The improvised card game.
The Foldover Game
Blind communal prose.
Back on the Orion Express
Still coming soon.
How the Dead Live
Will Self
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Haruki Murakami
Worldwar: In The Balance
Harry Turtledove
Incidental Music
Get Me To A Monastery
The Divine Comedy
Satan Rejected My Soul
Other Blogs
AngryBlog Blast! Blue Ruin Bullet Through the Brain Digital Trickery Found HumanLint Interconnected Life as it Happens MomBlog UK Off-Topic qwertyuiop Venusberg Wherever You Are Yao's DOT.Home [UK Blogs]
Supporting Cast
Alice Chrissy Dan Dave Dunx Eperdu John Lori Nik Paul Raven Riana Sandy Simes Tracy Tyrethali Yao
Weeks Beginning
20.11 27.11 04.12 11.12 18.12 25.12 01.01 08.01 15.01 22.01 29.01 05.02 12.02 19.02 26.02 05.03 12.03 19.03
More insane proof that Morrissey predicted the death of Diana Spencer, this time with the help of aliens from a Carl Sagan novel. David Alice would be really good at HipBone, wouldn't he? [Moz bit via NTK] The gloriously atmospheric Garden Nomic returns from the compost heap this morning, with a clean-slate ruleset and fresh set of people. I've just proposed that players be allowed to play Goblins or Fairies, as well as the ubiquitous Gnomes. Be interesting to see where it goes. Join at the ground floor today.
Anyone who's ever played a game of Nomic should immediately purchase and digest Steven Krane's The Omega Game; anyone who enjoys twistingly-plotted slowly-revealing thrillers should do the same. Twenty people awake in a luxurious hotel on an anonymous Pacific island, with no memory of how they got there, only signed-and-dated copies of an "initial ruleset" for a mysterious game, the rules of which they can change by unanimous consensus. Nomic meets The Prisoner meets The Game, with much fast-paced drama, exotic isolated atmosphere and an impressive scattering of guessable-but-unguessed plot swerves. Thoroughly enjoyable.

And it does make the idea of a non-abstract real-life Nomic seem quite appealing, so long as we get something into the rules to prevent people being, er, murdered... Nomic Mystery Weekend, anyone?

It's sad how much the future can compress your past. For ten quid I can buy a CD containing over 2,000 Atari ST games to run on an emulator, and throw away the dozen or so eighty-capacity disk boxes that have been trailing me morosely around the country for ten years. (Well, apart from shareware and the stuff Simes and I used to write, but I guess I can convert the best of that to emulator format. Hm.)
Avoid the unbearable tweeness and vulgarity (or heart-stopping "five pounds for a glued feather?" horrors) of greetings-card shopping by buying online from Art is a Tart - excellence from Julian Williams, amongst others, with free postage and no pre-printed messages. I shall go nowhere else, in future. The Black Team could use an extra player, in WikiNomic's dramatic and surreal Wikit match, if anyone's interested. Join today.
More reasons not to embrace carbon dioxide; Lake Nyos in Cameroon explodes occasionally:-
"The explosion was the result of a heavy cloudburst in the rainy season, which stirred up the CO2 rich water in the lake, causing it to upwell and fizz like a soft drink when shaken. A large cloud of CO2 was released from the lake, and because CO2 is denser than air, it hugged the ground, killing people and animals as it traveled down the mountain."
A chilling image, a tide of invisible gas rolling down the mountainside to completely envelop a sleeping village. Scientists have since set up an ingeniously simple self-powering siphon system to reduce the lake's CO2 levels, though, and it's looking like they're on the way to getting it sorted.
Absolutely superb quote in the Greening Earth Society FAQ - "Our use of fossil fuels is helping give plants the extra CO2 they need to grow more lush and green worldwide." More whining Americans; the Greening Earth Society argue that "C02 is not a pollutant, but rather one of nature's most fundamental building blocks". So's nitrogen, but I wouldn't want my house pumped full of it.
The Bush administration dodges out of the Kyoto protocol because it "exempts developing countries" (alright, they'll be producing loads of CO2 in twenty years or so, but that's no reason for developed countries to shrug off their own responsibilities, and to assume that developing countries will do the same), and they "think it might seriously harm the US economy" (which is, of course, far more important than the world environment).
"We are not working on the issue of un-signing; we are working on the issue of market-driven, technological and creative ways of addressing the issue of global climate change."
Or, in summary, "lalala, we can't hear you".
Richard Wiseman dons his ghostbusting trousers to dispel the myth of a ghost at Hampton Court Palace. I'm sure this is an old story, though. In fact, yes, the BBC news site reported it themselves last May. Feh.
Crikey, an Atari ST emulator, with a list of classic games built in and downloadable at the click of a button. Although it's easier just to go straight to and poke around there for whatever games you can remember (but note that the site's "download" links have "&section" replaced with "§ion" by well-meaning Web browsers, which necessitates a bit of manual URL-editing).

Fuller nostalgia and comment when I've found the time to download and play things, anyway. I wonder warily how the amazing-at-the-time aspects of games like Midwinter and Resolution 101 will seem to these jaded twenty-first century eyes. (And whether I dare assemble emulator images of the stuff I used to write in the early nineties...)

The hypnotically time-wasting Flash game Levers threatens my working day. I wonder how long it'll be before companies attack each other's productivity with such memetic attacks. [via blast!] Caught a bit of a Radio 4 programme last night about cryogenics and a species of frog which freezes solid during hibernation; I wasn't aware that any animals bigger than insects could get away with this sort of thing. Astounding. Asking an Internet, NewScientist had an article about such sub-zero tomfoolery, back in 1998.
A transcript of Stephen Fry speaking about the Samaritans, and then being interviewed a bit about depression and such. The main Samaritans Web site reminds me of my hesitant thoughts about becoming a volunteer, or at least giving them some money. Hm. [Fry bit via Momblog UK] Limping some distance behind the zeitgeist as a fleeting afterthought - the fairly-amusing-to-play All Your Base Dvorak deck.
Anyone with undying faith in the parliamentary road to progress must be saddened by the thought of cabinet ministers with their diaries out saying: "When's good for you?" and: "Hang on, that's half-term," and: "Gordon, how much money have we got left?"
Jeremy Hardy on representative democracy. [with a nod to Byliner]
Nng. Improbably-named twelve-year-old Brittney Cleary releases a song about Instant Messaging after being "discovered", presumably by AOL marketing people. It's as if someone's making news up to deliberately infuriate and depress me. After demonstrating to a colleague why the "&page=../thing.html" bits of his script's URL were insanely insecure, I went on to find quite a few things that hadn't struck me in this Web Hack FAQ. The guestbook-SSI thing is particularly alarming. Cue panicked back-checking of sites I've written.
The sort of thing that amuses me: a neatly-painted sign on a wall by a road-turning, saying "PLEASE DO NOT OBSTRUCT DAY OR NIGHT".
Simon defaces currency with his URL, in a vague bid to track its future, or at least get more site traffic. I think I might give the URL of a sub-page with an inquisitive fill-in form, or something, if I manage to get around to it. Although has been doing this on a grand scale for years, of course - just enter a note's serial number to see its life story.

Intriguingly, various variations on "wheresliz" have been registered - I trust someone's getting around to setting up a UK equivalent.

This seems extremely, insanely ominous - Majestic, an interactive "real life" game that sends you fake faxes and emails, as well as rather chilling-sounding phonecalls, through which you stalk the Internet and unravel the details of a fictional conspiracy. A relatively low-budget, low-maintenance version of The Game, all told, although it seems bound to end with someone sniping from a clocktower or loading a van with explosives, convinced that they've worked out what's going on, having tied it in with the wrong bits of the real world and forgotten that they'd ever signed up for "a game". [via my 2p] Glancingly misread "All Your Eggs In One Basket" as "All Your Egg Are Belong To Us" on the front of a Sainsbury's magazine, whilst queueing, over lunch. One of those days when I feel very aware of my consciousness being nothing more than exhaust fumes from a bunch of memes. Must sleep.
"By this point I was involved in a separate discussion with insurance experts about whether or not having your house wrecked by Mir would count as an 'Act of God'. My argument was that this could not be the case since we were talking here about a Communist space station and Communists are atheists."
A superbly ridiculous BBC news article in which a reporter tries to insure his house against being hit by Mir.
An organised pilgrimage to Mornington Crescent on Saturday, the first one I've attended since the first one, meeting up with Nik, John and a truly alarming number of the MCiOS crowd, including - most notably - the antipodean Mr Wayper, who'd been forced by merciless employers to do a couple of weeks' work in London.

Always a strange experience, suddenly having faces and voices and mannerisms to attach to previously vague online identities; similar to actually visiting Tube stations which you were only aware of in game terms - how much the perception adds to your mental image when you return to a flat text-based forum. MC as a metaphor for life. There is no Spoon.

More or less everything by Kevan Davis.
As Above is part of the Uncertain Organisation.