The improvised card game.
Back on the Orion Express
Er, coming soon.
Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
Tony Hawks
The Wrong Boy
Willy Russell
The Inheritors
William Golding
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Haruki Murakami
Worldwar: In The Balance
Harry Turtledove
The Origins of Virtue
Matt Ridley
Incidental Music
It's Clichéd to be Cynical at Christmas
Half Man Half Biscuit
My Life Story
Paperback Writer
The Beatles
Other Blogs
Found Interconnected Wherever You Are
Alice Chrissy Dave Eperdu John Lori Nik Paul Raven Riana Sandy Simes Tracy
As Above at Stormloader
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Weeks Beginning
20.11 27.11 04.12 11.12 18.12 25.12
With heavy ice and snow covering Britain at the end of the century, and stern warnings of increasingly crippling and disasterous weather (the snow being followed, naturally, by thawing floods), it feels once more as if we're overdue an apocalypse, the Four Horsemen led by whoever the British weather gods might be these days. I'm sure the world didn't used to feel this fragile.
If I wore a hat, I'd take it off to travel agency Thomas Cook for what may well be the finest advertising poster of the millennium; a city pavement, a trendy young moron gadding along on one of those awful little metal scooters, and an older pedestrian regarding the scene with undisguised contempt.

Caption: "It's time to leave the country."

As my teetering book pile would suggest, 'unputdownable' isn't a word I use very often, but The Wrong Boy was a sterling exception. Written as a series of unposted letters to Morrissey, it tells the unsteady life story of a lad accused of and persecuted for terrible things, and his attempts to make progress and amends. Amusing anecdotal rambling sits next to disturbingly convincing accounts of mental instability, and the underlying theme of being misunderstood, of others ascribing motives to motiveless acts, proves extremely powerful.

Being written entirely in letter form doesn't quite work, since a lot of it (indeed, a lot of the best stuff) is far more of a direct memory, but the "Morrissey" motif, though light, is amusing. A splendid read.

I thought I'd watch one of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures to see if Kevin Warwick was really as bad as NTK make him out to be. I fear he was. Insights into mildly interesting bits of human-controlled robotic technology, ending with him saying to the relevant expert "And ultimately we could get robots doing brain surgery or whatever all by themselves, yes?" and the expert saying "No, don't be ridiculous."

And that voice...

Further eerie dreaming last night; myself and a hundred or so other people - all of whom I'd known at least slightly during my life - being summoned to a Derbyshire field on a freezing winter's night, and informed that the necessary technology for an afterlife had been recently established - and that we would be responsible for overseeing it. As a thick mist rolled down the hillside to envelop us, we were informed that from this point onward we'd be able to see the rising souls of the recently departed, and that we were free to make up whatever we wanted about the next world, pretending to be whoever we felt like, promising or threatening them with whatever our whim.

A girl I'd been to school with was nervously asking me if our minds would fully survive this process of alteration, if we'd keep our sense of self or become single-purpose grim-reaper figures. But I woke up as the mist hit me.

Hm, I've just scrawled a rather useful little game-information tracking script for DocNomic, to spare a single person the bother of record-keeping. But I can tell you probably aren't interested. I haven't looked at this site for a while; disturbing auction items. There's some very weird stuff out there.
I hadn't heard about this until reading a summary-of-the-year-2000 thing in the paper today, but apparently a bunch of people tried to recreate the transportation of the Stonehenge rocks with a "Millennium Stone". It fell into the sea and sank. But they got it there in the end. So that's alright. Hm, found whilst searching for an MP3 of Eddie Izzard's "Stonehenge" routine, a rather good fan site with copious quotes and photos and small-download snippets of interviews and whatnot. Much stuff I've not seen before. I'm impressed.
Afterlife; an amusing heaven-and-hell simulation management game thing, although - as these things tend to be - rather dull before very long. But Peter McConnell's soundtrack is nothing short of excellent, making for a good eighty or ninety per cent of the game's depth and atmosphere. MP3s are available, including the best one of all.
American Perfekt was on telly last night, a finely shifting story of chance versus predictability (the folly of letting a coin decide your future, as a stand against predestination) and the delicate nature of psychotic behaviour, played out against a backdrop of dusty desert roads and cheap motels. Amanda Plummer once more plays a nervously attractive edge-of-madness type, and the mighty David Thewlis steals all of his scenes as an English stage magician. Much twisting of plot and chilling uncertainty; the sort of film you really should watch twice. Pity I didn't tape it, really.
From a Christmas biscuit assortment, a tell-tale sign of a disturbed and overenthusiastic illustrator handing his work in too late to be altered; "The faces depicted on some biscuits are for presentation purposes only."
But hey, it's clichéd to be cynical at Christmas, and I had a thoroughly pleasant yesterday without needing to harangue a single Christian or gun down any greetings card shops. My legs have just about recovered from last week's end-of-work laser quest bash, my lower intestine digests dead turkey and random bits of chocolate, relevant molecules of vodka and red wine filter quietly through my bloodstream, I'm a few reckless chapters into a new hardback, I've a flawless excuse to play with a five-year-old's Christmas presents, and I glide towards the end of the 20th century with zero regret or unhappiness. Life is good.
A nicely comprehensive Guardian article on where Christians nicked their ideas from. People who harangue other people for "missing the true point" of Christmas are "missing the true point" of just doing something cheerful during the coldest months of the year. Which predates Mr Christ and seems a fairly natural thing to do regardless, and the strangely unquestioned acceptance of Christian hijack as the origin of it all always annoys me. Hm. [via interconnected]
More or less everything by Kevan Davis.
As Above is part of the Uncertain Organisation.