Tag Archives: swimming

Friday Photo Blogging: Russian Circles

Here’s one of the bands I rushed off early last Friday to see: Russian Circles.

Russian Circles

Review is written but not published yet (goes live tomorrow), but suffice to say they were very good, as were co-headliners These Arms Are Snakes. My photographs, however, were pretty rubbish – bad lights, no pit, no space, wrong lens, no talent. The one above was a serendipitous find which sums up the, er, mind-bending vibe of Russian Circles quite well.

Also – double cutaway Les Paul? WANT. And his pedal bank was ZOMFGawesome.

Writing about music

Getting into a nice rhythm of incoming work with my two volunteers now. Makes for dull reading here on FPB, but makes for a much nicer life in general for me. 🙂

Album of the week

Because of the way the dates fall for these things, I’ve not actually had one of my own reviews go live this week. So once again we’ll take the route of bigging up an album from the archives that’s been on heavy rotation recently[1] – namely Alpine Static by Kinski. If you want to know where Aeroplane Attack get a lot of our inspiration, check that one out.

Writing about books

Steampunk antho review still not finished due to work circumstances[2]. Soon.


Preliminary phase of The Pretty Big Project is complete, in that the client has seen the sandbox version, likes the way it works and has a detailed list of cosmetic changes to be made. This is all good.

Finally got the artwork for That Other Pending Project earlier this week, too, so I can get to working on that sooner rather than later.

Plus I’ve been offered a wee bit of copywriting for the site of a local web developer, which is good news. But between discussing that and working on the above projects, time has been scarce (as always). Still, better busy with an income than the opposite, AMIRITE?


It’s been a pretty positive week at Futurismic, all told – some good posts from the team, Mac’s latest essay got a reasonable stream of comments without any serious crankery (including an appearance by Rudy Rucker himself!), and we’ve got two new stories on which the purchase process is already rolling, with another two waiting on rewrites. Huzzah!

Books and magazines seen

After the recent drought, a veritable influx! First, a new double-header review job for Vector in the form of two titles by Paul Melko, Singularity’s Ring and The Walls of the Universe:

Singularity's Ring - Paul Melko The Walls of the Universe - Paul Melko

A brief glance at a few pages suggests they’re YA novels, and if so I’m surprised not to find that being trumpeted from the jacket blurb (y’know, what with YA being the new black, the new rock’n’roll and the new science fiction all at once, allegedly[3]). We shall see. Singularity’s Ring sure has a nice sensawunda cover, though.

Here’s a little shocker from Penguin – Toby Litt has decided to take a crack at ‘classic sci-fi’ – which in this instance seems to mean Journey Into Space, a generation/seed ship story. More fuel for the ‘mainstreamers stealing our wockets!’ rants, if nothing else.

Journey Into Space - Toby Litt

My hardback copy of the first trade collection of Warren Ellis‘s Doktor Sleepless[4] has also arrived! w00t!

Doktor Sleepless: Engines Of Desire - Warren Ellis

And to complete this week’s incoming batch, Interzone #219:

Interzone #219

Plenty to read, then. 🙂


Good grief, it’s nearly December – how did that happen? Time flies when you’re having fun, so they say, and I guess it must be true, but a few more chances to breathe (and do things like read and write and play guitar for pure pleasure) wouldn’t go amiss. But I have plans afoot. Plans, I tell you.

And talking of plans, I think my unprecedented feat of managing fifty lengths at the swimming pool today means I’ve earned myself a Friday Curry – I’ve not had one yet this month, so why the hell not? So on that note, I’ll bid you all a good weekend – auf weidersehn!

[ 1 – Yeah, I’d have made an awesome local radio DJ for the night shifts. ]

[ 2 – Believe me, I’m as sick of mentioning it as you are reading me mentioning it. This weekend, hopefully. ]

[ 3 – It’s a marketing bracket, isn’t it? ]

[ 4 – If Transmetropolitan was Ellis bigging up Hunter Thompson, I suspect Doktor Sleepless could stand accused of doing the same for Bill Hicks. Or maybe I’m overweighing a couple of throwaway references… anyway, read it – it’s very good. ]

Friday Photo Blogging: you are now leaving the American sector

This iconic Checkpoint Charlie sign is not the original, but it’s a very close simulacrum thereof:

Site of Checkpoint Charlie

Just a few yards to the left – in what is arguably Berlin’s most tacky tourist trap – a fake checkpoint booth is guarded my imitation soldiers in period uniforms, American and Russian. They will pose for photos while holding large national flags; you can get an ‘official’ Checkpoint Charlie stamp for your passport for a small charge.

History is almost as strange as our attitudes towards it.

Writing about music

Still playing the catch-up game from the massive glut of releases due the week before this; however, there are virtually none due the week after next, so that should provide a bit of cushioning. Second regular reviewer settling in, as well, so things are looking like they should become more reasonable over time[1].

Album of the week

The prize this week goes to Toronto lunatics Fucked Up for The Chemistry Of Common Life, a sprawling psychedelic punk’n’roll album that never quite does what you expect it to.

An honourable mention to local popcore chaps Cut The Blue Wire for their début EP, too.

Writing about books

Finally got round to battering out a review of The Coming Convergence, which was harder than it should have been – principally because the book was telling me lots of stuff I already knew, so I didn’t find it anywhere near as interesting as I expect many less geeky people would do. High time I cleared some of my fiction reviews backlog, though… lucky it’s the weekend, eh?


As mentioned previously, Tim Lebbon’s site is up and running, though a number of minor issues remain to be ironed out. Web development with WordPress seems to be a game of compromises as far as advanced functionalities go; you can make it do [function x], but you may unexpectedly lose the ability to do [function y] as a result[2]. Still climbin’ that learning curve…


Just finished swapping contracts and paying for the next piece of Futurismic fiction, which is about as different from the last one as you could possibly imagine – a very sober and metaphorical piece. I’m looking forward to seeing what people think of it.

Traffic is still strong over there, but ad revenue is way down this month; I think a lot of budgets have been tightened in response to the stock markets doing their creditable impression of the Himalayas[3].

Books and magazines seen

Finally some actual science fiction material has turned up in the postbox! We have two Neal Asher titles from Tor UK: Prador Moon in paperback, and a hardback of his imminent collection The Gabble and Other Stories.

The Gabble and Other Stories - Neal Asher

Then there’s two second-books-in-series from Orbit: one from Sean Williams, Astropolis 2: Earth Ascendant, and the other from Marianne de Pierres, Chaos Space.

Astropolis 2: Earth Ascendant by Sean Williams Chaos Space - Marianne de Pierres

I really enjoyed the first book of de Pierres’ Sentients of Orion series, so I’ll have to try making space for this one as soon as I can. I seem to be cramming in more reading time recently, so maybe it’ll be sooner rather than later… if I could only banish this pointless need for sleep!

Oh, and yet more poetry[4] in the form of the latest issue of Obsessed With Pipework. Jolly good!


This has been the second week of my swimming regime; I’m pleased to say that I made it out twice again, and managed longer distances with less agony as well[5]. I even seem to be losing weight already, though that’s based on a visual assessment (as I don’t own any scales). Still, less spare tyre is one of the results I’m looking for, so that’ll do nicely, thanks.

I’ve also generally been a little more energetic and cheerful this last week, too[6], though that might also be due to the influence of my anti-SAD lightbulbs[7]; they did a great job of fending off the seasonal blues last year, and I’m hoping they do so again. Sure, maybe it’s a placebo effect; it’s still £10 well spent if so.

Anyway, there’s still much to be done before my day is over, so I’ll bid you farewell; it’s off-week on the Curry rota, so I’d best go make myself something comparatively affordable and healthy to eat instead. Have yourselves a good weekend, folks – auf weidersehn!

[ 1 – That was the sound of me touching wood. ]

[ 2 – I suspect this is more to do with my bodging than with WordPress, though the latter certainly contributes. ]

[ 3 – Not just corporate budgets, either. ]

[ 4 – They always come in waves, being as most of them are quarterlies or slower. ]

[ 5 – Still aching like hell all over, though. ]

[ 6 – With the exception of this morning, when I felt that given the option between getting out of bed or hibernating for the next few decades, the latter was hands-down winner. Psychology – it’s weird like that. ]

[ 7 – Oh, you can laugh if you like. But remember you have the bulbs to thank for me not killing you for doing so. 🙂 ]