But never mind, maybe next year. I have managed a longer-than-usual effort for today on a New Year theme, despite being slightly ill yesterday. But if it’s rubbish, that’s my excuse.
So, belated Merry Christmas to any and all who’ve stuck with me through these things, and a Happy New Year as well. Hopefully 2011 will be a good one, writing-wise. I have at least one confirmed good thing coming, at least.
Anyway. Let’s get on with it. As ever, more short-ish stories are available if the New Year depresses you.
My Dork Adore review of the uber-festive Doctor Who Christmas Special. And belated Merry Christmas to y'all, by the way.
A karaoke video for the new R.E.M. song ‘It Happened Today’, featuring Eddie Vedder. This song is an odd one to do karaoke to, for reasons that will become apparent as it goes on.
I like this though, it’s strangely euphoric towards the end, and has grown on me all over the place.
Anyway, yes, some fascinating revelations about gender roles here, or possibly just prurient dribble.
And yes, today’s story is a bit angry. Sorry. I’m calm, honest. It was loosely inspired by this prompt I found on the internet.
The Merlin finale on Dork Adore! Can it possibly live up to a whole year of vamping? (and that's the last one, thanks for your patience...)
The first Dork Adore review of the Merlin finale. It's called "The Coming Of Arthur", and yes, I do go there.
I've been somewhat remiss in posting these here, so hear comes a spamfest: Walking Dead review on DorkAdore from ages ago!
New on Aaron Bir's site, some submissions that didn't quite make thecut for his 22 Stories project, including one of mine.
The final Sarah Jane Adventures review of the year is up on Dork Adore. Everything is coming to an end, it is so sad...
Another Merlin review on Dork Adore. The last two have been oddly negative, can the boy wizard recover?
A week after I hit the premiere, here's the Dork Adore review of the first Misfits series 2 episode!
The penultimate Sarah Jane episode turns out heroes even more into miniature Doctor Whos. Dork Adore review time!
The climactic final Dork Adore review of Spooks this year! And I find out that I've correctly predicted the future! Awesome!
The Walking Dead is here. And, as with a lot of new genre TV nowadays, that means Dork Adore review time.
Psychoville Halloween Special review for Dork Adore. It was great, check it out! (The show, not my review. The review's alright.)
I’ve been back and forth on doing NaNoWriMo in 2010 for some time now. It is always fun, but also stressful, life-consuming and tends to leave me with manuscripts that are based on decent ideas, but not really well written enough to do anything with. At least, not without ridiculously extensive editing.
Around two weeks ago, I concluded I’d probably try and get a chunk of words done on a new novel in November, but would have to play somewhat fast and loose with the official NaNo rules. I’ve always done this anyway, as I never actually finish the stories in the allotted 50,000 words.
So, I have made up some ridiculously complex personalised rules for myself. I won’t bore you with them, but it involves trying to do about 1,000 words a day, then read over them to make the writing less clunky. And if I miss a day, so be it. No cumulative backlog power-dumps.
This means I’m likely to end up writing… maybe 25 - 30,000 words at an absolute maximum? Which, by NaNo standards, is crap, but is a decent chunk on a new novel and might help me decide if this story idea is working. And hopefully they will be words I don’t venomously hate.
So, yeah, I’m doing NaNoWriMo very badly. Good luck to those of you doing it properly and if you wish to add me on the official NaNoWriMo site, feel free.
(Also, I’m so busy tomorrow with regular blogging/MA stuff that I may not even get my words done. On the first day. This hardly bodes well.)
Oh, and I could claim it’s a Halloween edition , there’s a bit of a horror vibe in there somewhere. If you squint and really look for it. If you want more stories, you’re in luck.
The Doctor guest-stars in Sarah Jane Adventures this week, making this a hugely anticipated Dork Adore review. (By me.)
I take a break from my usual Dork Adore territory of TV reviews to bring you... the BBC1 HD channel!
The latest Sarah Jane review on Dork Adore. If nothing else, check out the Facebook joke in the second paragraph.
My Dork Adore review of The Social Network, a film I was anticipating more than any other. (So, yes, it's not that negative.)
If you like this too and want some other stories, there are a few online here now, surely there must be at least one you haven’t read. Thank you to everyone who has read previous efforts and left nice comments, I do read and appreciate all.
A Dork Adore piece I wrote a while ago, summing up the various streaming TV options available. I'm quite fond of it.
A preview piece for Dork Adore about why everyone should check out the new Sarah Jane Adventures series!
New Merlin review on Dork Adore! Features a photo of an attractive actress with a knife! Read it or weep!
This week’s story is shorter than usual. More stories are available here, there must be at least one you haven’t read. Just for those of you who are seriously bothered by this shortness.
Firstly, another story of mine went onto the internet yesterday, it is called “Roof Puncher” and you can read it by clicking on this enormous link. Thanks to the webzine Suburban Fool for seeing fit to use it.
This week’s Friday story is a dubious homage to the Saw movies (none of which I have seen in their entirity). It is also another example of the decline in taste and decency that seems to take place whenever I am left to plan these on my own. So it’s not big or clever, but hopefully it is amusing. (And don’t worry, this isn’t a sequel, you haven’t missed the original “Staw”.)
It's Banned Books week, so I've been looking at some famously censored titles for For Books' Sake. First: Harry Potter!
A short comic, written by me and drawn by the very talented Aaron Bir. I actually posted this a long time ago elsewhere, but thought it was worth preserving for the ages on the new site. Click to make bigger.
Yet another Dork Adore piece about Merlin. This time, I review episode one. Next time, WHO KNOWS? (Probably episode two, though.)
My best man speech, in YouTube format. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, in the end. (Seriously, it could’ve gone much much worse.) A bit of echo on the sound, but hopefully you can just about make out what I’m saying.
Taken by my officemate at work, a rare photo of me that doesn’t make me want to heave up my last few meals.
(I am best man at a wedding tomorrow, so I imagine I’ll need to get used to being photographed.)
I very rarely bother sharing media and suchlike on here, but I nearly wet myself laughing at this, so here it is for the permanent record.
Man Vs Camera #100: Horsing Around In Traffic
A new Doctor Who Adventure Game takes place entirely in the TARDIS. It's exactly as thrilling as it sounds.
Man Vs Camera #99: Cat In A Box
Today on For Books' Sake, I pretend to understand poetry. Specifically, the poetry book Darling by Jackie Kay.
Not blogged for a bit. Sorry. But I did a funny cat picture, and here's a review of Vexed on Dork Adore.
Authentic news commentary by an actual cat.
Man Vs Camera #98: The Post-Holiday Pile
As you may know, I have been on holiday. Should you wish to view most of my holiday photos, with "amusing" captions, click here.
Man Vs Camera #97: Extreme Camouflage
Man Vs Camera #96: A Hex On You
So, since it seems rude to only do stories for the prompts that are helpfully based on my dreams, I have done one for this week’s prompt as well. Click below to read it. If you like.
Man Vs Camera #95: Penguins Gaze At UFO
Man Vs Camera #93: Cast Long Shadows
Man Vs Camera #91: Stag Tag
So, it’s rare that I post my attempts at fiction online, more due to nerves than a desire to preserve my oh-so-precious ideas.
However, the aspiring author-person Isabel Joely Black, who is always good company on Twitter, has been posting a weekly prompt for short fictions on her website, and this week used a description of one of my dreams that I plonked up there recently.
So I thought it was only fair that I take a stab at it, really…
Man Vs Camera #90: Vampire Gum Disease
In advance of the Scott Pilgrim movie, I try to persuade Dork Adore readers to give the comics a try.
I now blog for the nice For Books' Sake people about books. Up first: The End Of The Affair by Graham Greene.
My Dork Adore article on 3D TV, after I attended a demo last week. Actually quite chuffed with this one. Do read if you have a moment.
I could’ve just let the whole thing die, really. The internet is littered with dead blogs that the owners never bothered finishing, no-one would have noticed one more. Hell, even I barely remember…
Oh, and if you want to cut out the middle man, you can watch The Guild for free on their website.
(If peering at it is hurting your eyes, feel free to click it bigger.)
If you want to listen to said album, you can do so here on Spotify. Not sure if I’d recommend it or not. They’ve produced a rather generic bouncy-indie album, really. Loud guitars, bit of shouting; it’s well-made enough but everything is the same basic tempo and it makes the whole record sound a bit samey.
There is a change of pace in the form of Down To The River, but unfortunately it’s a bit plodding and rubbish. The title track and Sentimental are quite decent, as are some others, but they get submerged beneath the raft of similar-sounding tracks.
Shame, as I have a lot of nostalgic love for Feeder and do genuinely want them to succeed, but this really isn’t a great record. Never mind.
Man Vs Camera #88: Dust Bowl 2010
My Dork Adore review of the second Doctor Who Adventure Game chapter, which I forgot to link here when it was originally posted. Whoops.
So, yeah, I joined DailyBooth. Very briefly. Didn’t really work, for the following reasons:
- I do not suffer from the kind of narcissism required to post a picture of my face on the internet every day. Yes, my Twitter account could well betray a different form of narcissism, but that’s for another day.
- And, sub-point of the above, even if you do post a picture of your face, no-one there cares if you’re not a girl anyway.
- AND definitely no-one cares about my pictures of random objects at stupid angles.
So yeah, not really for me. My account is still open, mostly because it’s currently impossible to delete your DailyBooth account. Seriously, it says “for the time being you will need to just hold off” in their FAQ. So I just removed most of the pictures instead.
I may re-post the two or three Daily Booth pictures I actually liked here under my “Man Vs Camera” photography heading thing, just so they aren’t lost forever.
Man Vs Camera #86: Dial H For Happy Birthday
And spoilers, yes, spoilers, as usual.
The Big Bang
travel circles, the
story goes, from stone box to
wedding in quick time
And that’ll be all, for now at least. Maybe I’ll try and haiku some other TV shows in the future, I’ve quite enjoyed this. My longer Doctor Who reviews for Dork Adore are here, although the newest one isn’t up yet. But I have written it, so it should appear.
And, of course, the first, second and third volumes of Doctor Who haiku remain available.
If you’ve not been following these, the first volume and second volume cover the opening nine episodes.
Vincent And The Doctor
Van Gogh battles a
big chicken and his inner
demons, then we cry.
Cooks with burger sauce,
talks to cat, wears a bow tie.
Just a normal bloke.
The Pandorica Opens
is empty, the Romans are
fake, so what is truth?
And that brings us up to date. I imagine I will post a rather feeble “volume 4” on Sunday or so, giving a haiku for Saturday’s “The Big Bang”. In fact, here it is.
And now, the next four. Poetic spoiler warning still applies.
Vampires Of Venice
Alien fish beat
Twilight any day, Rory
Locked in a dream,
our heroes face the threat of
deadly hay fever.
The Hungry Earth
The lizards drill up,
the humans drill down, the two
never seem to meet.
Shit, does all this seem
a bit pointless? Better kill
someone just in case.
And that’s volume two. Once again, longer reviews of most episodes available on Dorkadore. Next three to follow, either Friday evening or Saturday morning, depending on whether I end up in a pub tomorrow night.
In fact, here’s a link to the next lot which I have edited in!
Anyway, here are the first five… (Warning: Possible vague poetic spoilers.)
The Eleventh Hour
Nerds, take a deep breath.
The Doctor is still quirky,
his hair still massive.
The Beast Below
covered in vomit and the
Queeny From The Block.
Victory Of The Daleks
Winston Churchill big,
New Daleks pretty massive,
Pond’s skirt much smaller.
The Time Of Angels
Angels are scary,
but more harrowing is the
prospect of marriage.
Flesh And Stone
The crack swallows all,
leaving only a sense of
On the off-chance you want longer, more rambling reviews, I’ve already done some for Dork Adore, which you can see here. And, yes, I’ll be off to watch more episodes shortly and the next volume of HaikWho is now available here!
Man Vs Camera #85: Patriotism Not Selling Like It Used To
The above embedded thing should play the new Ash single, ‘Spheres’. It’s one of their longer epic numbers, where they try to sound like a less fiddly/pretentious version of Muse. (See also: ‘Dare To Dream’.)
It has a slightly odd two-minute outro, but I rather like it. In general, Ash are on great form at the moment, and it’s rather a shame that relatively few people seem to care. Their new CD, A-Z Volume 1, features some great songs. (And, contrary to what some seem to think, it is not a best of. It collects all-new songs that they’ve released online over the course of the last year.)
Since… some time in November, I’ve been playing badminton in a Saturday lunchtime slot. This is good in most ways, since exercise is a positive thing and it gives me something to do when the…
Last night, I slept in patches. And rubbish patches at that.
Since we entered the hot spell of the year, it’s become a regular thing that I go for a “nap” at around ten and wake up in the middle…
A few years aog now, I worked in a call centre. As you could probably glean from the mere mention of the word “call centre”, it was not the most pleasant of jobs. Since then, I have encountered…
On Dorkadore, I discuss a new BBC3 medical-supernatural-horror pilot that you should definitely watch. Because I want a full series.
I have a free half hour at lunchtime, so I may as well do a few words on Bang Goes The Knighthood, the new album by The Divine Comedy. I always feel a bit awkward reviewing music, because I don’t know anything about it. Books/films/TV shows have stories, and I’ve got much more experience with those. Music, not so much.
Still, clearly I’m going to have a crack anyway; it just might not be as long as it could’ve been. If you have Spotify and want to listen along as you read, you can hear the album by clicking this link. More Spotify links are sprayed liberally throughout the piece.
Anyway, since I am a fan, I quite like it. It’s not Neil Hannon’s best work ever (I still prefer Fin De Siecle) nor does it contain his best song (which, obviously, is this one). Still, there are some great tracks. The Complete Banker is sniping at a rather obvious target in its lyrics, but almost makes up for that by being such a fun, straightforward song. And I desperately hope I Like becomes a single, because it’s by far the most immediate thing here.
Aside from those two, other tracks are less obvious and jaunty (so may not appeal as much to people who only listen because they liked National Express), but there’s a pleasant mix of thoughtfulness and breezy music, as well as the usual clever lyrics. See the title track for an example. Oh, and Down In The Street Below is an excellent example of a Divine Comedy ballad.
Like most Divine Comedy albums, it includes at least one song which I find a bit annoying, namely Can You Stand On One Leg. As a b-side, it’d have been kinda fun, perhaps. But making it penultimate track just diminishes the aftertaste of the whole album.
Anyway, that’s probably enough. If you like The Divine Comedy, this is another solid album. If you want a pleasant, hummable record to start the summer off, you could do a lot worse. And yes, I did write all of that in half an hour.
Man Vs Camera #84: Badly Taken Red Spider
I think I’ll stop starting these entries with apologies for not updating lately, because otherwise it’s going to get dull. For future reference, just assume my remorse.
Anyway, according to the…
Man Vs Camera #83: Inside Computing
An introductory video for Danny Wallace’s new book. I have pre-ordered a copy, I hope it is good. The video made me laugh, which is a decent start.
Man Vs Camera #82: Under The Underground
Man Vs Camera #81: Mr Hannon Plays To Seated Children
A review of last week's Doctor Who at Dorkadore, posted so late than I've just sent them the following week's. (Sorry...)
Man Vs Camera #80: Light Stage
Man Vs Camera #79: I Am Nowhere Near As Clever As I Think I Am
Man Vs Camera #78: My Amazing View
I’ve never heard a man insist his wife must have big tits, but I’ve heard countless women complain about a man’s height. What do you want, you whining harridans? A ladder in a hat?
Charlie Brooker, during a rant about a TV show, encapsulates a notion that came to me a lot during my thrilling online dating adventure.
Man Vs Camera #77: Broken Toy
Heroes season 4 finally finishes on the BBC, and I give it my Dorkadore review treatment type thing.
Man Vs Camera #76: Warmer Than Fire
Man Vs Camera #75: The Great Three-Way Junction
I considered writing a flat-out political entry today, in commemoration of the UK general election, but some tiny spark of common sense pulled me back. I If there’s one surefire way to offend most…
Ever since the general election was called, many many years ago, I’ve been meaning to write some kind of blog post about it. But every time I have sat down to do so, the words simply haven’t come. I’ve not been able to think of anything I can say about the whole goddamn process which hasn’t been said elsewhere, many times and probably with better research.
Even the media coverage of the election, which is more my area than the politics, has been discussed to death, then we’ve sat around talking at its corpse like mad bastards. But today is Election Day, which means its now or never for that topical blog session.
And, fortunately, I’ve recently seen this. That apparently is the genuine front page of the Sun news paper tomorrow. (And even more brilliantly, this was one of their stories of the day.) In fairness, none of the papers are exactly looking unbiased. And, perhaps foolishly, I genuinely find myself asking “How did it come to this?”
Seriously, when did we reach the point that they can report their biases as an actual substitute for news? Well, as often happens when I try to discuss news reporting, Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe made my point much better. In particular in this video, from about 2:00 to 4:30.
But the trends he mentions, newspapers becoming increasingly dependent on campaigns and “opinion”, has become horribly, tragically, brutally obvious in the last month. Seriously, I’m sure it used to be a game. You’d read a Guardian piece and, yes, it would be somewhat left-leaning but at least it wouldn’t be a fucking obvious polemic.
And yeah, The Sun has always had an agenda, but it’s impressive how they’ve basically remove any pretence at communicating information and replaced their front page with Tory campaign posters.
Is this what newspapers have to do to survive? Will they cut this out once the election is over? Has it actually always been this bad and I’ve only just now noticed? Do I know the answer to any of these questions? Obviously not.
Anyhoo. Don’t let the newsbastards get you down. Go out and vote, innit. Then wait and see what happens next.
Sorry, that was not exactly the blistering return I had planned. I got distracted once again, this time with various developments in my other writing cap as “aspiring novelist”. However, after two…
Man Vs Camera #73: Re-hatted
Earlier this week, I lucked into an early screening of the new Chris Morris movie Four Lions, which I gather is not on general release for another week. So, with my exciting advantaged position, I thought this was a good time to post a review on my blog. So, was it any good?
Well, obviously. This film has been knocking around for a while, talked up by millions as the next big topical controversial sweary Brit flick of the times. Basically, the press think this is the next In The Loop. And I fucking loved In The Loop, so I was excited.
The film itself is about a bunch of would-be terrorists in Britain, trying to plan their epic, world-changing jihad. Really, really badly. Farce ensues, and considering this is from Chris Morris and the writers of Peep Show, it does so with the exact mix of satire and cringing humiliation that you’d expect.
Yes, it’ll probably be done by the media as somehow “endorsing terrorism”, but all you need to do is glance at the actual movie to realise that almost all the terrorists are portrayed as being ridiculously thick. The only exception is the lead character, who is allowed to seem sane, albeit obviously misguided.
If the comedy had been less brilliantly honed, this film might have been disturbing, but it’s so expertly done that you honestly barely notice the subject matter much of the time due to being busy laughing. Even when reality does intrude, it’s in a measured way, and with jokes interspersed.
If you’re determined to be offended, of course, you will be, but I think we have to live in a world where we’re allowed to mention these things, joke about them and discuss them in an adult manner. Turning them into taboo subjects and leaving them permanently out of reach makes them seem mysterious, horrible and terrifyingly efficient.
In short, if you don’t see this film, or at least accept its existence, the terrorists win.
Man Vs Camera #72: All The Neon
It has been too long since last I updated this blog and I genuinely feel bad about this. The cloud of busyness I stumbled into around late March has yet to fully dissipate. <Insert predictable joke…
Man Vs Camera #71: The Skies Are Blue
Man Vs Camera #70: Window Man Scares Me
Man Vs Camera #69: Television Centre, As Seen On TV
Man Vs Camera #68: Fun This Way
‘Stealing Food’ by Jay Foreman. Because it’s funny.
Recently, I wrote a blog post in which I asked whether Good Friday was the most depressing day on the entire calendar. After all, it may have positive aspects, but they all happen two days later….
A while ago in January, we experienced “Blue Monday”, the alleged most depressing day of the year. I didn’t realise it existed in time to compose an FTBD entry sadly, though I did shove this up…
The Bible says this: Today, some years ago, Jesus was crucified by the Romans. A couple of them felt a bit bad about it, but not enough to refrain from hammering nails through his limbs and sticking him up on a plank.
Of course, his death doesn’t have the dramatic impact it might’ve, because we all know he comes back. It’s like re-watching the scene in Eastenders where Dirty Den “dies” near the canal. You can’t help but think of the fact he didn’t really die, just crawled away to hide in Europe for… some vague reason.
So, I am going to use religion as an excuse to talk about something which is a bit geeky. It is retroactive continuity, or the “retcon”, and how it affects our lives, or should do.
What are you talking about, Nick?
A valid question. Retroactive continuity is something that only really comes up when the same narrative storyline has been running for a very long time. So this generally applies to soap operas, long-running drama series and, yes, superhero comic books.
It is the fine art of reaching back into old stories and changing them, usually in order to serve the present day ones. Using the same example as above, an Eastenders writer in the early 2000s decided that Dirty Den needs to come back. So he had to exercise a bit of a retcon, declaring that poor Den didn’t really die in his very famous shooting scene, it just looked that way.
Other popular brands of retcon include the sudden unveiling of long-lost children, or the insertion of new characters into the background of existing ones to make them seem more important. (You know… “Eugene is new to the show, but it turns out he was married to the long-standing character Wilma for ten years. We just didn’t mention it before.”)
If you ever watched Buffy, the insertion of her little sister Dawn in season five is a particularly good retcon, because they don’t even pretend she existed the whole time. She’s literally retroactively inserted, in-story, by an enormous magic spell.
Fascinating. So how does this relate to Good Friday?
Well, Jesus died today, right? And then came back from the dead on Easter Sunday? (Sorry if I ruined the ending for you there.) Death is being undone. Is this not a retcon?
Well, actually, it isn’t. Two reasons: Firstly, it was quite clearly as-intended. It’s not as if Jesus died, then thought “Actually, no, this is boring”, I’ll change that. Well, not as far as I know.
Someone (depending on whether you believe the Bible to be literal truth, this could be God or it could not be), intended to bring him back when they killed him off. Despite which the average whining internet comic fan might tell you, that’s not a retcon. That’s called… a story.
And why should I care?
Um. No real reason. This was meant to be a Feeding The Black Dog entry, actually, but I appear to have strayed from the “advice” thing rather. Damn.
So, I started a “cynic’s advice blog”, mostly out of annoyance with the chirpy, Prozac-riddled sites that already existed to tell people what to do. I thought that I could provide an antidote to all…
Man Vs Camera #67: The Light Is So Big And My Metaphorical Boat Is So Small
Man Vs Camera #66: Gardening At Night
Man Vs Camera #65: Glass Blur
I have already done an FTBD post about it being my birthday, but what the hell. This is my self-indulgent personal blog, and surely this is a great day to write self-indulgent, personal dribble.
So, I am now 26, which means I’m… perhaps clinging on to my mid-twenties by a flattened tiny hair, but it could go either way. Certainly, another year and I’ll have to admit to being “late-twenties”, and then there could well be crying.
But for now, all remains normal. I am annoyingly busy, and will remain so until the latter half of next week. But at least I’m not bored. I’ll try and remember to do a birthday photo later.
Oh, and as I’ve been saying more or less everywhere, it is Waffle Day today! (In Sweden.) Nonetheless, make sure you have some waffles.
Sorry, folks. Once again, this site is getting a little beaten down by the stress and strife that is my “real life” schedule. Well, to be more precise, my illness over the past weekend. I usually…
Man Vs Camera #64: Paparazzi
Man Vs Camera #63: Field Of Play
Man Vs Camera #62: I Am So Tired
(Yes, I failed to do one of these yesterday. That does piss me off a bit. In my defence, I suspect I am a tad ill. Never mind, will press onwards.)
Man Vs Camera #61: Today I Slept
Man Vs Camera #60: Comic Deliveries
Man Vs Camera #59: A Big Mess
Man Vs Camera #58: Half Of The Moon
If you want to boost your St Patrick’s Day not-really-Irishness, the above is a link to a Spotify playlist I’ve put together featuring 29 of my current favourite songs by the Pogues (and a couple by “related artists”). Enjoy. Maybe.
This time, it’s St Patrick’s Day, a chance to celebrate all things Irish. Which, in practise, usually seems to mean, um, green-ness. And leprechauns. And drinking.
Unfortunately, I’ve covered …
Man Vs Camera #57: Suddenly, Sunshine