Daily archives: July 25, 2006

Rip it up and start again?

Darren at ProBlogger has set a challenge- tell him how you’d proceed if you were to start your blog all over again.

I started Spinneyhead in January 2001. The simple and most obvious thing I’d do would be to post more often, and longer posts. That would have been a little tricky, of course, given the fact that I was mostly posting on work time. Looking back on it, I should have posted more often about work and what I was putting up with, but done it after hours.

2001 wasn’t a good year for me, and I came out of it a lot poorer and significantly less healthy. Too much time on the road, drowning my sorrows and maxing out the daily expenses allowance on big meals. All in all it was ideal fodder for the sort of work blog that would get you sacked now but would then have been a short cut to notoriety (and maybe a book deal) then.

Then, of course, there was September 11th. I was working in Cardiff that day. At some point someone set up a TV in a corner of the office and, as we found out what was going on, we all gravitated to it to try and take in the events. I was shocked, obviously, and living with a guy who claimed he knew people who worked in the World Trade Centre made the degrees of separation smaller. Yet somehow I didn’t find myself caught up in the clamour for War On Terror the way so many others did. Even back then I felt that some of the stuff we were being sold was utter rubbish. Such as when people kept telling us that no-one had ever thought terrorists could use civilian aircraft as weapons. What about the Tom Clancy novel where an avenging Japanese pilot landed a 747 on the State of the Union? Surely Clancy was just the sort of people Bush Jr.’s people read?

Maybe I should have published these thoughts, controversial then but justified now, and had another shot at notoriety.

But the honest truth is, sometimes when you’re in a shitty situation it’s just too hard to see how bad it is, let alone write about it objectively. Especially when the person who’s making it worse, by agreeing to every idiot idea from management, is supposed to be your friend. And I’m not great with conflict, so I didn’t really want to tell the truth to all those revenge blinded Americans.

So in the end, this is the Spinneyhead you got instead. It’s still here. My enthusiasm has waxed and waned but never died, and the family has grown. Maybe, after all, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Heavensent 8.3

The fretwork of cables they had been throwing out and stringing over branches was finally beginning to pay off. “I have a signal sir.” the radio operator announced. “There is an aerial gun platform on the way.”

“Do they know where we are?” Mirl asked.

“I believe so. We are getting distress signals out, which they can pinpoint.”

“Very good. Keep it up until the batteries run down.” Mirl walked back along the wing and slid in through one of the old cockpit blisters. He wanted to share the good news.

The bombardier was sleeping. His leg was troubling him ever more- it might already be too late to save it. There was no-one else in the cabin, though the hatch to the bomb bay was open. Mirl headed in that direction. There was the rattling report of a burst from an autogun and the airframe shook. Mirl ran over to the hatch and ducked his head through. “What is going on here!”

“There was movement sir!” The co-pilot pointed down through the foliage. The navigator was hopping from one half open bay door to the other, trying to get a better view.

“You do not shoot at shadows! Wait until you have a certain sighting.”

There was a noise from below. Something rattled against the skin of the bay doors. Another burst of fire followed, one bullet getting through the gap and ricocheting around the cowering crew men.

“That seemed quite certain sir!” The co-pilot was too scared to sound smug.

“Get a gun. I shall wake the bombardier.” The navigator jumped across the gap to the rack of autoguns. He landed hard, and the leverage finally dislodged the door. Mirl reached out, stretching across an impossible distance, as the young airman tumbled backwards away from him. He hit a large branch, heavily, and stopped flailing as he fell toward the ground. The wing lurched, and Mirl could hear the bombardier being thrown from his bed.

There were shouts from below, and more gunfire. The co-pilot turned his autogun toward the shots and let off a burst. Mirl grabbed two of the mini bombs and tossed them through the gap.

The co-pilot stopped firing. There was silence for a moment before two explosions shook the trees. The wing shifted slightly again. “There is an aerial gun platform on the way.” Mirl announced.

“Give it speed, there is not long for us.”

Heavensent 8.4
Heavensent 8.2
Heavensent 1.1

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Sex lives of the Munchkins

Little people can be dirty too!

In the original film, of course, the Munchkins were played by genuine circus midgets, whose colourful contribution to Hollywood history has never been forgotten.

For although their antics on screen brought joy to generations of children, behind the scenes they astounded everyone with shocking episodes of drunkenness, depravity and wild sexual propositions from which no one was safe.

Even Garland herself was sufficiently curious to go on a date with one of the most randy, although since she was so young, her mother insisted on joining her.

“Fair enough, two broads for the price of one,” the tiny lothario replied, undaunted. By the time filming was over, Garland had seen enough of the Munchkins’ unsavoury antics to go right off the idea of any intimate contact.

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Paging Robert Langdon

The body, or bits of it, at least, of Italian financier Gianmario Roveraro have been found under a motorway bridge. The banker, who had ties to Opus Dei and the collapse of Parmalat, was kidnapped on the way home from a meeting of everyone’s favourite conspiratorial religious group. There is no mention of whether his bits were arranged in such a way as to send a secret message.

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Is this what Mongrels are made of?

Protein-Nanoparticle Material Mimics Human Brain Tissue

A material that mimics brain tissue is a step towards artificial replacements for brain cells. Haven’t read this in full, I’ll probably do that this evening, but it might tie into ideas I’ve had for the Mongrels comic strips (Adrift is about a man with artificial brain cells living on, in a sense, after his body has died) and the script I’m writing for Tim’s “Spinneyhead presents” challenge.

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