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26/7/2003: A Future History

Time for another tired concept to be flogged to within an inch of its life: the future timeline of the internet. They’re like a certificate of authenticity for humour sites – nobody will take you seriously without one. Being the charitable soul I am, I shall provide this one free of charge:

March 2004 – The 2004 edition of the Collins dictionary includes the ‘word’ “lol”, defining it to mean “I am laughing, but lack the typing speed to express this in more than three letters.” People begin to use it in conversation in the place of conventional laughter, which eventually becomes a sign of being behind the times. Around the same time, there is a marked rise in murderous rampages, which police put down to the average overly-sensitive lunatic’s inability to tell a “ha ha ha, you’re so stupid” lol from a “you’re quite the comedian, Frank” lol.

July 2005 – As a natural progression of the ‘lol’ phenomenon, a cult emerges in Hamburg, Germany, in which the followers renounce the use of varying tone of voice, preferring to speak in monotone, or, in the most extreme factions, pass each other notes in preference to speech. Though cultists are initially mocked for their obvious lack of social adjustment, certain fragments of the group turn out to be excellent marksmen thanks to Counterstrike addictions. Whilst several Sierra factories are burned to the ground in reactionist riots, the damage has been done. People are terribly nice to cultists after that.

Feb 2008 – Bill Gates succeeds in implanting an IEEE-1394/FireWire port into his forehead, plugs in an ADSL modem, and summarily declares himself “at one with the internet”. Bill never regains consciousness, but brainscans reveal seething activity, along with a database of pornography that causes several scanning technicians to go weak at the knees and take a two-week holiday. The remainder of the information, however, remains a mystery to the investigators.

Jun 2012 – A small group of Bill’s friends try to tempt him back out of the internet and into his corporeal form by hacking into a number of major Fortune 500 companies’ websites and inserting “Powered by Apple; Best Viewed with Netscape” graphics. Bill, however, calls their bluff, and several of his former friends require therapy after their computers spontaneously redesign themselves so that their sole capability is to display a continuous slideshow of Bill in various compromising poses.

Mar 2014 – A small starship reaches Alpha Centauri, built by the Chinese. The US summarily melts the planet, because, as then-President Johnson said, “We claimed diplomatic victory last year.”

Jul 2016 – A brief, world-wide power surge is observed, causing widespread destruction of unprotected electronics. This is initially a mystery, but logs kept on several science stations show a large pulse of energy aimed at a distant, previously un-noticed star. As far as can be determined, the pulse encodes the complete content of Bill Gates’ mind, and indeed, he is found dead hours later. The best minds on Earth are baffled as to his purpose, but they send a note of apology and a poster saying “DO NOT BUY FROM THIS MAN” along the same trajectory just to be safe.

Unfunny, you say? Well, I could’ve told you that 10 minutes ago. Check back in 2 weeks time when I’m mentally firing on all cylinders. [I'll remember that. -YZ]

25/7/2003: Some Things

1. I have two Angular Mike guest strips so far, and I am hungry for more! Raar! I'll probably put 'em up when I have four or five, or more. So have a crack and send one to me! They're not that hard! Just don't all submit one centred around the Invisible Hentai Girl.

2. Thanks to Isaiah Glatz for sending me the Arthur Yahtzee games. I had to get someone else to send me games I designed myself. I should really learn to organise. Anyway, I spent some time playing them and cringing at how crap I was at art and humour in those days, then made them their own, somewhat minimalist page. Why not download them and realise how far I've come since their creation?

3. This week's article: Of Shampoo Adverts And Nintendo.

4. My dog likes to eat crisps!

5. I'm bored and feeling egotistical. Here're some sketches of mine wot I drew.

24/7/2003: Alarming Notion

I really don't think Tony Blair's government give a shit anymore. They know damn well they're going to be voted the fuck out at the next election, so at the moment they're finding out exactly how many stupid ideas they can make legislation before they're thrown out.

The current bright idea is this: to give thieves and muggers the chance to escape prosecution by getting them to meet their victims and say sorry. Believe me when I say I really, really, REALLY wish I was making this up. In the magical dewdrop world in which Tony Blair lives, sitting opposite a person whose car you nicked while forcing out awkward conversation is all it'll take to reform the young hoodlums.

It might sound like something from George Orwell's 1984 if George Orwell had been an ageing hippy wearing blinkers, but this idea is actually undergoing proper trial. It's the latest manifestation of the New Labour ideal that criminals are just little mewling kittens on the inside waiting for some understanding.

I was reminded of it recently while at work. Our office building has been broken into many times, so now an elaborate alarm system is in place. And on the front door is a sign advertising it. I didn't have a camera, so I mocked up an approximation of it:

Now, this is just another side-effect of the namby-pamby help-the-criminals attitude. It's a warning notice for burglars. Jesus, what's the point of having an alarm fitted if you advertise it to all and sundry? How many criminals is that going to catch? Now they're all going to know to stay away and just gonna break into the house next door. What you need is something like this:

But I am aware that not all thieves are inherently bad. Some of them do it because they have no other choice, and are wracked with guilt by the life they must pursue. So, in order to keep out these poor misguided souls, I also produced this poster:

So now anyone with an ounce of compassion is going to stay the fuck away from this building, and all the people with the 'evil' gene will come right in and be caught by the alarm! This is my bit towards making this country safe again. You're welcome. Least I could do.

23/7/2003: Meanwhile, Over At The Comic Strip

Four more Angular Mike strips! Whoo hoo! Let jubilation reign!

Incidentally, it might be fun to have an Angular Mike guest strip week or something, so if anyone wants to draw up a guest strip and send it in then please do so, and I'll tell you it sucks and throw it in your face. Not really! I'll tell you it sucks and put it on the site anyway. Get those creative caps on and mail to the usual address!


ADDENDUM: Oh yeah. A lot of people have been telling me, the place where the Arthur Yahtzee games could be found, has gone down. As has the free webhosting service where the site that existed before that was hosted. The hard drive on my old computer, where the original files were stored, has long since become corrupted and unusable. I have no idea if they are uploaded anywhere else on the internet. I'm afraid that, to the best of my knowledge, the Arthur Yahtzee games have completely ceased to exist...

...unless someone out there has the original .zip files on their hard drive. If you do, mail them to me and I can stick them on the FullyRamblomatic server. Oh, wait, better not send them straight away in case fifty people do it at once... mail me first with just text letting me know you have the files, then I'll tell you if anyone's sent me them yet. We cool? We cool.

22/7/2003: Incredible Balk

So, the Hulk, then. A film I went to see on Saturday. And whenever anyone asks me what it was like, I can only respond by going 'erm' and 'ah' while grimacing and wobbling my horizontal splayed-out hand. I really don't know what to make of it. I guess it's worth watching, if you're mentally between the ages of twelve and sixteen or have a thing about strapping green fellas.

I suppose it was kinda bad. Every review I've read says the special effects are awful, and at no point can you believe that there really is a huge green man stomping around causing property damage. Well, the effects didn't seem that bad to me. Maybe you couldn't believe he was really there but then that's the thing about huge green men with pecs the size of Prussia; they're not a terribly realistic concept. Besides, the CG in Spider-man (got the hang of those hyphens now) and Dare-devil (fuck) weren't much better. So, doesn't lose any points there.

RAAR! Dodgy film SMASH!
A still from the film. No, really.

Eric Bana sort of let the film down by having an acting range of exactly two facial expressions ('worried' and 'more worried'), by spending the entire film speaking in a deep, husky tone in order to disguise his Australian accent, and by having a surname one syllable away from 'Banana'. Eric Banana. And Bananaman's real name was Eric, so it all comes full circle. Anyway, that's still no good reason to dislike the film.

One thing that really confused me was the director's passionate reluctance to depict people dying. Maybe he wanted to keep the audience's sympathies with the big green wanker, but Rorschach from Watchmen kills nine people before breakfast and I totally love the bastard. The effort they took to show how the Hulk didn't actually kill anyone was just incomprehensible. When he brought down a helicopter or plane, it always had to crash really, really slowly and gently, then there'd always be some radio transmission from the pilot saying "I'm OK! I'm OK!". Compare that with Daredevil, he of the slicing people in half with a subway train, which was about as dark as people running around in tights can get. However, with a 12A certificate, you can't criticise a film for not having enough horrible gore.

So, what can I criticise? Firstly, I'd heard that Stan Lee (the creator of the Hulk) and Lou Ferrigno (who played the Hulk in the spiffingly camp TV series) had cameos, so I was all set to see if I could spot them. Didn't need much effort. Their scene is really crowbarred in for no apparent reason, the sort of thing where the director is silently going "Hey, everybody, look!" Anyone who didn't know who they were would probably be totally perplexed.

My final criticism is this: the famous line. The famous line from the TV show. "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry." It was in all the trailers and made all us geeks go hooray, hooray. Well, here's the problem; it's not in the film. Well, it is, but only at the end, and in Spanish. So why'd they have it in the trailer when they edited it out of the fucking film? That's what I call a bold-faced porky pie, laddie.

Right, movie review over. Let's talk about the trailers.

For months, every time I've gone to the cinema I've crossed my fingers hoping there'd be a trailer for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the film of my current favourite comic. Once again I was disappointed, but then I hear it's been pushed back for an August or September release in this country, so I guess I forgive them.

There was a trailer for Jeepers Creepers 2, a sequel you can be sure I will be avoiding like the fucking plague. I just couldn't stop laughing after they went through the review quotes - "the best horror film of all time", "horror has never been so intense" etc - and then had to admit that the certificate was a 12A. 12A? Jesus fucking Christ! 12A isn't horror! 12A is NOTHING! 12A can kiss my arse!

There was also a trailer for a new live-action Peter Pan film, which makes sense, as I've thought about it and there has, indeed, never been an actual live action Peter Pan film besides the Robin Williams vehicle we don't talk about. That aside, this film will blow goats and I will hear no argument.

Lastly, Terminator 3. Oh, Terminator 3. The trailer I've been seeing every time I've gone to the cinema for the last eleventy billion years. This film, too, will blow goats and I will hear no argument. Do you know why?

(drum roll)

(imagine the following words descending from the sky in gigantic Ben Hur lettering)

We Don't Fucking Need A Terminator 3!

Terminator 2 we needed, 'cos there were plot elements in T1 that weren't fully resolved at the end, but by the end of T2 Skynet was destroyed and everything associated with Terminators was reduced to some mulch at the bottom of a lava pit. So what're we bringing in for Terminator 3? Oh, there was ANOTHER branch of Skynet we didn't know about. Jesus. I'm not even going to go into how inane that is. Fuck you Hollywood tossers and your insatiable hunger for cocaine money.

And another thing, why is the first person Arnold runs into when he transports into our time always wearing black biker gear? And since it was Arnold killing in the first film, then Arnold protecting and Big-Ears killing in the second film, shouldn't it be Big-Ears protecting now? Or maybe Arnold and Big-Ears protecting together, that would've been cool. They can't even follow their own stupid formula.

Can always get a good rant out of a trip to the cinema, can't I. Whoops, gotta go.

21/7/2003: Kabal Guy

You thought it had gone away, but it has returned! And after this it will no doubt go away again until I come up with another one! Yes, ladies and male ladies, it's time for another edition of:

Unappreciated Computer Game Character Of The Week Unspecific Period Of Time!

This week unspecific period of time, we delve into the nightmarish world of Mortal Kombat. A world of controversy and bleeding spinal columns, of Fatalities and Flawless Victories. After the initial media tantrum over the excessive violence had caused the usual massive increase in sales, the Mortal Kombat boffins decided it was time to branch out in a sequel or two. Or three. And with each new sequel, more nondescript fighters joined the fray, each possessing the characterisation of a gooseberry and sound files identical to at least three other characters.

Around the time of MK3, when so many new characters had come about that the developers were fast running out of ideas for ways in which one character could knock off another character's head, they came up with the usual brace of nobodies to beat up who they figured no-one would give a toss about. There was Nightwolf, a nondescript native American with a stupid face. Cyrax, an identical copy of the first robot character with a slightly different palette. And then there was this guy:

For me, Midway's careful plan backfired when they produced Kabal. I guess they just intended to have him as another faceless drone the player would have to beat up on the way up the steps of the tournament. They sprinkled him with some crappy backstory and pushed him simultaneously out into the spotlight and into my heart forever.

Kabal's story was this: he was viciously beaten up and left for dead by the centaur fella, and is kept alive only by artificial respirators he wears on his face and body. No-one knows who he is or where he came from, just that he's in the mood for a scrap. I fucking LOVED him. Maybe I just have a thing about mysterious strangers, but there was something about his Darth Vader countenance and poo-brown jodhpurs that adhered me to him permanently.

If you want an idea of how cool Kabal was, one of his finishing moves was to take off his mask and scream, which scared the fuck out of his opponent so much that his/her soul would separate from the body and run away. Compare that with a nondescript tosshead from the same game, Stryker; the best fatality they could come up with for him was to simply pull a tazer gun and shoot his opponent dead. There are single white males in New York coming up with more original finishing moves than that even as we speak.

I got as far as the end boss playing as Kabal, but somehow was never able to finish him off, and as such have never seen Kabal's ending. I think I prefer it that way. He'd probably only turn out to be someone's brother or some shit like that. It's best that his shadowy motivation and identity remain a secret, I suppose; for the same reason that it's best we don't know what happened after the end of Fight Club, or exactly what happened to Edwin Drood. Solving mysteries makes them suddenly boring.

I always wondered how thorough a job those centaur fuckers did on him if he was almost fatally injured but was still somehow able to beat people shitless afterwards. I wondered why his iron lungs never became damaged or fell off during intense fights. I wondered how he was OK with taking his mask off momentarily to scare people shitless, when a similar action would have rendered Darth Vader quite dead. I also wondered why they let him take those big stabbing weapons into the fights with him, but I suppose you have to let the disabled have an advantage.

I watched Mortal Kombat: Annihilation all the way through just in case Kabal was in it. He was mentioned. Once. Mentioned in the context of being dead. And now I come to think about it, I may have misheard, and it may not have been Kabal at all. Incidentally, Mortal Kombat Annihilation was a fucking sucky film.

So, Kabal, then: A man who can kick any fucking arse AND park in handicapped spaces, who can rip you to pieces with only his key to the disabled lavatories, he is Unappreciated Computer Game Character Of The Week Unspecific Period Of Time!

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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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