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This Week:
* GRAFFITI - Crap tags named and shamed
* HAMSTERS - With hats, at last
* CRAIG MINIPOP - Women more difficult than men

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____/  _)|_  // /_/ _ |      
___/  _ |/_ </ __/ __ |      "We're saving the
__/____/____/\__/_/ |_|       web... together"

B3ta email 156 - 29 Oct 2004

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  Hats, stickers, zombies, hidden pictures

  >> Hamster hats <<
  Hamsters are lovely cute little creatures, but
  they aren't known for getting into the spirit
  of the season. Heather Stargazy decided to help
  hers out and so knitted them these tiny
  Halloween hats. Woooo. It's like an anthropomorphic
  Badly Drawn Boy.

  >> Halloween cactus <<
  "I just did another cactus thing for Halloween",
  pricks Mushybees, "it's a bit ropey." Bollocks!
  We've always got room for a rude cactus.

  >> Anti graffiti stickers <<
  Our favourite ever bit of graffiti was spied
  on a trip to Oxford. We'd popped into a pub toilet
  for a crafty shit and noticed a poem on the
  wall. The best bit? Some know-it-all had daubed
  detailed literary criticism down the side. But

  not all graffiti is so great. Check Sir Sand
  Goblin's sarcastic stickers, which he's been
  adhering to the crap tagging he's spotted about
  town. Maybe you want to try this in your city.

   >> Join the zombies <<
  Twiddling your thumbs this Saturday afternoon? Sgt
  Thunder-Zombie invites you on a little jaunt
  around London town - but you must come dressed
  as the undead. He gurgles, "We are but lifeless
  corpses rotting in the earth. However as a special
  celebration of Halloween we are intending to rise
  from the grave and feed off the flesh of the
  living. And drink some ales." This starts at 2pm,
  so you'd better get creative with some ketchup
  and marker pens if you want to join in.

  >> Hidden pics <<
  From those pictures of candles that turn into
  faces to the Where's Wally books, there's been
  a long history of hiding images within other
  illustrations. And now? Tweaknik has been updating
  it for the photoshopping age. Some are easier to
  spot than others, and, if there's any publishers
  out there, we think this could be the start of
  a nice little book.


  Gosh - it looks like a penis

  How much would you pay for a potato shaped
  exactly like a cock-and-balls? That's obviously
  a question UglyBob has given consideration to,
  and so he's put this... gifted vegetable up for
  sale on eBay. Snap it up now.


  Minipops Book

  Craig Robinson is a web god. He makes those
  lovely little pixely drawings of popstars. We've
  been singing his praises for years: from
  interviewing him on the site to linking to his
  work in the newsletter.

  And now? He's compiled all his Minipops into 
  a book for you to have and hold in your hairy
  We caught up with him to ask about his
  publishing empire.

  B3ta: What was the first Minipop you drew?

  Craig: This is something that I feel a bit guilty
  about, cos in every interview, I always say The
  Beach Boys. This is true, but it's false, too.
  I recently found a drawing of a bloke in a
  brown suit that is dated before the Beach Boys,
  but is Minipop in style. So, I guess the very
  first one was an anonymous bloke.

  B3ta: Which Minipop gave you the most difficulty
  to draw?

  Craig: I can't think of any specifics, but there
  are several things that create difficulty:

  1. People with beards and glasses, 'cos putting
  both in makes them look like they are gurning.

  2. Anonymous indie bands. It may well be "about
  the music" but no one recognises four random

  3. Women. Always more difficult than men. Legs
  that are one pixel wide look like they're too
  skinny (like Mrs Beckham); two pixels wide and
  they look a bit chunky.

  B3ta: Have you been recognised in the street?

  Craig: Only as a potential target for those
  people who try to make you sign up for

  B3ta: We noticed your artwork for the Observer
  Music Monthly. Er.. can you say something about

  Craig: It was, in every way, the best paid work
  I've ever done. The final result was really
  pleasing, and the exposure it got was great. I got
  to see something that I DREW in Photoshop
  suddenly a few feet tall at tube stations, and
  sneakily observe people looking at them. As for
  the artwork itself, it took a week or so to
  get to the final template figure correct. Once
  that was done it was a matter of hours of
  Google research.

  B3ta: Why should b3ta readers buy your book?

  Craig: Because Billy (my cocker spaniel) likes
  Royal Canin dog food, which isn't cheap.

  >> Pluggity plug <<
  Craig's book reads as both Art and a quiz. Leaf
  through the pages, spot the stars, and if you get
  stuck? The answers are at the back. An ideal
  Christmas present for both music obsessives and
  graphics nerds.


  Squelchy kissy kissy stuff

  Last week we asked for your nightmare date
  stories. Read them if you dare:

 Here's some indication of the range of sexual
 inadequacy amongst our readers:

 #1 Semi-conscious Groping
    "Asked a cute girl out, Natalie, when I was
    16 and she invited me over. Shit-faced I
    ran upstairs to her bathroom, sprayed purple
    vomit absolutely everywhere and collapsed in
    a heap. Semi-conscious, unable to open my
    eyes, I hear the soothing sound of my
    girlfriend-to-be and her gentle, tender hands
    help me up, into the spare room and undress me.
    Without stopping to focus, I turn round and
    ram my tongue down her throat for a good 10
    seconds or so before she breaks off, saying
    "No." Undeterred, I squeeze her arse for a
    bit and then go for her norks before my hands
    are patiently removed. Defeated, I give up and
    lie back and open my eyes. The last thing I
    see is Natalie's Mum turning out the lights."

 #2 Out of my depth
    "Late one night the conversation with a girl
    I'd met started getting a bit steamy and she
    jumped in a cab to come over to my place.
    She'd brought a massive sports bag with her...
    I have never seen such a nasty collection of
    whips, paddles, old slippers and shoes. I was
    really scared; she wanted me to "punish" her
    for being a "bad little girl". She then showed
    me her thighs and a backside almost mutilated
    from serial S&M torture. She pointed to the
    worst scar and said "I even paid for that one
    honey!". That was 6 years ago but the memory of
    it still makes me shudder." (sunfly)

 #3 Phlegm
    "It was going fine right up to the point
    where I went to kiss her, sneezed, and snotted
    large, arcing chains of greasy mucus down her
    cheek, ear, hair and into the furry collar of
    her jacket. I then threw up at her feet.
    Presumably splashing her shoes, but I don't
    know because I was too busy drunkenly
    running away."

  We'd also like to congratulate 'Chance1234' who,
  on meeting a girl's diplomat father, managed to
  blurt the line, "Ah, Ambassador, with your
  daughter you are really spoiling us."

  >> This Week's Question <<

  What have you done recently that made you feel old?


  Stuff we like that wasn't made by our mates.

  >> Radio Chicken Fisting <<
  We love practical jokes. We love it even more
  when they backfire horribly. Some wag in
  Winchester FM's newsroom wrote a story about
  fisting chickens for a laugh. But it actually got
  to air without being spotted. You will chuckle.

  >> Freeganism <<
  Here's a challenge for you: check out this web
  site extolling the joys of the 'Freegan'
  lifestyle: a Womblist philosophy where you
  survive using only the food and stuff that's
  thrown away. Try to follow their rules for
  a week. Report back to us. No, we haven't
  figured out how they power their site either.

  >> Bizarre One-handed Keyboard <<
  This is a brilliant invention. It's clearly
  intended for people who only have one arm, but we
  can think of absolutely loads of situations in
  which it'd be useful to have a free hand...

  >> Telepathic Tennis <<
  Mindball is the ultimate game for lazy people.
  You win by being more relaxed than your opponent.
  It's probably unique in being a competitive
  pastime where recreational drugs actually give
  you the edge.

  >> Kill Someone Else's Television <<
  TVs are everywhere, and it's going to get worse
  now we can automatically filter out adverts at
  home with TiVos and the like. Happily, the
  inventors of TV-B-Gone have addressed this
  problem with their gadget: it turns off any telly
  with a single button. It'd be great for settling
  those rows about who gets the remote control too.

  >> Non-porn porn <<
  Don't be deceived by first appearances on this
  clever little site. Click the dodgy looking
  thumbnails, go on. The 'Celebrities' section is
  especially good.

  >> I Love Eggs <<
  We'd never really thought about it before, but
  eggs are brilliant. If you don't believe us,
  check out this video and song, and we think
  you'll be convinced. These guys really love
  their eggs.

  >> Drinking-Strawigami <<
  There really mustn't be much to do of an evening
  in the part of Brazil that this guy lives in.
  It's remarkable what you can achieve with a few
  plastic drinking straws and a little patience.


  Hypoallergenic cat

  We can't imagine anything worse than being
  allergic to cats - it'd be like having an
  allergy to life itself. However, help is at
  hand for sufferers. Boffins are busy meddling
  with nature to create a moggy that won't
  provoke an allergic reaction, and the first
  kittens are due in 2007. A snip at just $3500.
  BTW: When people claim they're allergic to
  cat fur, what they mean is that they're allergic
  to cat urine, cat skin or cat saliva that's
  become airborne by being secreted on the fur.


  Funny Face Tiger Cub

  One day this little tyke will be a
  bloodthirsty killing machine, but for now
  he's just cute. The look on his face as he
  watches his mum head out to slaughter women
  and children is priceless.

  BTW: What's the cutest thing you've seen on
  the web recently? Tell us.


  Stuff we've watched this week

  >> New South Park << 
  South Park has returned to the world after a
  summer break with the apposite Douche and Turd,
  drawing the entertaining parallel of voting for
  Bush & Kerry to being like voting between a turd
  sandwich and a big douche. Ignore South Park
  at your peril. It's still brilliant.

  >> Battlestar Galactica <<
  We never watched the original 1970s sci-fi
  series, but we read a lot of waffle on the
  net from excitable nerds worrying that the
  re-make would be crap. It's not. It's a
  compelling, dramatic and pacey bit of modern
  sci-fi. We suggest buying the mini series on
  DVD, then downloading the two new episodes
  from your favourite torrent site.

  >> Power of Nightmares Pt 2 <<
  The second episode of the BBC documentary The
  Power Of Nightmares is now on Bit Torrent. It
  tells the story of how the American right wing
  armed Osama and friends in Afghanistan. A CIA
  operative is interviewed. "They gave me a bunch
  of Stinger missiles and a billion dollars and
  let me get on with it," he says, looking like a
  man who enjoyed his job.  


  Lawnmower, history, omelettes, diarrhoea, music

  >> When lawnmowers dream... <<
  ...they dream of flying. This is a strangely
  moving bit of film. Rob and Dave saw
  the footage on the web, but thought it was
  crying out for a new soundtrack. Et voila!

  >> Weebl & Bob through history <<
  Jonti has been working like a deranged beaver,
  making new Weebl & Bob. This latest is the
  first part of an enormous mini-series documenting
  the entire history of the world through our
  favourite egg-shaped duo. Look out for part
  two tomorrow and some more next week, after
  he's had a bit of a rest.

  >> Nice day for an omelette <<
  Alan Parley is a self-styled 'lazy Scottish oaf'
  who likes nothing better than to sit around,
  singing and eating eggs. Enjoy his inspiration
  and his muse for yourself in this catchy, short
  music video.

  >> Cat-shit shenanigans <<
  Repetition is the secret of comedy. Therefore
  we're big fans of Chris Shaw's Viz-style comic
  strip, following the adventures of Keith, a
  cat whose owner will only feed him prunes.

  >> Brit-kids sing weird shit <<
  1991 was the year of preteen psychedelic band
  Rocks & Minerals. Singer Barry recalls, "We
  only played a few gigs (I say gigs, I mean
  school concerts in front of hundreds of
  bewildered parents), but in that time I like to
  think we amassed something of a reputation.
  That's the trouble when you have songs such as
  'Photocopy a Light Switch' in your repertoire."
  With the discovery of these rare archive tracks,
  now's your chance to check them out too. Oddly
  affecting, like a 10 year old Syd Barrett.

  Results from the Movie Title Challenge
  Each week we run a competition to test your
  creative skills. We set a challenge and you
  open Photoshop and mess with our heads.
  Last week we wanted you to change the meaning
  of a movie title by adding one word:
  We asked B3ta boarder 'boyx' to judge the
  entries - here are his 3 faves.
  boyx writes -
  #1 "Kubrick's Masterpiece  - This was done
    really well and literally had us laughing out
    loud. Been practicing looking like him for
    the office Xmas party. (damocles)
  #2 "What 'ave we 'ere? - The first entry and
    one of the best did cause us to spend endless
    time in the pub impersonating him. Now then
    now then. (chobb)
  #3 "Here's one... wait for it! - Page 122, I
    thought I'd seen them all. It was getting
    desperate on the entry front, then along
    came this little gem, snot exploded from my
    nose as it popped up" (Zaphod's Wombat)

  >> This Week's Challenge <<
  This week, The Challenge Dictator returned
  and asked us to 'Photoshop Something That
  Makes You Happy'


  Follow-ups on previous stories.

  * B3TA FAME ACADEMY GRADUATE - Tedious writes,
    "Just when I thought the Preparing for
    Emergencies thing I did had died down, out
    of nowhere Rory Bremner emailed me, and I got
    the job of making a Flash animation for
    Channel 4's Bremner, Bird and Fortune. It'll
    be on their show sometime this Sunday between
    8 and 9. So thanks for all the various links
    and plugs over the past two years that have
    made all this possible; I  think b3ta may
    well have changed my life." Woo-hoo. Good luck,

  * PRIVATE EYE - the Mystery Bob / Kilroy story
    rumbles on in the press with a UK political
    satire magazine commenting, "Tony Bennett
    modestly omits to mention his own record of
    offensive behaviour. In 2002 he was hauled     
    before a UKIP tribunal and banned from holding
    any party office for two years after writing
    a pamphlet describing the prophet Mohammed as
    a paedophile. In the same year he was sentenced
    to 50 hours community service for stealing 29
    metric road signs and daubing others with
    black paint. The judge denounced him as a     
    'vandal' and 'vigilante' who had 'lied at the
    scene of the crime and lied to me'. What better
    qualification could anyone have for acting as
    Kilroy's enforcer?" Sounds like a nice chap.

  * OLIVER POSTGATE IS EVIL? - Alan Cribb writes,
    "You mention that you want to interview Oliver
    Postgate. Well, the man threatened to sue me
    for writing a marriage proposal to my (now ex)
    wife using the Bagpuss characters. The weasel
    kept my script, kept my brand new TDK C90 tape
    and sent a very snotty letter."

  * MORE STUPID NAMES - mr_wicksy writes, "Re:
    Schindler's Lifts... Apparently, the Otis
    (escalator company) offices are in Reading."
    Boom. Boom. 

  * NAUGHTY DAILY MAIL - they really shouldn't
    be nicking feature ideas from your ginger
    fuhrer's blog without crediting. Listen up
    newspaper people, please credit when



  "We laughed as we heard of people breaking
  their machines through the frustration of
  playing our Reverse game", sniggers Dlevitt,
  "so we decided to create another one. It is
  called Nucleus 

  "The first 3 levels are pants but it gets a lot
  better and more frustrating later."

  Another game that will waste away your lunch
  hour, these guys are making smart stuff. Play it.



  Make something cool and tell us about it. If
  you are in it then people will see your stuff.

  Things we'd really like to see include:

  * CALLING 0800 587 6587 - to ask to join the UK
    Independence Party. Insist on paying in
    Euros. Hold phone receiver at arm's length to
    safeguard your hearing.

  * DESK RULER ORGAN - make a musical device
    based upon flicking a plastic ruler on 
    a table. Boing. Boing. Boing.

  * INVISIBLE USB DRIVE - all these novelty 
    sushi / duck  drives are well and good,
    but we want one that inserts flat against
    the PC case so that you can't damage it
    with your foot. Bollocks. There goes
    another £50.

  Send contributions via the mail form.

  BTW: If you've sent something in that hasn't
  been featured then don't be put off - we look
  at everything you send us.


  Subscribe:  [email protected]
  Unsubscribe:  [email protected]



  This issue was written by Rob Manuel and
  David Stevenson with Tomsk, Fraser Lewry, and
  Neil Stevenson.
  Stuff sent in by Scaryduck, and lots of others
  who we'll thank next week.
  Top Tippery by daveyt.
  Additional linkage by Fraser Lewry.
  Board research by Fnord.
  Image challenge handled by Mystery Bob.
  Proofing by the "oh fuck they've found us"
  b4ta hobbits. (79034)


  Written on the whiteboard using permanent
  marker? Quickly scribble over the offending
  area with non-permanent marker and you can
  rub it off with a tissue.

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