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"An associate producer is the only guy in Hollywood who will associate with a producer."

Fred Allen 
 .:[ Just catching up ]:.Posted: 01:40 on Monday, 08 May 2006 
State: mellow  Music: Raster Runner 

Yes i know, yet another huge break from posting to the web log... i'm beginning to suspect that it's partly due to the faffing about required in order to add a new month to the log and i've been mulling over taking apart the scripts and rebuilding them to remove all the maintainance time... it's been on the cards for ages and i might even get around to fixing the damned "made it up" BBCode URL tagging as well!

So, the first order of business has to be Doctor Who simply because it's been excellent, not just the series itself so far (Steven Moffat's fabulous script nearly managed to steal my personal "highlight of the season" award from Sarah Jane Smith and K9 for cryin' out loud... and do try the chips) but the Beeb's promotion and "support" efforts too; the web games, the brilliant MP3 pod-casted commentary tracks (Steven Moffat and Noel Clarke discussing "Girl In The Fireplace" was fascinating, seems our Noel did know the relevance of what was on his t-shirt... sorted!) and all the sites like the Deffry Vale School one and the spin offs from there or Millingdale Ice Cream have added another little dimension to the show... and to date i've completed all the Flash games too - yay!

One of the 'Who sites led me somewhere else very interesting; a couple of personal sites from the ones released after "School Reunion" were hosted on the free web space supplied by an ISP called "Cheapserve"... except it doesn't exist, it's part of an online game run by BBCi called Jamie Kane and the Doctor Who team are cadging a couple of subdirectories. The game itself, which yours truly is somewhere between a third and halfway through, is about ex boy-band member and then solo pop star Jamie Kane, who has died in a helicopter crash under what could possibly be considered suspicious circumstances. At least they're suspicious enough to get a small cadre of fans together who, despite their various personal differences, take it upon themselves to dig a little deeper... The story is quite engrossing because it plays out via posts to the message board on a Jamie Kane fansite as well as with interaction with various posters courtesy of a messenger client and indirectly through their blogs. Along the way the player visits (and attempts to make sense of) assorted sites for businesses, places and people, some real and others not, searching for clues and occasionally endulging in a little... erm clandestine activity to find out what has really happened.

What makes it work, for me at least, is the characters and each has a personality; Greta is a teenage h4x0r with all the cypherpunk attitude, blue hair and (probably very deliberate) bad spelling you'd expect, Jess the site owner is very sweet and tries to keep control despite the varying levels of animosity between certain other board members, Cochrane Chambers Esq. is the eldest of the "players" and believes himself to be the most mature (but as is almost always the case in these situations, he's nowhere near as urbane as he believes himself to be), Kai is a would-be Fleet Street hack who'll probably be awful if he ever gets a job on a tabloid since he spends a lot of time being the board's voice of reason and fellow newcomer Shaz, still at school and seemingly rather naive for her age, but also strong willed and bright with it.

All in all it's worth playing girls and boys, just sign up and start playing at a time that'll be convenient because each game day starts 24 hours (or sometimes 48 when the site throws a brainfart, apparently) after the completion of the previous one. Oh, and keep an eye on the message board signatures, there's some total gems in there!

Right... that's a few paragraphs to catch up so i'll post (swearing at the bugged script that throws up an error in the process) and double check everything; g'night!!

 .:[ Well, it's real innit ]:.Posted: 02:04 on Saturday, 27 May 2006 
State: mixed  Music: none 

i'm beginning to really really hate "reality" television. Actually, that's not exactly true, what's getting on my nerves is Big bloody Brother to be accurate. One of the biggest problems is that i can't avoid the damned thing to be honest, if the regular live shows (i use the word "live" in a very loose sense, of course) that over-run and push back programmes that actually had a script writer aren't bad enough, there's twenty sodding four hour coverage - even when they're asleep via low light cameras for goodness sake. i'm not sure what i find more worrying, that there are people out there who are willing to subject themselves to what is essentially a constant mental harassment for their ten minutes of fame or that there's a willing audience hanging on every pointless word spoken, every meaningless action, every nervous breakdown or hissy fit. It's like The Sims to be honest, the viewer has less to do but they do "interact" and "control" the little people they're staring at by voting them out.

i know it's no coincidence that, whilst channel hopping to avoid Big Brother's Big Mouth and the quite frankly disturbing presenter, i found myself watching and enjoying The Truman Show on BBC1. For those who aren't aware of the idea behind the film, Truman Burbank (played by Jim Carrey) is slap in the middle of the kind of anthropomorphic experiment that the Big Brother team would give their right arm to conduct; his entire life from birth to where the film audience comes in during his thirtieth year has been televised and he's been the centre of attention ever since; the world really does revolve around Truman but he's totally unaware of the fact... until the former cast member who played his father breaks onto the set of Truman's life and sets him thinking - And all hell breaks loose as Truman tries to do likewise. Having watched it some seven or eight years ago originally, it's only viewing it again now i realise how well observed Truman Show really is, in fact how like our current crop of reality television it's looking with the low light camera shots of Truman sleeping...

My opinion of reality television is very much akin to the one i hold regarding realism in computer games; if i wanted it to look, feel and move realistically i'd go outside. When i play a game i want a car that's fun to drive that does daring things that i could never do in a real car; i want fly a small and heavily armed spaceship on a lone mission against a tyrannous alien empire; i want to be a small, cute and very fast yellow dinosaur searching for bags of magic dust. Similarly, when i watch television i want a story, something that makes me think as i watch it (even just a little is better than reality TV's mental void), that takes me to interesting and/or faraway places, heads into space to other planets or even through time and space in a bloody Police Box. If i merely wanted to see a bunch of air-headed arty types collide head on and screaming with every social and indeed sexual cliche going i'd visit the local Starbucks more often.

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