Category Archives: Daily Distractables

Geeky nostalgic fun times! (I’m ill, don’t judge)

I’ve been on one big nostalgia kick recently, as everyone who follows me on twitter can attest. The issue with being ill all the time is that I’m in need of things to entertain myself, so this blog has become more a “Palace of Entertainments” than “Palace of Distractions” of late. For some reason my mood’s taken me on a pretty awesome trip down memory lane, and I thought collecting a few of the bits and pieces here would be a fun thing to do while I wait for my head to mend.

Firstly, one of my favourite books as a child I discovered through a BBC adaptation in 1994, when it was known simply as Moonacre. The Little White Horse tells the story of a slightly spoilt orphan girl who is taken to her family’s seat of Moonacre Valley at the death of her father, where through self-sacrifice and some pretty nicely done character development she works to save the valley from the evils of man’s pride via some slightly magical pearls. This book is nothing short of adorable if you can weather the Christian overtones – personally, I’m fine with the religious aspect to it, as the author was born in 1900 and it feels like it suits the story she was trying to tell. A film was made of it a few years ago – 2009’s The Secrets Of Moonacre, starring Dakota Blue Richards of Golden Compass and Skins fame, a chaotic mess of a film that wins through simply because it’s so charming and filmed absolutely beautifully, with fantastic costumes, sets and locations. It’s incoherent but I enjoyed it; it’s a great film to watch when you’re hungover or tired, and the bits of the book that most affected my tastes and writing remain strong in the movie, so overall it was satisfying. It’s not as good as I remember the BBC’s Moonacre being though and I heartily hope that the BBC decide to release the 1994 version on DVD or online – partly because it featured the always lovely Noah Huntley. Please, BBC, show it again!

I’ve also been spending time looking at geeky t-shirts on eBay. She-Ra, He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Final Fantasy VII – there are so many! I’m glad the retro geek chic thing has taken off, it makes my life as a geek with a passion for nostalgia so much easier. That slightly hipsterish tendency to look down on people who were late adopters of a thing I feel passionately about is something that annoys the crap out of me – it honestly fills me with joy when a new reader picks up Game of Thrones and gets into it, not because I can stand there and say “Oh just you wait for Storm of Swords!” but also because that first moment where a book or series clicks and you get it and you’re into it – it’s the closest thing to magic. The geek chic craze makes it okay to like things and enjoy with enthusiasm. I can’t be annoyed by that, as much as people think it’s all about making money. I WANT people to find things that they’re going to get into and enjoy the hell out of, even – no, especially! – if they’re things I’ve been into for over ten years, because that level of enjoyment and involvement and support for a thing is fabulous.

Speaking of ten years, I’m re-reading Inuyasha at the moment, my favourite manga as a teenager. They’re printing omnibus editions and I’d never finished the series so imagine my delight when they appeared in the shop – I’ve had my eye on them for a couple of weeks, and as soon as I could I went right for them and laid claim and now it’s like Natalie and I are skiving off college to go buy manga and wander around the British Museum again and argh, I love it, I really do. Inuyasha’s a half-demon who’s controlled by Kagome, a girl from modern Tokyo who falls through a well into feudal Japan, and there’s all sorts of romantic tension and funny asides and family stresses and horror and nudity and complications and it’s such a glorious mess of a concept that I can’t believe fans of manga have moved on from it so entirely since it and Ranma 1/2 were all the rage. Next I want to find Ayashi no Ceres or whatever the English title was, because I have a terrific thirst for the manga that I used to be addicted to.

And don’t skive off college, kids. Obviously that’s a thing you shouldn’t be doing.

I’m going to hunt down some Bucky O’Hare next, and the Russell T Davies shows he did for the BBC way back when, Dark Season (starring Kate Winslet, who was a favourite of mine from that point onwards) and Century Falls.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite videos – Captain Planet vs Hitler. No, I know, I KNOW.

What treasures from your past have you rediscovered recently? Is it all as good as it was the first time round, or is it just the rose-tinted glow of nostalgia?

ALSO don’t forget your opportunity to win a copy of Ash Mistry & The Savage Fortress by commenting on my blog post here!

Daily Distractables!

I’m having a bit of a repeat of the sinusitis/labyrinthitis funtimes from the last couple of months today. Storming headache. Hence I am overdosing on distractions!

Via NethSpace, check out the summary for Joe Abercrombie‘s next book A Red Country:

“Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she’ll have to go back to bad old ways if she’s ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier. Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust…”

I am well excited. Abercrombie is fantastic, a favourite of mine, and anyone unfamiliar with him and his hilarious yet dark and brutal writing should pick up The Blade Itself as soon as possible. Like, now.

If you are the type (like I am) to sit in a coffee shop and people-watch for a time, then People On The Tube is a brilliant tumblr that has given me terrible giggles.

Orkney Library have demonstrated the power of twitter (and cosy crime) by live-tweeting The Body In The Library, Agatha Christie’s classic, in support of Save Libraries Day (hashtag: #NLD12). Marvellous project and I love it when people come up with these ideas.

And I’ll leave you with what I saw t’other day when I came into the kitchen. That’s our cat, who is a complete asshat of an animal, but I like him anyway. He’s entertaining.



Daily Distractables!

I’ve just had two days off work and done no reading whatsoever. I’ve watched things and listened to things and ate things (ate ALL the things). I’ve also spent a straight-out ugly amount of time sodding around on the internet. As a result, here’s another Daily Distractable, because even if I can’t do them every day they’re still worth posting sometimes!


Oh man please watch Archer please please please. I rarely laugh out loud at television unless I’m with people, but the level of humour and the dialogue and the amazing voice acting in Archer make me howl with laughter every episode. Sterling Archer is a complete asshat, a secret agent who’s a complete bastard, and to make it even better he works for his mum. And it’s hysterical. The further you get through the series the more the other characters start to shine, and I freely admit that there’s a scene involving Cheryl and her ocelot that had me curled up weeping with laughter. I only remember that one because omfg WHO ELSE WRITES AN OCELOT INTO AN ANIMATION ABOUT SECRET AGENTS but there have been plenty of moments where I’ve been utterly beside myself. This is a GREAT show. Fans of Arrested Development, you’ll be delighted at who voices Archer’s mum, because it’s the perfect casting.

Once Upon A Time

It’s a bit ridiculous how obsessed I got with this series. I tried it after Grimm, which was pretty hollow and disappointing, and ended up effectively mainlining five episodes one after the other as fast as I could load them. It has an annoying boy-child actor, true, and the Evil Queen is a bit of a caricature, but there’s so much about it that just works and it’s compulsive viewing if you even vaguely slightly enjoy fairy-tales and re-writings of them. It’s like Fables but it’s distinct enough to have interesting twists and surprises and as a massive, massive Fables fan, there’s so much difference between them it’s only in concept that they seem similar, not execution. It’s fun and dark, romantic without being stupidly dreamy about it, and the more we discover about Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin the happier I am. Perfect Sunday night viewing. I’m just annoyed it means I have to watch it on Mondays. Like Archer, this is totally gonna-buy-the-box-set material.

And now, what is quite possibly the worst book ever written.

If you need help recovering from that, check out Flavorwire’s list of the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world.

Finally, here’s a link about something that has irritated the living hell out of me for years now but from a man’s perspective, which is so, so good to see, and should be read by loads of people (link comes from Elizabeth May on twitter, and she’s amazing, I recommend her to everyone AND she’s on book covers AND her first book gets published next year, so let me reiterate, she’s amazing): A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy”.

Definitely time for tea now.

Daily Distractables!

So I am the sort of person who needs high-grade distractions on a daily basis. I am going to share the fruits of my distraction truffle-snuffling to improve the lives of others less insanely internet-happy than myself in the hope that we can create weapons grade procrastination that will improve our moods, save the world and make everything cute and fluffy.

Lies. I am just sharing silly things. I won’t be doing these posts every day but I shall try to, I warn ye.

FIRSTLY mon petit wotsits you have until the 9th August to enter the wonderful Jessie’s most excellent (and first!) book giveaway on her blog Bibliophile Anonymous. Pick your prize! There’s YA and fantasy and bits and bobs of a most intriguing nature there, and the rest of it ain’t bad either, so go go go go go. And then come back.

For the readers and writers out there io9 recently posted an interesting list of Great Character Descriptions From Science Fiction & Fantasy, consisting of passages from George RR Martin’s A Game Of Thrones, Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Lord of the Rings, Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Kurt Vonnegut, among others. It’s an interesting, varied list, worth a look for the different styles used to different effect, even if you think a couple of the excerpts are hilariously out-of-place on such a list.

Brilliant illustrations of terrible dates and conversations on Stupid Guys I Have Dated. Many a “Oh my god what no” and “Oh man that one’s familiar” from this end, not gonna lie. There should be something general along these lines, about both Stupid Guys and Stupid Girls – if anyone knows of one, tell me, or if I’ve forgotten one, remind me. And if you find that entertaining then Hayley Campbell’s post Brief Interviews With Hideous Men is also delightful.

I am sorry to do this to you but Pony Swag (via Liam, who is the one you need to blame, go blame him).

Genius author/blogger Kate Hart investigates YA covers in response to the Wall Street Journal silliness earlier this year in her blog post Uncovering YA Covers: How Dark Are They? and it’s an ongoing thing so I can’t wait for more. Basically, if you think YA is dark and gnarly and an awful influence on the youth, you are thinking about Twilight (which is so dark and gnarly it has a forest! And its vampires are SHINY so what on earth). Also you would be wrong.

Awesome new project from fun man of Find Chaffy goodness Jamie Smart – Hairy Steve! It is a project in need of funding, and doesn’t need much, so if you have any spare monies it looks like it’s going to be delightful and I am well excited for’t.

Also should any of you fine, upstanding folks find anything of interest please do send me links for when I’m bored, even if it is yet AGAIN the slow loris being tickled, because that will never stop being so cute it breaks the language centre in my brain.