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This Week, Monday 4th August 2014

It’s My Birthday, Pity Me

Birthday 2014Yay! I’m on leave for a whole week. Sure that may not sound like a lot, but when you slice it into hundreds of frantic activity / inactivity segments it last for aaages. This is only the beginning of the month-long celebration I plainly deserve at least once a year. I don’t have enormous plans for my birthday tomorrow. In fact, I don’t yet have any plans, barring almond croissants for breakfast. They are surely the pinnacle of food evolution and may in fact be proof of a fat deity guiding mankind. I’m mainly looking for a recharging of the ol’ batteries this week, and I’ve so far had three satisfying lie-ins followed by ambling. There will undoubtedly be more Lego-ing, writing, cinematising and drinking.

Yesterday my other half and I celebrated sixteen years together. Hurray! We went to see Guardians of The Galaxy. It is brilliant, very funny all of the way through with a beautifully minimalist approach to backstory (the usual bane of the superhero/comic book film), tremendous chemistry between the whole case with a hell of a pace, extraordinary sights and endless surprises. It really lived up to that first trailer.

After that we tried out Bill’s  restaurant. It opened a few weeks ago and we keep walking past it. This time we went in. They do a very enjoyable burger but their drink prices are just thievery. £4.50 for a 330ml beer ain’t a deal. The staff however are excellent and coped very well with us moving tables initially to avoid the squalling of children (if we wanted that we’d have bought our own) and then so Lady M could stretch her arm out without smacking her pinched ulnar nerve on anything. A nice meal.



think that I’ve finished my space cube. I was dissatisfied with the initial greebling and felt it needed more… here’s a sneaky peek. I am as yet undecided about whether to populate it with Skulltron or classic Space-men. Making a cube out of Lego proved to be insanely complex. I’ve no doubt that there are much, much more straightforward ways to achieve it, but it’s been an excellent challenge that’s taught me quite a bit about Lego tolerances and brick dimensions. Let’s hope some of that sticks in my noggin.


I’ve also begun a small diorama. We got about a dozen newspaper tiles from the Lego Shop on our last trip the Sheffield – far more that we could ever normally require. I guess it’s a good example of how carried away by the plastic frenzy the Lady M and I get. The only possible thing to make is a news stand, so that’s building nicely. I really want to make it in a beguiling simple and brick-light way. I very much admire the fiendish creativity of Joesidon’s Lego builds. Check out the amazingly complex Lockers for an example of why I keep staring at this guy’s Lego pictures:

So I’ve made an initial version and am going to make a new version and see if I can do anything clever with it!

Media Intake


I’m still harvesting cheap titles from Comixology whenever they become available. They recently had the Transformers: Regeneration One series at somewhere less that half price, so I couldn’t really avoid buying them. They pick up directly after the US Marvel run of comics in the ’80s. Now that’s a bit tricky to follow for me, because in the UK our run went up to 300+, so I’m kinda confused about the overall narrative. The series we read over here became far more complex and I think, better, than the US run. But it is refreshing to be chucked back into that world. It’s also reminded me that I did rather dislike the style of art used for many of those US comics, and they are a stark contrast to the beautiful art done in many of the other recent IDW comics. Still, they’re fun to read even if the story does literally feel stuck in the past.

I’ve also just bought my first Guardians of the Galaxy comic. I thought it would be fun to read it before seeing the film, but I ran out of time…


Last week I read Charles Stross‘ remarkably horrible Laundry novella – Equoid. It’s great fun, The Laundry being a division assigned the challenging task of protecting the realm from cosmically horrifying monsters. This is about unicorns. They are not the unicorns you see in My Little Pony... there were actually a few parts that made me feel slightly ill. Stross is, as ever, funny to read as well as clever and dark. It is a super-short read but it’s only a quid on Amazon. Stross has a bunch of other shortish tales for very few pennies up there too. Tor’s been really good about getting novellas and short stories by the authors up and available on the webbitubes.

Then I read Nexus (Mankind Gets An Upgrade) by Ramez Naam. It’s billed as a technothriller, but it felt pretty cyber-punky to me. It’s the evolution of the mind with nanotech integration, software, AI, genetic meddling and all manner of fun stuff. It bounds around at quite a pace, taking us from the emergence of Nexus 5 and its mind-sharing powers to the meditative monasteries of Thailand. It’s at once hopeful about the future yet besieged with governmental fear and violence. The book has been heartily lauded by the sci-fi community and though I didn’t think it was amazing I certainly enjoyed the book.

Since I’m now on holiday I’ve embarked on House of Chains. Blindingly excellent as were the previous three in the Malazan Book of the Fallen

Last Week’s Scribbles

This Week, Monday 28th July 2014  – no excuses… no writing.


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