Another day, another story I have to rub my eyes in order to believe. Today’s is quite funny, if a tad disturbing.

April 26th sees the launch of a new dating service, Cloud Girlfriend. The service is for starters free, “unlike your last date” they cry.* With it you create your own perfect partner and he or most likely she will leave messages for you on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, giving your friends and any potential love-interests the impression that you are quite the playah.

Yeah, I said playah.

The 4 easy steps to activate the service, according to the website:

  1. Define your perfect girlfriend
  2. Cloud Girlfriend brings her into existence
  3. Connect and interact with her publicly on your favorite social network
  4. Enjoy a public long distance relationship with your perfect girl

The posts will reportedly come from real women, not bots, and to your specifications. Are you creeped out yet?

This could be you

And here are a few words from co-founder David Fuhriman:

“What we are creating blurs the lines between reality and imagination. We allow people to define their ideal self, find their perfect girlfriend or boyfriend and connect and interact as if that person existed.”

The creators also believe that the service could be oddly instructive, teaching users how to manage their relationships. Mmm, that would be more believable if the relationships were real, and the people posting were invested in each other.

Where the site gets patronising and creepy is the duping-potential-love-interests aspect.

Cloud Girlfriend’s tagline is: “The easiest way to get a girlfriend is to already have one”. The site aims to make users more appealing to the fairer sex by making them appear unavailable.

The rationale behind this is quite awful. To get a girlfriend, you must HAVE a girlfriend. Ladies, does this trouble you at all? To know that you are all potential man stealers waiting for the social signal that a man is desirable before taking action?

Nothing drives us wenches wild with desire more than to know we must oust someone else to walk the path of true lo—wait a second, you tricked us! This is no basis for a relationship at all!

I doubt this will be the new eHarmony, its appeal is…niche at best and oh to be a fly on the wall if you manage to nab a girl/boyfriend this way and decide to come clean.

What could happen if your virtual girlfriend goes rogue

*If you bitch about details like paying for dinner as if you’re therefore entitled to a feel of some boob, you quite frankly deserve to be alone. Besides, shoes don’t come cheap and most modern, enlightened young ladies offer to go Dutch.


I avoid forums like the plague. I can’t stand the cliques, the bitching, the unattractive quote box within a quote box within a quote box punctuated by 20 or so smiley faces and one animated devil.

All too often posting an opinion on a forum or beneath an article feels like being dressed as a postman and thrust into a kennel full of hungry Dobermans* with hot dogs stuffed in your khakis.

And while, as Charlie Brooker this morning pointed out, there are plenty of unpleasant characters on social networks like Twitter, to me it feels less like a pressure cooker of penned-in attitudes. I’m sorry if I’m doing your forum experience a disservice, but I’ve seen far too many aggressive campaigns against innocuous comments to defend them strongly. Context is everything of course.

This weekend I was particularly amused/frustrated/surprised by the comments on the Eurogamer website in response to Rob Fahey’s article denouncing Duke Nukem Forever’s ‘Capture the Babe’ mode.

For those of you who haven’t heard, the long-awaited Duke Nukem Forever has a controversial multiplayer mode entitled ‘Capture the Babe.’ You can guess the format: Instead of capturing a flag, you capture a woman. However these ladies may get hysterical and when they do you must administer a “reassuring slap” on the bottom to calm them down.

So far so… oh lord.


Continue reading ‘The bottom half of the webpage: Duke Nukem gets a reassuring slap’

My high school had the worst school uniform imaginable. Uniforms are never fun, outside whatever twisted sexplay is probably bobbing around your subconscious since I said the word “uniform”. And our yuppie tartan monstrosity was no different. The printing mistake of two merged schools trying to unite the best of both, the uniforms somehow settled on a disturbing lilac, green and blue affair with all the sexiness of your grandmother in a tartan mini skirt.

Lulu. Learn from her mistakes

I still remember picking the thing up from the Sloane-ranger friendly, overpriced stockist. 12 years old, bright eyed and filled with hope. Hope that was soon dashed at the realisation that THAT would be mine for the next four years at least. Wearing this crime against fabric was a daily chore. I avoided friends outside school, avoided being in town and even hid from my boyfriend if I saw him on the underground it was so awful. All this because of a few yards of poorly-thought-out material.

A few times a year, for charity events like Comic Relief, our educational overlords threw us a bone. Pay a pound, wear your own clothes. Hoozah and hoorah! Not so. The uniform was nothing, zilch nada niet, in comparison to 500 hormonal women competing for fashion asshole of the year. Some would bring in their latest Donna Karen and compare exorbitant prices, while the more normal teenagers with parents who spent their cash on things like, bills and the occasional MacDonald’s arrived in jeans and a t-shirt. That’s not to say it was a bad t-shirt, but it wasn’t fcuk. Pay money to feel like the scaffy kid for a day, great.

Continue reading ‘Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before: a few words on female inadequacy and high school’

Alan Wake has a huge job on its hands. Famously announced  at E3 2005 by Finnish developers Remedy, the studio behind Max Payne, the game was finally released earlier this summer with its first DLC, The Signal, out just last month.

With such a gap between concept and release, there was cause for concern that Alan came onto the market under a cloud. A big “is that it?” shaped cloud. Thankfully the game has enough originality to silence some of the ‘nice idea, shame it’s not 2007’ naysayers.

Bestselling author Alan Wake is suffering from writer’s block. He and his wife Alice head to small town USA, otherwise known as Bright Falls, to get away from the pressures of fame, not suspecting that the town harbours a great evil.

Alice disappears and Alan blacks out, awakening a week later with no memory of anything since her disappearance. Mysteriously, pages of a manuscript he doesn’t remember writing are scattered everywhere and the locals are possessed by this unseen evil, or Dark Presence – get used to hearing that phrase a lot. Alan must fight his way through the town to find Alice and unravel the mystery behind the darkness.

What unfolds is a surprising and highly memorable gaming experience, which celebrates the writer’s imagination as a source of both creativity and destruction.

Continue reading ‘Reviewed: Alan Wake’

Carrie and friends return for yet another round of cosmopolitans, wrestling marriage, motherhood and menopause. But the real question is, do we want them back or have the four Manhattan gals outstayed their welcome?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but yes they have. Watching these movies is like watching a loved yet slightly past it family pet drowned in front of you while you’re tied to a chair, looking on in helpless, agonising horror.

Sex and the City 2 picks up two years after the first movie: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) are still married; Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is juggling her home life with her career as a lawyer; Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is sinking under the pressures of motherhood and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is a walking chemists, staving off menopause with as many tablets and creams as she can cram into her eager cheeks.

The film kicks off with a wedding. The set is straight out of a 50s musical, there are swans and white everywhere and even a male choir singing show tunes. A big neon sign begins to manifest: this is a gay wedding. Just to hammer home this subtle vignette, Liza Minnelli officiates the ceremony. Apparently passing out of Judy Garland means you are automatically ordained as a minister in the church of gay. Harmless fun I hear you cry. Granted but nothing will prepare you for the sight of Ms Minnelli (64) singing and dancing her way through Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. At this point, my heart began to sink.

I am woman, hear me gag: the SATC ladies hit the karaoke bar

Continue reading ‘Reviewed: Sex and the City 2’

Polling day is upon us once more, and by my count you have just over an hour left to vote. In sad news, today I had not one, not two but three depressing chats with women who do not plan to vote. I’m a great believer in exercising your right to vote, particularly as a woman. The tired old excuses of “they’re all as bad as each other” “won’t make a difference whatever I do” and “politics doesn’t really matter anyway” are just plain insulting to the memory of the thousands of women who fought and died in order for us to have our voices heard.

To them I say…

Wise words

My name is Krystal and I am an Aquarius. According to Cafe Astrology, I am an opinionated, intellectual eccentric. I am independent, if sometimes a little detached; assertive yet friendly in demeanour. Sounds quite charming on the surface; I can gloss over my alleged detachment with explanations of my unwillingness to follow the beaten track and revel in my eccentricities and wit. Hoozah! Let me bask in my apparent weirdness and individualism.

Well not really, this is an example of the Forer (or Barnam) effect. Psychologist Bertram Forer discovered that people will accept vague statements about their personalities, usually favourable ones, despite the fact that the same description could easily be attributed to anyone. In 1948 Forer issued a personality test to his students, ignored their answers and gave them all the same evaluation. When the class was asked to rate his analysis, 84% of them said it was an accurate summary of their personality. The analysis he gave them was from an astrology column.

Continue reading ‘Age of Aquarius: in defence of Professor Brian Cox’

Any movie that begins with the words “Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France” earns my instant respect. It speaks volumes for writer/director Quentin Tarantino. He’s a man unafraid to laugh at even the most horrifying of circumstances. Think of the hilarious, yet graphic eye squidging in Kill Bill Vol II; Jules on brain detail in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino knows his audience and he knows what they want.

He’s also a director who continually subverts our expectations, offering us mashups of movies with smatterings of influences and frames of reference snatched from his obviously varied interests. Inglourious Basterds is somewhere between war flick and spaghetti western, with some leaps of artistic faith thrown into the mix.

Continue reading ‘Reviewed: Inglourious Basterds’

The first Batman video game I played was a 16 bit 2D side scroller on the Amiga, with two simple actions: Throw batarang and grapple. Given the huge success of the rebooted Bat-franchise, it was only a matter of time before the Dark Knight returned to our consoles. And boy how far we’ve come in 20 years.

Developer Rocksteady’s take on the DC comic icon is an epic action-stealth beast, boasting tremendous voice acting, character design, visuals and an island full of villains to punish as Batman. This point cannot be undersold.

The Dark Knight himself

Continue reading ‘Reviewed: Batman: Arkham Asylum’

July 2018
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