pacific rim pretentiousness 

May the Telnet be with you... always

Ok, there's having too much time on your hands, and then there's really having too much time on your hands. Like these guys: an ASCII-animated version of Star Wars Episode IV.

You need Telnet for this to work properly; if the above link doesn't work automatically, you can also watch it here via Java. But, you know... bor-ring. Telnet has much more lo-fi geek cred, IMHO.

[Thanks to Peta, Jedi geek in training, for the link.]

Posted by chris at 07:43 PM | Permalink

Swedish cockatoo Scalextric game - the return

Oh, fantastic. My favourite online game ever, whose disappearance I had bemoaned only recently, is back: click on "Spela nu" to get going, choose one player or two, build your track, race against the cockatoo. Lose. Be taunted. In Swedish. Ace.

Sadly, I can't get this working on my Mac. Doesn't like Safari, IE or Firefox so far. Damn Shockwave. So finally I guess we have proof that Windows *is* actually good for something after all...

Posted by chris at 11:53 PM | Permalink

When nine hundred years old you reach, dance as well you will not

I was going to post my photos from our recent trip to Hakone this afternoon, but got sidetracked by a number of things, not least of which is this little music video from everyone's favourite 800-year-old Jedi master. Excellent stuff, and far more convincing than all that preposterous lightsaber-somersaulting.

[Link via geisha asobi]

Posted by chris at 07:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Asimov's 4th law: A robot must serve a mean cuppa

When you think of Japanese robots, you probably think of Asimo, Honda's cutesy dancing-and-soccer robot, or Qrio, Sony's jogging robot. Or perhaps you think of Transformers, or Gundam, or Neon Genesis Evangelion.

But either way, you probably *don't* think of 18th-century Edo-period tea-serving robots:

This Kabuki-styled doll approaches surprised guests with a full teacup on a tray; it stops walking when the teacup is taken, waits quietly, bows, then slowly turns around, smoothly scooting away with the empty teacup on its tray...

How does it work? When a tea cup is placed on the tray, the stopper is released by the whale spring attached to the doll’s arms; the spring forces the stopper to engage again when the cup is lifted from the tray.

As soon as they produce a version that can also draw a miniature katana and whirl smoothly around to slice off the fingers of the unsuspecting teacup profferer, I'm buying. (Glowing red eyes and laser cannon would be fine too.)

Further reading: Robotics timeline, featuring similar contraptions.

[Link via Boing Boing]

Posted by chris at 06:31 PM | Permalink

How to avoid being (mis-)typecast

You know the kind of person who spends entire movies pointing out anachronistic period detail or other "goofs"? Gems such as, "that kind of hat wasn't produced until the 1930's" or "pah! no hacker would ever use a microsoft ergonomic keyboard!" Of course you do. In fact, if you'd been sat next to me during Die Another Day, you would have heard me muttering all the way through the "fencing" scenes.

Well, anyway, do I have a site for you. Mark Simonson's Son of Typecasting is a page dedicated to pointing out anachronistic font usage in movies and TV shows. The most recent post details font misuse in the Scorcese epic Gangs of New York, which, despite being set exclusively in the 1860's, features a number of twentieth-century typefaces:

Here we see Bernhard Antique (1937) with two overly-distressed-looking 19th century wood types. Notice the straight apostrophe in the bottom line. Straight apostrophes and quote marks did not exist in typefaces until the advent of digital type in the 1980s. It’s a computer thing, not a typographic thing... This one is set in URW Egyptienne (1950s) and ITC Benguiat (1977). Benguiat is a particularly poor choice since it is based on the Art Nouveau style of around 1900.
URW Egyptienne! The fools!

Seriously, though, I'm actually really quite taken by Mr. Simonson's webpage. I'm always impressed when someone is able to display such complete mastery of their chosen field, and I suspect I'd be extremely hard pressed to come up with an area in which I was able to expound at such length and with such obvious authority. (For the 15-year-old me it would be Soviet and NATO military aircraft, which I was all over like a cheap suit for a while there... but that was some time ago now.)

So do check it out, and its predecessor, Typecasting, which is more of the glorious same.

Oh - and props to him for his praise of Wes Anderson's Futura obsession in The Royal Tenenbaums, which was indeed a joy to behold.

[Link via]

Posted by chris at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


I saw this a couple of days ago and immediately wanted one - a sledgehammer-operated keyboard.

It's an art installation, sadly, not a working product, but there have been a couple of e-mails I've sent this year that could have benefitted from being pounded out letter by letter with a 14lb tempered-steel Wilton. D! E! A! R! Space! M! O! R! O! N! ,! Carriage return!

Actually, that's a point, how do you shift? And I guess you'd need a couple of similarly armed mates to help you reboot. But cool nonetheless.

[link via Boing Boing]

Posted by chris at 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wai wai? Why not?

Really busy no time for anything but promise I'll have time to tell you all about everything very shortly including explaining why my mother is sending me syringes in the mail and in the meantime you could do a lot worse than go read some wai wai which I've known about for a while but only been spurred into blogging about since picked it up because as I think I've already said I really am rather busy right now but I will just take a second to say that I'm definitely not telling you if I'm a ninja or not, no sirree see you soon bye.

Posted by chris at 01:27 PM | Permalink


Repeat after me: this Japanese speaking machine will help you brush up your nihongo pronunciation - as long as you don't mind sounding like Tomomi Kahala on speed, that is. (via

Incredibly, I actually saw Tomomi Kahala in the street last week - not on speed, though, I hasten to add. At least, I assume not. She looked the perfect stereotype of an extremely famous person trying to look inconspicuous yet failing clumsily: clad entirely in black, with large Blues Brothers sunglasses (at 8pm, the Shibuya neon is indeed bright, but not *that* bright) and being huddled across the street by a small entourage - makes you wonder if she was actually hoping to be mobbed, or at least recognised. I didn't stop her and ask for an autograph for the same reason I wouldn't stop and ask Mariah Carey for one - I'd be afraid that she'd embarrass herself by being so doped-up on anti-depressants that she'd forget her own signature. That or ram the pen through the back of my hand, giggling, natch.

Posted by chris at 01:06 AM | Permalink


Oh ho ho ho - I wasn't going to mention this lego figurine creation tool, but that was before I realised I could use it to contrast the state I was in last night (Dave's resplendent 30th at Fujimama's in Harajuku, Sky Lounge in Vision Network and UFO at Yellow)...

...with how I feel now.

Posted by chris at 01:27 PM | Permalink

The superior trainability of the domestic pigeon

Ever wondered how Google actually works? Now you can find out. It works best if you imagine that "now" is two days ago, though.

(via many many places)

Posted by chris at 11:14 PM | Permalink

Get your war on again

Remember how everyone linked to get your war on back in October on the strength of their excellent first two pages of cartoons?

Still going; still great.

Posted by chris at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Bush or chimp?

Bush or chimp? Hint - Bush is the one on the right. I think.

(via quiet resonance)

Posted by chris at 12:31 AM | Permalink

The Little Ninja

Ninjai - The Little Ninja... Flash goodness from people who clearly know their stuff. I really like the way they reference classic Japanese artwork in their mist'n'mountain vistas... and of course it helps when it's mixed with caped Japanimation ninjas leaping through dense forestscapes, slashing at each other.

If you liked that bit in Princess Mononoke where Prince Ashitaka decapitates a samurai from a couple of hundred metres away - with a bow and arrow - I think it's safe to say you'll love this.

Posted by chris at 11:47 PM | Permalink

The Onion: Judge Orders God To Break Up Into Smaller Deities

Judge Orders God To Break Up Into Smaller Deities

...In the end, however, God was unable to convince Schofield that He did not deliberately create a marketplace hostile to rival deities. God's attorneys attempted to convince the judge of His openness to rivals, pointing to His longtime participation in the "Holy Trinity," but the effort failed when Schofield determined that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are "more God subsidiaries than competitors."


Posted by chris at 05:53 PM | Permalink

Snowball fight game

tiny quick blog post just so I have somewhere to reference it from come monday morning at the office: snowball fight game - brilliant.

Posted by chris at 04:47 AM | Permalink

Which online personality test are you?

[If I were an online test, I would be How British Are You?]

Heh - no sooner do I speculate about the inevitable meta-bility of the on-line personality test meme producing a "which on-line personality test are you" on-line personality test than I am alerted to this. Apparently, if I were an on-line personality test, I'd be How British Are You?

I'm with Meg on this one - can we all stop now? Please? (thanks to Nine for the link)

Posted by chris at 10:51 AM | Permalink


If I was a work of art, I would be M. C. Escher's Lizards.

I am a bizarre juxtaposition of the real and the unreal. Based in the realm of mathematics, my two-dimensional appearance belies a complex and free-willed behaviour which both delights and confuses people.

Posted by chris at 03:44 PM | Permalink

Except for the third nipple, of course

If I was a James Bond villain, I would be Francisco Scaramanga.

I enjoy good food, monopolising the world's energy supplies, and sex before assassinating people.

Who would you be? James Bond Villain Personality Test

Posted by chris at 01:00 PM | Permalink

Foaming at the mouth

Take the Affliction Test Today!

Posted by chris at 02:33 AM | Permalink

on the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy

And you thought it was just a game?

Posted by chris at 11:50 AM | Permalink

I am C.H.R.I.S.

I am C.H.R.I.S.: Cybernetic Humanoid Responsible for Infiltration and Sabotage. Finally, an alias generator that gets it absolutely right - my dark secret is out. I wonder how hard it would be to build an all-in-one pornstarcyborgNHLplayerJediknight one of these?

Posted by chris at 03:12 PM | Permalink

Jolly (air) hockey sticks

Ooh, this is more like it - a mildly addictive Flash air hockey game. No Swedish cockatoo, sadly, but one can't have everything. Apparently. (I tried, but they made me put most of it back.)

Posted by chris at 01:50 AM | Permalink

Enter the Dwagon

There's not very much to this kung-fu game, really, but it's very smoothly done and it does at least give you the chance to fight such martial arts luminaries as Chuck Norris and Jonathan Ross.

Posted by chris at 11:43 PM | Permalink

Who you callin' a weirdo?

Apparently my work nickname is weirdo... but I'm quite happy with that, seeing as certain people in this office got landed with, for example, "The Perv" and "Gimp". Weirdo will do nicely. (via

Posted by chris at 05:28 PM | Permalink


Cool - I'm off to raid the stationery cupboard for practice ammo. Can't wait to try the John Woo double-handed method. (via madorangefools)

Posted by chris at 11:06 AM | Permalink

A good fight is always worth the wait

Remember the kung-fu stickmen? Or the Korean Bruce Lee line-drawing kung-fu movie? This beats them both hands down: an interactive kung-fu remixer that lets you edit your own Bruce Lee tribute movie. It's almost as if the gods of the Internet are *ordering* me not to get any work done this coming week... (via bwg)

Posted by chris at 11:42 PM | Permalink

Can yer tell what it is yet?

My god. Rolf Harris has an official Web site.

Please don't ask what I was doing there. Please just don't.

Posted by chris at 01:22 AM | Permalink

Down, boy

Hmmm. A boyfriend training pack... give your boyfriend points for good behaviour, deduct them for bad... it strikes me that if a guy had thought this up for "training" girlfriends there would have been immediate and outraged invective, but because it's the other way round we just chuckle indulgently. Bunch of arse either way. (via

And anyway, as Bethany pointed out, in our case it would have to be a "wellhelivesinjapanandI'minnewyorkandwell it'scomplicatedandreallymodernanderuhwhatever training pack". There might not be much of a market for that one, but I personally could definitely do with a how-to manual.

Posted by chris at 03:28 PM | Permalink

Do, or do not. There is no try.

Yoda I am, yes, mmmm. Which Star Wars character are you would you check, mmm? (via blast!blog)

Posted by chris at 04:00 PM | Permalink

Get your war on

more good satire: get your war on (via

Posted by chris at 10:40 AM | Permalink

Curse my metal body

Click here to find out what robot you really are

Posted by chris at 07:48 PM | Permalink

Screaming Japanese schoolgirls

I'm back, and I'm about to tell you all about it.

But first I wanted to point you towards the Screaming Japanese Schoolgirls Overturn Greenspan's Bus article on the front page of this week's Onion, because it made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off my chair. Again.

Posted by chris at 07:09 PM | Permalink

Onion: U.S. Urges Bin Laden to Form Nation It Can Attack

A Shattered Nation Longs To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again - This week's Onion is, again, spot on.

Posted by chris at 04:36 PM | Permalink

Onion: Hijackers Surprised to Find Selves in Hell

The Onion - finally they weigh in. Worth the wait.

Posted by chris at 03:08 AM | Permalink

I have to push the pram a lot

Oh, yes, yes, absolutely. Spot on. If you thought the Lego Star Wars figures were great, I reckon this will be right up your alley. Pick a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and re-enact it with.... you can see where this is going, can't you? Das ist fantastisch. (via

Posted by chris at 05:40 PM | Permalink

You absolutely have to check out Homestar Runner. Probably the best, most fully realised set of Flash characters and cartoons I've ever seen. Some reasons why it rocks:

Free up an afternoon and get over there or I'll set Strong Bad on you. Holy crrrrrrap! (via Misuba on Fictionsuits)

Posted by chris at 05:54 PM | Permalink

Onion: God Finally Gives Shout-Out Back To All His Niggaz

God Finally Gives Shout-Out Back To All His Niggaz SOUTH BRONX, NY - The Lord Almighty finally responded to nearly two decades of praise in hip-hop album liner notes Monday, when He gave a shout-out back to all His loyal niggaz.

Posted by chris at 01:01 AM | Permalink

Why popbitch rules

Ever wanted to make your own tunes using a sampled tourette syndrome-affected chimpanzee? No? You won't be needing this, then. (via popbitch)

Posted by chris at 10:42 AM | Permalink

Possibly not the most challenging game in the world

Possibly not the most challenging interactive shockwave game in the world, but definitely one of the funniest: Poke Alex in the eye: The Game. Be sure to read the legal disclaimer, kids, and don't try this at home.

Actually, yeah, do try it at home. You might get hurt; it could be fun. Oh, I'm going straight to hell for that one. (via

Posted by chris at 12:46 PM | Permalink

How to act convincingly

How to act convincingly, from the zefrank site again, is even funnier than the dancing guide. Favourites: "endorsement" and "distaste".

Posted by chris at 12:54 PM | Permalink

How to dance properly

Oh, good - I remember finding this how to dance properly site a while back and mailing it straight to Nigel, but I don't think I blogged it. Silly me, for 'tis hilarious. Who's your daddy? (happily rediscovered via

Posted by chris at 12:07 PM | Permalink

404 research lab

Stop the press: quality not found page found. I think you know what I mean. More listed at 404 research lab. (via bwg)

Posted by chris at 06:02 PM | Permalink

To avoid seeing this message again, buy an Apple Mac.

Pissed off with Windows and its Blue Screen of Death? Unsurprisingly, perhaps, you're not the only one. Be sure to check out the latest version of Clippy, Word's "help" function.

Posted by chris at 12:01 PM | Permalink

The Semiotics of Smoking

The Chap is without a doubt the finest on-line review for gentlemen of breeding that I have ever been fortunate enough to happen upon; fight spiritual malaise, learn how to dress for golf, and let Howard Spent's guide to the semiotics of smoking assist you in telling the difference between a nouveau riche and a rum cove. Genius.

Posted by chris at 12:31 AM | Permalink

wlEM shAkspEr rulz

This is sheer genius, even if you don't speak fluent hacker: Romeo and Juliet for the L33T generation:

Romeo: A/S/L?
Juliet: WTF?
What utter class; there's more like it at no-effort online movies. ROFLMAO.

Posted by chris at 12:16 AM | Permalink

3-D Pong

It's a beautiful, sunny day. I'm going to get up out of this chair, put on some clothes, and go for a nice walk in the park.

Or I was going to - until I found this. Now I will stay inside for the next 45 hours straight (until I have to go to work on Friday) and play three-dimensional pong until my carpal tunnel syndrome becomes so bad that my mouse-hand needs amputating. It's like cocaine - but easier on the nasal membrane.

Posted by chris at 12:03 PM | Permalink

I am Jack's Younger Self

I am Jack's Younger Self - incontrovertible proof of the links between Fight Club and Calvin and Hobbes. Genius. (via DoctorGrosz)

Posted by chris at 02:12 PM | Permalink

Do Geocities build this in to all their members sites automatically?

..but before I do that, you should check out the fulifier. Just feed in an url and watch as it uglifies it for you. From street-smart-slick to Geocities shrine page in one fell swoop - most amusing. (via vixgirl)

Posted by chris at 06:39 PM | Permalink

Some Brits had the disco fries

Found via the below-mentioned Rob's Amazing Poetry Generator. Give it an url (or a URL) to chew over and it does a passable impression what a modern-day John Donne & Jason Pollock collaboration might be expected to read like. Favorite snippets wrung from this page so far:

I came from my faith in Williamsburg, so kiss tasted. Kisses have NO need a independent school, of Fight Club again , SUV parts and some Brits had the disco fries Morgan and daytime neon.
Tokyo to shoot some of seeing Famke Janssen attempting to strut our next door behind the torrential rain yay and wait for the work
Dark and decide one UN buildings in labels and wrapped in your hard drive, specifically attached, renamed with how to see where this might have a late lunch, folks

I never knew I had it in me.

Posted by chris at 12:10 PM | Permalink

A frightened boy

This is very, very funny and not a little disturbing.

Posted by chris at 10:26 PM | Permalink

Dogs in elk

This story is truly bizarre. I would love to believe it... so I will, despite the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Via, I bring you Dogs in Elk.

Posted by chris at 10:49 PM | Permalink

To act, or not to act

The remarkably accurate William Shatner acting simulator is much fun... almost too close to the reality to be satire, though, surely?

Posted by chris at 12:38 AM | Permalink

More kung-fu Flash action

More kung-fu Flash action, this time using scanned photos of Bruce Lee's head superimposed on a line-drawing body... Not quite as slick as the stick figure animation from a couple of months ago, but very cool nonetheless. I wish I could read Korean, though I don't think that would add much. Enjoy.

Posted by chris at 10:07 PM | Permalink

You twat monkeys good, soldier

The monkeys have you. Now there is no hope.

(via blast!blog, originally via someplace else, because this is how these things work)

Posted by chris at 08:28 PM | Permalink

S-Club Satan

The truth behind S-Club 7. It seems their lyrics are far more intelligent than given credit for...

Posted by chris at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Blatantly foreign

On the Am I British Or Not? test, I score a mere 40%, making me "Blatently Foreign" (sic). Not sure whether to feel relieved or homesick.

Posted by chris at 11:42 AM | Permalink

Paid in pork rinds

An on-line manga which is funny, intelligently written, and regularly updated - it can't be.

But it is. Check out MegaTokyo and tell me you wouldn't want to try Rent-A-Zilla. Awesome.

Posted by chris at 02:53 PM | Permalink

Karate, kendo and spatulas

I thought *I* was obsessed with ninjas but, compared to the guys over at Ninja Burger, the world's leading clandestine fast food delivery service, I am nothing.

There's a veritable shuriken display-case of content, including artwork, haiku, details of their deadly martial art techniques (incorporating "ninjitsu, judo, karate, jujitsu, tae-kwan-do, kendo and spatulas") and even dating tips. I laughed so much I shall have to leave and commit seppuku immediately.

Posted by chris at 04:39 PM | Permalink

I pity the fool

Heh. Mr.T haiku, anyone? Best so far:

i don't like planes, fool
you want to get me to fly?
better drug my milk

Posted by chris at 03:55 PM | Permalink

Oops, I did it (metal-organic chemical vapour deposition, that is) again

You may not have realised that Britney Spears is actually an expert on semiconductor physics but this is, in fact, the case.

Be sure to check out her informative and authorative guide to the Finite Barrier Quantum Well and her equally authoritative essay on Liquid Encapsulated Czochralski Crystal Growth. Stephen Hawking eat your heart out.

Posted by chris at 03:47 PM | Permalink

Infinite Wheel

Tuesday morning, and I'm back in the office. Ah well; Golden Week couldn't last forever and so I'm plunged back into the world of intranets and database design. But, to break up the monotony of the day, I bring you This is a rarety among Flash demonstration pages: one that uses looped samples without sounding like it's being played through bacofoil speakers. Even the one slightly risque section is beautifully designed.

While I'm on the subject, you should certainly check out infinite wheel; if you don't find Bad Oyster enjoyable then you need your head examined. These guys (this guy? those gals? that baboon? damn these anonymous websites) are also responsible for the official Mark & Lard site, another essential resource for those of us who are BBCically challenged.

Posted by chris at 04:02 PM | Permalink

Dive dive dive

A seemingly pointless act of madness? Or a truly pointless act of madness? You tell me.

Nothing illustrates better the Zen principles of cause and effect than a controlled plunge down a staircase. One's clarity of mind while in motion is almost soothing, completely transfixed on the moment. Afterwards, the pain reminds one of their humanity and the how ethereal our bodies truly are.

Er... right.

Posted by chris at 10:40 AM | Permalink

Anyone for Swedish-cockatoo-scalextric?

Man, I love days at work where I can be productive (we now have an intranet. well done me.) and yet still find time to play scalextric against a Swedish cockatoo.

This kind of day is, surprisingly, rare.

Posted by chris at 11:36 PM | Permalink

Word Perhect

Another genuinely innovative site; Word Perhect is a delightful spoof word processor.

Be sure to check out what all the toolbar buttons do, and browse through the help section, too. Complete with spoof "Tip of the Day", too. "Did you know? Drinking loads of water will help you when you are tired." Much more helpful than the usual "Press F7 to activate the spellchecker" rubbish.

Posted by chris at 03:11 PM | Permalink

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