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At Large: What that hideous baby does to me

At Large: What that hideous baby does to me

Unable to think straight, Matthew JC. Powell wonders if insanity is welcome relief . . .

I'm pleased and distressed, all at the same time. Pleased because I've finally managed to clear a bit of brain space away from the Microsoft "trust no one" trial, and therefore will write little or nothing more about it this week. Distressed because the space has been filled by that obnoxious dancing baby clip. You know the one: "ugachaka, ugachaka, uga uga ugachaka." Ugggghhhhh.

I keep hearing the thing over and over and over in my head, to the exclusion of logical or relaxing thoughts. It's not as if the clip has any novelty value or anything, it's just there. Stuck. I used to rather like the thing, for a while, when it was new, last year sometime. But like all such things, its novelty value wore off, and I discovered that it had no other value than novelty.

Then I made a mistake. I played it for a friend of mine a few weeks ago, because it was going to feature on Ally McBeal, a TV show the appeal of which escapes me. My friend didn't understand what "the famous dancing baby" mentioned in the ads referred to. Some fame, right? Anyway I dug deep through backups of my hard drive and found a copy of it.

Then, much to my chagrin, I realised that it still had novelty value for my friend. She played it almost constantly. Or worse: I'd find her flailing about convulsively trying to imitate the motion of the virtual infant whilst chanting "ugachaka" repeatedly. I didn't realise until then just how eerily unnatural the baby's dance really is. Deeply, deeply disturbing.

I have contemplated violent actions to cease this assault, but I'm a pacifist, which limits my options. Bummer.

So now I've got the thing stuck in my head like jungle drums.

Stuck in your head

Isn't it odd the way the songs that get stuck in your head are the most irritating and annoying ones with the least musical merit? Like Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up or J.S. Bach's 2nd Brandenberg Concerto?

It occurs to me that it might be part of some hideous evil demonic Bond-style plot by Autodesk, the company that conceived the baby, to make me think about its products constantly. But of course, the company logo doesn't appear in the clip. Likewise, it's not going to boost sales of Hooked on a Feeling, since the artist is not identified anywhere. This is a shame, since the thing is so annoying and so compulsive that it would be the ideal vehicle for such marketing schemes.

Which brings me to my announcement. I'm embarking on a new project to expand my horizons, gentle readers. This is why the Editor-at-large title no longer appears to my right in the blue column. I'm still there as a contributor, though, and this column will keep coming. Think of it as being like when Ron Howard left Happy Days, but Richie was still in the show in the form of telephone calls from Greenland.

I'm thinking that a good way to promote my new thing would be to improve on the opportunity that Autodesk wasted. I'll distribute a QuickTime video of myself dancing to a 12-second segment of Bang A Boomerang by Abba, wearing nothing but a diaper. By doing this, images of me with the logo of my new project would soon find their way onto the hard drives of computer users the world over and I would become a wildly successful cult figure.

Of course, I have a tad too much hair to pass convincingly as a baby, which brings me to my next point.

Monolithic furball II

You may notice, observant folks that you are, that the photo on this page still hasn't altered, despite my drive to depilation for charity. This is because the consensus of opinion has been that I didn't give people enough time. So I'm extending the deadline for pledges to Friday, December 4. All money raised goes to charities supporting cancer research, so dig deep.

If you look very closely at the photo, you might notice that there's a green badge on my left lapel, which reads "bald is sexy". Up to now that's been a silly little ironic joke - hairy guy like me wearing a badge like that, hardy har har and so forth. If the response so far is anything to go on, I might soon find out if it's actually true in my case.

As a special limited-time offer, anyone who donates doesn't have to watch the video of me dancing to Abba in a nappy. That ought to get the money flowing in like water.


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