Friday Photo Blogging: the mantra

Postmodern life is a confusing experience; certainties are fleeting, if indeed they can said to exist at all. This may go some way to explaining the utility of maxims, mottoes and totemic utterances; the enduring (some might say increasing) ubiquity of prayer and of song.

When the maelstrom of meaning and identity becomes to much for me to bear, I repeat a short simple sentence, a sentence which revealed to me the one deep truth at the centre of all the shallow lies of life:

Mister Cheap Is The Cheapest

Mister Cheap is the cheapest.*


Writing about music

I seem to be having a run of bad luck with interviews of late; I was supposed to have a chat with Ginger Wildheart on Wednesday afternoon, but his phone was switched off. Hoping for a reschedule on that one … which will arguably be a reschedule of the one that went horribly wrong back in December. Rock’n’roll, kids!

Manic punk-metallers Cancer Bats are playing in Brighton next Saturday, so I’ll be heading along to that with fellow Fictioneer and Easterconner (and all-round top chap and good buddy) Shaun C Green.

I’ve heard great things about Cancer Bats’ live skillz0rz, so if you’re in the area why not drop by the show as well? It’s a matinee (midday till 4), so public transport will be fine.

Album of the Week

Hands down, no contest — the sludge-pop-stoner-rock of Meanderthal by Torche; if you like your music heavy and hook-laden with a side-salad of fun, this one’s for you.

Writing about books

[Please insert your own have-you-hired-a-parrot joke here. Suffice to say that I haven’t managed my free time as well as I might have liked in the last week.]

Freelance

It’s been a busy week for me over at PS Publishing, with lots of fresh cover art to post on the blog as well as the production and delivery of my first e-bulletin newsletter thingy (which you should have received already if you are on the PS mailing list).

The learning curve isn’t too savage so far; the only shock to the system is another burden on my time management skills — which, as can be seen above, are still in need of the equivalent of a bodybuilding crash-course, which is exactly what they’re getting.

Maybe one day I’ll write one of those self-help books about time management for self-made businesspersons:

How I Made My Career And Learned To Prioritise By Taking On Way More Work Than Made Sense To Anyone!

Hell, I’d buy a book with that title.

Futurismic

We’re about to buy our first story with me as Ed-in-Chief at Futurismic, which means I have to get the contract and payment arrangements in place — tricky, but very exciting stuff!

It’s also high time I hired some new bloggers; one of the last batch has drifted away completely due to having things to do beyond the internet (hah! I mean, what’s that all about?), and the other two have real world commitments that mean they can’t post every day. I reckon I’ve got room for two or three more smart folk …

… so if you or someone you know might be interested in becoming one of the Futurismic blogging team, drop me a line via the Contact form on Futurismic itself. Cheers!

Books and magazines seen

The seemingly-perpetual F&SF subscription rolls relentlessly onward with the arrival of the June 2008 issue … which has one of the most uninspiring covers I’ve seen in a long while.

Held up against Murky Depths #4 (which slipped into the post-box mere minutes ago), I know which one I’d grab off the shelves first:

Murky Depths issue 4 F&SF June 2008

No new books this week, though a parcel is pending from Royal Mail** which I suspect may be my first care package from Pete at PS … boutique literary goodies await!

The Symposium

I took notes through the Gresham College “Science Fiction as a Literary Genre” symposium yesterday, which was an edifying event – as well as a chance to hang out with the critical wing of UK fandom. But thankfully Niall has a full report, which saves me the embarrassment of trying to make other people’s ideas more coherent by processing them through my own brain***.

[ Stop the press! This just in – Chris Roberson is jealous of us all for going, but makes some interesting points comparing Stephenson’s talk to the recent Clay Shirky “cognitive surplus” presentation. Worth checking out. ]

Although arranged by Gresham College, the event was held at the Royal College Of Surgeons in a very posh part of London (suits and ties a-go-go). They have a skeletal sloth in the hallway, which made me think of playing AD&D with a rather irreverent DM:

Skeletal Sloth

Dinner afterwards with many lovely people who I hardly ever get to see in meatspace. I drank too much wine; put it this way, it’s a good thing I didn’t have to go to the day-job today, as I’ve been paying the price. But it was worth it; a great day out.

[fanboy]Oh, yeah — you know your ARC of the Subterranean Press reissue of Stephenson’s Snow Crash? Is it, er, signed by the author? Hmmmm? No?

BECAUSE MINE TOTALLY IS!!!1! πŸ˜€ [/fanboy]

Coda

And so it goes; I’ve had a two-day working week at the day-job, but I’ve not gained that safety margin on my to-do list I had hoped for. More discipline required, perhaps … after a concerted binge of just not doing anything but writing review for a day or two. I want a week’s headway; that’ll mean I’m able to get my weekends back to myself and restore that “work-life balance” thing people keep telling me about.

Speaking of discipline, a certain lady of note at the post-Symposium dinner last night recommended gym-work and weight lifting in response to last week’s exercise question; the lady in question can apparently bench-press a surprising mass.

As mentioned before, a public gym is pretty much out of the question for me, but I may take her advice and speak to someone whose job it is to answer such questions. Luckily my circle of friends includes a personal trainer****, saving me the embarrassment of phoning around until I find one who doesn’t intimidate me.

So, hopefully by this time next year I’ll be a slim well-organised freelance superhero! Or something like that … I’ll settle for a busy freelancer who still gets to have days off for Symposiums without having to panic about his schedule, and who can tuck into The Friday Curry without remorse thanks to a sensible moderate exercise regime.

And speaking of The Friday Curry … would you look at the time! Hasta luego, amigos. πŸ™‚


[ * Taken in North End, Velcro City last weekend; some of my bandmates and I went to scour pawn shops for old guitars and stomp boxes, only to find that the oft-repeated assertion is quite true — eBay has killed off the pawn shop industry.

And even though I was quite looking forward to scouring piles of junk for hidden gems, I can’t get too upset about the withering away of an industry entirely predicated on misery. Sure, something else will replace it – but even so. ]

[ ** I couldn’t pick it up from the depot because it doesn’t have my name on it, only the ridiculous name of my domicile [[The Hall Of Mirrors]], so I have to settle for redelivery sometime tomorrow between 7am and midday … which, Sod’s Law states, will occur at 11:45am, with me having waited around the house unable to do my Saturday chores and shopping. Selah. ]

[ *** Like that’s ever going to work; even my “what I’ve been up to” blog posts have footnotes. Oh, snap! ]

[ **** Guy in question has biceps bigger than my thighs. This isn’t something I have any wish to emulate; I mention it merely for the OMFG factor. ]

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