Sunday 30 March 2014

Where did all the good time go?

I'm not going to talk about how to write well. I don't think I am the person to come to for that sort of thing. Not on account of my inability to string words together in a pleasing fashion, but because I'm yet  to present much evidence that it is something that I can do. If it's what you're looking for, there are lots of books on the subject by a great many people whose opinions on the matter are backed by the weight of this evidence.

Before quality though comes productivity. This is the first step. A blank page may hold infinite possibilities, but a full page holds the first step to not wasting them. I can talk about productivity. I have productively written for a number of years now. I can sit down and write a 2,000 to 5,000 word story outline in an hour. I do a lot of different types of writing, and I do it with both stealth and ease. If you're looking for stealth, then you are going to need to invest in a quiet keyboard, or a pen. Pens are quiet. If you're interested in ease, then keep reading.

Words aren't always in the habit of being there when we want them. This isn't really about the words though. It isn't about writers block either. That's just a name that we use. Despite all appearances, writing is like drawing, playing the cello, or anything else we need to train ourselves to do with ease. For the most part we tend to assume that however many years of school and university have prepared us for this, but think about the time we would put aside for 2,000 words, or 1,500. Where do we now find the time in our lives for 85,000 words? In reality you are more likely to need to find the time for whatever the actual number of words it is going to take you to write 85,000 good words. Words that carry with them everything that you need of them.

This isn't something that I figured out. It is something I researched. It is something the authors that I respect discovered through necessity, because for them it was part of the trade. A skill that needed mastering in order that bills be paid. Tom Wolfe, Philip K. Dick, Agatha Christie, Edmond Hamilton, Ray Bradbury, Steven Moffet, and so many others relied on their ability to continue to write whenever it was needed of them.

My first step in understanding this process was the work of Philip K. Dick, whose prolific output and commitment to the concepts behind each of his works is, to my mind, without peer. Dick wrote when he was sleep deprived, discontent, depressed, detached, and, most importantly, when he made the time. Dick wrote a lot of material that he was not happy with (the majority of which was not published), but if you were to say that only 1 in 5 of Dick's published stories is worth reading, that would still be 10 novels and 20 short stories.

Apart from a (very bad) novel I nearly finished instead of attending class when I was in my late teens, I spent nearly a decade staring at screens and pages instead of actually writing, because I wanted each moment that I found for my writing to be of a certain quality and to ring of an increasingly specific literary timbre, and I proudly prioritised certain stories and themes based on arbitrary bias, often relying on writing only 'when it came to me'. My work suffered as a result, because there was never enough of it.

With but a single exception, no story I had ever started had reached more than 7,000 words, and by early 2010 I had just over 100 stories with nearly a dozen drafts each, none of which were near completion. Then at a time when I only had one guaranteed hour a day to myself I went from having no real literary focus to having the first 20,000 words of a novel in a fortnight. I had most of my characters, and a plot that didn't have too many holes to be patched. It wasn't a new story. I had been sitting on parts of it for a half dozen years or so.

In the months preceding this point I had made the decision to just write anything. I would grab lunch, and probably a coffee, and sit down and write anything. 'The Sandwich Diaries' became a constant friend during this period, as did frustrated letters, vignettes from my childhood, film reviews, and snippets of fiction. I wrote when I was tired, I wrote when I couldn't think clearly, I wrote when I hadn't slept for days, and I wrote when I really didn't feel like it. For 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week, I wrote anything I could.

I should be clear at this point that I am not advocating any sort of punishing regime that is likely to destroy your passion for writing, but instead it is about training yourself to continue to operate creatively when you have nothing left. You will no longer be restricted to 'when it comes to you'. You can be the commander of your own writing. They're your words.

It is important to understand that productivity and focus are not the same thing, and they both require different skills and approaches. I had trained myself to make the most of a period of focus. Over the months that followed, the number of stories that I had on the shelf (it was a digital shelf) expanded to over 200, but the average girth of each was equivalent to my previous front runner.

I'm writing this as much now for myself as I am for anyone else, because it is something of which I need reminding. I took a year away from the two stories that I have that exceed 50,000 words, because 'I didn't have the time'. The time was there, but I didn't make it. I made the time for other writing, but The Book, if there had to be only one, was put aside. But, now it is back, and the dance begins again.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Saturday Morning Transmissions from Mercury

As a child I obsessed over space, and as an extension I also obsessed over Captain Future and Space Pirate Captain Harlock. I would play the theme songs fast forwarding between them, riding the buzz to get to the next only to rewind and start the process over again. And over again. And over again. I revelled in the imagery they conjured, and the repetition reinforced it. As I grew older and my affinity for technology grew beyond the battery I inflicted upon that VHS with the VCR remote, I would blast those songs down colour coded wires to recording cassettes to take them wherever I needed them. And for the longest time I was never without them.

I've spoken recently of my continuing affection for Captains both Harlock and Future, and the theme songs that embedded them within my psyche. I've also spoken recently of their creator, Mark Mercury, whose work I am still listening to. Especially when I am riding trains for the day.

Why am laying this all on you on a Saturday morning (which is, by the way, when this is getting posted)? Well, I made contact with Mercury. That's right NASA! I beat you to it! It turns out Mercury has e-mail, so I didn't even need a rocket of any kind. My one-up on space programs aside, Mark Mercury was super amenable to my asking him lots questions about the work he has done, has been doing, and is doing. Amenable to the point of actually answering them, which is the level of amenability for which I was hoping.

A ton of your work, including your involvement with the planetariums and your album releases, is about space and science. Is this some that you've always had an interest in?

Ever since I was a kid I have been interested in space. I would love gazing at the stars, reading space-based science fiction, and taking trips to the planetarium. My interest in science developed later in life, and it's not as strong as my interest in space.

Has it always had an impact on your music, or did that come later?

The real impact on my music began in 1988, when I began creating scores for planetarium shows. Prior to that, I occasionally had ideas for self-originated musical works that were inspired by space, but I never realised them.

Are you a fan of science fiction? Can you tell me about some of the science fiction that inspired you, or really piqued your interest?

Yes, I am a fan, but I must admit I have read so little compared to what I would like to read. The most inspiring and deeply satisfying science fiction for me comes from the written word, because reading best simulates my imagination and emotions. Novels and short stories by classic authors such as Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov made an early and lasting impression upon me. Science fiction about space, space travel and future civilisations is my favourite. What's most inspirational and interesting to me is the human role in future settings: the problems, challenges, and experiences that future humans face, how they affect humans physically and psychologically, and how the humans handle them. I do also enjoy audio and film productions of science fiction, but I don't get the same level of inspiration from them, probably because by their very nature they leave less to the imagination than the written word. Some of my favourite films are 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Alien, and The Terminator.

Can you talk a little bit about the aspects of space that fascinate you most?

Space, with its beauty, wonder, and mystery, is a never-ending source of inspiration for me. When I look out at the stars, the immense expanses of space and time make me feel as big as and as eternal as the universe. They open my heart and stimulate my imagination. I am moved to dream about the distant past and future. I am moved to create music.

The awesome and desolate aspects of space also fascinate me. I find vistas of barren, frigid, inhospitable planets and moons depicted by space artists to be quite inspirational.

Science has made much of this possible for me. Learning what astronomy has discovered about stars and galaxies makes for a much richer experience.

My composing tools come from science: synthesizers, computer software, and recording technology. I find the sounds of electronic music, with their futuristic quality, to be perfect from communicating my impressions of space. Those sounds, coupled with traditional orchestral timbres and accessed via digital audio files, make up my tonal palette.

Science fiction, too, has spurred my imagination and creativity. The writers of science put into words many of the same feelings and dreams that I put into music. They tell inspirational tales of the human element in a space of the future.

I live in Australia, and don't think that I've ever had the pleasure of hearing any of your planetarium work in its intended setting. Are there any planetariums in Australia that use your work? How did you become involved in working with the planetariums?

The shows in planetariums change often, so I don't think there are any shows of mine currently playing.

I got involved with planetariums in a roundabout way. In the mid-80s I took up painting as a side activity, and I soon found myself creating paintings with a space theme. Shortly thereafter I happened to stumble upon an art gallery exhibiting space art by various artists from the group called the IAAA (International Association of Astronomical Artists). The artworks were beautiful and inspiring. I felt like I had just discovered a band of kindred souls. I joined the group and quickly discovered that many of the artists worked at planetariums, creating the art for public shows. I asked one artist about doing music for those shows, sent in my demo tape to the show producer, and was soon composing the music for my first show, "Flying Blue Marble", at what is now called the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

My first experience with your music was through Captain Future and Space Pirate Captain Harlock on VHS, and unfortunately there isn't a lot of information available on the extent of your work on these projects. Can you talk a bit about this work?

My writing and producing partner at the time Hal Winn, and I were hired by an American animation company to compose and produce the music. For each show, we created a main title theme and a library of music that could be used for putting together a soundtrack for all episodes. I think the shows were originally done for the Japanese market. We did new music that would be used for the American and other markets. Hal Winn first wrote the lyrics for the main titles, then I followed with the music. In those days we used live musicians to record the basic tracks. Later I overdubbed the synthesizer parts. (Nowadays I rarely use live musicians.) Together we composed the background cues, and, using our library of cues, we picked which music was to be used for each episode. We hired Rick Sanford, lead singer at the time of the rock band Legs Diamond, to sing "Take to the Sky" (the Captain Harlock theme) and Nick Uhrig to sing the Captain Future theme.

I have a deep affection for both Captain Future and Space Pirate Captain Harlock, and they both had a huge impact on my life. Your theme songs are astounding. There is a distinct flavour to each of them that really matches their respective personality and style, even down to the perspective of the lyrics (first person for Captain Harlock and third person for Captain Future). At the same time they both really embody the spirit of that era of science fiction, capturing the morality, wonder, and grandeur of the post-moon landing/pre-cyberpunk era. Can you tell me anything about the approach taken in the writing of these theme songs in particular.

Thanks, I appreciate your comments. I remember working in the studio on these shows and wondering what would happen with the music. Would it just be background music and soon forgotten, or would it mean anything to anyone? So I'm glad to hear that you like the themes.

A lot of the credit goes to Hal Winn, who wrote the lyrics for those themes. As an experienced lyricist, he was very good at capturing the essence of a show in a creative lyric. I don't know how he approached the writing of the themes, but his lyrics inspired me to write the music. My intention in composing was (a) to make the rhythm tracks have some relevance to the styles of the day and (b) to create a feeling of adventure and space with the other instrumental parts and vocals that were overdubbed. While creating the music I constantly kept in mind and drew inspiration from the concepts of the shows, the various characters of the shows, and the space environment.

Your theme songs really capture the spirit of their shows. When writing theme songs, how much of the show would you watch throughout the writing process?

Enough to get a good feeling for what the show was about and how it was different from other shows....usually one complete episode plus sections of other episodes.

Would you ever listen to a show's original music when working with cartoons that were being dubbed?

If it was available, I'd listen to make sure I didn't inadvertently compose something that sounded like it. I would also notice which emotions were highlighted by the original music and compare them to my own reactions to the shows, as a test to see if I might be missing something important. Often the original music wasn't available for listening.

Are there theme songs of which you are particularly proud?

"Bad Baby"
"The Snow Queen"
"Ketchup Vampires"

All were animated shows, but without a space theme.

How difficult is it to balance your own artistic ideas with the directions given to you by producers and directors when working with studios or collaborators? Is there anything that you find that makes this process easier?

That's a great question. The ideal situation is that (a) I have been hired for a project because the director (or producer or choreographer) already likes my work and creativity and knows what to expect from me, (b) the director is willing to let me follow my heart and instinct and see what I come up with, (c) I find the project worthwhile, or high quality, and capable of inspiring me to create, and (d) I am in sync with the director's vision for the project. In that situation, it is not difficult to balance my artistic ideas with direction. Other things help too, such as when the director is confident about his (or her) vision and ability to make decisions, and when the director has a good understanding of what's involved with the composer's job.

Some media allow for more artistic freedom than others. For example, I will have more latitude working on a ballet than on a film.

How does your writing process change from when you are writing for yourself to writing for other people or projects?

Sometimes I think of creative work as simply a series of decisions...thousands of decisions one right after the other. What do I want to compose? What will be my tonal palette? What should the mood of this piece be? Should I use this note or that note? Should I set the filter on this patch to 83 or 85? Is this note too loud? Is this the best I can do?

When writing for myself, my creativity has no limits. Having that freedom is exciting and satisfying, and I can explore to my heart's content. However, I can't allow myself too much freedom. If there are continually no self-imposed limits, I run the risk of wandering all over the place creatively, which means I haven't yet made enough decisions.

When writing for other people or projects, the focus of my composing is predefined by the needs of the project, so on the one hand it means less work for me because a lot of the decisions have already been made, but on the other hand it means there are limits that I can in no way violate, so there is a sense of constraint. If there is enough room for me to be creative and to maintain my artistic integrity, the constraint is not excessive.

Are there any future projects that you can tell us about, or that you are really looking forward to?

I'm finishing up a short piece that features the erhu (Chinese violin), recorded live in the studio, set against a musical backdrop of electronic/spacy sounds. It's an experiment I wanted to try--combining the beautiful, traditional erhu with electronic music.

I will also compose more pieces for ballet and/or modern dance and have them realised by dance companies. I have several pieces in development now. One thing I would really like to do is find a choreographer who wants to collaborate on creating a ballet or modern dance piece using a space theme and setting.

Also, I plan on composing the music for a permanent, large-scale installation with an electronics/technology theme in collaboration with a visual artist (whom I have yet to find). The artwork (a sculpture or 3D work of some kind) would express the electronic aspect of technology in a highly aesthetic way. The music would be atmospheric and would will a large space, such as the lobby of a large building.

There is a really distinct progression in your available work, which gives the impression that you like to explore your own and style and approach. Are you working on any more album releases? If so, how do you think it will vary from your previous projects?

Yes, I am very motivated to explore my own style and approach. I am so glad to have electronic music to work with because it allows for so many new possibilities in sound. I am also lucky to be living in the digital age when recording technology provides so much creative flexibility.

When I have enough new, completed works that complement each other well as part of a collection, I will release another album. In any case, they will all be available singly for download on the 'net. One possibility is to release an album consisting only of my works for dance. Many of my past projects focussed on space. What I'm doing currently has elements of space, but the focus is more general. Nevertheless, how much I may roma about the universe of music, I always periodically return to a focus on space because it does resonate deeply with me.

You've written a book about playing jazz, and I believe there is also a YouTube video on clusters, and I was wondering if you get the chance to play jazz live very often, or whether it is something you do more for yourself?

Years ago I found that playing jazz regularly interfered with my composing. Daily improvising seemed to use up my creative energy for composing, and if I concentrated on composing continually my improvising suffered. So, I had to make a choice, and because I am fundamentally a compose and not a jazz musician, I chose composing. I still like to sit down and improvise at the piano now and then, not restricting myself to jazz, but playing whatever ideas come to me at the moment.

I wrote "How to Get More Ideas while Improvising Jazz" because I felt that I had something of value to offer to intermediate jazz musicians, something to help them access their creativity and express it through improvising.

Have you ever thought about recording and releasing a jazz piano album?

No, for the reasons given above.

I hope your other projects are going well. Can you say what they are?

I was recording an additional music track for a film titled A Man Called God. Some of my music is already in the film and the trailers. Then I was doing some audio work on the narration track for the same film.

This whole experience has been pretty exciting for me. I mean, I found out that Mark Mercury likes Blade Runner, uses Oxford commas, and contributed so much more music to the shows that I love than the themes. Have you seen these shows? You should if you haven't. The music is amazing.

I should organise a viewing of my VHS. Everyone can come and take part, you know, if you're interested. Look probably not 'everyone', but everyone who is interested. Hopefully. I can do this multiple times. Ask my mum. I'll back-to-back it as many times as necessary. She knows. She has seen it. Then I will keep going while the rest of you sleep. Anyway, it's awesome.

I would like to say thank you again to Mark Mercury, whose Art of Space and Music from Cycles of Spheres both live on my iPod these days, and whose earlier work had a massive impact on my childhood. 

Thursday 27 March 2014

Sunday Runner

I'm not really one for a tremendous amount of running, which is why this isn't at all about running. I'm not going running on a Sunday. I mean, I have done, but I don't talk about it. The title is misleading. Deliberately so. That's what I do here. Mislead. Deliberately.

What I am really one for is a tremendous amount of Blade Runner. Back to back. You are probably wondering how someone back-to-backs a single film. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe you already know. Well, there are five versions of the film and a about two days of special features. There is a whole replicant reference to be had there, but I'm going to move on. I like to all-in-one-go this, starting with the workprint and ending with the retrospective documentaries. I don't tire of this. Not yet. It happens at least once a year. Actually, it happens at least twice a year.

This was enabled when I was given a five disc DVD boxset for one of those present giving things that happens throughout the year. I can't remember which one it was, which isn't really important. What is important is that I have been enabled, and I know who that enabler is. I think it was a birthday. The selfish Christmas.

Anyway, That's why I am talking about it now. I'm doing it this Sunday. I'm busy. Don't call me to do your things, because I have a doctor's appointment, or I'm washing something, or I have actually made real plans with real people, and I'm too wrapped up in writing this to check right now. If it is you that I have made plans with, it isn't that I have forgotten, it is just that I live in the moment. Right now. Now this one. And, now.

Not really. I've forgotten. I won't have when I check, but that'll be not now. That will be later. Maybe before Sunday. Maybe not. It will be.

Im not likely to invite anyone, because it renders the obligation for pants equal to, or less than, zero. It's harder to get mustard on your pants if you're not wearing them. Fact. Unless you keep them in the kitchen, or in a mustard cupboard. Also, fact. I have mustard on my favourite shorts at the moment, and I've washed them a couple of times, but I can still see the stain. This too is a fact. A sad fact. This might be about as informative as I get. Conjecture!

What I really like to do is lead into the viewing with PKD's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, because then you have the whole picture. You understand the whole process. The transition from Dick's head to Final Cut, and in the end that is what I'm there for. The process from one to the other. All those minds and hands that bend it from beginning to end. It's heavily documented.

I'm actually not aware of a film that is as heavily documented. Look, maybe those Middle Earth movies, but the whole production of Blade Runner is an incredible thing. It's an arduous creative journey. A journey of censorship and creativity, in which prejudices and conflict abound. There is even a death that comes early on in the piece. At one stage it would've seemed late, but the story just kept going. It is a story of relationships and passion. People find treasure, and there are technological changes that redefine possibilities. It is an incredible journey of realisation and the beauty in imperfection.

That's what I am there to engage with. It's part of the reason I really like Philip K. Dick too. He was amazing. Like otters. Otters are amazing. But, the beauty of PKD's work went beyond the sum value of the individual piece that spanned thirty years and amounted to some fiftyish novels and a five volumes of short stories. The whole body of work is itself something to be appreciated and understood.

Dick was prolific. The guy basically never switched off. For three decades he wrote immensely personal works on fear, paranoia, responsibility, sexuality, love, prejudice, politics, philosophy, religion, community, nationalism, illness, and war in a format that was easily accessible.

Great tracts of his mind are laid bare, and we are able to watch how it changed. We can see the same ideas go through a half dozen distinct variants before reaching their most iconic. In some cases even the earlier, often distantly related, drafts of later works were published as whole and complete works in their own right. It is like living in somebody's creative process, and not just somebody, but Philip K. Dick. It is a truly astounding thing to which to be granted access.

That is what the whole of The Blade Runner Experience offers us. An insight into an incredible process, but it also offers us the opportunity to see how Dick was popularised. It is an exquisite thing.

And for the record, if you are going to watch one version of this film, it really should be The Final Cut. They did a really bang-up job. They really, really did.

Saturday 22 March 2014

The Days Ahead

To some degree, I find myself thinking about the work of William Gibson more frequently due to the work that I do and the way that I live. Not that I am a writer like he is, though I do and have written web copy, which is a kind of corporate, wired up sort of writing that lives in the worlds hewn with his own, but the vast majority of my professional life has been as a freelance ICT professional. Not that I ever call it that. That doesn't happen. There are other words that are often more specific. The technology bases covered are diverse and far reaching. I often think of the work that I have done, and the work that I do, and there is a relationship to the organisms that populate cyberpunk. I'm one of those. That's what I think.

I've had the speak wheeled at me in a variety of fashions, I've lied to printers to make them distribute ink in the manner for which they were originally designed, trawled through archaic data on dying systems at the behest of its owners, and coded towards functional artificial intelligence. That's not all of it, but it is some of it. I may not be the neuromancer, but I'm playing in the same parks. This is the world I live in. I'm pretty sure I've eaten synth-spaghetti, and probably slept on it. In reality it is the world we all live in, though your eating habits are your own.

The synth-spaghetti stained days of keyboard-for-hire are a part of something else. The journeyman years. They have a function. They built who I am, and the way that I learn.

These are important days.

The Prophets of Cyberspace: A Rough Guide to Cyberpunk v1.0.3

originally posted on 2010-04-26-0223
at Ray-guns and Spandex
migrated to Sci-Fi Snot Rash

In the late seventies a new flavour of science fiction began to take shape. It's earliest visible family characteristics had first appeared in both 'new age' sci-fi and the authors of the beat generation. In the intervening time it had slowely formed a new definition for itself through the works of J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick, until reaching a point in the early eighties when the cultural obsession with excess and mass media provided the perfect literary genesis pool for the emerging counter culture prophets of cyberpunk.

Abandoning galaxy spanning empires and laser toting aliens in favour of more familiar settings. Abandoned territories and near future cities became neon wombs breeding cybernetic street gangs, corporate warriors, and digital pop-stars. Cyberpunk takes us into worlds not that far beyond the horizon. Deeply entrenched in the mundane with elements just alien enough that they might be happening in another city, in another country somewhere, instead of on the other side of tomorrow. In the three decades since its first oredictions we can clearly see that the anticipation of the popularity of reality television and the total pervasion of the internet happened somewhere between Bruce Sterling's The Artificial Kid and William Gibson's Cyber Space Trilogy.

With much of the origianlly fictitious elements of cyberpunk having become parts of our everyday lives it comes as no surprise that many other brands of modern science fiction carry these same elements that were at one stage the calling cards of cyberpunk without fully submersing themselves into the stream. The Matrix is more thematically in sync with post-apocalyptic or machine war SF than it is with cyberpunk. Link all mimics of any punk movement, they wear the colours, but run in different circles.

It was never just a collection of hacker stories set in glass walled mega-cities and the suburban wastelands that surrounded them. It's a voice and an ethos defined by the very culture that birthed, where the corporate world has adopted the methods and tactics of the street, wrapped in a setting that is thrown at us. Chapters barely clock in at a page, and read more like scenes from a film. And the pacing of the books are measured in frames per second, with the charging mbps of the prose consisting predominantly of artificial street speak, and stream of consciousness.

If you are interested in running deep in the pure flavour, books like Snow Crash and Blood Music deliver in spades, but if you are a sci-fi film junkie, Cypher, New Rose Hotel, and Natural City are uncut, and measured from the source.

For me and my money, nothing sits closer to the heart of cyberpunk than the literary link hopping of MirrorshadesBurning Chrome and the erroneously named Rewired: The Post Cyberpunk Collection. Short story compilations straight from the aforementioned neon womb in portions that have been coded and optimised for the short attention span generation that shared its childhood.

Thursday 20 March 2014

2010: Odyssey Two

It's 2010. The year of the 2nd odyssey. We are in science fiction country now. Sleek monstrosities of glass and steel invade the sky, personal com-units destroy our reproductive organs, and cloning and cybernetics are well under way. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm.

It is not 2010. It is 2014. You are not a time traveller, and I am not entirely delusional. It is a quote. I nabbed it. I nabbed it from myself. I'm quoting myself. That is what is happening here. That is pretty naff actually. But, it is happening. I'm sticking with it. It is a quote from something I wrote in 2010, so the statement at the time was entirely true. 2010 was the second time that I got involved in this sort of thing. The attempt to engage an online audience. It was more of a brief foray than it was any sort of odyssey. This makes this number three. I wasn't going to wait until 2061, and anyway it was already ruined by my not starting the first one in 2001.

What I'm actually trying to do is set the scene (with the help of Michael Whelan's artwork), so that I can pretend it is 2010 for the purposes of reposting some of those things that I wrote in 2010. Things that are still at a different blog, but I'm of the opinion that they are mine. It is about organisation and ownership, and some other stuff. The other stuff is actually more important. Well, it is more important to me. It is something I have been thinking about for the past two years. So, why am I doing this now? I'm busy. Super busy. I have some other things in the back end that I could be posting instead, but there will be a point to this later on.

It's an entirely selfish activity on my part. It is not so much about continued engagement with my audience, of whom it is often difficult for me to comprehend the existence. I comprehend your existence as sentient organisms populating towns and suburbs and buying ice cream that you are not sharing with me. It's the reading thing that is difficult. Not that I think you're illiterate. It's just that in my mind you're probably reading other things that you are trying not to spill ice cream on.

Where I was going with that, was that it is about my own relationship with the voice I have created for myself, which is my own voice, and I would like the things that I have written to be under the same roof, because of some of the things I would like to talk about later on. There is a relationship with science fiction and my own world views that is important to me, which was where I was headed with the blogging originally. Not at United by Glue, but at Ray-guns and Spandex, which was later moved to Sci-Fi Snot Rash.

Anyway. In the 2010 that I mentioned early, which isn't happening now, but did happen at the time, I started blogging, and amongst the earliest posts (it was the second) I wrote was this two paragraph entry that when held up with other things I have written, gives the impression that I perhaps spend too much time rummaging through garages.

So, this is a prelude to other things, which is what it was the first time around.

Little Black Box

Originally posted 2010-04-08
at 'Ray-guns & Spandex'
later moved to 'Si-Fi Snot Rash'

I am a watcher. For my first two decades I lived and breathed VHS. Coveting the magic bricks that let me watch 'Flash Gordon' whenever I damn well pleased. Even now my fetish blossoms as I rummage through my mother's garage of mislabeled boxes to be rewarded with the black plastic treasures of my youth. I rush to the living room, noticing that my adult hands had grown to the perfect size to brandish the cassette as an extension of my self, only to be denied by the sleek DVD player by the television.

The future comes too fast. After journeying through the distant reaches of science fiction for better part of my life, one would assume this to be less of a shock. Alas, here I stand, Captain Harlock in hand, with the realisation that I will probably have to order DVDs from France and watch it with German subtitles. Why did Blade Runner never prepare me for this?

Sunday 16 March 2014

Legacy of Nastiness

In my most recent post I commented negatively on the quality of the writing on Legacy of Kain community sites. These comments were unfair, disrespectful, mean, and a poor attempt at being insightful and humourous. They were neither funny nor clever. It is unfortunate how entrenched the negativity towards community resources is within certain circles, and it is an ingrained sort of meanness that made me feel that it was appropriate to take pot-shots at the work being done by others while I lazily write whatever I feel like publishing.

Community sites are maintained by contributors who create and collect content as an expression of their passion and interest in something, and it is only an inflated self importance that allows me to deride the work that they do.

I have historically avoided participating in community sites out of a false and obnoxious sense of superiority. How long I have held onto these feelings without truly acknowledging the extent of how baseless they actually are I could not tell you, but it is too long.

I will not excuse my behaviour, nor will I remove the offending comment. I have drawn attention to it in the original post, so that it will serve as a reminder to my thoughtless nastiness, and encourage me to make more serious efforts towards modifying this behaviour.

I rely heavily on community sites for much of the information on my blog, as well as for much of my own amusement.

I am sorry.

Legacy of Kain Wiki
Nosgothic Realm

Friday 14 March 2014

Legacy of Hennig

I've played a lot of games. Huge numbers of games. Too many. Maybe. No. Never enough! It's like saying you've read too many books. It's silly. You can read in a way in which you don't take anything in, and you can do the same with games. It isn't the game's fault. You're the stupid one, stupid.

I house sat once this one time during this one summer, and the owners had this Uncharted series of games, which I am telling you now are basically a cross between Tomb Raider and one of those over the shoulder cover based shooty action things that everyone is making. I don't know. You pick one. Gears of War? Splinter Cell? Rainbow Six: Vegas? Yeah. Not exactly ground breaking stuff, but to be fair they clearly spent an absurd amount of time making sure the controls were perfect. They really nailed down to what was important about these things. But look, that is for another time. Probably not though, because that is probably all I have to say about that.

Anyway, I sat down to play the first of these games, and looked up and the sun had started a whole new game without me. Fourteen whole hours had snuck off on me. I ran off and did other things at that point, because I had agreed to, but I spent most of the day thinking about the characters and the dialogue of these games, and the super engrossing plot. I thought this was pretty weird, because they don't normally spend any time on these sort of things in games. It's usually just stuff happened so do stuff. Sometimes there is a fictitious/real war, or maybe stuff needs stealing. It's pretty meh most of the time, but it was the writing this time that kept me playing for fourteen hours straight. I got on the webs and pushed some buttons and discovered that the crafter here, was a crafter whose crafts I had obsessed over as a previous younger version of myself.

For many years I have beat people about the face with the Legacy of Kain series. A strange thing in that I think that the second, third and fifth games tell the greatest story that has ever appeared in games. Ever. Shut up! You're wrong. It's this. This thing that I am saying. I don't care what you think it is. Soul ReaverSoul Reaver 2 and Defiance tell one of the greatest fantasy stories, vampire stories, philosophical dramas, and epic tragedies that has ever been written in any medium. And they were written by this same person. Amy Hennig. That's the picture at the top. That is who that is. It isn't just a picture of some lady. That would be weird. You know, I just started putting random pictures in my posts that didn't have anything to do with what I was talking about.

I could start explaining the story to you, but it would be stupid, because it is so well told. It would be like explaining the best brownies you have ever eaten entirely through the medium of bread. Kudos to anyone who actually takes a shot at that by the way. But you would be better off playing the games and eating the brownies. Probably at the same time. I will say that it is like watching an amazing game of chess from the point of view of one of the pawns who appears on the board after most of it is cleared only to discover that all the really interesting moves are yet to be played. A game of chess with amazing dialogue, incredible characters, and one of the most fantastically rich backstories you are ever likely to come across.

One of the things that makes Amy Hennig's writing all the more impressive, which she doesn't even need, is that Soul Reaver started life as a different game completely separate from Legacy of Kain, which was not yet a franchise. Orders were handed to her from on high, and she owned the hell out of that series from that point forward. She took the Legacy of elements that existed in the first game and turned them into something incredible.

Four of the five games are available as a collection on Steam, but you get the three important ones, which is the important bit. They are the important ones, because they are the ones with the unbelievable writing. Not unbelievable in that they contain fantasy elements that defy belief. They do, but that's not what I am saying. Unbelievable in how good it is. This woman, Amy Hennig, who wrote these things is some kind of bizarre thing from another world. She isn't human in the best possible way.

Look, if you are likely to play games, you should play these games. In terms of quality of narrative it will stand head and shoulders above the vast majority of the books, films, television series, plays, comics, and games you will ever encounter. They are Windows only, which might be a problem for some people, and there are some control pad compatibility issues which I solved by using an outdated control pad which set me back the grand total of $3. Cheaper and easier than a great many applications that are designed to resolve this particular issue.

There isn't any kissing. Maybe I should bring that up. People tend to expect that sort of thing from vampires these days, but they aren't those sort of vampires. It's all fate of the world sort of stuff. Destiny versus responsibility and the like. Also one of the characters is missing part of his face, so he isn't really a kisser. He is more into reaving souls. Also eating them. He munches down on the regular. It's a plot thing, and a game mechanic. You really can't avoid it. That isn't a spoiler. It's in the title.

You can play the two Blood Omen games too if you want, which also do not contain any kissing. The first one, which is the better of the two and not available on Steam, is available through the Playstation Network (I've been told). There are also places around the web that offer it up free of charge as abandonware, which it is not. That is up to you. Be warned: it has aged. A lot. It is seventeen years old, but it is still super playable. The second one is on Steam, as I covered upstairs.

I would also recommend the Uncharted games, which were also crafted to her words, but they are frustratingly exclusive to the PS3, which I don't own. I've played them at other people's houses though. I really hate exclusive titles. I really, really do. You have no idea. Totally for another time. And she did Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, which I am not going to comment on as I have never played it. There was this whole basketball craze during the nineties, and stuff like this happened. Shaqueil O'Neil had Shaq Fu, which was a child of both the basketball and fighting game crazes. I did play that one. Weird plot. Rescuing kid from a mummy. I don't really remember. A mummy, not his mummy. That's important. I remember that.

Oh yeah, that's right. She lost her job recently. Sony got rid of her from Naughty Dog (a game studio), because I have no idea why. There are rumours, but they sound stupid. Use her name in conversation. Make her a known thing. Everyone should help and encourage her befaming. I follow her on Twitter, because I'm excited about whatever she will be doing next.

Also, while I am here talking about Legacy of Kain, I should offer you something in case you get completely hooked on the series. It happens. I've done it to people before. There is a website called The Lost Worlds, which is basically DVD extra features for the series. It is amazing. There are community sites and wikias that are often a hodgepodge of appalling attempts at basic communication and what have you out there (EDIT: This is an unfair statement that is both needlessly negative and not indicative of the information available on the community sites. I hope that this statement reflects more poorly on myself than it does on any of the Legacy of Kain community websites. Unfortunately, I am making this edit after the negativity of this comment was brought to my attention by somebody else. I will endeavour in future not to resort to this sort of unnecessary commentary for any reason, especially when it is inaccurate.), but this is by this one guy, Ben Lincoln, who has a style of writing of which it is very easy to read a lot. For hours. On end. And it is very well organised. He has also done a lot of the actual digital digging talked about on his site himself. He is a clever guy.

Anyway, Amy Hennig. Amazing! Incredibly talented writer who is kind of unsung. She should be sung about more. Start singing!

Here is another picture to muse you. Get mused. Do it!

If you do actually write a song about Amy Hennig, absolutely let me know. Even if it is just new lyrics over a song that is not yours. We have no problem with that here.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Okay, space trains!

I know I said that I wouldn't take you to the train related science fiction myself, but I would feel like you were out there on your own, and we've developed the kind of bond that would make me feel like if you're going to experiment with train related science fiction, I should at least be there to make sure you're okay even if it isn't my scene.

I'm going to start with Galaxy Express, which is about an actual space train. It's pretty awesome. It's by that Captain Harlock guy. Matsumoto. Leiji Matsumoto. It's basically just a space train in space on which things happen. It harks back to a great many other train related adventures in which the passengers must solve crimes, avoid danger, and are beset upon by pirates, but they're space pirates in this. Now that I think about it, that pirate thing isn't right. Well, unless the train lines were very close to the coast. They would pretty much have to go out over the coast.

The same guy did The Galaxy Railways, which is more about the people who protect the trains from the aforementioned mischief. They have their own trains in which they get about in. Space is basically full of trains as far as this guy is concerned. Maybe he is right. Maybe all those space agencies are confused. You know, NASA and the like. Well, not NASA anymore. They're out.

See, this is why I didn't want to come here. It gets weird really quickly. Space train defenders riding around in their own space trains. You can go in deeper too. There are so many layers, and you end up finding out about all of these space trains, and trains on other planets, and you're reading articles about the A-Train, which are just satellites that aren't going to run into each other, and then you're scouring the internet for lists with titles like 'A far from comprehensive list of science fiction trains that are based on real emerging technologies that are not explained properly', which I now desperately want to read (get to work internets), and next thing you know you are getting into things like this.

Actually. I'm in. That's very cool, but in this next one they've added a dinosaur. A dinosaur, people! Where do you go from there? I've subscribed, so I will know where they go from there.

Adding dinosaurs to stuff to make it better should be a thing. I guess it is a thing. That's what happened with Captain Future. I think it was The Lost World of Time. It has been an incredible amount of time since I've read any of them, but I'm mildly certain that it was somewhere in the middle, but they made it the second story in the animated series, because of dinosaurs are awesome. It also happened in the The Transformers, which was also an awesome addition. Dinosaurs are like butter. No explanation needed.

I definitely think the two most recent Star Trek television series would've benefitted from more dinosaurs. I like them, but I do think that the writers spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to justify getting the Vulcan's clothes off in Enterprise, and not nearly enough time justifying semi-borg's spray-on velour jumpsuit in Voyager. Star Trek needs not your nudity and skin tight outfits! How come it is never a super fit guy, or a middle aged woman, or the other non Star Fleet crew members?

'Hey, Phlox?'

'Yes, Captain Archer?'

'What's with the outfit?'

'I really think that it accentuates my flurgalls, don't you?'

'Probably, but it's a little tight don't you think?'

'Oh, Captain. Thank you for your concern, but neither my respiratory nor circulatory systems are in any way restricted by this ensemble. In fact my Denobulan anatomy is far more robust than that of a human, and could withstand a lycra jumpsuit of sufficient kPa to juice a Vulcan. '

'You don't own any of those do you?'

'Oh, Captain. You flatter me.'

'That's why they made me captain. That and Porthos. Captain's gotta have a dog. Star Fleet regulations.'

'I don't think that is true.'

'Yes it is, isn't Porthos? Yes. Who is the captain's good boy? It's you. It's you, isn't it? Yes.'

'Once again, captain, you flatter me. I'm just doing what I love.'

Actually, I want to flake out on this one. Hmmm. I've pretty much done that already. We're so off track at this stage. See that? I'm not sure we're heading back anytime soon. We've made it all the way through dinosaurs and Star Trek, but if it is something you're actually interested in, there is this article that talks explicitly about the locomotive in science fiction literature, and has the title 'Beyond the Tracks: The Locomotive in Science Fiction Literature', which is an informative sort of title. It's at Clarkesworld. I think that is how it is written. Just one word. No camel casing or anything. 'CamelCase' should be camel cased, just like 'compundword' should be a compound word. They should lead by example.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

McCloud Nine

Once upon a time I made the decision not to go on a second date with someone part way through the first date. Actually, that isn't a one off. But the one particular time that I am referring to as the 'once upon a time' with which I started this paragraph was right after they had finished saying, 'Is he that Grand Designs guy? I think he is overrated and kind of idiotic.' In response I merely continued my meal. People like that can't be taught. It's hard to come back from that. I'm not that kind of wizard. I can't help these people. They're on their own.

I watch Kevin McCloud MBE and Kevin McCloud MBE related material. That is a part of who I am. I'm not likely to stop any time soon either. That is an intrinsic part of my makeup. I have the Grand Designs viewer gene. It's in there somewhere.

Have you ever seen the first episode in which you can absolutely tell that he got a haircut between the initial meeting with the couple and the next time he turned up? I have. Lots of times. I have a box set. It's one of the kit house ones. It is the first of the kit house ones. A great many followed. He likes kit houses. I do too. It's like Meccano that you get to live in, or like an Ikea cabinet that you get to live in. Either way it is a dream of mine.

I have often wondered if you could just order one of those little apartments that they build in the store. Just tick some boxes, choose a finish and then get the whole thing delivered. In a situation like that you would feel as though you had to frame the Allen keys afterwards. I would.

I like the idea of living in a prepackaged environment. I don't think I have enough individuality to really be concerned with how many other people had the same arrangement. I guess that is why I go to Ikea anyway. That and the hotdogs. Sometimes I go for the ride with other people just so I can stroll through the store and get hotdogs. As we have discussed before, I consider hotdogs to be a type of sandwich, and this brings them under a wider umbrella sandwich obsession.

I sometimes wonder if Kevin McCloud, with his background in interior design, likes Ikea, and/or their hotdogs. Or if he considers it an assault on his sensibilities. I wonder if he would do a walkthrough show with me. We could talk about the things that Ikea has available and we could eat hotdogs afterwards. Panda could come with us. A sort of journey to the place of his adoption. It wouldn't be weird. Not terribly. Maybe some level of weird. Panda is a pretty big fan. He might just stare at him and not say anything. That could be awkward.

I guess in this scenario in which Panda is staring at Kevin McCloud as we wander through Ikea I could be his sidekick. In a way. Kevin's. Not Panda's. I mean, I could be Panda's too, but for different things. Definitely Panda's when it's hotdog time. And lingonberry drink time. Flatpack gingerbread houses would be a tough call. I mean, it is basically a cookie house,which is Panda town, but it is also a kit house, which is Kevin territory.

Have you tried that lingonberry drink? I really like it, but that came with practise. Not that I rehearsed drinking it at home, because that would be just drinking. You don't drink it differently. It's like a lot of other drinks in that way. I suppose you could Swedish drink ceremony, but that is not what I am doing. I'm just drinking it. With my face. Specifically the mouth bit of my face. I know how to do that. I stuck at it for a while and it grew on me is what I am saying. It's really good with the orange flavoured one. They compliment each other. Like any two flavours of Slurpee.

Friday 7 March 2014

Awesomeness in disguise

I latched on to The Transformers in a pretty serious way as a child, and then as a teenager. Then as an adult. I'm latched. I'm probably always going to be latched. Particularly with the film. The first one that they made back in 1986. There is a lot to be taken from The Transformers and The Transformes: The Movie. I mean, there is all that stuff about the fuel driven conflict, opposing ideologies and civil war, if you're fighting something bigger than yourself, you've got to get inside and use your truth crystal, the big world politics stuff, but there is this whole other thing.

There is also the effectiveness of Saturday morning cartoons for advertising action figures, which is a whole thing. It is super effective. I'm not talking about that either.

Honestly, this is going to be one of those 'stop me if you think that you've heard this one before' kind of things, because you probably have, but you can't because I'm going to have finished by the time you even get a chance to know that I've written it, and I want it somewhere on my blog, so it's going to happen anyway.

The Transformers is about pretending. Clearly that is exactly what it is about. It is about pretending in order to avoid scrutiny and ridicule. That is pretty much the stated reason. It is about fitting in. That's why they turn into cars. I feel like I spent a lot of time as a car. I feel like that was important part of who I was for a long time. Not to suggest that I get to be an autobot. I'm not really that good. I'm okay. I don't think I'm a really bad person or anything, but I could be better.

It was important for a long time to spend as much time as a car as I could, and then I had other forms too. I became a Triple Changer, because I turned into a helicopter or something as well as the car. Like Blitzwing, Astrotrain and Springer. I prefer Springer, who was kind of like a wise-arse samurai, which is pretty awesome. I think sometimes you forget which bit is the real you. You're switching between the car and the helicopter, and you kind of forget that you're also a robot underneath it all. An awesome robot.

At the end of the day though you're at your best when you're yourself. That's what happens. That's the hard part though, because the reason that you aren't yourself is to make things easier. Not just because turning into a car and going somewhere might be easier than walking. I couldn't tell you. I've never been a car. I mean, I have been the metaphorical car I was talking about earlier, but not an actual car.

It's one of those things that we say shouldn't be a problem, and we tell people that they should just be the robot, but it is a problem, and is scary. Super scary. I think that the best that we can all do is try and let people know that a lot of different kinds of things are okay, so that they don't feel the need to be the car all the time. Or the helicopter.

If all the pretending is making you feel like you're disappearing into a larger whole (as though you're being eaten by some kind of giant machine planet with tusks), and you're frightened of being the robot and you're looking for a little help, I would like to leave you with this. It has helped me a great del over the years. It metaphorically held my giant metaphorical robot hand on a number of very literal occasions.

¡Atrévete! Atrévete a creeer que puedes continuar. Tú tienes el futuro en tus manos.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Please for treats?

We are treat enthusiasts. Panda and I, and in fact a great many of the people that we know. That face that he is making there. That is his 'Please for treats?' face. You can seen the expectation, and the uncertainty. He is a little bit sad, because he does not yet have the treats that he coverts, but the possibility for excitement is there. Who could say 'no' to this face? Not me. I can't. I've tried. It doesn't work. Things happen anyway. He is a very passionate bear. Especially so when treats are concerned. Also, I am weak.

Did I mention that we are treat enthusiasts? We consider this is a sub-category of our snack enthusiasm, which leads us to eat sliced bread in bed. In this role we call it bed bread (trade mark pending). (That's not true. There is no trade mark pending.) (We'd actually be quite happy if other people started using the term. Couples everywhere could bed bread together.)

Quite often our requests for treats are made to the ether, but occasionally this works. We had recently been discussing our need for treats when a friend asked us if we wanted biltong. Do you know what that is? It is like South African super jerky. It is South African super jerky. We're pretty big on a variety of jerkies, and have in the past been ostracised for our particular fondness for a number of seafood jerkies. If we had to pick a favourite though, it is probably going to be the meats. We like dried meats. They are like meat cookies. Kind of. Not when they're this big though. Actually, our pervious cookie experience would say that cookies can actually be much larger than this.

This was gifted at us by people who love us. It was home made. Not by the people who gifted it, but we're still incredibly grateful and more than a little enamoured. It is a lot of dried meat. Here is a comparative photo with Panda. It's a lot of biltong.

See how professional he looks. He has done this sort of thing before. I know he is focussing on the biltong, but he's only human. No he isn't. That isn't what he is. Anyway, the cherry-tomato is there as a backup. It is actually larger than most of the cherry tomatoes that I have known, but we only had the two punnetts. I was working with what I had. Abnormally sized fruit and easily distracted pandas. It's amateur hour.

We've eaten most of it now, because we are grateful for the treats that we have been given. Also it is dried meat, and it is delicious. No treat goes unappreciated. That is a rule we live by. You know. Just in case you were wondering whether we would appreciate future gifts of treats you were considering. We would. We also share the same neck size.

Just saying.

Monday 3 March 2014

Until we get our own

We're pretty keen on theme songs, but we don't have a theme song of our very own to keep. Individually or as a whole. Not yet. We aren't working on it either, because we aren't good at that sort of thing. We aren't a songstress collective, or whatever the male version of that is. I feel like I know those words. Anyway, we write songs and we like them, but they are predominantly about cheese, and ham, and what happened to that , and sometimes why we can't eat fruit flavoured shampoo. Well, we can and we do, but the problem is that that does not taste like it smells. That actually isn't a sometimes thing either, that is more of a semi-regular thing. We're persistent. We buy different brands just incase one of them has cracked it. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. This is our life. We're dreamers.

Look, if it turns out that shampoo is really not at all good for you, we'll probably take that shampoo tasting energy and find another dream to apply it to. Like our dreams of having our own theme songs. Panda and I. Probably the Octo-Hoff too. He doesn't talk much. A lot of that is as a result of me not really knowing a lot about cephalopods. I'm not sure he has a voice. I don't think octopuses make noises. Maybe they do. Not my area. We know the dragon wants one, but he's new. He goes last. In the meantime Panda says that you need to learn and sing this song with the following corrections to the lyrics. If you then want to record and post it to YouTube or another media sharing digital media hoard, that is up to you.

I gotta get up
I gotta get going
I'm gonna see a friend of mine

He's round and he's fuzzy
I love him because he's just

Rhu Bear, Panda the Rhu Bear
Cooking some lunch, tasty for tummies please
Rhu Bear, I know he's in bed,
Grumberly slumberly, dreaming of cookie trees

Lunch never ends for us
We're so surrenderous
We cease every now and again
But when we're alone
And there's nobody home
It is nice to call up for takeout with friends like

Rhu Bear, Panda the Rhu Bear
Wherever you go, oh won't you take your keys
Rhu Bear, I gotta be there
It's me and it's you
My silly old Panda the Rhu

You can see from the lyrics that a great deal of our life revolves around food, and locking ourselves out. That's me. I lock myself out. He sleeps. It's a division of labour. We do other things too, but none with such great regularity. Certainly not write clever theme songs. We do other clever things. This is about as well as we can do for the time being, and it will have to do. Our other options mostly include descending into nonsense, which we're likely to do anyway.

I should make clear that both Panda and I have other friends. It isn't just the two of us. We know and appreciate the company of some other people. None of whom are woodland animals, which is sad. We know a cat, but he is about as non-woodland as you can get. Well, some kind of exclusively deep sea dwelling thing would probably be more non-woodland than a domestic house-cat. There are probably a great many things that more non-woodland. It was a silly thing to say. Sorry.

I'm not sorry.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Not even space trains

I rode some trains. I like trains. I like to ride trains. Panda too. He likes it because he thinks it makes him faster than the other pandas, which is important. He is fairly certain that they don't understand the ticketing system and are thus incapable of riding trains. Panda also struggles to make sense of the ticketing system, but he has me to handle that side of things, so he doesn't really need to worry. We haven't seen any other pandas with man-pets who help them ride trains. Not on our lines.

We like riding trains and listening to music. That can be an outing for us. An outing that we quite enjoy. We like the longer rides. Not intercity. We do like those, but not necessarily. We like the limits of the Sydney Trains network, and I suppose they are intercity. New Castle, Sydney, and Wollongong are not yet the one city. A sort of New Syllygong. Not 'sort of'. That is what it will be. Not yet, but that'll come.

It's kind of a science fiction fantasy. The trains. Which isn't something we have picked up from the watching of train related science fiction, which is a real thing that exists if you want it. You know. If you you want it, it is out there. I can point you in the right direction. I can't go with you though. You'll understand when you see it. In the end though it has more to do with the music that I'm listening to when this occurs. There is a lean that it has, and you ride your train and the music sidles up next to your sense of wonder and points out the window and makes rocket-ship engine noises. That isn't always a metaphor either. Sometimes it is actually making rocket-ship noises, and I like that.

We have been relying heavily on This Binary Universe, Random Access Memories and Cycle of Spheres to score our mass transit futures. It's not that they are strictly speaking one hundred percent science fiction, but there is definitely a lean. They are not standing up straight thematically at all. They are leaning. Maybe they like it. I like leaning. I do also like leaning on trains, but for the long trips I prefer to be seated. I guess I still lean against the side of the train. It is sit leaning though. Slouching maybe. I'm not a posturesaurus of any sort so I tend to end up sort of strewn across things.

I am not entirely sure as to the mechanisms in play, but they are there. Playing. What's important though is that it makes me feel a little better, and I got to do that. Feel a little better.