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23 February, 2009

More hope than you can shake a stick at

(Cross-posted from my writing blog)

Remember that four-part magazine I told you about - put together by speculative fiction fans and full of stories and artwork donated by Australian writers and artists? Well, the first edition has now been published.

All the money raised by the sale of this magazine will go towards the disaster relief fund for the survivors of the recent catastrophic bush fires in South-Eastern Australia. So get out your credit cards and visit this page to make your donation and get your copy. I've seen the first edition and it is astonishingly good - packed to the rafters with the work of top-notch writers and illustrators. The quality is so high, you'd want to buy it anyway.

To get out a magazine like this in just a couple of weeks is an astonishing achievement. My hat is off to Grant Watson, Ju Landéesse and Maia Bobrowicz, who made it happen - and to all the many Australian spec fic writers and artists who contributed. For the likes of me, giving away a story doesn't cost a great deal - since I don't get paid so much for them - but for some of the big-name contributors, this represents a significant donation. Make sure this generosity isn't in vain, order your copy of Hope #1 now. In fact, why not order all four of them?

Normal Service Will Be Resumed As Soon As Possible

Apologies to all my regular readers!

I don't know what happened to my front page but Blogger seems to have had some kind of psychotic episode, removed all the posts and rearranged all the widgets. Everything is still here (thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster) but you now have to look a little harder to find things!

I'll be sorting it out a little later in the day (got to go and measure up the garden for a DIY job we have planned) so please bear with me.

If you like, while you're waiting for normality to be resumed, you may curse Blogger. I'm sure it helps.

-oOo-

Later that same day...

All sorted!

Don't you just hate programs with a mind of their own? They won't actually have to do anything to take over the world. They'll just have to stop doing it right for a couple of days and we'll be back in the Stone Age.

12 February, 2009

HOPE

(Cross-posted from my writing blog)

If you'd like a really great way to help the victims of the Victorian bushfires, you should order your copies of Hope. This is a four-issue spec. fic. fanzine created by enthusiasts in Western Australia, with all proceeds going to support fire victims. Issue One should be out this weekend (Valentine's Day). The other three should follow at weekly intervals.

It's being put together at incredible speed. All the material is donated by the Australian spec. fic. community. The latest update shows the state of play. Keep an eye on [info]angriest for news of how to order your copies.

Apart from a story by me :-) there will be a previously unpublished piece by Sean Williams, another 135,000 words of fiction, loads of Dr Who fan-fiction, and enough cartoons and images to fill a whole edition of their own!

This is a fantastic effort by Australian writers to help people who have lost almost everything it is possible to imagine losing. Please buy your copies of Hope, and spread the word.

11 February, 2009

A Public Announcement on Behalf of Grumpy People Everywhere

Here's an organisation that has just been begging to exist since the days of Reagan and Thatcher dehumanised society to the point where just being alive became a cruel and unusual punishment: The Grumpy Group.

The vision of The Grumpy Group is "to exploit grumpiness in any ethical way that can be creatively imagined and implemented". Specifically, they want to harness the hithertofore untapped power of grumpiness to cheer people up, to help people stand up for themselves against a world turned indifferent, and to stick it (back) to The Man.

For those who can't afford to join a class action, or who believe that whingeing on and on on your blog doesn't actually do any good, for those who'd just like to get the electric company to accept that their bill really was paid three months ago and get their power back on, The Grumpy Group may be the very thing.

By the look of the site, they don't have many members yet - maybe something to do with the fact that hard-core grumpies gave up on the Web years ago when those f**king annoying pop-up ads first started appearing - but, hey, there was a time when MySpace only had a handful of members, right? A time when there were only three videos on YouTube? A time when the United States of America was just Idaho, or Nebraska, or whatever it was, yeah?

And so on.

The point is that grumpy people deserve to be together.

Or something like that.

10 February, 2009

Death and Suffering in Australia

At the time of writing, the bush-fires that are still burning in south-eastern Australia have claimed 173 lives, with hundreds more injured and almost a thousand homes burnt down. It is Australia's largest natural disaster ever. Whole towns have been wiped out. Whole families.

Up in the north-east, there are record floods. Some towns have been cut off for weeks. Several people have died, several more are missing. Homes have been wrecked, businesses devastated, crops are standing under water, choked with mud.

I've got no point to make, no axe to grind. I just want to acknowledge this terrible moment of suffering and grief, this horror, literally all around me.

03 February, 2009

What Kind of Twit Twitters?

Well, you're about to find out. Look near the bottom of the left-hand column and you'll find my new twitter stream.

I've been resisting Twitter for quite a while now. Honestly, it just looks like a waste of bits. Yet so many people rave about it - people I would otherwise think quite highly of - that I suppose I ought to give it a go.

First impressions:

1. It's easier to do than I expected. I just leave the Twitter page open and type a quick burst of rubbish into it when it occurs to me to do so. The 140 character limit is actually a big help here. It stops me being as prolix as I'd like and therefore saves me from wasting so much time.

2. I'm just as likely to type in a random thought as to answer the question 'What are you doing?' which is supposed to be what it's all about. Maybe my random thoughts will be more interesting than the fact that I'm just off to have lunch. Twitter says its for the bits of your life in between blogs and emails. Well, maybe for me it's for the bits of my mind in between more coherent utterances.

3. Even after just half-a-dozen twitterings, the whole is looking far more interesting than the parts. Maybe a twitter stream is going to be a far more valuable and entertaining read than each individual utterance.

4. The word 'twitter' is very irritating. It's like 'twitcher'. An individual twitter entry should be called a 'twitch'. Maybe the next big thing will be like twitter but with a ten word limit. We could call that a 'tick'.

Anyhoo, I'll try it for a while and see what it comes to. Maybe I'll enjoy this mental twitching enough to keep at it for a while. If you're one of the twitterati (a twitcher,) then follow my twitchings by clicking the 'Follow me on Twitter' link at the bottom of my twitchings.

If you can bear it.

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