Friday, 26 November 2010

The Queen on Facebook

National Geographic's Photography Contest 2010

A stunning selection of photographs here, courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Dara O'Briain on video games

True American Dog

This is brilliantly weird. Check it out.

Zero-effort Kinect

So, how interactive is the new Kinect...?

Snow Line

Lovely little Santa game - click the image to play. (Maybe turn your speakers down a bit first though!)

Source Code trailer

This looks kind of cool, in a Quantum Leap-meets-Groundhog Day-meets-The Matrix kind of way.

Fly Like a Bird

The clue's in the name, really. Click the image to have a go.

It's A Trap

The third and final installment in the Family Guy/Star Wars trilogy. Hurrah!

Harry Potter obsession/derision

This is unhealthy.

This, however, is brilliant.

Un-PC ads of yore

Click here for a selection of old ads from times when the ASA weren't quite so snippy.

Summer Verona's despicable stepdad

So, this is just about the most terrible and disturbing thing I've ever seen.

26/11/10 - 'I'm A Twat, Just Leave Me Here...'

‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’. There’s a clunky name for a TV show if ever there was one. It probably sounded great in the initial brainstorm, but no-one seems to have questioned it since, despite the flustered awkwardness displayed by whichever unfortunate ITV announcer has to read it out each evening.

I haven’t been watching it, it looks terrible. I watched an episode of the first series back in 2002 and it was fucking rubbish, so I haven’t bothered since. Frankly, the idea of perpetuating the fame of long-forgotten ‘celebrities’ (who, let’s not forget, are off the radar for a reason) leaves almost as sour a taste as that of continuing to feed the success of the increasing number of imbecilic fatuous pricks who are famous simply for the fact that they are famous in some kind of hideous ouroboros circle. (...and breathe.)
So, who better than I, a man who hasn’t seen so much as a second of the show, to offer an analysis of the current series? It’s just a bunch of wankers eating unsavoury parts of animals and screaming a lot, right? Good. OK, let’s look at the contestants.

Lembit Öpik
Aside from his constituents, nobody knew who this awkward, asymmetric-faced nerd was until he started banging the Cheeky Girls. Did their vampiric Transylvanian weirdness rub off on him at all? No, of course not. You can’t just grow a personality simply by having uncomfortable, pointy sexual intercourse with skeletal pantomime characters.
He writes a column for the Daily Sport, he tried to claim on expenses for the cost of a court summons because he didn’t pay his council tax and, according to Sian Lloyd, he’s ‘fuelled by alcohol’. Should this man really be in politics?

Stacey Solomon
Bless her, she means well. I really wanted her to win X Factor last year, she was a great singer and seemed like a genuinely nice girl. She’s a bit thick though, isn’t she…?
I think it’s unfortunate that she’s pursuing post-X Factor fame by appearing on this show rather than, you know, doing some singing. Once you get wound up in the fame-for-the-sake-of-fame cycle it’s hard to get out, and she’s talented enough not to have to bother. Shame.

Shaun Ryder
If there’s anyone that would make me actually consider watching ‘I’m a Celebrity…’, it’s Shaun Ryder. The man is an absolute car crash, in the best possible way. I’d love to go for a pint with him and hear stories about what he got up to in the eighties and nineties (if he can remember [which he almost certainly can’t]). My favourite Shaun Ryder story (aside from the whole Happy Mondays/Barbados/crack/ransom thing) is how he came to be the only person named specifically in Channel 4’s Compliance Manual after his sweary appearance on TFI Friday: "Please note that the Channel 4 Board has undertaken to the ITC that Shaun Ryder will not appear live on Channel 4."
I remember watching that episode live, it was awesome. Chris Evans nearly cringed his own face off.

Aggro Santos
Never heard of him. Having just looked him up on YouTube, he seems to be just another faceless drone in the ever-expanding white noise of cheesy generic R’n’B-lite popshite, which is hardly surprising. Presumably his musical legacy will last as long as that of The Beatles, yes? He must be very proud of what he’s doing, what a wonderful way to make a living. With a pseudonym like ‘Aggro’ I bet he’s well ‘ard too.
My research tells me that as recently as two months ago he was making a ‘star appearance’ at the University of Dundee’s fresher’s week. That’s the big time right there.

Britt Ekland
…is a proper celebrity. She was in The Wicker Man and Get Carter, she was a Bond girl in The Man with the Golden Gun, and she was married to Peter Sellers. She also released a single in 1979 called ‘Do it to Me’, although that's less impressive. What’s she doing humiliating herself on such a banal and moronic TV show? Well, she hasn’t been in the public eye much recently. Maybe she’s lonely.

Dom Joly
I’m really not sure how I feel about him. Trigger Happy TV was, for the most part, very good, and I think he’s a genuinely clever and interesting bloke. I also think he might be a bit of an arsehole though, and I’m not really sure why. He probably isn’t.
Three interesting facts about Dom Joly that you may not know: He was born in Beirut. He’s directed a few music videos (including Ian Brown’s ‘Golden Gaze’). He sold his Notting Hill flat to Salman Rushdie.

Sheryl Gascoigne
Couldn’t give a toss. She’s one of those shamelessly fame-hungry people who’s kept the surname of a famous person they were married to long ago (seriously, you divorced Paul Gascoigne twelve years ago and he used to beat you, what are you hoping to gain by keeping his name? It’s not like it carries a lot of fucking cachet, the man’s an alcoholic embarrassment), and consequently I have absolutely no interest in anything she says or does. Next!

Linford Christie
He operates a sports management company called ‘Nuff Respect’. What a tosser.
OK, he’s won a lot of gold medals and we can say with some conviction that he’s pretty good at running, but that’s hardly a useful talent. Obviously he’s made a good living out of so it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but how will his descendants speak of him? ‘Oh yes, great-great-grandfather Linford – he was a very successful man. He could move from here to just over there slightly faster than most people.’ Honestly.
What am I saying? They’ll probably dwell on his 1988 Olympic drug ban. Or the one in 1994. Or the one in 1999.

Kayla Collins
I know what you’re thinking: Kayla isn’t a real name. But she was born on April Fool’s Day, so it’s probably some kind of weak, obscure joke.
She’s a Playboy model; a pseudo-classy brand name plastered over a corner of a seedy industry to allow stupid but attractive people to make a lot of money from taking their clothes off. Would her parents be as proud if she was wapping her knockers out for Filthy Clunge magazine, or Fat or Pregnant, or Rogered in a Layby? Probably not. But it’s OK, because it’s Playboy. Hugh Hefner is a respectable man and in no way a twat.

Jenny Éclair
She can actually be genuinely funny – the confused, slightly batty middle-aged woman schtick gets a little tiresome, but she is quite sharp and witty. I went to see a recording of Radio 4’s ‘I’ve Never Seen Star Wars’ in which she ate something she’d never eaten before (I forget what – possibly some kind of seafood?) so I imagine she’s fitting into ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ rather well. I hope the other contestants are being nice to her.

Alison Hammond
She was a Big Brother contestant in 2002 (according to Wikipedia, ‘her most memorable moment in the house was jumping on a picnic table and breaking it before reporting it in the diary room’ – that must have been an exciting episode, what a character), and has since appeared on Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrities Under Pressure, Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes and Celebrity Ready Steady Cook. So she’s only a ‘celebrity’ for having been on so many reality shows.
Seriously, she can fuck off. Pointless fame-whore.

Nigel Havers
The Hon. Nigel Allan Havers has a really slappable face. A smug, pompous right-wing arse who writes for the fucking Daily Mail – what’s to like there?

Gillian McKeith
I find it difficult to even say her name without grimacing, She’s always banging on about ‘you are what you eat’, suggesting that she’s probably spent the better part of the past fifty-one years eating despicable bitch pie with plenty of infuriating cunt sauce. Possibly a side order of unfounded piety sandwiches, a wedge of ripe misinformation and a lush clump of seriously-just-fuck-off-already beans. I don’t know about you, but I can’t look at her without wondering who’s poo she’s been picking through today. I want to check her fingernails (safely, from a distance).
To sum her up neatly, she claims to be a doctor when she is no such thing, she’s a nutritionist without even a basic understanding of nutrition, she makes spurious legal threats against anyone who questions her incompetence and she seems like really irritating company. Why anyone would actively choose to watch her on television is entirely beyond me.

So there we go. Have I got it about right?

'This wine tastes like Chewits!'

Alan Partridge's Mid-Morning Matters is getting better and better with every episode! I'm very happy about this.

Friday, 19 November 2010

'I don't think it's pumpkin juice...'

Bread People

The inspired combination of disconcerting Photoshopping and quite bad puns. Clicky.

Endurance Gaming

Ashen's Tech Dump is getting better with every episode.

9 Eyes

Want to see unexpected stuff on Google Streetview? Here's the place to go.

OK Go - Last Leaf

Yet another pioneering music video from OK Go... and this song is way less annoying than the last few. Double thumbs up, then.

Rugby skills

Some impressive skills demonstrated by the All Blacks...

...and some slightly less impressive ones:

Chewing gum art

I always get a little bit annoyed when I see people spitting their gum out in the street instead of binning it; I have to fight strong urges to haul them back and rub the bottoms of their jeans in it, just so they can see how unpleasant it is to trail someone else's minty, spitty ick down the pavement.
Most people are more tolerant than me. This chap, for example, turns discarded gum into art. Click here.

Shut uuuuuuuup...

Cassetteboy vs. The Only Way Is Essex. What's not to like?

Fast food ads vs. reality

It's obvious that the time constraints under which the average fast food worker operates are vastly different to those of the studio-based burger photographer, but still... a bit more effort wouldn't go amiss.
Click here.

Grilling phones

Unusual viral for EZGrill gives the cretins of YouTube something to whine about.

19/11/10 - The Caravan

‘The caravan.’ Two words that meant a lot to me in times gone by. No, we weren’t one of those families that went on holiday towing a glorified plastic shed on wheels behind the car and then spent two weeks shitting in a cupboard eighteen inches from the dinner table. But a friend of mine did have a caravan in his garden. And it was awesome.

His parents had bought it when he was studying for his A-levels; he was sharing a bedroom with his little brother at the time and they felt that he needed somewhere more private to study, so they bought a caravan, parked it up in front of the house, hooked it up to the mains and left him to it. This turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us as a group.
You see, teenagers need to have somewhere to hang out. It’s all very well going round each others’ houses, but there will always be a parent around somewhere ensuring that you are, to a degree at least, behaving. That wasn’t true of the caravan. It was our place to do what we liked in. No parent would ever have wanted to go in there.

The interior didn’t remain standard for long. Plywood cupboards and vinyl surfaces are fine for camping, but we just needed somewhere to sit. It was all ripped out and replaced with two long benches along either side. The table remained, of course, as did the most important part: the refrigerator.
That fridge contained a steady rotation of beer from 1998 onwards. It served us well for a decade, that little fridge – and the indestructible strawberry mousse that somebody put in there in the early days survived right through to the end, vivid pink and increasingly bulbous.

Other vital additions included the stereo, the PlayStation and the TV (for PlayStation use only). And the Guess Who, Othello, Scrabble and playing cards. And the mirrorball.
My friend cracked out the chainsaw and made a massive ashtray out of a tree trunk. The dream was complete.

And so, in stages, we spent more and more of our youth in the caravan. None of us had ever been on any kind of caravanning holiday, but between us we’ve certainly spent more time sitting in a big plastic trailer than everyone reading this put together.
It started off being a place that we’d go to on Friday nights; after school or work we’d all drive over to my friend’s house (stopping off on the way to stock up on beer, crisps and Golden Virginia) and spend the evening chatting, drinking, smoking, listening to music, until we fell asleep. Soon it became the place we’d go to after the clubs shut on Saturday nights. And then it’d be the place we went to before going out on Saturdays. And then we’d start going there on weeknights, just to hang out. Every one of us knew every inch of that caravan – where you could have dropped a lighter, which surfaces or corners were good for knocking bottle tops off, which angles you could open or close the windows from, the technique for properly closing the door (slam it really fucking hard, basically), how much sleeping space you’d be likely to get dependant on how many people were there...

It didn’t seem at all weird to us. It was just ‘going to the caravan’. And even after members of the group started to move away and get their own places, we’d still occasionally go back to the caravan for a nostalgic get-together, huddling around the fan heater in winter or taping up the edges of the curtains in summer so as not to wake up too early.

In 2008, my friend’s parents decided to sell their house. There was no place for the caravan any more.
It had been sitting there motionless for ten years, there was no chance of towing it away – it would have just disintegrated. We had no alternative but to smash the old girl to pieces.
Fittingly, as we fired up the angle grinder, it started to snow.

Alan Partridge's Mid-Morning Matters - Episode 3

Friday, 12 November 2010

Six Flags, New Orleans

Six Flags closed in preparation for Hurricane Katrina on August 27th 2005. For obvious reasons, it never re-opened. This footage is genuinely chilling.

Damn You, Auto Correct!

iPhone auto-correct makes texting awesome. Click here.

The greatest trick play ever

9 million YouTube hits in five days... you may well have seen this already. But if you haven't, check it out, it's superb.

David Beckham being genuinely amusing

Seriously, it's true. Behold:

Artificial Owl a blog of abandoned man-made things across the globe. Simple concept, but massively compelling. Click here.

Moleskine Pac-Man

This ad's so cool, it actually makes me want to buy a tremendously expensive notebook that I have no use for. Bravo.

DirecTV - Robots

This is just so good.

Do It Yourself Doodler

I love this.
Start with a blank templated doodle pad, like the first image, and create all kinds of wonderful scenes. There's plenty more here.

The Shining - happy version

Jack Torrance is a cheery soul, really.

Mount Merapi in pictures

It staggers me how a tragedy of this magnitude can receive so little news coverage in the UK. Click here for some disturbing, graphic images of the Indonesian volcano, courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Butter apple

I'd watch Masterchef if it was actually like this.

Stone deaf and raving in dustbins

Everything about this is brilliant.

Funny Receipts

They are receipts and they are funny. The name is wholly accurate. Click here.

Mid-Morning Matters - Episode 2

This bite-size web-series is going from strength to strength. Doesn't make me want to drink Fosters at all, but I'm very glad that there's fresh Partridge in the world again.

The Therapist

Shouting is awesome.

Spelling Fails

Click here.

Senegalese cycling

I wonder how you find out that you can do this - did he get knocked off his bike one day and fail to hit the ground...?

OCD art

This is genuinely astonishing - the woman has the patience of a saint.

Kim Rugg from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

12/11/10 - Sextravaganza

The theme of this week’s JuicyPips has been chosen by Pansy Aung and Anna Sweet, who bought the right to do so at a recent charity auction.
Their chosen theme: sex.

Um… yeah, that’s quite broad, isn’t it? But I enjoy broadness (fnar!), so I’ve decided to structure this – if that’s the right word (which it really isn’t) – as a series of inconsequential and disconnected anecdotes based loosely around the theme of sex. And it’s as simple as that.

Do you remember when you first learned what sex was? I remember it quite clearly – it happened on the playground of my primary school at the age of eight. (When I say ‘it happened’, I mean the revelation of knowledge rather than the act itself. Obviously. Eight would have been a tremendously early start.)
Somebody had brought in an encyclopaedia from home, and was staggering us all with the complex cutaway diagrams and clinical explanations of the physical act of procreation. None of us had heard the word ‘vagina’ spoken aloud before, and we assumed that it was pronounced ‘VADGE-in-er’. We would march around the playground repeatedly chanting ‘penis into vagina… that’s sex!’, demonstrating a factually simplistic and slightly unromantic analysis of something that none of us would have any first-hand knowledge of for rather a long time.

This might be a slightly uncool thing to admit, but I’ve only seen one porn film all the way through and it was rubbish. I was probably about eighteen or thereabouts and I was at a friend’s house getting dangerously pissed on a huge amount of cheap cider, as one relentlessly and unstoppably does at that age. There were probably about ten or fifteen of us there, and it was somebody’s birthday. He’d been bought two presents collectively by everyone else there – spending money on cider was clearly a priority for most of us – one of which was a walnut shell that contained a thong, and the other was a video entitled ‘Anal Adventures’. As far as I can remember it wasn’t an adventure in the Enid Blyton sense, and I had to leave the room a couple of times to vomit up a chunky soup of Strongbow and Pringles, which suggests I probably wasn’t watching the film that attentively.
It’s traditional for people to say ‘I don’t find porn sexy, I actually find it funny…’ in an attempt to elevate themselves above the (actually perfectly normal) people who enjoy watching strangers nailing each other on videotape. I’m afraid I can’t be so lofty – I just now associate pornos with vomit and walnuts, which kind of takes the erotic edge off.

Speaking of porn films, I saw possibly the best-titled porno ever on sale in a shop in Amsterdam a few years ago. It was called ‘Inseminated By Two Black Men vol.12’. I love the fact that not only did they make a film with such an absurd name, but that it proved sufficiently popular to lead to a further eleven sequels.

Oh, I just remembered something I’d forgotten about for years…
There was a guy I hung out with at school from year 7 through to year 11 (at which point I realised that it probably made more sense to befriend people who weren’t dicks) who went through a remarkable change almost overnight in year 10. He started out as a geeky kid with a mullet who was obsessed with The Blues Brothers – and local tribute group Rubber Biscuit – and very quickly morphed into a violent shaven-headed arsehole who, if his stories were to be believed, spent his evenings and weekends taking vast quantities of various drugs, listening to drum 'n' bass and beating people up in the street. A real charmer. Anyway, he’d always give us tediously detailed accounts of the shit he used to get up to, which took a surreal turn when he started seeing a girl that nobody else had actually seen or heard of. In hindsight it’s all very Jay-from-The-Inbetweeners, but I believed it at the time.
One day he told us about how he’d been having sex with this girl the previous night, ‘standing up, mind you. Did her standing up’.
It stuck in my mind just because it’s the funniest and most out-of-context use of the phrase ‘mind you’ I’ve ever heard. The only other person I know who says ‘mind you’ is my grandmother.

Jay from The Inbetweeners has reminded me of something else. A few years ago I was sharing a flat with a guy in Wandsworth. He was going out on a first date with a girl from work one evening, and as he was about to walk out of the door I handed him a condom with a wink and said ‘fill this up for me’. This, of course, was a direct quote from Jay, and my flatmate loved The Inbetweeners. I assumed he’d get the reference immediately and find the gag hilarious. I assumed wrong. He just looked confused and disgusted. It was incredibly awkward.

Two of my favourite intercourse-related quotes…
Andy from The 40 Year-Old Virgin: ‘I dated this girl for a while. She was really a... nasty freak. She just loved to get down with sex all the time. It was like... anytime of day, she was like, "Yeah, let's go! I'm so nasty!" And I'd be nailing her and she'd be like, "Oh, you're nailing me! Cool!"
Simon from The Inbetweeners (again): ‘I’m going to fuck your fucking fanny off, you twat!’
See, not everyone’s cool when it comes to the doing of the nasty. Most of the time people who show off about sex (or even just talk about it in a social context) sound like cretins – just try eavesdropping on any building site/school disco/etc or read some amateur adult literature. Talking about having it off without sounding like a cock is pretty tricky. Thankfully, I think I’ve just about pulled it off here.

Hur hur. ‘Pulled it off’.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Mid Morning Matters - episode 1

I was a little nervous that the corporate-sponsored return of Alan Partridge would be a bit crap... but, thankfully, it's just as brilliant as I'm Alan Partridge. (Although surely Alan would far rather have a pint of Directors than a tin of Fosters?)

Mary & Max

I can't wait to see this, it looks beautiful.

Save the Words

Click below to save some much underused words. It's your responsibility to keep these in the common lexicon!

St John Ambulance - 'Popcorn'

Seriously impressive bit of adcraft here. When's the last time you saw a cinema audience applaud an advert...?

Monet 2010

Click the image for a beautiful piece of web design - the zoomable painting scans are astonishingly high-res!

'Math teacher has trouble playing a video in class'

This teacher is just awesome.
n.b. It's 'maths'.

If We Don't, Remember Me

Take a few frames from a movie and paste them together into a perennial loop. Simple idea, and very compelling. Click here.

The T-Mobile Welcome Back

Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't deny that T-Mobile's virals are kinda sticky.

Seriously Sorry

A place to apologise. (Perhaps not always sincerely...)