25 February 2008

I've Got You Under My Skin

Call me a shameless future-slut... but if this is the Mark of the Beast, I want to be Left Behind.
The tattoo display communicates wirelessly to other Bluetooth devices - both in the outside world and within the same body. Although the device is always on (as long as your blood´s flowing), the display can be turned off and on by pushing a small dot on the skin.
That is so cool. Or maybe I just haven't watched enough David Cronenberg films to realise.

21 February 2008

Goodness, has it really?

As long as that? Blimey.

I'm actually having grave trouble writing anything at all at the moment, not just posting here. Possible reasons for this might include:
  • natural idleness
  • extended post-Christmas lassitude
  • busyness at work
  • mild depression
  • my caffeine dependency reaching the point where coffee no longer has any actual stimulant effect.
I suspect the last of those, myself -- it happens occasionally, and generally requires a two-month detox so I can start feeling the benefit again -- but the others may also be playing a part.

This is why I'm rather glad I've managed to spend today writing a column for Surefish (and on only three coffees, too), even if it does retread some rather familiar ground for anyone who's heard me witter on about my thesis. It isn't this one about TV's Heroes, which as it happens has just gone up today -- some editorial rescheduling at Surefish has meant that that one's been waiting in the pipeline a little while. (I didn't really need to write the next column today at all, in fact, but since I seemed to be making actual progress with it I thought I ought to press on.)

So what else have I been doing recently? Well, consuming various bits of culture, pop- and otherwise, in diverse media. There'll be too many to list, but they include:
  • Alan Moore's brilliant and hilarious The Black Dossier -- the latest in his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series -- which is about multiple characters from different fictional universes, including that of Dracula, spying in post-Big-Brother Britain in the 1950s.
  • Kim Newman's clever and mildly disturbing Andy Warhol's Dracula -- a a follow-up, though not a particularly recent one, to his Anno Dracula series -- about multiple characters from different fictional universes, including that of Dracula, hanging out with Andy Warhol in New York in the 1970s.
  • Paul Magrs' very fine and splendid Something Borrowed -- the sequel to the equally fine and splendid Never the Bride -- about multiple characters from different fictional universes, including that of Dracula, meeting up at a B&B in Whitby in the present day.
(These three are surprisingly different from one another, to the extent that I might try comparing them in detail here, if I manage the time and energy. The Black Dossier is the best, I think, but I'd be more likely recommend the camp Hammerology of Something Borrowed to the casual reader. It's fab.)
  • Newtons Sleep, the sixth (or seventh, or eighth, depending how you're counting) Faction Paradox novel and the first from new publishers Random Static. Which is just great, and which I should probably also say more about here soon.
  • Iain M. Banks's Matter, which is fun so far, although if you've read the previous Culture novels it's rather noticeably more of the same. Still, there's a lot of incredibly detailed and imaginative worldbuilding, which it's always worth reading Banks-the-S.F.-writer for.
  • Cloverfield, which is very clever and interestingly done, but not actually all that entertaining to watch, which is a bit of an oversight. It's rather lucky that they do keep the monster offscreen for most of the time, because when you actually see it it's a bit rubbish. (It also gave me terrible motion sickness, which has been happening more recently. I suspect this is the current cinematic trend towards low-tech verisimilitude, rather than my advancing age, but if it carries on I'm going to have to take travel-sickness pills before going to the cinema, which is silly.)
  • Penelope. Christina Ricci -- whom the plot requires to be repulsively ugly -- is sexier as a pig-faced woman than I'd have imagined possible.
  • Ashes to Ashes. That Keeley Hawes really isn't John Simm, is she?
  • Torchwood, which, while more consistent this season, will have to do an awful lot of arse-gearing before I start feeling it's actually worth my while watching it. (That said, and presumably just to keep me paying attention, the episode Adam was blindingly good.)
And a bunch of other stuff as well.

I also, last weekend, met up with a cluster of friends whom I love a great deal and get far too sentimental about, together with assorted partners and a baby, to eat food, drink too much and talk random nonsense. Sadly B. was working at the weekend and couldn't come. The whole thing was thoroughly lovely, though, and put me in a far mellower mood after the weekend than I was at the end of last week. Or, unfortunately, this one.

I've also been listening to the Walkman I acquired at (though not for) Christmas. Now I've got over the "My god, it's the soundtrack to my life!" response which comes from stalking about the place with non-diegetic music sounding in your ears, I'm finding it's a good way of consuming the CDs of random audio drama I have lying about the place, as well as discovering quite how limited my music collection is. Recommended.