December 10th, 2016

There She Is


The David Bowie statue Kickstarter I mentioned a month or so ago succeeded in its target, putting on a truly impressive sprint - the project was around £63K on Saturday, £73K on Sunday, and Monday saw them breach £103K. =:D I'm really looking forward to seeing the final work once it's installed. Ha, just look at that final sprint!

Everyone knows about the original Humble Bundle. This one, however, is special. =:D Imagine you're Neil Gaiman. You've got some really nifty books, comics, and scripts long, long out of print, sometimes only ever appearing in an obscure small press title, or never even intended to be published. So that's what this is all about:

I'd put into the Humble Bundle all the rare things we could find.

Books that were long out of print, stories and such that collectors would pay hundreds of dollars for, obscure and uncollected comics and pamphlets and magazine articles. Even the things I am still vaguely embarrassed by (like the Duran Duran biography, a hardcover copy of which, as I said, can set you back thousands of dollars these days, if you can find one).

Books which have been out of print for 30 years, like GHASTLY BEYOND BELIEF, a collection of quotations from the strangest SF and Fantasy books and movies that Kim Newman and I made when we were 23 and 24 respectively. Things that were absolutely private and never before sold, like LOVE FISHIE, a book of poems and letters from my daughter Maddy (aged 8) to me, and from me back to Maddy, that was made into a book (with help from my assistant the Fabulous Lorraine) as a gift for my 42nd birthday.

Two long out-of-print books from Knockabout Comics: OUTRAGEOUS TALES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT and SEVEN DEADLY SINS, with stories written and or drawn by me, Alan Moore, Hunt Emerson, Dave Gibbons, Dave McKean and a host of others.

Rare out-of-print comics stories by me and Bryan Talbot, by me and Mark Buckingham, even by me and Bryan Talbot and Mark Buckingham.

There would be small-press short story and suchlike collections like ANGELS AND VISITATIONS and the LITTLE GOLD BOOK OF GHASTLY STUFF containing stories that went on to win awards and be collected in the more big, official collections (Smoke and Mirrors, etc), and stories no-one has seen since, not to mention non-fiction articles, like the one about the effects of alcohol on a writer, or the one where I stayed out for 24 hours on the streets of Soho, that are now only whispered in rumours.

There would even be a short story of mine, “Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle”, published in 1985, that is so bad I've never let it be reprinted. Not even to give young writers hope that if I was that awful once, there is hope for all of them.

I really need to get some of the recent Bay photos up.. ^_^; In the meantime, here's one that just tickles me - it's that fabulously brisk stride both the dog and their human are showing. Is it not a minor delight? ^_^

Saturday saw me attempting to make sushi. ^_^; I started with the correct rice (defeated by a GPRS-only signal inside the supermarket, I was saved by a display helpfully next to their in-store sushi preparers with various relevant supplies, including a box marked SUSHI RICE), then polished it four times, and left it to sit for half an hour in just enough water to cover it, plus a bit. Surprisingly, to me at least, it continued to absorb quite a bit of water in that time, so I topped it up, and carefully oversaw it for about 15 mins cooking, turned it out onto a big plate, sprinkled rice seasoning on, turned that around gently, and left it to cool, covered by some film. It proved quite difficult to resist snacking away on sticky rice balls. =:9 And then it came time for the sushi itself. ^_^; In the end, I made five rolls, with the first two being unfortunately rather scruffy, as my usual large knife simply wasn't cutting it, literally. Mercifully, the roomie came to the rescue with a sharpening stone he'd had tucked away, which made for actually quite tidy cuts. ^_^ I think the one starring tempura king prawns perhaps worked the best, with that lovely bit of crunch adding that extra texture.

It appears that the Horizon following up on Fleischmann & Pons' "cold fusion" experiments, or rather, a few groups who'd set about similar experimentation themselves, was indeed on the right track: there is indeed a legitimate phenomenon at work, even if inadequately understood.

Interesting.. a little while back, Napster's founder was floating the idea of "Screening Room", a service offering film rentals for home viewing while they're still playing in cinemas. Of course, the studios have been reluctant, with rampant paranoia over piracy. It now appears Apple's in similar discussions, though again, encountering the same reluctance. Personally, I'd love to see a new film at home - multiplexes lack any magic for me, whilst at home, there's no risk of others talking or taking phone calls, and the food and drink is much, much better. =:) The kind of cinema that does pull me in is - well, there's the fabulous 1920s movie palace of the Castro Theatre, which until a couple years ago, had its mighty Wurlitzer organ emerging from the floor, for a ten minute performance before the screenings. Or even the Little, in Bath, crammed into a Georgian city center terrace, brimming with atmosphere.

I so regret not recording the doorbell a couple weeks ago. The battery in the bell box was evidently giving its last gasps, with absolutely wonderful musical results. Normally, it's just an electronic chime of the eight notes of (yes, I know it's not the actual name of the clock) Big Ben. Then, however, it took on a new dimension, with the notes randomly warbly wavering up and down.

Has anyone seen Long Way North? It's a French/Danish animated feature, about a young Russian aristocrat who embarks on a long journey to find her grandfather. It's available on DVD, or in HD/SD from iTunes UK (English voicework only) for £10, or iTunes US ($13, coming Jan 3 2017).

Health insurance company Vitality has an interesting angle on getting an Apple Watch series 2 for £69 - the caveat is you must keep earning "activity points". It's structured as an interest free loan over 24 months - if you're a complete couch potato, you pay £12.50 that month, with a discount of £2.50, £5, £7.50, £10, or £12.50 applied depending on how many points you earn that month. The number of points earned for different activity levels are listed over here.

The BBC's confirmed the Doctor Who special's time: 5.45pm on Christmas Day, and airing the same day on BBC America, and on the 26th in Australia, on ABC. Thinking of festive feasting, do you have any thoughts yet on what the centerpiece of the meal will be? I think we're leaning toward duck - it's a more traditional bird than turkey anyway, and vastly tastier without having to resort to brining. That said, if you do go with turkey, I can highly recommend brining to help bring it extra flavor very easily - just sit the bird in a bath of water, salt, and whatever herbs you care to add (rosemary, garlic, and pepper, f'rex) for a couple days in the fridge.

Zootopia was just given a prestigious gong: best animated film of 2016, by the New York Film Critics Circle.

There may be an Invader Zim TV movie on the way. =:D

Courtesy of a friend over on SLU, a rather fun track from an Iqaluit based band, The Jerry Cans: Northern Lights - and this time, the same track to a different video, in Inuktitut. It's sort of folk music-ish, but don't let that put you off. =:) It's a brilliantly vibrant track, in whichever tongue you choose. ^_^