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19/4/2003: Vitriol, and its everyday uses

There are few things that I hate with a real passion in this world. Sure, I'll claim a powerful hatred of Americans, evangelists, and so forth, but really these people are just easy targets. It's the internet equivalent of kicking the living shit out of a frail, elderly person who's not only partially comatose, but unable to move for fear of breaking the antique vase perched perilously upon their forehead.

However, there is one exception I make to above rule. Referent informational influence. This is a collection of long words that describe something that I've been annoyed by for the last 10 years, but have only found the words to express a few months ago, as part of my AS-psychology.

Essentially, this is what happens when a person doesn't really know what to do in an unfamiliar situation, and so, they copy the actions of others whom they've witnessed performing this same action. Now, historically, this was just fine and dandy. Homo Erectus-junior wouldn't know quite what to do with himself, but he'd seen Homo Erectus-senior slaughtering deer, roasting it on an open fire, then going off to rape and pillage in the village across the valley in the evening, so that was the right thing to do, 'cause that's normal, right? Hell yes.

However, that was then, and this is now. Now we've got some problems. Two key problems, in fact. First, there comes a point in this life, where the cathode ray tube strapped to the length of tin teaches us that learning stuff from Erectus-senior is no longer acceptable. It doesn't really specify where it is acceptable to learn from, which generally results in one of two things. Either, all the Erectus-juniors try learning from each other, which is about as effective as having a stimulating conversation with a ham 'n' cheese toasty or a hardcore football fan, or they make the logical leap that if copying -senior is wrong... then doing the opposite must be right! Problem solved!

From here stems one of the most irritating personality types to ever walk this earth: the anti-conformist. This is the kind of person who grows a haircut in which small ecosystems could be concealed, attaches as large a quantity of metal to their person as possible, and listens to terrible grunge bands because, uh, my parents would hate them, right? Too right, and with good reason. And the worst thing is, this sort of person thinks himself an individualist, despite having a subculture devoted exclusively to his style of behaviour. I mean, we've all heard the phrase, right? "I want to be an individual, just like everyone else"? It's usually the anti-conformists saying it, yet not one of them turns it on themselves. It's like the Pope blaming religious fundamentalism for the ills of the modern world, or Graham Norton referring to someone as 'a right poofter.'

[So according to you these people conform to a movement called anti-conformism. That's pretty fucked up. -YZ]

Still, as annoying as the anti-conformist might be, they're positively delightful examples of humanity when compared to the alternative. This is what happens when Erectus-junior, having just learnt of how he should denounce those aged over 30 from his Truth Viewer (Panasonic, 18", 299 from Jungle.com), makes the only logical leap worse than simply doing the opposite to Erectus-senior: "TV will show me the way."

There's no name for these people, but they're easy to spot, all around us, every day. They're the 10-year-old girls who loudly boast about their boyfriends, on the grounds that all their favourite characters on imported American doctrine-TV have them too. They're the cretins who talk as if they're commentating on a Third Division football match, even in everyday conversation. They're the people who pay more attention to advert breaks than the programs that annoyingly interrupt them. They're the people taught the Correct Interests, the Correct Way to Look, and the  Correct Behavioural Style and Mannerisms. And I hate 'em all.

Hate 'em.

However, all is not lost. You too can help. Ask a friend just why they're doing what they're doing. Stamp the 'individual like everyone else' phrase on a few foreheads. Slap a fashion writer round the face. Egg a celebrity. Firebomb an American TV station. Make creative use of the Compton Effect. Become controller of a major TV station. Hell, become Prime Minister, and pass a law proclaiming that anybody found behaving according to the will of marketing executives and media moguls must spend three months undergoing the Warm Marmalade Torture.

Just don't tell anyone I said that. Christ, would I look strange! I mean, what would people think?

18/4/2003: 200 Become 1

I love short stories, don't you? Here's another one.

Oh, and happy Easter or some shit.

17/4/2003: Tall Order

Sometimes I hate being 6'4".

It's impossible to find someone you can look up to.

As (I would hope) you know, I've been a bit down lately because of the barbed spearhead of ice someone has inconsiderately left in the small of my back. My world for the last few days has been one of pure chaos and pain, in that respect not unlike the other dimension in the film 'Event Horizon'. Except, of course, I haven't pulled my eyes out yet and I'm not Sam Neill.

Being tall has left me with a number of problems over the years. Some time ago I was on painkillers for a while 'cos my feet were growing faster than the tendons within could catch up, and now a lifetime of stooping under low doorways has left me with a spine like a well-used Elven longbow.

Thanks to my appalling long-term memory blotting out most of my childhood, I can't remember ever being small. I've always felt like a pair of eyes perched at the top of the tallest flagpole, staring down at a distant pair of unpolished shoes. Every item of clothing I have is too small. Even the arms of my trenchcoat come half-way up my wrists when I reach up, and my trenchcoat has been known to swallow smaller people whole.

Well, I am beginning a plea on behalf of tall people. I want all of us to be sterilised without delay, so hopefully we can cut 'tall' DNA out of the genepool altogether and not curse any forthcoming children with the ignominy of height. Also, I want all 'shorties' to start carrying axes or chainsaws so that existing tall people can be swiftly and conveniently relieved of their curse.

For the benefit of my fellow humans, I also submit the following article.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU'RE TALL

- You're given the nickname 'Lofty' when you're conscripted into the Armed Forces.

- You find it easier to get employment in workplaces with very high shelves.

- You sometimes feel as if you should have beans growing on you.

- Your head is a mass of bruises from banging it on ceilings, and you live in a cathedral.

- On a clear day, you can see France.

- You feel curiously at home in Giant Redwood forests.

- The lyrics of the song "Short People" by Randy Newman make you feel paranoid.

- You have difficulty seeing things because of the cloud layer.

- People have been known to use you as a navigational aid.

- You have to get someone to shout "TIMBER!" every time you need to bend over.

- When you wear an illuminated miner's helmet, astronomers have to update all their star charts.

- You earn a living performing dentistry on giraffes.

- You use full-length dress mirrors to see how your shoes look.

- People come up to you and say "My, you're very tall."

16/4/2003: Emocentric

[Feeling a bit better today. Here's two more Angular Mike strips and a guest update.

-YZ]

In the process of finishing high school, I learned many things. I learned a crapload of math. I learned what molar mass is. I know that if I get the slightest impression that a girl is a crazy sexually harassing bizzatch I should immediately stab her through the eye. Also, I am a better writer due to a particularly good advanced placement English class in my third year. However, out of the many things I learned through my own pointless mistakes, one stands out as the most important. I wish to share my knowledge with those who are not yet done with high school so they can avoid the hardships I faced.

Never, for any reason, be emo.

For those of you who don't know, emo started at some point in the mid 90s when some very stupid, terrible band sat down together and said "Hey, you know what would be good? If we take punk rock, then take out all of the aggression and fun, and replace it with whining about being sad and alone and whiny! Only we won't even try to have dignity, we'll just burst into tears at random to show how much we suck ass." I've included a picture that I drew of an emo kid as google image search just kept giving me sprite comics, sites about how emo sucks, and anime fanart.

[INSERT PICTURE HERE]

[Ask nicely. -YZ]

Seriously, I can’t understand how this is a successful subculture, but it obviously is because I can’t go for a walk without seeing at least three skinny white grimy kids who cut their own hair and maximize their sadness in the hope of being loved, only not loved enough to make them not sad. After they’re done wandering around in the general area I walk in to piss me off, they go home, cry, and then update their livejournals with posts consisting of nothing but song lyrics from bands that make up for their lack of popularity by being sad. This is even shittier than my existence, which basically consists of writing things I hope are funny, wandering around, watching terrible movies, and not having sex. But I don’t have a subculture based on this that’s horribly popular and has a name. Emo does. Why? The answer of course, is pro-emo propaganda.

Now, the fact is, there is a lot of pro-emo propaganda going around. I’m going to make a brief list of the pro-emo lies, and the reasons that they are obviously wrong.

EMO LIE #1: Being Emo will get you girls because girls like sensitive guys and there is nobody more sensitive than an emo guy.

REASON IT IS OBVIOUSLY WRONG: Once, my friend and I were both in the general area of this girl. I was sort of ignoring her, and he was being nice and a good listener. Then, I said, “Fuck you, Insert Name Of Girl! You’re a stupid whore!” She immediately tried to become all adorable at me to win my favor. Then we made fun of her. This is a completely true story. Girls like assholes. Everybody knows that – even emo guys. In fact, it’s the number one thing emo guys cry about. Also, there are eight hundred bajillion emo guys for every fifth of an emo girl, and the few emo girls who actually exist don't associate with emo guys, because if they were in a good relationship they wouldn't be able to cry constantly, and thus they would cease to be emo.

Come to think of it, this is actually the only pro-emo propaganda I can think of, making this less of a list and more of a thing. I suppose emo kids are too busy crying and being lameasses to have good recruiting techniques.

Really, emo is best defined like this - To qualify to be emo, you are required to cry all the time, be in terrible physical condition, look like crap, and be hated by everyone. What are the benefits to being emo? You get to be sad and alone, look like crap, and be hated by everyone. Do the math - being emo is totally not worth it, and by totally not worth it I mean it has no benefits because it sucks.

14/4/2003: Begone Wit' Ye

Okay, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to update the site every day this week, if at all. Don't take it too personally, though; I haven't been writing my second novel, or working on my Duke TC, or making Angular Mike strips, either. Why? Well, I am currently suffering from immensely crippling oh-god-shoot-me-now-and-end-this-torment backache. My doctor calls it muscular-skeletal strain and has put me on ibuprofen, and I can't bear to slouch in front of my computer for very long before needing to go and lie down. So I may give this week a miss, or upload guest updates, or just do the occasional Angular Mike strip.

Speaking of which, and in order to prevent disquiet among the troops, I've uploaded all the strips I've done so far to keep you satisfied in case I do end up keeping quiet all week. They're on the usual Angular Mike page. Six new strips. If you like, just read one a day and pretend each of them is an update.

I'll see you when I see you.

Updates Archive

All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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