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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..
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.