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I should build a little house

The Bad Lip Reading guys do the NFL. Again. Doesn’t matter if you don’t give a monkey’s about American football, that shit is funny right there.

Hey, when did mountain man beards become a thing in football?

Good weekend, everybody. Weasel, out!

January 24, 2014 — 11:41 pm
Comments: 14

Life and Death (now on 5 1/4″ floppies!)

life&death the game

Behold! One of the many ancient boxes of software that hit the junkpile this weekend: Life and Death for the IBM PC. This was a 1988 surgery simulator. Games of the era were always a disappointment; software boxes promised so much and computers were capable of so little. I had an instinct that it was all headed someplace good, and I kept hoping the next game I bought would keep its promises, but they were all bitterly stupid. Bitterly, expensively stupid.

L&D was no exception, but it was cleverer than most. It had some nice touches. They tucked a surgical mask and latex gloves in the box. The instructions included a pretty good history of surgery. The copy protection dealie was in the form of a little pager.

Gameplay didn’t entirely suck, either. Basically, you had two operations you were capable of performing: an appendectomy and some brain surgery thing I don’t remember very well. The game was in two parts. In the first, you examined patients until you found one who needed an operation you could perform. Then you did the operation.

It was a matter of memorizing the actual steps in the actual operation: grabbing the right loop of intestine, popping out the bit with the appendix in, propping it up with gauze, clamping it off…and so on. During which, the EKG would occasionally spike or the patient’s BP would drop and you’d have to shoot him up with the appropriate counteractant.

The flaw, as with so many computer programs, was that it wasn’t enough to know what you needed to do. You needed to know how to tell the computer you had the right answer; which precise, non-obvious clump of pixels you had to touch to activate a particular control. And it all happened in realtime. If you killed somebody (this happened a lot), they sent you to ‘tard medical school for a while before you could come back and try again.

I think I had a 286 at this point — a surplus, genuine IBM AT from work. Home computers of that era could make boops and beeps at various pitches, simulating music, but they absolutely could not deal with an analog signal, play recorded sounds or mimic speech.

So about two in the a.m., I use my simulated hand to palpate a virtual abdomen, and the patient screams, “ooo!” I think I screamed “ooo!” too! Hell-o? Computers cannot do that! I poked that poor virtual lady with the bum appendix over and over to make her squeal. It was a grinding, unnatural sound, like they’d overclocked a chip or thrown the transmission into reverse or something…but unmistakably a human voice. A female human voice. Amazing.

I bet it took one whole floppy disk to make it do that.

You can see Life & Death in all its 3-color glory here. And, apparently, you can download a working version of it from the same site, but the page is full of so much odd English I wouldn’t guarantee it isn’t a Romanian virus propagation lab or summat.

August 13, 2007 — 6:28 am
Comments: 28

An embarrassment of riches

Meh. Kind of got jammed up today. But I’ll never let you down — you, my imaginary friends who live in the computer. When I’m in a hurry and I need a dose of teh crazy in a hurry, I always turn to Pravda.

Yes, that Pravda.

Well, sort of that Pravda. The original house organ of the Soviet Union was shuttered by Boris Yeltsin in 1991. A few weeks later, the people who had written for the original registered a brand new paper, also called Pravda. Several years after that, there was a schism, and the majority of the original writers left the paper to start an online version, Pravda.ru. The paper and website currently have little to do with each other.

The website — which, glory be, has an English version — is a smorgasbord of crank and sleaze. Batboy would be embarrassed to appear in its pages. It is virulently anti-American and pro-UFO. Today, for example, I could choose between the following delectible morsels of cheez:

Huge oceans underneath Earth’s surface caused global flood in times of NoahSoviet Union witnessed invasion of US-made UFOs in 1980sGeorge W. Bush may not live up to his mandate end due to Tecumseh’s curseMan splashes sulfuric acid in his lover’s face, begging her to marry himVirtual sex in Russia advances from silly chat rooms to USB vibratorsTwo brothers get too drunk on their father’s funeral and forget to bury his bodyMan dismembers his friend and sends his body parts to different regionsFive-year-old girl perversely murdered by elusive Siberian maniacBBC: British Bullshit Corporation… Okay, I’m kind of persuaded by that last one.

The Opinion Page is so consumed with America hating, it’s actually running these two pieces consecutively: Is the USA a bully? followed by Is America a Bully? Seems to me there might be some editorial overlap.

Let’s go with Mysterious dwarfish alien brutally murdered in Russia’s remote village. It’s from their science page. There’s a flurry of stories on this one; I’ll see if I can piece it back together in chronological order.

An old lady named Tamara Prosvirina found a dwarf in the woods near the village of Kaolinovy. She named him Alioshenka. Her daughter in law saw this creature and described it thusly:

“I used to visit my mother-in-law twice a week. She was living on her own. On that day I brought her foodstuffs just like I did before. I was about to leave when she told me: ‘We’d better give some food to the baby too.’ Then she showed me to the bed. I took a closer look at it and saw him. He was on top the bed, squeaking some funny sounds. I could see his mouth shaped like a small pipe. His tiny scarlet tongue was moving. I also spotted two teeth inside. In a way, he looked like a little baby. His head was brown, and his body looked gray. I didn’t see any eyelids. He didn’t have any genitals either. His head looked like an onion. And the pupils of his eyes were widening and narrowing just like the cat’s eyes do when you turn on the light and turn it off again several times in a row. The fingers on his hands and feet were pretty long. I only bothered to ask my mother-in-law where on earth she’d got the monster from. She told me she’d found him in the forest. She kept calling him ‘Alioshenka.’ She gave him a candy and he started sucking on it. I thought it was some kind of animal.


“He was giving off that smell, you know, one of a kind. You can’t take it for any other smell. Actually, the smell was pretty agreeable yet somewhat nauseous at the same time. And he didn’t pass any liquid or solid waste matter. He was sweating, and that was all. I saw the mother-in-law wipe the sweat off his face with a rag,” Tamara added.

The old lady told her neighbors about Alioshenka, and they called an ambulence. Seems she had a history of teh crazy. The guys in white coats described her guest as a cat in a bundle of rags. They left it behind.

While she was in the nuthatch, her family leased her home to a Vladimir Nurtdinov. He found the alien, now dead, and thought it looked cool. Like an alien. So he put it on the roof of the garage to dry out. As you do.

Later he was picked up on suspicion of stealing wire, so he blurted out that he had a dessicated alien on top of his garage. As you do.

The authorities assumed what they had was just another a self-induced, late-term abortion and turned it over to a pathologist. At autopsy, he concluded that it had died violently from a blow to the head, and it was Not Of This World. Its skull had four plates and a human’s has eight. Plus, DNA confirmed it was some kind of weird shit.

Men describing themselves as ufologists introduced themselves to the authorities at this point and confiscated Slim Jim. Turns out they were…well, nobody knows, but they vanished with Alioshka and all that’s left is police videotape and a little piece of alien jerky that somehow fell into the hands of a Japanese film crew.

The old lady was due to tell her story under hypnosis when she was fatally run down crossing the street in a town that sees maybe one car a day. Her relatives are sure it was murder. Two men who investigated the scene have also fallen ill or died mysteriously. More here.

See also Russian fishermen catch squeaking alien and eat it. And Did George Bush bully squeaking alien and then eat it?

Yeah. I made the last one up.

April 11, 2007 — 6:39 pm
Comments: 5