Toot Toot Tweet Tweet

I’ve been trying out a new social media site, here’s a few thoughts. A caveat: I’m not a software developer or a user researcher. This is just going to be my user experience, your mileage may vary. Do a Bruce Lee and take what you can use, leave what you can’t.

Animal Noise Onomatopoeias

I’ve been looking for new social media platforms for a while now. About a year ago I signed up to Ello, but something didn’t click and I’ve never used it. Recently, however, I came across Mastodon, a Twitter alternative.

On Mastodon, posts are ‘toots’, (you know, like the noise a prehistorical elephant might make) and have a limit of five hundred characters. Unlike Twitter the site is decentralised, meaning that it’s run on many servers (called instances, numbering over a thousand at time of writing), instead of one at Twitter HQ. You can follow people and browse hashtags to find new users.  Continue reading “Toot Toot Tweet Tweet”

The Author is a Thief

It’s World Poetry Day today! Happy Poetry Day! Just wanted to share a little fun that I wrote about a month ago. Comments?


The Author is a Thief

The expectation is for me to convey,
With each turning of the phrase…

Days may come and go,
A green, orange, grey zoetrope,
Passing with each beat, breath or letter,
A river of silk-soft sand,
Countless, until the last few grains are left.
A few left in the palm,
Seeds precious to a starving man,
Planted in wasteful soil,
They yield withered fruit.
Continue reading “The Author is a Thief”

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

I had Kurt Vonnegut: Letters for Christmas and got through it in short order. I’ve only read two of his stories, Player Piano and Slaughterhouse-Five, but they made a big impression. His letters reveal a blunt human being, who occupies a space that encompasses someone who simply uses their skills to make a living and someone who is devoted to the art and craft of their work. He shows that the two aren’t necessarily incompatible. I want to share some bits that I thought were interesting.

To his daughter, Nanny Vonnegut (p.176)

Kurt wrote this while trying to repair his relationship with his youngest daughter, after he and his first wife (Jane) had parted.

You’re learning now that you do not inhabit a solid, reliable social structure – that the older people around you are worried, moody, goofy human beings who themselves were little kids only a few days ago. So home can fall apart and schools can fall apart, usually for childish reasons – and what have you got? A space wandered named Nan.

And that’s O.K. I’m a space wanderer named Kurt, and Jane’s a space wanderer named Jane, and so on. When things go well for days on end, it is an hilarious accident.

You are dismayed at having lost a year, maybe, because the school fell apart. Well – I feel as though I’ve lost the years since Slaughterhouse-Five was published, but that’s malarky. Those years weren’t lost. They simply weren’t the way I’d  planned them. Neither was the year in which Jim had to stay motionless in bed while he got over TB. Neither was the year in which Mark went crazy, then put himself together again. Those years were adventures. Planned years are not.

I look back on my own life, and I wouldn’t change anything, not even the times when I was raging drunk. I don’t drink much any more, by the way. And a screwy thing is happening, without any encouragement from anywhere –  I  am eating less and less meat.

I wish someone had told me this when I was in my teens. It would have made things a lot easier if someone had let me in on the secret that all these adult shaped people are just as potentially rudderless as you are. It’s something that’s embodied by the trend of ‘fully grown’ people saying ‘I don’t want to Adult today,’ as though Adult is a verb. It’s a neat recognition that adulthood; taking responsibility and direction for oneself is as much a performed role as anything else. Despite that, maturing into that role doesn’t suddenly negate the chaotic nature of life; we’re not smart enough to be able to predict and control life on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes changes happen that we can’t avoid, like getting TB, or discovering that less and less, without any encouragement, you are eating less meat. So it goes. Continue reading “Kurt Vonnegut: Letters”

Working Nine to Five in La La Land

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t seen it yet, and plan to, don’t read this.

I saw La La Land last week, and though I’m not a big fan of musicals in principle, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I had a few thoughts that I wanted to test on Guinea pigs, and since I haven’t been able to re-watch it, they might be a little faulty. Originally I wasn’t happy with the ending of La La Land, until I began thinking about it in terms of a more realist genre, instead of a romantic one. Continue reading “Working Nine to Five in La La Land”

Mare Ridden

The moonlight that filtered through the tangled branches of the nightmare pines was tainted by their boughs, and where it touched the snowclad ground, black twins of the twisted branches lay. In the still night a single draught slid across the moonlight snow towards the peacefully slumbering farm. It slipped over a snow drift and gently tipped a latch on the stable door, creeping inside. In the gloom of the stable, something in the draught watched the black horse’s nostrils flare as it sensed the presence, whickering in fear. The draught swept across the hay-strewn floor, towards its prey.

 *

               At the horse’s scream, Karl jerked from his sleep, breathless and sweating. The house was silent but the scream still quivered in his ears, worming its way into his brain, thundering through his heart and racing in his breath. It shivered down his spine. Around him his dark bedroom loomed, and the formerly safe room, his day-time sanctuary from the arduous work of the farm, leaned in close as though waiting for its moment. Continue reading “Mare Ridden”

Books Wot I Have Read

Last week (01 Aug- 08 Aug 16) was a bumper reading week, in which I powered through some old favourites in order to recap for a new release, tackled some stuff that I’d been really struggling to get through and started a few other bits and pieces.

The Sandman Slim Series by Richard Kadrey (8 books)

These are a nice easy read; Kadrey’s writing goes down smoothly and the tension is kept taught enough to pull you through the novels with barely a pause for breath. James Stark, the series titular Sandman Slim, is a ‘sympathetic bastard’; a likeable antihero. You don’t root for him because he’s the good guy, (it’s tough to marry good and Stark at the start of the first novel) but once you understand his motivation and are introduced to his scathing wit, it’s hard not to fall in love with the guy, as he goes from assassin to uncomfortably burdened hero. The setting is a wonderful mash-up of urban fantasy, action and noir, like Paradise Lost by way of the Big Sleep. Continue reading “Books Wot I Have Read”