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"If there is one thing I can't stand it's beardy, sanctimonious, patronising Americans in tartan trousers coming to England and trying to persuade us to turn into a museum. He wants the East End for the cheeky Cockney chaps pushing wheelbarrows full of eels and he wants northernists to be industrialists with big braces and blokes dying of consumption."

James May 
 .:[ On the first day... ]:.Posted: 12:15 on Thursday, 02 December 2004 
State: sniffly  Music: Blue Angel 69 

...of Christmas, someone gave the entire family a cold - talk about your early bleedin' present! Some people are just so generous, aren't they...? After that and a serious fight getting the new cable box to work all day without dropping bandwidth around 6pm until the next morning that was eventually given up on by the engineer from NTL (so we have a shiny new cable modem connected to Gridrunner now) that i didn't mention last week because there were more important and indeed sad things going on, not an awful lot to report from the last week. Because we've all been sniffling a lot, coughing and making groaning noises...!

 .:[ Nanny knows best ]:.Posted: 11:10 on Sunday, 12 December 2004 
State: wobbly  Music: First Attack 

To date i've never played any of the Grand Theft Auto series for more than five minues a title but, since i hang around online with people involved in the games industry and watch a little television, i'm aware of the fuss going on around the latest installments; GTA:San Andreas has come under fire from several camps recently, but the most unexpected was a broadside from those stalwarts of afternoon television Richard and Judy. Now, in all fairness to R&J i didn't see the show (i don't watch afternoon or even mainstream telly much) but the general gist appears to be that GTA:SA was sickening and that minors getting to play it, thus exposing them to violence and sexual content.

Now, let's just get this straight; GTA:SA is a game for adults and not for the minors (it has a BBFC 18 rating in the U.K.) and yet R&J had children in their mid teens commenting on their favourite features. No, those kids shouldn't have been exposed to such graphic violence at their age but that's not the fault of Rockstar, Sony or indeed anyone in the games industry. It's the parents of those children who are to blame.

i don't consider myself the perfect parent, in fact i usually tend to feel that i'm lousy at the job - but one thing i do try to do is keep our kids away from things they're not supposed to see and, whilst i'll raise my hand as guilty to letting them see films that are rated above their age, i've tried to make a decision for myself as to if they're mature enough to watch those films. i suppose that makes me a "bad parent", but i'd like to think that i do better than the ones whose siblings appeared on R&J or the other news shows ripping into GTA:SA and games in general because if my kids play something that upsets them, it was me who made the purchase, me who overrode the certification and made the decision that they could view it and me who will take responsibility for those actions. i won't be on R&J any time soon looking horrified.

The vilification of the violence in computer games has been going on since before the computer games industry became a true industry; i've spent two thirds of my life playing "violent" games as well as watching films and television that censors and campaigners have told me are bad for me, for example Doctor Who - the spawn of Satan if you listened to Mary Whitehouse (fortunately, most people didn't...) and i'd like to think that it's had no adverse affects on me.

Thinking about it... perhaps we should save everyone a lot of trouble and just ban Richard and Judy?

 .:[ Going to kick IO's arse ]:.Posted: 11:53 on Wednesday, 22 December 2004 
State: average  Music: Let's Go 

Picturei got a Zipstik the other day, once again courtesy of the local Blockbuster video. The Zipstik has always been my controller of choice and to my mind there's nothing out there that can hold a candle to it really short of the official PS1 pads (and i'm half planning to modify one of those for a C64 as well!) It's got a steel shaft, very solid plastic on the case, burst autofire, six heavy-duty microswitches with a very positive response and a short travel distance - generally speaking, it's built like a sodding tank and the only "weak" spot is the cable unless you're bouncing it off a wall and even that would require several impacts just to break the plastic! So picking one up for a mere 99p (compared to the 10 price tags i've seen on eBay) was a likkle cause for celebration for me even if nobody else understood why... which is just a tad depressing, really.

 .:[ Incredible... ]:.Posted: 01:15 on Wednesday, 29 December 2004 
State: tired  Music: Venon Wing 

Well, we all wandered into town to see Lemony Snicket's but, due to a series of circumstances that are too dull for even this web log, ended up watching The Incredibles instead; it comes recommended, for what that's worth from some random person whose rantings you're reading on the web...!

As with all of Pixar's output, it's superbly executed technically and even more effort has gone into the story of a world where superheroes walk amongst us and, for the main, have to keep to the shadows. Our hero, Mr. Incredible himself or Bob to his neighbours and colleagues at the insurance company he works for, yearns for the glory days when he had a real identity to go with the secret one he's been living for years and helping people isn't something he has to do in whispered tones at work or under cover of darkness in order to avoid being found out.

Along with being a fast-paced action story, enjoyably funny on several levels and adding lashings of reasonably well-balanced family drama between Bob, his wife Helen (or Elastigirl) and the kids, the story touches on the other side of super heroes that isn't normally covered, like who takes responsibility for their actions, how do a super family get a baby sitter at short notice or even who repairs the costumes and some fairly sly little digs are made at super villains and governments alike in the process. In short, well worth dragging the sprogs along to see because it'll keep you amused too.

 .:[ It's the end... ]:.Posted: 20:31 on Friday, 31 December 2004 
State: average  Music: Bohemian Like You 

...of 2004. So what, big deal apart from me having to activate the new panel i added to the web log earlier this month! i really should get on with relocating the main cosine.org.uk site as well but i keep looking at how much work is involved and it's olympic-standard procrastination time...!

Speaking of which, i watched most of the original Italian Job on telly earlier today and, much as i like Seth Green in the "remake" (and in general), it just can't compare to Caine and company; it's one of those films that you forget how good it actually is until you watch it again and Benny Hill... inspired. i'll have to keep an eye on the DVD bargain bins in the new year, i think.

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