Reminder. Monday, Jan 12 2009 

Sometimes I’m compelled to mention that I really like Cat and Girl. It’s true that a lot of the time the jokes and references go over my head, but every now and then Dorothy creates strips that are wonderful in every possible way and I’d like to frame them and put them on the wall if I could.

Also sometimes xkcd strikes true to the heart of the heart of truth.

In fact I’m in such a good mood that I like everything right now.

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Why are the soldiers trying to rescue the treasure chest and not the maiden who’s about to be eaten by a shark??? Wednesday, Oct 15 2008 

I’m not entirely sure why I cling to my childhood, whether it’s nostalgia or an inability to let go or just the fact that toys and games have never really stopped making me happy in general, but I’ve noticed that toy manufacturers can make quite a lot of money by updating my childhood. They’ll take some clunky toy from the 1980s and redesign it with modern engineering technology and aesthetics to produce something much more advanced.

Perhaps in answer to my endless prayers, the latest toy range to undergo this treatment is the lego pirate range. Lego pirates are universally acknowledges as being the most awesome things on the planet ever.

Now, after many many years of pining, I can finally buy the Black Seas Barracuda, only with a banana for the monkey, a gold treasure chest, gold epaulettes on the captain, a mermaid for the figurehead, less garish colours and endless other updates and neologisms.

Unfortunately I have to wait until 2009 for this range to come out, by which time the world economy will have collapsed and we’ll all be living in sheepskin tents. Or whatever.

Blakes 7 Tuesday, Apr 8 2008 

My girlfriend kept giving away spoilers for Blakes 7 so I spent a couple of days of marathon viewing to get through it all before she could give away too much. (more…)

I should go to bed. I am in a silly mood. Monday, Nov 12 2007 

Tartan waistcoats. Are thrilling. And quite Scottish, apparently.

Good day, on the whole. Wednesday, Nov 7 2007 

Putting a couple of copies of my book under the weight of all my lego for a week hasn’t been as effective as I had hoped. The pages are a lot flatter, but still kind of wavy. I’ll leave them for another week and put my old university coursebooks on top of the lego in addition.

I was feeling bad about that this morning but then I discovered that not all publishers need me to go through an agent. I’ve managed to find a couple who I can just email my book to directly. One is in Australia – they want the first chapter and will ask for the rest of the book within a week if they’re interested. The other is in England and want the whole book, but will take 12 weeks to make a decision. The English publisher will accept submissions from overseas, the Australian publisher doesn’t state that they won’t. I have nothing to lose from submitting my book to them, and with the Australian publisher at least I’ll know within a week. Know whether they want to take any further interest, that is.

It’s so nice to get someone to at least read the damn thing without wanting to be paid for the privelege.

After I discovered these publishers I wandered around town for a while, just because I can. A ginger cat asleep in the university library cheered me up. Mayflower New World playing ‘Friday I’m In Love’ cheered me up. A duck in the harbour cheered me up. It went ‘quack’. I don’t know why it did that, there were no other ducks around. Maybe it wanted to see if it could hear its echo.

And getting Robert Rankin’s book The Antipope out of the library cheered me up. The last Rankin book I read was atrocious, so I’ve been reluctant to read any more… but I was right about the qualities that I found so endearing about his work to begin with. It’s sort of what you’d get if you crossed Last of the Summer Wine with P.G. Wodehouse and threw in a comic book. Or something.

Robots in Disguise. Monday, Nov 5 2007 

Talking about Robots in Disguise with a bunch of people on the internet, someone made this comment:

“I quite like it if it’s rather amateurish and a mess. Just so long as it’s a fun mess.”

It made me realise that the risk I’m taking is that there enough people with this attitude in the world to make my literary career viable. The comment I made was, “People like this are flying through life where the rest of us can barely lift one foot off the ground at the time because we’re too busy worrying about what people will think if we name our band after the Transformers tagline.”

(Apparently the Transformers tagline-name is one of the main reasons people are initially put off by the band. To me this means the band is cleverly pruning the weeds from their audience. Or weeding the prunes. Too shallow to look past the band name? Piss of, mate.)

I think I’ve been worrying too much about the mistakes I made in Pirate Space. I started writing another book on Saturday, Untitled Folder, just wrote a brief sketch of what I think the first chapter might be, “Untitled Document 1”. In my mind it comes across as very… plaid. I mean staid. By killing anything that I might do wrong, I’m also utterly incinerating any of the fun stuff that I think I do right. Like accidentally writing ‘plaid’ instead of ‘staid’ there, but not deleting the mistake. In Pirate Space I deliberately left some mistakes like that in because I thought it made up the character. That’s the sort of thing I shouldn’t prevent myself from doing in the next book.

I’m going to try rewriting that first chapter, but ditch the plot and run with the motif. Presumably another plot will come to the surface.

What if they built a library, but there were no books? Thursday, Aug 23 2007 

Whenever I visit the library I tend to wander around the fiction section aimlessly looking for new favourite authors. It’s depressing, but I don’t think there actually are any more new favourite novelists for me to find. I’ve tried all the novelists who I have heard of and who I think might possibly be of interest to me, but they never live up to my expectations. I think the problem is that my expectations are very, very specific.

Basically I want to find Douglas Adams all over again. Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin are the next best thing, but they’re not quite the same. Tom Holt is somewhere in the race, too, but doesn’t have a ‘series’ of books like the others do. Wodehouse is his own kind of wonderful, but I can only read one of his stories at a time. Cutesy society predicaments just can’t maintain my interest forever. Jasper Fforde… I don’t know, I really should like him but for some reason can’t. I think it had something to do with the traditional ‘bad guy’ villian that put me off, and the incongruous inclusion of werewolves and vampires. I tried reading a Harry Harrison book once but he was so interested in getting to the end of the story there wasn’t actually room for anything else.

Hopefully one day I’ll find a book that I’m actually able to love as much as I love Adams’ work. But I’m not holding my breath.

I forgot to give this entry a title. I dub it ‘Sir Entry’. Sunday, Feb 4 2007 

I avoid ‘teen’ fiction or ‘young adult’ fiction as much as possible. It’s in a limbo where it’s too old to be ‘silly and childish’ but too young to risk being ‘complicated and challenging’. Basically it’s airport fiction with 17-year-old protagonists. I guess it matches the self-absorbed brooding one-dimensional stereotype of a teenager.

But four out of the five books I’ve borrowed from the ‘staff reading copies’ at work have been children’s book; the other one was non-fiction. I love the simplicity of them — they’re not dressing themselves up to be taken too seriously. They’re not pretentious and self-important. If I read past the first page of them I usually find them hard to put down again. They’re the bouncy 80s pop of literature — slightly naff, but easy to enjoy.

A woman in my book I’m writing has a moustache for no reason. It’s only referred to twice throughout the entire book. This is the reason I can’t write childrens books — no woman would so casually have a moustache in one of them. It’s far too unusual from the sort of thing that kids are normally subjected to. In fact it never happens in adult books either without it being a big deal.

(Although I have thought of writing some really basic nonsensical short children’s books about transvestites and lesbians and selling photocopies in the middle of Cuba Mall for parents who would go for that sort of thing. I think that would be really fun.)

Anyway, I think my favourite authors had something of the child about them. Just a resistance to conforming to the kind of self-importance that’s expected of adults, or something like that.