Friday Photo Blogging: Darth Vader and friend

So, the Clarke Award ceremony was the opening event of the Sci-Fi London film festival, which is why we had Darth Vader and an assortment of other Star Wars cosplay types hanging around as we made busy with chicken-on-a-stick and alarmingly strong (free) Russian lager:

Imperial cinema-goers

Jokes were, naturally, plentiful.

‘Twas a fine night out, as I have mentioned already; when the podcast featuring myself and the good Professor Roberts being interviewed by Graham Sleight emerges, I’ll give it a listen and link to it provided I don’t sound too gormless.*

Writing about music

The Dreaded Press rattles on; CDs continue to arrive, reviews continue to be written. Every time I think I’ve managed to get well ahead of schedule something happens to knock me back again. It’s kinda Sisyphean … just with albums, and not a big stone.**

Album of the week

Another week with two strong contenders. HORSE the Band come very close with the Nintendo/metalcore mash-up of A Natural Death, but the prize goes to the fuzzy lo-fi LA pop of Nouns by No Age.

Writing about books

Hahhhahhahhahhha! Hah ha ha. Er.

So – none, then. 🙁

I know it’s a familiar refrain, but I’m scheduled to finish some reviews this weekend; the extra length of said weekend should hopefully make it more probable that I do so.


Things are gearing up to cruise velocity for me with PS Publishing, which is good. There’s a lot to take in, and it’ll be a while before the routines settle for me, but I’m pretty confident I can get things running smoothly and then work on enhancements before too long. So, yay me!

Y’all are subscribed to the PS Newsroom feed, right? Of course you are!

Next on the agenda will be contacting my individual clients and working out the minutia of our working relationships … in other words, doing our best to minimise paperwork and other tedium on both sides. It’s all fun and games, this freelance stuff, y’know. 😉

Books and magazines seen

The latest Obsessed With Pipework magazine arrived this week, as regular as the turn of the seasons. For high-quality home-grown contemporary poetry without the excess of middle-class angst and handwringing that can plague the form, this should be your first stop.

One fiction title, but it’s not genre – the Little Brown people*** have purloined my address from the Orbit gang and sent me James Miller’s Lost Boys. It looks intriguing, but I doubt I’ll find time for it any time soon.

And one non-fiction title from Prometheus Books: The Coming Convergence by Stanley Schmidt, which looks like it could be pretty interesting.

The Coming Convergence by Stanley Schmidt

Again, the time caveat applies here, but I’m considering farming out Futurismic reviews to other people … if you’re interested, please drop me a line.

Out and about

Another literary engagement appears on the calendar next week in the form of a symposium at Gresham College featuring none other than Neal Stephenson as keynote speaker – “Science fiction as a literary genre”.

They’ve sent out proper paper invitations and everything! This promises to be a super day out in the Big Smoke, and a nice preliminary to the getting-ever-closer Masterclass2.0. Genre lit-crit FTW!

Mobile computing corner

Asus Eee-PC running Ubuntu

So, I just have to take this opportunity to say how awesome my new Asus Eee PC is.

It’s totally freaking awesome.

It does everything I’ve ever needed a laptop to do, and is no bigger or heavier than a hardback book; it has no moving internal parts, and can thus survive being toted in a normal bag.

It’s small, it’s black, it’s pimped out with extra RAM and it’s running Ubuntu. I’m likely to go on about it for weeks to come, frankly. This is what mobile computing is all about … and seeing as how I can read PDF files on there quite easily, I think I’ve found my ebook solution.

So you can shove your iPhone in your pipe and smoke it, frankly … I sure hope that proprietary operating system tastes nice!

Oh, and if you’re thinking of getting one yourself, EfficientPC is the place to go for one all tricked out to your personal specifications. Good personal service and prices from a small ethical company. Recommended! I’ll be getting my next desktop from them too, I reckon.


Seven days done, yet again. This relentless acceleration shows little sign of abating, but that’s all good. To use an athletic metaphor, I think I’m getting past that pain barrier that running enthusiasts talk about – settling into my stride, as it were.

On the subject of athletics, though, some advice would be appreciated. By way of explanation, a snippet of dialogue between myself and Amiable Drunkard From Downstairs:

Me: Hey, man.

ADFD: Awroit, me old … gor, int you put on weight since you stopped smokin’, mush!

Me: Ha ha. Yes. THANKS, then.

Now, this coming from a man who is hard pressed to notice when he’s left the building without remembering to put a shirt on in the middle of winter suggests that my fears are quite correct – quitting smoking has lowed my metabolism, and I’m gathering some extra around the middle at a frightening rate.

I don’t eat badly; I cook for myself a lot, don’t eat a lot of meat, rarely get a takeaway more than once a week. My diet is not a problem (though I might want to look at aiming for smaller portions). No – what I have to face is that it’s time for me to get a proper exercise regime.

This is, quite frankly, a horrifying thought.

For an assortment of reasons (mostly psycho-social) I am pathologically allergic to all team and/or competition sports, and the thought of going to a gym is utterly repulsive. This narrows my options considerably.

So, what can I do? Your suggestions would be appreciated. Running doesn’t appeal, because it’s a dull thing to do in a city and takes too much time. Comments from Gareth P have made me consider swimming – something I was lucky enough to do a lot of as a child, thanks to living overseas in a hot country – but there must be more options. Please share!

Of course, the cessation of a certain weekly tradition would probably help curb my weight-gain, but as I said earlier in the year I’m not becoming a puritan. If I can’t balance eating food I enjoy with staying fairly healthy, then I’m afraid I’m going to opt for just becoming a fat bastard. I remain convinced, however, that compromise is more than possible.

And it is in that spirit of gastronomic endeavour that I shall venture forth to fetch the afore-mentioned Friday Curry Of Justice. Though I might ask them if they can make it a little drier than usual … every little helps, I guess. 🙂

So, have a good long weekend, folks – hasta luego!

[ * So, don’t hold your breath. ]

[ ** I’m not immortal, either. But other than that, the similarities are uncanny. ]

[ *** How imperialist does that sound? lol ]

10 thoughts on “Friday Photo Blogging: Darth Vader and friend”

  1. The Gresham College lecture sounds fantastic. If I didn’t have to write 14,000 words of academic analysis in the next nine days, I’d be tempted to join you. Stupid degree. 🙁

    Oh and the Asus looks stunning. Do you think it’ll take over as your day-to-day default computer, or is more a question of mobility?

  2. It could theoretically take over with the aid of peripherals (proper mouse, keys, external monitor), but it’s a combination of mobility and back-up.

    Oh, and of sexy. Because damn, that thing is sexy. 🙂

  3. Re: Exercise. I too hate gyms, running, and team sport. I also hate to say it aloud, but YOGA. I really can’t recommend it enough.

  4. Exercise?

    Personally, like almost all my fellow countrymen, I have a bicycle, and use it for commuting (2 times 18 kilometres a day), and I bike some 40 kms in weekend days, when it’s not too cold. Although I can understand that it might be quite less safe in the UK to ride a bike.

    Otherwise, get one of these: .

    Or stop drinking beer…

    (Ehrm: did I really say that? It must be because I’m on my second cognac…;-)

  5. Utterly off-topic to anything you wrote here, but I wanted to thank you for giving Julian May’s Pliocene saga a plug over on It’s been one of my favorite series for a very long time, and I wish more people had read it, or would!

  6. Exercise? Well I was forced into it by my back/ neck trouble, so if I have to do stretching/ walking/ running/ yoga/ sitting on exercise bike, I don’t see why you shouldn’t! Actually, there really is an endorphin release which helps. That and not being in pain. Chris does a certain amount of weight-lifting but I find that very dull. An ipod certainly helps with the running.

  7. Re: exercise. I know you wrote that you despise competition, but give fencing some consideration. It’s a great workout, it’s fun, it fulfils those D’Artagnan fantasies so many of us have kicking around in the back of our skulls… ahem.

    Anyway, I don’t know what the situation is like in the UK, but here (Western Canada) most clubs supply all your equipment if you sign up for lessons, and you can buy it all for about $150 to $200 Canadian (I’m guessing 75 to 100 pounds). Cheaper than exercise equipment.

  8. I walk and cycle everywhere and before the RSI used to do a bit of home working out… just stretches, pushups, situps and weights really. It’s pretty easy.

    Of course, being a skinny little fucker I don’t have to worry too much about weight gain…

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