Friday, April 30, 2004

Lurid has a new anti-war piece up, with some very disturbing links.

Looking at those pictures of the humiliated and tortured Iraqi prisoners and their grinning American captors, two things came to mind. One was images of hunters and their kills: celebratory smiles, triumphant poses, anonymous, nonhuman flesh.

The other was the Stanford prison experiment.

These are not isolated incidents, the regrettable work of a few bad apples. These are snapshots of ongoing, insitutional brutality. They are happening in the context of a structure and heirachy that is giving its permission, even encouragement, to torture, sexual assault, and murder. And these are just the incidents that we get to hear about, remember. Imagine how many more stories go untold, how many more pictures don't get taken.

"Hey, crackhead!"

Via Cruel Site of the Day.

Thursday, April 29, 2004


Regular stalkers will be aware that a few weeks back, I decided to write a fantasy novel for the online outfit. I came up with an idea, and a 30-point outline which I fleshed out. The outline now runs to about six A4 pages (it's handwritten with lots of crossing out, so I'm estimating here). I also have about 10,000 words written (most of which I will re-read in a month and then delete with a cry of horror, but still).

So. Uhhhh.... this novel-writing thing... how exactly do you go about it?

I mean, I have my outline, I'm 10,000+ words into my pile-o-shite first draft... and I'm sort of flapping about in the breeze. I feel like a five-year-old trying to steer a Harley. You sort of get writing, and it's chugging along fine, and then you read back everything you've done today in the context of everything you wrote on Tuesday, and the bits just don't match somehow. And you've spent 1000 words describing a tree or a table or a fish or summink, and then somewhere else you've had someone have their village destroyed by Dire Tapirs, find out they're the sole survivour of the F'Koop Clan and heir to their magic Stick O Doom ect, climb a big mountain, meet the party of rag-tag rebels who are going to Save The World At The Last Minute, and all that's happened in half a fucking page.

How do you write about climbing a mountain anyway? "There were rocks and they got cold and nearly fell off a couple of times. The end."

I suck.

Good day yesterday. Went out to a nearby town and actually managed to get signed up with a temp agency. Untill quite recently, I'd been getting very short shrift from agencies, so I'm quite pleased. My Spanish remians pretty retarded but I suppose I'm making some progress.

So a big thanks to my floaty disembodied friends for helping me out. Yes, I'll do my LBRP more regularly in future. Yeeess, I promise to update your blog soon. Honest.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


I am a huge moron and my brain is a big bowl of pudding. Like strawberry Instant Whip, something pink and wobbly like that.

Was just re-reading a story of mine, and discovered that this scene in it was basically identical to something I read online. I man, Iread the online story about two years or so back, and I've just re-read it recently. Then I read my story just now, and I realised that this scene was basically the same as the one in this online story. It's only a little thing, about two lines long, and it's not word for word or anything but still... AUGGGH. Mortified!

See, I fucking hate plagarists. They get on my tits. Fucking no-imagination-having, selfish, egotistical, Tarantino-invoking wankers who think that reading somethingis the same as writing it... killkillkill. And then I find I'm one of them. One of the pudding-brain leechzombies. Even though it was completely by accident, I'm now a gibbering paranoid wreck in case I've doen the same thing in any of my other pieces. And I can't check, because all my books are in London.

At least it's not a story I've submitted anywhere; no-one but me has even read it. Even so, I want the Earth to open up and swallow me.
Bruce Castor.

Because fridgemagent said so.

Work (again).

Okay. I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really REALLY want a job now.

I'm used to sucky jobs so I guess I don't mind if I got something sucky, but I'd prefer something that tied in with my life in some way: writing, healing, electronics, arts, crafts, magick, books... that kind of thing. I need discarnate floaty help.

Spooky pervert Mah El: I promise to do like you suggested and vibrate your moniker as part of my tweaked LRPB. Will you fix me up with some non-insane-making work? Spooky pervert Rah May El... not quite sure how you'd like to be included in my rituals, but could you help me with my art and craftiness? I know that's your bag. Both of you guys: I need confidence to proceed. Lots of confidence. Please confidencify me forthwith.

Oh, and thanks for helping me contact my Uni today. I swear, those guys must be allergic to the telephone...

Sunday, April 25, 2004


Okay, now this is odd.

Since the download which prompted that last entry, I've been visualizing my skull as a jewelled cup full of some viscous golden fluid, like nectar in a flower. During trancework using this visualization, I have percived entities sipping from the cup with long, curled butterfly tongues. They were unaffected by my shield, and I sensed no malignancy from them. "Benign" seems too small a word, as does "indifferent." They seemed vast, containing both creation and destruction as potentials. I get the feeling that they were well pleased with the offering.

The level of fluid in the skull-cup never falls, no matter what. In my trance-state I was surprised; they seemed amused that I would imagine that the level would fall, letting me know that the resource was infinite so long as I continued to offer it to the world. I do not yet know what the fluid represents, exactly.

In myself, I feel good. I had a low-energy thing at the beginning of the week, before I started the visualisations, but now I feel very peppy and invigorated.

That's not the odd part. The odd part is that I'm suddenly being poked to do a youth-spell. I've never had any real desire to do this in the past; whenever I've experienced anxiety about the effect of time on the ol' mortal coil, I've done workings for the acceptance of age. Apart from the occasional glamour to boost my confidence and workings to improve my health, I've never tried very hard to fight time or aging--it always seemed a little shallow to me. But now I find myself being given very clear signals that a youth working is my next step, along with detailed instructions as to how I should go about the working, what items I'll need and what I should do to prepare. There's no sense of pressure, more a sort of "come and play!" vibe.

I'll ask my guides and see what the pre-spell scry says. If it's favourable then I'm gonna go for it.

Friday, April 23, 2004


Hmm. Haven't done a proper magickal braindump for a while. Here's a message that's been slowly taking shape this week this week, as recorded in one of my magickal journals.

Clear and present:

I was complaining, as I do, about the lack of life in my mind; my state of drouth; my sense of senslessness; emotional unconsciousness.

Not quite ready to dare the cards, I retreated to the safety of the internet. I shifted up one level, wandered. Sure enough, the answer appears: Kapala, a skull-cup.

"To recieve one must have one's hands open." I seek always to drink, yet remain parched. The answer: I am not dessicated, merely stagnant. I attempt to be a sealed vessel, and no living thing is a sealed vessel. We are rivers. We must permit the flow of ourselves. I must offer up something; I must make of my skull a cup for Gods to sup from.

One must not fear hollowness. One shall be made new. One shall be filled anew, and be adorned with gold and brass and bronze. One shall be filled anew and made bright with precious stones. One shall be made very fine and a little terrible, like a gilded skull-cup.

Ramping up my excerciseousness and writey goodness, I find my energy levels could do with a boost. The obvious thing to do in a city just swimming with dance drugs would be to purchace some of said recreational pharmeceuticals and ingest, with hilarious consequences, yet I am loth to do this. I'm not getting any younger and I'd like to preserve a little of my fragile bone density (not to mention my fragile grip on reality).

No, I'm looking for something a bit less toxic, like ephedra or whatever. So far I've drawn a blank, though I've yet to hit the Chinese herbalists. There's always pseudoephedrine, but the most popular brand of pseudoephedrine-containting pills also has paracetamol, which I don't take unless I really need to.

Spain seems on the whole to take a much more relaxed attitude than the UK: shrooms seem to be legal here which is nice. I'm wondering if I couldn't get something a bit more efficacious that Sudafed over the counter here, but the internet is proving unhelpful. I can't very well stride into the pharmacy, collar the dude behind the counter and yell: "Déme las drogas del estimulante! Ahora! Déme LAS DROGAS!"

Or can I?

Monday, April 19, 2004


Had an excellent day Sunday. LA's work laid on an excursion for employees and parteners, so I went along. First we saw Besalú, a beautiful small town with some interestin historical features. Then we headed out to climb extinct volcanoes, which rocked. Jet-black and rust-red soil, pale trees and grasses clinging to dark cliffs. After that, we went to visit the Santuari del Far, which is right at the top of a mountain and commands some stunning views. It was awesome. This is an incredibly beautiful part of the world and I feel so, so lucky to be here.

The rest of this week has been a touch sucky, which is my own fault. I got a couple of rejections, and for some reason I allowed them to floor me. Ended up all mopey and lethargic and why-botherish. Things looked up when the University of Canned Fish sent me a note saying they'd got my money, but they haven't sent the bloody certificate so now I have to phone them up a-sodding-GAIN to find out what the hell they're playing at.

I realise this is my fault, I realise I should've sorted all this mess out back in the UK, but I just didn't have the stomach to write a cheque out to an organization that had shafted me so vigourously and so recently. I literally felt sick at the thought of giving them money. Funds were pretty damn tight back then, too.

Getting the cert. will be good for my head, I think. I mean, don't get me wrong, I appreciate what I have. I'm living in this wonderful place with a great bloke, and I know how lucky I am. But... the thing is, it's just that: Luck. Sheer dumb luck. Nothing I have right now was actually earned. I'm here because of Lurid's career, his hard work; I didn't do anything to earn it, it was just handed to me on a plate. I want to achieve something. I want to do something myself, ya know? I want one thing in my life that I can look at and say: "I made that."

And it's close, that success, that thing I'm reaching for. I can feel it. It gets closer every day.

Saturday, April 17, 2004


Spent a sizeable chunk of this afternoon doing a heavy character exercise. I decided to write in the voice of a psychotic male supremacist, just as an excercise, just to see if I could "be" someone with a mindset so far from my own. I started out okay with some routine Sim-ian dissing of 'Feminazis' etc, but then the next thing I knew I'd written 600 words of this pretend psycho guy's manifesto, including paragraphs on the decriminalisation of rape and the re-introduction of Magdelen laundries. At that point I had to stop and go away and be me again. I'll finish it though: it'll do for my Lj.

One day I'm going to get so far into a character I won't come back. Hope it's someone awesome.

Been thinking a lot about something that happened on Thurs. Myself and LA were seeing LA's brother off at the bus station around midnight. About half an hour before his bus was due, we were approached by a sketchy bus station person. At first I thought the guy was begging for change, but it turned out he wanted coffee and didn't know how to work the machine. Not sure if he was illiterate or just had poor eyesight. Lurid helped him get a coffee, then he tried to give it to Lurid, and then he started talking to me in really mumbly Spanish. Only he kept calling me Theresa. I kept telling him my name, and telling him I couldn't understand Spanish very well, but he kept calling me Theresa and going on about other people, people this Theresa person knew. It was so sad, so eerie. In his world, I was Theresa; some freind or a family member playing this cruel mind game where she pretended not to understand him, not even to be Theresa.

We left him there, lost in that other world, alone.
WOW! moment.

And so we are indeed guided, are we? Sent wandering through the electric texts, reading on until the all the tumblers drop into place and the door swings open at a touch.

Obvious, really; but when on is distracted by something yet more obvious, even the obvious becomes occult.

However, I digress. This is the solution: If I can't do it, I have to find someone who can; if I can't find anyone, I must create them; and this achieved I must be them for a while.

Bingo. Thanks, guys.

Bit of a hiatus these last couple of days. I'm working, of course, but I've been doing outlines and research and stuff rather than completing anything. Must get something finished over the weekend. I've been really productive lately, but don't want to fall back into bad habits. Submitting something soon would be good for my head, too: had a rather mopey day yesterday, thinking about the no-job thing, all the stuff I want to do and can't because I have no money. Blargh. Feels like I'm in the same place I was last year; I mean, I know, rationally, that this is incorrect, that I have made progress. In fact I have made, on the whole, excellent use of my time, ramping up the writing output and improving other areas.

The magick, though, I've been letting that slide lately and that's not good. I'm on a very basic level of functionality there: meditate, ground, cleanse, shield, journal, moisturize. Been letting the meatier bits slide. Bad, very bad; from past experience, if I slack off then the Universe Space dumps some big magickal challenge into my ample lap, then stands there grinning and going "Bet you wish you'd worked a bit harder now, don't you?" I need to recover the kind of enthusiasm for magick that I had when I was a kid, the WOW! factor. I need a boost.

Yo! Spooky people! BOOST me!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

More ranting.

I've had people visiting/stopping over and stuff. Was fun, and a much-needed distraction from the continuing bloodbath in Iraq.

Here's a piece on Falluja from today's Grauniad.

It's unbelivable. I keep expecting to wake up, like this is all a nightmare. What the hell is going on? Who the FUCK is running this show, Judge Death? "The crimmee isss lifffeee... the sssenntencce issss DEAAAATHHHH!"

There's ten thousand civilians dead now. Ten thousand. We're blowing up SCOOLS AND HOSPITALS. Why? We're told that this has to be done n the hopes of picking off a few terrorists. Yeah, right. These are punitive attacks, group punishment inflicted by an increasingly dehumanised occupying force.

Maybe I'm not a military tactician but it seems to me that this is not how you get rid of a terrorist militia. Look, when you turn someone's fucking family into a bloody pile of dismembered limbs, you CREATE MORE TERRORISTS. Get that?

When you destroy all the things that keep people alive inside, that keep them hopeful, all the things that make a future: home, family, freinds, community--what the hell do you think that does? How the hell do you expect them to react? You think they're going to roll over and play dead? No! They're going to pick up a gun, strap on a dynamite vest, and take as many of you with them as they can.

And no, before you start, this is not a defence of terrorism. There is no defence for terrorism, whether perpetrated by small groups or by superpowers.

Monday, April 12, 2004


Thought you could hide from me, did you? Thought to conceal your true identity behind a mask of dissemblance! But no-one hides from Sherlock Carnival--no one! Especially not Ophrys Fusca!

Friday, April 09, 2004


Can't find my orchids' name anywhere! I found some in my Spanish flora book that looked a lot like them, but not quite the same ones. I'm well chuffed tho', I love having little projects like this. It's going to be fun Sherlocking around flower sites.

On the writing front, I have little news. Another of my stories got rejected, but I just punted it out again somewhere else. My approach at the moment is to always be looking for the next market I'm going to submit a story to. Send a piece off to zine A, then go and look for zine B, so that when zine A gives you the cold shoulder you just shunt the work off to zine B--and immediately start shopping for zine C. That way I can keep my turn-around as short as possible (and stay positive).

I also had an idea for a killer short today and did quite a bit of work on it. So I'm in a pretty good mood, all in all. (I'd be in an even better mood if a certain pair of disembodied types would fix it for me to actually sell summink. Like, soon, please?)

PS: Ever wanted to install Linux on a dead badger? Here's how! Installing Linux on a Dead Badger: User's Notes

I wish I could write stuff like that.

Dammit, frikken frakken Holy Week has caught me on the hop again. Everything shuts down for Holy Week here. I have no beer, nor any way of getting beer that doesn't involve taking a train. Really. Everything is shut round here: the bar, the shops, the caff, everything.

However, I am not as whiny and bad-moody as I might be, coz yesterday I discovered--ORCHIDS! Yes! Real live wild orchids, growing along the road down to the station. I'm so happy! Not quite sure what species they are yet. They were sooo pretty and exotic, with dark purple and green petals.

Gonna go and look at pix of orchids now, see if I can find out what they're called so I can brag properly.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


Went out last night w/Lurid A. Stopped off in Gracia for falafels etc. and then on to a bar. Our intention was to go to the Intercambio they hold there, but by the time we got to the pub everyone had gone. There'd been a crowd of British soccer fans in, apparently, and everyone had been scared off.

I hate the British. Loud, obnoxious, rude, aggressive boozehounds, the lot of them. And we have the nerve to have a go at American tourists! When's the last time you saw an American barfing Special Brew into a wheely-bin at two o'clock on a Sunday lunchtime?

Feeling a little bleak today. The writing was going badly, and then the laptop started playing up so badly that myself and Lurid decided to do a clean install. I wanted Linux, but for some reason the laptop wouldn't boot from the Red Hat CDs so I'm stuck with bloody Windoze 98.

I want a proper operating system! Raggghhh!

And I was in one of those foul moods where every little hitch is a Sign from Above that you are rubbish and should just pack it in. And I'm still writing tosh. And my legs hurt because I strained them defrosting the fridge (don't ask). And there's no mixer left. And... Well, I've run out of stuff to complain about for now.

As a bit of contrast to my whining, I'd like to call your attention to Cancergiggles, which turned up in my comments the other day along with some much-appreciated encouragement. It's a blog about living with cancer, really well-written and genuinely funny.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Scribble scribble scribble, tappety tappety tap.

Just over 5000 words into the Other Novel. One small problem: they are 5000 words of SUCK. Suckitude doesn't cover it. It's a suckgasm. A tornado of suction. Waahh. Re-reading it today, I got so depressed. It was so bad I took most of the day off and defrosted the fridge.

All I want is to make the same amount of money out of writing that I could make mopping floors. That's all I'm trying for at the moment. I don't have fantasies about walking into FNAC and seeing shelvesful of the latest Mordant Carnival; I don't dream of signing autographs or Being Famous. I don't even give a shit if I have to work 16 hour days to make the same money I was getting for 8 hours as a cleaning lady. I just want to do what I do, this one thing that I reckon I'm good at. That's all.

It's not a big ask.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

The ringleader of the Madrid attacks is dead.

He and three other suicide bombers died yesterday morning, when they blew themselves up as police closed in on their lair.

They had other explosives all set up for future attacks.

You'd think I'd be glad that at least now those people won't be planting any more bombs, but all I can think is: Why? How does someone do that? What processes does someone have to go through in hir mind to make it okay to inflict the horrible carnage we saw in March? What the hell did they hope to achieve?

I will never understand terrorism any more than I understand war. Any more than I properly understand how other people made it okay in their minds to invade Iraq, when they knew, or might reasonably be expected to know, what the consequences of that would be.

I have increasingly little hope for this species.

Friday, April 02, 2004


I am an asthmatic. Have been, since I was five. A quarter of a century later, I am still fighting for breath.

It's funny: whenever you read a book or watch a film with an asthmatic character, the asthmo always has some kind of emotional problem. They're never really sick; they just have parents who're over-protective, or abusive, or whatever. They take pills or inhalers to feel better, and it's this whole big thing until someone comes along and shows them that all their problems are In Their Mind (TM), and then they get better.

I beg to differ. I do so in a very sarcastic tone of voice, just so's you know.

One of these days, I'll explain what "asthmatic" actually means in very little words so's you made-for-TV-film making chowderbrains can get it right.

Right now: I can still breath. It's not easy. I have to fight. I can't forget about it and just let it happen. I have to do breathing. Like writing; like painting in oils; like having a baby; like baking a cake. Like making love. Some are easier than others, but all of them have this in common: They don't just happen. You have to do them. Right here, right now, I have to do breathing.

Breathing in is easy. The problem with ashtma is breathing out. That's an effort. Your lungs suck in air easily; it's pushing it out that takes effort. Masseurs note that asthmatics have a signiature: a roll of muscle across their back.

I'm fighting. Demons. PHLEGM DEMONS!


eBooks'n'Bytes list of featured ePublishers currently accepting submissions.

I've been reading some sample chapters (where available) to get a feel of what 's likely to go down well, and I'm pretty optimistic. I have one outline and a first chapter that would fit the bill of a couple of e-publishers perfectly. Mind you, I can't use this as an excuse to slack off on my short stories.

Thursday, April 01, 2004


Have begun conducting a feasibility study into writing novel-lenth pieces for the online market. Got a couple of promising fantasy outlines worked out already, and I think I could easily stay the course if I decided to sit down and write a novel. Not The Dreaded Novel, of course (I doubt I'll finish that this side of 2012) but something more unassuming, a straightforward sword'n'sworcery bosh.

Could I work on a novel and keep my short fiction output up to a reasonable level (bearing in mind that until I find work, my short fics are my sole source of income)? Yes, I think I could. I've been slowly ramping my output up over the months, and tho' I have dry spots they are of short duration and frequency. If I worked on the novel in the mornings, say, and focused on the short fic in the afternoons and evenings, I could have a first draft done by autumn/winter.

Could I produce a work of acceptable quality? Again, yes, I belive I could. My writing has improved dramatically in the last year, largely because I've had bugger all else to do all day.

So I'm casing the e-book joint: looking to see where they keep the silverware and if key gets left the back door while they're out shopping. What's the market like, who's paying well, etc. I'll bung up some links when I have more info.