The Arnold Paradox

Day 35. 84 pages, 41,330 words.

Here’s one for the Arnold fans.

I know you’re out there.

Yeah, I think this is actually what it says on the box. Enter a competition, go to the US, drive around with Arnold crushing shit in a tank.

It is at once the most spectacularly stupid and immature thing I think I have ever seen (and I say this as the father of a slightly over-active four-year-old), and also completely amazing and I would have been very tempted to enter, just for the sheer simplistic joy of it, if the whole thing hadn’t been over about a year ago.

One wonders how this man ever rose to a position of authority, elected by the people and for the people. And then one wonders, how could he not? How did he ever manage to mess up something for which he is clearly so suited – the captivation and delighting of USians?

It’s a paradox.

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Read my book, “Eejit”.

Day 34. 79 pages, 38,898 words.

(because punctuation matters)

Yes, it’s here.

And by ‘here’, I mean ‘coming on November 14th, here for pre-order now if you go in for the whole e-book thing’.

And by ‘here for pre-order now’, I mean

Eejit, available for pre-order now.

The fabulously talented Gabriel Gajdoš has been working tirelessly to convert draft covers into marketing material for me, as you have seen in other blog posts. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results and can’t wait to start splashing them around.

Anyone with an e-book in the house, please do the same. And if you are like me, and don’t have an e-book, then spread the word to your friends who do!

If you refuse to be friends with anyone who has an e-book, I admire your stance in principle but don’t want to let it get in the way of my book distribution.

Eejit, a tale of the Final Fall of Man. Get it (on pre-order) now, while the effectively infinite digital stocks last!

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Always nice to start the morning by losing MORE faith in humanity

Day 33. 75 pages, 36,861 words.

I was greeted by the following image on my Facebook feed this morning, the origin of which was this disgusting news story.

I could weep. I wanted to write about my book today.

Not pictured, anywhere: Humanity.

Look, I get it. I get that this is meant to be a powerful statement about the unfairness and the inequality that is a blight on our society. I get that it’s gross and hideous when people say these things about girls who have been raped. It’s heartbreaking that people do, and that people actually believe those justifications. It’s even worse that, a lot of the time, the victims come to believe it.

But did you ever stop to think that the phrase “lowering yourself to their level” maybe has the word lowering in it for a reason?

This kid – this poor fifteen-year-old kid – was gang raped. According to the news story, he was also raped before this, too, under different circumstances. Do you think anything – women’s rights, social justice, fucking GamerGate – makes it okay for you to turn this vile act into a little agenda-pushing commentary?

You’re wrong. In every way, you’re wrong.

Heck, for all I know the kid might approve of this message, once he gets out of the hospital. Maybe some sort of positive thing, a rise in awareness and a shift in our cultural outlook, can come of this disgusting crime. Just as I’m sure Jesse Metcalf Green intended. Indeed, if Jesse Metcalf Green knew this kid, and put out this message with the kid’s knowledge and approval and involvement, then I take back everything. That would be wonderful, if this victim could recover emotionally as well as physically and rise above this evil to show us all what actual humanity looks like.

In the meantime, I’m not seeing humanity here. I’m seeing people whose side I desperately want to take, people whose attempted point I still do wholeheartedly agree with, throwing it all away on a text-based act of pointless, ugly spite.

This is exactly what I’ve been saying about redress or payback not being a healthy way to counter this stuff. You think you can fight something big and bad by becoming it? Have you learned nothing? You think it’s okay to make this one about gender?

A child was gang raped.

Fuck your gender.

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A rambling letter from Monday Chucky

Day 32. 69 pages, 33,697 words. Okay, back to work. Book 1 has officially and thoroughly overtaken book 2.

Dear Last Tuesday Chucky,

I was puzzled by your note, which seems to have gotten lost in the post and ended up at my door, but I saw that it was from the heart and deserved some sort of response.

I can tell you, from what I understand and what I have also received from the man himself, that Saturday Chucky did alright. He sent me a note to that effect (I won’t go into detail but the basic summary was “tired, stinkin’ a little bit of Cuban cigars, but otherwise okay”), and since both I and Sunday Chucky were feeling pretty good, we can take it that Saturday Chucky opted to take the high road even if he possibly missed your plea.

All in all, I think the Saturday deal went down well. Out of there by about midnight, a quick trip back to perform a bagpipe solo for the birthday boy (who also did fabulously well, despite a few compromising photographs and neck-holds and way too many hugs, all in all it was a very responsible and appropriate performance[1]), a polite yet firm refusal of a second half-tumbler-full of prairie dog. And yes, while there were fine Havana combustibles combusted, and a fair number of ring-pulls in the pocket the next morning, it was all good.

[1] I have a theory about 30th Birthdays, if you’ll indulge me. I don’t think it is in any way an indicator of age or responsibility, so much as the 30th being one of the first Big Parties to which the birthday boy or girl is the for-reals guest of honour. You might think this is true of every birthday, but it’s really not. Most birthdays, depending on the trouble you go to in arranging and catering and booking venues, you’re really just another guest – and one who is expected to party that much harder than everyone else. Especially if you’re part of a drinking culture. Now, for the 30th, you’re more likely to have a wider circle of attending family and friends than other birthdays, you’re expected to be a “host” as well as a “päivänsankari”, and the general mood is more statesmanlike than earlier boozefests. Or maybe that’s just how it rolls in my family.

It was just as well it was all good, in fact, because I have it on good authority that Saturday Toop was a little bit of a party animal herself. Something about sleeping from eight until midnight, then waking up and thinking it was breakfast time, and refusing to go back to sleep until considerable periods of time were spent rocking her back and forth, then changing her poopy nappy, then feeding her a mass quantity of porridge and fruit mush. All of which I am reliably informed Really Fucking Early Sunday Chucky had to take care of, and which I dare say he took care of like a boss.

So. Your missive was appreciated, and your concerns – while valid – turned out to be wholly unfounded. Saturday Chucky pulled it off.

I don’t think for a second that it was as easy as Last Monday Chucky or even Last Wednesday Chucky thought it would be, especially once the Boston Mules and the Dirty Tea (Done Dirt Cheap)[2] started to enter the equation, but we did it.

[2] Sparkling wine (cider will do in a pinch), iced tea and a dash of Boston Mule. New drink for Bar Äijä’s. I’m so, so sorry.

Next step is doing it again next time.

Cave Pratum Canem

I don’t think anyone has really gone to the trouble of appreciating the headstone I made for the birthday invitation, by the way.


Monday Chucky

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Inspirational quotes

Day 31. 69 pages, 33,380 words. I’m guessing nothing written this weekend.

It’s another nothing-entry for now, I’m afraid. More about Saturday night tomorrow, perhaps – but I will let you know that I behaved and that I am feeling fine now as a result. I had very little time this weekend for anything at all, and am using the time to finish off the book print details and get the e-book ready for pre-ordering. Final edits taking place, with a couple of final typoes spotted by Mrs. Hatboy that my inestimable group of master-editors missed, as well as a couple of useful notes or queries about the continuity and plot that needed some work.

But now it’s done, and it will be going live soon.

Gabriel’s done a great job on the posters and other marketing as well, I will post some up as soon as he sends me final approved copies. I think this was an extremely lucky find for me and I hope it will be the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.

As a special treat and sneak-peek here on the blog, I have decided to make personalised quote-posters for each of the main characters, for people to share around. The posters themselves are still incoming but here are the planned texts:

My shoot-someone-in-the-facey sense is tingling.

- Sally, Chief Tactical Officer, Astro Tramp 400

Beginning post-mortem on what looks like at least two victims. Nurse, let’s have something from the Searching for Peace album…

- Glomulus Cratch, ship’s doctor, Astro Tramp 400

I’m sorry, can you fly this thing? I only ask because if you can, that would be great.

- Zeegon Pendraegg, helmsman, Astro Tramp 400

There’s a rational answer for everything, except possibly the question “why can officers not tell the difference between a historian and a chemist?”

- Janya Adeneo, head of science, Astro Tramp 400

Humans. Can’t live with them, can’t exterminate them until Phase Three. Oh hey, forget I said anything about Phase Three.

- General Moral Decay (Alcohol), Comms Officer, Astro Tramp 400

One of these buttons should be a Stop Things From Exploding All The Time button! That’s very poor planning if you ask me! Aw, but they did their best.

- Controversial-To-The-End, Chief Engineer, Astro Tramp 400

It’s normal to feel anxious, even afraid. We’re all going to die, aren’t we? Best-case scenario, we’re not all going to die horribly. But we’re in space, so that’s a really unlikely scenario. I’m just saying, it’ll probably be horrible.

- Janus Whye, ship’s counsellor, Astro Tramp 400

Damn it.

- Waffa, Chief of Security and Operations, Astro Tramp 400

I’m afraid I can’t do that, mate.

- Bruce, synthetic intelligence, Astro Tramp 400

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Official foretelling, take two

Day 30. 69 pages, 33,380 words. This is not great, but it is not as terrible as it sounds either because I also wrote a whole mess of stuff for the rest of the series, as well as deleting a bunch of notes out of the second book and replacing them with fresh stuff, so the word count doesn’t really reflect quantity. Oh look, I think I’m putting my finger on why metrics are only useful for limited purposes and then become bullshit.

So, tomorrow. Saturday. What do the entrails tell me is going to happen?

Hmm, interesting.

It looks like that flu-ey, clogged-up, cough-and-blegh feeling I had yesterday has been helped a bit by the lazy day I had and the long night’s sleep I enjoyed, but I still feel a bit below average.

Today was the big kirjamessut thing in Helsinki, and Mrs. Hatboy had scored a free ticket so decided to go along with Toop. This left me looking after Wump for the day. I had promised to go and catch up with Wendy for a post-Lionbride-separation lunch, and Wump was my free bus ticket so what the heck, we jumped on into the bus and went into town for a brief catch-up.

Couldn’t stay long, of course, because that evening was the big 30th Birthday bash for my esteemed lanttumies Vuta. I picked up fine Cuban cigars in town on my way home from work on Thursday, so we can celebrate in our traditional style. What a fucking epic that was, by the way. Turns out our familiar tobacconist in town had been paved over with the revamping of the new Galleria (I hope the guy himself actually got out before they steamrolled his shop into a Gina Tricot or whatever), but then I googled and found a Yelp review (whatever that is) for a pop-up shop elsewhere in town where they sold the good stuff. So we’re back on.

I think if anything interesting happened at the party, I will have to blog about it in my Sunday foretelling. Maybe Sunday Chucky can pen a quick letter back to Tuesday Chucky and let him know what happened. That might be a laugh. At the moment, the tea-leaves are being ambiguous and the crystal ball is showing nothing but snow (which may actually mean it’s going to snow, wouldn’t be the first time this week…).

My hopes that I managed to do as I was told and behave myself reasonably well are overwhelming my ability to see the future right now. I’m thinking I drank a little too much, and certainly ate too much – on top of a trip to Helsinki – but that I didn’t do too badly. And that in the end, we got home and got the kids to bed and I in no way went back up the hill to the fire station and continued to party until the ludicrous hours of the morning while Vuta degenerated into a shambling mess and I ended up caught on something in a toilet while trying to wake him up from an alcohol-induced coma. For example.

Did I use last week’s promise to do as Mrs. Hatboy said, and my flu-ey, clogged-up, cough-and-blegh feeling from yesterday, as excuses to not stay out too late tonight? Yes, I think that’s what happened. I hope that’s what happened.

Damn it, now I can’t even tell if I took the opportunity to stock up on bubble tea while I was in Helsinki.

I definitely think I should have, but the stars are shrouded by clouds this night.

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Class of 2005

Day 29. 68 pages, 33,083 words.

Yesterday, I lost a good boss.

This is not to say my other bosses are bad. I have way too many bosses, most of whom will inevitably find their way to this blog post, to create any kind of contrast here. But the reason I have so many bosses is that they all have slightly different boss-roles, and Wendy’s left some big ol’ boots to fill in at least one of these roles.

What can I say? She was a boss who had done the work, not only right up to her shift into management, but then throughout her time in management as well. She knew what was happening and she knew when to back off and let her minions do their stuff. She knew when the bureaucracy was pointless and getting in the way of progress, and when it was a necessary evil that had to be put back to sleep for another month by heroic sacrifice.

A boss who knows how to manage is a gift. A boss who knows how to stop is a blessing.

Wendy and I started on the same day, back when the company was a different company altogether, and not just in name. 2005, imagine that. I started my life as an office monkey and – quite by chance – started writing this blog at the very same time. And Wendy was right there, brightening up the place with positive vibes and … I want to say virility, for the sheer in-joke value. Despite the confusion it will cause almost everyone.

Many projects, many role-changes and many after-hours drinking-and-bullshit sessions under the eponymous bridge since then. The work’s been fine, for the most part. It’s not the important thing, though. It’s just, like, a place you go to earn your arbitrary society-points, man. The important thing … the important thing … is that we won’t run into each other at the office anymore, or on the communicator. That’s worth mourning, just a little. But the rest? Screw that. If I stopped hanging out with everyone who stopped working at my workplace, I basically wouldn’t hang out with hardly anyone at all.

So, yeah. I lost a good boss and that’s sad. I haven’t lost a friend of almost ten years, though. Because that’s never going to happen. You can take the bride out of the Lionbride, but … I don’t know, something something, loses a lot in translation.

So long, Wendy.

Bye, Wendy (October 2014)

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