kiev4am: (hee)
...is beautiful, loopy and intriguing, with a side of magnificent fanservice.

I'm Kiev, I know stuff. Spoilers. )
kiev4am: (Default)
Well, not really, but obligatory Oz reference for high winds blah blah. So we already had the Big Bad Storm Force Winds last week, with schools & colleges closing and me running about in the garden like Auntie Em putting everything not nailed down into the shed and bracing for impact. And it was pretty bad, with anecdotes of people getting hit by flying wheelie bins and video of wind turbines blowing up from the strain. Now it's doing it again with no apparent warnings; the whole house is creaking and wheezing, wind is whistling through the back door keyhole and banging the kitchen vent, and we seem to be surrounded by broken-down, flapping plank fences in imminent danger of acting like unhinged ceiling-fan blades. It's the sound of chaos, of random wild things flying out of nowhere to hit you, and I'm starting to understand why cats go crazy in this kind of weather. It's like a drunken tirade, scaling down and then gathering energy for one more rant. Being harangued by nature.

ETA - now the wind's playfully rolling the garden bench around. Nope, not going out anywhere today.
kiev4am: (underwood)
Third reel!

I have really enjoyed writing this story. And I think it's not bad. The title's apt; I may have a new, hard-to-shake habit. Thanks for reading, guys.

Read on )
kiev4am: (underwood)
The mayhem continues.

Read on )

Tumblr'd

Dec. 2nd, 2011 12:44 pm
kiev4am: (Default)
I finally got myself a Tumblr login, just so I could maybe follow a couple more blogs than the handful I look at already, just one or two, you know. I've found specific blogs via Google, but never really browsed Tumblr itself.

One endless rabbit-hole of internet time suckage later...

OH GOD SO MANY BLOGS. Book design and Soviet cameras and modern architecture and lots and lots of comic stuff aaaaand that's an hour of my life every day I'll be giving to this shiny new blog aggregator, then. Awesome.
kiev4am: (Default)
Random thoughts:

1. That was a way better film than I was expecting it to be. Mainly because of Michael Fassbender, who carried his own 'totally different movie' field with him into every scene, and then stole that scene.

2. Early 60s decor and fashion, fun. X-kids hanging out and showing off, fun. Evil Kevin Bacon, hell yeah fun.

3. Killing the black man and having the black woman defect to the bad guys in the same scene, less fun. Even for Hollywood that's pretty special. Two infinitely editable, non-essential plot points that do nothing but gratuitously alienate people and make it a lesser film. So much for the 60s civil rights allegory. And it's Darwin. Evolve to survive != die, ffs.

4. The good guys want Mystique to change her body or hide it forever and the future bad guy doesn't. Yeah, I like the future bad guy right now.

5. Oh, so that's where all the Erik/Xavier fic is coming from. I most definitely get it.

6. I want someone to take the scale, style, fun and actorishness of this film, throw away the crap from #3 and #4, and make X-Factor Investigations, The Movie. They can do that silly acronym thing and call it XFI if they want to. Get PAD on the script. It would be awesome.
kiev4am: (gah)
1. Finish rewriting book before I die, at the current rate of 15 minutes a day
2. Get agent in a shrinking, suspicious marketplace
3. Get book published in a see above
4. Retrain very fast and without it costing anything
5. Get new job with flexible hours, in an industry that isn't tanking, without having any experience in it, at close to middle age

It fits on a Post-It, it's totally doable. What?
kiev4am: (underwood)
Moar RicStar. 100% less gloomy than the last one.

Read on )
kiev4am: (underwood)
So, yeah... first RicStar fic.

Read on )

Vinyl!

Oct. 30th, 2011 11:53 am
kiev4am: (Default)
Watched this documentary on Creation Records the other night, followed by a bunch of 'Creation at the BBC'-type live music clips. The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Television Personalities, Teenage Fanclub... major nostalgia trip back to the late 80s/early 90s UK music scene, halycon days of hellhole flats, charity shop cardigans, Doc Martins, cheap beer, ten-Silk-Cut-and-a-box-of-matches-please and all the fuzzy-haired clueless intensity of my early twenties. And then we sat up way too late dragging all our old records out of the cupboard and playing them on the turntable, and it was awesome. You just can't make a CD or an MP3 sound that way; there's a boom and a depth to the sound of vinyl, a sense of real space and solid objects, instruments and crowds, that can't be imitated. And sleeve artwork, back when it meant something because it was aimed at a 12" square canvas that people might conceivably pin on their wall or have lasered onto a t-shirt. I'm so glad we kept all those ratty, dog-eared albums.
kiev4am: (Default)
Paraphrase of a talkboard comment that made me grin:

"Watching a scene with Smiley and Control I thought, I remember when they were Sid Vicious and Caligula. Crap, I feel old."

Aheheh.
kiev4am: (Default)
(I've been trying to finish this stupid review-effort-thing for two weeks. I don't know why, but I seem to fail the hell out of writing at the moment).

Read on, spoilers... )
kiev4am: (underwood)
I shouldn't want this, it's far too geeky even for me and the wanky reactionary old git part of me deplores the increasing dilution of the 'proper notebooks for proper writers' boring black Moleskine aesthetic. And then I go eeeeeee, Star Wars Moleskine!

http://www.thepaperie.co.uk/brands/moleskine/star-wars-collection/moleskine-star-wars-limited-edition-pocket-ruled-notebook.html

I think I'd need more appropriate manglings of Star Wars quotations on mine, though.

"If there's a bright centre to literature, you're in the notebook that it's farthest from."

"Aren't you a little short for a novel?"

"I find your lack of plot disturbing."

And of course, "Sorry about the mess."
kiev4am: (Default)
I've been trying to get it together to write a proper entry about films and stuff, and then another one about writing, because I'm aware my shiny new LJ with its shiny new good intentions has gone a bit quiet already. But I still don't have those entries finished and I'm getting stupidly, regressively hung up on writing issues so here, randomly, is my current desktop picture. It's been my desktop picture for a while now, because I really struggle to find something to look at so regularly that makes me feel as instinctively happy as this does, for no intelligent reason. I mostly think it's the joyous pitch at which it shouts COMICS! in your face; but it also seems to work as a visual antidote to dithering, colourlessness and nerves when I sit at the laptop. Sliding Albion, in the house.

Big noisy pretty comic page )
kiev4am: (underwood)
In general,The older I get and the more I write, the clearer it seems is to me that the sense of almost any piece of writing I produce is pretty much 200% improved straight away by the single, simple act of removing most of the qualifiers with which I instinctively tend to hedge, weaken or muffle nearly everything I say.


See?
kiev4am: (Default)
It's that time of year again. The other night I was sitting in the living room, minding my own business with laptop on coffee table, and a spider the size of a mouse scuttled out from under the sofa.

OK, it was dark and I'm a spider wimp and maybe it wasn't quite that big, but you know the type: the ones whose legs don't all fit under a glass, that make an audible flop when they fall on the floor, and seem to *lurch* when they walk, like their own body weight is dragging them down. I mean, this one was big enough to be visible in dim light against the pattern of a red Persian rug. And that's just the latest of four monster encounters this fortnight. I don't mind spiders in general, but I hate these hulking, scrabbly, lopsided beasts. Ackkkk.
kiev4am: (six)
Seriously. I haven't slept more than 5 hours a night for a week and my brain keeps throwing up little blank surfaces in place of functioning, and I've got silly amounts of what we lightly call 'real life' going on each day so my free and quiet time is almost non-existent - and I still spent lots of last night berating myself for underachieving because I hadn't done anything in my brief, befuddled free time except poke the internet. Note to self: when you're utterly knackered and distracted, it's okay not to be the poster girl for creativity. You dork.
kiev4am: (Default)
I was thinking about photonovels today.

In the late 70s and early 80s, before VHS was widely accessible, the closest thing you could get to a home copy of a movie was a paperback book of film stills, not quite frame by frame, but close, with comic-book speech balloons. I had one for the old animated 'Lord of the Rings' film by Ralph Bakshi, and I used to re-read it almost as obsessively as the original books and trace the artwork too (shut up, I was nine).

Imagine, no video or DVD; a book of film stills instead. I can remember this clearly but it seems as remote, sad and quaint as something from an old, old lady's reminiscences. Mulling it over, it struck me how quick the pace of cultural extinction is now - how many things from my childhood and early adulthood are so very, very obsolete that they feel like they belong to some distant history lesson, beyond living memory. So I thought I'd list as many of them as I could think of offhand; you know, for the archaeologists.

Red and black typewriter ribbons
Yes, children, when we typed things we had a choice of red or black ink. That's it. And there wasn't a Delete button.

Paying by cheque at the supermarket
It was the only non-cash option. Those little plastic debit cards just didn't exist. You had one card, but it was your 'cheque guarantee' card, and all it did was prove your chequebook was yours. Or that you'd managed to steal both.

The most popular playground game is conkers
This might be doubly obscure: not just 30 years old, but British. You thread a horse chestnut on a string, and then you hit someone else's with it until one smashes. If yours doesn't, you win. This time of year, you'd see every chestnut tree wrecked by school kids chucking branches into it to bring the conkers down, and the ground underneath would be scattered with green spiky chestnut shells. Now, they're untouched.

Pay phones are the only 'mobile' option
You need to call someone from town, you walk and walk until you find a pay phone that works. Then you queue up to use it, and it eats your money. And if you're in town - if you're anywhere but home or work, in fact - you're off the grid. Uncontactable.

Carrying a box of matches in your bag
When I smoked in the 80s, we all used matches. Scottish Bluebell, if I recall correctly. Having a lighter made you a grown-up, and we didn't want that.

People write letters
Not emails, letters. Bits of paper, envelopes, stamps. Put simply, you didn't communicate anything in writing that couldn't handle a two-or-three day delay. Okay, eventually there were fax machines, but only Rich People had those.

Cassette tapes
'Home taping is killing music.' And if you wanted to skip to a certain song, you had to fast-forward through all the ones between. Shake, rattle, squeak. If the cassette was old or your tape-deck was in a bad mood, the tape could catch in the wheels, back up, and spool all over the guts of the machine to emerge as tiny concertinas, unplayable.

Floppy disks
'Removable media' had to be the size of a beer mat to hold 1MB of data. But that was pretty good when your PC hard disk was 50MB maximum.

God, I'll stop now. I feel about 85 years old.
kiev4am: (Default)
I am SO stoked for this film. I'm a huge John Le Carré fan, and I must have re-read 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' dozens of times - it's one of the touchstone books I pick up when I feel like I need to relearn how to write again. He's just a wonderful stylist and novelist, in or out of the thriller/spy genre. I loved the original TV adaptation of 'Tinker Tailor' with Alec Guinness, and when I first heard about the new film I wondered how much of the book's dingy, harried, melancholy atmosphere would survive, or whether the new George Smiley would have the necessary gravitas and tragedy about him. Having watched two trailers, though, I don't think I'm worried any more. Wow. Gary Oldman is perfect, right down to the milk-bottle glasses, and the rest of the cast looks amazing - just like the old TV series, it's a roll call of powerhouse British character actors. And exactly as it should, it seems to happen only in tobacco-brown, smoke-filled rooms or on the rundown fringes of European cities. Can't wait to see it.
kiev4am: (fell)
Something I've noticed about the internet these days is that everything's supposed to be connected to everything else. Half the blog tools out there have options to cross-post entries to FaceBook etc., and both here and on Twitter it's a built-in feature that your friends list or followers/followees - all the Venn diagrams of your online relationships - are common property for anyone who visits your page. And I couldn't find out the results of the Crazy Writer quiz without giving the application read and write access to my Twitter account, so I'll never get to find out whether I'm William Burroughs or Philip K. Dick. Woe.

It seems like Web 2.0 is driving a sea change in internet manners, a reversal of the compartmentalising mindset I'm more used to online. Instead of using different tools for different purposes, with different identities to control and separate our various social spheres and activities, we're supposed to merge all our internet behaviour into one big fuzzy interconnected mass; moreover, judging by the way this access is implemented (via functionality presented as cool toys or helpful utilities) we're supposed to want that.

I don't get it.

Now, I'm not really Philip K. Dick, so it's not about paranoia. This is obviously happening because enough people do want their online things combined, collated, amalgamated. But that's just not me. I have circles of friends that don't overlap; I have geeky writing stuff that I prefer to attach to a faceless cipher of a username; I have interests I talk about online which my 'real life' friends don't share and would probably find eccentric at best. (Stop looking at me like that! I meant comics!) I like compartments; and if I look at the various unrelated and unrelating groups of people in my real life, the distinct differences in personality and culture that set them apart and make them awkward at weddings, those compartments seem more natural, more representative of real social networks, than the privacy-light, extended happy family my blog options are trying to engineer for me.

Or am I just being old-fashioned?

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kiev4am

May 2012

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