Yup, feels like a Monday

Ugh. I don’t normally get Monday-feeling, but today it’s a definite, severe case.

I didn’t get up quite so early today as I normally do, but it was still reasonably early because I wanted to try to get some writing done before work. So much to do this week, and so much uncertainty. And this cold is just adding a whole new layer of existential angst to it.

Chilly weather has descended on us and I went to sleep with the window open, too few blankets on, then a bit too much walking in a T-shirt, and it all just added up. Now I have that cottonmouth, sore-throat, all-night-spent-mouth-breathing stuffed-upness that doesn’t even have the decency to become a full-on fever. Not that I could afford to take time off sick this week anyway, unless I was straight-up dying. Stupid everything. For once, the home office works against me because I can’t claim consideration for my co-workers in not wanting to contaminate them.

Wah, wah, wah.

I did hope to have something interesting to talk about today, but it looks like snivelling – both literal and figurative – is what you’re getting. Oh, and I’ll also throw down the more 2001-inspired book cover draft by pipper-SVK, aka. Gabriel Gajdoš. As you can see from his Deviantart page, there’s plenty of potential for cool developments as future covers come out.

Astro Tramp 400 (1c). Cue "Also sprach Zarathustra".

Plus obligatory JJ Abrams lens flare joke.

But for right now, before I head off to work, I think I will just have to reiterate:


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The Sunday randoms

Really not much to report this weekend, and this coming week is going to be a hideous pain one way or another. Not looking forward to it at all. But at least, hopefully, something will happen and some shit will begin to get itself achieved at long last. Sheesh.

So, this weekend is just a little compilation of utter randomosity that I have a vague hope you might enjoy.

The other day I was out walking – I do that from time to time – and I found some weird shit on the side of the road. Maybe it’s better if I let the thought and development process that ensued, and played out on Facebook, just stand as-is here on the blog.

True story. Maybe.

I don’t know if there’s a story in it. But the idea of a backwards-aging PC is compelling, especially after its backwards-aging owner vanishes into pre-foetal nothingness and the PC, with no key user to control its increasingly-malevolent deeds anymore, continues to grow into ’70s, then ’60s vastness, and finally blasts into nonexistence as an ancient and cynical difference engine of three hundred trillion punch cards, leaving behind an enslaved human race.

What? It could happen.

I will, once again, leave you with Old Spice Guy wisdom.

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The Saturday randoms

Well, yesterday I paid for my book cover, so (although the final version is still coming) I feel justified in sharing some spoiler-trimmed sneak peeks with you, my exclusive audience.

Astro Tramp 400 (1a)

These, of course, are works in progress. And only partials.

Astro Tramp 400 (1b)

But I think they’re neat.

The final cover will be a slight adaptation, but along these lines. Nice and generic for the time being, I’m sure you’ll agree, but this is the beginning of a long series and we’re just getting started, oh my yes.

The book itself will be coming soon, so please stay tuned. I have some fun and fancy little ideas for promoting it and I’m going to want your help.

In other random news, it looks like a happy Dependence Day for Scotland. Better luck in another couple of hundred years, now in the meantime back into mum’s basement with Australia. Off you go.

I’ll leave you with some Old Spice Guy wisdom.

You’re welcome.
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles delivers exactly what it promised

An abysmal, abysmal movie.

Wait for the DVD, or better yet, just wait for the Everything Wrong With parodies that should be on their way. Even going into this movie thinking “the old movies were pretty damn bad, don’t expect this to be any better and besides, you only ever really got into the Turtles toys when you were a kid, not the cartoon or movies anyway” didn’t adequately prepare me.

Shocking writing, gaping plot holes, nonsensical characters, inconsistent in-universe laws of physics, 6-foot turtles who apparently weigh hundreds and hundreds of tons and can throw shipping containers when it doesn’t serve the plot for them to be weaker … this movie has it all. The only good thing about it was hanging out with my friends and eating Whoppers beforehand.

Okay, I’m being a little unfair. Here’s some of the up-sides to the movie:

1) Cute shout-outs to original live-action movies of the ’90s, like Splinter getting a slice of pizza in the face, and the cartoon series of the ’80s, like the TMNT-theme car horn at the end.

2) Some witty banter. Some. Michelangelo basically carried the movie in this regard, as per usual … but you expect a certain amount of witty banter in an action movie, and what we got wasn’t really enough to count as an up-side unless I’m being extremely charitable.

3) Will Arnett (Batman in The Lego Movie) having his car destroyed by the Turtles’ “bass”. That was funny.

That’s about it. I know some people were pretty happy with the look of the Turtles themselves, and the way they were choreographed and rendered. Others (for example Mrs. Hatboy, who blessedly did not come to watch this movie with me) were dead-set against them. I was neutral in this regard, I didn’t object to them and I wasn’t overwhelmed by them. As a re-imagining, they were pretty fun in a steampunk / sewerpunk sort of way. Donatello (my favourite, I actually had a pet turtle[1] named Donatello when I was a kid) maybe didn’t need to be quite so massive a geek-stereotype, but whatever. They looked okay. Actually, I hate to say it but they looked more real than Megan Fox, who seems to be surgically transforming herself into Michael Jackson as we speak.

[1] It was in fact one of these, a Southwestern snake-necked turtle, and like pretty much every animal in Australia that isn’t a cat, rat or cane toad, it’s protected. Wikipedia describes them as “near-threatened”, I know that technically we weren’t allowed to keep them as pets. Donatello was awesome, though.

It says something that the biggest laughs seemed to be coming from the four or five people in the audience (of perhaps twelve people in total) who hadn’t seen the trailer. And the only “plot twist” in the movie was spoiled in the trailer too.

And the less said about the acting, the better. Arnett did his best, but the movie was definitely carried by the Turtles themselves. Which I suppose is as it should be. It was a fun night out, and a few laughs but I’m afraid just not an enjoyable movie for me. I wouldn’t demand my €10 back (that would be stupid), but paying that price definitely entitles me to lay out my criticisms.


That’s better. No, literally, this is better.

In happier news, IMDB and other sources finally seem to be reasonably sure a Deadpool movie is going to happen. I’ll still believe it when I see it, but here’s to hoping it’s not a giant screw-up.

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Now, look here

Just take a look at this. I stumbled onto it while free-associating on YouTube, and I need to know if it’s for real. USians, please help me out here.

I think I just lost SAN.

See, this is why I have a hard time accepting USian atheists’ aggression, when I should in fact be working harder to understand the ludicrous version of organised religion they’re struggling against. Again, guys, I’m sorry. European atheists really don’t know how lucky they are.

It’s sort of like a Japanese guy being vocally against nuclear power. You think you understand the full extent of it. Okay, I know, Japan was bombed in the Second World War, it was a dark chapter in human history and I have nothing but horrified sympathy for the victims – both of the bombings themselves and of the effects that continue to the present day. It’s awful, a massive cultural wound and a global shame. And yet, nuclear power is pretty good, isn’t it?

What’s that you say, Japanese guy?

Oh right, shit, you had that tsunami and the Fukushima disaster, that’s bad too, I’m really sorry. Yeah, in that case I guess I can sort of understand how you’d be against…

Godzilla attacks Tokyo!

What the actual fuck?

And then you see a news story about Godzilla destroying Tokyo.

And that is essentially what US Christianity is becoming to the rest of the world. Extreme idiocy so amazingly overblown that we have a hard time even believing it’s for real. The reality has met the satire and the exaggeration and the joke and it has apparently blown them all out of the water. Bibleman at least seems to be real, and that is funny until you realise that this means real-real – it’s actually on television and kids are watching it and that guy actually got into that costume and a writer was actually commissioned to come up with that premise and those scripts. Then it becomes horrifying.

So yeah, when you fight back against hardcore insanity, sometimes you’ll look a little nutty to the people who have only ever railed against a bit of harmless eccentricity or tax-dodge.

And it’s going to be very difficult for you to see that the insanity you’re fighting is not the norm. You’re dealing with a fundamentalist minority. A lunatic fringe.

But yeah. Do what you can, I guess.

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The Ramen Burger, Part V

I stepped in through the front door, closed it, leaned back against it for a moment, and doffed my sunglasses in the gloomy safety. Only then did I let out a little sigh, and mop the sweat off my face with a handkerchief.

Creepy confronted me in the kitchen.

“You went to that awful meat place again, didn’t you?”


“That awful place of meat,” he accused, pointing at me with a trembling finger, “the one with the name that makes me queasy, in the Quantum Strings Mall.”

“Fried Cheese Fridays?” I asked, and was warmed to see Creepy grow somehow paler than he already had been.

“You went there again, didn’t you?”

“What do you mean, ‘again’?”

“You were there yesterday.”

“I … that was their old menu.”

“And it still wasn’t a Friday, was it?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“With a name like that, to go there on any day other than a Friday is just tempting fate.”

I couldn’t exactly argue with that, after what had just happened. “Tomorrow’s Friday,” I said. “So maybe I should go there, and undo all my bad mojo.”

“Aha!” Creepy waved his finger at me again. “So you incurred bad mojo,” he lowered his hand, suddenly remembering what I’d been in the Quantum Strings Mall for anyway. “Did you meet the Hanging Barrister at the Java Update?”

“It was the Hanging Barista,” I said, “and no. He didn’t show up today either.”

“So what’s the matter with you? Why are you all out of breath and greasy, and what are those squiggly welts all over you?” he squinted, then looked at me sombrely. “Did you go to Chip Wong’s House of Noodles without me again? Because I told you, I’ve given him strict instructions to pelt you with-”

“No, I didn’t go to Chip’s,” I said, “and I told you before, that place is vile and I only went there that one time because you said there were ninjas.”

“And there were,” Creepy said triumphantly, “and they were in Big Jim’s Hiking Goods And Lumberjackery. You just thought they were in the noodle bar because you’re racist.”

“Don’t start that again,” I warned. Creepy tsked. “Anyway,” I went on, “you’re not far off. I got in a bit of a fight with a ramen creature from Opposite Land.”

Creepy listened as I told him the story of the ramen burger.

“Just goes to show,” he said, “noodle burgers are bad news no matter what universe you’re in,” I nodded agreement to this bit of wisdom, because it didn’t seem worth arguing the finer points of gastronomy with a vegetarian. “How did you defeat it, though?”

“Oh,” I said idly, examining my nails, “that was easy.”


“In Opposite Land, Hatboy doesn’t eat stuff.”



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The Ramen Burger, Part IV

Another thing I liked about American-style eateries was that they weren’t exactly fast food, but they produced their meals considerably more promptly than your hoity-toitier restaurants. And so it was, less than fifteen minutes later, I was looking down at my first ever commercially-produced ramen burger.

There was something very wrong with what I was seeing, and it took me all of about two seconds to put it to words. The ramen burger had buns made out of noodles.

Now, even the laziest of introspection will tell you this is wrong. We don’t call hamburgers breadburgers, do we? We don’t call a cheeseburger a cheeseburger because its bun is made of cheese. We don’t call a nacho burger a nacho burger because its bun is made of nachos. A burger is named after what’s inside, except in weird cases like the rye burger or the sourdough burger, and we’re not going to get run over by that crazy train.

No, there was most certainly something deeply and profoundly wrong with this picture, and I realised – still in my crystallised moment of frozen, instinctively-revolted contemplation – that the backwards-named incorrectitude of the ramen burger’s description and assembly was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The tip of the iceberg, and the vital clue as to the mystery of the awful thing’s existence.

It was, I realised with a sinking sensation, an escapee from some sort of nightmarish Opposite Land universe, where ice cream was hot and gumbo was smooth and burgers were sandwiched between two wads of whatever they were named, and I just shuddered to think what other horrors had crept through whatever portal this creation had used to infiltrate our unsuspecting reality.

Unaware of my lips drawing back from my teeth, I reached for a knife as the ramen burger – its deception unveiled and its cover blown – uncoiled its noodles and wriggled them ferociously towards me.

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