In need of a redesign since 2011.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Stephen Hawking's wicked sense of humour

I have to say, over the past two years, due to the company I keep, I've found myself appreciating the darker side of humour. The kind of humour that (not to put too fine a point on it) is considered offensive to many. That's why, when I saw a cartoon about Stephen Hawking that many would consider 'distasteful,' I did have a guilty chuckle.

I'm beginning to suspect that this dark streak is shared by none other than the Professor himself. My evidence?

Well, to start with, he's played a parody of himself: in Dilbert, Red Dwarf, Futurama and the Simpsons - as well as being the only person to play themselves in an episode of Star Trek: TNG.

Of course, all that could be merely courting publicity. Plenty of celebrities parody themselves without ever really 'getting' the joke - I'm looking at you, Britney - but what do you think of these?

Stephen Hawking Yahoo Answers

"Chosen by asker" being the key part here! And the cartoon I mentioned earlier:

Stephen Hawking cartoon

This controversial cartoon has recently provoked rage from many (here and here, for example). Stephen Hawking himself, of course, has asked for the original.

If anyone has a right to decide whether that's 'allowed' to be funny or not, it's him, surely! I hope you'll join me in wishing the Prof a speedy recovery. Get Well Soon, Stephen Hawking.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Round-up time

I haven't really updated people on my life in a while. One of the reasons I started blogging was so that old friends could check in on me and see how I was doing. With that in mind, this is what I've been doing lately:

I've started that photography course! The first day was on Tuesday. It was fun, explained things nice and clearly, and I've got high hopes for the coming few weeks. At on point we were left to roam the streets for a while taking photos with a particular theme in mind, and this was a LOT more fun than ambling about by myself! I took this one during that free-range half hour:

Jade fountain

We're going to get some dark-room time at some point, which I was very excited about until I actually saw it. Red lighting is possibly the creepiest lighting imaginable.

I've been getting to the gym more regularly, which is already making a difference. I still feel fat and wobbly, but at least I can do sit-ups now! No kidding, I couldn't do one the first time I went. I plan on getting better, especially now that the gauntlet's been thrown down...


Oh bring it ON. I know what Gavin's thinking now. He's fearing the moment we get to the gym, I lie down, and say (with a glint in my eye) "How many can Rich do? HOW MANY?!" From what I know of Rich, it can only end with one of us dead. So if you know Rich, you might want to say your goodbyes.

I went to this thing called Trydan today. It's pronounced "trudd-en," for no good reason other than that it's Welsh *shrug*. Crazy language, I'm telling you. Anyway, it's basically a Cardiff social media café (nerdy people talking), and it's fantastic! I finally got to meet @carlmorris, who is a lovely and very interesting chap. I'm thinking of getting on the Wiki and suggesting that we introduce board games to the process... we meet at the Juno Lounge, which conveniently provides board games! Must check that out. I'd love to run a connect-4 tournament. Or Chess Wars! Amazing.

Right! the other thing I wanted to do was catch up on all the "interesting thing of the days" that I've been steadily accruing and forgetting to share. So, with apologies for the link bombardment, here we go:

Tweenbots. Little cardboard robots that need human help to get to their destination. I like to see it as evidence of basic human goodness.
Freakangels. I'm nothing short of ashamed that I haven't posted this before. It's a stunning online graphic novel (worlds apart from a webcomic). The art and story are superb, and the fact that its creator is a mad bastard should not dissuade you from enjoying it. It may even enhance the experience.
Datamancer. I've written about steampunk before, and Datamancer's breathtaking computer mods have come to epitomise steampunk design for many. I mean, c'mon, look at this laptop. It's a thing of beauty!


Run. I posted a link to this on my Twitter, it's a simple and addictive flash game. I can't finish level 50, and that knowledge will gnaw at my soul for all eternity... click at your own risk!

Alright, I think that's your lot, hopefully you'll be hearing from me again soon.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Susan Boyle: a cynic's view

You are being manipulated.

Maybe you've seen this video. Maybe, as with so many of the commenters, you've been moved to tears. The world is in uproar over this performance. More people have seen this video than watched Obama's victory speech. So what is it that makes her so special?

You are being manipulated.

Well, she has a wonderful voice, but we all know that's only half of it. The point is, she has a wonderful voice despite not looking like a star. See the looks of doubt and mockery sprinkled throughout the audience, and even the judges. The audience think she's a freak. The judges are playing their parts well.

Then Susan Boyle sings, and she can sing. It's a smack in the face. It's a shock. It's the ultimate ugly duckling story: a sad life story, the victim of bullying; ugly, yet quirky and irrepressably cheerful (with undertones of melancholy) - the 'talent scouts' who approved her submission must have thought they'd hit the jackpot.

I am being cynical, I know, but cynicism is merited with this breed of 'talent show.' How many ugly girls with beautiful voices do they turn away in a day? How many do they pressure and ridicule because it makes good TV? The people in charge of these programmes are in complete control of every detail. I expect every wiggle of the hips, every cheeky smile that fell from Susan's stage was subtly suggested behind the scenes.

"This isn't some contrived media event from the pop-culture factory. This is real." So claims Steve Rosenbaum of the Huffington Post. Steve, you underestimate the factory; they planned it, they filmed it, they edited it to take full advantage of every aspect of this story, and they fed it to the world.

I'm guessing it has worked better than even they expected. Everyone who works for that show, who stands to make a profit, who makes a living from playing these games - I bet they're delighted that this has gone viral. And good for Susan, I say, and I hope she enjoys it; because when the glow's faded a little, life goes on as it always did. I just hope there's a job for her in her new life.

Any voice even vaguely critical of this viral spectacle gets thumbs-downed so hard it never recovers, and yet here I am saying it again: we are being manipulated.

And yet, this whole kerfuffle has awoken new feelings in people. It has reminded them that we judge too readily; that we look too harshly on imperfection; that there are still things to be fought for and won, however late in the game. So who am I to stomp on the fragile bird of hope? Believe what you want to believe about Susan, but don't trust the show that made her. Read Chart Throb by Ben Elton, I think you'll find it eye-opening.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

To: Every Boy Ever

First off, read this article about Every Girl Ever. This blog post won't make much sense otherwise!

Hi, every boy ever! Thanks for writing that article about our date. It really shows how much you understand women. It was really helpful to me; I hadn't realised what a vapid, talkative, irrational bitch I was until you pointed it out! Still, us women are all crazy, as you told me yourself, so I guess it can't be helped.

Anyway, about that date. Sorry I spent so long in the bathroom; there's nothing like a slightly disappointed look from your date to bolster your self-esteem. I was trying to make myself pretty enough to meet your high standards. Well, they're obviously high, because when you saw that photo of my friends, you called Beth (who, by the way, has a body I would die for) "the fat one." You're so funny! With that kind of sensitivity, you must be a hit with the ladies.

I would have done the hair and makeup stuff sooner, obviously, but I was busy having a life of my own that didn't involve you. Can you believe that? I know for next time not to be so rude!

But hey, I know you're really a gentleman, right? You opened the car door for me! And the smug, self-righteous look you gave as you did it was just so cute!

Did I talk too much over dinner? Oh jeez, I'm sorry. I do that. Especially when my date is staring silently out the window with his head on his hand. If I'd known in advance that you didn't care about my job, or my family, or me, I could have saved us both a lot of time!

Still, wasn't it great that we bumped into my friends? It spared us from spending any more time alone together in awkward silence, even though that was SO exciting!

It's such a shame that you didn't hit it off with Christine; that would have saved me a lot of trouble. I don't like her that much, but I still felt bad about leaving you there with her. I thought maybe you just didn't like me, and that you were a nice enough guy with other people. Guess not! Still, at least I managed to have some fun while you weren't around!

Thanks for the ride home. It was really nice of you, although I did seriously consider making the three mile walk alone rather than endure the painful silence of your hatemobile. I feel bad for misleading you into thinking that we were going to have sex. For some reason, nobody ever told me that a date constitutes a legally binding contract!

Anyway, maybe I'll see you around, or maybe I'll work very damn hard to make sure that never happens. Also, you kiss like a fish.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Recommended blogs and flower pics

Blossom touching the sky

Yesterday, I went to a wedding. The wedding was unique and wonderful, and worthy of a better post than I can write today. so I hope you'll bear with me until I get the photos uploaded.

(On a related note, I want everyone in the photos to be able to find them easily; so after much consideration and sulking, I've decided that I may have to reactivate my Facebook account. SIGH.)

Solitary flower

Until then, I thought it was time I wrote about a few of my fellow bloggers. There are some remarkably entertaining, intelligent people out there on the internet, and I fully intend to find all of them. Eventually.

Here, then, are a few blogs I read and enjoy.
  1. It's no secret that Wil Wheaton is a fantastic writer, as well as a lovely chap. If you're even remotely interested in geek culture, gaming, writing, or just reading about the life of a strange normal bloke / internet celebrity, I really can't think of anywhere better to go. WWdN: In Exile
  2. Meg Pickard* writes for the Guardian, takes wonderful photographs, and is endlessly fun to read. Her site,, is also the home of the infamous anti-Valentine's cards.
  3. I've only been reading Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper for a little while, but she's funny, and fascinating, and I fully expect to continue reading for a long while to come.
  4. Innocent Loverboy is a sweet and sexy student who blogs about life, love, and the chaos that comes with it. Give his blog a looksee, and if you like it, tell him I sent you!
Fire flowers

In the year since I wrote this post linking to other blogs*, I'm embarrassed to say that my reading list hasn't got much longer. This is where you come in. If you'd all be very kind, I'd like you to post your favourite blog in the comments section. For everyone who does me this favour, I'll click their name and take a look at their blog as well. It's only fair, right?

*Yes, Anna and Meg are related. Sisters. And it does show in their writing styles, and the things they get irritated by; which I think is very charming.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Facebook Suicide

I'm sure you've heard it before. The bitter, jaded rants from those who have tried facebook - or those who haven't, and don't intend to, thankyouverymuch. I'm sure my reasons for tearing down the wall are common to many others, but nonetheless I thought I'd share the reasons why I jumped on the noncomformist bandwagon.*

  1. It is just like myspace. No, don't protest. I know you've turned 18 now, and thus rejected the colourful background and musical / glittery baggage of MySpace or (heaven help us) Bebo, but it's the old game in a new dress.**
  2. The temptation to go facebook-stalking proved to be just too much for me sometimes. As the old saying goes, "What has been seen cannot be unseen" - and now that includes seeing my good friends in wedding gowns and fairy dresses, which might have been less aberrant had they bothered to shave the beards off.
  3. The useless apps drive me to distraction! I know the worst facebook plagues - the zombies, pirates, vampires - have passed. I am no longer asked why I'm "walking everywhere on facebook," which let me tell you is a blessed relief because it made ABSOLUTELY NO BLEEDIN' SENSE. But every day there's a new quiz to ascertain which member of the Hungarian royal family I am. Or someone sends me seeds to start my own facebook cabbage patch. Or I'm invited to a group proposing that we enforce old ladies to wear green hats. NO, NO, and NO.
  4. My 'friends' are not my friends. Some of them never spoke to me once at school. Some of them, I honestly don't remember at all, leading to much embarrassment on my part when I give the 'how do you know this person' details a try. I considered going through and deleting the not-really-friends one by one, but I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and quite honestly my friend-friends can contact me anyway.
  5. In fact, anyone can contact me anyway, given a bit of effort. If they can't be bothered to put the effort in, maybe I'm not that fussed about seeing them! Think of it like a captcha requirement on a blog post. It cuts down the noise-to-signal ratio.
  6. I miss getting emails. Don't you miss getting emails? Not subscriptions, or spam mail, or notifications, but honest to goodness emails from a person who wants to say things to you. Those were the days...
  7. Privacy concerns. Amidst all the hubbub about the Government storing and accessing my information, it seems like as good a time as any to bow out. So that's what I've done.
Has anyone else killed off a social networking profile? I recently put a bullet in my myspace, and I let bebo drift into the dark long ago, but facebook was the hardest cord to cut by a long shot.

*Oxymoron? WHY YES!
**Mixing metaphors for your pleasure.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Right, only a brief post to tell you all about the new Atakachik game on Newgrounds! I say new because I happen to know it was uploaded mere hours ago. It's the latest creative effort from the legendary my boyfriend and his mate, and as an early alpha tester, I can vouch for its awesomeness!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Stream of consciousness

I tell you what, you know you're a creative type when you almost wish you could get your heart broken just for the kickass poetry / music / art you'd get out of it.

It's been a long time since I seriously put out creative content regularly. I don't count these blog posts because, if I'm brutally honest, I put less effort into these than I would a poem or a picture. I guess that's one of the drawbacks of finding writing easy; it makes you lazy.

The past couple of nights, I've been staying up far later than I should wishing that somebody in particular was online. Somebody I've never met, and have nothing to say to. A sure sign of mental illness! He's... I guess, a blogger, and before that he was a youtuber, and I get the chance to chat with him every now and then about how things are going. I find him very exasperating, for reasons I won't go into here, and I have no idea why I suddenly feel like I need to hear from him.

Also, sheesh, how many times can you put "I" into a paragraph.

I used to have youtube vids up myself, actually. Only three or four. I found them today, having not watched them for a couple of years I guess, and it was really interesting to get a fresh look at myself. I could see how eager I was to please, to seem confident and interesting and fun. How much I wanted to look pretty and unique. It's interesting how deep-seated the need for approval is in some people. Aww, I told myself I wasn't going to do this, but: name-drop ahead: I was talking to Robert Webb on Twitter, and he seemed very aware of the fact that he seeks approval from everybody. He said it was the performer character-type, and I think I understand.

So here I am again, up at 3:22am, thinking too much about the wrong things instead of sleeping. I've got church in the morning and everything.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Awkwardness and Clones

Imagine a house full of animals. They don't know which of their housemates are predators and which are prey. The only possible way to survive is to hide from all of them, and to show no fear in the event of an encounter. If it sounds like a terrible reality TV show, I understand. But the fact is, this is sort of what my life has been like lately...

Since moving into this house last summer, my housemates and I haven't really... gelled. I like them, but we don't talk much, and it's led to this peculiarly uncomfortable situation...

Maybe I can explain better.

On the rare occasions that I leave my room, I don't expect to see anybody else. I avoid the communal areas as much possible, and they do the same. As a result, whenever one of us sees another, there's a brief moment of paralysed terror, like a rabbit in headlights. I try to get over it as quickly as I can, squeaking out a quick "hi" sound before they can realise that I was utterly stunned to see somebody else in my house.

(It's not like I'm not fully aware that I'm living with six other people. Intellectually, I know this to be true. It's just that when confronted with another person, I instantly want to run and hide in my room.)

I know it's not just me, either. I know because, occasionally, I'll hear a click of someone's bedroom door opening as I walk to one of the bathrooms, but I won't hear footsteps until I'm safely hidden away.

To be frank, explaining it now, it sounds ridiculous. I know it's ridiculous. Several times I've been tempted to say "It's ok, I know you're there and you know I'm here, let's all just stop this charade!" but I don't. I don't because doing so would mean admitting that I've been playing this ridiculous game for eight months.

It's as if the Emperor has been strutting around naked for so long, that to admit to feeling the wind in his nethers is simply unthinkable. No, he must simply soldier on, and hope that he dies before anybody points out his nudity.

And, taking a leaf from the venerable Emperor's book, I am moving out in a few months anyway. Best to just pretend nothing unusual is going on. Best to keep my head down, and forage for food under cover of darkness.

Y'know, I'm so glad I never told any of them about this blog... If you don't hear from me again, one of them found this, and I killed either them or myself or both. It would be the only honourable way out.

In other news, I recently got sent some photos a friend and I took months ago... lookit! It's me, and me, and me!

Anna clones

An announcement

I can't express in words how grateful I am to everyone who helped me out with the BlogInterviewer competition. It means more to me than you could possibly know that I've made money from my writing for the first time in my life!

When I started this blog 3 and a half years ago, I envisaged it as little more than a diary; expecting maybe 5 readers, and really not knowing how long I'd keep at it for. One domain name purchase and complete design overhaul later, I can honestly say that Almost Daily Exploits is something I'm truly proud of.

That said, there are limits to what I can achieve in this format; and after a lot of thought, I've decided to take the blog down. I considered just stopping blogging, but I feel like it makes a much stronger statement if I remove it altogether. I dwell on the past too much; I don't really need almost four years of accumulated memories weighing me down.

So, I'm moving onwards to bigger things; and maybe someday soon, you'll see my name in print! Best of luck to you all, and thanks once again for your encouragement and support.

Anna x x