Sunday  the Eighteenth of August, 2002

"I'm J. Arthur Bower, and this is the most multi-purpose potting compost of my life."
24 ends tonight, in the UK. I accidentally read an American article on series two that gave away big things in its first six words, during the week, but there's some hope that I'm misremembering its detail, or that it may have been lying. Where there is uncertainty, there is dramatic tension.

Gimmickry: Jump to a Random Archive Link

 Saturday  the Seventeenth

"Before Grandfather Tortoise could speak Brother Hare answered, 'It smokes because the mountain spirit is angry. He is in love with the sky spirits but even from the top of the mountain he cannot reach them. So he burns with anger and smoke pours from the top of his head. And that is why the smoking mountain smokes.'"
How the People Came to Stop Thinking - a nicely-carved little science/religion schism from Mr Tulloch.

Upsideclone is one year and forty-three pieces old, today. It's brought forth a lot of stories and allegories and dialogues and adjectives that daylight might never have otherwise seen. It's affected the way that I think about rain and film developer, about adverts and job descriptions, litter and lotteries, spam and subliminal messages, McDonalds and patents, gods and aliens, plates and spoons. Attaching extra meaning to the stuff of the world, and encouraging people to make their own perceptions solid, to nail them down for display and distribution.

It's all good (nearly all), but to skim off the best of the best, to recommend a handful to print out and read in the garden:-

And it's always accepting new submissions, from anyone with an idea and a keyboard. It's good to write, good to have an excuse to write. We are all Upsideclone.

 Friday  the Sixteenth

"Happiness, for instance, is essentially A.U. six and twelve -- contracting the muscles that raise the cheek (orbicularis oculi, pars orbitalis) in combination with the zygomatic major, which pulls up the corners of the lips. Fear is A.U. one, two and four, or, more fully, one, two, four, five, and twenty, with or without action units twenty-five, twenty-six, or twenty-seven."
The Naked Face - reading the hidden meanings behind expressions and microexpressions. Astonishing to see how portrayals of emotions have been broken down into simple constituent "action units"; that a clever enough image-scanner might intuit as much as (or even more than) a human eye-and-brain, given the correct equations. [via Matt]
More clever physics from the Rollercoaster people: Fishing with Moominpappa, which can be played with soothing patience or in a savage grapnel-bludgeoning sort of way, as fits your mood.
A superb bit of nicely-physicked deranged-premise Java gaming - Rollercoaster sees you controlling the speed of a series of cars, attempting to reach the end of the track without crashing horribly. (The wheels aren't fixed to the rails in any way, somewhat irresponsibly.) [via Rich@MCiOS]
Corollary: Scrabble Nethack, a single blank tile versus hordes of marauding upper-case monsters, their hit-points indicated by the value of the letter. "Something is written here in the dust. You read the words: Double Letter Score."
"You create some snakes!"
The second entry in Nethack Scrabble still fails to clear the three-letter mark. "Actually didn't start out intending to do something for the purpose of making an entry, but I realized the opportunity presented itself, so grabbed a screenshot. Ta-da." says Tyrethali.

 Thursday  the Fifteenth

The NHS Direct self-help guide versus Life's Difficult Decisions. Both useful and amusing in their own ways, with the NHS's "Self Care" results often coming across as "Stop Whining". [via here, there]
"There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..." - history and translation of the lorem ipsum text, with a handy 'lipsum' generator.
"The problem with sequels is, very obviously, that very rarely are they better than the original in whose steps they follow (lat. sequor, I follow), and in fact are very rarely as good; the basic Western drive to endless refinement and progression shatters on the rocks of Violence Force II, with most of the original cast gone and either double or half the budget. It doesn't seem to matter much which."
Timely analysis of the sequel, of media intention and audience reaction, of unsolved child murder. Dan's on the stand at Upsideclown, deftly demonstrating what precious things can grow from dull compost.

 Wednesday  the Fourteenth

"Right now, Goths are plotting to get hangovers from a deep-frozen cream cake. My pocket and dove are synchronised, and milk churns that I work with may be flip-top.

I'm Federal Agent Jack Bauer, and this is the most padlocked iguana of my life."

24 Dreaming. It was funnier when I was writing it last night, but that's vodka and tiredness for you.

 Tuesday  the Thirteenth

What was a bottom-pinching ghost in Uttar Pradesh has become the Muhnochawa, a glowing, flying, face-slashing octopus.

This is the same region that brought us the monkey man of Delhi (a terrifying, nebulous creature that was eventually debunked in this police report), and, prior to that, the kidney-and-eye-eating Pakanna (dismissed as rumour after more than thirty people were mistaken for the devil and beaten up).

The authorities step in to strangle new superstitions at birth. Three cheers for science and progress, but there's a nagging feeling of having moved past the imaginative stage of the holocene; that an invisible monkey or face-clawing squid would have gotten far better PR and distribution a thousand years ago, would still be around in textbooks and oral legends today. The next hundred years feel very boring, at times.

"Not only is it building an arsenal the like of which the world has never seen, it has unilaterally withdrawn from the treaties designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, and has refused to accept any kind of international monitoring of its chemical or nuclear weapons facilities."
Yes, you can guess the punchline. An exhaustive call for regime change from the Independent. [via Plasticbag]

 Monday  the Twelfth

The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices. Reverse the ageing process with the McGregor Rejuvenator, prevent "amorous dreams" with the terrifying aluminium-spiked Timely Warning device, accurately measure your feet with an x-ray shoe fitter (in use in America as recently as 1981), and so forth.

Fraudulent medical equipment is still going strong in the 21st century, of course - oxygenated water, immortality rings, magnetic weight-loss slippers - but the equipment's become thoroughly mundane and undramatic. Give me a phrenology-reading helmet any day. [via MCiOS]

Having received email from an adventurer stumped by the chicken puzzle in The Man From DEFRA, I'm tempted to run another Hours of Inform contest, perhaps with forty-eight of them this time, over some imminent weekend or other. Any takers?
"The second series of 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland, renamed The Next 24, was broadcast in early 2003. Acclaimed a minimalist triumph, it featured moody cut shots of the entire cast (aside from those who were shot/killed/stabbed/choked to death on their own semen in the first series) asleep."
Do You Recall The Next 24? The Guardian and BBC seem unable to talk about the second series without threatening spoilers, so I shall sleep for another week.

As Above

Brain children. Recent or noteworthy Web offspring.

Online cliques. Trespassers may be welcome.

In the bookpile. About to read, or currently reading, or meaning to take back to the library.

Incidental music. Ohrwurmen or otherwise.

Other weblogs. The ones I make a point of returning to a lot.

Supporting cast. That have Web pages. In alphabetical order.

Weeks beginning. All having ended.
2002: 12.08 05.08 29.07 22.07 15.07 08.07 01.07 24.06 17.06 10.06 03.06 27.05 20.05 13.05 06.05 29.04 22.04 15.04 08.04 01.04 25.03 18.03 11.03 04.03 25.02 18.02 11.02 04.02 28.01 21.01 14.01 07.01

2001: 31.12 24.12 17.12 10.12 03.12 26.11 19.11 12.11 05.11 29.10 22.10 15.10 08.10 01.10 24.09 17.09 10.09 03.09 27.08 20.08 13.08 06.08 30.07 23.07 16.07 09.07 02.07 25.06 18.06 11.06 04.06 28.05 21.05 14.05 07.05 30.04 23.04 16.04 09.04 02.04 26.03 19.03 12.03 05.03 26.02 19.02 12.02 05.02 29.01 22.01 15.01 08.01 01.01

2000: 25.12 18.12 11.12 04.12 27.11 20.11

Archive search. You never know.