Solid Sharkey
Weebl and Bob
8-bit Theatre


Updated Every Weekday!

6/12/2002: New Writing Skills!

Dark-hued clouds huddled over the city. It rained. This did not happen often in Confederate City. For the last few years, a drought had plagued the city and the surrounding area, and now food supplies had to be shipped in from other states.

The Confederacy was large, covering most of what had once been called Europe. Its century-long existence, back to 2010, had been a hard one. Since the Charter had been created, effectively turning the then European Union into one large country, the Confederacy had had to cope several minor-disasters and world-scale issues, from the terrorist attacks on Paris, which had blown away half the city and turned it into a war-zone, to the ever-encroaching threat of global warming, already making northern South America and equatorial Africa into wastelands unsupportive of human life. But the last few years, they had been the hardest. The droughts had come to the Central Confederate States, and with them hardship. The economy had suffered - the once arable soil that had grown vast quantities of food could no longer be used for farming, and the crops, which had once been exported from the Outer States across the Atlantic to the US, now had to be diverted to feed the larger major cities: Brussels, Warsaw, Rome, Berlin and, to a slightly lesser extent caused by loss of travel routes, Paris.

But the people knew that these rains would not last, and their precious water stores would not help the land to reawaken, barely replenishing the aquifers for a few months. Children danced and played in the streets, screaming with joy at this new wonder - a sky blue as night at noontime. The youngest would not remember the good times, the oldest would barely remember when trees were moisturised leafy green, not baked dark brown.

The clouds opened, and brought forth flashing lightning, spearheading down towards the buildings. And on one rooftop, a man stood, staring upwards, smiling.

In case you can't tell, I'm trying to do some original writing at the moment, and I wanted to know what you guys out there thought. I know it's not much of an update, but what the hell. I did some other stuff a while ago, for school. What you think?

The tyres screeched against the road; they hadn't been made for speed our truck was moving at. J squatted, reloading before the other gang came around the bend. I reloaded my shotgun with some needle cartridges. Freddy had done it again. He'd promised us exclusive guns and ammo for the protection money he owed, and all the time he'd been selling them to the other gangs as well. When we were done I swore I'd get payback. I didn't know what was about to happen.

[Space didn't give me any images for this update, so here's a picture of a tractor.
- Yahtzee]

The two old squad cars came screaming around the bend in the roadway. Rumour had it the parts had been scavenged from across the whole city. Whatever they'd done with them, they hadn't kept the design. The only things left to show they'd been squad cars were the lights and sirens. The bodywork had been repainted blue on the most part, with some black designs to denote the gang, although the whole city knew to whom the cars belonged. Red shouted to her gang. Our gang. She'd only been leader for a few months but she was easily a better leader than old gunner. She knew better how the city worked, all its intricacies; she was a third generation undersider while Gunner had been second generation. He'd grown up with the stories from his parents. Stories of how things were better in the old days. When you could still see the sun and the stars from the streets. He'd always let his imagination run away with him, always been slightly distracted at the worst times. She wore her old, red, skin-tight leather jumpsuit, covered with ammo clips and knives. Her hair flowed down her back in the deep auburn of her long curls.

Someone responded to her orders and swung around the rail-mounted gatling gun that Spanners had fixed up to the back of the truck. J stood and fired his clip, then ducked as another volley of fire neared. I grabbed the Gatling gun and let rip as best I could. I hit maybe two gunmen; the armour plating on the truck had been cut with two small gaps - one to aim through, just wide enough to see out of, and one to fire through, just big enough for the end of the gun barrel. It had taken a lot of getting used to.

Two bikes flew out of alleyways up ahead. I recognised the riders. They were ours. One had somehow carried a rocket launcher, and aimed while I tried to work out how. I watched almost in disbelief as a rocket flew passed and took out one of the cars with a blinding flash of orange-white fire. The other biker pulled out a couple of grenades, pulling the pins and revving his bike as he passed, he dived towards the remaining car. Someone on board must have seen him and fired off a shot, as he fell into a wall with a scream.

Another siren joined the solitary car. I stopped firing, knowing well what the siren heralded. From a street behind the squad car came a large, blue-black motif bus. Volley after volley of gunshots hailed towards us from the roof of the bus. I fired back. I must have hit someone, because they fire momentarily stopped. J leapt from cover and fired in a blind rage. If he'd known what his actions would cause, he would not have been so rash. I noticed he held someone else's pistol, and that's when I saw the body on the decking. It was Finn, one of the youngest gangers. He was nearly fifteen. His head had exploded around his right eye, leaving a gooey mess of flesh, blood and brains in a crater of bone. His chest had been hit too, leaving a hole in the green jacket he was wearing. He hadn't asked to borrow it. It would take me a week to get the stain out. I continued to fire, but the gun jammed. I reloaded the shotgun but found I needed another shell. I turned to J and yelled. I can only remember the gruesome death of my best friend in a hideous slow motion account, which still makes me sick in my stomach. His head turns slowly and his mouth opened to reply. A bullet must've hit him because his head exploded, spraying its contents all around. They only come like that when Freddy makes them. Damn Freddy.

Slow motion play resumed and J fell in a crumpled heap.

Comments? Mail me or post on the boards or something.

[Here's a comment for ya. Write fiction if you like, but at least make it FUNNY!


5/12/2002: Do They Know It's Christmas Time

My Lance and Eskimo chums have apparently made this week Christmas Wishlist Theme Week, and who am I to go against my L&E chums? Go have a gander at Yahtzee's Christmas Wishlist.

That's all for me until Monday. Tomorrow I will leave you in the capable hands of messr. Spacemonkey, whose turn it is to do the weekend update. Your assignment is to patronise him rigid, and to buy a tandem bicycle before 2006.


4/12/2002: Armageddon Outta Here

So, it seems that the ever-newsworthy Bible Code has been stirring up the masses again. Apparently it predicted the attack on the Twin Towers and a global nuclear holocaust in 2006. To me, this heaps more doubt on the truthfulness of the Bible. Maybe saying that is like worrying about the state of my living room carpet after my entire house has been demolished, but I'm sorry, I think it does.

Anyway, armageddon. A massive nuclear exchange. America is the obvious target, so you can strike that off the map. The Middle East will get its fair share of retaliatory big bang bangs. I guess that leaves the rest of us with a post-apocalyptic nightmare world where governments have been cast down and tribes of gangs roam the surface of our ruined world looking for fights.

Sounds like fun!

Call me a complete divvy if you like, but I'm kind of looking forward to being bombed back into the dark ages. The modern world is a corrupt and foolish one. A thousand years ago all you needed to get to France was a boat and a big stick to hit anyone who objected. Nowadays you need papers and visas and passports and blah de blah de blah. A post-apocalyptic nightmare world would mark an end to the bureaucracy that has a stranglehold on us all.

Remove your mouse from this image. I have no additional amusing comment to make.

To make sure everyone is prepared, here's my survival guide for living in a post-apocalyptic nightmare world.

- The best vehicle you could possibly have is a tandem bicycle. Since petrol will be in short supply and electricity likewise, man-powered vehicles are best, and tandems carry more than one person. You could ride a horse if you like, but last time I checked you don't have to let tandem bicycles stop for a rest and a drink of water and a mouthful of hay. If you find yourself owning a tandem bicycle come Judgement Day, take it with you into your radiation shelter and hang onto it with both hands. Oh sure, the roaming tribes might think your tandem looks totally gay, but you'll have the last laugh when all the fuel has disappeared, they're selling their motorbikes for scrap and you're still pedalling into the sunset. If you have a pump, this can also be handy for braining people who have stuff you need.

- Don't spend too much time in the radiation-poisoned bits of the world, the Poisoned Lands or the Cursed Earth or whatever we decide to call it. While there is certainly the possibility that you will receive superpowers or grow a third arm or something, it's probably more likely that you'll die a nasty, nasty death.

- As tempting as it may be to hide indefinitely in your radiation shelter, remember that while it does an efficient job of keeping roaming tribes and howling radioactive winds out, it is also very difficult to get decent mobile phone signals.

- Never trust people who own tandem bicycles and who come to you asking nicely for something you have while holding a pump. If this happens, tell them their tandem is totally gay with such penetrating incisiveness that they will instantly agree and beg you to take it off their hands. Then brain them with the pump.

Nor here, either. You're just wasting my time and yours.

- If you have a mobile phone, remember that since the electricity is down you will not get a chance to recharge it. Use it only when absolutely necessary. Calls to friends or family to see if they are still alive is not recommended - go questing for them instead. Questing is the best way to acquire XP and special items. Also note that it is highly likely that Domino's Pizza will no longer have a 'deliver anywhere' policy after their shops are looted.

- Eventually someone will invent a new currency. This may be in the form of jewellery, milk bottle tops, or even existing coins. Make sure your radiation shelter has plenty of everything that could conceivably become currency at some point, and that you have some form of contact with the outside world. Imagine the embarrassment after you emerge after the fallout has drifted away to find that someone is making an offer for your tandem bicycle, and you are forced to admit that you had no idea empty condom packets were so valuable now.

- Empty condom packets are ideal for making your very own teabags. Fill them with tea, seal up the end, and puncture the side five hundred times with a pin. The tribes that roam what's left of the United Kingdom will make you their hero. Remember to wash the condom packets out before using them for this application - while spermicide may conceivably give the tea an exciting new flavour, it's probably best to play safe.

- If you strike lucky and find a reasonably healthy cow, sit down and ask yourself if you would prefer a regular supply of milk or a week's worth of meat. You may want to appear macho in front of your roaming tribe friends, but remember that you can get a week's worth of meat out of them whenever you like, and a good supply of milk is hard to find.

- If the ice caps melt and your post-apocalyptic nightmare world is totally flooded, it is important to try not to evolve gills. While practical, they can frighten and confuse people. People with weapons.

- Also note that tandem bicycles will look totally gay AND be completely useless in a flooded world.

So, now we're all prepared for our glorious pseudo-medieval society, I say let the bombs fly! If anyone needs me, I'll be hiding in a bank vault.

3/12/2002: Let it Flow

The lovely Robin 'SkinnedAlive' Bagust was kind enough to make me a guest flowchart so I could skip writing an update! He is my new best friend.

It's quite big so I won't put it here on the front page. Click here to read it!

2/12/2002: Contraceptive Curiosities

So, I'm lying awake in bed one morning, wondering what I will write about today, and my eye falls upon a small box of condoms I keep optimistically at my bedside. 'Durex extra safe', it says, and under that, '100% Electronically Tested'.

And I began to wonder exactly what the fuck that meant.

A little history here. The condom was invented by some bloke called Condom who discovered that the penis was offered some protection if a piece of sheep's gut is stretched around it. How exactly he came to this discovery is at best a matter for conjecture, but the point is he made it, and we must try not to let speculations about his personal life cloud our judgement of the man.

To reiterate: what the fuck does 100% Electronically Tested mean?

Actually, when you think about it, the condom was bound to get invented sooner or later. It follows your scientific procedure of necessity followed by experimentation. We as a species needed a way of doing the nasty without having to worry about those tiresome babies. A little rubber jacket for Mr. Perkins would seem obvious. If a Catholic android went back in time to assassinate Mr. Condom someone else would no doubt have come up with it, like, say, someone called Mr. Johnson, and we'd all be calling condoms Johnsons. Or maybe a corporation would invent it and give it a name like The Miraculous Willysock, and we'd all be calling it that. The problem that arises with condoms, or Johnsons, or willysocks, however, is this: if the latex is too thin it splits too easily. If it's too thick then it lessens the experience. The inventors should therefore be credited, as they somehow found a way to make a condom that was in danger of splitting AND lessened the experience.

So, what the fuck does 100% Electronically Tested mean?

He does seem suspiciously happy for someone whose job it is to have willies put in him all the time.

I guess, since the condoms are made of rubber, and therefore insulate electric current, you could put them on your hands and feet and try to climb over an electric fence to see if it insulates well. But frankly, I can't see how being a good electric insulator would also mean it would be a reliable sperm-halting device. Do sperms have their own electric charge? If so, that is the coolest thing I have ever heard. Maybe I could find a way to get bitten by a radioactive sperm and acquire amazing lightning powers. I would call myself SPUNKMAN, and destroy the bad guys while they're busy laughing.

Of course, you couldn't let a human put condoms on their hands and try to climb an electric fence, because if the condoms are found to be faulty, that human will fucking die. Obviously they use animals for this stage in the testing process.

SCIENTIST A: Okay, we've got a new batch to test today. Bring me that live mouse.

SCIENTIST B: Boy, Scientist A, I sure do love putting mice in condoms, don't you?

SCIENTIST A: Indeed, Scientist B. However, do remember to take the mouse out before you put the condom back in the production line. We wouldn't want a repeat of that little incident.

SCIENTIST B: We sure don't!

SCIENTIST A: There we go, the mouse is inside the condom. Write that down. I am now going to place the mouse in the test chamber and allow it to climb the electric fence.

SCIENTIST B: Righto. How's it doing?

SCIENTIST A: Hmm. It seems to have suffocated and died before it could reach the fence.

SCIENTIST B: Not again!

SCIENTIST A: Yes, it's a curious thing. Out of every single mouse we have placed in condoms, 100% of them have suffocated and died. If only I could work out the connection!

SCIENTIST B: Maybe we could put a little hole in the condom for the mouse to breathe through?

SCIENTIST A: Scientist B, you're brilliant! Get R&D on the phone! Tell them to change all their blueprints!

SCIENTIST B: We don't have a phone, Scientist A!

SCIENTIST A: Don't we?

SCIENTIST B: No, don't you remember? They told us to go in this room and put mice in condoms, then they locked the door and we haven't been let out since 1993.

SCIENTIST A: Hmm. Perhaps the answer to this conundrum is to ... put more mice in condoms!


I'm sure this little voyage of discovery has been eye-opening to all of us. Bye bye everybody. Bye bye.

2/12/2002: Little Computer Shitheads

First of all, it seems I accidentally deleted the link to my Evil Dead game review from last week's update page. So in case you missed it, here it is again.

Recently I've been rediscovering a game which was very popular in its day. A C64 rom named Little Computer People. Well, in all honesty, to call it a 'game' would be like calling a toothbrush a 'dental broom'. You'd be technically correct, but you'd be kind of playing it up. There isn't much in the way of an interactive element.

LCP is kind of like The Sims, if you couldn't change any of the furniture and the Sims only did what you told them to when they felt like it. And if the Sims were about twelve pixels tall and walked very slowly. And if you could only have one per house. And if they kept wanting to play card games all the time. So it's not that much like the Sims, then.

Not one to shirk a challenge, I booted up the game (I'll just call it a game from now on for simplicity's sake). First thing I noticed is that these ungrateful little suckers live in a much better house than I do. Fully furnished, with fitted kitchen and bathroom, separate computer room and TV room and living room. They don't do an ounce of work and spend the whole day wasting time. I have a feeling I should be charging these freeloading little tits rent for living in my computer, especially if I'm providing a luxury mansion. The manual takes itself very seriously, and says that whenever my computer doesn't work, it's really a little computer person inside clamouring for attention. In that case, shouldn't I be laying down rat poison, rather than keeping one as a pet?

How about a game I like to call, "let's all stick our heads in the oven"?

Anyway, my little computer person entered the door, looking like he's fresh from his day job of delivering pizzas, and walks with agonizing slowness across the floor. He goes up a flight of stairs, then another, then walks straight to a filing cabinet and asks what game I want to play. There are only options for Anagrams, Card War and Poker. There is not a 'SHUT THAT STUPID DRAWER AND DO SOMETHING ENTERTAINING, YOU LITTLE BASTARD' option, so I go for Anagrams. Then he spends another bazillion years taking the game down to the kitchen table.

"I am thinking of a word," he says. "Here it is all jumbled up". And then the anagram. Why this game requires a box to put it in I do not know. This would be kind of like buying, actually paying money for a boxed 20 Questions game. Knowing my luck there probably is one of those out there. Anyway, I do a few anagrams, and I'm pretty certain he's using foreign words at one point, then tell him I'm bored and he devotes another eon to taking the game all the way back up to the filing cabinet in the attic.

At this point the little red dog that runs around runs over to his bowl and gives me a hurt look, so I bring up the typewriter thing and type 'PLEASE FEED THE DOG'. Yes, the LCP really do respond to your typed suggestions, if they understand them, and if you ask nicely, and if they feel like obeying. My little pizza delivery boy looks at me, nods, and takes about a week putting dog food in the bowl, by which point the dog is sitting by the empty fireplace with a hurt look on his face, so I ask my little friend to 'PLEASE LIGHT THE FIRE'. He responds by walking up to the attic and asking if I would like to play another card game.

I placate the little bastard with Card War, and then pause to write my second novel while I wait for him to sit back down in the kitchen. Card War basically involves us both picking a card, and whoever's has the highest value wins. Once again I wonder why this game came in a big yellow box, then reasoned we were probably playing with cards the size of tablemats.

He still isn't listening to me.

At this point I decide to try out some of the keyboard commands I found in the instructions. Tab-P, I learn, allows you to pet your LCP. I wonder if this would be an enriching experience, so I ask him to come down to the living room where I can pet him. I press the keys, and a hand extends from the wall and fondles his neck. Instantly a frown appears on the little git's face - frankly I don't blame him - and it's only after a couple of hundred games of Card War that he cheers up. I'd be buggered if I was going to play Poker with this twat.

The dog is looking morosely at his bowl again, so I get my little twat to fill it up with choice meaty chunks. The dog runs over to it, examines the treat I laid out for him, and looks at me pitifully. Apparently he didn't REALLY want to be fed again. And no matter how many times I type 'PLEASE KICK THAT LITTLE SHIT', my little man refuses to comply. I think they're in on this together.

After another wasted hour trying to find the correct way to phrase 'PLEASE DIE', I gave up and closed my emulator. On the whole, I found the experience exhausting and deathly dull. But hey, people like going to the opera. I give it a 3 out of 10, and that's for the pretty pictures.

Updates Archive

All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved and other legal bollock language