February 1st, 2010 | people I know
Molly’s cover for a forthcoming issue of WEIRD TALES.
January 31st, 2010 | brainjuice
For a while, I had a capture of my twitter feed running here. It ended up doing something weird to my API calls, stopping me from running my desktop client, so I killed it. Which is probably just as well, as I talk a lot of shit on Twitter. It’s basically mental slurry, the wet lumpy bits from a day spent at the keyboard vented off into a trap so the buildup doesn’t blow some crucial valve in my head. Look at these, from the last six weeks or so:
* Stratford looks more and more like the construction site for the tenth circle of hell
* Apparently Oral Roberts is dead, but no reports yet of his being staked, beheaded and garlic being shoved in the stump
* I’m told that @Paul_Cornell is so mean that he once staked a vampire with his willy and left it to sparkle to death on the lawn
* Also, @ZolaJesus once fucked all the hair off a werewolf and threw it in the snow to die
* Anthrax found in dead Glaswegian heroin user. It’s true: anthrax is undetectable in Glaswegian food.
* Jobless, homeless people everywhere, and not one offers me rental of their freshly disinterred guts for warmth. They must WANT to be poor.
* Why do Xmas cards never show a woman in a shit-covered cowshed squatting a baby out into a rotting feed trough?
* I just became the mayor of your wife on #foursquare
* So, listen, I’ve been thinking a lot about field-dressing you and wearing your skin like a cape. But not in a creepy way.
* Warren’s Rule: if Warren has been awake less than two hours, then it is Morning, no matter what the clock says
* GF and daughter stranded in car in sudden snowfall. May be in market for new GF and/or daughter. Send CVs.
* Okay, they made it home alive. So if we can just pretend my last send didn’t happen, that’d be great. (Email CVs privately, for future ref)
* I worry for the minds of all the people voting for me in the Shorty Awards for "cultural institution."
* Haven’t trimmed my beard in so long that it’s gone from Crackling Virility Hedge to Hobo Rape Thicket.
* Me: iTunes For Windows, you are an evil bloated piece of shitware. iTunes: HA HA FUCK YOU THERE IS NO ESCAPE
* pitching my new kid’s tv show THE OMAR LITTLE / BROTHER MOUZONE ACTION HOUR
* Since the dawn of time itself, humans have dreamed of killing other humans with sharpened ducks
* Haven’t shaved my head in a few days, and now my skull has the texture of an old Fuzzy-Felt board
* pitching my new TV show THE IT’S REALLY NO DIFFERENT FROM VICTORIANS TOURING ASYLUMS FOR FUN ON A SUNDAY FACTOR
* That new Pan Sonic/Keiji Haino record: nice fuzzy drone, then someone pukes a million exploding frogs into a steel toilet.
* Tomorrow, "dogs" will be reclassified as "air sharks," and dolphins as "bastards of the ocean." Good night.
* People say I complain a lot about things, but good news! Oral Roberts is still dead.
* The worst thing about being self-employed is the constant workplace sexual abuse from my boss.
* Child: talking endlessly about wanting a raccoon. Me: thinking about feeding her to one.
* Ah, Skullflower. I love how your CDs still sound like a mad priest using a power drill to make an iron and rabbit smoothie.
* Martian rover Spirit stuck in sand for good: which is of course what happens when you give a human’s job to a skateboard.
* The stages of listening to a new Eluvium album: 1) this is pretty 2) I feel cold 3) I really am totally alone 4) death sounds warm
January 30th, 2010 | brainjuice
January 30th, 2010 | music
There’s actually an umlaut over the o in Gjoll, but I’m working on the fly here and can’t reproduce it quickly on this keyboard. So, Gjoll. MySpace page. New doom ambience from Reykjavik. Longtime readers know I have a fondness for Icelandic music. Thanks to Bob Cluness for tipping me to them. You can find their work on eMusic and iTunes. Listen to this wintry ritual music:
January 30th, 2010 | daybook
I tend to alter the way in which I start my day, every year or so. The details of it.
I still get out to the pub for at least an hour at the start of my day (for two reasons: one, I have a terminal allergy to house dust and it does me good to get out of the house for an hour a day and walk a bit; and two, I don’t smoke in the house, so if I go to the pub I can sit down in the pub’s open-air space and have a couple of cans of Red Bull with five or six cigarettes, and that’s me all nicotined-up until the evening). But I change what I do there.
For a long while, I’d work there for a couple of hours with a Treo and a foldaway keyboard. This was pretty efficient, although it often defaulted to "doing email." I wasn’t reading a lot: I was using a service to sync up three or four news services, and that was it. But, you know, even four or five years ago, this was a pretty decent kit.
For the 18 months or so, I’ve been alternating between paper notebooks and the very useful Eee 901 netbook with a 3G dongle stuffed in it, and, for the last year, carrying a Blackberry Curve as well as my Nokia N95 phone. (Why both? I learned from using Visors for everything that taking a phone call while you’re banging out a note is a pain in the balls. I keep my handheld email device and my phone separate. Which is why I never wrote seriously on the N95, even though I had a small foldaway keyboard for it in my coat pocket or bag.)
Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m not reading enough. And currently it’s too bloody cold to work in the open-air pub smoke-slave compound. There were icicles on the beams this afternoon. I’ve always been shit at keeping up with podcasts — the N95 was such a bugger to sync for podcasts that I gave up after a while — and, again, I only had three or four news services in the N95’s RSS reader. I’m not taking in enough information, and when I’m at my main computer, I’m often scattered by the business of the day and not keeping up well enough. For the first hour of the day, I really just want a couple cans of Red Bull, a few smokes and just to spin up to speed a bit, you know?
The new addition to my kit has been, I’m afraid to say, the iPhone 3GS. Like my friend Cait Hurley once said to me, "iPhone is an unavoidable life enhancement device, unfortunately." (Although, like Cait, I may yet kick it over for an Android device.)
This thing — which feels heavy and yet so fragile that I’ve had to buy an Otterbox container for it, a reinforced baby seat for a fucking phone — annoys me in many ways, not least of which is this: it works. The sync might be slow, but it works. The headphones it comes with are fucking horrendous and quite painful, but I swapped them out and listen to the KEXP Song Of The Day on the way to the pub, which I haven’t been able to do reliably for ages.
I paid for the Guardian app, to make up for the fact that I haven’t bought a physical copy in years. The BBCReader, from the makers of iGeoJournal, is good — good enough, in fact, that I kind of want to look into iGeoJournal now. I use the News Hour app not because I can custom fit it with RSS feeds — it is in fact not very good at that — but because it comes pre-loaded with shitloads of other feeds, and exploring it is making me broaden my reading. And Reeder ties to my Google Reader account (as well as Instapaper, a service for retaining articles for later reading), giving me all the feeds I usually read at home.
And there’s Google Fastflip, which fascinates me — it’s a roll of screenshots of the top articles from a bunch of newspapers, magazines and news sites. Just swipe through them and then punch up anything that looks interesting.
The best bit, for me, is that I finally get to watch TED Talks Video Podcast, which for some reason I never find the time to watch at home. I’d forgotten how good it was.
I imagine a lot of this boils down to I’m 42 next month and must work harder to keep my brain alive. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I have had this feeling of Not Moving Fast Enough — possibly because the last year was so mental in terms of work and deadlines that I was barely aware of the passage of time for most of it. I miss/missed the old feeling of being half-embedded in the informational flow, of being more present in both halves of the world. That’s what leads to my thinking better, and what leads to better writing. And that’s what the first couple of hours of my day has to be about.
That was boring, wasn’t it? Just needed to get it down on pixels for myself, so I have something to refer to next year…!
January 30th, 2010 | station ident
This is warren ellis dot com. warren ellis dot com is listening to Dignan Porch. warren ellis dot com is very tired. warren ellis dot com would really like to go back to bed. But it is a weekend, and life is not that kind to warren ellis dot com. Here is a pretty picture by Marta.
January 30th, 2010 | brainjuice
January 29th, 2010 | daybook
First off, a favour for a friend. LONDON PEOPLE: my friend Rachael Gray, who is @Fauxred on twitter and blogs here, needs an internship. She designs shoes and latex clothing. Knows a lot about art, materials, and design. Twitter at her or ping her at her blog. This was a public service announcement for someone I’ve known since she was fifteen, which is kind of appalling for either of us to think about.
And now: SCIENCE!
Photo by Matt Jones of BERG, who are apparently now engaged in deciding who gets to live when the Earth is destroyed.
Today in things I can’t talk about: yeah, that’s getting fucking annoying, isn’t it? Apparently a one-page pitch I wrote was well-received, and next month I have to sit down with some TV people and explain through interpretive dance that I’m actually responsible enough to be given money to write something. Wrote an episode of FREAKANGELS last night, need to write another one today while picking at a treatment I had a conceptual breakthrough on earlier in the week and doing a redraft of a short script I didn’t submit because it’s still not funny enough or tight enough. If I had any hair left, I’d be pulling it out today.
And, of course, time’s ticking now, because I’m going to be away for a chunk of February.
Oh, and another, small deal has been inked with a film company regarding one of my books, but I doubt any announcement on that will pop until next month.
Information, tips, projects, sekrit messages and dirty photos can be sent to my public email address warrenellis [at] gmail dot com, which gets checked every day or two.
January 29th, 2010 | brainjuice
January 27th, 2010 | brainjuice
January 27th, 2010 | received goods
Arrived today from darkest Yeovil, ONEIRIC HARDWARE:
…a CD of manipulated field-recordings sourced entirely from server-arrays, hard-drives and PC peripherals from Belo Horizonte, Brasil and Yeovil, Somerset. The resulting pieces are a curious fusion of the mechanistic and the organic: a series of REM-sleep sirensongs built from whirring servos, damaged cpus and haunted read-write heads. Ghost-Industrial Music.
Three quid if you’re in the UK, four quid if you’re not. All through the good offices of kek-w at this link here. I’m all set for the night: I have a bottle of whisky, six cans of Red Bull for between shots, a thing to write, and this to listen to. Cheers.
January 27th, 2010 | researchmaterial
Fascinating. Designed by Lynne Bruning, "Bats Have Feelings Too" is a fashionable haptic coat for the blind, or, in her term, "a wearable cane."
Materials | lilypad arduino, conductive thread, ultrasonic range finder, vibration boards…
And, also at that link, a clickthrough to instructions for making one yourself.
January 27th, 2010 | researchmaterial
…an event where young designers could meet, network and show their work in public. Over time, it has evolved into a massive celebration of creativity, with events regularly being held in over 270 cities. Last year, more than 6,000 presentations will given at +600 PechaKucha events. Drawing its name from the Japanese phrase for the sound of conversation ("chit chat"), the PechaKucha format is simple – 20 images x 20 seconds – and designed to keep presentations concise and moving at a rapid pace.
Jan Chipchase just sent me this: PechaKucha Global Day for Haiti:
In a matter of seconds, thousands of lives and dreams were destroyed in Haiti. In response, the global PechaKucha family is coming together with Architecture for Humanity to lend a hand in rebuilding Haiti. Please help us spread the word about our global event in February: 20 images, 20 seconds, 200 cities, 2,000 presentations, 200,000 people.
On Feb. 20, the cities that host PechaKucha events worldwide will converge to present one continuous 24-hour edition of PechaKucha Night. Kicking off at SuperDeluxe in Tokyo, where PechaKucha Night was first conceived, the presentation wave will travel eastward, with cities presenting one after the other. Crossing all times zones and cultures, the event will be streamed live online and then finish in Tokyo the following day.
January 27th, 2010 | music
Hey Warren, Stu from the Poxy Boggards here. I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that one of our songs, "I Wear No Pants," is going to be featured in the Dockers ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb 7th. We’ve released a music video of the original track on youtube…
I guess I haven’t done this in a while, and people are starting to ask again, so:
For people wanting to send me to their sites, wanting to email stuff or tell me about new music or send me tips or whatever, I’ve set up a Gmail account that I’ll check once every day or two: warrenellis [-at-] gmail com. This isn’t, I stress, my main email account, and it’s not for asking me when some comic’s coming out (there’s a FAQ for that). Always interested in new music, new art, new connections, new madness etc.
If you need to contact me about writing for print or web, please contact my agent Lydia Wills using the link in the righthand menu bar.
If you need to contact me about anything involving film, tv, games or other things that move, please contact my agent Angela Cheng Caplan using the link in the righthand menu bar.
If you (for god knows what reason) wanted to send me something physical, the best solution right now would probably be to send to my literary agency in New York City.
c/o Lydia Wills
360 Park Avenue South
New York 10010
I don’t have a solution for people living closer to me as yet. I stop in on my message board Whitechapel several times a day. I leave Twitter on most of the day. I still have an undead MySpace account — I keep it open because I look for music there.
The inevitable pre-release post about the Apple Tablet, or iSlate or iPad or whatever they end up calling it. I’ve mostly been holding fire until I see what the damn thing actually is, but a couple of thoughts:
* The CALL OF DUTY iPhone game app — which is free — is a 22MB download. 3G speeds are good here, I had it in no time. Literally, I called it in over the air, noticed it starting to download, and then, bang, it was loaded. A .cbz Comic Book Reader file is usually around 15MB. I could yank that down at, say, Whispernet-type delivery time.
* Here’s a thing: the Kindle has a per-page filesize cap. 64K. Comics on the Kindle are a fascinating challenge. In broad terms, the Kindle can’t do comics unless they’re black and white and the linework can survive being smashed down to 64K per Kindle-page. (Which doesn’t have to be the same as comics-page, you can still break the whole thing down into a string of individual panels, but:)
* I’ve seen several iPhone-adapted comics, and didn’t like them too much. Unless a comic is written in a very specific way, calling comics out panel-by-panel clips out important informational strata like page design and page breaks. I mean, a baby’s still a baby after it goes through a process like that, but I think you’d still like it better if it came with the arms and legs it originally possessed. Obviously, a tablet is going to fix that, and you’re going to get pages in something similar to their intended scale.
* It’s going to be all about the price, and to a slightly lesser extent about the data plan. Over here in the benighted UK, the best iPhone data plan available to me came with a cap of 1GB/month. That breaks down to, what, 30 meg a day? I imagine I’d get a concerned phonecall from my telecom provider if I was ripping 30 meg out of the air on a daily basis.
* Years ago, I said that I thought an iTunes for comics would be an interesting idea. And then there was Longbox, a still largely-unveiled ’iTunes for comics’ solution. There are strong rumours that Longbox may arrive preloaded on the Apple Moses Tablet. I have my doubts about that, but: the intent has always been that Longbox would be able to read .cbz files.
* Two .cbz files a day would tap out my data plan.
* If Longbox or something similar is preloaded? And the device isn’t too costly, and the local bandwidth is good and the data plan is all-you-can-eat? I wouldn’t want to be a comics store in San Francisco, know what I mean?
* In Britain, a six-hundred-dollar item is inevitably, criminally, a six-hundred-pound item. When it comes to tech, with the related import taxes and other bullshit, you’re always looking at a dollar-pound parity. It’d be funny if Britain was the last bastion of the print comics market because no-one in this recessionary hole could afford the new magic from over the water.
(as ever, this is Notebook: not fully baked, not even close)