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8/11/2002: Novel's House Party

This week, the ninth chapter of my ongoing novel, the Search for Something, is up for your perusal, in which the expedition to Eldorado finally gets under way and the crew run into trouble in the Cardiff Pentagon. As for the state of the novel as a whole, I'm currently writing chapter 22, not long before the big finale. As soon as I'm finished I know I'm going to have to edit the fuck out of it; change all the instances of the name Eldorado to the more accurate El Dorado, alter or perhaps remove chapter 8 completely, and change some overused words to some equivalents from a thesaurus. And above all, I have to think of a new title.

'The Search for Something' was one I came up with when I was just writing it for a bit of fun, as an exercise, just to write for the sake of writing. Then it started developing a story and I now genuinely think it could, with a little tweaking, be up to publishing standard. But I really don't like the title. I thought something along the lines of 'Searching for Something' or 'Desperately Seeking Something', but the former is still too much like the old one and the latter is too cliched.

Alternatively, I could go in another direction entirely. I had an idea for something like 'The Rise of Articulate Jim', so I could go on to do a whole slew of Articulate Jim books with names like 'The Return of Articulate Jim' or 'Articulate Jim's Revenge' or 'Articulate Jim does a Jigsaw Puzzle', along the lines of the Stainless Steel Rat books. Perhaps this is getting ahead of myself. The problem I have with this idea is that it doesn't refer to the story - that Jim is searching for something that could make his life complete. I suppose I could call it 'Articulate Jim and the Search for Something', but that's too long-winded.

So, as always when I have a dilemma, I turn to my readers. Your assignment this week is to nominate one of the titles from the list below, or come up with your own, better one. I want every reader of the site to do this. Please. Even if you don't usually send me mail. If you're reading this, just click here, type in the title you favour or your own one, and send it. That's all I want you to do. For me.

Here's the list.

The Search for Something (pooey name)
Searching for Something
Desperately Seeking Something
Articulate Jim
The Rise of Articulate Jim
The Birth of Articulate Jim
Articulate Jim and the Search for Something
Articulate Jim and the Road to El Dorado
The Quest of Articulate Jim
The Journey of Articulate Jim
The Adventures of Articulate Jim
The Young Person's Guide to Modern Adventuring
The Young Person's Guide to Modern Piracy
Flaming Peach Cadet

7/11/2002: Children of the Korn

He was a few days late, but I've finally had contact with my future self; a version of me from thirty years hence. As soon as I saw him I knew there was something wrong - he had a most urgent manner, clearly a man with a serious agenda. There was a haphazard bandage around one of his knees, and a few week's worth of beard coated his chin. We were only able to have contact for a few seconds before his jerry-built time travel device yanked him back to his own time, but it was enough for him to push a sealed envelope into my hands. Eagerly I opened it, but to my dismay, it contained neither lottery numbers nor blackmail photographs of well-known world leaders. It was merely a letter, reprinted below.

This is an urgent message to the people of the year 2002. Terrible things have occurred. There are barely twelve of us left. We can hear them now, banging against our windows and doors, desperate to get at us and do what they have done to the rest. I can only pray that our experimental time travel device works, for our only hope lies in averting this horror before it began.

It all started when numerous presenters of English children's television were found to have done very naughty things indeed. Richard Bacon, presenter of popular long-running variety show Blue Peter, was found to have taken cocaine. John Leslie, also formerly of Blue Peter, was accused of rape and excessive drug abuse. Jamie Theakston, ex-presenter of Saturday morning television, went to a Soho brothel. He later pretended that he had never intended to go into one, but no-one with even half an ounce of sense believed that. These were only the thin end of the wedge, though. If things had gone on with no more sordid revelations of children's television, things might have been alright. But the press would not hear our pleas. Hungry for circulation, they continued with splash after splash.

It was revealed that the muppets, behind closed doors, were sick and depraved characters, addicted to drugs and sexual perversion. Timmy Mallett turned out to be a figurehead in an international crime syndicate. Johnny Ball, former presenter of interesting science programmes for youngsters, was found to have a horde of children aged from 5 to 7 working as slaves in a vast gold mine beneath his house. Even America felt the new craze. The man inside the purple Barney costume was found to have a secret cocaine dispenser inside his mask, and a small bag of heroin strapped to his back connected to intravenous tubes leading all over his body. He was later allowed to write this all off as professional medication, but the damage was already done.

Children began to lose faith in their television heroes, so long having been bastions of wholesomeness and clean-living, now found to be maggotty perverts. 'If they can do naughty things and get away with it, why can't we?' was the consensus among the playground masses. The first strike was in June of 2004, when the student body of a primary school in Chipping Sodbury rebelled against their teachers, exiled them from the grounds, and declared their school an independent state, ruled by a shadowy six-year-old known only as 'X', named after the Action Man baddie. Inspired by this example, other schools began similar procedures. Teachers found they had to hand out free sweets and show nothing but porn videos in lessons in order to avoid revolt, but their efforts were in vain. Before long, there was a vast army of disgruntled children all over the country, demanding to be given full minority rights.

We don't know who struck first, them or us, but there began a terrible and bloody war of gargantuan proportions. At first, since we had all the heavy ordinance and all they had were peashooters and spudguns, it went well for us. Even when the teenagers defected to the children's side amid promises of free Nirvana CDs and snazzy black uniforms, we had little difficulty subduing them. That was until X and his team of scientists developed the Aw-isn't-that-sweet ray. Resembling in many ways a water pistol, a single shot of this advanced gun would change an adult's thought processes; the adult in question would no longer take anything a child did seriously, smiling and tutting theatrically as our bases were carpet-bombed, and shaking their heads saying 'boys will be boys' as the Houses of Parliament were destroyed in a fiery inferno.

They mopped us up. Countless adult troops were executed as they had no power against the formidable ray. Some of us found the ray had no effect on us - the ones who disliked children even before these bad times, who could see through a child's mask of innocence. I have already documented my dislike of children, so I was one of the lucky ones. But there weren't enough of us. There were hardly one hundred of us to start with, now barely twelve. We've been holed up in this secret research bunker for nearly twenty years. Supplies are running out. We believe we have finally perfected the time travel device, and it will be my task to deliver this message to my past self. Maybe if he can get this onto his website in time, the disaster can be averted.

You are our only hope. If you succeed, this timeline will cease to exist and the war will never happen. If you fail ... then frankly, we're fucked.

Yours sincerely,

Yahtzee (aged 49)

P.S. Don't take the dishwashing job at the cement works. It fucking sucked.

6/11/2002: No-one Saves Forever

I've been enjoying the first few days of owning money again, now my cheque from the MOST TRUSTING COMPANY IN THE WORLD has come through. I've finally been able to buy all the things I've had my eye on for so long. Including a new game.

I bought 'No-one Lives Forever' 'cos it was only ten quid, and had a picture of a cleavage on the front. I'd heard good things from certain sources, and bad things from others, but I figured if it'd just be a straightforward shooter bang-a-bang then I'd be fine. Sometimes I like to sneak around guards and pick their pockets as a master thief in a pseudo-Medieval setting, and sometimes I like to blow the heads off international terrorists as a UN troubleshooter. So I figured whatever the game had for me would be welcome.

As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised. The game is a take-off of 1960's British spy movies, sort of like Austin Powers but with a girl. There are stealth elements and shooter elements. It doesn't take itself seriously. Guards say silly things with silly accents. One thing I particularly liked was when you go into this sewer and there's a sign on the wall reading 'Mandatory FPS Sewer'. It's little touches like this that make NOLF a joy to play.

"Great," thought Scott. "A hangnail. How could this day get any worse?"

However, one gets the feeling that the designers were a little bit lazy when it comes to certain subroutines. The stealth elements in particular. Where Garrett and JC Denton have the capability to lean around corners to check for bad guys, our heroine in this game - Cate Archer, of the ever-slipping posh British accent - is encouraged to 'step out from around cover and quickly slip back again' to check. "Don't worry," says our trainer. "There's a good chance the enemy won't have time to spot you. Because their AI isn't very sophisticated."

The 'too lazy to be a proper stealth-'em-up' element comes to a head when you're introduced to one of the gadgets - Bodigon! Yes, you're too slight to carry corpses over your shoulder like certain master thieves I could name, so the boffins have made you a special powder which conveniently dissolves corpses. They've somehow found a way to make the powder target only dead organic tissue, and its clothes as well. If only Michael Barrymore had had some of this when he was having his pool party. And no, I'm not going to explain that joke for the benefit of international readers.

The training centre is a bit silly, too. I always thought staples of training centres were things to jump over, things to crawl under and water to swim in. Not today! The basic training segment consists of talking to an NPC, then skipping a cutscene. No jumping whatsoever. Advanced training just teaches you how to be stealthy. Dammit, I wanted my jumpy training. I wanted to be patronized rigid when I fell off. I wanted all of it, curse you.

Also, one of your bosses looks like he's just come back from bad plastic surgery. And your partner at the beginning of the game looks like he's been shooting up heroin for fifty years. But apart from that, I really have no niggles with this splendid little romp.

One thing I'm particularly impressed with is the Paralysis Simulator. I couldn't find any mention of it in the manual, so I suppose it must be a hidden feature. I was playing a mission in Morocco, sniping at naughty people, when suddenly a load of baddies burst in and started shooting me up. So I shot them back. But then suddenly, the whole scene froze and I couldn't move or look around. "My god!" I thought. "The bastard shot me in the spinal column! I've been paralysed!" I stood there frozen for six hours, waiting for them to take me away for the next plot element, but all they did was stay absolutely still and stare at my plight. I suppose I must have shot some of them in the spinal column, too! Eventually I got bored and did control-alt-delete, then I replayed it to see if I could avoid being shot in the spine. After a couple of tries, and after closing some non-essential programs and disabling a few features, I was able to get away. But there must have been an awful lot of good marksmen aiming for my spine that day, as I found myself paralysed on two other occasions. Once while walking around in the open, obviously hit by a sniper, and once while walking down a narrow corridor alone. Or so I thought!

Another of NOLF's great features. It looks just like a Windows Close Program box!

So on the whole, I'm thoroughly impressed with No-one Lives Forever. I'd get the sequel, but my computer is far too outdated to support any game made after the time dinosaurs ruled the earth.

5/11/2002: Love, Death and Pussies

Have you ever seen those popular James Bond films? Have you ever wondered how many millions of pounds they must make for the actors, producers, screenwriters and director? Have you ever thought about getting a piece of the action? Well, now you can! By simply following this short guide, YOU TOO can write your VERY OWN JAMES BOND FILM! It doesn't matter if you have no experience in scriptwriting or talent of any kind whatsoever; in fact, these could be very positive boons!

Your frame of reference.


The title of all Bond films follow a very strict pattern. You should adopt one incorporating one or more of the following.

1. The name of the villain (Goldfinger, Octopussy)
2. Some reference to death, sometimes also involving a corruption of a famous saying which will forever be associated with your film (Live And Let Die, You Only Live Twice)
3. Love (From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me)
4. Gold (Goldeneye, The Man With The Golden Gun, Goldfinger again)
5. The name of some weapon around which the film is based (Moonraker, Thunderball)

One of the few exceptions to this is On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but that was George Lazenby's only outing, and as such can be safely ignored. If you're still having trouble thinking up a title, feel free to use one of the following.

As I Die And Breathe
The Man With Gold-Rimmed Spectacles
GOLD! The Musical
A Big Fuck-Off Missile
I Love Gold
Don't Count Your DEATH Before They Hatch
I Love Killing Goldenpussy Big Missiles

Now we have our title, it's time for:


Yes, traditionally the bit that comes after the whole shooting the camera thing and before the weird sequence with all the silhouetted women swimming around. Again, if you're having trouble thinking of something, just follow this simple template.

- James Bond doing something
- Someone trying to kill James Bond
- James Bond chasing person trying to kill him
- Person escapes (if this is to do with the rest of the plot)
- Person dies (if not)
- James Bond with faraway look in his eye (if he isn't Roger Moore)
- James Bond with smug smirk on his face that makes you want to hit him with a chunk of brushed concrete (if he is)

Also remember that James Bond should be shagging, fresh from shagging or just about to shag at some point during the above. From there, it's time for:


This is the bit where you finally make use of that song named after your film you had specially commissioned from some popular artist of the day. If you weren't able to get one, just nick some song that has your title incorporated in the lyrics somewhere, or pay some blokes to shove the title randomly into the lyrics of an existing song. This is what happened with A View To A Kill, incidentally. While the song's playing you should of course show silhouettes or badly lit portrayals of some of the following -

- James Bond himself, with a gun
- A beautiful scantily-clad woman dancing around
- A gun on its own
- A beautiful woman wearing only a body stocking dancing around
- Guns emerging from various orifices of beautiful women
- A naked beautiful woman (if you feel you can get away with it)
- Symbols loosely associated with the plot of the film
- Visual echoes, split-screen and basically ever camera trick in the manual

Also, if this is a late 90's / early 2000's film, remember to incorporate enough computer-generated material to choke a llama. Now that's done with, let's get to the real meat of the matter.


This is the easiest bit of the film-making process, as this has already been decided for you by all the existing films and internet fansites around the world. Just remember to include all of the following.

- Lots of trips all around the world to justify the huge budget
- A beautiful woman allied with the bad guys who defects to shag James Bond and ends up getting killed
- Another beautiful woman working against the bad guys who shags James Bond and doesn't get killed
- A really clever villain with his own base of operations and hordes of henchmen willing to die for his cause
- Some henchman with a gimmick, like a mechanical arm, or big metal teeth, or being a midget.
- A ski chase OR a boat chase
- That bit where Q gives Bond lots of lovely new gadgets in that disapproving manner of his
- Lots and lots of gunfire and explosions
- Half-decent dialogue (optional)

As for the fine details of the plot, simply take the short synopsis below and replace the blanks with a word or phrase from the corresponding list and there you go!

"An evil [list A] has [list B] [list C] and are now threatening to [list B] [list C]! It's up to James Bond and [list D] to put an end to their evil schemes while also fending off [list E]! Can he do it in time?"


terrorist organisation
scout troop



stolen / steal
assassinated / assassinate
hijacked / hijack
kidnapped / kidnap
blown up / blow up
planted a bomb under / plant a bomb under
sent nasty letters to / send nasty letters to


a bunch of nuclear warheads
a submarine
a submarine full of nuclear warheads
the Houses of Parliament
some important diplomat
a major international landmark
a space shuttle
a space shuttle full of nuclear warheads
Her Majesty the Queen
Her Majesty the Queen full of nuclear warheads
a branch of McDonalds just outside Kidderminster
the whole damn world



a beautiful secret agent woman
a beautiful freelance woman
a beautiful scientist woman
a beautiful woman who defected from the bad guys
a nondescript beautiful woman
Her Majesty the Queen


a deadly assassin
a seemingly endless horde of henchmen
a big tough henchman with a gimmick
a team of circus midgets
Q's sarcastic remarks


Now that we've got our plot, it's time for the most crucial step.


This hurdle is admittedly the trickiest.

All this and more could be YOURS!


From there you can either -

1. invest the money in more films
2. retire
or 3. dump it all in a bathtub and roll around in it.

It's up to you!

4/11/2002: Usurper

[Today is a historic day for; my very first guest update! Courtesy of my good benefactor Chris 'CSFS' Smowton. This is what you have to live up to, gents. Remember, if you want to submit a guest update, send it to me in the TEXT of the e-mail, and make sure it's actually funny. Without further ado, take it away, Chris!

- Yahtzee]

So, I was reading the other day, when one particular phrase caught my eye. "Submission now being accepted," it said. "Ooooooh!" I thought, "I could finally get some recognition for my true creative talent!"

And, with that, I set about writing an article of about 700 words. It would be brief, but informative. It would address serious issues, but still entertain my readers. Its brilliance would dwarf the sum content of, until I would seize the reins from Yahtzee and name it FullyGrumblomatic, and style it in my own image. All I needed was a topic on which to grumble briefly, but which would give me the chance to show off my talents.

I thought long and hard over the coming weeks, in the hope of discovering this elusive train of thought to lead me to greatness. I searched the newspapers. I thought carefully over the events of my day-to-day life. God help me, I even consulted Spacemonkey, until finally it dawned upon me that the newspapers were full of shit, my life was full of shit, and, indeed, Spacemonkey was full of shit.

It seems that this world is not built to provide interesting material to write about. A look at my local paper will quickly confirm this. To take a headline at random, "Twins born on different days." Now bear in mind that I haven’t dug far into the paper to find this one. What, you may ask, made this story truly newsworthy? Were these twins perhaps born 40 hours apart? Were they discovered to be the next stage in the evolution of man? Were they in fact the children of completely different fathers? Sadly not; on closer inspection, it would seem that the two were born 20 minutes apart, on either side of midnight. Nevertheless, the intrepid reporter, who remains anonymous, managed to write a good 200 words on the subject.

Which leads me to believe that an interesting topic is far from necessary! When the Voice of North Yorkshire, no less, can get away with writing absolute bollocks to fill up half a page, then why not I?

So, I’ve decided to have a crack at it. My earth-shattering news? Why, my own writing of an article for, of course! Now, hold onto your hats and other garments, and, optionally, genitalia, as I prepare to rock your world with the raw naked truth, told as never before.


The Voice of Yorkshire™, Yorkshire-

11pm Wednesday evening, England, and perhaps the world, were shaken by one Yorkshireman’s attempted Internet coup.

The humour site, believed by many to be a hub that "holds the internet together," according to one source who wishes to remain anonymous, was viciously assaulted by an unidentified malicious writer, believed to be from our area.

One witness, clearly upset by the incident, said that the assailant’s quality of writing was "verging on criminal," and that he should be "fed to the pigeons."

The site’s owner, and principal victim of tonight’s atrocities, described the mystery writer as "mildly annoying," and bitterly complained that he was "forced to delete the email."

A spokesman for the police said told the Press today that an official investigation was commencing, and that the obnoxious youth could expect a "stern talking to" under the Good Taste Act (1991).

David Pisspoor, Yorkshire Evening Press

Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this. You see, I heard recently about these things, called "self-fulfilling prophecies." The way I see it, I’ve prophesised the downfall of, and the rise of FullyGrumblomatic in its stead. And I’ve got a hat that says "Hail to the Pope!!"

Now, I just sit back, and wait for my rise to power.


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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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