Friday, November 30, 2007

Soon I Will Be Invincible

You know, I could have been an evil genius if I wanted to. Just like Dr Impossible in "Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman. I could have had the island, the death rays, the robot army. If only I hadn't sucked so much at High Energy Physics, I too could have had some sort of exotic energy accident and be wearing a cape and mind-control helmet, grinding the world beneath my heel.

I just didn't apply myself to the task. Doctor Impossible never gave up, not after twelve thwarted attempts to take over the world. That's his thing, after all - he's an evil genius, or a sufferer from Malign Hypercognition Disorder to give it the medical term. He battles heroes from all times and places, never once forgetting to taunt them theatrically.

Grossman's love for comic-book superheroes and villains shines through in this book. You can't lampoon a genre so thoroughly without being a fan. If you've ever read a comic, seen one of the marvel films, or just like to wear tights, you'll enjoy this book. Me, I'm using it as a blueprint for my plans to take over the world. You'll rue the day you ever crossed paths with me. You shall all kneel before me, or I will destroy the sun! Mwuhahahahahahahaaaaaaa!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Man With The Golden Torc

"Do you expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr Jones. I expect you to review this book."
"'The Man With The Golden Torc' by Simon Green. Sounds like some corny parody of James Bond, but with some fantasy creatures as the baddies."
"You would think that, Mr Jones. That's why I've always despised your kind, and why I will take great pleasure in watching you be devoured by my army of rabid guinea pigs. But first, I must monologue. Comfortable?"
"The leather wrist-straps are beginning to chafe, so if you'd just hurry up that would be lovely."
"That book you just disparaged is all those things you mentioned. It's also a lot of fun, if you switch off your brain and let yourself be swept along you'd enjoy it. Sure, there are parts that are a little clumsy: infodumps, stilted conversations-"
"Like when I last fought you, breaking into your underground bunker, and fighting hand-to-hand with your bodyguard, Mr Snuggles. It was a titanic battle and we nearly ended up destroying the world. You wore a red, crushed velvet suit and I lost my hand to the robot sharks. Happy days."
"As I was saying: stilted conversations intended to convey backstory by relating past events that both parties recall completely. Don't worry about those parts, there's plenty of flippant one-liners and amusing repartee. You way wish to take notes. Oh, wait. You'll be dead. Mwuhahahahahaaaaa-"
"Oh, just release the flipping guinea pigs, wll you?"

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by No Middle Name

The first Pimms of the season. Slurp!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dr. Mukti by Will Self

Gareth slipped the slim selection of short stories into his bag, and it felt like his whole life had been a depressing series of events designed entirely to make him miserable. Boredom took a seat next to him, and stared slack-jawed through the window. If he'd been a character in the book he'd just perused, he'd have gone mad by now, and something awful, violently virulent would be about to happen but not before he'd had some utterly empty sex with someone for whom he no longer had feelings.

Slightly absurd situations plodded along next to him, well described in beautiful prose, like catwalk models asked about the latest trends in civil engineering. A wonder to look at, but lacking in compelling, competent, components. Artful alliteration danced over the bones of plots that never had any meat.

In short, the stories depressed me, the characters annoyed me, but Will Self sure can write purdy words.

what a lovely pear, missus!

what a lovely pear, missus!
Originally uploaded by No Middle Name

mmm... furry fruit.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The programmer's fear of the pollen count

I'm dribbling snot out of my nose. The flow of mucus has backed up to my eyes and my ears are starting to fill up. I sleep with my mouth open, it's the only way I can breathe, and my own snores wake me up. In the morning the inside of my mouth feels like an old leather sofa that's been chewed on by a slobbering beagle. Small children are scared by the things that come out of my nose when I blow it. Hooray for spring!

I only ever got mild hayfever in the UK. Sneezes, itchy eyes that would last a week or two and then not bother me for another year.

Australia has decided it hates me, and has dispatched floral agents to disable me. They've replaced all the anti-histamine in the chemists with placebos, none of it makes any difference. I've tried Claratyne. No effect. I tried two tablets of Zyrtec yesterday, and all that did was make me dizzy. They don't sell Piriton here, so I'm going to google for the active ingredient and see if there's anything similar. It used to work in the UK, but who knows if it will be able to fight off this evil plague.

If that doesn't work I'm going to invest in some industrial decongestants and ride out the spring on a wave of snot.

UPDATE: The active ingredient in Piriton is chlorphenamine maleate. To the Pharmacy!