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Pointless Poll
After use, where does the ketchup go?
- In the fridge
- In the cupboard
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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sat 25th Oct 2014

I've done a gig in Swanage this evening, I'm now in bed and it's only half 1. We should do this putting the clocks back thing more often.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Thu 23rd Oct 2014

Dear every politician in the country: leave the fucking internet alone. In fact, leave everything you don't understand well alone. Love me.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Wed 22nd Oct 2014

Thanks to a frankly malicious YouTube link, I've spent most of this week rediscovering Green Jell├┐.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Wed 22nd Oct 2014

Well at least they're honest, I guess... http://twitter.com/Mister_Flarpy/status/525019650581864449/photo/1

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Disney's Darkest Hour
Mon 20th Oct 2014

I've been thinking about Disney a lot recently. I'm not entirely sure why, but I did discover a video on YouTube based around Disney's darkest and scariest moments. The video mentions how dark The Little Mermaid is, and I quite distinctly remember myself thinking hang on - the movie of the Little Mermaid was all fluff and cuddles compared to the original book, how can they possibly call it dark?

So I began thinking about when Disney goes bad. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was pretty twisted in various places, and let's not forget that Disney also own Touchstone, Miramax and a bunch of other movie studios, so it's not like they just do kids stuff. But to get at the absolute crowning achievement of messed up Disney darkness, you need to look beyond movies and head to the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Or more specifically, Walt Disney World in the late 1990s.

In the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom is Stitch's Great Escape. But before it was opened in 2004, it was a different attraction, going by the name of the Extra-Terror-Restrial Alien Encounter. A warning notice outside this attraction alerted punters to its intense nature, but being part of happy fluffy Disney World, nobody cared about that. It must be suitable for kids, right?

The attraction took the form of a show, but one you experienced mainly through non-visual means, as the bulk of the show was in total darkness. I'm really glad I got to visit this thing in the short time it was open, and certainly before I went deaf in one ear, as a lot of the show used clever stereo sound to fool you into thinking sounds are coming from somewhere else. The 'story' of the show involved you being strapped into a chair and given a demonstration of an intergalactic teleportation system that went horribly wrong, allowing a hideous, winged extraterrestrial being to escape into the room with you. You got to see the creature for a split second under strobe light before it "escaped" and pretty much everything else happened in almost total darkness. It breathed hot breath and drooled down your neck, made noises as it flew around your head, and shook your shoulder restraint violently. Several times throughout the show a staff member was apparently slaughtered, causing "blood" to spray across the audience, before the alien finally reappeared in the teleporter and got blown up right in your face. It all sounds pretty gruesome and gratuitous, but when you consider the entire thing was achieved through nothing other than a water jet, some air vents, a couple of speakers and a motorised seat restraint it's amazing how intense the entire experience was... there was a genuine marriage of art and technology which explored the path previously trodden by so many fine horror directors who know that there is nothing scarier than the human imagination; you're far more likely to be scared by something you can't see. It was the sort of attraction that they could happily move to Universal Studios and run it for years, but somehow it ended up in the Magic Kingdom, where it scared the crap out of children for a while before being replaced with something far tamer.

What's even more worrying is that the version eventually made was very toned down, compared to some of the original concepts. The original idea was to have a ride based on the movie Alien, which was seen as a big no-no by the Disney board of the time, as the Alien movies were all rated R. They even brought in George Lucas to write a screen play which involved the alien actually being a captor of the company, who are using the audience as 'guinea pigs' in some hideous experiment.

It's impossible to convey the experience of this thing through text, or even video as you don't get to fully appreciate the special effects and sound and touch cues that the whole thing uses to scare the hell out of you, but there are one or two videos on YouTube that try - including at least one filmed with a night vision camera that gives away most of the secrets of how it all worked. But if you're ever looking for a good example of Disney being a little less kiddy-friendly and frankly shit-your-pants terrifying, then look no further than the Extra-Terror-Restrial Alien Encounter.

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Posted by Ash | Permalink

From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 19th Oct 2014

It's also quite odd that the RPi version of Kali has a better default apt distro set than Raspbian.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 19th Oct 2014

Applied psychology 101: the easiest way to get someone to do what you want is to make them think it was their idea in the first place.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Thu 16th Oct 2014

This is bloody brilliant. Pub gets complaints from neighbours about live music that didn't happen http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Make-Some-Noise-We-cancelled-an-event-but-residents-still-complained

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Wed 15th Oct 2014

I have concluded that a phone with all the features I want actually doesn't exist. At least not in the UK.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Tue 14th Oct 2014

I may not have Alan Sugar's money, but at least I know where penguins live.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 12th Oct 2014

I think today is a good day to say that without the NHS I wouldn't be here now. You're all fantastic people and I support you

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sat 11th Oct 2014

When did it become OK to upload a video of yourself singing a well-known song a cappella or to a backing track and refer to it as a 'cover'?

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Thu 9th Oct 2014

I can't look at Nigel Farage without wondering how much like his own Spitting Image puppet he'd look.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Thu 9th Oct 2014

Whoever said psychics are harmless? http://boingboing.net/2014/10/10/video-exclusive-sceptic-bulli.html If you pay to see Sally Morgan you're supporting this kind of abuse.

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Tom and Jerry
Thu 9th Oct 2014

Tom and Jerry are doing OK for themselves. Their first show was in the early 1940s, yet they're still stirring up controversy all these years later. The latest piece of newsworthy babble about history's longest cat-and-mouse chase is that Amazon's on demand system has a pretty blunt warning about the content before you view the cartoons.

Tom and Jerry Cartoons Carry Racism Warning - BBC News

Now, this isn't a rant about whether or not Tom and Jerry contains racial stereotypes... of course it bloody does. It's not a rant about whether or not this is OK... of course it bloody isn't. And it's not a rant about how what is socially acceptable is changed over time. If you don't think Tom and Jerry contains racial stereotypes, dig out a copy of the ultra-rare cartoon "His Mouse Friday" and, unless you happen to vote for the BNP or read the Daily Mail, prepare for your jaw to hit the floor.

So what am I complaining about? The warning? No, I'm completely supporting it, because the alternative is censorship. I've always had a problem with cuts to cartoons, and as Tom and Jerry are my favourite cartoons from my childhood I obviously feel a certain sense of annoyance when people try to change them, in much the same way Star Wars fans hate the 1997 'enhanced' versions and subsequent DVD releases. But removing parts because they're racist? In my opinion that's basically on a par with holocaust denial. You can't stop racism by pretending it never happened.

The weird thing is that this isn't the first time this has happened. The Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD Volume 3 contains an introduction by Whoopie Goldberg. In her speech she defends the studio by saying that although the racial stereotypes "were wrong then and are wrong today", they were a product of their time and removing them would be to pretend they never existed. She goes on to say that the general attitude towards ethnic minorities is a part of history that can not and should not be ignored. I could not agree more with every word she says.

OK, so MGM don't have the accolade of hiring the first black animator, as Warner Bros did, but I think the same attitude should apply. The presence of the racism warning is acknowledgement that times have got better and racist jokes are rightly unacceptable nowadays. It's not an apology, but as many of the people who worked on Tom and Jerry have since passed away, an apology on their behalf would probably seem quite patronising. I think the warning is probably the best thing that could happen. It's better than not having a warning there in the first place, and it's certainly better than hiding the racist bits, which in some cases is arguably more racist than simply showing them uncut. Yes, in some edited versions of Tom and Jerry they actually replace black characters and actors with white ones - effectively stopping the racism by getting rid of the ethnic minorities!

If you want to experience Tom and Jerry at their hilarious best, I strongly recommend the original versions of Love That Pup, Touche Pussy Cat, Mice Follies, Solid Serenade and Jerry and Jumbo. All of which are excellent, and none of which contain any racial stereotypes. Enjoy!

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Posted by Ash | Permalink

 
 
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