Friday, 29 August 2014

The Scarab Beetle Challenge

“Thank you Carl for nominating me.  I nominate Liz Harlow, Jamie T, and Graham!  Good luck everyone!”

This was my first exposure to the scarab beetle challenge.  Dave promptly plunged a bucket full of clicking, hissing death onto himself, scattering scarab beetles all over himself and his bathroom floor. As I watched the video of ravenous insects burrowing their way into my best friend’s flesh, I couldn’t help but wonder at the futility of it all.  Sure, the challenge was raising awareness for people who have been eaten from the inside out by scarab beetles, and it was raising money for charity, but I wasn’t sure if this was the best way to highlight their plight.

Dave’s agonised panting faded away as the video cut to black.  I clicked on a suggested video which depicted another friend violently maiming themselves for a good cause.  As Gemma’s soft tissues were converted into delicious homes for another family of hungry beetles, I still found the video content shocking, but already the impact had been lessened.  After witnessing another 5 of these videos, I became desensitised to it completely.  People were being eaten alive in front of my glazed eyes, and yet I felt totally numb to their pain.  By the 6th video I wasn’t sure why I was watching these voyeuristic torture films anymore.  YouTube’s suggestions had already taken me far outside of my circle of friends, and I found myself watching unknown randoms performing the challenge.  The videos started to blur into one cacophony of human misery.  I idly clicked the next link and waited for the content to finish buffering.

“Hi, I’m Ramon.  Today I will be doing the scarab challenge on behalf of cancer research!”

Wait, that’s not in the rules.  I thought the point was to raise money and awareness for people injured by scarab beetles.  I was appalled that someone dared to hijack this good cause on behalf of another charity.  I mean, cancer already has a lot of charities devoted to it, but there is not enough done to aid the historians who find themselves the victims of flesh-eating booby traps in dusty Egyptian tombs.  As a beetle burrowed noisily into Ramon’s brain, I clicked the video away out of disgust.  That charlatan wouldn’t be getting any more Internet traffic from me!

At that point I received an alert to say that I had been tagged in a video online.  I clicked the alert and was greeted by an image of my own sister holding a familiar bucket.

“Not you too…” I muttered out loud.  I pressed play and prayed that it was a joke.

“Hello everyone!  Today I’m doing the scarab beetle challenge on behalf of people with Parkinsons.  I nominate Cheryl, Jimmy, and my brother, Kyle!”

This had to be a joke.

Once the screaming had subsided and the sounds of a paramedic rushing to the scene finished the video, I sat in stunned silence for a few seconds.  I had been nominated.  Everyone in my circle would be expecting a video of me, covered in a man-devouring swarm of insects, to be uploaded within the next 24 hours. 

My survival instinct said no, but my overwhelming desire to be accepted by my peers said that I had to do it.  My life wouldn’t be worth living if I didn’t do it.  People would spit on me in the street more so than usual.  I couldn’t have my friends and family believe that I was an uncharitable sort.  The money that it could raise could save someone’s life.  I briefly considered making a video of me just giving some money to charity, be that would be “unsporting” and “not in the spirit”.  I could hear their mockery already, plying on a peer pressure that I hadn’t felt since my friends dared me to piss off of a bridge in primary school.

My fate was already sealed.  I went outside and inflated the paddling pool, then promptly purchased an order of beetles from Amazon on next day delivery.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Memes With Glaxxor The Space Lizard

Greetings mammals.  This being is sometimes known as the space cowboy.  This being is sometimes known as the gangster of love.  However, since being exiled to this putrid terrestrial world, this being is often known as Glaxxor The Space Lizard.

In order to prepare humanity for assimilation into our species, this being has been studying human media and deciding upon a conquest strategy that will save as many egg sacks human lives as possible. To win over the human body, this being has realised that the inferior human mind must first be courted.  And what terrible distractions does the human mind enjoy?  After studying the electronic archive of all Earthly endeavour (known as “Teh Internets”), it is obvious that humans enjoy “memes”.  That is why this being has created some epic winnings with which to cure the human condition.  Please enjoy these unsophisticated tropes:

Hahahaha!  Mister Bandana is known for his thought-provoking advice.  Stomach cavities are the ideal place to nurture your parasitic offspring.  The two concepts merge to produce laughable results that will endear your entire species to the concept of becoming walking nurseries for our young.  Hahahaha!

It seems that humans love being caught in the middle of sexual procreation by cats.  Cats in ceilings watch humans spilling seminal fluid with hilarious results.  Think about the comedic potential of a REAL sexy lady watching?  Look at the frills on that!  While making this image, this being shed at least three layers of skin uncontrollably.  Powerfully erotic.

Overfed felines are no laughing matter, yet humans cover their Internets with pictures of their fat cats.  This being wonders why humans like to laugh at gratuitous pictures of tasty sub-creatures, but hopes that you will enjoy witnessing this appetising delight.

Humans enjoy sending each other the gyrations of Mr Richard Rolls.  However, this being felt that Richard’s lyrics needed a little touching up in order to make grammatical sense.  Please enjoy this reworking of a poorly conceived popular song.

Now that the memes have been dispatched, this being believes that the links between our races have become stronger.  Now if you would kindly sit still the next time I extend my ovipositor into your belly button, this being will ensure that our species become closer than you could possibly imagine.  Toodle ciao!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Rise Of The Planet Of Emotions

Emotions are nasty things.  People who express their emotions in a public fashion always make me feel rather uncomfortable.  There’s something disturbing about that lack of self-awareness that leads someone to scream and cry in a public place.  Why would you leave yourself open and exposed in such a fashion and invite complete strangers to judge you as such?  It’s something I’ll just never understand.

It seems that I am in the minority.  Through my casual observations, it seems that the planet is descending into an emotional quagmire where everyone believes that their opinions and feelings are the only ones that matter.  Just turn on the TV and you’ll see people crying their eyes out on X Factor, getting teary eyed while being interviewed about petrol prices on the news, or even shedding a tear of joy when winning £200 on Catchphrase.  Seriously, I saw an episode of Catchphrase where the contestant screamed and started flapping her hands near her eyes like she was battling a swarm of killer bees, all because she got one question right.  Roy Walker wouldn’t have stood for that shit.

It’s not just on TV that people are getting emotional.  Facebook arguments are becoming battles of life-changing significance.  These tend to spill over to the real world.  It is far from uncommon to hear people discussing Facebook comments as though they are nuclear proliferation agreements, and how many feelings have been hurt.  Sometimes a front is put up with the prefix "I'm not bothered, but...", which then descends into a long diatribe which betrays them and reveals that they are in fact, incredibly bothered.  This is the problem with written communication.  It's difficult to discern sarcasm or tone, and quite often a harmless joke can seem hurtful to the easily offended.  That's why arguments over social media explode over seemingly trivial matters, such as my "threats" to "mercilessly slaughter" people who post Keep Calm images.

In real life, it is becoming increasingly common to see couples having bitter breakups in the street.  Arguments with shop assistants and doctor’s receptionists seem to be a normal part of everyday life.  Our hospitals and public transport systems are full of posters asking people not to attack their staff.  So why are we so emotionally charged these days?

X Factor:  The world's most emotional karaoke jam

Some would say that our fat, greedy lifestyle of entitlement and throwaway consumerism is a big part of the problem.  They’re probably right.  In a world of convenience, smaller things begin to matter a whole lot more.  You wouldn’t have cared about the smack talk that Sally posted on Facebook if you had to churn butter for 18 hours a day in order to eke out an existence.  Perhaps this is the trade-off that human society has had to make.  We’ve swapped sabre-toothed tigers for iPhones.

However, I still can’t stand this overflow of emotion that we’re currently seeing.  I’m sure we can all agree that it’s vulgar and disgusting, and that makes me angry!  You see?  The emotions are spreading all over me and making feel things!  It’s just not proper.

That’s why I’m proposing a fast.  Similar to Ramadan, how about we have 1 month a year where everyone has to give up being emotional in public?  If people want to speak in a robotic voice while doing so, or perhaps even dress up like robots, then that’s fine with me.  Why not make it a whole month where we pretend to be robots?  Our metallic cousins have got the right idea and we should strive to be more like them.  Beep boop. Communication terminated.


In other news, I have landed a regular writing gig over at Power Up Gaming!  This week my Review of Fez has been posted, along with a retro review of Revolution X.  So if you have any interest in that sort of thing, I'd encourage you to read it. If you have a Disqus account (I know a lot of you do), feel free to leave a comment at the bottom.  Support the site too.  It's a fantastic up and coming site with a great team of writers and interesting opinion pieces.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The American’s Guide To British Swearing

On the 4th of July, every American celebrates their independence from their British oppressors by blowing up large chunks of their country with high-grade explosives.  Sure, independence came with some measly benefits such as centuries of freedom and prosperity, but is that really such a good thing?  Since you’ve been gone, us British folks developed a whole complex lexicon with which to insult each other with.  You defectors are really missing out.

However, being the benevolent master that I am, I’ve decided to produce a quick guide to try and bridge the gap between us.  Think of this as a cultural exchange program; by the end of which you’ll be begging to be part of the empire once more.  Allow me to enlighten you in the art of Great British swearing:


Acceptable Uses:  “That wanker just nicked 10 quid”; “Joe is a massive wankstain”

Wanker and Wank are very versatile words that can be thrown around in almost any circumstance.  It’s a swift, sharp sounding word which can be used endearingly, or if spoken with enough venom, can produce a weighty insult.  The word “Wankered” is also a suitable term to describe a person’s state of inebriation, as in the phrase “I’m going to go and get absolutely wankered tonight”.


Acceptable Uses:  “Don’t be such a tosser”; “Joe’s been tossing off into the septic tank again”

Tosser is a lighter version of Wanker and, as such, should only be used in jest.  If used with vitriol, this swear word doesn’t have the required impact and can backfire on the user in most social situations.  Take caution with this word and only use with close friends.


Acceptable Uses:  “That skirt’s so short you can almost see her twat”; “Joe’s new hat makes him look like a massive twat”

Twat is another multi-use word with several different meanings.  First of all, a twat can be an unaffectionate name for a woman’s vagina.  Secondly, a person can be accused of acting like a twat if he or she is deemed to be behaving in a negative manner.  Thirdly, if a person is acting like a twat, you are fully entitled to twat them, aka violently assault them with clenched fist.


Acceptable Uses:  “I bet she has a ginger minge”; “Joe is such a minge bag”

Another derisory term for a lady garden, minge is a very particular word.  Minge is an all-encompassing word which describes the internal and external parts of the vagina.  I have once heard the term “minge bag” used, but it’s effectiveness as an insult was not fully diagnosed.  What is a minge bag?  How do you get them into a bag?  What kind of bag is up to the challenge?


Acceptable Uses: “That meal was well minging”; “All the girls think that Joe is a minger”

Minger as a concept enjoyed brief popularity in the early noughties thanks to the success of  The word quickly died out, but the term “minging” soon sprung up as an adjective to describe something that is an affront to the senses.  For example, food from Little Chef should always be described as minging.


Acceptable Uses:  "Joe is a massive fucking knobhead"; "A knobhead is Joe"

Taken literally, this can either mean a person who has a penis on their head, or a person who exhibits the same characteristics as the helmet of a circumcised phallus.  Although the exact definition varies from place to place, the insult is used in a similar way.  A knobhead is basically an idiot.


Acceptable Uses: “Let me in, I’m busting for a shite”; “Joe is an utterly useless sack of shite”

Shite is just a dirtier way of saying shit.  It has all of the same application as the word shit, but rhymes with night.  Feel free to throw it into a conversation for a little bit of variety.


Acceptable Uses:  “Bloody hell fire”; “Joe can bloody well piss off”

A northern curse used in cases of mild or extreme anger.  In the north of England, it is a common sight to see someone stub their toe and exclaim “bloody hell”.  It’s a delightful little swear word that most children graduate to before they learn their first fuck.


Acceptable Uses:  “Bugger my arse”; “Bugger off Joe, no one likes you”

Bugger is an odd word.  It is usually delivered in a friendly, jovial circumstance, and is often used by adults towards children who are undergoing mischief.  It’s common for a parent to say “you cheeky bugger” if a child does something rude or silly.  However, buggery is also a term for anal sex.  Quite how this word has become acceptable to say in front of kids is rather baffling.


Acceptable Uses:  ”Joe’s wee bawbag is showing”

One from our Scottish cousins, bawbag is basically what it sounds like (bawbag=ballbag=scrotum).  It can be used as an insult or, as I learned during a trip to Edinburgh zoo, can also refer to male underwear.  It’s a lovely word that everyone should use.

This is just a small sample of what you’re missing.  For more information, feel free to submit to the will of our great nation, and we will consider your request.  If you have any questions about anything I’ve written, just send a letter to the Queen.  She’s sure to pass it on when everyone in England goes to Buckingham Palace together for Sunday lunch.  Tally bye!

P.S. If you see Joe, tell him he owes me a tenner.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Thank You For Calling 999

-Hello, and welcome to 999, the number one destination for the sick, dying and easily panicked.  Please select the type of emergency service you require.  Press 1 for the police, 2 for an ambulance, 3 for the fire service, 4 for the AA, 5 for the coast guard, 6 for the inland guard, or 7 for mummy.

-You have selected 2 for an ambulance.  Is this correct?  Press 1 to confirm or 2 to cancel.

-You have selected 1 to confirm.  Is this correct?  Press 1 to confirm or 2 to-

-You have selected 1.  Connecting you to the emergency ambulance service.

*Hold music: Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper*

-You have been connected to the emergency ambulance.  Please press 1 to continue.

-Thank you.  In order to determine the nature of your problem and tailor our service to suit you, please tell us the nature of your emergency.  Press 1 if you have been stabbed.  Press 2 if your chest is tight and your left arm is numb.  Press 3 if you have been involved in a hit and run.  Press 4 if your penis has been removed in a jealous rage. Press 5 if-

-You have accidentally inserted a broom handle into your urethra.  Is this correct?  Press 1 to confirm or 2 to cancel.

-You have cancelled.  Are you sure that you haven’t inserted a broom handle into your urethra?  Press 1 to confirm or 2 cancel.

-You have pressed 1 to confirm.  Are you trying to confirm the cancellation, or confirming that you have a broom handle in your urethra?  Press 1 to confirm or 2 to cancel.

-Thank you.  In order to determine the nature of your problem and tailor our service to suit you, please tell us the nature of your emergency.  Press 1 if you have been stabbed.  Press 2 if your chest is-

-You have selected heart attack.  Is this correct?  Press 1 to confirm or 2 to cancel.

-Thank you.  Would you like an ambulance as soon as possible?  Press 1 to confirm or 2 to-

-Thank you.  We are currently triangulating your position and sending an ambulance over as soon as possible.  While you wait, would you like to try some troubleshooting steps to stop you from dying?  Press 1 for yes or 2 for no.

-You have selected yes.  Please wait…

*Hold music: Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart*

-Hello, you have been transferred to the automated emergency first aid line.  To confirm that you are in need of first aid, please press the # key.  If you are calling because your fingers have been hacked off in a threshing accident, simply emit a blood-curdling scream now…

-Thank you.  Due to the nature of your call, we would suggest that you lie down on your back and breathe deeply.  Please try this and press # when complete.

-Did this help?  Press 1 for yes and 2 for no.

-You have selected no.  Would you like to hear some soothing music?  Press 1 for yes and 2 for no.

-You have selected yes, please wait…

*Hold music:  Moby – Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad*

-Did this help?  Press 1 for yes and 2 for no.

-You have selected no.  In that case, is there someone nearby who can perform CPR?  Press 1 for yes or 2 for no.

-You have selected no.  Are you going to die alone?  Press 1 for yes or 2 for no.

-You have selected yes.  There, there.  Hang in there buddy.  Do you feel comforted?  Press 1 for yes or 2 for no……….press 1 for yes or 2 for no……… input received …

-Your call will now be disconnected.  Thank you for calling 999.