29 March 2010

YouTube - C2C DMC 2003

28 March 2010

Windows Alt Codes for Symbolic Hilarity

A full list of Windows Alt Key Codes can be handily found at some university website, I can't even deciper the damn thing.  Anyway, bellow you can find listed the ones that i was actually looking for when I found this site.

  • ©     Copyright symbol     0169
  • ®     Registered symbol     0174
  • ™     Trademark     0153
  • •     List Dot     0149
  • §     Section Symbol     0167
  • †     Dagger     0134
  • ‡     Double Dagger     0135
  • ¶     Paragraph Symbol (Pilcrow)     0182

26 March 2010

Storm Photo from Monday 21/3/10


I took this photo during that big storm that almost killed everyone in Perth. 4sec exposure, 64iso film setting, lucky shot.

24 March 2010

Paul McAuley - Eternal Light

The continuation of the story of DorthyYoshida from 400 Billion Stars, this massive space opera takes us to the centre of the galaxy as various alien factions, some ascended, some imprinted on Dorthys brain attempt to use humans to destroy an Alea (the original aliens) threat to the galaxy.

Opening with the discovery of a star hurtling through the galaxy toward Earth at hyperspeed, around which orbits what seems to be a singularity gateway to the galactic core,  the story runs through coup, countercoup, betrayal, insanity, visions and hallucinations, subversive art and a talking supergenius baby.

My favourite parts of this story is definately Robot/Machine and the escape art scene.  Reminds me of putting detergent in the waterfall in highschool.

Not sure yet if this sequence continues in another novel, possible the book Pasquales Angel? 

This book would make no sense if you hadn't read 400 Billion Stars, but they are not listed as a series anywhere online or in the print editions.  This shits me so much.  Otherwise, it was typically high quality work by McAuley.


23 March 2010

Twitter Assassins - Another Open Letter to the USA

Dear The United States of America,

Hi again.  I didn't hear back from you after my last letter, but I thought I would drop you another line anyway.  How are you doing?  I'm great.  Things have never been better.

I was reading on Boingboing today that a couple of your countrymen are being investigated by the FBI or some such organisation for allegedly posting death threats on twitter in response to the health care reform that will guarantee health insurance for all United Statians.  It seems that many of your countrymen would very much like to see your president, Barack Obama, murdered for making statements like "Whether or not you have health insurance right now, the reforms we seek will bring stability and security that you don't have today.  This isn't about politics. This is about people's lives. This is about people's businesses. This is about our future." 

One of the boys is a young African American, which strikes me as particularly confusing given that the majority of both the prison population and the unemployed in your nation are African American, who make up 40% of the prison population and who, at 14.8%, had the highest unemployment rate in 2009. (source - United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics - Current Population Statistics report on employment rate by race as current for 23/03/2010)

The health care reform proprosal seems really quite sensible to me.  I mean, lowering costs, ending pre-existing condition discrimination, ending the culture of coverage denial that has become such a prevalent practise that they make sitcoms and romcoms about it.  Hell, John Grisham has made a fortune writing legal thrillers using your Health Insurance industry as the villain.  It has become the most recognised feature of your health insurance system.  So why would you not want it changed?

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection (2006)

The 24th Annual by Gardner Dozois is the essential guide to the best short fiction in the SF field, an absolute must have for any SF reader.  I particularly appreciate these volumes simply because I can't get access to most of the short fiction markets due to geography and economics.  (ie, Australian and Poor).  This volumes stories are:

21 March 2010

An Open Letter to the United States of America (Because I am Pissed Off due to the Peter Wats Arrest and the USA in general)

Dear USofA,

This is why you're fat. (.com, from whom I borrowed this image)  It's bacon.  You really don't understand bacon at all, do you?  Bacon is not a base for a pie.  It isn't a topping for icecream.  It most certainly is NOT appropriately served with maple syrup.  Neither does marshmallow go with sweet potato.  It's a vegetable for goodness sake.

I'm suprised that you can wage war on so many poor people given the crap you eat.  I mean your heart must be struggling with all the fat and I dread to think how your livers are coping.  It amazes me that you still have the will, let alone the ability, to pick so many fights.  I guess that's what young people are for, huh? (It gets a bit more angry and abusive when you click on the link right under this sentence.....)

Paul McAuley - 400 Billion Stars

Paul McAuleys first novel, about a telepath who has been shanghai'd by the Federal Navy (space navy, obviously, or I wouldn't have been reading it haha.) to investigate a planiformed planet that seems to be devoid of intelligent life.  At the same time, humans have become embroiled in a war with an unknown species and the Navy suspect that the planet in question may have been planiformed by the aliens they are fighting in another star system.  Will Dorthy be able to solve the mystery using the telepathic powers she doesn't really want to use on a planet she doesn't want to be on, surrounded by Navy personell that don't really care what she discovers as long as they can blow something up?

Peter Watts E-Books

I was on BoingBoing a few minutes ago and heard that Peter Watts had been convicted of "assaulting a federal officer" because he dared to question some gun toting fuckwit at the USA/Canadian border re: why are you searching my car, at which point the federal officer beat shit out of him, arrested him and charged him with the aforementioned 'offense' in a typically American show of strength.

While flicking around his worldo'website having read his blog post on this matter, I found a Collection of E-Books which have been published under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.5 License.

19 March 2010

Far Futures (5 Novellas) - Edited by Gregory Benford

  • Author: Gregory Benford (Editor)
  • Title: Far Futures 
  • Publisher: Tor 1995
  • ISBN: 9780312856397
Five Novellas of Original Hard Science Fiction of the Far Distant Future:
  • Looking Long - essay by Gregory Benford on the fiction of the Far Future
  • Judgement Engine - Greg Bear
  • Genesis - Poul Anderson
  • Historical Crisis - Donald Kingsbury
  • For White Hill - Joe Haldeman
  • At the Eschaton - Charles Sheffield
This collection edited by Gregory Benford consists of five novellas about the far distant future of human kind, from the hard science fiction perspective.  Benfords introduction states that the criteria set for the writers was that the story should be set at least 1000 years into the future, and that the story takes a Hard Science stance, meaning that the story must be scientifically plausible based on current knowledge of biology, cosmology and astronomy.  There were to be no "bored parties at the end of time" or "lurid super-science that ring hollow" narratives. 

John Barnes - Finity

  • Author: John Barnes
  • Title: Finity
  • Publisher: Tor 1999
  • ISBN: 9780312861186
Before I write about this book, let me just say that I love John Barnes's writing.  He is genuinely excellent, particularly in short fiction.  But here's the thing.

This book is set in a world where the Nazi's won WWII, and starts out by telling the story of an American expat/escapee from the Nazi occupation living in New Zealand.  Which is fine.  But Barnes then goes on the shorten the name of the place to Enzy.  So now let me tell you why this annoyed me so much I couldn't keep reading.

It's En Zed.  Zed.  Zuh Eh Duh.  As in "Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead." 

That is how you pronounce it.  Not zee.  I know that all y'all like to change the spelling of things, so that colour and flavour and litre look wrong on the page, and I can deal with that.  Lazy spelling, but at least it sounds right.  But there is one letter in the alphabet that you don't pronounce correctly.  And it shits me. 

And before you jump up and give me a lecture on dialect and the divergence of language due to geographic boundries etc etc, please keep in mind that the language is called English, not American.  (American language would be Spanish or Portugese derived these days anyway, but lets not get into that.)  If you really must butcher the pronounciation of the INDIVIDUAL LETTERS, make your own fucking language.  You can call it United Statish.

It might seem like a minor thing to you, but honestly, it stopped me from being able to get into the story.  This may make me petty, irritable, overly fussy, any number of other psychologically or emotionally discriptive terms that result in the over all impression of my personality being that I am dangerous, or unpredictable, or weird, or any combination thereof.  I don't mind.  It is most likely accurate to apply these lables, although dangerous probably only applies in limited circumstances.

Maybe, if I get over it on day, I might try to read this again.  But probably not.

17 March 2010

Ken MacLeod - Newtons Wake

A stand alone space opera of humans struggling to survive in a universe dominated by post human intelligence.  I didn't get around to reading this one, but I will get it again some time in the future.  Didn't read it because I had a bunch of Kage Baker books to read and the 3 week loan period ran out.
 

Kage Baker - The Life of the World to Come

Book five of the Company saga, focusing on Alec as a teenager and young adult.  I thought for a little while that this book was going to finally provide some answers as to what the hell was going on, but it only created more questions! 

Cleverly suggests that Sir Francis Drake found something that led to the formation of the company.  I have a feeling that it might be Lewis in a box...but I could be COMPLETELY wrong. 

I love this series so much I would let it use my toothbrush.

16 March 2010

Lewis Shiner E-Books at The Fiction Liberation Front

A while back, I was scouting around for e-books to read and came across Lewis Shiners archive of fiction.  It's called the Fiction Liberation Front, and all of his stories are being published under the Creative Commons Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivative Works 3.0US License, which is really cool.

One of my favourite stories ever is Till Human Voices Wake Us, which I first read in Bruce Sterlings seminal Mirrorshades anthology as a teenager.  Come to think of it, I think that Till Human Voices was the first Biomod story I ever read,

15 March 2010

James Patrick Kelly - Look Into The Sun

I didn't get around to finishing this one - didn't really grab me this time around.  Maybe next time.

Ted Chiang - Stories of Your Life and Others

The first collection of short fiction by Ted Chiang, published by Tor Books in 2002.  At the time of publication, this book contained his complete published works.  I really like Ted Chiangs ideas alot.  I first came across him in a Years Best anthology with the story The Alchemists Gate. 

14 March 2010

Kage Baker - The Graveyard Game

  • Author: Kage Baker
  • Title:The Graveyard Game
  • Publisher:  Harcort 2001
  • ISBN: 978-0151004492
Book four of the company series did not disappoint.  My only wish is that it was longer, that I had the next volume already and that there would be a million more books about these characters.

This story is largely concerned with Joseph and Lewis, although Porfiro, Victor, Nan and other regular cast members do make minor appearances.  Oh, and there is also a cyborg'd Raven.  Too cool.

Kage Baker writes so well it makes me giddy.  I told Juta the other day that if I started a Church Of Specfictionolgy, Kage Baker would be the first Saint.  This is another one on my wishlist.

    Gigabyte T1028X TouchNote - Touch Screen Netbook - Tablet PC Australia

    I dunno how but I need to get someone to buy me a Gigabyte T1028X TouchNote - Touch Screen Netbook From Tablet PC Australia which is priced at $949 apparently.

    Actually, I'd be just as happy with a low end netbook, but we'll see what happens later in the year.  I just can't bring myself to buy a Kindle

    13 March 2010

    I am the God of Hell Fire


    Dancing in the dark on a hot, wet autumn night in Donnybrook, Western Australia
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    Great Balls of Fire

    Java, fireballing. Oh, the joy of digital cameras and chinese sparklers If only we could get our hands on some M-80s.



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    12 March 2010

    My Feet Hurt and Other Complaints

    My last day at BP South Bunbury until the end of April today.  Excellent.  Now I can sleep in for a few days and then stay up all night reading Paul McAuley books that I just got from teh library today - 400 Billion Stars and Eternal Light, oh and I just received book 4 of the Company series also.

    Might be a late night.

    Book News!! Cory Doctorow has a New Novel

    Hooray, Cory Doctorow has a new novel coming out.  I can't wait to read it.  The novel is called For The Win (as in Y0u R4 SuX()r I pWN J00 C0R33 FTW!!1!eleven!!)

    Apparently, "The book is about gamer kids all over the world who use multiplayer games to organize and fight back against abusive employers."  Which sounds pretty cool.

    Release date for the USA seems to be today, so now we just have to wait for useless Australian distributors to get around to bringing it in to the country.  And they wonder why so many of us just watch tv instead.  Oh, how I long for parallel book imports.....

    Robert Reed - Sister Alice

    Holy crap, what a weird story.  A far far far far future universe where godlike posthumans do stuff that I didn't even understand in the name of terraforming and running the universe for the common folk.  There is a wikipedia entry for this novel, which is made up of 5 previously published short stories.  A bit too weird for my liking, although I did finish it and the general story made sense.  I dunno if I can really take the idea of "Dark Matter Talents" too seriously though.

    11 March 2010

    Paul J McAuley - The Quiet War

    Wow.  Just plain wow.  Probably one of the best space opera books ever written. 

    McAuleys 2008 novel is set in the early days of humankinds expansion into our solar system, as colonists find their place in the hostile environments around Saturn and Jupiter, and Earth struggles to recover from catastrophic climate change and a completely rearranged political landscape.

    Essentially, the novel plays out as a history of the Quiet War, an epic struggle for control of the solar system from the perspectives of multiple characters, including Avernius (the Gene Wizard).  It tackles the issues of genetics/biotech, green politics, climate change and the question of who decides what it means to be human. 

    Paul McAuleys universe is one of the better ones out there, with a great range of interesting themes and issues tackled in it.  I am at the moment reading 400 Billion Stars, which is set in the same universe but is tackling human kinds first contact with alien intelligence, while this book dealt with politics and ecology.  I particularly appreciate that the good guys don't always win, and playing nice rarely pays off.  There is a realism to the politics of his stories that is both frightening and authentic.

    100 Billion Stars!! Read this book if you even remotely like Space Opera

    Paragons - Edited by Robin Wilson

    This outstanding collection of short fiction and essays on the craft of writing features work by Pat Cadigan, Greg Bear, Bruce Sterling, Lucius Shepard, Joe Haldeman, Nancy Kress, John Kessel and others.  An absolute must have for any would-be critical reader, writer or fan of genre fiction.

    William F Nolan - Wild Galaxy

    • Author: William F Nolan
    • Title: Wild Galaxy
    • Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press 2005
    • ISBN: 1-930846-31-2
    A collection of short fiction by the author of Logans Run, I barely even have the motivation to make this entry.  Predictable, childish and amature writing.  It's stories like these that make people think that SciFi is all rayguns and rocketships.

    Referring to Bruce Sterlings "Lexicon", there are very few terms that don't apply.  Just crap really.  I will not bother to get another book by this author.

    Paul Di Filippo - The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories

    • Author: Paul Di Filippo
    • Title: The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories
    • Publisher: Thunders Mouth Press 2005
    • ISBN: 978-1-56025-665-6
    A collection of short fiction by Paul Di Filippo, including the title story The Emperor of Gondwanaland and And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon.

    08 March 2010

    Kage Baker - Mendoza In Hollywood



    Book three in the company series of novels, centred around Mendoza and her mission in what will become Hollywood, California. Strange things are afoot as a past love shows up, even though he has been dead for over a century.  And now he has a new name, no memory of Mendoza, and whats more, she may have dreamed him into existence? 

    This novel also introduces a few new characters, and I think (memory ticking over here) that it's the first novel with Porfirio in it. 

    This third volume of the company saga far exceeded my hopes and expectations.  Highly recommended.  This is one of my absolute favourites.

    John Barnes - Mother of Storms

    This absolutely epic novel by John Barnes is, well, just god damn epic.  It tackles just about every theme in  modern SciFi, including climate change, gender roles and identity, eithics in science, business and politics, transhumanism, globalism, the role of the United Nations, the roles and responsibilities of the media.  The list goes on.

    I particularlly enjoyed the character of Jessie, since I probably relate to him the most.  I could write on this book for hours and hopefully will get to it later.

    05 March 2010

    Cholor Sceme

    I hate choosing colour schemes, and I am also really sick of black, so I am going to try some stuff like

    #FEE040#F4FFC0#A72704#FB9B13

    or maybe

    #A43102#E3E091#A8B130#FFFFD7#FDECA7

    and I think I also like

    #717C76#9A673A#772D2A#FEF1AB#D5D0CD#333125

    I will have to play with them some more at home

    04 March 2010

    Cory Doctorow - Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom

    • Author:  Cory Doctorow
    • Title:  Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom
    • Publisher: 
    • ISBN:
    Fantastic book set in a future where social network karma is the currency, and people can upload/backup to the net and download into a new body if something goes wrong.  The story is about people, relationships and the value of life.

    You can read the story for free in various electronic formats but I highly recommend this one for purchase.  Amazon link still to be added as I wrote this entry at the library.

    Doggo!

    This is my dog. Well, one of them anyway. His names are variously Tippo, Doggo, Indianna, Indy, Pooboy, Mutso and Bo.

    It's really hard to get a photo of him, cause he really wants to eat the flash.
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    Lifehacker - Turn Your Netbook into an E-Book Reader

    I've been thinking about doing this for a while now, because it seems silly to buy a book reader that can't do anything else.  Maybe it's not such a bad idea, but I'd really want to try out the Netbook for a while first.

    Frederik Pohl - Platinum Pohl

    A massive collection of Frederick Pohl short stories.  Fred Pohl is such an important writer in scifi, one of the true masters of the genre and an major influence not just on the writers of today, but on my own personal tastes.  Pohl is one of the places that I started out, along with Heinlein and Clarke.


    Do yourself a favour, as that hatted fuckwit is known to say, and obtain by any means a copy of this book.  You will not at all regret it.


    As per usual, there are SPOILERS after the jump.  If you don't want to know, the do not click here to

    Personas for Firefox - Colorful Crap for you Browser

     While hunting for addons for Mozilla Firefox, I stumbled across Personas for Firefox  which are themes that only affect the toolbars at the top of the browser, not the scrollbar or status bar.  Nice.  That was one thing that really bugged me about themes....

    03 March 2010

    Lifehacker - Carry Your Life on your Thumbdrive

    I am so going to set this up tonight, because the library software sucks.  Intercrap Exploder crashed on me 3 times, once because I tried to PASTE FROM THE CLIPBOARD shock horror.

    Happy 11th Birthday Java

    Happy Birthday to Java, 11 today and still the coolest kid I know.
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