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This is a fun little Flash diversion: Chaos Theory. (Downloadable here, 19k) Just wait for the blue dots to arrange themselves to your liking, then click somewhere to trigger an explosion. Any caught by that then explode, and so on. Three levels, maximum of 50 points each. (130-139 results in the game being ranked "miracle", 140 gets "pro".. if anyone hits a perfect score, let me know!)

Or, there's Planarity - just drag the vertices so no edges overlap. It's dangerously puzzling. ^_^ (Not to mention a little time-consuming.. once you're around level 9 or 10, it'll take upwards of 20 minutes, let alone level 11. Unfortunately, by the time I'd completed that, I needed a break from it, and forgot that OmniWeb swaps out workspaces unused for an hour or two - so returning to it later wound up reloading it, from the start) [URL edited, as it's recently moved]

At the other end of the scale, there's this curious tale of getting cash back, and How To Return Videos.. or not. ^_^;

rabitguy pointed out this rather cool band, The Great Bamboo.

In wake of the ESRB dismay over the GTA mod, a new reference game has been produced, guaranteed entirely inoffensive: Mario Battle No. 1.

How This Old Brit Sees It is a worthwhile political weblog, from a Liverpudlian perspective.

Amongst the videostuff that's been keeping me busy, then - Zettai Shounen continues to be a quiet mystery of sorts, with our protagonist, now realising something of the origin of his new friend in the woods (I'm avoiding giving spoilers, but you can find plenty of those in the Animesuki forum thread for the series). Yakitate Japan continues to be imaginatively amusing, with the trio at the world breadmaking championships in Monte Carlo - if you like Iron Chef, you're in with a chance of enjoying YJ. Far from the same thing, but there's a similarly indomitable spirit of creativity and excellence. And, a series I've only just got around to trying, Kamichu, which has something of a whisper of Spirited Away to it.

And movies too! I was quite taken by Primer, a very low budget (but surprisingly well shot nonetheless) sci-fi puzzle. As there's no budget, there are no special effects - just plenty to think about, and more than enough to twist most minds into confusion. I'm going to have to see this again once or twice. Maybe I'll run a triple bill someday, starting with Donnie Darko (as the most straightforward - and easily the best written), then Pi, then Primer.. ^_^

Then, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, an extremely British comedy from the 60s - except this was made in 1980 - penned by Vivian Stanshall, who might, with luck, be a familiar name as the perpetrator of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Needless to say, it's dry, surrealistic humor in the vein of The Goon Show, just less grounded in reality. eg, Sir Henry's nephew, fresh from a few frames of snooker in the adjoining room, on horseback, trots through the (closed) window. "That's the trouble with these Italian aeroplanes. Too much damned hair on the wings." Some other brilliant one-liners there too:

"Sir Henry: Generally speaking, if I've eaten something I don't want to see it again.

Sir Henry: I never met a man I didn't mutilate.

Sir Henry: If I had all the money I'd spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink.

Sir Henry: If a thing is worth doing, it is worth forcing someone else to do it.

[Playing cards.]
Florrie: My dear Henry, if dirty fingers were trumps, what a splendid hand you'd have."

Speaking of the Bonzo Dog Band, they were apparently regulars on Do Not Adjust Your Set, starring "the then little-known Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin". (I did like the note about "the shows were recorded 'as live' as they were forbidden to do any editing. This, which would have involved physically cutting the videotape, meant that the tapes would no longer be worth £40.")

Next, Survive Style 5+ - a stylish Japanese dark comedy featuring Vinnie Jones as a hitman? I couldn't very well refuse. "Survive Style 5+ is without a doubt one of the most bizarre, beautiful , original and over the top films I have seen in the past few years. I couldn't help but smile throughout the entire movie. It's simply unlike anything you have ever seen before. Mindblowing decors, surreal dialog, commercial breaks, hit men & hypnotists. It really is an amazing collection of scenes that are edited and interwoven in a unique way. The oil-painting-like colors and completely insane soundtrack alone are worth it." As a brief taster, here's a clip (9.4MB) from just after the opening titles; and here are the subtitles, in SRT format. (It's visually mostly worksafe, though the opening audio might not be considered so. ^_^) Any player aware of external subs will be fine, such as VLC or Mplayer.

And, Ma Vie en Rose, which I'd been angling to see for some time.

.. and an exceptionally obscure episode of an ancient furry children's show, Animal Kwackers. Glam rock for the ultra-impressionable, yay!

In keeping with the cinematic tone of this - admittedly less miniature than originally envisaged - entry, I was intrigued by the recent British Film Institute's "top fifty films for children up to the age of 14", as worthy a collection as I've seen in some time, including Spirited Away, Toy Story, Some Like It Hot, Star Wars, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, La Belle et la Bête, The Princess Bride, Finding Nemo, Edward Scissorhands, and A Day at the Races. (The top 10 is here - the most votes apparently went to Spirited Away)

I was quite intrigued by the apparently still effective injunction against the Rolling Stones documentary, Cocksucker Blues: "The Rolling Stones were upset by this film's portrayal of them and sued to prevent its release. The film is under a court order that only allows it to be shown once a year with director Robert Frank present in person."

The joys of phone menus.

A working miniature chocolate fountain for fondue nights.. but how much for a 6' version? ^_^

mp3otwclub - MP3 of the Week Club - could be of interest to the musically inclined.



.. okay, this didn't turn out to be quite as minor an entry as I'd originally thought..
 
 
 
 
 
 
Awesome icon. Bunny butt!
*grin* As soon as I saw the original image, I knew I had to come up with an icon.. I'd love to've kept his full height, but with only 100x100, I felt this wasn't such a bad compromise. ^_^
I want to see Animal Kwackers. I think I could fall for Boots the Tiger.

And this is available as well now: http://olpa.od.nih.gov/tracking/109/senate_bills/session1/s-659.asp
I'll see if I can transcode it into a servable size. ^_^ (There were, as that article notes, plenty of other episodes produced, but I've seen claims that that one's the only one to survive, as well as a refutation, claiming they all still exist in the vaults. At any rate, that's the only one that's around)

Oh, good grief.. talk about zero-risk legislation. :-P Still, I suppose it looks good on their resume, that they've introduced legislation, howsoever unnecessary. Of course, in that ethical debate, I do have a certain inclination. ^_^
I just realized the URL I posted wasn't the one I intended to post. This is: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061233/
Ahhh! Okay, I'd thought that was a bit of a tangent. ^_^

Again, so many episodes lost? Such a pity - and odd, thinking that something broadcast to millions, intended for being seen as widely as it could be sold at the time, should wind up being almost lost, mere decades after its creation. Film, too, we've seen poses its own problems, especially on nitrocellulose stock - these are things within one person's lifetime! It's quite a reminder of just how ephemeral life is, however mighty we may regard civilisation's accomplishments.

Definitely, that's a DVD I'll have to pick up when I can. I've always loved surreal humor, from early on - I didn't get much of it, but I always liked Terry Gilliam's animations in Monty Python, when I couldn't sleep, and if it happened to be on, I'd be allowed to watch the show. ^_^ (Parents! See what can happen? :)

That reminds me - I did notice a large bundle of something like 150 episodes of The Goon Show nestled away in a nook of the net recently.. now there's a series the BBC should release in AAC, or online. There are simply so many episodes, after all, and plain audio CDs don't really make sense for such a large series, leaving many unreleased. I really hope their plan underway for releasing much of their work online, for free (at least, to those they can gauge as being within the UK, presumably so as not to infringe on rights within the shows), progresses to plan in the coming years. The net's got such immense potential for being a vast resource of information and entertainment, and the BBC's almost uniquely positioned to take full advantage of it, with such archives as they have, and a mandate for bringing it to the people.
Again, so many episodes lost?

Uh-Huh, The Beeb "Lost" them by chucking them in the dust bin. That was some fun times, I have a whole closet of full "lost" BBC tapes. You would think they would have tossed me something to play them with. Gits.

I'm shocked the Goons weren't "lost" as well.
"It's a poor boy who doesn't like Sport !"
'Obsessions trail like running jokes -- a hint of music hall madness, a healthy disrespect for cabaret, a tearful, fearful recollection of school, and a positive hatred of societal stereotypes. The sneering athletics master who torments the odd boy who doesn't like sport, of course, is the same ghastly being that dwells on the far edge of the drainpipe's pink portion -- the kind of person who would never have his hair sculpted in the shape of the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, who would never think of rhyming "we want our freedom" with "we dig Bert Weedon."'

I've got to see if I can find more by them.. I did have a few albums on tape, courtesy of a friend, but they're long since lost. Brilliant stuff, all of it - yet I'd imagine few reading this entry have a clue what we're talking about. Although I'm quite used to that. :)

".. and Roy Rogers on Trigger."
"J. Arthur Rank on gong." That one still makes me laugh a little.
*giggle* Perfect way to finish the song, unquestionably. ^_^ Oh, Vivian had such a voice..

(Of course, true to cinematic traditional, as I recall, that famous gong was just a fake prop, making no real sound. But still such a cool intro to a film - simple, and stylish)
Mr Apollo + down on jolitty farm [They RULE]
Those mini choclate fountains are GREAT! We had one for a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory party opening night, in which we dipped all sorts of fruits and sweets while watching the old version of the movie before we went to see the new version. It was REALLY fun to play with! Delightfully messy, too!
I think I'd have to try getting one for a housewarming, whenever my next will be. ^_^ Does look like so much fun!

And yes, I really enjoyed the new version. They're both memorable films, quite different, despite being based on the same book. I'm pleased to see Tim Burton return to the more gleefully gothic side of filmmaking, as that's plainly where he shines, even if that doesn't always spell commercial success (not, thankfully, the case here), as with Mars Attacks. Me, I'll always remain thankful to Mr Burton not just for that film, but because it acted as such an effective memory purgative of Independence Day.

I still think I'd like to try one of his three course meals, though I can wait until the little problems have been worked out. And even if we can't buy Wonka Bars, there's at least Ghirardelli, Scharffen-Berger, Thornton's, Lindt, and innumerable Belgian makers to revel in. ^_^
The Planarity thing seems to have moved to: http://www.planarity.net/

I solved level 14, then was exhausted and quit. Too many lines! :-o
Eep! And they didn't even leave a forwarding address! URL duly adjusted. ^_^

Hee! It does get rather busy on the eyes at those levels.. still probably quite feasible, but just a really lengthy process. One of the best puzzle games I've ever come across must remain Short Circuit - lots of replayability, a persistent challenge, and still quite a simple set of rules.

It starts off with a grid of 4x4 colored blocks, each of which can be something like four colors. You click on two shapes to make a circuit between them, and each such connection can only have up to two (right-angled) bends. So, pretty easy at that point. Then the grid goes to 5x5, then 7x7. Then, we get gravity involved, so removed blocks cause the others above to fall down; then, stubborn blocks that can't be eliminated. Then more colors and textures, and even larger grids. All against the clock, of course. There are a couple cheats available - you start with three of each, for "show me a possible circuit from this block", "force a circuit between these two", and "show me a circuit". Every few levels, you get another couple of them - so, you're less likely to wind up in impossible situations, but only if you're sparing with those bonuses.

It's simply particularly well-balanced - there's always scope for a better score, through completing the levels more quickly and with more bonuses remaining, and it's a decent visually-based challenge.

Mind Thump's another from OS 9 days I miss (maybe I still have a copy kicking around on a backup somewhere).. very simple idea, if a bit awkward to explain. The board consists of a 4x4 array of glyphs. Each is composed of triangles, circles, or squares; each group can consist of one, two, or three of the same shape; and each (the same within each group) can be solid, shaded, or empty. The aim is simply to make as many triplets as you can, before you lose by taking too long against the clock.

A triplet is where each of those qualities - number, shape, and shading - is all the same, or all different.

So, one solid circle, two solid circles, and three solid circles would be a triplet, as would one solid circle, two shaded triangles, and three empty squares, or one empty circle, one empty triangle, and one empty square.

Like I said, much easier played than explained. ^_^ Great little game to play on the way into work.
In reply to Mario Battle No. 1 - He still dies! There's killing!

For one that meets the idea even better, try this one...
(Deleted comment)
Eek! Even by level 11, the window was getting pretty painful to look at. Would be handy if the game ground were resizeable on the fly, I think. Playing it on a projector might work too. ^_^

I've half a mind to try writing new versions of two of my favorite older puzzle games - MindThump and Short Circuit. Sadly, neither are even readily available on the net any longer, with Short Circuit only existing in a few nooks like the MIT HyperArchive, and MindThump not at all. So, I wouldn't think the respective authors would mind terribly much lifting their ideas. (See my reply to Dakhun above for a long-winded description of each) That sort of simplicity in game design has a certain appeal to me - a few basic rules, quite uncomplicated design, yet with months or years or replayability.

I wonder if a 3D game in the spirit of Planarity could work? Maybe they could come up with a version of Folding@Home that's solved manually rather than algorithmically. ^_^
Re Sir henry, my favourite bits are

Florrie nodded and indicated the sink. "Perhaps you'd care to wash your hands?"

And Scrotum ( the old and wrinkled retainer) says "Ah, no thankee mum, I already did that up against a tree afore I came in yere."

Also the bit about Hubert

In his adolescence, during the long summers of yesterday, he would throw himself naked onto the lawns in a northerly direction parallel to the earthly axis. And with a bluey roman clockface tattoo'd about his private parts, think about Jean Harlow very hard and - from the shadow cast -tell the time with remarkable accuracy. "Look! No hands!" In winter he tried with birthday candles stuck in the end but he was hours slow and the drips hurt. Later, Henry told him to 'put a sock' on the sundial bit.
Animal Kwackers

Was scary! I Mean really scary

.. okay, this didn't turn out to be quite as minor an entry as I'd originally thought..

##Giggles## I thought that too!
"It's like a rabbit... 'e's got a head on 'im like a rabbit!"

I just happen to have all of the original-material Bonzo Dog Band albums in high quality mp3 format. Interested, purrhaps?

That aside, I've coincidentally been listening to alot of the Bonzos lately, primarily Keynsham - far and away my favourite of their albums. It's a genuine tribute to Viv Stanshall that the band's material is still every bit as funny and contemporary-sounding today as it was in the 1960s. Viv was a true comedic genius. He should have been a household name no less than the Pythons, alas. Perhaps, someday, even posthumously, he will yet attain the recognition he so long and truly deserved...
Oh, gods, definitely! I used to have several tapes of theirs, but like much else, they succumbed to the moving process along the way. I'd love to hear them again!

Come to that, I otter get a copy of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End off to you - I'd imagine you've not seen it, given how obscure the film is.. but you're often full of surprises. ^_^ (Wonder who owns the rights to it? Would be good to see a DVD release of it, ideally with some commentary from those involved - there've got to be some memorable anecdotes, surely :)

It certainly would be most gratifying to see Vivian Stanshall gain the recognition he deserves. I wonder how widely available the BDDDB albums are now? Maybe I'll include that as a question in a poll sometime, just to find out who's heard of them. They're certainly not as famous as the Pythons, but then again, neither are they unknown, even 35 or so years on. I'd be somewhat surprised if anyone under 20's familiar with them, although there'd be exceptions there, I'm sure - cultural awareness, be it classical or popular, knows no age boundaries, after all.
I recently made new DVD-R backups of my whole mp3 collection, so what I think I'll do is just send you the old DVDs that I'd normally throw away. That way, you'll get about 4,000 songs in addition to the ones by the Bonzos. ;-)

I don't have Sir Henry, tho. Afraid I could never quite connect with Viv's post-BDB works. Still, I know you'll enjoy what I'm able to send your way. ^_^
Wow! The great Bamboo! Nice fursuits too! I'd see them!