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.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Legalize drugs.

What is it now? Six out of ten crimes are now drug-related. Knowing that the police now regard something like a playground row to be a ‘crime’ and ‘solving’ said crime can be added to their clear-up rate figures, I would guess that the other four of the ten are probably almost irrelevant. Likely they’re speeding, drink-driving or saying something unpleasant about T B Liar at a Labour party conference (i.e. terrorism).

So why not legalize drugs? Where are the minuses in this? With a ready cheap supply of drugs there’s a good chance the addicts won’t be mugging grannies or breaking into people’s houses to finance their habit, and with any luck will quickly off themselves. The organized criminals will probably be at a loose end and can focus more on supplying us with cheap booze and fags. Gordon Brown could whack a tax on heroin and crack. And all those disenfranchised farmers in Afghanistan can get back to work and make a tidy profit on this.
I suggest a new T-shirt line:

Thursday, December 14, 2006


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


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


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!

Nuclear Innit.

T. B. Liar is apparently going to announce plans for a new generation of nuclear missile submarines but, as far as Trident is concerned, it seems his own party is divided on the issue, which basically means the far left CND pricks are getting all aeriated again. Our Trident missiles aren’t really ours anyway. Every six months or so they go back to America for an oil-change and an MOT and, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the big red button in Number 10 is connected to another in the White House with the label ‘Approve?’ stuck underneath it.

But really, thinking in terms nuclear, hasn’t our Tone got some more pressing concerns? Isn’t it about time he really got his thumb out of his arse and allowed the building of more nuclear power stations? They are apparently a ‘green’ alternative to coal-fired power stations and are supported by James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia theory, who said that “Britain and the world could not reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the 60% scientists see is needed by 2050 without the help of nuclear power.”

But if you take a look at the Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace sites you’ll see that die-hards in those organisations are still looking for reasons to carry on hating anything containing the word ‘nuclear’. Apparently the 'CO2 emissions across the nuclear cycle are about 33% that of fossil-fuel plants.’ This is incredibly vague, and I guarantee doesn’t take into account CO2 production in mining coal and shipping it in from Russia, South Africa and even Australia, since we have so few working mines in this country now. A third also doesn’t seem too bad.

B. Liar, then, seems trapped between the powerful lobby of the green loonies and hard practicalities about the future of this country. But what does he care? He’s preparing to bugger off on well-paid lecture tours of America and leave everything in Brown’s sweaty hands. Or maybe I’m just underestimating the wizard of spin? Maybe he intends to get the nose-ringed greenies all frothing at the mouth about Trident, and safely out of the way protesting up at Faslane submarine base, while he slips through some legislation concerning nuclear power stations?

Interesting side-note here. One of the pictures here is of Bradwell nuclear power station, which is in the process of being decommissioned. At the same time, there were recent plans to build wind turbines in the same area (Dengie peninsular), but the plans were ditched after numerous protests by a group calling itself BATTLE. This group even created a simulation of what the turbines would look like (the other picture here). Similarly, there was talk of recommissioning the power station, and other NIMBYs in the area started writing ‘disgusted’ letters to the paper.

Really, it doesn’t matter what form of power generation is used, anywhere, there will still be some twat there waving a placard.

A little further note. I came across a good description of the usual ‘green’ AGW advocates, which those reading this have probably heard of, but is a new one to me. They are watermelons: green on the outside and red on the inside.

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.