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This fair internet of ours has been struck down by a plague most terrible, and most surprising. Not the wave of pornography that was expected to eventually overwhelm the flood barriers and engulf Geocities, nor the creeping tide of AOL users homepages that will someday surely replace all scientific content with pages that proclaim that "tHIS iS MY FIRST internet Page!!!!!". No, I refer to this little fucker:
Maybe its just me, but every single site on this paltry internet of ours seems to have signed advertising deals with these guys in the last week. Im starting to think its some sort of takeover move; some sort of digital entropy, destined to overwhelm all the useful information we possess as a species with the notion that we may have won! And there are unbeatable prizes on offer!! We can get something for nothing!! And youve only got THREE MINUTES TO CLAIM!!!
Honestly, if I didnt think this thing was designed by a rogue iMac that got hold of a copy of Paint Shop Pro by whoring itself to the 386s lying around at a landfill, Id swear it was some sort of clever social commentary. I mean, look at the thing.
1. It lies and cheats to get you to click. Whilst I admit weve yet to see "Volkswagen not only gets you there, but also ENLARGES YOUR PENIS!!", we cant be that far off, and certainly on the internet Ive never yet seen an advert that made me think it might actually be telling the truth. Youve probably caught yourself in the past thinking "who the hell clicks on these things?" Well, that leads me onto my next point:
2. It preys on the ignorant. Thats who! Since anybody whos used the internet, or indeed a computer, for more than three days will know that message boxes should neither flash nor vibrate in an alarming manner, one must assume that the creators of said ad were gunning for those internet users whore still trying to work out which way up the doodad in their right hand is supposed to go and still ask serious questions about who the VibroMax Marketing Department are, and how they got their email addresses. Thankfully, this is a filthsome behaviour that has, like the above, as yet failed to penetrate into real-world advertising. I mean, for example, in my nightmare world, thered be financial services corporations whod hawk unaffordable personal loans to those too desperate to do anything but accept and pay the consequences later. Ho ho, such a thought. Oh, wait.
3. Three minutes to claim!! This is a send-no-money-now offer!! Buy now! Dont delay! Call now! Pick up the phone now! I have to feed a family too, you unhelpful bastard! Im sorry for everything Ive done in the past, just pick up the phone! CALL ME! You can have everything now, without effort, without cost, without thought or fulfilment. Ill come back and bite you in the ass later, but dont worry, thats beyond your attention span!
4. Quality? Wh-where? If youll rotate your eyeballs downwards, youll see my handy comparison chart that enables you to differentiate sneaky adverts from genuine messages.
It would be easy to mock the clear differences between the reality and the fiction were this not such a widespread practice in the advertising industry. I refer less to over-funded TV ads here, and more to the ten-a-penny radio ads that I must assume sell things in some cases, since they still exist. You know the ones:
MAN 1: I would like to buy a product.
So there you go. Human society in a nutshell, as expressed by a flashing exclamation mark. If only there were a Voyager III, we could attach this ad to the hull to summarise our species as a whole.
Approximately 3000 years later, wed find a crude space probe in near-earth orbit, bearing the mysterious message Return to Sender, Please Remove from Mailing List.
Well, appropriately enough for the date - oh shit, no, sorry, I'm reviewing Jason movies NEXT Friday.
This week, prepare to enjoy my latest crap idea: a question/answer column entitled Ask Yahtzee! I'm hoping this counts towards my community service!
Tomorrow: the magnificent Chris Smowton! If he remembers!
[Evenin' all. Don't mind me, just clearing out my backlog of guest updates. Here's one from newcomer Geoff 'larrakin' Andersson. Yay!
I saw a post on a message board recently, where a kid was asking for help doing an oral (teehee) report on the topic "Lost in Cyberspace". He explained that it was to discuss the internet, and why it can be so hard to find the information you require. So, for all the kiddies who have to do an oral (teehee) report on this subject at some point in their lives, here is a quick bit of info to give you ideas. First of all, Im going to give some responses to the two main arguments he had. Later, Ill give you a handy tip for how to remember the process, rather than all that technical jargon. Youll be getting information like so many pairs of undies on your birthday.
Hell, this is turning out all organized and stuff. This hasnt happened since the last time I catalogued my beer fridge.
Stupid kids first argument: There are billions of webpages (this is not a precise number), covering billions of topics (again, just a guess, stop hounding me), and many with conflicting opinions (this is not a guess, it actually happens). This can all get very confusing for someone who is looking for accurate information on a particular subject.
My first response: Yes. It would be very confusing for someone looking for accurate information on a particular subject. Especially if they were a complete knob. But even complete knobs should be able to work out that if you are looking for a website on cats, typing "cats" into a search engine would be a dandy place to start. Searching for "stabbed" will only lead one here, as has been previously recorded. In fact, people that search for "stabbed" instead of "cats" needs a better word than knob. Protuberance. Thank you, Microsoft Word thesaurus. (Better put up the picture of the cat now in case some protuberance types in "stabbed" instead of "cats".)
Stupid kids second argument: There is no guarantee that the information contained on a webpage is correct.
My second response: True. But if you cant work out which sources are reputable and which are not, then youre probably the same sort of person that incessantly forwards e-mail chain letters because theyre cool, funny, and everybody wants to get them so that "Your dreams can come true in just three days if you forward this to 10 or more people!!!". I must confess that I have sent one (just one, I swear) of these things in my time, to piss off the fifteen people who sent it to me. Im still waiting for my anatomically correct cyborg replica of Buffy the vampire slayer.
If you are one of these people, and really need help in this department, the thing to remember is that pages hosted by geocities which have ungodly colour schemes and endless, seemingly random animated gifs are owned by 12 year old "people" who abbreviate every second word, created the site with the help of the "My First Website" section of their school textbook, and will not hesitate to discuss the latest shenanigans of the Backstreet Boys. These are rarely suitable bibliography entries. Pages which are not hosted by geocities and have bearable colour schemes are probably also owned by 12 year olds, but at least theyre seeking medical treatment for it.
Right. Now, lets get down to some research techniques. Ill be using pseudo-mnemonics to make the process easier to remember.
Once you have found several sites (geocities or otherwise) through a bit of shrewd googling, its time for a bit of "cross-referencing", or as I like to call it, "attaching masking tape to your genitals". Now, what you need to do is "read the sites", or to coin a phrase, "lubricate the rabbit". Next, "check for similarities and differences between the different sources", or "attach the combine harvester", then "collate the results", or "insert berries for maximum eroticism", if you will.
So, to recap: When attaching masking tape to your genitals, always lubricate the rabbit first. Then simply attach the combine harvester, and insert berries for maximum eroticism.
And there you have it. An outline for how to write your oral (teehee) report on why internet research is so damned hard. Maybe you could call it "Why I suck at the internet".
Between edgy world relations, psycho presidents and the Bible Code, it seems pretty obvious that society in its current form hasn't got that long to go. Whether it be via a gigantic nuclear blast, or the world's natural resources being depleted, or the stock market crashing like passenger planes into oversized office buildings, I confidently predict our comfortable oblivious lives will have some harsh reality drummed into them at some point in the next couple of decades.
I'm looking forward to the end of cushy capitalistic life, when the tables turn and the fatcats collapse into seas of heaving turmoil. It will mark the destruction of everything I despise about modern life (basically, everything) and allow me to follow my dream of stealing an unused tank and becoming a famous road warrior in the dry post-apocalyptic hell.
But backing up a bit, let's deal with the beginning of the end. When the big thing happens and most of life's luxuries suddenly vanish before our eyes, there's one thing that can't be avoided, and that's RIOTS. People throughout the country rely on buying their food from big shops before returning home to watch TV all day like the disgusting slobs they are. If shops suddenly ran out of food, or the TVs went down, the little switch in the heads of these people will flip from "GO ALONG WITH BORING RUT" to "RIOT THE FUCK OUT OF PLACES". Within weeks of the collapse of civilisation populations of entire towns will group together around armed platoons and indulge in a massive punch-up.
For the benefit of everyone in this upcoming dark time, I now present:
FULLY RAMBLOMATIC'S GUIDE TO RIOTING
1. Find yourself a place to get the maximum enjoyment out of your riot. Ideally somewhere outdoors with plenty of space. Large, empty town squares are good. Elevators, paths along the side of a canal and precarious bridges over volcano mouths are not.
2. Assemble an enormous crowd. You probably won't have to do this yourself. A crowd will generally form whenever a group of soldiers arrive to hand out food parcels, or when someone finds a shop that hasn't been looted yet.
3. Wait for it...
4. Oh! The soldiers have run out of food parcels or the shop's front windows have been smashed! At this point, your crowd will be angry but still slightly too confused to riot. Point them in the right direction by punching the person to your immediate left, and/or screaming "RIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOT!"
5. Some general dos and don'ts for rioting:
DO try to remember who your friends and relatives are. Sticking a broken bottle in their face on the spur of the moment will lead to a very awkward situation around the dinner table that evening.
DON'T attack soldiers. Soldiers have guns. If you attack them, they are then entitled to ventilate your face.
DO remember proper riot etiquette. If someone hits you, you must then swing around and hit the nearest person, whether they hit you or not. They must then respond by swinging around and hitting the nearest person to them. This is how riots work.
Try to stay on your feet, but if that's unavoidable, DO take advantage of the situation. Crawling around on the floor you will be able to collect all the forgotten food parcels and loose change that will come raining out of the rioters' pockets.
DON'T take the piss out of whoever is wielding the high-pressure water cannon.
DO light things on fire where possible. This adds an aesthetic backdrop to your riot and is good feng shui.
6. A riot generally ends when (a) someone starts firing a gun, (b) the authorities arrive with high-pressure hoses, or (c) everyone's too badly beaten up to go on. The last person standing in these situations becomes "King of the Hill", and in accordance with the Geneva Convention, he or she is now entitled to pass law and exercise 'droit de seigneur'. The three runners-up receive fruit baskets.
Honestly, one reference to cunnilingus and suddenly you're a 'dirty old man'. Well, fuck it, I still have some stupid search strings I didn't get round to last time, so here they are.
So there I was in the gentleman's club enjoying some very fine cigars with Crispin Taylor and Lord Wolsingham, when who should walk in but that curious cove Doctor Hawthorne, carrying a mysterious-looking device under his arm.
"Good lord, Hawthorne, what the devil is that?" said Crispin.
"It's a special device for detecting undesirable types," said Hawthorne. "I call it my Blighter Radar."
"Dashed stupid name, Hawthorne," I said.
He was about to reply when his device began bleeping alarmingly. We turned to see that the Prime Minister had just walked in the door.
How we laughed.
It's called a 'vest', Mr. Search Engine Usey Man. Bulletproof VEST. Waistcoats are what men wore in the Victorian Era to keep their pocket watches in, and to make sure you couldn't see their nipples through their thin dress shirts. A bulletproof one brings to mind contemporary fiction of the era, though. Perhaps Professor Moriarty was always wearing one on the many, MANY occasions he miraculously cheated death.
"best bath towels"
"Darling, where did you put our best towels?"
"Can't you remember?"
"If I could remember, do you think I'd be asking you?"
"Well, I can't remember either!"
"What are we going to do? We need those towels to live!"
"Don't panic. I'll search the internet to see if anyone knows where we put them!"
"Hmm... I found this funny website in England, dear. It says that we probably keep our bath towels in the airing cupboard. Oh, and apparently we are both 'smacktards', whatever they are."
"God bless the internet!"
"anne robinson getting fiddled"
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (snort). Hee hee hee.
I know whoever put this in was looking for porn, but I like to think he wasn't. I like to think he was searching for a picture of some giant person with Anne Robinson tucked under their chin, running one of those things you play violins with back and forth across her tummy while she whimpers in confusion and fear.
Once again, another search string that appears with astonishing regularity, undoubtedly because of this short story. Look, I'm sorry to disappoint you, whoever you are, but you can't learn to be a samurai over the Internet. You have to make a pilgrimage to one of those big mountain ranges in the Far East and pledge allegiance to a wise old master. You have to spend the next fifteen years swinging katanas around and attempting to snatch flies out of the air. Then your master has to get murdered by some local authority and you have to go out and avenge their death. I understand most community colleges offer the course.
And now, a return to making comics that take very little time to make and actually entertain some people besides me. Three more Angular Mikes.
material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw