hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
I actually finished a short story. And indeed started it. There's a middle, too.

(Wants to mature for a bit before editing, mind)

I believe I shall be really quite pleased with that outcome.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Job well done, I think.

I trust that there will be a myriad interesting bloggings detailing what one might have missed, handy for the next nomination season.

(JFC, but they're a bunch of bell-ends.)
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
I gave a talk last night. Based on the understandings and commonplaces of hacker-camps and similar, it fitted into the model of 'lightning talk only with a tolerable amount of preparation.' However, I'd say about 50% was made up, which is entirely against the spirit of those events.

So what happened was that I wrote a story a while ago which was ostensibly about debugging the control systems for a steam elephant and sort of about how you'd bootstrap the debug toolchain in the face of fanatical management indifference. There are also a set of not-even-slightly-veiled references to industrial processes that view(ed) people as a disposable 'resource' and a good shovelful of hacker in-jokes. The lovely people who were good enough to put it in an anthology wanted to create a sort of launch event that wasn't just a booze-up after a signing, so last night there was the Airship Ball at the Folk House in Bristol.

I am horrified to admit that I'd never been to the Folk House before and it is the sort of utterly marvellous venue that you wish you'd known about ten years before.

The brief for entertainments at the ball went along the lines of 'consider turning part of another story into a short radio play', which seemed well beyond my dramatic capabilities. Mind you, since I keep a Livejournal well into the C21st, perhaps I do have a carefully tuned elbow (or knee or ear or whatever) for Drama still. Who can say?

Thus I suggested that I could have a bash at writing a technical presentation on how you'd hack the (made up) control systems inside the (made up, physically, metalurgically, etc impossible) steam elephants I'd written about. Thinking, as is my wont, that no-one in their right mind would go for such an idea. Not that the organisers of the Ball, etc, but something like that falls neatly between several stools and I have already put up with a handful of hacker-types grousing that things in my stories couldn't possibly work because $reasons. It seems that if you're going to make something up, signal clearly that it is indeed made up by having it happen in outer space far away or chuck in dragons or perhaps a set of interpersonal tropes and expectations that will blight the lives of the impressionable sorts reading/viewing same. The teen films of John Hughes, for instance.

Obviously the best way to goad work out of me is to tell me it's impossible or take my poorly-thought-through rantings at face value.

I have learned, mostly through watching Mitch Benn, Mark Thomas and, er, @tef, that a good presentation sits somewhere between stand-up comedy and a short story.

So what happened is that I accidentally most of the work for another story in the same universe as the last one.


Anyway. The Airship Ball was a top evening filled with mad things and splendid people. It was less 'Spinal tap and puppet show' and more 'Cauda Pavonis, two short plays and, er, JHR playing a musical box backwards in order to summon the uneasy spirit of I.K. Brunel.'
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
Marmalade-fettling last night. Low sugar and sharp as a bastard, but runnier than I'd like therefore.

About four years ago, I wrote a short story that was included in the 'Dark Spires' anthology. It was about a potential retro-future where the English gummit had lost the plot, the Welsh (and Scottish) borders were guarded by UN peacekeepers and the Hinckley Point nuke had suffered an alleged flooding accident that was completely denied by said gummint. That said, the main point of the story revolved around forced de-population of the flooded Somerset Levels.

Were I going to do it again I would remember that I was actually writing a Ballardian steampunk Vietnam novel, but there we are.

My favourite review was the one that went on about how unrealistic it was and how the IAEA wouldn't stand for that sort of thing.

I didn't put a Royal Visit in though. That would just have been ludicrous.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Probably a moderately doomed experiment - generate post titles from an Oblique Strategies site/app and see what happens.

This is exactly the sort of retrofuture that I'd like to live in, (in which I would like to live? Up with which I will not put?) which should not even be a slight surprise since it contains old SAABs, an empty countryside and wandering robots of no obvious utility. Perhaps the cosily less-catastrophic version of Roadside Picnic/Stalker.
hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
It would seem that the wonky message-passing rig that I/we've been working on for a while is a bit of a hit with the Devops types. Which is nice.


Or, y'know, in bed because of being paged at silly-am by some shitbox website.
hirez: (muddy)
An anthology with one of my stories in. Electronic only, but we live in the C21st and I guess our various parents will have to wait for a PoD version.

Bristolcon was a rare old time. I had to bunk off before the drinking started properly, so as not to say anything else unfortunate.

(As a white middle class technocrat, I was heartened to see several $fail-related discussions where good faith seemed to be assumed on all sides. Obviously much more work to be done, but forward in all directions, etc.)
hirez: (safety chicken)
Went out for real ale sampling with the chaps last night. It turned into drunken devops shouting ("I'll 'ave the feckin' lot of yer VMs all at feckin' once with me 'ead in a feckin' Ruby manual yer feckin' Gentoo-fondler!") after the second pint of Scruttock's Old Dirigible.

Then the internet went very 'Dreamytime Escort Agency Honda Acty outside Nicholas Parsons's house' which was rather tiresome.


Today I have mostly been bicycle repair-man for Ma. And indeed strimmer repair-man, thumping great plants in lumping great pots rearranging-man and thankfully tea-and-cake guzzling man.

A thing that I have been given is a trowel made by Pa from what I think was a pointy trowel not designed for levering things out of Cotswold Brash and what may (or may not) be a track-rod end.

Here is a picture:

I think it's a Landie part, but I'm probably wrong. I guess it could also have been off a Renault 16 or 18.

I also accidentally a story via SMS for my nephew. I am given to understand that it's going down well, if confusingly. I should probably archive it somewhere useful, just in case it becomes A Thing.
hirez: (Hand-staple-forehead)
... And that, I think, is an illustration to myself exactly how easy it is to get out of the swing of writing stuff down. Well, in weblog/LJ format, anyway. Writing stuff down longhand about things I made up on the spot has become much less unproductive.

I would also like the shiny new ideas to queue up like sensible children, rather than bouncing up and down like sugared-up tweens going 'Me! Me! Write me now!'
(If anyone would like to help me staple my hand to my forehead, write Usenet Central Control, 1060 W. Addison, Chicago, IL 60614.)


Ma has a set of CDs which contain the sound of Laurie Lee reading 'Cider with Rosie' in 1959. The CDs themselves are from 1988 and have started to rot properly. EAC won't touch the first disc and the internets are unable to supply a replacement. What other disc recovery techniques might a chap try? (Including 'Here's a .torrent, fill yer boots')
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))
Reason for silence = writing. It's mostly good.
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
I was walking about Bath yesterday afternoon for the purposes of fresh air, exercise and quietly thinking about a problem. The nature of the light, the colour of the leaves and the act of exploring reminded me of the state I was in on the way up I-95 to Martha's Vineyard. Both excited and somewhat trepidatious about meeting people and learning things, out of my comfort-zone, but energised by that and as fascinated by more or less everything as jetlag would allow.

I walked through a tunnel under one end of the Pulteney Bridge and peered into the back of a pub or nightclub. It reminded me that I want to go back and look at Croton and Mystic. Even thinking about those names makes me weirdly nostalgic for an adventure that hasn't happened yet.

I want to live in that state of mind.


Nov. 6th, 2010 07:02 pm
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
Buy me and stop one.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
Want to save LJ? Curate the damn conversations. Drivebys are for Tumblr.

Gibson last night started a bit ho-hum, but mutated into a stormer. He talked of 'assuming the position' such that the thing, the writing monster, would put in an appearance. William Gibson would come back later to perform editing on what the writing monster had left behind. Also that if you visit Chinatown, you see a magnificent dragon charging amongst the firecrackers. The chaps on the inside, who built the thing, see the lengths of wood, newspaper and glue holding the spectacle together.
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
A number of months ago I was idly considering a story in which Jolly Dutch Anarchist Astronauts pitch up on a random asteroid with spacegoing versions of a RepRap and fusion reactor in order to hollow it out and bootstrap themselves an orbital habitat.

It was to have been an extended ramble on the nature of gezellig because I had recently come back from HAR2009 and I felt that in an applied form of that environment, all bugs would be an excuse for a hackathon followed by beer and techno.

However, the concept of instantiating a biosphere appeared to be firmly in No Can Has territory.

And now there's this. I'm going to guess that there's a lot more to it than having a bunch of Jolly Jack Tars plant a random selection of trees. Probably to do with airborne insects/microbes/yeasts or somesuch. But given they did just randomly plant things from completely different bits of the planet and it appears to have worked, um, donkey. Yes.
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))

... will also include a story from JH-R. Which is nice.
hirez: (dissent)
The not-traditional-at-all-but-works-for-me method of generating character names is to keep an eye on your spam folder. Thus should I ever need the name of a dodgy lawyer for a Noird-style tale, a Frank Bongani is in the frame.

However, should one want to venture off-planet, one's a bit scuppered. Unless you live in Bristol.

I have no idea who Bi-yur Inat may be or what they do for entertainment, but in my corner of our planet their name means 'I believe I have discovered the object that you are seeking'.

(Yes, if I had a life I'd be lurking outside a nice pub like sensible people.)
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))
Travelling Pete was the one who discovered it.

He staggered, half-cut, into the swamp-bogs of some Camden dive while the support band were on and lurched sideways into a cubicle so as to avoid a cider-puking crusty. The cubicle that he lurched back out of was in the Duchess of York, Leeds. It was 1983 and The Three Johns were taking the stage.

The way Pete tells it, he was drunk enough not to notice and buttonholed the bloke who wrote 'Attack on Bzag' to complain at length about these modern bands who were ripping off old post-punk outfits. He also says that he told Andy Taylor that he looked much better with his hair back on and that he has no recollection of how he got back to Camden on the right day.

We all just assume that the woman who drives the beer-scooter knows when and where you live.

I handed Pete a pint of lager and slumped carefully into my own corner of the scruffy couch. We were in the top bar of the Electric Ballroom. Outside it was 1994. Inside, the mood was glum. Nick and Rose had filled an ashtray with label-confetti carefully picked off a succession of lager bottles. Bob was hunched over his cider, crumpled stetson pulled low over his forehead.

"We've lost another one," he said quietly.

There was a silence. No-one really wanted to ask the next question. Rose was finally braver than the rest of us.


"The Constitution in Leamington," said Bob.

He looked sick. It must have been one of his own old places. It's like a kick in the stomach when it first happens to you. Years of your life boarded up, gutted and then 'redeveloped' by a mob of bastards. Friends, weird bands, squat-parties, drunken exploits - all summarily deleted from consensus reality.

"Shit. I went to see The Cravats there," I said.

Bob looked up at me.


"Yeah. They were terrible. I was so disappointed that I went back twice more, just to be sure."

Bob drained his glass.

"We should go somewhere. You know. Celebrate or something."

"I'm not sure that's quite the word, but I concur," said Nick. She pulled a flyer from her bag and unfolded it. "Since it's a summer saturday, we could go to the techno night at the Axiom. The courtyard will be open and there'll be drunk people playing with fire."

"Excellent plan," I said. "The element of danger does make an evening go with a bang."
hirez: (Happy cycling)
I say old chap. Where's my PSP22?

Jolly good (x3)


Hang back, drive away - give the cyclist some room
You're going to cut me up when my legs go boom
Left-hand to The Lyric and the forward stop-line
Got to be in the snug bar before the fellow calls time
Cause a chap's reputation depends on what
Top sort of style his dinner-jacket cuts
Good British wool - super cut so nice
It's really rather fine, you won't dispute the price
Cause it's plain to see - it's a strain to be
Commuting to the office without a flask of tea
Because I cycle through Hackney, Chelsea and Camden
It's early-closing in Borough and I've really got to run
It's a big wonder why I haven't gone under
A wagon turning left or a blighter in a Humber
A biker missing all types of traffic hell
All this because I ride so well

Rock - get up - get down
My Brompton weighs a ton
Hold it (x4)

(Blame messrs. Sulston and Trafford)
hirez: (dissent)
JHR (Last year).

Charlie Brooker.

G(r)od I'm good.


hirez: (Default)

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