Archive for December, 2010

Getting the party back together

D&D A-Go-Go!

A Minotaur, obv

That’s right – the original ¡Lados oñ touros! are back together once more! We didn’t get much done on the first night (seeing as how we were short a member, nonamesmentionedJenni) but here’s the plan…

Continue reading ‘Getting the party back together’


As I Lay Dying

I have read a lot of books this year that I have liked, and as a result Amazon has recommended that I also read some Faulkner. As I had never done this before, but obviously knew the name (there’s a terrible band with the same moniker, no?) and so I picked one more or less at random / on the strength of the front cover (impartial, right).

My mother is a fish. 

After having read And the Ass Saw the Angel by the extremely multi-talented Mr. Nick Cave¹, and similar books besides, I found it fairly easy to get in to the southern twang – which for some can take a fair mental jump. You know you’ve got it when you can’t stop thinking in the vernacular for some time after reading a couple of chapters (zero occurrences of ‘old hoss’ so far – thanks to Marcus for that one). Before getting stuck into the book, I want first to quickly tackle the blurb as it is also something that I would imagine most of us do first in real life anyway. According to the blurb on my Vintage Classics edition,  As I Lay Dying is ‘as epic as the Old Testament [and] as American as Huckleberry Finn.’ This is a pretty fantastic piece of marketing², and I often think of when I did reviews for Bad Acid magazine and had to find ways to describe highly inaccessible music that made sense and weren’t too contrived and wanky.

The book is written by fifteen different narrators, each taking one or more of the 49 chapters to his or herself, and each of them describes their perspective on the death and burial of Addie Bundren, matron of the Bundren family. It is the innermost thoughts of her children, husband, friends and other onlookers as the family attempt to fulfil her dying wish – to be buried in the town of Jefferson. Each of the chapters is pretty short, with the shortest and possibly most well-known, amongst them being reproduced above as my selected quotation. This was also one of the earliest (excluding, you know, Dostoyevsky) and biggest examples of stream-of-consciousness writing, and as such reveals all of the true, ugly, chivalrous, stubborn, honest, selfish and misguided intentions of the narrators. It’s hard to describe much more of the plot without ruining a large chunk of a relatively small book. Suffice to say: a real slice of American literature.

¹This is a fantastic book, by the way. I read it either last year or maybe even the year before, but it really stuck with me. The vernacular of the characters being the writing style obviously helped to emphasise this, similarly to As I Lay Dying, but the story itself is brilliant, too.
²Some of my other favourites include the positive, often hyperbolic praise on vaguely adventure-themed books, e.g. Terminal World – ‘a snarling, drooling, crazy-eyes mongrel’.

Viva la Resolution

(We haven’t had our New Year Resolutions yet, I know, so you’ll just have to play along…)

Regular readers may have seen my post a while back resolving to make this year the one in which I finally bring some musical projects to (hopefully glorious) fruition. There will be a new There Were Bears record soon, and as previously alluded to I’m working on some personal projects, reigniting some old ones and beginning a new collaboration or two (more on that soon). The same then goes for the writing, though I’ve been a bit more productive generally with that.

I hope to have a proper full first draft of City House completed this year, as well as make a decent start on The Tower, which has been sat in half-sentences and fragments of ideas in word documents and notebooks for the best part of two years now. Before either of those though, I’m working on a short story entitled Egregore that I am intending to put through a gauntlet of magazine submissions editors (each more fearsome than the last). We shall see if I actually have any success.

Finally I’ve already begun to crack on with the 2011 Reading List (which will appear in a more finalised form next week) and progressively the City House manuscript is subsuming ever more of other people’s works into its pages…

Mugwump - and what?

The construction of The List

So the Oe, Kosinski and Bjørneboe books you may recognise from the 2010 reading list. They proved difficult to get a hold of and my reading slowed down a lot of the past month or so, giving me plenty of stuff that I do own to finish off this year.

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
Nip The Buds, Shoot The Kids by Kenzaburo Oe
White Noise by Don DeLillo
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
Slaughterhouse 5, or the Children’s Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut
The God of Small Things by Arudnhati Roy
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Perfume by Patrick Suskind
The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind
The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zombardo
The Art of Noises by Luigi Russolo
Hunger by Knut Hamsun
House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs
Powderhouse by Jens Bjørneboe
Moment of Freedom by Jens Bjørneboe
The Silence by Jens Bjørneboe

What with Christmas tomorrow and all, this might be expanding pretty soon. Either way if anyone has any suggestions then hit me up.


My intention for 2011 is to finally make some recordings that are entirely representative of the sort of music that truly influences me, crack on with it by myself and get the job done. There is too much good stuff out there (recently: Extreme Noise Terror, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Glassjaw and Throbbing Gristle) to not at least try to contribute something worthwhile.


Haven’t had a chance to actually play much Magic recently aside from the odd game of EDH and a funky Winston draft. This always results in some brewing on my part, dreaming up decks that no one else would ever dream of being seen dead playing. I played White Weenie Quest at the Games Day a little while back (to incredibly mediocre results) and despite my lack of success there, there is still a little part of me that played this game when I was 11 or 12 that would’ve had a fit over a card like Memnite. A 1/1 for 0 mana and no drawback? That’s insane!

Here’s my current brew for Legacy that utilises the little bot that could, along with a few other cards from Scars of Mirrodin that you may or may not be expecting to see. (Disclaimer: this list is entirely untested, I don’t even own half of the cards, and I’m just running on pure sketchy theory here).

(32) Creatures:
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
4 Frogmite
4 Master of Etherium
4 Memnite
4 Myr Enforcer
4 Ornithopter
4 Vedalken Certarch

(4) Instants:
4 Force of Will

(4) Sorceries:
4 Thoughtcast

(4) Artifacts:
4 Mox Opal

(16) Lands:
2 Blinkmoth Nexus
2 Glimmervoid
Great Furnace
2 Island
4 Seat of the Synod
Vault of Whispers

(15) Sideboard:
3 Cranial Plating
4 Disciple of the Vault
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Tormod’s Crypt

So, this idea came about largely during the SoM spoiler season, when I was also looking for other relatively cheap uses for my Force of Wills (the threshold deck I built is fine, and there are now two different better versions of it, but I want value out of my cards). The Basic gist is to combo off with Erayo, locking a lot of opponents out of the game either completely or for easily long enough for you to spawn a bunch of dudes and beatdown. 20 blue cards total should be enough for Force of Will to be relevant, my only real concern is the mana with only 12 blue sources – but I don’t think I want to cut any more artifact lands. Quick sideboard guide for a couple of major matchups:

Vs. Aggro
-4 Force of Will
+4 Galvanic Blast

Vs. Dredge
-4 Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
+4 Tormod’s Crypt

Vs. Control
-4 Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
-4 Force of Will
-3 Vedalken Certarch
+3 Cranial Plating
+4 Disciple of the Vault
+4 Galvanic Blast

Tomorrow night.


the car’s on fire and there’s no driver at the wheel
and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
and a dark wind blows

the government is corrupt
and we’re on so many drugs
with the radio on and the curtains drawn

we’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
and the machine is bleeding to death

the sun has fallen down
and the billboards are all leering
and the flags are all dead at the top of their poles

it went like this:

the buildings tumbled in on themselves
mothers clutching babies picked through the rubble
and pulled out their hair

the skyline was beautiful on fire
all twisted metal stretching upwards
everything washed in a thin orange haze

i said: “kiss me, you’re beautiful –
these are truly the last days”

you grabbed my hand and we fell into it
like a daydream or a fever

we woke up one morning and fell a little further down –
for sure it’s the valley of death

i open up my wallet
and it’s full of blood

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