Sunday, June 26, 2005

The World's Wildest Police Horoscopes

With Sheriff John Bunnell (retired)

Hi, I’m Sheriff John Bunnell. In 25 years as an officer of the law, I saw a lot of high-speed chases, bank heists, convenience store holdups, drug deals gone bad, and a lot more. But no matter how experienced you are, the job can still take you by surprise. That’s why I’m here tonight to provide you with an insight into your future, and perhaps the criminal mind itself.

All the horoscopes you are about to see are taken from REAL Tarot readings by REAL psychics in America and across the globe. Because on the streets, when the going gets tough, the tough realign their chakras.
These are The World’s Wildest Police Horoscopes.

Aries - March 21 to April 19
This week, you yearn for the strength to break free from your emotional cocoon and embark upon a journey of self discovery. But be warned - no matter how far you run, no matter how well you hide, if you make the mistake of running from the Baker County Sheriff's Department, you'll be making an altogether different kind of journey - a journey into the back seat of a police cruiser!

Taurus - April 19 to May 20
Busting through stop signs as if they were green lights, a sense of disaffection at work careens straight into your emotional meridian! As the heavy traffic of Rush Hour starts to kick in, Cops will have to work fast before this vague feeling of malaise snowballs into a full-scale catastrophe!

Gemini - May 20 to June 21
This week's scenario is highlighted by your ability to multitask and balance your act - a skill you're sorely in need of when these Georgia patrolmen administer the DUI test after you're clocked barrelling down the highway at ninety miles per! Later, it is discovered that not only were you driving at FIVE TIMES the legal limit... you were also high on a deadly cocktail of street-bought methamphetamines! Now these Virginia State Troopers have one less drug-crazed maniac to worry about, and you've learned an important lesson: You may try to evade the long arm of the law, but the further you run, the longer it gets!

Cancer - June 21 to July 22
Indecision, even when self-imposed, is not an easy place to be. You'll soon be faced with a choice of which way to turn. You can try the high way, the low way, or the freeway, but in the end you won't GET A-WAY from determined police officers! And soon you'll be learning all about another place that isn't so easy to be - THE COUNTY JAIL!

Leo - July 22 to August 22
Lazy Leo, this week your horoscope is dominated by the need to take control and accept responsibility for your actions. But luckily, you'll have a lot of time to think about responsibility - BEHIND BARS!

Virgo - August 22 to September 23
One by one, the blocks in your path to self actualisation are being removed - though you may be a little in the dark as to what lies ahead for you. These Sheriff’s Deputies prefer it that way - it allows them to lay down Stinger spike strips in the path of your destructive rampage! Moments later and the trap is sprung! Virgo speeds straight over the spike strips, popping all four tires! Running on rims only, with sparks flying from the back of the vehicle like the tail of a comet, you have a moment of clarity, doing the first smart thing you’ve done all day, and surrendering to the police.

Libra - September 23 to October 23
An upsurge of magnetism in your personal and professional relationships will see an old flame return to your life, T-boning a tanker and showering the stolen SUV with pure gasoline! Only moments ago, cops were attempting to bring this renegade to justice - but now they fight to rescue the culprit from the twisted remains the vehicle before it goes up in flames!

Scorpio - October 23 to November 22
Careening the wrong way down this busy freeway, it’s only a matter of time before inspirational Mercury misjudges, and when it does, the results are terrifying - the sedan ricochets off the side of this eighteen-wheeler like a pinball! Just listen to the sound the car makes as it hits the central divider! Incredibly, he’s still conscious, and take off on foot into nearby woodlands. However, the suspect’s courage runs out when K-9 units are bought into hunt him down. This renegade celestial convergence took police on a blistering chase spanning three separate counties, but dedicated officers took the fugitive off the streets - and into a holding cell!

Sagittarius - November 22 to December 21
Things in the workplace will move swiftly, and the time between proposal and action may be refreshingly short - but not as short as THIS Sagittarius' temper when he refuses to accept the ticket and takes a wild swing at Officer Pendlebury!
It started as a twenty dollar fine for a cracked tail light, but because this HOTHEADED culprit couldn't keep his COOL, he's going down for felony assault! He'll have plenty of time to COOL OFF now - IN THE COOLER!

Capricorn - December 21 to January 20
Mars in your emotional house makes you a mess of conflicting wants and desires, spiralling out of control and fishtailing on this dusty, unpaved desert road. Unless you learn to control your impulses, it's only a matter of time before your worst fears become fender-crunching, tire-shredding, rim-rattling reality!

Aquarius - January 20 to Febuary 19
Boxed in by the cruisers, Saturn barrels wildly across the front lawn of your Relationship House, narrowly missing a pedestrian! This horoscope just turned serious. DEADLY serious!

Pisces - Feburary 19 to March 21
Amazingly nobody is killed, and you survive to stand trial.


Monday, June 20, 2005

The Museum of Toys

As requested by that "Juptin" guy, here are some pictures of my vast toy collection.

My oversized collection of tat, in its full glory.

A happy Halo family. The Master Chief and attendant Spartan homies, plus one of the developmentally disabled Human Marines, a lovable Grunt and a chunky Elite.

Earthworm Jim! Through the soil he did crawl! Also Mulder & Scully, Robocop, some Quake marines, and a still-packaged Jesus Christ, probably "inspired" by Kevin Smith's Buddy Christ.

A couple of old Mister T figures which I had long before it was cool to ironically worship Mister T. This means I am better than you.

My childhood collection of Dr. Who guys. Note my rubbish taste in the Doctor's companions. Except for K-9, he was fuckin` harsh.

A selection of gorgeous Star Wars vehicles made by Micro Machines. Some of these have recently been re-released by Hasbro, but tragically lacking the tiny little pilot figures who could sit in the cockpits.

The baddest motherfucker in all of Middle Earth.

"Get away from her, you BITCH." Ripley tears the Alien Queen a new ovipositor. Mars Attacks Martian tries not to get involved.

It's just a flesh wound.

He-Man and Skeletor, plus Destro and a Cobra soldier guy. Cobra Commander has passed out.

Some of my Lego stormtrooper army, acquired via the magic of ebay.

There, I hope you enjoyed that. If you didn't you really should have, you ungrateful bunch of bastards. There's tons more to see but my uploading gland is aching after all that hardcore mouse clicking, so I'll save the rest for another day.

In other news, I've been reading about this "Freedom Awards" thing that celebrates FREEDOM of expression by way of presenting AWARDS to blog authors who go above and beyond the call of duty to whinge about how George Bush is evil and stupid. I think I should win an award for putting up with those people trying to pass off base political observations as PROFOUND INSIGHTS. I will accept this award in the form of a functioning solid gold space shuttle or a bottomless barrel of chocolate eclairs.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Signs O` The Times

Some strange, inappropriate, silly or otherwise peculiar signs I've taken pictures of.

I don't know what kind of idiot thought it'd be a good idea to put a picture of the World Trade Center on a sign for an estate agent. It's not an image that's generally associated with structural durability. Also, I like how their web address spells the company name incorrectly.

Zombie-only area.

It's reassuring to know I'm being experimented on.

I just feel sorry for the guy the "ICE" landed on.



This one's from the scum-infested council estate which I live on the edge of. For some reason the permanently intoxicated teenage mothers and their millions of illiterate rat-faced spawn just ain't interested in Family Fun Day.

Who left that there?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Next Week's TV

Network premiere of George Lucas' spinoff TV series, focusing on minor characters from the films. In this first episode, cynical wisecracking cantina alien Hammerhead unexpectedly inherits a studio apartment in the fashionable part of Coruscant from his uncle, but before he can get settles in there's a housewarming party to organise, a tyrannical Sith Landlord to contend with, and an unconscious Rodian in the bathroom. Featuring Ted Danson as Hammerhead, and also starring the voices of a million Star Wars fans suddenly crying out in terror.
Deeply suspect award-winning current affairs programme, featuring nothing but
grim, sobering stories of youth violence, terrorist attacks and genocide, punctuated by blatant psychological manipulation, randomly-insterted spooky "wooooooooo!" noises and a large trasparent cackling death's head flashing on and off in the middle of the screen throughout the entire programme. This week's edition takes a look at all the horrible things young people in hoodies might do to you, why you oughtn't to trust foreigners, and continues the countdown of 100 Greatest Reasons To Never Go Outside. Hosted by Nick Ross.
Hard-hitting mob drama, this week's episode featuring special guest writer, dead 1930s horror author HP Lovecraft.Whilst searching for dropped dollar bills under the tables in the Bada Bing, Paulie discovers the long-lost Necronomicon of the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, and upon opening it unwittingly creates a dimensional gateway through which spews a host of gibbering, starborn blasphemies from beyond angled space. Meanwhile, Tony tells Dr. Melfi about his recurring dreams of Cyclopean cities, and Silvio is jostled by a swarthy Mulatto.
Public service broadcast designed to supply work to authoritative TV luminaries such as Jonathon Ross' less-funny brother, some bint off Smack The Pony and Vernon Kay - who all line up to emit standardised nostalgic utterances generated by a computer program, concerning antique television programs broadcast long before any of them were actually born. Tonight's
faux-memories include hiding behind the sofa from Daleks and why that Only Fools And Horses episode where Delboy falls through the bar is the crowning cultural achievement of the 20th century.
One of several new Star Trek spinoffs frantically released as part of a desperate attempt to resuscitate the ailing franchise after the failure of Enterprise. Taking place in the Original Series timeline, this show follows the exploits of the USS Abstinence, a roving Starfleet STD clinic on a five-year mission to trail after the USS Enterprise wherever it goes and attempt to quell the raging HIV epidemic being spread by injudicious lover Captain Kirk. In this week's episode, Captain Kinsey is shocked to receive a distress call from himself in a future where the Federation has been ripped apart by an especially virulent strain of the clap Kirk contracted on Vulcan, due to time travel or some old shit like that. Guest-starring Wil Wheaton as a nasty case
of herpes. Followed by:
A new, streamlined and ultra-condensed Star Trek designed to cater for modern audiences with high-pressure jobs and limited leisure time and/or attention span, featuring an all-Vulcan crew.
When the ship recieves a distress signal from an unfamiliar alien spacecraft, Captain Sovak immediately destroys the vessel because it's generally a trap when you get a distress signal in Star Trek, which may end up leading to storyline. Everybody agrees with the Captain's entirely logical command decision, thereby negating the need for character tension and so further
reducing the show's running time of sixty-seven seconds. Followed by:
Same as above but with rastas.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I watched Episode III.

Here's what I thought about various different aspects of the film.

The dialogue, thank Jesus, has improved. Some of the jokes actually made me giggle. Ian McDiarmid gets some great lines to chew on, and everyone else does their best with what they're given. Unfortunately, there's been no improvement in the writing when it comes to Anakin and Padme's conversations. At one point Anakin utters this clunker: "You look so beautiful because of how much I love you."
Retch. That line is so awful wouldn't even make it onto a poorly-translated Japanese Valentine's Day card.

Yoda's forced backwards-speak is similarly annoying. In his original appearances, Yoda only did this occasionally - when he really had something important to say to Luke, he'd drop the speech impediment and talk properly. Now, however, it has grown from a funny linguistic eccentricity into the defining point of Yoda's entire frigging character. He does it ALL THE BLOODY TIME, including when he's ordering clone troopers around. Would you like it if you were in a huge chaotic battle and your sergeant was barking orders at you in incomprehensible reverse-English?
"Around the survivors, a perimiter create!"

Oh, and he doesn't do that crazy little squeaky chuckle anymore. Boo.

The plot has to be the best of the prequel trilogy. I thought Anakin's perversion to the Dark Side was written quite well, especially the way it stems from love rather than pure malice. It actually makes you feel sorry for Vader, casting his character in a new light.

The spectacularly nasty way Palpatine manipulates Anakin's feelings is well-played - he lures Anakin into the dark by exploiting his fear about his wife dying, and also by quite simply being nicer to the chap than his own fellow Jedi are. The one weak point I can think of is Anakin's strangling of Padme towards the end of the film. This girl is the reason he switches sides and turns into a bastard.
He does it all out of love for her, and so it makes no sense for him to do this, unless he's just disciplining her, trailer-trash style: "Why you always gotta make me Force Choke you, baby?"

It could have simply been that by this point he was so far gone and drunk on his own power that he no longer gave a shit about her, but after he's been encased in his trademark black armour, the first thing he asks the Emperor is if she's okay, which sort of blows that line of reasoning. All in all though, the events in this film are suitably epic, and a definite improvement on that whole “bunch of evil Japanese capitalist aliens blockades some stupid planet nobody cares about” affair.

I will not dispute that a lot of the computer effects in the new films are jaw-droppingly good - it's just that they're everywhere, all the time, when they really don't need to be. Even dialogue scenes which ought to focus on character interaction are jammed full of eye-boggling computer-generated bollocks going on everywhere and distracting you from what's going on in the foreground. To convey the sheer size of the kind of titanic battles the new films have played host to, CGI is essential - but Lucas uses it for practically everything else as well, including sets and costumes. Part of the attraction of watching the old films is that most of the stuff on screen actually physically exists - real sets, backdrops, model spaceships and iconic props and costumes which became the cinematic equivalent of holy relics. If you look at production stills from this film, it's almost exclusively a bunch of people hanging around in front of a completely bare greenscreen backdrop. Would it really be more expensive to create costumes for the clone troopers instead of rendering them on a computer? The technology to do Stormtrooper suits existed in 1977, and dedicated Star Wars fans knock up convincing outfits in their sheds, so why can't ILM? It just looks better. You don't have to use CGI for everything.

I'd say the two most grating incidences of superfluous CGI in this film are...
A) The head Clone Trooper taking his helmet off during his last conversation with Obi-Wan, which was so unconvincing it reminded me of the FMV cutscenes from the original Command & Conquer.
B) Obi-Wan cradling baby Luke at the end of the film. The kid appears to have been superimposed into Ewan McGreggor's hands using a 1980s Quantel Paintbox. Could they not just have him ACTUALLY HOLD A FRIGGING BABY? They're not so hard to find, afterall. You can buy them at competetive prices from any disreputable orphanage.

Yay, Chewbacca's back! For about three minutes. With the amount of assorted Chewie-oriented merchandise on the shelves out there, I was expecting these scenes to be a pivotal part of the film, but they didn't seem to serve any function other than an excuse to churn out Wookiee toys. Oh, and Lucas yet again blatantly contradicts his own backstory by setting the fight on Kashyykk's actual surface - it's meant to be incredibly dangerous and uninhabitable down there, this being the reason the Wookiees live up in the trees to begin with. It's annoying how Lucas tries to cater to to the fans by finally putting the Wookiee homeworld up on the big screen, but then drastically alters its topography in order for it to serve as the stage for yet another of those wide open battles with so many rubbish CGI robots clogging up the screen that it's impossible to tell what's going on. I thought a vertigo-inducing fight far up in the treetops would've been a lot more exciting.

Oh, and I wanted to see Chewie ripping arms out of their sockets. Wookiees are known to do that.

What is it with the villains' names in these new films? Their surnames suggest that George Lucas just looked up synonyms for "nasty" or "evil" or "not at all a nice sort of person to spend an afternoon with" in his thesaurus. Darth Tyranus? Darth Sidious? Darth Plagueus? General Greivous? They're all so unsubtle. It's a shame evil politicians in the real world aren't so obvious, because then we'd just know not to vote for the one who wears a black cape and cackles insanely to himself when callously executing incompetant henchmen.

It's a good job they didn't make the original trilogy now, otherwise we'd have had villains like Grand Moff Asshole, Jabba The Right Fat Evil Bastard, or Darth Never-Says-Thank-You-When-Someone-Holds-Open-A-Door-For-Him.

Still, Greivous looks pretty cool and it's a nicely bizarre motif to give a robot some sort of respiratory disorder. He's obviously been at the "deathsticks" again.

Though the man himself seems ecstatic at getting to be in Star Wars at all, I thought it was a shame he didn't get many great Jackson-worthy lines to utter. Still, actions speak louder than words, and the guy with "Bad Motherfucker" engraved on his lightsaber gets an adequate send-off when he becomes a victim of the Emperor's order to kill every Jedi in the galaxy. Being mutilated, electrocuted, and thrown out of a mile-high skyscraper sounds like just about enough punishment to see off our Samuel.

I like to think that he squashed Jar Jar when he finally cratered.

Besides the fact that they're not blokes in costumes like they ought to be, I still have problems with clone troopers. Namely, are these Jedi-butchering supersoldiers the same guys as my dearly beloved rubbish Stormtroopers in the classic trilogy? From the marked decline in their fighting prowess between episodes 3 and 4, I'd say no. My theory is that the anorexic aliens who were cloning them in Episode 2 went out of business and so the Empire, faced with a manpower shortage, was forced to throw open the doors to any old bugger who can fire a blaster, and a fair few who can't. Either that or they accidentally cloned someone really stupid.