How cool is this?

And apparently I can embed one using this autoposting widget. Let's face it, it has to be Dark Star

It works too. See, how nice I am, watch an entire movie right here on my journal. There are a bunch o others, but, y'know, Dark Star. Oh, you can watch it full screen at the site itself. (via)
Went to Leeds today, Jennie's off for a hen night in York this evening so split the journey up. Plan had been to have lunch in the excellent Scarbrough Hotel opposite the station, but it was packed full of Leeds fans and all the seating was taken by a hen party, so we went on into town and ended up lucking out with seating at Whitelocks. Considering that it's the oldest pub in Leeds, it's damn impressive. Went there before[2] but not actually had a meal. Um, yeah. Menu made it look a bit pricy. Really, it's not. It's really not. I ordered veggie bangers and mash with a side of onion rings. Plate full. And really really good. Jennie had roast chicken. She got a roast chicken. Seriously. It even looked good to me, and I don't eat meat. If you're in Leeds and looking for good food or good beer, either is worth a try, and Whitelocks is just cool anyway.

We wandered a bit after that, I wanted to get hold of a book. Smiths didn't have it, but they did have a nice pile of DVDs on offer and, well, we couldn't resist, so more classic Who[1] and a few other things, including a boxed set of wooden board games[3]. Waterstone's didn't have it either, but they did have an import of Android's Dream so that's ok. We decided that out of Borders and Waterstone's, Waterstone's wins, could've spent all day there, easily. Instead we just spent money we don't really have. Ah well, books are never bad.

So, given she's off galivanting in York and I'm not in the mood to go back out, it's me, the dogs, a wide screen TV and a glass (or three) of whisky. After a nice long bath that is. What should I watch first then?

[Poll #1162622]
[1] And some 5th Doctor stuff, does that count as "classic"?
[2] our first proper 'date' as it happens
[3] Does anyone actually play backgammon properly? Never actually tried it.
[ profile] matt_arnold ins a comment at [ profile] scalzi's Whatever:

And seriously, pissing off Cory Doctorow is a classic internet blunder.

The first one, but less well known, is: "Never get involved in a land war in Asia."
The link has the full context if you didn't follow the thing. Me? I had a barrel of popcorn.

Also? [ profile] boing_boing has had a redesign, is using Movable Type, and has [ profile] tnh modding the comments. From what I can tell, these are all Good Things.
Seriously, I'm surprised this one hasn't[ETA: it did, oops] this made it into [ profile] slapfights already. Anyway...

The Science Fiction Writers Association (of America) was, until recently, a mostly dead dog. Then [ profile] scalzi decided to run as a write-in candidate for their presidency,a nd suddenly everyone is taking an interest again. One of the issues that has come up in the campaign is that of giving away free e-books web promotions and similar. Now, there's a lot of debate about this, and some of the negative points are strong, and valid. But some of them, well, they're really not.

One of the reasons why the SFWA was a moribund mess? The outgoing vice-president, Howard V. Hendrix, emailed a blogger asking him to publish his opinions on e-publishing. He thinks that, and this is for real, authors who e-publish their work, especially for free (shock horror) are webscabs and converting the noble calling of Writer into the life of Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch. Seriously. For real. First out of the gate that I've seen was the wonderfully ascerbic [ profile] nihilistic_kid, who demolishes the argument wholesale. Then [ profile] james_nicoll ponders if it would be possible to avoid a Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch lifestyle.

Initially, [ profile] scalzi declines to comment but then declares
Yeah, I Couldn't Just Leave It Alone and writes an excellent rebuttal concentrating on Hendrix's belief that publishing is a zero-sum game and the way that an elected officer could call his constituents backstabbing scum (extra comments).

All of this prompts Nebula nominee Jo Walton to declare Monday 23rd April is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, and asks that as many people as possible, especially pro-writers, give away something online that they would normally charge for. Scalzi is in, James is promoting it and also has some food for thought about extinction events with some nice graphs about biodiversity as well.

So, next Monday, give away something for free online; post something on your journal, write a story, etc. I'm not an author, not a writer, but to keep in the spirit of the thing, would anyone want an SEO/site usability analysis from me, to be published openly here?

Oh, and try to come up with something for yourself as well, as the more the merrier I say, because being a pixel-stained technopeasant might be fun...
[ profile] makinglight has this years list of nominees, and there are some interesting choices (remember, nominations are a ballot of members).Some of the nominees, some observatios, Battlestar Galactica & Doctor Who are in, etc... )

Oh yeah, Jim Baen for best editor, naturally. While a lot of his books were pulp, they were great pulp, and his approach to e-books and the Baen free library were spot on, hope the industry catches up soon.  I have no Hugo vote, and there's no way I can get to WordCon in Tokyo, but always interesting to follow.
OK, in my bio, the bit that says I don't need broadband? I stand by it, I don't. But, well, staying at [ profile] nadriel's does have one advantage, we've netweorked up and he has a 7.5 Mbs connection. I mean, the exchange in Paignton can only manage 2.5Mbs for our business line, he has 3 times that all to himself.

So, what do you do with sucha fast connection? Porn? Don't be silly, Mike wouldn't approve (and there's only so much I can be bothered to look for anyway). YouTube. I've heard so much about the place, now I can see it in all its glory. For example:

Paxman interviews Dawkins about The God Delusion. Dawkins namechecks the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Now, Dawkins can, at times, be difficult, obnoxious and intemperate. He says he's an agnostic not an atheist because you can't disprove God (this is also Scalzi's position). I say I'm an atheist because I believe there is no god, and assert it's as valid a belief as any other. The line between our views is semantics. But his point is sound. YouTube rocks.
Hmm, glad I don't work in US-based marketing or PR. [ profile] scalzi wrote a post about bad marketing techniques (with a contrasting good technique). As a result of which, the responsible person at the PR firm got fired.

The power of the blog. Well, actually, given that it was a PR firm specifically marketing to bloggers, it's not really evidence of the power of blogging, merely, well, evidence of incompetence.

The question is, was it "Nadine"'s incompetence, or was it the overal strategy that was flawed?


[ profile] nhw writes book reviews, amongst other things. He's also got a vote in the Hugo awards (Swainston for the Campbell Nick, you know it, the world knows it). I don't recall now which one of us friended the other first, I've been aquiring 'politics' LJ a lot last few months. So. Why do we care?

This is an interesting (and negative) review of John Scalzi's Old Man's War which is nominated. I read it soon after it was posted. Thing is, Mr Scalzi is also [ profile] scalzi. He wrote a rather long, and very civil, rebuttal on a number of points of the review in the comments, and also on his blog here. Based on Nick's review, I'd have possibly actually picked the book up, because the premise intrigued me. Now I definately want to read it, because, well, that sort of debate between reviewer, author, publisher (see comments on Scalzi's blog entry) and assorted fans is simply very very cool.

Constructive, involving, civil and useful. Nick's written a follow up here. Spoiler warnings throughout, but spoilers never really bother me.

Now, if we can get politicians to properly engage in such a manner, then democracy still has hope. Yup, Mat the hopeless idealist strikes again. I love the Internet.

Addenda: [ profile] jantshira? Swainston is up for the John W. Campbell 'best newcomer' award. Just in case you didn't know. Also, do you still have either/both of Year of our War/No Present like Time? Only my father managed to donate a pile of books to charity, including some of the ones I'd loaned him. Yup, that's right, my father gave books away without first asking me if I wanted them. He didn't realise he had any of my books. This included my copy of Jennifer Government and 2 (unknown) others. Not a happy boy when I found out.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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