Archive for January, 2011

29/01/2011

The Good Ole Games – Manic Miner + Jet Set Willy

I love old computer games.  So much so that I often spend hours playing java conversions of truly great old games.  And I thought why not share my love of these paragons of pixellation with my loyal readers, so expect more in the future…

Typical screen from the Commodore port of Manic Miner,

Back in 1983 and then later in 1984 the ZX Spectrum would give rise to two of my favorite early home computer games, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy. These days both of these games would almost certainly be ignored by even the most dedicated player of flash games but back then they were a real eye opener to just how addictive a good computer game could be.

In addition to what were for the time wonderful graphics, both games boasted sparkling game-play. The controls were simple and responded very crisply which was quite rare for early computer games.  The graphics were of course basic 8 bit type shapes but for all that I remember how much I loved the way the programmers had used a weird mix of bright primary and muted pastel colours in both games.

As for playing the games?  Well in both cases it was all about getting  the items scattered in a given screen.  While also avoiding a truly insane number of deadly objects and creatures.  That was the whole game.  It really was that simple.  Collect everything and somehow avoid being eaten, stomped on, falling to your doom or in some other way being horribly splattered all over everything.

Manic Miner is I’m sure to no-ones surprise set in a mine.  Unfortunately air being in short supply down there you’re in a race against time before black lung or some other horrid mining affliction asphyxiates the hero Willy. And believe me this happens a lot before you would ever manage to beat this game.  So often in fact that at times the thought of finding a mining pick in reality and excavating your own brains into a pudding bowl seems to be a wonderful alternative to playing any longer.

The very first screen of Jet Set Willy, dont be fooled pain lies ahead.

Jet Set Willy on the other hand was set after his retirement from mining in his new mansion.  He’s had a huge party and the guests have left an unholy mess.  So his housekeeper, I shit you not, his actual housekeeper sends him out to clean up when all poor ole Willy wants to do is settle into bed for the night.  So instead of snoring his little hung over, pixellated head off he’s running around his deathtrap of a mansion cleaning up after his ungrateful friends.

Neither of these sound anything like rich, well written adventures and they’re not.  But do you know what?  The story was just enough.  I spent weeks playing both of these games simply because they were just so amazingly playable.  The story really meant nothing at all, it was just a really crappy little hook to get you playing and oh goddesses did you play.

But playability and lack of story aside one of the best reasons to play both Manic Miner (in later ports) and Jet Set Willy was that they both had reasonably good soundtrack’s.  Actually scratch that, for the time the soundtracks were amazing.  In an era when most games had the sort of sound that made the idea of pouring molten lead into your ears a welcome prospect here was a pair of games that had actually recognisable music playing in the background.  The start screen of Manic Miner had “Blue Danube” in the background and the play music was “In the Hall of the Mountain King”and Jet Set Willy included two easily recognised musical pieces also though I prefer Manic Miner in this.  This was a first as up until the Miner Willy games no-one believed a processor could run a game and play music at the same time.  Of course in th earlier ports it was stuttery and sounded much like an early Nokia ringtone.  But it was music damn it and wow did it make you sit up and take notice back then.  I would have to suggest to hear these games at their best though you play the Commodore 64 or Amstrad conversions.

Now for all that these were fun games they weren’t without their problems.  Manic Miner came from an era when games came on cassette tape and you can imagine the problems with that.  Jet Set Willy had those problems and a set of bugs that for the first unpatched version made the game unwinnable. These were eventually fixed though and what remained was a pair of true classics.  And guess what?  You can still download in browser versions of them both and play them on Windows in all their retro glory.

Now the admissions.  I don’t particularly like the Speccy versions of these games.  Despite the game play being identical to older ports the games are simply not as polished.  The later Commodore and Amstrad ports were a little smoother graphically and the musical accompaniment was far easier to listen to for hour after hour.  Also they will have aged really badly in the eyes of most players.  But remember these games are 26 and 27 years old.  Show me anything electronic that old that’s managed to age well.  Well?

But they’re still fun games to play.  So if you want something with a bit of humour in them that you can play on just about anything regardless of system power, try them.

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27/01/2011

Movies I hope I never have to see again – SuperHero Films

A good superhero movie makes you happy.  A great superhero movie can blow you away for weeks after.  A bad superhero movie on the other hand is kind of like that time you got that HUGE Christmas present from your little brother.  Who it turns out thought it would be hilarious to put a pair of mis-matched socks into a box the size of a small family car.  All the excitement that builds up an excitement soon followed by an almost indescribable urge to kill those responsible.

So here we have my five worst Superhero Movies ever.  Movies that I suffered through once in their entirety which left me so scarred that I now walk out of any room that contains a screen showing any of them.  Enjoy and for your own sake heed the warning.  Only watch these once or you may suffer permanent damage to your corneas when you find yourself dragging a garden rake across your eyes to save yourself.

5: Barb Wire.

Pam Anderson stretches her acting muscles.

Back in 1996 this was frankly fan boy heaven. The opening with Pamela Anderson being sprayed with water while she danced topless undoubtedly led to many sleepless nights and even more soiled mattresses.  But unfortunately that scene was to be perfectly honest the highlight of the entire movie.  What is there to say about this steaming heap of dog crap that used to be wonderful, hope filled, pristine celluloid?

Well it’s a bad rip off of Casablanca that fails so completely on every single level to entertain that it is nothing more than genuinely painful viewing.  Pamela Anderson of course shows off her complete lack of acting muscles and frankly you won’t have heard of any of the supporting cast.  Read the comic, watch the movie once and then be glad you have the comic to remember instead.

4: Howard the Duck.

Lea Thompson shares an intimate moment with a bad puppet.

Starring the always beautiful Lea Thompson this was George Lucas’ greatest film blunder, well until Jar Jar Binks at least.  Howard comes from Duckworld, is an expert in a martial art known as Quack-Fu and well really that’s about it.

The only thing in common between the comic and the movie is the name.  The comic is, to me at least, all about how the comedy in any given moment no matter how serious or silly can be completely reliant on who you are as you perceive it.  The movie is about making money for Lucasfilm by telling a seemingly unending bestiality joke.  A really bad joke.

3: Superman IV – The Quest for Peace.

Superman Vs Nuclearman, style icons or what?

Once upon a time, in 1978 to be precise, a great movie franchise was launched.  It cast a relative unknown into the tights of probably the most famous superhero of them all Superman.  For many people myself included Christopher Reeves became the quintessential Superman.  So it is beyond sad that his final outing in those iconic blue tights was this abomination.

Apparently if you take a strand of Superman’s hair and stick it to a nuke that’s being thrown into the sun you get Nuclearman.  I kid you not, Nuclearman.  He is of course almost as powerful as Superman and if it’s possible even more camp, complete with the power rock hair.  And that’s the movie in a nutshell.  Oh there’s some side story about the Daily Planet but really the main story is so bad that who cares.

It’s sad that a great series of movies was ended with this piece of claptrap.  I always think of the Superman series ending with Superman II because to be honest Superman III isn’t really much of an improvement on IV.  But IV is so bad that it earns a mention and the number 3 spot on this list.

2: The Phantom

So much promise wasted.

I had such high hopes in 1996 for this movie.  I mean it has two of my favourite actors in lead roles Billy Zane as The Phantom and Kristy Swanson as his ex and future love Diana.  How could they go wrong?  I mean with his history of playing devil-may-care characters who quip their way through everything this was the part Billy Zane was born to play. And to give the man his due he more than pulls off playing a superhero with no superpowers. Kristy Swanson is charmingly wonderful as Diana.  Every visual in the entire movie could have been lifted straight out of the comic strips.  It was perfect.

It was unfortunately also boring, predictable, filled with a lot more than the average amount of clichés and to my disgust I found myself cringing for most of the movie.  The producers took one of the classic comic strip heroes and managed the same feat with it that others had already achieved with The Shadow and The Rocketeer.  They somehow stripped it of some indefinable quality that had made the printed form so timeless.

Unfortunately I’m quite sure that a lot of the people reading this won’t really understand what I’m talking about here.  The Phantom was always a sort of cult hero though some would say you needed to be aged 80 or older to remember him as being anything special.  So the best comparison I can give is the difference between Superman I and Superman Returns.  There’s nothing exactly wrong with Superman Returns and yet it just feels wrong, like something special has been stripped away from it.  Well that’s The Phantom.  Maybe it’s just that the comic strip had such a sense of majesty and grandeur to it and the film just feels like any other film.

Anyway regardless of why and oh how I wish I could say otherwise I hope I never see this movie again.  Maybe the upcoming reboot of the character in The Phantom Legacy will return me to the faith.  Though since it’s by the same people I won’t be holding my breath.

1: Son of the Mask

Behold the death of a movie franchise and fear…or watch something good either  way.

The first movie to feature the Mask of Loki starred Jim Carrey at the top of his chaotic game and an almost unheard of Cameron Diaz in the lead roles. It was a wonderful piece of dark comedy filled to the brim with adult jokes.  It worked so well in fact that I went to see it three times in the cinema and I then watched it somewhere in the region of twenty times on VHS.

Son of the Mask is nothing like its precursor.  First of all it’s a family film, which in and of itself is not a bad thing.  Many of my favourite films are family films.  However this film just has nothing going for it.  It’s not really all that funny.  The lead actors Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming and Traylor Howard just don’t have any of the on-screen sparkle of Carrey and Diaz.  Oh and the story is such utterly nonsensical rubbish that it genuinely makes any Monty Python sketch seem perfectly rational.

If they had made a direct sequel with the same cast telling the story of what comes next it may have worked.  Simply because Carrey and Diaz probably would have been able to find that wonderful sparkle again.  But instead we got boredom on a digital format and an ending that tasted so bad to my jaded palate that I found myself thinking longingly of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as a cure.

Thankfully I held strong and managed to save myself instead with a good superhero movie, Ironman.

ccccccccccdcds The Phantom
25/01/2011

Why immigrant bashing is no joke and not just when our own now face the same.

The Emigration Statute, Cobh, County Cork.

For the longest time it could honestly be said that Ireland’s greatest export was her own people. There is a huge amount of truth in this and in fact one need only look at the Irish global diaspora to see just how far and wide the Irish have cast their net. The diaspora is often spoken of with a perverted sort of pride by the Irish at home. But that pride, I believe, is nothing more than a disguise.

What is it disguising?

In a word, pain.

I am 32 years of age and I truly believed that I might live my lifetime without seeing the horrors of mass emigration being visited again upon my country, my family and my friends. Well, that belief is now torn to tattered shreds and what I am now experiencing has only hardened a strongly held view-point of mine: that immigrants should never be the objects of vilification or of ridicule by the indigenous people of any nation.

Leaving your home nation at heart is an excruciatingly painful action. A horror story played out not inside the pages of a novel but in the real world with real world consequences. We, the Irish, have for generations experienced those pains and yet at the height of the boom years I often heard foreign nationals ridiculed or vilified.

“Fuckin’ Pols taking our jobs.”

“Fuckin’ Nigerians scrounging off of our country.”

Despite our own experiences of the horrors of emigration having been as recent as the 1980s and even the early 1990s we had buried those memories beneath a blanket of newly minted superiority. We had forgotten that within our nation’s living memory are signs in London saying

“No dogs, no blacks, no Irish.”

We had forgotten the Paddy jokes that were a staple of music hall, comedy club and sometimes even television comedians. We chose to forget that emigration hurts amid our new-found sense of privilege.

But now we’ve found ourselves remembering those pains as a new generation who never had to cope with the pain of emigration before now find ourselves staring down into its abyss which until recently we had bridged over with our total belief in our ability gainfully to employ our own.

I never allowed jokes at the expense of immigrants to be uttered under my roof. I like people from other nations. They help us to grow as a people, not only culturally, but also they help us to grow more tolerant of the differences in others by bringing into stark contrast the differences that mark the separation even between one Irish person and another.

I truly believe that the arrival of so many eastern Europeans, Africans and other nationals of less tolerant regions of the world to our own shores had a sobering effect on our own civil rights activists when they saw how we were not that far ahead of some very unpleasant places. This in some small way helping to galvanise an even greater struggle for LGBT rights, the rights of women and children etc.

I believe that those same foreign people have also helped to create a broader Irish palate for foods, drinks, art forms and all the other elements that going into making the lifeblood of any nations culture.

Just as alloys of different metals often tend to become stronger and more useful, Ireland’s immigrant population has helped to make us a stronger and more rounded nation.

But they did this at a great personal cost. They left their homes, their families, their lives, their loves and their dreams for the hope of employment on our shores. Some of them found what they sought, others didn’t and moved on to other even more distant shores. They took the jobs that we Irish didn’t want anymore and they more often than not did them extremely well.

But it cost them and those who love them pain, horror and suffering. Try to imagine Christmas without your family while you live alone in an apartment in a strange country. Now imagine Christmas without your favourite person while you fear for their happiness and even safety in a country that isn’t their own. Some of the Irish made jokes during the boom times and forgot their own experience of this.

I never accepted jokes at their expense before. I’m now even more vehemently against their utterance.

Even though I was a child in the tail end of the last period of mass Irish emigration I never truly understood what it really meant until just lately. I knew in a sort of academic way what it entailed and the sheer loss to a small nation such as ours that any mass migration of young people represents. It was an academic understanding.

It isn’t anymore.

My knowledge is now personal, not the knowledge of raw data and distant, hazy memories.

Someone I love is leaving, the first of my circle to do so.

I wish I could magic things better in my country. Not for my country, but for my friends and my family. I wish they could stay. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my sister’s welcome in the country which she hopes to soon call home. I wish we could live on the same continent so I can see her, so I can help her and her I, so this looming gulf won’t be there.

You see what I’ve learnt is that not only the people leaving lose a great deal from their lives but also that the people staying behind are horribly reduced by their loved ones being absent.

P.S. All that said I hope and pray to any God who’ll listen that your life there will be everything you dream of. And you know that I’ll never stop being here for you and that I will visit as often as I can.

22/01/2011

Puppy Partners.

I probably have a fairly unusual view-point where humanities relationship with dogs is concerned. What ever the source of their domestication may have been we have made dogs almost a part of our own species. We trust them with our own young, with the security of our homes, with a large portion of our happiness and in return they give us absolute trust.

In essence I feel that human beings have a huge debt of responsibility towards these creature which as a race we have made our partners.

Nature has played an interesting trick on both of our species with regards to our mutual relationships. Most dogs that I personally have had contact with adore human children and tend to ride herd on them. This is then matched by the fact most humans melt when they have a puppy in their arms or when they see a certain toilet paper advertisement on the television. We adore each other and that on its own makes it relatively easy for us to live together and to work together for mutual advantage.

But turn on your television most days and you’ll find a show somewhere involving a bad owner who has ruined or near ruined the dog that is their responsibility. I’m afraid that the reason for so many dogs with bad behaviour lies very much at humanities feet.

All dogs like to know their place and to know what they should be doing. In short they like to have a job. Up until recently most dogs had jobs in addition to simply being pets. They were herders, hunters, guards, watchdogs and even used those amazing noses of theirs to sniff out fires. So the people who most often had dogs knew to teach them to serve a purpose beyond looking cute and licking noses.

But by this point in time we have had a couple of generations of dog owners who quite simply don’t know how to be dog owners. They don’t know that dogs need to be responsible for something in their environment to feel fulfilled and so they don’t give their dog that duty to fulfill. Indeed they don’t even know how to show their dog that they are a partner.

Being  just a pet isn’t enough for many dogs, maybe even most dogs. But they don’t need a lot more, even being shown that when you leave home they’re to be on guard is enough.

So do you own a dog?  If you do be responsible to them and allow them to be responsible to you and your family. Make them partners in life not a toy with a heartbeat and we’ll all see a lot fewer unhappy pets and owners.

20/01/2011

Movies I hope I never have to see again – LGBT

In the gay world there are movies you’re just supposed to like in a kind of showing your support for the flag sort of way.  They’re typically made by straight people in Hollywood to show the world the extent of how much in touch with the LGBT community they are.  Of course what they actually do more often than not is actually reveal how little they understand the reality of life for LGBT people in general.

But despite this it’s almost taboo to admit in LGBT company that you genuinely can’t stand these movies.  Well I say enough!  I will be silent over my loathing for these movies no longer.  I make here a list of the five LGBT movies I wish I had never seen, not because they’re bad LGBT movies but because they’re just bad movies that happen to be LGBT movies.

5: Boys Don’t Cry.

Okay lets make this clear right off the bat I adore Hillary Swank so much so that I even liked her stint as the Karate Kid.  She is an astonishingly good actress as well as being one of the most unconventionally beautiful women in films today.  What she isn’t is a boy and this movie definitely showed why non-transfolk always fail so miserably at portraying transfolk on film.  Don’t get me wrong she did better than most would have in her portrayal of Brandon Teena but this movie is still cringeworthy in the extreme as well as being monumentally boring.  Not even the divine presence of Chloe Sevigny could save it.

4: Chasing Amy.

This movie isn’t so much an LGBT flagwaver as the others on this list but it annoys me enough to still warrant a dishonorable mention.  Kevin Smith is a brilliant filmmaker, Mallrats ranks as one of the funniest movies I’ve ever watched and Dogma is quite simply genius given form.  Chasing Amy however is tripe and nothing but tripe.  The only message I got from it is that Ben Affleck apparently is out there waiting to turn me back on to men and then turn me into his whore.  Seriously watch this movie once and you’ll get a very good idea of the light in which  straight men often (though not always) see lesbians.  Then burn your copy and pretend that it doesn’t exist while you enjoy the comedic chaos that is Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

3: If These Walls Could Talk 2.

I’d like to list both of these movies purely because of how bad they are but since the first is about abortion rather than being gay I’ll have to make do with just one.  But what a one.

This movie in three parts has all the trappings of being something special.  Three stories, in three eras, with three sets of very good actresses but unfortunately it’s monumentally boring.  It’s not bad persay, the stories on they’re own are actually sort of interesting the first dealing with grief and being shut out from making “family” decisions after the loss of a same-sex partner, the second showing the bitter fracture lines in 70’s feminism and the last being about two gay women desperate to have a baby.  The cast are impressive to say the least with Vanessa Redgrave, Sharon Stone, Ellen Degeneres and making her second appearance in this list Chloe Sevigny.  It has all the makings of being something truly special.

But it’s not.  It’s mostly just despressing, disheartening and boring.  Lets just leave this with my saying that this movie was the first I ever watched which ended with my saying in a loud voice “Well that’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

2: Breakfast on Pluto.

This is the gay Angelas Ashes, depressing, confused and just plain bad.  It’s a movie you should watch once if only so you can realise how good you have it.  It’s the Irish/Brtish gay persons equivilent of an African-American watching Roots to remind themselves just how good they actually have it no matter how hard their life might be.  Or any Irish person watching reruns of Glenroe “damn my life sucks but at least I’m not married to Miley from Glenroe”

Again the casting is great, the way it’s shot is perfect but I really don’t need to go to a movie and come out of the cinema wanting to blow my own brains out.  I already had that twice with Angelas Ashes and The Magdelena Sisters.  Actually what is it with Irish film makers  and their attempts to make us all slit our own throats?  Answers on a 2×4 postcard to…

1: The Adventures of Pricilla Queen of the Desert.

Awful just awful.  Australian film is often painful to watch; Mad Max Trilogy for example, with an occasional flash of pure brilliance; Gallipoli, but this particular movie is beyond being simply painful it’s so awful that it’s just plain bad.  When I came out I had no less than three copies of this movie thrust upon me within twelve months as gifts from three different well meaning friends of various sexual orientations .  I’m afraid to say all three copies were scratched up and  put into a microwave so I could enjoy a much better show in the sparkly lights that resulted.

I’m sure it has immense resonance and meaning if you’re a drag queen from Austrailia on a working road trip across the Outback, but I’ve never been to Austrailia and Goddesses willing I never will be and I am most certainly not a drag queen. As an LGBT movie it’s just one cliche after another after another, oh and hey look here comes, yes, yes it’s another.  But ultimately it fails in the same way that most of the films on this list fail, it’s just plain boring.  It failed to captivate me in anyway and left me feeling that I had wasted another two hours of my life.

It’s a shame to say it but there’s one Hugo Weaving movie I never want to see again and this is it.

18/01/2011

The eternal who’s hotter debate.

Look here’s the thing. while sitting watching NCIS my partner will spend her time gooing over Ziva David while I’m having mental orgasms every time Abby Sciuto wanders into shot.  Many of my friends think that Kari Byron of Mythbusters fame is the hottest thing on two legs, now while I agree she is stunning and would never ever be ejected from my bed for eating chocolate hobnobs I still prefer  Scottie Chapman of the impressive welding and gorgeous tattoos who is now unfortunately long departed from the show.

Most women who love women that I know think Annie Lennox is the pinnacle of womanly hotness where singers are concerned.  Now while I adore her voice, her style and her personality I will always scream “NO!” and trot out the ever beauteous Brody Armstrong of the now defunct Distillers as my prefered girl to sing me to sleep.

That’s the thing about the who’s hotter debate.  No-one can ever win it.  It’s always a purely personal thing.

For example in the movie Troy while most people would probably say that Diana Kruger who played Helen was stunningly beautiful (and to give her everything due she was and is) and was the feminine highlight of the movie I was sitting there hungering to see more of  Briseis played by Rose Byrne.  See what I mean about personal?  Helen spends a large part of the movie naked and in gorgeous ancient world Disney princess dresses while Briseis spends a LOT of her time covered in muck, with cuts on her face and then goes on to mount Brad Pitts Achilles, so in other words she’s hot enough to me to overcome my intense dislike for Brad Pitt.  Impressive

Virtually everyone wants to take Angelina Jolie to bed.  I simply do not understand this to me she looks like a badly designed and constructed fish.  Well ok I’ll admit that for ten minutes in Hackers she’s decent looking, you know the ten minutes she’s in that white jumpsuit, with the short pixie haircut…but then it all went down hill rather quickly for me.

Luckily my partner and I do have some common ground.  We both think that Ellen Degeneres really is nothing special, but her wife Portia De Rossi….well, pass the diabetic friendly chocolate sauce and get out of the room please.  We are gonna make damn sure none of the three of us walks anything like straight for a month.

But all that said surely everyone can agree on there being at least a few common ground women.  Those women who are so gorgeous that they are quite simply above this debate Milla Jovovich, Diane Riggs and of course Helen Mirren.

You see I started writing this because I’ve seen this debate on straight websites, gay websites, television, I’ve listened to it on radio and recently  it’s begun to really annoy me.  Why?  Because as my mother would say there’s someone for everyone.  Even on our worst hair and make up day there will be one person who thinks we’re stunning and on our best day we can all of us manage to pole-axe multiple admirers into walking straight into moving traffic.  So why not just accept that you’re simply not going to get any real consensus on this and move on to something important?  Like who should be declared Empress of Man.

And with that in mind I wish to put my name forward for the afore-mentioned position.  I promise chocolate for all who suffer the blights of periods or children and to make all serving parliaments serve out their terms from the inside Mountjoy Jail.

15/01/2011

Ancient Tech

Like any geek worth their salt I rarely throw away anyting thing that once upon a time had electrons running through it.  For example each of my three main bookshelves each has a  large drawer built into its base and all of those drawers are filled with spare components from old PC’s and laptops.

I have one drawer filled with spare power supplies, another has six or seven old IDE laptop hard drives with such small storage capacity that my e-book collection on its own would fill two of them.  How about a spare LCD screen for a laptop?  Or enough IDE data cables to bind a lover quite securely to a kitchen chair?  Seriously I throw away nothing that may have a use at some vague undefined time in the future.

This extreme technological thriftiness extends much further though.  I’m writing this on the very first model Asus EEEPC, the 701, which I’ve had now since about three months after it was released.  Where’s the thriftiness in that?  Well I have another one hanging in a case in my wardrobe for when this one finally gives up the ghost.

My HP Ipaq which I use for everything from writing notes to reading my aforementioned ebooks was released in September 2005 and I fully expect to get at least another three or four years out of it.

So what about my PC you ask?  Well two thirds of it’s components are from a PC that was already severely outdated when my partner owned it six years ago.  Yup that’s right the motherboard comes from a time long before SATA drives.  Hell it only has two RAM slots and occasionally has really nasty shit fits when I try to install complex programs, you know like the built in Windows calculator.  But for all that it still runs World of Warcraft at minimum settings and those ancient creaking components did save me from a fate worse than death for a PC gamer…not having a PC.  For the record the newest component in a real Frankenstein of a PC is the graphics card which comes in at a remarkably young age of 4 years.

No my PC isn’t quite this ancient, although it does call this one uncle.

My mobile is a 5 year old Nokia, my cordless drill was involved in the construction of the Ark, my epilator (if you have to ask, ask your girlfriend and watch for the pained expression on her face) was built using Brunellian techniques and my MP3 player still uses AAA batteries.

So why write about this?  Well soon one of my dearest friends and an adopted lil sister of mine leaves this septic isle for brighter shores and she has promised to gift me her PC which due to weight constraints she can’t bring with her.  This will mark the first time ever that I have had an even vaguely up to date piece of tech in my possession and I thought it was a good time to take stock of what I have used and just how much fun and functionality can be gotten from something so old.

Old of course is a very relative term in electronics.  But when I see someone throw out something as wonderful as a working Apple Newton (one of the great granddaddies of handheld computing) or insist on having a new mobile every six months it makes me sad almost beyond words.  Not just because I tend to anthropomorphise technology (my PC has died so many times I call it Lazarus) but simply because people tend not to stop and wonder if anyone else would not just use but love using what they’ve cast aside.

Look people just because it’s old enough that it has to run on Windows 95 doesn’t mean it’s worthless.  It’s just worthless to you.  Instead of throwing it out how about finding it a loving home with a hardcore geek who will lovingly restore it to and beyond its former glory?  After all a pupp….I mean a piece of technology is for life until it dies in a cloud of ozone filled smoke not just for Christmas.*

Oh and Claire thank you for the future Daniel Jackson so to be named because you just know I’ll still have most of your PC running in one form or another in ten years time.

*refers to one of the ancient beliefs of electronics, that all eletronics run on smoke, hence why they stop working when you see that smoke escaping from your PC/dvd/television.  This belief always superceeds emergency repair proceedure number one, as once the smoke that makes something run has vanished no amount of beating it up with make it run again.

13/01/2011

What’s so wrong with kissing a girl and liking it?

Rushing home to my beloved Rosie the other day I had the unmitigated joy of spending three hours on a train from Cork to Dublin. While sitting there I had the pleasure of listening to a pair of young lesbians bitching at extreme length about how Katy Perry’s best known song “I Kissed a Girl” was despicable in how it portrayed feminine same-sex relationships.

Now I too am a lesbian. I love the girlies and to be perfectly frank I don’t care if they’re bisexual or dyke so long as they want my cute, shapely arse, oh and heart as well of course. And being lesbian I just don’t get what all the bollocks surrounding this song is about.

She’s singing about being at a party, getting very drunk and snogging a girl she fancies. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t a large number of bi-women discover that they love the ladies in a largely similar manner?

Actually I have known a few lesbians for that matter who discovered an abiding love for feminine parts in this way.

Yes at some stage in the song she wonders if her boyfriend will mind. But again so what? She kissed someone while drunk enough that to judge by the video at least she was hallucinating. She doesn’t dismiss what’s happened between her and the one with the luscious kissable lips because she has a boy. Nor has she been engaging in the trapping of an unsuspecting girl for a torrid three-way, though perhaps the girl may have actually gone for that.

So I again ask what’s the problem with this song?

Well after a lot of deep thought I think I know what the problem actually is. Some people don’t like to admit that they were at any stage unsure about their sexuality. “Oh I always knew I was *insert sexuality*.” This song is about someone exploring hers and being happily surprised by the results. So what do I think of it all? I love this song. It portrays female to female attraction as something both fun and positive, it’s bouncy, enjoyable and Katy Perry is deliciousness wrapped in hotness. So sod the begrudgers.

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