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And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Idiosyncratica Post, 1st September

Posted by That Other Mike on 01/09/2008

Our challenge this month was to write 500 words on the joys of losing, as given by Archie.

My story follows below. It is exactly 500 words.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Idiosyncratica, Politics, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

General Update

Posted by That Other Mike on 29/08/2008

Recently promoted from Colonel Update.

I’ve done my Idiosyncratica post, and have scheduled it for 00:01 on 1st September. Because I’m weird like that. My piece is fiction, rather than about fiction, and is dead on 500 words. Again, because I’m weird like that; I find it difficult to write over or under a word count. If someone gives me a word count of 500, there will be 500 words. OCD in action, I suppose; a little like my obsession with counting vertically-oriented objects, like books or DVDs on a shelf, for example. Even though, having looked back on it, Archie suggested approximately 500 words, so now I just look like a weirdo.

I believe the position of our next suggester is open for business; if I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me on that one.

A major source of hits recently has been found in the keywords: “Charles Darwin”, “Darwin” and similar. In that vein, I’ll be a short bio of the man himself fairly soon, plus some evolution-related stuff too.

I’ve been off work this entire week, just taking it easy and relaxing a little. I’m back to work on Monday, so unfortunately the spate of postings you’ve been seeing (ha.ha.ha. It is to laugh) will unfortunately recede to their usual minimalist level.

Posted in evolution, Idiosyncratica, Odds and Sods, science | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A couple of drabbles…

Posted by That Other Mike on 28/08/2008

Just to fill some space, more than anything.

I want to ride my bicycle
I bike to work. It’s two miles on lonely back roads. I started for fitness and continued for fun. There’s not much better than freewheeling alone down glossy blacktop, nobody in front or behind for miles.

It’s all uphill except the end; the only thing better than smooth roads is going downhill so fast that it frightens you.

There’s an intersection at the bottom of the hill which I speed towards, not knowing if cars are coming from either direction, or if I can stop in time, and I really don’t care – I just want to go downhill forever.

The Condensed Bible
The Old Testament: Some naked chick eats an apple on the suggestion of a talking snake. Ruination ensues. Many books of Hebrews follow. Lots of begetting, some angels, pregnant women dashed against rocks. Some weird shit about polycotton blends and shellfish, and what you shouldn’t do at the weekends. No buttsex at all, not even if you both want it really bad.

The New Testament: Some hippy walks around annoying people and being a smartass. Said hippy gets nailed to a tree or something and deserves it. “Jesus loves you. Here’s some fish.” Still no buttsex, and probably no lesbians.

Posted in art, Odds and Sods, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Idiosyncratica Stuff

Posted by That Other Mike on 27/08/2008

Just a reminder to everyone that the challenge is coming up due in a few days. Per the suggestion given by Archie just recently, our task for 1st September is to write approximately 500 words on the subject of “the joys of losing”.

We also have an application for a new member, as put forward by Will, for Brett, whose work can be viewed here at the 59 Second Minute.

That’s all I can think of for now, but if anyone has any ideas or if anything comes up, please feel free to comment to that effect or even to start a new post at the Idiosyncratica home blog.

Posted in art, blogging, Idiosyncratica, writing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Idiosyncratica Challenge, 01/08/08

Posted by That Other Mike on 01/08/2008

This is my drabble for the 1st August. I’d like to talk about what inspired it afterwards, although I’m going to put that after the fold so it doesn’t spoil it. Anyone reading this in the WP tag surfer should be careful…

Run On
We cut down the sons of long-tongue liars, the murders, gamblers and backbiters. They ran away for a long time, but sooner or later we cut them down.

They did things in the dark which we brought into the light and we cut them down for their sins. I went among them with a sword and took justice to them, and it was good, and it was right.

And then it was finished, and the first-born were dead, my sword and wings bloody with horror and vengeance.

And I knew not what I had done or what I would do.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

My fiction and me – on being a writer and reader

Posted by That Other Mike on 01/07/2008

Before I get into my shtick about fiction, I’d just like to thank everyone who has decided to take part in our readers’ and writers’ group by joining Idiosyncratica. I’m sure we’ll all find it enjoyable and useful.

The topic we chose was “My fiction and me”, which I think is a nice and gentle opener. It may get more complex later on as we get into the swing of things and grow more confident as a group; then again, it might become easier for us to handle. We’ll see, anyway.

I’d like to start by talking about what I read. Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been an avid reader. Mainly, I think, because I am by nature quite shy; I have learned to overcome it and be more outgoing, but it is an act of will rather than nature.

My reading runs a wide range, although I am very much a fan of the 20th century in terms of what I read, probably because the 20th was the first century in which reading was not a pursuit only of the wealthy who had leisure time: it saw a huge variety of different genres explode onto the scene in a very short time, from the hardboiled noir of Chandler to the elegant visionary themes of Alfred Bester to the psychological mastery of Patricia Highsmith. The sheer volume of different books about different themes and by such different people are enough to make the 20th century my favourite.

On my bookshelf, Vernon God Little sits next to The Left Hand of Darkness and The Wasp Factory:I will read almost any genre, although I do have my limits and my favourites. I am always drawn to science fiction, perhaps because it so often offers a vision of better future, and to horror and the supernatural, my affection for which I’m almost scared to analyse! I tend to stay away from romance fiction and I often find myself turned off by modern literary fiction, which too often takes pretence and obfuscation and confuses them with profundity.

I also adore certain writers beyond all measure and will remain for ever loyal to them: Margaret Atwood, Patricia Highsmith, Ursula K. Le Guin, Iain Banks (M. or not!), for example. They have created utterly believable characters in backwoods America, apocalyptic futures or utopian worlds of wonder; they tell incredibly human stories set among grand vistas in space or among the claustrophobic nightmare of the 1950s small town.

That’s who I like to read. My writing is a different story. I write with hesitation and I really dislike the actual process of writing. It doesn’t come easily to me, and I’m never sure if anything I do is actually worth reading.

It’s not that I have trouble with story or plot – they arrive whole into my brain, with beginnings and endings and every event, all sketched in faint lines. What I have to do is fill in the colour and block out the shapes, which is what I find difficult.

As far as what I write goes, it mirrors my reading habits – I feel drawn to the supernatural and technologically magical, as well as the darker side of human habits and personalities. This makes me a little wary of showing stuff to people sometimes, and also a little disturbed about it: if I can come up with the most horrific things to happen to my characters, what does that say about me as an individual? I sometimes need to be reassured that it isn’t the mark of a psychopath to write psychopaths, but Lottie and Gary both assure me that isn’t the case. I am thus reassured 😀

Anyway, those are my reading and writing habits: my fiction and me.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Frige’s-Day Round Up

Posted by That Other Mike on 13/06/2008

After Dunar’s recent unreasonable behaviour, which included throwing lightning bolts around like a mad bastard, this week’s round up is dedicated to the goddess Frige, who is much more reasonable and sweet-tempered than Dunar.

Lottie has a question or two about Clinton supporters who’ve said they’ll vote for McCain… The general idea is “What the hell are you thinking?!”, and it’s one that I can get behind; McCain promises to be not more of the same, but more and worse. Thought the Iraq war was bad now? Wait till your great grandkids have to go and fight under the McCain plan!

Kalliope over at Missing Mojo has a deconstruction of the flak being thrown around over the Sex and the City movie. It’s pretty clever and insightful.

Gary takes celebrities who whine about privacy to task, especially those who do so in public interviews. If you want to be private, try going away and leading a private life! He also adds the most recent update for Idiosyncratica. is keeping an eye on the media for the inevitable racism and misogyny directed towards Michelle Obama that will follow Barack Obama’s (presumptive) nomination (via Ms Andrist).

This discussion on feminist sex at Feministe has turned pretty interesting; while it was initially of mild interest, the comments have made it worth a read.

And finally, congratulations to Anxious Mofo, who’s been linked to by Conservapedia. I’m sure he’s honoured and inspired by their linkage; he shows his appreciation by deconstructing their feeble article on Atheism. Well worth a read.

Posted in Atheism, Odds and Sods, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thor is angry!

Posted by That Other Mike on 07/06/2008

Thor is righteously pissed off!Thor is angry because I failed to do a round up in his honour on Thor’s-Day last. Ordinarily, I would’ve posted a late one on Friday, but I was busy putting out the fires caused by Thor throwing lightning bolts at my house.

First on the weekly round up is Part 3 of Lottie’s Getting to Know You series, in which she talks about a couple of things about long distance relationships which might sound funny or superficial in isolation but which are nonetheless legitimate concerns: What if the other person has personal hygiene problems, or you’re not sexually compatible?

Idiosyncratica, the readers’ and writers’ blog ring which Gary came up with, and of which I am now a member, is still high on the agenda. We’re still developing it, but we hope that aspiring writers of fiction will drop by and get involved; there’s hopefully going to be a certain amount of material for dedicated readers in search of new and interesting fiction.

Anxious Mofo has come up with a rather genius idea, which he has modestly entitled the Anxious Mofo Index. I think it’s probably going to come in handy; someone needs to invent some kind of algorithm or measurement for it (along the lines of the Hovind Scale).

Jill at Feministe details how reading fundie pro-life blogs rots your brain. I don’t pretend to be entirely comfortable with abortion, and I would, on an expanded definition which I get to define, call myself “pro-life” in one sense, but I’m also not so hide-bound as to think my uncomfortable feelings should constitute law.

Over at EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse reviews Dawkins’s latest book, which goes by the name of The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, an edited anthology of science essays by professional scientists. I stress the “professional scientists” part, because that is what makes it interesting; too many times in recent years, the Anxious Mofo Index in science has dipped towards 0, often as the result of ignorant journalists.

Current music:
The Filthiest Show in Town, by My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

Ten Summoner’s Tales, by Sting.

Coming soon – a new meme, zombie flicks and some other stuff.

Posted in Atheism, books, Odds and Sods, science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »


Posted by That Other Mike on 03/06/2008

OK, while I’m getting mad levels of hits (thanks for the HT, Jill), I thought I might as well use the opportunity to promote the new project that Gary is starting. It’s going to be a fiction-based webring, aimed at bringing largely unseen writers and talent to an audience wanting new and interesting fiction.

The ring, which is still somewhat in the planning stages, will be aimed at promoting the work of new and emerging writers to the legion of readers out there who want quality fiction. The idea is to build an online community wherein the writers can gain a receptive audience, promote themselves and get informed criticism and help in becoming better at their craft. Hopefully, it will also provide a spur for those interested in writing who have never taken the plunge, or those, like myself, who do it far too infrequently and with too little motivation. There is also, as Gary says, the very useful goal of having some fun with like-minded people.

The ring will hopefully end up large and successful, but to do that, we need interested people to join. If you’d like to take part, please go and post a comment on the relevant thread at his blog.

Posted in Odds and Sods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Very interesting website…

Posted by That Other Mike on 23/05/2008

… from BookBlog, stumbled upon by accident via A Secret Chord: Gender Genie.

Inspired by an article and a test in The New York Times Magazine, the Gender Genie uses a simplified version of an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, to predict the gender of an author. Read more at BookBlog, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

Very interesting results to be had – I either show as somewhat female or heavily male, and not always where you might expect.

Basically, it is supposed to work by analysing the preponderance of words which are typically associated in higher numbers with female writers versus those associated with male writers, assigns a value according to the frquency, and then assigns an arbitrary gender to the author based upon how many of each one there are. The “feminine” words seem, at a glance, to be more conjunctions and words referring to the speaker and other people, particularly where they overlap, while the “male” words seem to refer more to places, things and positions.

A non-scientific test using the feature shows Gary as slightly female, although funnily enough Bekki’s post about needing a man shows as strongly male, and Lottie’s post here reads as very strongly male.

I have no idea how accurate this is; probably not much, to be honest. That aside, though, it makes for interesting thinking material, if nothing else.

Posted in books, Odds and Sods, science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »