Log in

11 December 2007 @ 11:36 pm

Well, does it?


Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.


I mean, piece OR piste, it makes no sense.

Does it?

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.


Is it “across the piece” or “across the piste”?

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.

11 December 2007 @ 08:37 am

Lots of work stuff happening that I can’t blog about.

Not much else going on apart from the usual grind.

Except that my copy of Ha’penny was delivered from Amazon yesterday.

Speed reading.  Talk to you later.

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.

08 December 2007 @ 12:48 am

Tempest and I were just discussing the link (below) to everyclick.com and whether it was really a good idea.  I’ve looked into it again (and googled it - hey, it never ran off to Panama!) and I still can’t see a flaw.

So, again, please go here and click on the “Join this fundraiser” button.


Hey, we raised one whole pound for the homeless of Sheffield in the last twenty four hours.  What’s not to like?

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.


Clearly the best view in the world is from Waterloo Bridge, because you get Tower Bridge, Tate Modern and St Pauls, but I can live with Wordsworth on Westminster Bridge

I walk across Westminster Bridge pretty much every day.

I say “walk”, but actually I stomp.  Or slide.  Or push.  Mostly it’s stomp.  Because of the tourists.

I have no problem with tourists as such.  I AM a tourist myself, as often as I can afford to be.  I’ve wandered around Times Square and St Mark’s Square, I’ve seen the Twin Towers and the Eiffel Tower.  I once won five dollars shooting craps in Vegas.  I think.  (I was a little hazy about the rules.)

But the tourists on Westminster Bridge don’t seem to acknowledge the presence of actual (and non-tourist) people, at all.  I was bumped, stepped on and barged into three different times this evening.  And this evening wasn’t atypical.  

Is it something to do with education?  Are people so used to computer games that they’ve forgotten the other characters they interact with in meatspace are actual people?  I have long suspected that there’s a large class of Americans who don’t really believe that people in other countries live in a different way from, you know, “people”, ie from Americans.  That in spite of the evidence in front of them, they believe the people they encounter in other countries are like the cartoon characters in Disneyland and they take off their costumes and stop speaking French at the end of their shift.

Actually that’s not fair.  One of the people who barged me today was Italian, from the accent.  And a splendid linguist, too, because she managed to say “sorry” in exactly the intonation that English people use to mean “you just barged into ME, you oaf!”

Maybe lack of empathy is a generational thing.  But for me, having empathy with the people is one of the attractions of being a tourist, in itself.

I mean, I’m fully aware that my experience of New York (say) is nothing like a real New Yorker’s.   I don’t go for any of this “I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveller” bullshit - I’m a tourist, and I live in a different world from the world of the native New Yorker.  The last time I was there I had lunch in the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Centre, tea at the Russian Tea Rooms, and on one memorable day rode around in a stretch limo to Tiffany’s and then to try and find a good vantage point to get a picture of the Chrysler Building (and never did, because it’s a bugger to frame and I’m a rubbish photographer anyway).

But all the time that was happening, I was aware that I wasn’t experiencing the New York that New Yorkers experienced and wondering what it would be like, actually to live there instead of just being a tourist there.

And if I barged into someone in the street, well, it was an accident. 

And if I said “sorry”, that’s all I meant.

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.

05 December 2007 @ 12:19 am

…a covetable canvas shoulder bag, printed with the slogan “The Mend of the World is Now”, which was an environmental campaign earlier this year.

Of course, the corner of the bag was folded over, so what I saw was

The Men

of the World

is Now

which makes NO sense.  Except as a koan.  Maybe. 

Or crackfic flash?

Is that even a thing?

It’s after midnight.  Go to bed.

So I did.

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.

05 December 2007 @ 12:08 am

Oh the joy. (heavysarcasm!mode off)

Turns out three different people in my small team have had the same thing I’ve had.

Turns out another symptom I’ve got is bursting into tears.  Apropos of nothing.  In meetings, dammit.

Way to look cool.  Professional.  Sane, even.


Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.

02 December 2007 @ 05:55 pm

No, not going to get involved in the latest in-fighting over at the Science Fiction Writers of America (use your first penny to look it up lol)

Except… I tried to get them to include Farthing as a Qualifying Market… let me explain to the non-writer friends who read this.  SFWA is a group that’s not quite a trade union, not quite a professional organisation, for science fiction writers.  But to join it you have to be a published writer.

I don’t qualify, because the stuff I wrote for Interzone etc wasn’t fiction, and I haven’t published any fiction except stuff like fanfiction.  You have to publish a novel or three short stories in “qualifying markets” and there are various rules about what is and isn’t a “qualifying market”, presumably to stop you publishing three copies and giving two to your grannies and saying you’re in print.

I thought it would be good for Farthing to be a “qualifying market”.  This was back in the days when I thought people who sent in stories would also buy copies of the magazine (because I’ve never sent a story to a “market” where I haven’t at least seen a copy of the magazine first.  Turns out I’m completely the exception to the rule, but that’s a whole other story).  So I passionately wanted to be a SFWA-qualifying market and to be listed on their site.  And by issue 4 Farthing clearly met the four qualifying criteria, by virtue of paying the authors professional rates, publishing for a year, having a print run of 1000 copies and not being a vanity press (yes, more than 10 different writers were published and no, I didn’t charge them for the privilege)

I filled in the form.  And waited.

I wrote to the chairman.  And waited.

I wrote again.  And waited.

I spoke to some people about it at Wiscon.  And waited.


I’m not saying it’s SFWA’s fault Farthing ran out of money and is on hiatus till I have some more.  SFWA’s response would have been unlikely to have made any difference, I know.  And “of America” - why should they care about some little foreign title?

But I’m surprised, writing this, to find how much it still rankles.

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.

02 December 2007 @ 05:31 pm

A long time ago, around the time I lost my faith (a whole other story) I used occasionally to go to church with my parents.  They had closed down the church we used to go to when I was a child, so my parents had started going to Sheffield Cathedral.  And at that time they did tea and toast for the congregation after morning communion… and word had clearly gone around the homeless in the area that, if they turned up in the church hall at the right time, well, there was free breakfast.

It amused me hugely to see all these respectable people trying really hard to practice Christianity at (on?  with?) all these people who didn’t play by the rules - put sixteen spoonsful of sugar in their tea, and kept eating the toast till the bread ran out, and were variously um… aromatic.

Amusing, but also gallant and kind of touching.  I can’t believe there is a god, but if there was then this is the kind of behaviour I’m sure he or she would encourage.

After a while, people being what they are, a solution was found.  A project for the homeless was set up.  A breakfast club was founded.  Breakfasts were cooked, medical and other assistance was gradually put together.  My father was honoured with a “wooden spoon” award for the number of times he’d volunteered and cooked breakfast.  A large scale project to build a well-equipped facility on the side of the Cathedral was set up, funds were raised, and there’s now all sorts of good stuff going on.

These are good people.  They deserve support.  I occasionally give them money, when I have some.  They’re quite polite and very grateful.

So here’s a sort of query.  There’s this thing (the mouse thingy, below)  The deal seems to be that you register with this website and use it as your search engine, and your searches produce advertising income for Ask.com (the source of the search results) which is split with this company, Everyclick, and half of Everyclick’s turnover is donated to various charities.  Apparently each search is worth about a penny, and you can determine which charity your penny goes to.  The Cathedral and Archer Project has, would you believe, four - no, counting me, make that five - supporters and has raised - so far - £33.72 (out of just over quarter of a million raised by the site so far)

I don’t know.  The business economics look reasonably solid to me, although I’d like to know a bit more about Everyclick and how much overhead is coming out of their half of the gross (are they actually making much of a profit, in other words).  And I have no idea if Ask.com’s search engine is any good, because, you know, I google, d’oh.

But I’m going to give it a try.

Anyone else in the mood?  Go here and remember the name of the charity.  Please.

Or just send them money.  How many crap Christmas presents do we all need anyway?

Originally published at Couchspud. You can comment here or there.