Friday, August 31, 2007

A little bit of good news

My short script The Squeeze is through to the second round of the British Short Screenplay Competition. I shall therefore spend the next two minutes and thirty-seven seconds feeling smug.

*tick tock, tick tock*

Okay, enough smugness, on with thinking about my steampunk feature, which I'm allowed to start writing tomorrow. I have only the vaguest idea of what I'm going to do. Urp.

EDIT: Be careful if you're viewing the second round list in Firefox! I realised a few minutes after writing this post that thanks to the wonders of caching, I'd actually been looking at the first round list. Luckily I am on the second round list, but I needed IE to confirm it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shameless self-promotion: the review

The Scotsman has this to say about Mixt Nutz's Edinburgh show. The review is quite complimentary, which makes me churlishly ponder whether we deserved one more star than the three we got.

But hey, forget churlishness, it's not often that I've heard the phrases "a real gem" and "highly recommended" used to describe my writing.(*) I think I'll spend a few hours feeling smug and pleased with myself before dinner.

(*) Please don't construe this to mean I'm taking credit for writing the whole show. There were at least half a dozen contributors.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I've been playing a lot of Scrabble on Facebook lately.

Bear with me, this is tangentially relevant to writing. It's definitely relevant to language.

Last night I was making my Scrabble moves and my blokey was watching.

"How about ghley?" he said.

Thinking this might be an obscure word I didn't know, I looked up "ghley" in the Scrabble application's dictionary. No joy.

"That's not a word," I said.

"I know," he replied. "But it should be."

At this point I hit him.

But this got me thinking about alternate Scrabbles and how the game mechanics might work. For example, the variation I'll call Ought-to-ble. You can play a move that isn't a word, as long as everyone agrees it ought to be. For example, "ghley". Or "quap". They sound cool, they (mostly) obey the conventions of English spelling, they really should be words, but thanks to bad luck they aren't.

Then Blokey suggested a variation in which you can only play "ought-to-be" words. If you accidentally play a real word, you lose your turn.

I wonder if these would actually work in practice? I'm sure plenty of people have tried them. Perhaps I'll give them a go the next time I've got a bunch of friends round and we're feeling drunk and silly.

We might also have to try backwards Scrabble, only proper names Scrabble, only rude words Scrabble, etc.

Speaking of rude words, I discovered this morning that "feck" is a valid word. Not sure about "arse".

Friday, August 17, 2007

Steam what?

It seems that last night in a fit of drunken folly, I committed to writing a steam punk feature script in September and October.

Well, the brief is actually to write a period feature of any sort, but steam punk is explicitly allowed and that's what I've decided to do.

Guess I'll be watching/reading a lot of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells in the next couple of weeks. If anyone can suggest other good examples of the genre, please suggest away.

Oh, and on a completely different note, in that same fit of drunken folly, John Barrowman's Bumming Carousel officially became John Barrowman's Bumming Carousel of Evil. Please update your records accordingly.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The laptop is dead, long live the laptop

Those of you who read Phill Barron's recent laptop-related posts may notice a certain, shall we say, zeitgeist developing in the Scribe-o-sphere, for I am going to tell you the story of my afternoon, and laptops are going to feature prominently.

My faithful Dell Inspiron had been getting a tad long in the tooth. It was approaching two years old, it needed a memory upgrade if it was to continue being a viable gaming machine, and one of the screen hinges was damaged. I'd already decided to replace it in the next few months, probably with another Dell, when it started throwing frightening hard-drive-related errors. "I'd better back up my data sharpish before the drive goes completely," thought I, as I was powering the machine down and retiring to bed on Thursday night. I remembered this to-do item early this afternoon when the machine suddenly crashed and refused to reboot. Oops.

I'd intended to spend the afternoon deciding what to do for the Red Planet competition. Instead I spent the afternoon in PC World buying a new laptop. It's a Compaq, it's got loads of RAM and a nice graphics card, it's thinner and lighter than the Dell, but now my wallet is also thinner and lighter. I could've done without all that thinning and lightening. Bah.

Oh well, it could be worse. I don't think I've lost too much data, especially since my email is all stored on the Gmail server, and I suspect a bit of patchery-pokery will resurrect the Dell long enough for me to get everything important off. But heed ye my warning, fellow bloggers -- a curse does blight the humble Scribe-o-sphere. Despair of your laptops, for their end be nigh!