FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence.

Yet, mad am I not -- and very surely do I not dream.

4.10.10

We have moved!

Come join me over at www.geeksploitation.tumblr.com

Bring your friends!

6.9.10

Geeksploitation.

I have spoken a lot on this blog about my affinity for geek culture and all things nerdy (apart from gay stuff like D&D and WoW). This entry into the highly exciting world of BlogSpot however, deals with quite possibly the biggest threat to our way of living. ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’; a few years ago this popular biblical quote was modified to ‘the geeks shall inherit the earth’. Past MircoApple (AppSoft?), I see no evidence of this.

One could argue that the last few years has seen an increase in ‘geek culture’ – namely science fiction shows and comic book movies securing themselves a more prominent role in everyday media. But I move for people to realise that this is not the case – no, my friends, what we have here is something I like to call Geeksploitation. Dictionary.com will come to define it as “the exploitation of blacks geeks, esp. in movies featuring or intending to appeal to blacks geeks”, and the word itself will probably be the most popular buzzword of the second decade of this here century.

Unfortunately, by the time I make it to Comic Con (the holiest of all pilgrimages) it will be a shadow of its former self. Movie studios will be there promoting ‘Titanic 2’ and ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks meet Scooby Doo and Friends in 3D’ – taking up valuable floor space with actors who literally have no idea where they are or what they have gotten themselves into. 24 was arguably my favourite show, but it had no business having a C-Con booth. The Other Guys was a hilarious movie, but why was it promoted in San Diego? As far as I can tell, the only good thing to come out of the Geeksploitation movement is Olivia Munn – which is quite handy, as I’m demanding the US government hand her over to the geeks as part of our reparations settlement.



Wait...what?

Damn, why are so many people I know getting engaged? And how will I know when I’ve moved over from the camp that makes fun of the married people, to the camp who are made fun of for not being married? Hopefully the transition is many moons away.

If anyone has seen Next with Nicolas Cage – I am convinced this is one of the greatest super powers of all time. Basically the guy can see a few seconds into his own future – effectively granting him an undo button on life. You’re sat in a meeting, you need to toot, but you’re not sure whether or not you will a) follow through, or b) make an embarrassingly loud noise. With Nic Cage powers you’d be sorted. This got me thinking, what would out world be like if there was an actual ‘undo’ button for life? And how often would you forget about the maximum undo limit, and end up with a tattoo on your bum of the name of a girl you just met? Still, it would sure as shit be better than having that annoying Microsoft Office paper clip guy jumping out at you every five seconds.

This segweys into possibly the greatest idea I have ever had. Brace yourselves.

Braced?

A comic book featuring Nic Cage, where he possesses every single power/skill that he’s ever had in any of his movies. It might actually be the best thing in the world ever. Think about it. Just off the top of my head, the Nic Cage character would be an immortal sorcerer lovesick angel, who at dusk, changes into a flaming skeleton ghost rider who can see a few seconds into his own future…who just so happens to be a world class marksman with a crippling obsessive compulsive disorder, have a penchant for blind chicks, is a world renown nuclear physicist for the FBI, an ex-con in the wrong place at the wrong time (while wearing another man’s face), moonlights as a TV weatherman as a front for his global arms trafficking, which only furthers his heroin addiction, but fuels his amazing powers to steal cars in 60 seconds while solving insanely illogical historical puzzles - all while waging a war on crime with Adam West-inspired diction.
I would buy that book, and/or watch that show.


Automatic Win.

There were some crazy people in the news this week who attempted to fly (read: fell) off the top of some skyscrapers, thinking they were superheroes. I have no sympathy for these people. If you wanted to test your newly acquired flying capabilities, why not just stand on the ground and jump up.

Something else that had my brain working overtime this week; when one starts dating – do you hide your internet history or not? We’ve all been there – you’ve just handed over your laptop to a friend, they click on and begin to type in the address box, when your heart stops and you think ‘wait, just how many porn websites have I visited that begin like that?’ At that point you either snatch back the potentially incriminating machine arousing suspicion, or you bite the bullet and shrug your shoulders. So, to hide or not to hide?

The immediate response from most of us is: hide. But when you start to really think, and I mean really think about it, we shouldn’t at all. We are men, and as such we have a predisposition to look at naked women – it’s not our fault, honest. You should try being more understanding. And besides, how long can you expect to hold up the charade? She’ll find out sooner or later. And she’ll probably be angry that you were lying to her all the time, hiding your true self from her. Yeah, that’s it. Show her your porn stash and the two of you will become much closer on a spiritual level. Not to hide.

Besides. My internet habits are complex and beastly – and I sure as hell will not be able to remember the masses upon masses of stored passwords and adult ‘material’ that I so frequently enjoy. I’m siding with not to hide on this issue.

Blu-tac. Is the colour just a by-product, or is there effort that goes into making it so?

And finally... I bullshitted my way into Business School last week (which makes me think that I should probably clean this blog up a little – and definitely delete the last few paragraphs). When I confided in a friend of mine that I was a little worried I was able to do so with relative ease, and that I was worried I’d be far behind the other students, he pointed out to me that business is essentially bullshit in a nice suit.

13.8.10

I'm from the Internet.

There should be an age restrictor on self-serve tills in supermarkets.  Too many times have I opted for the quick and easy option of self service only to be confounded at every turn by the stout appearance of an old timer. Sometimes it’s that I only have one or two items, other times it’s that the nature of my purchase is somewhat embarrassing. Either way, I reserve the right to be served in a timely manner, and for that reason I propose we ban all old people from supermarkets.

It’s a well known medical fact that by age 30, a human brain simply cannot fathom any kind of new technology: computers, DVD players, complicated tin openers, the list goes on. I am not blaming these people’s brains for not understanding the technology; it is out of their control – what I am blaming them for is their refusal to accept said fact, and their ongoing attempts to use modern technology. Self service tills are such a technology that should not even be attempted. Please listen to reason. And while we’re on the subject – touch screen technology has own exacerbated the problem, as now I see old people prodding every screen they see, with their bony, witch-like fingers.

Surely, I am not thet only one who thinks Decepticon.

I would very much like to write a book, but I have trouble organising my thoughts. No, that isn’t it. I have trouble organising my bum into a chair for long enough periods that I scribble down ideas before they leave my end or morph into something else. If I were to write a book now, it would resemble this blog: ideas scattered around sticking to some sort of indiscernible plot or continuity, the opening and closing paragraphs often regarding two completely different subjects. There would no doubt be a monkey in the first half, and a rocket ship in the second. This is just a list of ideas that I have haphazardly thrown together in an attempt to form some sort of column. That’s where the happiness is, column writing. Mmm…feel that sweet, warm security. Bathe in it.

If you have a pair of scissors and you remove the pin holding the two blades together – would you have a scissor in one hand, and a scissor in the other? As a work colleague mused, the answer to that question probably lies somewhere in the root of the word, incisor.

Madden NFL 11 is pissing me off. Yes, I only have the demo so far as it hasn’t been released in the UK yet…but geez guys. I didn’t spend days on NFL 10 learning all the routes and plays (which is hard for a non-native to the sport) only to have you slap me in the face with the all new retard-encouraging Gameflow system. Its just like that Mario game that helps you if you get stuck, or like the little paperclip man in Microsoft Word – both of them suck and just make people lazy. And people who play video games already, do not need things being made easier for them.

Forever a classic.

I have had some success in getting things from people, for the promise of using their name or likeness in some material later down the line. I wonder how long I can stretch this out before people realise that it will never happen? And how high I can go with it? Jeff Goldblum said on Top Gear that he once got a Jeep, just because he agreed to show up to the press conference driving in one. “I will take this apartment from you, with the understanding that I will base the protagonist of my second opus on you. What is your name, kind yet stupid sir? John? Excellent. We have a deal. Keys? Great. Goodbye John, I’ll see you for the paperback edition.” 

I have a degree in English. But why is it that when you have a degree in Spanish or German or French, you actually have skills pertaining to the job market?

How come it is illegal to urinate in public, but it’s not illegal to urinate in your pants in public? These things keep me up at night, usually while I’m outside peeing.

I feel as though if world government had no strict immigration laws – countries would be just like bars. All the underage people would hang out somewhere, all the 18-25yr olds somewhere else, and all the people clinging onto their youth would go somewhere else. Countries would go through phases of being cool and un-cool, chic and non chic – and you’d always be able to move someplace else when it became too popular and started attracting douchebags. You wouldn’t have problems with illegal immigrants then, only illegal cougars.

Who invented wallpaper? Nobody has ever been able to answer me.

My screenplay, “Learning to be Possessed” just made it through to the third round of the Kaos British Feature Screenplay Competition – which makes me think that perhaps it wasn’t that bad after all. The winner’s screenplay goes into production with upwards of a £2million budget (not a huge amount I know), and the finalists all get a Mac, some software and some even get an agent. I would honestly trade in winning the competition, and a free Mac (no surprise there) if I could get Ari Gold to be my agent.

My work consists of sitting at a desk all day pretending to do things while I click back and forth between open windows. This causes my brain to turn to mulch, it stifles my creativity, removes rhyme and reasoning, and grinds me into becoming a drone. I view this as being a form of sensory deprivation and therefore a direct violation of my human rights. Relax your internet laws Mr CEO, porn breaks at lunch have been proven to be great motivators: “Yes, I’ll have the BLT, a mocha, aaand gimme Back Door Action Sluts 3.”
  
Plug the comic book. I have a comic book coming out, though its looking as thought its going to be pushed back to Easter time 2011. Sad face.

Lolblitz.

28.7.10

Where did the time go?

There comes a time when one must begin to think not about what is expected of them, but what they expect of themselves.

Creativity and success often seem to be polar opposites – it has been reported in the past that only 15% of writers are able to sustain their lifestyles without supplementing their income with another job.

We all want the success of the famous authors, the power and influence over culture that they possess. Unless you are Stephanie Meyer, in which case no reward is worth unleashing your childish drivel on the world. Some people want to see their names or faces on TMZ or in a magazine.

I have no desire to become famous in that sense. I want to be recognised in name only, and ideally solely by the geek community and maybe one or two enlightened types. I want my work to be discussed on message boards and on Xbox live, and I never want to meet a fan who isn’t 30 years old and still a virgin. These are my people. 




I want to work, but I don’t want it to define me. I want my words and my actions to. I want my creative output to. I know some very intelligent people working dead-end, minimum wage jobs, just as I know some absolute buffoons who are working high level jobs. There seems to be no correlation between smarts, integrity, drive, and success anymore.

The next time somebody asks me to introduce myself, I wonder how they’ll reply when I tell them ‘My name is Philip Shanahan, I enjoy reading, writing, and occasionally arithmetic. I like to open doors for girls and I try chew with my mouth closed. I say God bless you when people sneeze. I think I am a fairly polite person, and quite agreeable once you get to know me’. They will probably just ask me then what I do, and I will tell them that I work in McDonalds, or that I collect trash, perhaps that I have never worked a day in my life.

I am two books into Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. So far, so very, very good. For anyone wanting to invest their time and effort in a franchise that isn’t Twishite, I highly recommend them. One of the protagonists’ nickname is Kalle. I think I’m going to nick that. Kalle Shanahan. How novel. It’s either that or enter into an industry with 20 other people already using a variation of yours truly.

My theories on time travel are evolving; I have already identified two instances in which time travel/manipulation is part of everyday life, and now I have a third. The first; decreasing your time of arrival on your sat nav/gps. The second; turning off your alarm clock, closing your eyes for just a second, and waking up inexplicably an hour later. Both instances of time travel. 
 

Thirdly, and perhaps more interestingly, my perception of time is no longer linear. Last night I looked at a sandwich. It was a submarine sandwich measuring a meter in length and consisting of various meats and condiments. As I gazed on its glazed goodness, I saw myself taking the first few bites, and I just knew that upon its devourment, I would hurl. I finished eating a few minutes later, and hurl I did. That is precognition my friends.

Seeing as though I don’t smoke, nor can I imagine ever starting, can I have doss around breaks in the afternoon? Or perhaps martini breaks? Can a sex addict take breaks during the working day to go get laid? A little shelter no less than five feet from outside the building could be built if demand was high enough.

Plug the comic book, plug the comic book, plug the comic book. The Zombie Anthology, released by Accent publishing, comes out around Christmas. Buy it once, buy it twice, try even thrice.
Here’s my artist – he’s a cool dude:
Check out his gallery for a few snippets of awesomeness. He’d probably kill me if he read this. Yahtzee.

I have a competition and a prize to give out. Answer the following question, and I will personally attend an event of your choosing in drag, and give you a hearty handshake:

                A sphincter says, what?

Answers in comment or email form please. You may incur charges on any and all travel arrangements. Drag is optional.

Hey, this is my blog, and so I’m going to talk about myself pretty regularly. Get used it internets. I have introduced a word into the English language. It is lolblitz. Use it.

12.6.10

Robo Kamikaze

A really good friend of mine died last month.  I think I'm still trying to come to terms with his not being around anymore.  I sit around in my room looking at old pictures on my laptop, I think back to all the crazy times we had, all the crazy fights we got into - it never mattered that we were both in love with the same woman, we understood one another, respected each other.  I'll never forget the time we found that dynamite - we argued for hours over whether or not to use it, we probably shouldn't have, but I'll be damned if it wasn't entertaining.  Those times are over, and the hardest thing for me to comes to terms with is that its over.  They'll never be another day where we go out and just let loose, get into some crazy shenanigans and make it home by days end.  My memories are fond ones, and that is all there is, the book is closed, our time is over.  I have old smiles and old, tired eyes. 

I miss him, I do.  I still think that I'll turn my TV on and there he'll be, looking right back at me, feeling all guilty and responsible for something or other.  I never got to find out so many things about him: what was the deal with his tattoos?  What was up with his dad visiting him in that LA hotel lobby - wasn't he on house arrest over on that island of his?  He had some pretty wild friends too who I have exactly 85 questions for.

I miss you Jack Shepherd, I do. 

The tree looks like a parrot - a fine pirate he would be.

There really seems to be two schools of thought on the finale of Lost (spoiler free).  One group feels that the character story arcs, Jack's especially, were fully realised and explored in a beautifully haunting way.  The other(s) group simply feel outraged.

For what my two cents are worth - I fell somewhere inbetween - I'm bi curious.  I will readily admit to tearing up a few times during the finale as I watched characters that I had grown to know and love crawl toward their collective destiny.  I was deeply moved by Matthew Fox's portrayal of Jack, and goddammit the FALCON PUNCH that took us to a commercial break was perhaps the single greatest kick ass moment the series ever produced.  His interactions with Kate, Desmond and ultimately his father were among his best work as an actor on the show, and I really hope he can move on from this to become as successfull as he deserves to be.  I was quite upset with how Dawson/Joey everything ended up, very few of the couples who were obviously meant to be together were torn apart by fate!

And thats where the flash-sideways came in.  I like it, thats all I'll say.   

Damn she fine.

To be honest though, Lost had a lot of crap thrown in (see above paragraph).  There were a lot of episodes, a lot of characters, a lot of subplots that were just ham-fisted and groan-inducing.  But we kept through, we weathered the storm, partly because we were promised all along that every little thing contributed to the bigger picture, that everything was important, that it would all build to a dizzying conclusion.  And when it really came down to it, we got fewer answers than a man interviewing a squid would.  Even worse, we were burdened with other questions right up until the very end!   

In coming to the end and looking back on the finale, now as I'm watching scenes on youtube, it becomes pretty evident that none of the other stuff really matters.  The show had some of the most well defined, well rounded and fully realised characters that I've ever seen, and looking at the show from that perspective it was  indeed a satisfying conclusion.  In 5 years from now, you won't remember that we were gyped out of answers, you'll remember Jack and Kate, Juliet and Sawyer, hell even Charlie and Claire.

 How cute.

So now people are desperately clammering to fill the void left in their lives in a post Lost world - searching for the next addictive show that makes you realise that life is just an obstacle keeping you away from your television.  To be fair, the networks are clamping out some right crackers next season - but will any of them ever hit that sweet spot?  You know, that spot in your heart usually reserved for Sawyer's overly conditioned hair?  I'd guess no.

The good news however, is that one show, a show with heavy ties to Lost, is really starting to come into its own.  That show, is of course, Fringe.  If any of you watched it the first season, or caught an episode here and there, you're really not doing it justice.  Created/produced by JJ Abrams - who I think must be a really annoying person to live with;

Wife: 'Honey, why is there lipstick on your collar?' 
JJ stares blankly at her.  Long pause, Michael Giacchino sits in the corner playing some dramatic music.  Cue title cards, opening montage.  Fade back to alternate New York 1977, blimps fly high above the sky, the captain looks a lot like JJ, only with a beard and a bluetooth handset.  They fly past a billboard advertising JBucks Coffee and another one for JJoogle. 
Cut back to present day.
JJ:  'Hm.  You're not ready for the answer yet dear'.

The show is much more than just a present day X-Files (the theme song to which still scares me to this day), there is an overarching plot, it is self-referential, there are gross-out moments, astounding continuity, scary bits, a smoking hot Australian doing a really bad American accent, partial nudity, robots, aliens, alternate universes, questions that get answered, they play RUSH(!), and, and, AND, it stars Pacey Witter.  Asking for anything more than that would just be greedy.

Watch this show.  My grace period for directionless TV usually ends at the conclusion of the first season - I decided to give this show another chance, and I watched the entire second season in the course of a week.  Much akin to Lost, there are little clues hidden in each episode - a specific book on a table, an anagram written on a wall - each giving warning and precursing major events to follow.  'The Pattern', a set of cue cards dispersed within the show, depicting supernatural or just plain weird stuff (an xray of a six fingered hand, a frog with uneven limbs), is the shows alphabet.  Decipher the code yourself and you get one word clues as to what a character's motive might be, or what an episode might deal with; recent examples including TRAITOR, MEMORY and PETERS. 

The episode dealt with the actions of a man later revealed to be a character's father. 

My favourite part however, is looking for the Observers in each episode - bald men wearing suits and bowler hats, who's job is to simply 'observe' important events in the universe.  They have been around since the beginning of time, and are in every episode of Fringe - the trick is spotting them - you might see one crossing the street in the background, he might be waiting in line at McDonalds while a high speed chase is going on, he might even be just sitting on a bench reading the newspaper with only his shoes showing.  It truly is such a fun game to play.

 He sees you, did you see him?

Again, much like Lost, these easter eggs only add to the story.  They are not integral to the plot, but they add so many more dimensions to the show if you find and understand them.

This whole post was meant to be about my thoughts on the ending of Lost.  Ah well.  Replace Lost with Fringe, and you'll be sorted.

And finally, some sage advice.  Hell is getting to the gates of heaven with a blu-ray disc full of your life's greatest moments, only to find out that God backed HD DVDs.  The moral, back whatever Microsoft back.

*Note: there were two Dawson's Creek references in this column.  Next installment will have three.

12.4.10

Three of my friends this weekend claimed to have never voted before, for anything.  Ever.

This is a lie because I at least know that two of them voted Shanahan for class president 2003 (a landslide victory I might point out), but let's assume that they were referring to actual, important politics.  Like the one coming up in Britain on May 6th.  You will hear the television shouting at you, proclaiming that this is the most important election in the history of our fine country - which simply is not correct, look to the 1918 General Elections, Churchill or even Thatcher for that.


What is important about this election however, is that for the first time in 13 years the political make-up of this country has a good chance of actually changing.  2001 saw the 'Quiet Landslide' victory of Labour and the re-election of Tony Blair, followed by the much closer, some might say squeaky victory of 2004 where the Conservatives were hot on their coat tails.  Fast forward a few more years and you have Mr Brown running the show amidst one of the worst economic battlefields we have ever seen, a situation he may or may not have worsened himself depending on where you stand.  I for one like him, and feel as sorry for him as I do for ol' GW Bush, inheriting their respective countries in arguably their crappiest times.  But whether or not he is to blame is mute at this point, what is important is that for whatever reason the election could swing in the other direction and we could be left with a new regime in charge.  The price of cider might rise.

I won't say who I will be voting for come May, partly because I don't have a fully formed answer for that yet.  Mr Brown, Mr Cameron and Mr Cloggers all have ticks and crosses in their 'pro' and 'con' columns - and the fact that British politics these days is no longer a case of black and white, or left and right,  but shades of grey and central policies does not make things easier.  What I will say, is that I know none of you will judge myself or others for choosing one party over another, especially without having done the research yourself.  If you know your party's causes, feel free to label all Conservatives evil super villains, and Labour supporters' tree hugging fools, have at it.  I would listen much more attentively to a person who had visited each party's policies before making up his/her mind, as opposed to someone who has just followed their parents/friends/the television.

I would hope that you all tune in April 15th for the first of three televised debates between these three men, when they will be discussing Domestic Affairs heading into the General Election.  After they finish debating, a steel cage lowers from the ceiling and they all do battle for physical supremacy.  There are dragons (not of the den variety) too, and cheerleaders with light sabres.  This would make things a lot simpler, I know I would vote for Nick Clegg if it were based purely on this knockout round - there's just something dangerous about a man with no religion; he has nobody to answer to.

Not to bore you with the same lines that we have all heard many times before, but the right to vote is an important one, and something that shouldn't be taken for granted.  The political franchise (apparently, also called The Franchise according to Wikipedia - yes, it does sound like a Kanye West album) would not be available to you today had it not been for the massive sacrifices laid down by older generations.  What I will give you is this handy little article.  And yes I know, the men of 1928 made a mistake when we allowed women the vote, but we are only human and prone to the odd gaff.

23.3.10

Gaping hole.

There is something missing in my life.  Where there was once compassion and warmth, there is now a gaping chasm.  A feeling.  A guttural, sinking sensation, chewing and pulling and clawing my soul into the oblivion. 

And I am powerless to do anything to stop it.

I am of course talking about the end of the Metal Gear Solid Franchise in its current form.  Disturbed by the ending of MGS4, and emotionally crippled by the news of Hideo's stepping down and Snake's likely retirement, I present a series of letters to the characters, which will hopefully bring some closure to my life.  Spoilers ensue.


You are awesome.

To Solid Snake, David.  Find your peace, my friend.  Lay down the Socom Mk 23 and the Stinger missiles, light a few cigarettes and chomp down on some premier rations.  Move back to Alaska, shave that moustache, purchase some grey-away and take a nice long bath.   

And then come back.  For as long as there are other nationalities with indiscernible accents, there will be bad guys for you to kill, and villages to rape and plunder.  Have you not learnt that man cannot be trusted?  You must stick around as a reminder to any mortal man with perceptions of grandeur, that you are the shit.  Left to our own devices, we will make killer dinosaur robots - that much is a given.  Please come back.

To Raiden.  You died in MGS4, don't try to tell me you didn't: there is nothing more to it.  I want you to know, that I forgive you.  I forgive your long wispy hair and skin tight leather suit.  You were the Joel Schumacher of the Metal Gear franchise, but you redeemed yourself with your epic death.  Please stay that way.

To Hal.  Stop falling in love with murderers.  I do not think you are suitable to raise a child if you are going to be constantly placing them in the care of criminal masterminds.  Please die.

To Liquid/Ocelot.  You were awesome.  I will never again dislike a villain as much as I disliked you, congratulations sir.  However, where do you get off kicking my ass in Europe?  Seriously?  How do you not have arthritis, you were born in the 40s for goodness sake.  Anyway, please find a way back from the grave so I can kill you once more.

To Meryl.  Girl, what are you thinking?  You could have been with the awesomist, sexiest, most badass hero ever to have lived, and instead you chose a diarrohoea-ridden rookie?  And when did you make that decision exactly?  In the fifteen seconds you met the real Johnny?  Yeah, your marriage is going to last. 

Snake had the gruffest, most sand-papery Eastwood-inspired voice of all time, and you chose the comic relief character who you once pummelled and mugged.  You have a silly mind, but you are hot.  Please become a vegetable.

So I fear that my life will never again be complete.  Since the age of 11, I have accompanied Snake on many an adventure, learning valuable life lessons and key sneaking techniques in the process, that quite honestly, would have left me unprepared for real life otherwise.  If I had Metal Gear Solid 1, I could return to my Playstation and begin reliving the dream.

Wait.  I do have a PSOne.  What am I doing h