crappin' on about the inconsequential, i would like to recommend these people's writing, new ways to procrastinate

Links for Sunday: Heat Vision & Jack, Supergirl, Muhammad Ali and Melinda Smith

A Very Special Episode presents “Heat Vision & Jack”
The Onion’s AV club looks back at Heat Vision & Jack, the unaired pilot starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson as a superintelligent astronaut and his talking motorbike.

Supergirl Lego Minifig 
Supergirl Lego minifig! Eeeeeeeeeee!!

Muhammad Ali Reads his Poem about the Attica Riots live on Irish TV
What it said up there.

Pitt Street Poetry – Melinda Smith
Remember that whole Prime Minister’s Litareary Awards muckamuck a while back? With the dual winners and the hoohah about the PM telling the judges who shoulda won? Hands up if you can tell me who won the poetry award? Anyway I’ll just tell you. It was Canberra poet Melinda Smith. Here’s a sample from her book, Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call. And here’s her blog.

crappin' on about the inconsequential, i would like to recommend these people's writing, new ways to procrastinate

Links for Sunday: Bullshit Jobs, BAE, #writingwhilefemale and Twine Games

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs
This is one possible answer to the intriguing question “why do people who have tangible jobs get paid so much less than people who have jobs where it’s impossible to explain what they actually do?”

Chainsawsuit – Tire King is your BAE
Speaking of bullshit jobs, this is kind of what my job is like, sometimes.

Female authors share their “special” experiences with everyday literary sexism.

Twine – The Video Game Technology for All
Twine is this free software that lets you make text-based games, kind of choose-your-own-adventure-y, zorky kind of things. Here’s an interview with Porpentine, creator of the hit Twine game Howling Dogs (which you really must play), which has lots of links to other games too (which you really also must also play).


i would like to recommend these people's writing, new ways to procrastinate

Links for Sunday: The relevance of Indigeneity, Candyland, recursive games, book murder, & Nilsson

Being a list of things I found in the interwebs that I thought were pretty good and all…

Only When Relevant…
The always excellent Luke Pearson wants to know exactly when someone’s Indigeneity is relevant and when it isn’t – and who gets to decide, anyway? This is definitely worth reading through to the end, especially for the neat graph.

Existential Comics – Candyland
I’ve never played Candyland, but now that I’ve seen Camus and Satre play it, I kind of want to.

Entire Screen of One Game
“you can’t win the game. it exists only to destroy your mind.” And yet you must play it.

Murdering A Book
Warren Ellis trumps the book-as-sculpture metaphor with something much more apt: something along the lines nailing bits of wood to a giant mutant tapeworm that you pulled out of your arse. Except it’s funnier when he says it.

Nilsson sings Skidoo (video)
And then there was the time Harry Nilsson sang the entire closing credits of that one movie.


links, new ways to procrastinate

Links for Sunday: Raining money, novel tips, comets, Adam Goodes & sorceresses

Being your weekly guide to things embedded in the interwebs that have awed, intrigued and inspired yours truly.

Physical Salary
The redoubtable Randall Munroe answers the question, “What if people’s incomes appeared around them as cash in real time? How much would you need to make to be in real trouble?” Short version: Zuckerberg has a new first-world problem.

9 Things You Need to Write a Novel
Toby Litt’s advice is more realistic, more compassionate and less “if you don’t do it then you don’t want it bad enough” than a lot of these “advice from writers” things that I’ve seen lately. I particularly like his de-emphasis on wordcount.

Flowers of the Sky
To celebrate the Rosetta landing of the Philae probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, The always-excellent Public Domain Review posted a gallery of illustrations of comets spanning 1000 years. Some of them have knives and faces in them.

A Punter’s Guide to Not Getting Defensive about Adam Goodes’s Truth Bombs
This is  an excellent and easy to follow overview of the major myths that keep surfacing in the ongoing debate about whether Australia is a racist country or not (short version: it is, but it doesn’t have to be). Read along, memorise the major points and use them liberally to debunk anyone who claims otherwise.

The Sorceress Next Door
This is a dearly sweet  comic with slick, smooth, colourful, fluid art by the never-not-compelling Chad Sell, a heartbreakingly, inspirationally optimistic short story about children’s play and gender identity. Also available in print, so you know what to do (hint: buy it).

new ways to procrastinate

Sunday Linkage – 16 Nov ’14

I know the whole linkblog thing is a bit oldschool in these days of tweetage and facebookery, but let’s face it, I’m a bit oldschool too (if by “oldschool” you mean “guy who moans about how much better the internet used to be while quietly acknowledging it also used to be shit in places”) and I’ve started following a few blogs that are doing linky stuff that I like, so I’m going to jump on that bringing-it-back bandwagon and see how it goes. Who knows? I might bring back my blogroll too.

Anyway, on to the links:

Too Many Cooks (video)
For those of us who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s with VHS, sitcoms and horror movies, this is a beautiful, knowing, twisted take on the opening credits theme song phenomenon. Make sure you watch the whole 11 minutes and change.

Reading a Poem: 20 Strategies
This is a good list for either newcomers to poetry or longtime readers and writers of the stuff, though I think it gets a little fruity toward the end. If ’twere me (and, let’s face it, it kind of is) I would add:

  • 21: If you read a poem and you don’t like it (e.g., you hate it/don’t get it/disagree with it/&c), find another poem (or poet) to read. Don’t let your disenchantment with a single poem trick you into giving up on poetry as a whole.

Saladin Ahmed – “Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” (short story)
Ahmed is fast becoming my favourite fantasy writer. This, his take on Spenser’s The Faerie Queene Book I,  offers an alternative view of the generic “muslim infidel as villain” trope that appears in a lot of older Christian literature.

The Cassette Revival
Speaking of the ’80s, apparently cassettes are now all hip and cool and interesting and authentic.

It’s the World Wide Web (also a video)
Speaking of authentic, this is a frighteningly accurate picture of what the internet was like in the ’90s.

The Beckett/Bushmiller Letters
Did you know that Samuel Becket, author of Waiting for Godot, was a big fan of Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy comic strip?  And he wrote to Bushmiller to pitch some ideas for the comic? And Bushmiller sketched up some of them? And the two of them corresponded for a time, swapping thoughts and tips about avant-garde theatre and what makes a comic strip work? Well, he was. And he did. And he did. And they did.

hee hee hee hee heeee, new ways to procrastinate

This Is Jumway

A little thing I made for the animation course I did ten-plus years back now.

This was the first animation screened at our graduation event, part of the showreel of everyone’s work. There was a deathly silence from the crowd when it ended, which I choose to interpret as “awe”.

new ways to procrastinate, short stories

GISHWHES and a Story in 140 Words

Elopus rampant.

Last week Jules Wilkinson, fellow Whose Doctor? author (responsible for the hilarious “Certificate IV in Allied Time Lord Support” essay), posted a Facebook callout on behalf of some friends for authors to help out with an online scavenger hunt called GISHWHES (it stands for “the Greatest Internet Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen”, of course).

GISHWHES is an annual event where people team up over the internet and try to find and do bizarre and funny things (a couple years back Jules helped to make a Tyrannosaurus Rex out of sanitary pads, for example) to earn points and raise money for the US-based Random Acts charity, which is all about random acts of kindness and stuff.

Item 78 on the 2014 list was to get a previously published science fiction author to write a 140-word short story that featured:

  • Misha Collins (founder of Random Acts & GISHWHES/actor from the Supernatural TV series)
  • An elopus (an octopus with an elephant head/mascot of GISHWHES 2014)
  • Queen Elizabeth II (Hereditary and currently reigning Monarch of Britain)

Value: 59 points.

It was a bit tricky to get all three elements into the story in such a short wordcount, but after wiki-ing Mr. Collins I came up with some ideas and had a crack. So here’s my contribution to the GISHWHES 2014 hunt for Jules’s mates, aka Team Storm Queen.



“For service to the field of Mathematics, I dub thee Sir Misha Collins.”

Misha felt the sword tap his shoulder. He raised his head to thank Her Majesty and noticed a flap of loose skin under her chin. Everything clicked into place. The “Elibazeth” typo on the telegram. The plastic sword. The fact he wasn’t English.

“You’re not the Queen!” Misha reached up and tugged at the skin. There was a series of soft pops as a row of tentacles plopped out from behind the mask.

One more yank and a creature with an elephant’s head and an octopus’s body was revealed, sitting on a small platform. Two tentacles were wrapped around levers mounted on the platform. The “Queen’s” body shuffled its feet to retain its balance.

“Hi,” said the elepus, holding out a sharpie and a glossy black-and-white of Misha with its tentacles. “Big fan.”


There’s an excellent storify that gathers together tweets for heaps of the participating authors and links to their blog posts about the hunt and some of the stories they wrote too. It’s a fun read. You should also check out the Team Storm Queens tumblr, which collects all of their scavenged items in one place.

Good luck to anyone who participated this year – I look forward to helping out again in some way next year.

crappin' on about the inconsequential, Me and my opinions, new ways to procrastinate, poetry, the writing process

Chipping In Late on Plagiarism in Poetry

Speaking of coming to things late: I know it’s two-month-old news and thus completely forgotten and assumed to be done and dusted, but I wanted to chip in quickly with some random thoughts on the recent poetry plagiarism “scandal”, which has been kind of fascinating and baffling to me in equal measure. So I will.

1. There’s such a thing as a poetry plagiarism detective.

I know that’s not his official title, but I’m tickled that there’s someone out there dedicating so much time to googling poems to find out who’s ripped off who. Mr. Ira Lightman, I salute you. Pissing a lot of people off, too, it would seem. Anyone who wants to watch car crashes 140 characters at a time, though, now has that option. Which is kind of fun.

2. Does this mean that poetry judges are going to start using plagiarism detectors?

One thing that hasn’t come out of anything I’ve read is a response from any of the judges or prize committees about what they’re going to do to revise their submission processes to avoid future acceptance of plagiarised poems. I would assume they’re all talking about setting things up the same way that universities do – plagiarism filters are pretty easy to get onto. The issue, I would imagine, would be finding the resources to support a plagiarism scan for every entry – by which I mean finding someone to actually do it. Given that most poetry competitions – and poetry journals – seem to not have enough manpower to even put together rejection letters, this is a bit of a challenge for their already stretched resources, but I think it’s pretty obvious that this is an important enough issue that finding those resources should be a major priority.

Continue reading “Chipping In Late on Plagiarism in Poetry”

crappin' on about the inconsequential, found poetry, Me and my opinions, new ways to procrastinate, people who are nice enough to publish me, poetry, Published work, the writing process

Published (sort of) : “Writing meanness like flourish”


This is very late, but I just a couple days ago I came across a poem of mine that was published back in 2008 as part of a 3,785-page, 3,164-poet anthology called Issue 1.

Except when I say “poem of mine” what I mean is “NOT a poem of mine”, which is to say that it had my name on it, but those two words were the only ones that I could rightfully lay claim to. The others were:

Writing meanness like flourish

Of meanness
Like a right
A length
At a peculiar steering-wheel

Which is to say that it seems I was lucky enough to have had my name plucked from the interwebs as part of some kind of five-years-old-and-counting experimental poetry hoax thingo perpetrated upon – let’s say – poetry itself by poets Stephen McLaughlin, Gregory Laynor and Vladimir Zykov, and programmer Jim Carpenter.

Turns out they used a computer program to generate a bunch of poems (they can do that these days – or those days, rather) and then attributed them to a whole bunch of poets – some quite famous and some also quite dead – and then published it online and waited for the self-applied google alerts to start pinging.

Continue reading “Published (sort of) : “Writing meanness like flourish””

crappin' on about the inconsequential, lines I wish I'd written, new ways to procrastinate, the writing process, why do you write poetry?

“I Hate Correcting Somebody, But Someone Has To.”

I got an email from John Tranter about my latest “Why Do You Write Poetry?” post on The Blue Corner.

From: John Tranter
To: me
Subject: Innumerate… and what it means.

Dear Adam,

I hate correcting somebody, but someone has to.

You write: “They answer in innumerate ways, as poets are wont to do.” I felt there was something wrong with that “innumerate”… it seemed related to “illiterate”. So I checked with a dictionary:

Innumerate: “Without a basic knowledge of mathematics and arithmetic”

You probably meant “Innumerable”: “Numerous, too many to be counted.”

John Tranter

Thanks to John.

I’ve contacted The Blue Corner and we’ll have things fixed up soon.