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Howdy all,

I've been thinking about how I write lately, in part since what scant bits and bobs I have written in the last year or two has been brain-meltingly bad. The primary realisation I came to is that, consciously, I am a terrible writer. Every time I stop to mull over a word, or a tone, or any one of an army of matters grammatical, syntactical and or verbal, I lock up and instead unleash descriptive effluent upon the world. In order to write well, I have to avoid thinking about the act of writing.

I've been on Livejournal for the best part of a decade, and what I have done here has taken many forms, both positive and negative. But the purpose of posting here has now changed so often that it's very hard to distinguish what the point is - the notion of Livejournal as a community has evaporated in the last few years, which is a shame since that was one of its major strengths. I sued to spend hours wandering through links in a prototypical iteration of the Wikipedia Disease looking at different people and writing styles and uses and... Now I don't. In part, this is down to a lack of time; to a greater extent, it's because no one really posts about how awesome this girl X or this guy Y is anymore. The population is so ridiculously vast now that the community has been subsumed into a grand and utterly anonymous blogging city.

This is not meant as a slight against the site - structures evolve, things change, people move on. It is however indicative of how my reasons for looking to greener pastures. My ex-girlfriends are nice people, but were I single tomorrow I would not just get back into bed with them: we are now very different from who we were, so looking for the same things from each other would be regressive at best. Meanwhile, there's too much history for a fresh start. What else can you do but move forward into the great unknown?

Much like a good 90% of the people I know here, I've been blogging elsewhere for the last few months. Slowly but surely, the output is increasing and the quality is on the rise. I won't be deleting this journal any time in the foreseeable future - it is a rather significant chunk of my life put down in writing, and it will be a long time before everyone I know that might wonder what I've been babbling about will find their way along. It can be nice to touch base, and it's always nice to get other points of view, however much disparity of opinion there is. I'll be around from time to time, but who knows when that may be? So then, the move is made and the dip is plunged: to arms! I can be found at Turn My Brain Off - be sure to say hello.

Is the past tense of tweeting twitting or twatting?Collapse )
The fundamental disruption of already ugly HTMLCollapse )
The joy of doing next to nothing all day today: I still have two days off in which to do these things. Or continue doing nothing. Huzzah!

Now to watch The Day Today...
Nearly a week on, I'm as-yet a-glowing with eerily warm and fuzzy feelings from Infinite Jest. Worry ye not, this is not yet another post wittering on about the merits of the tome, but rather the fallout it is having on the rest of my reading habits.

To whit, it's shaken my ability to continue reading comics.

I've never given up time reading a book I dislike - time and energy are resources too scant to squander, frankly. Instead, I have tended to be highly selective of what books I purchase - some times giving too much leeway over to familiarity than innovation - and being slow to take up new authors, instead awaiting a positive summation or at least an analysis which piques my attention. If entirely doubtful, I will liberate a copy from a friend who has already taken the plunge and run from there. The trial by fire begins, and the book has until the end of my considerable patience to impress me.

For some reason, comics are my blind spot in this respect. I'm the only person in my ever-closing circle of friends who purchases comics on a regular basis, so what I want to read (or at least sample) tends to entirely at my own endeavour. This is not in itself a complaint - a choice freely made should never be so. But the diminishing returns against raising prices was and is. No comic has given an experience as nuanced or fascinating as Infinite Jest. This is not necessarily a valid attack - it's not a reasonable expectation that all fiction be the equal of the favoured story, since that is neither possible nor fair to the exceptional prowess of the latter in the equation. But no comic comes so close as to moving me in the same way.

This is, yes, a gross generalisation. Bone is a stunning work, Scott Pilgrim grows and improves with each volume, the ending to Hitman is the finest of any comic... But these are verging on the auteur theory, individuals creating art rather than craft generated in the service of trademark maintenance. Until recently, I've had no real problem with that, but then I wasn't quite so concerned about my financial health. Now I take pause and think about buying two comics that will look pretty and take ten minutes to read, or buying a single book which may have crap art, but could fill my week.

A large portion of my thoughts dwell on the importance something like Longbox will have for the industry. The chances are it will keep me involved in it as a consumer - when comics I love and have every intention of supporting like Phonogram are unlikely to survive in the current market, I find myself less willing to participate. The sad fact is that Phonogram is a prime example of a comic I would pay more for, because it is intelligent, well-drawn and unique, but is lost amidst endless spandex and capes wrapped around ever more incestuous and necrotic story-telling and concepts (which, I am well aware, is part of the nature of open-ended storytelling, but knowing the histories of the stories and the industry as I do leads me to see it as getting worse). As I become much more concerned in my old age with issues growing more rampant - your mysogynies, racisms and what have you - the will to continue grows ever more enfeebled.

I love superhero comics, but I think we need to see other genres.
Are you in Dublin? Did you know that Talulah Does The Hula are playing at the Odessa Sessions this coming Thursday, being the third day of September this year 2009? Were you under the impression that they are like the Pipettes, but with a greater emotional depth and also the more prominent bass guitar? Or indeed if you happen to somewhat crazily dislike the Pipettes know that Talulah (as they are foreshortened) are very much completely different so you will enjoy their musical playings? If of all these things you are in knowing, that in addition said "gig" starts at 8pm? Why then it may warm your heart to know that I will be in attendance also and that I have no connection to the band whatsoever, aside from knowing Jessie the Bass Player who is coincidentally in possession of excellent musical taste in addition to ability.

Plug plug pluggity plug plug.
Infinite Jest is read, finished and done, three weeks and some change before the end of Infinite Summer. I am now very pleased, very tired and very much inclined to read it again in the future bearing the context and information I do, but before that very conscious of the fact that I will be processing the tome for a few weeks at the least. I may also have to read something very dumb and untaxing to let my brain settle.

This counts as an unabashed recommendation, incidentally. It's a staggering work that repays in full your investment (though Lord knows I can see the closing pages kill or maybe just gently maim some people - reaching page 900 left me utterly bewildered as to how Wallace was going to wrap it all up...)

Also, re the end? Called it.
Huh - I thought loudtwitter had stopped sending my twitter stuff through to this...Collapse )
Flight of the Conchords: Sex and the City for Men.


/// \\\

As much as my inner film snob may spin in the grave it has been forced into alive (and with time to rescue it running out), I can't help but have a small sliver of affection for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Unlike the prior toy & nostalgia-exploiting effort of this summer (the oft-mentioned and utterly execrable Transformers 2), it at least has the dignity to have action scenes I can follow. It's not as though it's a lack of visual uptake on my part irks me - I found Speed Racer perfectly sedate - but rather that spiky pieces of gunmetal grey hitting other near-if-not-actually-identical spiky pieces of metal will eventually and without the context of let us say a wide shot or clear character design, leave the viewer perplexed as to what has actually just happened. This is all before reaching the issues of misogyny, racism and humour so juvenile a ten week old fetus will shake its proto-cranial matter in despair at. That Transformers 2 managed to lack even internal consistency does not help matters (if the Transformers can disguise themselves as human, why are they bothering with vehicles?)

But I digress. G.I. Joe also makes an effort to give its cast something resembling motivations and an overall plan. They may not be particularly interesting or unique, but at least they have them. They even begin to act like human beings with a degree of sense, which immediately launches it miles ahead of the moronic Transformers 2 - when faced with a team of opponents and our hero is armed only with a rocket launcher, does he fight hand-to-hand and with honour? No, he is Captain Sensible and uses the bloody rocket launcher. The only possibly troubling issue that comes to mind revolves around the eleventh hour revelation regarding the Baroness, which could and does seem weakening of the character.

The movie even has a structure vaguely reminiscent of The Phantom Menace, of all things - bad guys stir up trouble, young(ish) heroes are drafted into a top secret organisation of awesome, action scenes back-and-forth until the end when the heroes seem to have won, only... Given how bad the trailers made the film appear, there is an effort involved to raise the endeavour above its humble toy and bad cartoon and fun-enough comic origins.

And let us be honest - any movie which has no silly or forced audience-identification characters is going to automatically win my support. The two kids which appear are in flashback only, and when they do appear, beat the bejesus out of each other because that is what ninjas in training should be doing. With nunchucks and tonfa, no less. That the movie goes even further and makes a genuine appeal to not only my red-read fetish but also my glasses and attractive ladies in leather catsuits hang-ups ensures I have felt worse about spending eight quid this Summer.

/// \\\

Moon is fantastic, but since half the joy is about not knowing what is going on before you watch it, I will remain honourably schtum on the matter. But I will ask this: how pitiful and tragic is it that Moon is the only movie I have been able to see in months, maybe even years, that is not based on some pre-existing property? How incestuous must the cinema experience become before a portion of the viewership simply gives up?

/// \\\

Stephen Fry's performance of the Harry Potter audio books is a very good way to spend your daily commute - I would heartily recommend them. Similarly, David Yates' Harry Potter movies are better than those made prior, and Half-Blood Prince was far more fun (and funny) than I had already optimistically expected. It's interesting how the majority of the young cast have gradually become good actors - the theater work Radcliffe and Grint have performed has certainly had a positive impact on their performances. Having a better director who clearly understands the importance of the relationship structures in the novels has helped - all the scenes from the book dropped had a lesser connection to the core interactions, while the retained scenes which were... amended... maintained the emotional focus where they needed to be (the closing scenes in Hogwarts in particular). Also: Harry and Ron on drugs is hilarious and wonderful.

As I come to the end of Mr Fry reading The Deathly Hallows, and thinking on the work of Mr Yates, I can't help but feel giddy for the final movies.

/// \\\

I'm finally past the halfway mark on Infinite Jest. I have the horrible feeling that after this, other books may feel like the majority of television felt after The Wire. I have Sunnyside on my bedside locker awaiting the completion of the aforementioned tome as my best hope that this dread will prove unfounded.
  • 15:13 RT @ifdestroyed: MTV reports Michael Jackson's death will "almost certainly" impact his London tour dates. tinyurl.com/kqeuvd #
  • 15:18 HSE Fun Fact! Liv had her knee operation 3 months ago. This week she walked the city without crutches. The HSE wheelchair arrived yesterday. #
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  • 16:39 Transformers 2 gave me a headache. Whether this was from the loudness of the wanton crapitude, I honestly don't know. #
  • 16:40 Worse though was the very creepy and leery attitude it took to women in the first hour (old and dumb as rocks, or young, hot and slutty). #
  • 16:41 It's a world in which Maxim Magazine has populated the earth. Also a world where tigers live in darkest Africa... #
  • 16:43 And then there are... the twins. Hill-billies, wiggas or intensely racist portrayals of blacks? Either way, I looked forward to their demise #
  • 16:44 Mind you, I don't think there was anyone in that movie I wanted to see survive. Occasionally, this gave me joy. Short-lived joy. #
  • 16:44 Correction: I liked Jetfire, as played by Warren Ellis. #
  • 16:45 It's been a long time since I felt as angry at fiction as Transformers 2 left me. It really does feel like a death-knell of narrative cinema #
  • 16:47 On the other hand, there is a new volume of Empowered out today. yea, good it is. #
  • 16:48 And look! Adam Warren can present attractive ladies with depth! It's like he has met, spoken with and enjoyed the company of the Fairer Sex. #
  • 23:05 As if anyone needed further reason to love Dame Judy Dench: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8116208.stm #
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  • 11:45 Show support for democracy in Iran add green overlay to your Twitter avatar with 1-click - helpiranelection.com/ #
  • 11:46 So that's what all the green icons are about. I spend a few days away and I fall completely out of the loop... #
  • 11:47 And now my icon is a green box. Is my cartoonish visage so hideous? #
  • 11:59 Olivia received a call about a mysterious package being delivered later. Her first guess? My sister being sent back from Paris. In a box. #
  • 12:00 The woman, she disturbs me some times. #
  • 12:01 She now claims it's because Aoife (the sister) is so small. In fairness, she is smaller than the change of a Dublin Bus ticket, so... #
  • 12:03 So very, very wise - RT @DaveGormanReTweet: What she said ---> AllieRaymond Instant coffee is to coffee what porn is to sex. #
  • 12:48 Olivia's package has turned out to be the Gaymar Waffle Cushion. That is one of the greatest names ever... #
  • 12:49 The new craze that will sweep the twitter nation for the next few lunch breaks... tweetbricks.com/ #
  • 12:53 If one were to seek a new disc 2 of Mac OSX 10.4.2 for his G4 stuck in mid-install, where should he look? Of whom should he enquire? #
  • 18:57 Every time I calm on organised religion, I then see something like this: bit.ly/hAKHa #
  • 18:58 Fun fact: Questions & Answers, the show that the previous clip is from, has since be cancelled. #
  • 19:00 Separation of Church and State and State-run Public Broadcast Service Television Station? Forget it Jack, it's Dublintown... #
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  • 18:12 The new Glen David Gold book is out. Clearly the world shall end soon, and so long as I get to finish this and Infinite Jest, I don't care. #
  • 18:14 Hey Europe, you didn't need to do this: tinyurl.com/mfbw5l After recent Government performance, we're happy to cede power. #
  • 18:17 My Mac is inexplicably working again - this pleases me. The mouse being a git, less so, but not so much as to sully my mood. #
  • 18:21 Koizumi, I did not play Mario Galaxy for the plot, I played it to jump about in gravity-weird fun space. tinyurl.com/mk5p5t #
  • 18:23 Scribblenauts however stands to be the finest game a boy with an overgrown vocaublary could wish for: tinyurl.com/kj55xh #
  • 18:30 RT @McKelvie: Worst Daily Mail poll ever. VOTE YES to skew the results and pass it on! bit.ly/w4b6Q #
  • 21:36 2 months out of knee surgery and Olivia is trouncing all comers at Dance Dance Revolution. The doctors have given her a dancing robot knee. #
  • 23:03 Tramore, empty with the funfair and lights turned off: eerily reminiscent of The Warriors... #
  • 23:03 Warriors... come out and play-ee-ay... #
  • 23:04 Clink clink clink... #
  • 23:05 And now for something completely different (in the tradition of Garfield without Garfield): tinyurl.com/lhxyr8 #
  • 23:05 I AM the storm! But NOT a wedding. Hahahaha haha!! #
  • 23:23 Aaaaaaaand it seems I spoke too soon about the Mac. What the what?! #
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The reason the comics stopped is thus: A little over two years ago, I was offered a promotion to management which I duly accepted. And then another one, which had significantly more money and, as I would discover, a huge chunk taken out of my free time. Since only so many things could be kept up at the same rate, the comics went by the wayside. First, they were not posted, then the time to ink them vanished... You get the idea. I've been doodling at least once a day ever since, but the flaw of not posting them has been that they became increasingly tangential while other things took priority.

Said priorities are legion, and beginning to be sorted out and will eventually be catalogued when there's enough distance, be it practical, emotional or just plain temporal.

But yes, the comics will eventually be coming back as I face into some tough decisions about where my career goes, childish things are put away and I find myself irrespective of and because of those decisions in need of some creative output. Those personal issues will need to be funneled in some way, shape or form, and comics are cheaper than therapy! For those who have been waiting... Er, sorry. Thanks for being patient, though.

(This of course will totally be a prelude to discovering my scanner no longer works, won't it?)
  • 09:07 One Piece 21 - in which the lead makes no appearance, but it affects the ludicrously high quality not a jot. #
  • 09:08 Mind you, given that Sanji is my favourite character and he dominates the first half of the book, this shouldn't be surprising. #
  • 09:10 Please note Naruto: if you're going to have the extended cast fight, this is how you should do it. #
  • 09:11 Don't worry, you're still better than Bleach. At least your fights matter. And have consequences. And end. #
  • 09:13 Oh Bleach, you were doing fine until you decided to have a 15 volume rescue mission. And then another one. #
  • 09:15 Meanwhile, Uncanny X-men finally finishes up Greg Land faux-porn art right in time for a price increase which forces me to abandon it. #
  • 09:18 I like Fraction's writing, but Casanova is better; I like the cast - particularly the X-club; the art's improving now... #
  • 09:20 ... But I'm not paying a fiver for 22 pages of disposable content and 10 pages of adverts. #
  • 09:22 Joe Kelly writing Spider-man again brings a speck of joy into the world though. Cough cough Deadpool cameo cough oh please cough cough... #
  • 09:26 Sad but true - I always pronounce "Baroque" ba-row-que rather than ba- rock. I don't know why my mouth organ fails me thusly. #
  • 09:40 Ooh - The Unwritten is very good. With King City being serialised and Greek Street looking interesting, comics may have hope yet. #
  • 09:43 King City is, of course, the best sci-fi spy comic about the usefulness of cats going. #
  • 09:46 I suspect Livvie's act Sushi would prove equal to the task, even without training. Sasha, not so much, even with private tuition. #
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  • 11:34 @lastyearsgirl_ Yellow! #
  • 13:01 The economy of superheroism and or villainy: eco-comics.blogspot.com/ #
  • 13:50 I shall dub him Dude of Fighting: bit.ly/8qkdR #
  • 21:20 @keviz We do not quote Bender when we know that Bender is the worst damn character in Futurama! #
  • 21:22 Birthday presents bought - one quite late, the other slightly early... #
  • 21:38 11, 6, 2, 4, 8, 7, 3, 5, 1, 9, 10 #startrekrank #
  • 21:40 Actually, I haven't seen 5 and 3 since I was a teenager, and I am old and decrepit now... Not dissimilar to Trek, really. #
  • 22:58 Hey kids! Don't forget about great music (and this is that...): bit.ly/mK8KJ #
  • 23:14 They are (and let's be honest, I by association) Bad, Hilarious People: bit.ly/ER9xk #
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  • 22:48 Certainly apporpriate for Twitter... RT @andydiggle - Enter Procrastination Loop: bit.ly/Zg4qF #
  • 22:54 RT @sadbearhandbook - Nobody panic, but there's a new season Futurama coming next year: bit.ly/tbFJi #
  • 23:13 RT @infinitesummer - David Foster Wallace's essays and stories, freely available online. infinitesummer.org/archives/118 #
  • 23:13 That's my ebook reader about to get that much fatter then... #
  • 23:20 RT @nicklocking - Street Fighter II bonus stage live re-enactment. bit.ly/85XlD TATSUMAKI-SENPŪ KYAKU! #
  • 23:21 But if it's filmed by the SAMSUNG SSD Camcorder H106, then what films the shots of the camera itself? Trickery! #
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  • 18:15 RT lastyearsgirl_ Retweeting @antonvowl - Nick Griffin elected to Brussels means he is in effect a migrant worker #
  • 18:16 For those outside of the UK, this is Nick Griffin and why his successful election is a problem: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OSzAtxnAJU #
  • 18:18 @evilmonk I liked Green Yonder the best of the four movies - but my God, how did they think Bender's Game was worth pushing? #
  • 18:21 @lastyearsgirl_ It could be worse - the Irish are feeling pretty stupid about rejecting Lisbon last year right about now. #
  • 18:25 It occurs to me - how many hours back is it considered okay to respond to tweetings? My glut-of-reading-and-responding may cause confusion. #
  • 18:27 Anyhoo - Europe is clearly about to simultaneously implode explode in a flurry of mixed metaphors. So where should I move to? #
  • 18:28 Right now my gut is telling me Canada - where everyone is nice and a mountie - or Japan - where everyone is polite and attractive. #
  • 21:00 RT @andydiggle: Glen & Gary & Glen & Ross - bit.ly/QRt5B #
  • 21:10 Two men, one shark, lots of love! bit.ly/3RIm7 #
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  • 00:45 @evilmonk Irish National elections and also for the MEP positions in Europe. #
  • 00:45 @evilmonk The former will have heavy repercussions for the current government as the new majority plan on a vote of no-confidence on Tuesday #
  • 00:46 @evilmonk The latter is concerned with who we send to the EU, which has the added importance of last years rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. #
  • 00:48 @evilmonk Our current goverment has had such trouble that the new referendum is now weighted near 60% in favour of the LT. #
  • 00:49 @evilmonk (the wacky fact is that the man in charge during the period in which problems percolated got out *right* before they fully brewed) #
  • 00:50 @evilmonk (which isn't to let our current Taoiseach off the hook - he was the Minister for Finance during that very same period...) #
  • 00:50 @evilmonk Anyhoo - here endeth the excessive lesson is Irish Soc-Pol. You've been a great audience! Enjoy the pie! #
  • 15:18 80's hits, ragtime-style: bit.ly/iOxko #
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  • 12:23 @evilmonk I know who you are! #
  • 12:24 RT @McKelvie - I can't believe this man has to advertise for sex. Ladies of LA, what's wrong with you? tinyurl.com/q39mlb #
  • 12:57 Church? State? It's time you guys realised it's not going to work out. tinyurl.com/msm8vd #
  • 22:07 Fine Gael has 50% of the local election votes - that has to hurt Fianna Fail... #
  • 22:08 That Fianna Fail have to fight for the third MEP seat is salt in the wound. Has FF ever had to fight for power before? #
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