Saturday, March 31, 2007

Practising the art

Well, by now, you - one of the eight reading this blog - should have guessed that this is an echo-chamber, not an auditorium. I'm not really trying to engage an audience just now: I'm trying things out; mainly to see how embarrassed I am by my writing when I read it the next day - always a good measure in my opinion.

So, the main things I've found:

  • I over-qualify, use too many adjectives. Half my writing is unwriting. Like embryonic development: where cells are shed from a mitten of undifferentiated flesh to define fingers and thumbs.
  • I have forgotten the rules of grammar for speech.
  • Parenthesised clauses feel like smug little asides from a knowing author to a complicit reader (don't you think?)
  • I enjoy writing sentence by sentence, and risk losing the paragraph's meaning.
  • I want to chop out great screeds of fine writing1 the morning after. But that wouldn't be in the spirit of blogging this stuff. On the other hand, I've cut some real self-indulgent crap, cheating or not.
  • I write at night. I hate it in the morning. It still makes me cringe a week later. After a month it looks like someone else has written it. That's when to judge.
  • Typography makes a difference. I just switched from helvetica to optima2 as the main font, now everything seems a little less immediate.
  • I love semicolons.
Any thoughts? I'd turn comment moderation off, but there'd be buckets of cock spam.

1 calling something fine writing is not complimentary, ask a sub-editor.

2you need to have it to see it.

Recommended Reading; deprecated Swindon.

I can highly recommend Charles Stross's The Atrocity Archives; it's an excellent mix of H.P. Lovecraft and grimy British Harry Palmer type spy thriller. In fact I'm reading a bunch of Stross at the moment1. I have the The Jennifer Morgue, the next in the Harry Palmer Lovecraft series, to look forward to. Once I've finished Ventus by Karl Schroeder.

1bunch is the collective noun for a group of science fiction novels by a particular author, related to shitload; which connotes a great quantity of science fiction novels by a particular author.

Grammar and prose test #2

"Coming screaming out of the sky, orange contrails blazing behind. I'm bottled up inside - irrelevant limbs and organs removed, lightweight payload - just brains and guts for processing information and food.

"I see the target below as geometric lights in my eyes (massed telemetry piped through my truncated optic nerve).

"I feel the wind like fingers on skin, feel the weight of my bombs inside me, my fuselage.

"Then I release and, programmed to orgasm, I pull up and away; electrical reward pulsing through edited nerves.

"Two Hornets engage as I spiral up, but they are real-captained - human bodies squashed by G - and unable to follow my inward spin as I evade and engage. Two small flares erupt as my seekers find, and the Hornets are gone. But this is small pleasure, just the taste of sugar, in comparison."

"That's very nice", says the autopilot, "you have a poetic way with words."

"It's not me, it's out of the PR, they got some poet to write it," says the captain, "didn't work for me. I just never got the feeling I was supposed to when I laid my eggs."

The autopilot accesses data - [lay eggs: drone-soldier slang for carpet-bombing]

"It was supposed be like coming. I just felt like I'd had a big shit."

"A shit with a blast radius of several kilometres." says the autopilot.

The captain smiles, "I can't tell whether you're making a joke or being prim."

"Then you should upgrade my voice-box." replies the autopilot.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Teach your grammar to suck eggcorns

Can't work out how to do speech still. Trying to write some science fiction (you've seen it) : spending too much time trying to work out where commas should go. What about an answer from you number six visitor (IP I would appreciate your input on this issue that is vexing I. This is an eggcorn.

Gargle my walrus


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Conversation with an autopilot part 59. Grammar practice.

The T25 junk banks gently into the shadow of Saturn, what some previous wag has called The Wet Weekend - a vast and desolate tract of push-free realspace where traders rely on chemical reaction alone.

The captain flicks an old-school switch and the autopilot personality boots up (no expensive pre-cog control where the board sees what you want ahead of time and actions that task with prescient alacrity).

"Hi, captain," says the autopilot. "nice to see you awake and..." the autopilot scans the environment "... in the middle of the doldrums."

"Hey, personality, can the enthusiasm," says the captain, "and talk to me."

"Well, one, my name is Clement," this is flashed in italics across the HUD, "not 'personality'," now in bold, "and two, are you on a downer again? Because..." the captain starts to answer but the autopilot increases emphasis both volume-wise and typographically, "...because," this is 40 point helvetica neue bold, "I have heard this story many times and, although I am programmed not to be bored by my owner's endless carping, frankly I have developed a bug that renders me unable to bear this particular monologue once more."

"Yes, but you are also programmed to shut the fuck up when I'm speaking."

"It's the same story though, isn't it?" The autopilot's conversation protocol sub-routine waits until it thinks a suitable period has elapsed and adds, "It's about her again, isn't it?"

The captain sighs and twists the ring on his left little finger. "Yes, it's about her."

"If you're going to say I should have said X or I should have said Y then I will remind you that those are letters of the alphabet and really don't mean anything."

"Yes, ha ha, literal minded tertiary AI that you are, that was nearly a joke."

Outside occur occasional flashes as too-close dust bunnies are burned by the ship's proximity defence.

"You keeping a close watch on that?" says the captain as one large explosion brightens the cabin. "Not too pre-occupied with my woes are you?"

"Sir," says the autopilot with an amount of sniffiness beyond the factory settings, "dealing with your 'woes' occupies less than a percent of my contingency budget. A contingency budget, I might add, that is normally reserved for dealing with sump drainage errors."

The captain slumps a little. He does not notice the ambient light warm fractionally as the autopilot says "I'm sorry I was short with you, I was a little pre-occupied... with the proximity defence."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Class war in the hinterland

That's about the broad and short of it. I'm sitting in a smokeless zoned public house (pe-empting the June ban upcoming in UK) drinking lager (the local piss) that tastes insipid without a cigarette. I am now 6 weeks into non-smoking. Should have twittered this. As this is the kind inanity that's best suited to the stream. That was supposed to be "kind of inanity", but I like the serendipitous "kind inanity" better. It's about right for twitter - a stream of kind inanity.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Is demonetized (antler tip to you colonials)- there’s no money in it. Butt seriously (don’t ass me a question without serious intent) - what? You believe magic-man-in-the-sky make you and all his wonders to behold?

Crutch - morals subordinated to supreme being so you don’t have to. Be disconsolate if your only consolation is irrational belief in powers beyond your ken (my ken lives up the road, and beyond him is a mini-roundabout).

Shut up.

Plus I went to the entrails temple-wise of three major world religions whilst away in foreign land (see previous bloggage about near death experience so be-brought): a dead mosque, a current shrine of super-ascetic religion on the border of its antithesis (shabby and decaying, showing the entropy under its tinsel skirt), and the white sixties architecture (also entrophied) of a modern mysticism wholeheartedly embraced by the sanctimonious hippy middle classes of my own fucked up westerly civilisation. At none was I consumed by religious passion, epiphanied or else wise nirvanaed in the spirit - no, I'm still a bitter atheist.

All I saw was dirty, littered and paint-peeling buildings, bullet-holed, with no sense of place, the genius loci fucked off long ago. Just dead space with history piled up with the dust in the corners, weary humanity limping through the corridors.

The rivers smell of fresh shit, the streets smell of hour-old piss, the curbs are a foot high, and everywhere is slick with used oil or ground in fumes. The smog descends from sunrise, is burnt in and printed on the walls by noon. But everything is building fast, new roads on bridges are up and concreted around their rusting steel skeletons.

It's fantastic.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

the best time time to blog

which sound as appealing as the best time to lay a log book (out of the van). I have a dyslexic approach to the whole thing - to quote S. Right, why is the alphabet in that order?    The alphabet I use is transposed - wlhg you.

If you tried to work out what "wlhg" corresponds to in a transposed alphabet, then you are a dick.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Feeling rum; punched in the cut

This is the item that's on the floor: the glass on the plank. As an aside, you don't call it a plank when it's down and installed (with nails into joists below), you only call it "plank" whilst it has the potential to be fitted anywhere; and particularly when it's on your shoulder, ends extending in Eric Sykes wise slapstick.

It's got rum and (cherry) coke in it. It had more, but I drank that.

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another entry; keeping up appurtenances

It is beholden to me to make the occasional entry (and exit).

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Nearly died

Seriously ill after a trip to some squalid shit-hole in foreign-land. Hospitalised and everything. Fucking typical.

You may notice that this post is a duplicate. Well done you.

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