Friday, December 29, 2006

Bye Max.

Fuck shit cunt bollocks and buggeration gets the swearing out of the way. In the weeks before christmas Max started having epileptic fits again and the only solution to this was to up the dosage of his medication (£40 a month that costs). A few days before christmas we took him for a walk, but he was weak and his back legs kept giving way. He only managed a circuit of a nearby sports field and three times I had to lift him from a sitting position back onto his feet. A subsequent examination by the vet showed him to have a healthy heart and to apparently be quite fit, so the vet gave him an injection to help out with his back legs and was going to supply anti-inflammatories for the problem.

However, on christmas eve he could hardly manage to get up and seeing him anxious to go for his walk yet his legs giving way on the slipper floor of the home’s front hall was heart-breaking. He went quickly downhill from then and further blood tests have revealed that his liver is failing. This is one of the penalties of his spending the best part of his life on anti-epileptics. Because of this failure the drugs are no longer as effective and giving him anti-inflammatories would only worsen his health.

The vet has advised the only option remaining to him and is calling round to the old people’s home to put him down this afternoon. It’s horrible, but stepping back it’s easy to see that Max is a luckier resident of that home, since he has a final option that the others there don’t.

Merry christmas and a happy new year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Neural Darwinism.

Now, I’ve always ascribed to the dictum ‘use it or lose it’. If you don’t use your muscles they become weaker and if you don’t use them at all, as in the case of someone wheelchair bound, they atrophy. Getting yourself out of breath expands the capacity of your lungs. Swimming, and particulary swimming underwater is especially good in this respect. Putting stress on your bones strengthens them. Those whose bones remain unstressed for a length of time, like astronauts, rapidly lose bone mass.

I’ve always thought that the same rules apply to the brain. If you don’t make any mental effort, your ability to make mental effort declines. I feel that this equally applies to those rather vague cognitive functions like imagination. And this article lays it all out very neatly.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Books thus far.

Okay, Maynard1977 has asked me if I’ve got any more books coming out, so I’ll sum up where things are so far. My (available) books thus far published are:

Agent Cormac Series: 1.Gridlinked, 2.The Line of Polity, 3.Brass Man, 4.Polity Agent,

Stand alone: Cowl, Africa Zero, The Engineer ReConditioned, Prador Moon, Runcible Tales (chapbook of 6 short stories)

On Spatterjay: 1.The Skinner, 2.The Voyage of the Sable Keech.

Books of mine due to be published are: Hilldiggers – a standalone set in the Polity, Line War – number 5 in the agent Cormac series (the last one, I think), Prador Moon (British edition) and an as yet untitled collection of Polity short stories.

I think that’s about it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Snippet.

I found this on the Dawkin’s website courtesy of a comment by one Sancus:

“The association of modern atheism with Stalin and Mao has long got out of hand. I plead with anyone reading this to loudly stand against this association by revealing that Stalin and Mao are closer to religious figures than they are to modern atheists not just because of dogmatism, but because they share rejection of self-ownership.

It is the denial of the right for an individual to own herself that is the common and shared cause of both religious and Marxist injustices.”

Damned right.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hilldiggers Back Cover.

Ooh, shiny. I've just received the full dust jacket for Hilldiggers from Peter Lavery at Macmillan, (along with some more of the contents to check over). As well at the wonderful front cover picture we now have this from the back cover.

Serial Killer in Ipswich.

Oh dear, it seems we have a serial killer getting up to speed in Ipswich, which is about a three-quarter-hour drive up the A12 from where we live. Last weekend the discovery of two corpses warranted a couple of column inches in the papers about three pages in, now that the killer has bumped off five prostitutes in ten days the media is going into a feeding frenzy. I note that the BBC News anchorman is now at the scene and wonder if the higher-ups in that organization decided to send him, or if he threw his weight around to be in at the kill, so to speak.

One annoying aspect of this is the reporters going on at the police about guaranteeing people’s safety and speculating on how it’s possible for this killer to grab women from ‘under their noses’. Are they too stupid to realise that tens of thousands of cops in the area will not guarantee absolute safety? And that for a lot of the prostitutes there, getting cash for their next drug fix is more important than personal safety, and that lots of police in the area will rather cramp their style so they’ll try to avoid them to get hold of their next customer?

The area where the latest two bodies were discovered (Nacton) is one I know. A friend and workmate of mine used to live up there and I used to visit him. I wonder how he would have been feeling if he still lived there: single bloke living alone in his own house. Of course it’s just as likely that the killer is married with kids, like the Yorkshire Ripper (Caroline and I had a bet on how quickly that name would be mentioned. It was mentioned almost immediately.), and right now some wife is maybe thinking, ‘You never said where you were last night, I thought you were having an affair and now I wonder…’ Another theory posited by someone we know is that there isn’t one killer, that this is the result of some Kosovan gang trying to take control of the prostitution racket. Interestingly, when talking about the murders the police are quite meticulous about saying, ‘person or persons’.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Waffling.

Mmm, perhaps I need to do a little less ranting here, not to stop pissing people off, but to keep myself sane. Really, if you look for it, there’s enough in the media every day to get one frothing at the mouth. Perhaps the anger is rather like depression: it’s there first and then looks around for an excuse to exist.

Nice thoughts. I’m closing on 50,000 words of Line War and maybe I should deliver an early RSI warning: I think this is going to be a big one. I keep going in to writing say section of the story and come out the other side of it having not quite got there. Plenty of drama, but the aim I set out to achieve each time seems to take two sections. Also, at 50,000 words (which for me is usually more than a third of a book) the war itself has hardly got past the digging of trenches stage. I mean … I’ve only blown up one world for goodness sake and the death toll hasn’t moved into eight figures yet.

A hundred edited pages of Hilldiggers are behind me and more are on the way. I’ve had two reader’s reports on it and on the whole they’re good. Sales are looking good too. The hardback sales of Polity Agent are over half again those of Voyage of the Sable Keech, but then I’m finding that I’m getting more readers coming back for more in the Cormac sequence than I am with stuff set on Spatterjay, which was rather surprising.

What else? My weight hovers at about 12 stone, despite the fact that we’ve nearly polished off a barrel of homemade stout (this weekend I’ll be making five gallons of bitter), fitness seems good, despite the cigarettes and, really, I seem to be on top of everything. I just wish I had another set of hands and another brain to keep up with demand … note to those wannabes out there, if you really are aiming for publication success and not just pissing around, produce loads of stuff, loads, because if you do get there, it’ll all soon go.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Suffer the Children.

You know, it is unfortunate and horrible when a child is ill. It is unfortunate and horrible when anyone is ill. But why oh why are all sick children always ‘brave’?

Brave: Having or displaying courage, resolution, or daring; not cowardly or timid.

You act bravely or you act cowardly. Bravery is not bravery unless there is the option available to be cowardly – there’s an element of choice. A child who has had some awful illness resulting in numerous operations and perhaps the removal of a limb or two, doesn’t really have very much choice in the matter, and probably doesn’t have much of a clue about what is going on anyway. The doctor doesn’t go to the child and say, “Well, that leg is going to have to come off,” and the child doesn’t reply, “Go ahead doctor, I’ll hold the tourniquet and bite on this stick while you saw.” This perpetual pathetic misuse of the word ‘brave’ devalues it (just like the use of the word ‘hero’ to describe a football player).

Now, perhaps the mother and father will be able to say that their child has displayed courage throughout the trauma, and maybe that will be true despite the usual parental bias. Perhaps the hospital staff will have some say in this. But am I cynical in assuming that in our ‘inclusive equality-driven society’ that the kid who goes screaming and whining to the hospital is going to get the same ‘bravery’ award as the one who showed resolution and courage?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

NHS Come Dancing.

Oh bloody hell. It now seems the porkers of Britain will be able to get dance lessons on the NHS. After spending £2.5 million on ‘Local Exercise Action Pilot’ schemes, this sort of crap is what our Public Health Minister Caroline Flint has come up with. Well, excuse me, people are porky because they eat too much of the wrong food and don’t exercise enough. You didn’t need to spend £2.5 million to find that out or to find out what couch potatoes need to do to be more healthy. And spending money on giving these people dance lessons when others are dying in this country because there isn’t enough money to pay for the drugs they need (though of course this doesn’t apply to Scotland and Wales) is a travesty!

Monday, December 04, 2006

MP's Pay Rise.

Every now and again I’ll read something, blink, read it again, then listen for the theme music from The Twilight Zone playing in the background. I’d like to say that what I’ve just read beggars belief, but it doesn’t, it seems par for the course for the 646 twits in Parliament pretending to run this country. It’s just the normal ‘I’m sitting at the top of the heap so fuck you’ attitude of these lying, cheating, grasping, slobbering Orwellian swine.
These rancid turds claimed a total of £86,700,000 in expenses and office allowances last year, which averages £134,000 each. These 646 septic shitbags each cost us £726,000 a year for which they actually work (if it can be called that) for less than half a year. Their pay has risen by 37% since 1997. They get a £40,000 a year inflation-proof pension

AND NOW THEY WANT THEIR BASIC SALARY TO RISE FROM £60,277 BY 66% TO £100,000!!!

They are on £625 a day before expenses! With expenses they are on £1250! Will the expenses go down? Will they buggery. If they get their way these sodden lumps of fecal matter floating at the top of the parasitic public sector will be on £1500 a day – that’s just about the weekly minimum wage per hour!
Shit! Where is Guy Fawkes when we need him most!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Max Again

For those of you who followed the Max saga, here's an update ... or rather a video clip of him from a week ago, eating far too many biscuits.