Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Three Weeks!!!

I don't really know why it has been three weeks since I've posted; have entered a bit of a holding pattern I guess. Planning for the USA trip is going well, and the trip is only 40 days away!!! Crazy stuff.

I've not been able to make the progress I wanted on some of the other things I was thinking about doing in May. I thought that June was going to be really quiet as well, but have now got a pretty big project to work on as a Course Manager for a Career Skills Workshop which is at the end of June. Lots of prep over the next four weeks. Am beginning to realise that this is a huge job, and there's plenty to do right now. Problem is that it is heavily contingent on me being given information, and the information is not forthcoming at the mo...

Stress! But oh well. Things are moving on... As they always are. Am thinking of starting a new blog just to post little bits and pieces of writing on. I like that I write about my 101 things here, but want to write about other things too.

Anyways. Am going to post more in the next few days. My belated thoughts on Star Trek and some haiku I think. Maybe other things too!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Eastern Standard Tribe

As any regular reader will no doubt have noticed from my reading list, I am a bit of a Cory Doctorow fan. I like the kinds of things that he champions on Boing Boing, and while I think I first heard of him through the short story When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth it was reading Little Brother for the first time last year that really made me like his work a lot. Little Brother is a really great near future thriller that young adults can really get their teeth into and get something out of since it deals with such interesting ideas as civil liberties and digital freedoms.

If Little Brother is a mini-masterpiece then Eastern Standard Tribe is an early sketch, a rough drawing that shows a lot of promise but which ultimately falls short for the reader. The ideas - derived from circadian rhythms and being culturally connected to people not physically close to you in the digital age, as well as a slew of well-handled ideas on things like new media and a more bureaucratic society - are cool and interesting, and no-one can doubt that Doctorow has a great ability for taking interesting ideas and dropping them into stories. However, in this earlier work it shows in the plotting that he is still developing as a writer. The build up of the story is interesting, but the end appears so quickly and happens so fast that you have to blink in case you miss it (much like in Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom).

I've just realised looking back over my first two paragraphs that I've not really told you much about the plot, but I think that's OK, that's something that you can discover for yourself. As a springboard for an interesting future that has some well thought out ideas playing in the foreground, Eastern Standard Tribe does not disappoint. The plot is fast-moving, and though I felt a bit cheated at the sudden end it is a great ideas novel and well worth reading as an example of an author with a brilliant mind for speculating about the future.

Eastern Standard Tribe is available to download for free under a Creative Commons license.

Monday, 4 May 2009


Yesterday evening I went to see a preview of Coraline in 3D, and while I was fairly certain that I would enjoy the film being a fan of the book I really did not expect to come out of it buzzing about it as I did. The animation is simply wonderful, inventive and fabulous with an impressive eye to the smallest of details; the script has been sensibly adapted from Neil Gaiman's book, nothing lost or added that doesn't make sense and with a superb voice cast.

I've been to see a film before which had 3D elements, but none that were so carefully integrated as in Coraline. No red and green filters on the glasses, no tacky effects - Coraline was shot for 3D and it shows. Foreground elements stand out boldly and show the depth of the world that Henry Selick has created; the tunnel connecting the two houses stretches away and makes you feel as if you could be about to go through it for real; a needle sews in a button eye and comes out of the screen towards you... I'm sure that Coraline wouldn't have been a disappointment if it had not been in 3D, but the fact that it was transformed it from being a great film to being an outstanding film, and an amazing cinema experience.

So I heartily recommend that you go and see Coraline, and see it in 3D at the cinema if you can. Children will love it, and won't find it half as scary as adults do - we overthink things too much - and if you have a fear of buttons... Well, you should still see it! Definitely. Do it. It will help.

Yes, I'm talking to you.


I dress for summer -
A vain hope, I must admit,
Days with you are cold.

Be yourself! they say,
But how can I? I can't be,
Not so easily.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Script & Flickr

The end of Script Frenzy was slightly anti-climactic for me, because I finished over a week early. Going along to all of the write-ins after that point were good, and even though I was working on various bits of writing I felt like a little bit of an impostor, that maybe I was disturbing people who were trying to get things done.

It did give me the chance to get some photos taken as well, and a couple of those along with some I took at the start of the TGIO Party can be seen over on Flickr here!

Script Frenzy has been good for me, but not, perhaps, in the way that you might think. It's given me a lot of motivation, a real creative kick up the arse, a real hunger to get things done. I enjoyed writing scripts, but not as much as I enjoyed being sat down with my Moleskine and just getting stuff out. Sometimes frantically so. Sometimes just needing to write and feeling free to do so and to just see what happens as I write.

I've made new friends, become closer to people I've known for a while and am feeling... I guess I'm feeling pretty happy all in all. April was a good month. I wonder what May will bring?