, but this is one of the best pieces on I’ve seen on weblogs and their relationship with mainstream media.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
13:12
Who in their right mind would want a screaming poo-machine on their desktop? I get enough of that at home!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
13:17
Ah, the sweet genius of tomsk. Bask in its glow with this great little drum’n’bass feature.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
13:42
Share in the miracle of the Amazing Elvis Pepper.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
16:41
Helping women to take a stand.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
16:44
Pakistan seem determined to flex their nuclear muscles. The US is planning to evacuate its citizens in the area. How does the old curse go? Oh, yeah:

“May You Live in Interesting Times”.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020530

Time
17:04
B3ta are getting awfully carried away with their little quiz thingies.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020531
Gnome News
Time
08:51
All but six of the 49 victims of a recent mass-kidnapping have been safely returned to their owners.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020531

Time
08:56
Hooray! Anti-abortion activists have taken to setting up webcams outside planned parenthood clinics. This wonderful site also includes information to help you be a better ‘Abortion War Correspondent’. Oh, happy day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020531
Big Brother 3
Time
16:40
Viewers of Big Brother will be more than aware of Alex’s recent lack of reliable bowel activity.

We’ve decided to take action!

Please help us in our campaign to unclog Alex’s bowels.








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

What Are You Doing On May the 11th? – A Douglas Adams Tribute


Douglas Noel Adams
March 11th, 1952 – May 11th, 2001

If you’re here reading this page, then it’s a fair bet that you felt an affiliation with DNA and have a vague notion that you might somehow wish to mark the anniversary of his passing. This being the case, it is also statistically likely that you have read every one of his books – or like at least to pretend that you have done so – and the first thought that you had upon hearing of his death was that you had always wanted to meet the man. (Don’t worry, you will.)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year already, but today – on the 11th of May – we have been without Douglas Adams for 365 Earth days. Many of us are hoping that he’ll return soon(ish), looking somewhat dishevelled and dismissing his absence with a mumbled reference to ‘tax reasons’. Others refuse to believe that he’s left us at all. Even the alt.fan.douglas-adams FAQ still refers to him in the present tense – but gone he is and gone he’ll stay. The very fact that not one but two releases (a video and a book) have been produced on schedule to mark the anniversary should be ample proof of this.

Many will remember DNA as a writer and author, some as a fervent follower of the Macintosh OS or a proponent of the intelligent use of communications technology. To others, he’s just this guy, y’know?

Because Douglas Adams meant a lot of different things to different people, it would be stupid to think that one universal act could amply convey how we all miss him. Instead, it’s probably best instead to use the primitive technology at our disposal to collectively turn our largely misplaced and selfish feelings of loss into something wonderfully random and, hopefully, positive.

The following is presented merely as the beginning of a possible list of likely suggestions that may go forward to committee. If you have additional suggestions, we welcome any input by email. You can forward this list to friends by copying and pasting the text into an email or simply linking to this page.

A List Of Possible Activities For May 11th

– Bang some rocks together.
– Do six impossible things before breakfast.
– Carry a towel with you at all times.
– Choose a car completely at random and follow it.
– Drop by and say hello to Zaphod Beeblebrox (who has been living in the Sydney suburb of Bexley since about 1983).
– Switch from a PC to a Mac.
– Turn your entire website black for the day. Make the background black, the images black, and the text black. Make a little black light blink once to let visitors know when they mouse over a hyperlink and twice to let them know when they’ve successfully followed it to a new (black) page.
– Throw yourself at the ground and miss.
– Get yourself a really nice digital watch.
– Go to a mythical place with a strange man.
– Let an important deadline pass (twice, if possible).
– Make up your own recipe for a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.
– Failing that, find a small lake that thinks it is a gin and tonic, then jump in and out of it.
– Use capital letters to Deal With Things you don’t have a good answer to.
– Finally convince that specific girl (that you’re not married to) that now might be a good time for her to actually read a Douglas Adams book.
– If anybody simply smiles and says “Oh yeah, ’42′”, hit them in the small of the back with a large and extremely disreputable cocktail party.

How To Add To This List

Simply send an email with your suggestion(s).








Posted in Geekage | Comments Off

01-15 May, 2002

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
Mustard Man II
Time
09:03
(DAY THREE)

Grand things are happening on the Mustard Man front. The first thing I noticed this morning was the top search result for ‘Mustard Man’ in Google. Dog bless them and their daily indexing. There’s more, but I have to dig through my email first, m’kay?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
09:11
Mustard Man rated 33 on Daypop before slipping off the charts. It’s currently #34 on Blogdex. We will find him, I know it in my heart.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
09:13
Check out this special event on the weekend of May 18-19. And it’s in a good cause, too. How touching.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
Flash Games
Time
09:20
If you’re into Lego, check out Junkbot (as blogged by the lovely Firda).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
09:33
The following wonderful people have supported us in our search for Mustard Man.

Fark

insignifica.org

chime.tv

toddfederman.com

Off On a Tangent

Juul!

Rankfish

The Ultimate Insult

bigsky.tk

Links are also coming in from about a dozen forums and message boards. Word is spreading. It’s only a matter of time, now…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
09:44
Snopes: the TV series. You know it makes sense. I’ve had to present fellow workers and webbers with a necessary clue-by-four in the form of a Snopes URL so many times it boggles the mind. Urban legends are not only seductive, they’re damn persistant. Having this kind of information fed to the masses via everyone’s favourite noisebox just has to happen. Please support it any way you can.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
ITV: DOA
Time
11:07
For those of you who missed it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
11:49
Feeling discombobulated? You need a culmative, or maybe one of these breakthrough medical devices

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
Christianity Watch
Time
11:53
Join the Jesus Massive, also known as the SWAT Team for Christ.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
Photoshopping
Time
11:55
This is an outstanding thread over at Fark. Words don’t begin to do it justice.

(Look out, it’s a big download…)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
Groovy Movies
Time
12:28
Funny. Very, very funny. (AVI file)

Yet another classic courtesy of punchbaby.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
12:38
Nintendo is recruiting gamers to play all day, every day – for $100 a day – as part of a special summer promotion. Not a bad job, so long as your thumbs hold out for the duration.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
12:44
Have fun being an air traffic controller. Coffee, Speed and No-Doze not supplied.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
May Day
Time
12:46
From urban75.com comes 15 Reasons To Be Angry. If this gets you worked up enough to get your skates on and get into town with the rest of the soap-dodgers, then please take the time to read the following legal advice. Looking at my watch, I can see that the Mayday in Mayfair event is just about to start.

Hmm, I can’t help but wonder how this one will turn out, especially considering what happened last year. You can tell that even Ananova are just waiting for something exciting to happen. After all, it has been a pretty slow news day so far.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
May Day (Again)
Time
13:15
No TV? Watch the police milling about in Oxford St, waiting for trouble live on webcam.

I’m hoping this dog will put in an appearance.

[UPDATE – The webcam I linked to above is suffering from a heavy load today. Funny that. Here’s a whole bunch of alternatives to help you follow the action in London.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501

Time
14:30
10 things you should learn before you leave school.

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Date
20020501

Time
14:47
The Dallas Morning News doesn’t like it when people deeplink – so, in the spirit of May Day

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Date
20020501

Time
14:55
Football, soccer, whatever you want to call it, it’s a sport for wimps. You want a man’s game? Try Aussie Rules.

John Hopoate, eat your heart out!

(If you enjoy this story, pop on over to the related Fark thread).

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Date
20020501

Time
15:47
When Mark Shuttleworth returns from space, everybody dress in Ape suits.

Pass it on.



It’s an old gag, BTW. You’ll find this short rundown of the original variants particularly informative and amusing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020501
Mayja Vu
Time
15:55
IndyMedia reports that 2,000 protestors are hemmed in at Trafalgar Square. The BBC webcam is mysteriously whited out, and the Camvista version is offline too. Earthcam is ‘temporarily offline for scheduled maintenance’. Yeah, and I bet I know who scheduled it. One can’t help but feel a little paranoid when this kind of thing happens…

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Date
20020501

Time
16:48
Attention, busy executives!

You can now enjoy Hamlet as a Powerpoint Presentation over a cup of coffee, and still have time to give your secretary a good seeing to before lunch.

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Date
20020502

Time
07:50
I caught our 4 year old, Jack, looking at a book waaaay after bedtime last night.

“Jack, you know you’re not supposed to be reading!”

“Dad, you know I can’t read!”

Ah, Yes. Touché…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020502

Time
07:55
Angry parents demanded the resignation of a California high school vice principal Tuesday because she lifted the skirts of teenage girls at a dance in front of men and male classmates to make sure they were wearing “appropriate” underwear. Also on CNN, those robots in disguise, Transformers, are making a comeback. No, the two stories are not interchangeable… (but if you like, you may now take a quick peak down your own trousers and check for mechanical parts or sensible underpants – if you have both, good for you).

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Date
20020502

Time
08:01
Deep Throat may finally be named. About a week after Linda Lovelace leaves us. Could one of the oldest jokes in politics be truer than anybody dared to believe?

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Date
20020502

Time
08:07
This is ‘the very best that the Internet has to offer’?

You might want to chip in and vote in the upcoming Webby Awards, even if a lot of the nominations are pretty lame. Yes, even All Your Base is there. The members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences obviously don’t get out much.

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Date
20020502

Time
08:13
I love the web. In fact, there are days when I could just kiss my monitor. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present the Velvet Elvis art collection.

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Date
20020502

Time
08:15
Bloggage will be light from here until about late afternoon. London awaits.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020502
Flash Games
Time
15:36
It’s time to look outside the blue square.

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Date
20020502

Time
16:05
May Dog bless my wife and keep her. She went out on a special trip today to secure a cold six-pack of Victoria Bitter (not an easy thing to do around here). For those not in the know, Fosters is regarded as the equivalent of cat’s piss in Australia. Up and down the eastern seaboard, the drink of the working clarses (oh, I say) is VB – and with good reason. They changed the name of the UK import for a while here, as the poms thought ‘bitter’ meant ‘bitter’. It doesn’t in this case. VB is the lager of choice for Aussie east-coasters, be you from NSW or Victoria (Queensland being a separate nation unto itself). On this, at least, these two small country town conglomerates can agree.

I have a cold can right next to me now. The sun is shining. All is right with the world. Halle(hic)lujah!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020503

Time
08:38
Australian prostitutes worn out by US sailors had to close up shop for a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down. In a completely unrelated story, 55 gallons of goat semen has been found abandoned in a US nature preserve .

[UPDATE – That boat full of US sailors is now headed for Tasmania.]

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Date
20020503

Time
08:44
It could happen!

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Date
20020503

Time
08:53
Warning: Importing.dbx files from a backup CD really, really screws up Outlook Express (as the buggers are classified as ‘read only’). Here’s the fix. Now to try and recover all of those ‘lost’ folders. Ho-hum.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020503

Time
08:56
Hollywood froths at the mouth, fearing a Napster-style movie trade.

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Date
20020503
Mustard Man II
Time
09:31
(DAY FOUR)

Could this be Mustard Man? I’ve heard from three people so far who insist that it is. We’ll see what proof I can dig up…

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Date
20020503

Time
10:34
Prosecutors said they will drop assault charges against a man who scuffled with two teenage boys he found hiding in his 13-year-old daughter’s bedroom closet. At 4a.m., no less.

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Date
20020503

Time
10:39
There’s a very popular link doing the rounds suggesting that the Simpsons may be axed. It would appear, however, that Matt Groening was mis-quoted. To the cynical, it may even appear that he just has a very clever publicist.

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Date
20020503

Time
11:58
Is HIV really the cause of AIDS? These people don’t seem to think so.

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Date
20020503

Time
12:02
Meet Jakob Nielsen’s fan club.

(A groovy link, as blogged by Smuj.)

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Date
20020503
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
12:08
How would you die in a horror movie?

Hmm, I’m not sure – but in my dream it always starts with the damn torch going on the fritz. By the way, if you ever hear scary music in the basement – GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE!

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Date
20020503

Time
12:56
According to this article, horses can’t vomit.

I beg to differ.

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Date
20020503
History Revised
Time
13:27
Some good work on this theme over at SomethingAwful.com, showing that they can come close to the sublime material at Fark. From time to time.

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Date
20020503

Time
15:09
Well, there’s something you don’t see every day – at least not here. I live in a nice little village out in the sticks. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. We all get along – most of the time. This afternoon, a team of tramps moved in (right outside the local off-licence, as it happens). They don’t have a dog on a piece of string, but they are bugging every local who walks by for spare change. I’m used to being confronted like this in London, but most of the locals don’t know how to react. It’s going to be very interesting watching how this pans out.

[UPDATE – The police came and moved them along quietly and firmly after about an hour. I’m sure it would have happened faster were it not the day after local council elections…]

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Date
20020503

Time
16:29
I’m just now opening the 2nd can from that six-pack of Victoria Bitter. Again, the sun is shining. I’m hoping that if I ration the beer, the weather will hold out.

PS – Thanks go to Adam, who pointed out that he gets to enjoy Victoria Bitter in the sun most days – living as he does erm, in Melbourne, Victoria. I’m not sure it quite classifies as living, though…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020506

Time
08:19
I honestly can’t tell you how happy I am that the French chose the crook over the Nazi. Even if Chirac is an arrogant bastard and a notorious fish-nuker.

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Date
20020506

Time
08:29
Yeah, I know it’s a Bank Holiday – but some of us have work to do. Besides, everybody knows that it’s going to rain all day today. I’d much rather work today and take Wednesday off when the sun comes out.

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Date
20020506

Time
08:34
A homeless graffiti artist is facing felony charges for writing the name ‘Jesus’ (and/or drawing a little fishie) all over a US town. Maybe they can give him a burger with the works and dig up a case for copyright infringement as well.

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Date
20020506

Time
08:40
Poking around the web, I can see that – apart from a cynical release or two – not a lot is being done to mark the 1st anniversary of Douglas Adams’ death (this coming Saturday, May 11th). I shall have to see what I can do to correct this oversight…

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Date
20020506

Time
15:13
The suddenly-popular suicide bombing game now has a slightly-slower-to-load mirror. My advice is to save a copy to your hard drive before it disappears into the ether.

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Date
20020506

Time
15:17
Swear your head off and win big prizes!

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Date
20020506
The Dotcom Goldrush Dustpile
Time
15:19
Ever find yourself wondering where all the money went?

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Date
20020506

Time
16:46
OK, I wrapped up my work at about 3:00pm – which gave me ample time to do this:

What Are You Doing On May the 11th?

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Date
20020506

Time
18:17
It’s not turning out to be good week for the far right. The Dutch right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn has been shot dead, according to the latest media reports.

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Date
20020506

Time
18:18
I just don’t get this. Ann Winterton, the Conservative shadow Rural Affairs Minister, has been sacked for telling a racist joke in a rugby club. In a rugby club! It just doesn’t make sense.

Why in heavens name would they allow a woman into a rugby club?

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Date
20020507

Time
08:43
A chap named Steve emailed regarding yesterday’s comments about women being permitted in rugby clubs, pointing out that his club, and many others, had women’s teams that ‘kick ass’. Erm, it was a joke, Steve.

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Date
20020507

Time
08:47
You’ve no doubt read or heard about the man who stole more than $20,000 worth of rare comic books, including a rare copy of the first issue of The Amazing Spider Man. Well, I’m sorry, but this story has more heart. And explosives.

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Date
20020507

Time
09:09
I don’t know how often you see this kind of thing over in the US, but in Australia and the UK we get a lot of Merkin ads that have been dubbed with local voice artists. Inevitably, they end up looking like a cross between a commercial and a bad kung-fu movie. One of the latest examples of this has been the Tampax ad where the hapless and hungry guy (who turns up for a date and does his best to eat his girlfriend out of house and home while she hurriedly gets ready), mistakes a conveniently wrapped tampon for candy. A new one that’s just gone to air, for Nivea deodorant, has yet another girl running late for her date and features the same shoddy V/O dubbing – with the same female V/O artist. If she’s not careful, she’s going to be stereotyped as the voice of hastily applied feminine hygiene.

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Date
20020507

Time
09:10
As sure as God made little green apples, he needed to create some kind of demand for them. Right?

No? OK, how about some candy instead?

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Date
20020507

Time
10:21
Hulk SMASH! There’s been a few links around lately for the online trailers for HULK: The Movie which reminded me of a little URL I’ve had floating around for a few weeks now. Ah, me – to blog or not to blog, that is the question…

Oh, OK, what the hell – but remember, this link is soooooooooo not safe for work. Hell, I wouldn’t even look at it whilst eating lunch if I were you. Check out this extremely twisted tribute to She-Hulk.

[UPDATE – Oh, looky. I’ve popped over to test the URL and all of the links to these highly questionable images are failing today. And here was me fretting about it all. Ho-hum. Drop by and visit another time if you must, but take my advice and don’t put the URL in your ‘favorites’ folder. It’s the kind of thing that can easily be misconstrued…]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020507

Time
10:32
Disgraced pop star Gary Glitter has been asked to leave Cambodia voluntarily.

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Date
20020507

Time
10:40
Now that’s a badge worth wearing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020507
Old Links
Time
15:08
She’s a chestnut all right, but you’d be surprised how many people without a high-bandwidth connection between their left and right lobes fail this classic test.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020507

Time
15:11
Investment guru Warren Buffett assures us that a nuclear terrorist attack on American soil is “virtually a certainty”. This other site has some interesting things to say about Canadians. Yes, I do believe there’s a connection.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020507

Time
21:00
A woman arranged the theft of her computer in a faked home invasion in a misguided attempt to stem her boyfriend’s thirst for Internet porn.

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Date
20020507

Time
21:57
Firda is expanding. I told her to cut back on the duckburgers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
07:12
Ladies and gentlemen, I await final confirmation, but I do believe that we have located Mustard Man. Confidence is high. I repeat; confidence if high. Watch this space.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
07:15
This has to be a joke, but at least it’s a tasteless one. Somebody has started an online petition protesting against director Peter Jackon’s ‘decision’ to name the LOTR sequel “The Two Towers” – and therein lies the subtle clue that yes, it must be a joke. Either that or our schools have well and truly failed us.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
07:31
Nice try, loser.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
07:36
A lot of role-playing forums seem to be linking to bloggerheads these days. Perhaps someone can tell me why.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
07:43
If you’re wondering where the promised case study for The MASH Quiz is, please let me assure you that it is on the way. Soon. One day.

At the moment, I can’t write it up because vastly differing – and evolving – results are still coming in. The little bugger spread from weblogs to forums a few weeks ago, and it’s still being ‘discovered’ by a new communities. Being the No. 5 result in Yahoo for the search query ‘MASH’ might have something to do with this, of course…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
07:51
Hollywood wishes to secede from Los Angeles – and they want to take their sign with them.

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Date
20020508
Life Imitates Ant
Time
07:55
(Well, bees, actually.)

Remember that ad for X-box with the buzzing, beating, musical insects? Well…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508
Star Wars Watch
Time
08:02
For those of you who really, really can’t wait another 10 days, here’s some poor quality bootleg footage that will surely only spoil the greater pleasure of seeing it all for the first time on the big screen. I saw an advance pirate of ROTJ and it ruined the film for me. This being the case, it was easy for me to resist the temptation – even with the Yoda fight footage on offer. How about you?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
10:55
You may remember the story we linked to a few weeks ago, where a woman was charged with ‘assault on a peace officer’ for throwing her cat at a policeman. Strangely enough, we can go one better today. A suspected robber has been accused of throwing his 1½-year-old son at a police dog to stop the dog from chasing him.

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Date
20020508

Time
10:59
Sometimes required reading can be very entertaining. If you’ve ever been frustrated by the dimwitted automatons that always seems to get jobs in bookshops, then have a read of this. Investigative journalism at its best.

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Date
20020508

Time
11:33
If you’ve read my article concerning questionable opt-in tricks, then you’ll have a pretty good idea of how much this titbit tickles me:

Egg have been regularly and repeatedly sending emails to those who have clearly opted out of receiving junk from them, with a message along the lines of; “Look, we know you opted out, but are you really sure you don’t want any emails from us? I mean, we have some pretty good deals an’ all.”

Netimperative has the story.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020508

Time
14:05
This is really weird. I’m in touch with not one, but two gentlemen who claim to be the man behind the mustard. I can’t publish my findings until this whole thing is cleared up, so please be patient. I know who is he is, I just don’t know which.

[UPDATE – A third Mustard Man has just entered the frey. This one can’t even spell his ‘own’ name, but it is getting very confusing…]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020509
Paws
Time
07:27
An oldie, but a goodie. As the blurb goes: “When cats walk or climb on your keyboard, they can enter random commands and data, damage your files, and even crash your computer”. Pawsense is a special bit of software that can detect cat-typing and block it before it does any serious damage. Right, like this is is going to stop one of the most evil and ruthless creatures in the world from destroying your hard drive….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020509
Laws
Time
07:35
Of the dumb variety.

In Australia, bars are required to stable, water and feed the horses of their patrons – and presumably not makes jokes along the lines of “Why the long face?”

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Date
20020509
Santa Claus
Time
07:43
Oh dear God, I’m blind! This is a concept so basic, so simple, and yet so evil – I simply can’t bring myself to describe it. I’ll just give you the URL and let you work it out for yourself:

www.santa-claus-porn.com

(not safe for work, obviously)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020509
War!
Time
07:48
Huh! Good God, y’awl. What is it good for? Well, it can be amusing when Japanese soldiers refuse to believe it’s over, or when Donald Duck wins an Oscar for propaganda.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020509
Pause
Time
07:59
Erm…

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Date
20020509
Doors
Time
08:04
Jehovah’s Witnesses want to knock on yours, even if it’s against the law.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020509
Straws
Time
08:08
The attack of, the tower challenge of and the popping of.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020509
Star Wars
Time
08:13
Discover the truth, as told by one brave man.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020509
Claws
Time
08:16
Madonna has them. Erm, and Popbitch reports this morning that “her Guy Ritchie film caused test audiences to gnaw their own arms off with boredom… her London stage debut is beset with cancellation rumours … and now reports of her latest album suggest that she’s going backwards rather than forwards”. I can’t wait to hear a new version of ‘Like a Virgin’.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020510

Time
09:01
Even better than yesterday’s Donald Duck propaganda link:

Dr Suess Went To War.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20020510

Time
09:02
Win your own weblog, as designed by Firda. If you’ve always wanted to run a blog, you won’t get a better start than this. Go to it.

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Date
20020510

Time
09:10
Give us this day our crispy crust, and deliver us from anchovies. A Seattle businessman is opening a pizzeria-church.

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Date
20020510

Time
09:14
So this is it. We’re all going to die.

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Date
20020510

Time
09:17
The B3ta Class of 2002. Only funny if you know which one I am. Erm, and contribute to B3ta.

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Date
20020510

Time
09:20
Behind the computer virus Klez.h lurks a nasty surprise. Update and scan now.

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Date
20020510
A letter to Private Eye
Time
10:21


Sir,

Has anyone noticed the increasing similarity between cakehole stuffer Jo Brand and Robert Smith of The Cure? Could they by any chance become related?

Yours, etc…

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Date
20020510

Time
10:26
The web is distracting. Well, duh. By the way, what are you doing here? Don’t you have work to do or something?

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Date
20020510

Time
10:27
Two Australians trekked from Siberia to the North Pole. Both suffered from frostbite and were threatened by a large polar bear. One nearly died when he fell through thin ice into near frozen water. What a pity they forgot to take the flag with them.

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Date
20020510

Time
10:34
Some thoughts on Australia by Douglas Adams. BTW, don’t forget that tomorrow is a very important day.

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Date
20020510
Viral Marketing
Time
10:42
The ‘subtlety’ of this campaign astounds me.

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Date
20020510
Star Wars Watch
Time
12:51
To get a PG rating in the UK, Fox had to cut one entire second from Star Wars II: Attack Of The Clones. It showed a head-butt. I’m hoping it’s not from the reportedly amazing Yoda fight scene.

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Date
20020513

Time
08:29
Mr Kipling does make exceedingly good cakes, but his flash games aren’t up to much.

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Date
20020513

Time
08:31
More attention for bloggers. We’re getting there. I dream of a day when I can say the word ‘weblog’ in a meeting and not have everyone go “Huh?!”

Revolution Magazine had a small piece on them a while back, but the next one is going to much, much more interesting.

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Date
20020513

Time
08:46
Forget backwards masking, digital facing is here.

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Date
20020513

Time
08:49
Hello, Newman. A US mail carrier has been fired and faces charges over dumping thousands of letters into a pond over the last several months.

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Date
20020513

Time
09:16
How to tell your child about oral sex. Not as easy as you think. For a start, all discussions regarding birds and bees are irrelevant.

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Date
20020513

Time
09:29
You know all those crap products you see on the shopping channel that seem waaaaaaaaay too good to be true? Here’s a guy who puts them to the test.

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Date
20020513

Time
09:33
The best beers in the world, ‘as ranked by real drinkers’ (they say). VB gets a disgraceful rating, but most of the reviews are by beer-snobs and people who don’t seem to have drunk the beer at all. One even described the taste as ‘bitter’, showing that he based his review entirely on the packaging.

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Date
20020513

Time
11:31
Sweets shaped like heroin syringes are causing concern among parents and MPs. Here’s the record of the related question put to the Prime Minister.

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Date
20020514

Time
08:22
I was going to email this article about corporate weblogs to Justin, Steve, and a whole bunch of other people – but I figured I’d just post it here with the inevitable: “told you so”.



If your company wants to approach the subject of weblogs, blah blah blah.

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Date
20020514

Time
08:28
Cats are evil, I tells ya. Eeeeeeeeeeevil!

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Date
20020514

Time
08:45
I’ve noticed when poking through the archives that a lot of the old news items disappear after a month or even a couple of weeks. Fair enough, server space costs money, after all, and not everybody is going to subscribe to an archive system just to see one article. They might throw some spare change into the tin, though. Too bad the major banks still haven’t got off their arses and initiated a decent micropayment system. You’d think we were still back in 1997 or something. Hmm, perhaps this can be the next project for Can Weblogs…?

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Date
20020514

Time
08:47
Come back, Ann Landers, all is forgiven!

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Date
20020514
Star Wars Watch
Time
09:02
Combining their love for Star Wars ‘and their love for each other’ (awwww), a couple were married last Saturday in a wedding based on a Star Wars theme. After they exited the church, the crowd yelled, “May the Force be with you!”

When you see the picture, you’ll have a fair idea of why the bride didn’t wear a metal bikini.

[Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Star Wars, here’s a rundown of the Skywalker family tree and 10 things we want to hear Samuel L. Jackson say in Star Wars…]

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Date
20020514

Time
11:46
Marc Needham is still looking for work. Maybe he ought to up the prize money.

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Date
20020514

Time
11:47
Under My Rock 3.0 has an interesting way of dealing with the frustration of spam. Rick not only mocks the sillier examples, but feeds the addresses from which they come to those loveable spambots in the process. (I haven’t got the heart to tell him that most of these email accounts will be dead by the time the bots get to them.)

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Date
20020514
Oldies but Goodies
Time
11:54
Have you ever wished that you could step into that classic picture of dogs playing poker and say ‘deal me in’? Wish no longer.

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Date
20020514
Weblogs (Again)
Time
13:15
Weblogs creep ever closer to the mainstream.

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Date
20020514
September 11th
Time
13:17
Well how about that, the FBI did have a clue. The tragedy seems to have been displayed on the US $20 note all along, too.

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Date
20020514

Time
13:26
5.2-magnitude earthquake hits San Francisco. Entire population shrugging it off registers as 3.5

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Date
20020515
Spamwatch
Time
08:54
The recent sharp upturn in spam is finally turning a few heads. Things like street spam are on the rise, too – and it gives me no joy to know that the spammers themselves are being ripped off. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Some harsher punishments for those who are the true source of the Spam wouldn’t go astray. Educate/help the users, go for the bloody dealers. They shouldn’t be able to get away with stuff like “OK, here’s your spam script and your spam tools, now don’t spam, m’kay?”.

This kind of a thing is a scam, pure and simple. They send Joe Bloggs over the top – who suffers most of the punishment, if any – while they gain what little benefit there is out of the exercise and legally withhold payment for the service rendered.

Excerpt from The Porn Report:

“Think of it as trying to keep a damp barbeque alight by throwing lit matches at it. A dozen or so matches aren’t going to help at all, but once you start throwing hundreds or thousands of little flames at it, you have real bonfire going. That doesn’t help you much, because you’re just one match. You light up and burn yourself out – and for what?”

Of course, given the UK government’s tolerance of the fax spam scam (providing a premium rate number as an ‘unsubscribe’ method, I mean really…) and their ongoing ignorance and inaction regarding all things networked, I don’t think we can even expect any help on the home front anytime soon.

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Date
20020515

Time
09:02
Why live your dreams when you can share your nightmares?

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Date
20020515

Time
09:08
Check out this guy who chooses to spend his time baiting some poor woman from Ghana. I mean, all she wants is a visa, and she is willing to have his ‘babby’.

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Date
20020515

Time
09:11
In a similar vein to All About My Vagina (sorry, maybe I could have put that better):

All About My Penis.

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Date
20020515

Time
14:44
New Zealand scientists trying to curb their country’s influence on global warming are starting with a crackdown on burping sheep.

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Date
20020515
Oldies but Goodies
Time
14:46
Tempted to play with radioactive materials? In your Mum’s shed perhaps?








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