Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Dirty swine flu

Swine flu pandemonium 1976 vintage. Just make sure you boil that bacon thoroughly ...

30 April: Just corrected that spelling because, as a good friend and informant points out, 'pandamonium ... would be a large black and white bear who spends all its time complaining, when in fact they spend all their time eating bamboo and sleeping. Never met such lazy, good for nothing bears as Pandas.' Maybe, but at least they never gave us panda flu ...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Belgium isn't boring

This is dedicated to my sister, whose renditions of Do-Re-Mi, complete with actions, are legendary in the pubs of Stone and well beyond.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Second sex

‘It isn’t only about sex, you know.’ I’ve heard the refrain so often that it’s almost become convincing. And now there’s even a brave new virtual world of political activism and protest being built in online fantasy worlds such as Second Life to justify spending all those hours in front of a computer screen.

Second Life, if you haven’t come across it yet, is a free 3D virtual world where people who have enough time left over from their first life can reinvent themselves and interact with other people via avatars. Once you’ve set up your avatar, you can do all sorts of things that aren’t only about sex – like selling Red Pepper, attending online protest meetings or picketing SL’s digital Israeli embassy, if you’re so inclined, although it has to be said that most of SL’s avatars seem to have other inclinations.

As a hardcore online junkie, old enough to remember rooting around on something called the Undernet and communicating via Internet Relay Chat, and a recovering SimCity and Civilisation addict, I had successfully steered clear of SL since its foundation in 2003. My willpower cracked, though, when a friend insisted that I accompany her on a sort of Motorcycle Diaries-style trip to check out the revolutionary potential.

Let’s say I got distracted.

It started with an invitation to the BadGirlz Club, progressed via a beach resort and continued into a castle occupied by, inter alia, vampires, zombies and aficionados of the cult of Gor (a kind of medieval BDSM fantasy world in which stepping out of character to have a quick laugh at the absurdity of it all gets you kicked out of the club faster than you can say ‘Yes Master’). Before I knew it, my avatar had acquired a shaved head, some very fetching skull tattoos, a single ‘elf gauntlet’ and the tightest pair of gay of gayboi pants you could ever imagine squeezing your bum into. Oh yes, and erm, a box of nine penises.

What do you do with a box of nine penises, I’m sure you’re asking. The answer is: you wear them. Not all at once, of course, and you do have to use a bit of virtual jiggerypokery to unpack them from the box first – as I only discovered after walking around SL with a box labelled ‘Nine Penises’ attached to my avatar’s pelvis for the next couple of days.

My friend, meanwhile, had decided she was up for a sex-change operation. This was after she had refused an offer to spend 155 Linden dollars (SL’s very own currency) on something called ‘seclix rave pacifier’, which supposedly ‘simulates real life pacifier dipped in MDMA’ and is advertised in SL as ‘drugs without the crash’. She spent the money instead on a special, just-like-real-life penis, which came with handy instruction manual.

‘How to adjust the penis size?’ was one of the Q&As, to which the answer is: ‘Wear the penis. Right click it and select “edit”. Click the button “Stretch”. Now use the white blocks to adjust the size. Note that the penis can be made bigger, but not smaller.’

Neither of us has got very far in fomenting a Second Life revolution just yet. But we have a fine collection of penises, if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Would 'Gotcha!' have been the best tweet ever?

Nice 1 April story about the Guardian going over entirely to Twitter ('OMG Hitler invades Poland' etc). I hear the Sun considered the idea but turned it down: WTF do you do with 140 characters?