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Archive for July, 2005

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How many designers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

I mean this quite literally. Who hasn’t come across one of these modern ceiling lights where changing a lightbulb involves a major exercise in deconstruction?

It’s the same with windows. All windows appear to be designed by men who have never done an honest day’s work in their lives. Where they open at all (and by no means do they all open), they will open outwards and they will consist of many tiny squares just too small for the squeegee to fit. Even major contortions may not be enough to get at the outer squares and the only way to reach them is via a thirty foot ladder. I wonder how many people get maimed or killed each year while attempting to clean their windows.
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Writing Woes

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

One week and one day to go to Worldcon, 4 months membership of my writers’ group and I have achieved nothing:
1 story iced because it is crap (and I didn’t even think of the ending, John did. But it is still crap.)
1 story iced because of plot-holes (it just isn’t what I wanted—if only I knew what I wanted)
1 story paused because I’m scared of world-building, particularly alien ecologies. This is all about an alien ecology.

So I’m trying a little spec-fic, just playing with words. The worldbuilding story was designed to do that, to break me out of the mold of the familiar so that I can let my imagination run free, but as always I’m drawn back to technical detail (‘would that make evolutionary sense?’).

I think I need to smoke more weed.

Then again, I want to write hard SF and it is, well, hard. At least I seem to be on the right track, even if it takes time (and I think I need to work a bit more on my characterisation skils):

SCI-FI! – Neuromancy and technical wizardy! You are
compelled to write of the Future and what might
be a thousand years from now or next week! Is
it a visit to an Alien Culture? Or a
breathtaking new form of Technology? Isaac
Asimov and William Gibson are your guides.

What Kind of Novel Should I Write?
brought to you by Quizilla

Whales might fly

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

I had to check the date upon seeing the above headline in this week’s New Scientist, but it is definitely not April 1st.

Grey whales (Eschrichtius robustus) have been hunted to extinction in the Atlantic in the early 1700s, but now two researchers at the University of Central Lanarkshire in Perth have come up with the bright idea to re-introduce them to Scottish waters in an effort to boost the whalewatching industry.

Whales aren’t cattle. Pacific grey whales may not be adapted to life in the Atlantic, may not be able to locate sufficient food and, being migratory animals, will most probably end up thoroughly disoriented. We have no idea what comprises a viable breeding population and the north coast of Scotland is a far cry from the balmy waters of Bajia California where they calve.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the stress inflicted by handling these animals endangers their health and could even kill them. It is laughable to refer to the two scientists involved, Andrew Ramsey and Dr Owen Nevin, as ‘conservationists’.

Maybe it can be done—we have sperm whales breeding in the Bay of Biscay now—but it isn’t worth the risk and potential suffering inflicted on the whales.

On the Cusp of new Technology

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

Three weeks to go until WorldCon! I’m excited; I have never been to a convention before but imagine it to be like a conference with only fun items on the agenda. There is actually an ‘academic’ programe where stern people in suits analyse my favourite authors to shreds and if I feel like a real laugh I might drop by some sessions 😉 There is also a scientific programe where SciFi writers and fans can catch up with some of the latest developments and as the venue is opposite the Glasgow Science Centre I expect some happenings over there, although the city of Glasgow has been surprisingly quiet about doing anything for the convention beyond offering some discount vouchers. Not like a real conference then.
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Wicked Fruit

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

Sorry to disappoint—this is just a recipe entry!
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Pontefract Liquorice Festival

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

The Pontefract Liquorice Festival, a two day showcase of culinary and artistic delights to do with all things liquorice and Pontefract, is taking place in the Yorkshire town this weekend (16-17 July).

If you have shockwave flash, you can see what it is all about here.

Regretfully, I can’t go (we are moving house soon—again!—and in the meantime have to line up visits to several relatives). I’ll be sad to miss such highlights as the world’s first pork & liquorice pie!

London 9/7

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

Nobody mentioned the bombs. The papers talked about little else but even though there must have been over thirty of us gathered in New Cross on Friday, no-one talked about the attacks.

On the way home, the streets were perhaps a little quieter than usual. We took the bus from London Bridge: an different route back to our mate’s place, but then he always experiments. The bus dropped us practically on the doorstep and meant we didn’t have to change. I remember thinking that it was a rather neat route before I realised that we had to take it because King’s Cross tube station was closed.
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London scoops Olympic bid

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005

Ohmygod! —Should I laugh or should I cry… Great promises have been made to the denizens of the neglected wastelands of East London, but I can already see the greed glinting in people’s eyes. I guess we can forget about ever moving back now. But on the upside, on Friday we’ll be in the Ghetto for a good, old get-together (nothing to do with the olympics), so enjoy while we can…

G8 rant

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005

What is the matter with the G8 protesters? Don’t they know where Gleneagles is? Now they are rioting in Stirling of all places. Doubtlessly, they have made Sheriff Wyllie Robertson’s day—finally he gets to fill up his jails—but some of them will be in for a shock, for the wheels of justice grind slowly in Stirling…
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On the move again (1)

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

Predictably, the time has come to move yet again and, predictably, it isn’t to sunny Brisbane or vibrant London. Our Landlady wants to put the house back on the market and I for one am not sorry to see it go—with the open views through the ground floor windows it felt at times like living in an aquarium.
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