Cheeseburger Gothic

When too much Cthulhu is barely enough

Posted 3 hours ago into Books by John Birmingham

Open Culture has kindly gathered up all the free HP Lovecraft audio books in existence and bundled them in one terrorlicious post for you download at your convenience.

How many Lovecraft works? Pretty much all of them. The stories have slipped into the public domain and mad fans of the Olde Ones have been recording their own versions. There are also professional readings of everything from The Call of Cthulu to The Dunwich Horror, and a radio dramatization of The Color out of Space.

All the good free stuff is here.

From Open Culture:

The early twentieth century author spent almost his entire life in the New England of his birth, drawing on its many oddities in obscure stories published in pulp magazines—notably the influential Weird Tales. Hypochondriac, hyper-sensitive, and reclusive in later life, Lovecraft survived on a dwindling inheritance and never achieved much recognition. But in death, he has spawned a formidable cult who immerse themselves in a universe created from references to the occult, demonology, and various mythological archetypes. However overwrought his prose, Lovecraft’s work can be situated in a long literary tradition of influence, and a Lovecraft circle continued to expand his vision of scientific and supernatural horror after his death... Listening to Lovecraft is an excellent, as well as convenient, way to experience his work. His florid, often archaic, and melodramatic descriptions lend themselves perfectly to aural interpretations.

1 Responses to ‘When too much Cthulhu is barely enough’

Chaz puts forth...

Posted 2 hours ago
Nice retro feel listening to cthulhugoodness

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The return of the typewriter (Updated)

Posted 13 hours ago into Writing by John Birmingham

My first real writing machine - the first rig I paid for with my own hard earned bucks - was a Sharp Intelliwriter 2000. I paid two hundred bucks for it at Monty's Pawn and Loan, down the Valley. I had a small screen about the size of my little finger and 4K of memory. I may have waxed lyrical about it before.

I ditched that sucker as soon as I could afford a 'real' computer, of course; some beige box DOS atrocity with two floopy drives and a green screen. Cost ten times as much as the Sharp.

These days, of course, I work in at the fruit factory. When the next round of book advances start flowing, after I've paid my tax (*whispers* - they read this blog), I'm probably gonna grab one of those sweet ass new retina 5K iMacs.

Which is why I can't believe I'm thinking of backing/buying this clunky monstrosity too.

The Hemingwrite. A digital typewriter.

And that's all it is. Well, sorry, it has some nifty connectivity built in, so as you can back up your heart breaking work of motherfucking genius to the cloud, or something.

But mostly it's about recreating the feel of an old school typerwriter. From the site:

The Hemingwrite provides the distraction free environment people crave while also giving them a familiar keyboard and a robust digital experience. People don’t have to fuss with ribbons, jammed hammers or spilling coffee on their manuscript anymore. The Hemingwrite will help you put words on a page better than any other tool ever made. And with constant backups to the cloud, you never have to worry about losing your work.

I like it because it reminds me of my original writing dream, to live in a small Mexican seaside village, in a fishing shack, with my beautiful but enigmatic Japanese house girl, Miko. My old typewriter would start up in the afternoon like gun fire in a bad neighborhood. I would punch out the words for a few hours before strolling into town where there would be tequila and knife fights and a reasonably priced taco.

I feel somehow that the Hemingwrite might deliver on this promise where life itself did not.

Update.

Having settled on my purchase, it took only one tweet from Mister Charles Stross to turn my head towards the even more retro-futurist Qwerkywriter, which he recommends using with Scrivener to reach 'writerly nirvana'.

This! This looks exactly like the typewriter of my imagination, down in the seaside shack with Miko and all the tequila.

22 Responses to ‘The return of the typewriter (Updated)’

Zombie_Balzac would have you know...

Posted 11 hours ago
Brain reeling. Does it have a little speaker to make incessant, hangover-unfriendly "Clack Clack" noises? A lever on top for an enter key/carriage return? A randomised "stop working because the keys or ribbon jammed again" feature? That's not a typewriter, it's a Word Processor, from when that meant a device, not software. 'Tis an abomination, neither fish nor fowl, a veritable platypus of word recording thingummies.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted 11 hours ago
I love this kind of nostalgia. I want a Hemingwrite for the same reason I sometimes yearn for the smell of ditto machine solvent and the perverse artistry inherent in White Out. Every now and then I pull out my old Underwood No. 5 (circa 1920) just to reconnect with an ancient time when keyboards were designed to slow secretaries down because fast typing jammed metal strike keys.

Oh my god, what have we done.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted 10 hours ago
I loved everything about the Panasonic electric typewriter I bought in Korea save one thing.

Dealing with the paper.

This thing? I can see buying one.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted 10 hours ago
Isn't that what the bunnies are for - transcribing your dictation?

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w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted 10 hours ago
Crouched over the device, peering at the small low screen for hour after hour, it has the look of a device that would not be back, shoulder and neck friendly.

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 4 hours ago
Never mind the small screen - those keys are all blank.

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Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 10 hours ago
I thought you dictated your words to your apple box? and thus your dream should be , living on an estate in Hawaii, with an English manservant, two dobermans and you lend your Ferrari to a moustachioed Private Investigator who lives in the guest house and uses your pool free of charge because he saved your life?

Zombie_Balzac mumbles...

Posted 10 hours ago
NBlob has been likened to Magnum PI, admittedly only by those of poor eyesight and memory. But perhaps he could live in the guest house and trade as Cornetto PI?

NBlob puts forth...

Posted 9 hours ago
Given my current state of finances, it'd be more like Black & Gold fruit flavoured icy pole PI.

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John Hampshire has opinions thus...

Posted 10 hours ago
Forget the crappy ergonomics, forget the endless distraction of Twitter, the siren lure of the possibilities intrinsic to a 27" HD screen -- THIS is what I need to actually get the writing done!

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spankee is gonna tell you...

Posted 8 hours ago
I have a Remington Portable #2. I would love to use it, but I seriously do not know what for.

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Simon is gonna tell you...

Posted 7 hours ago
Does the qwerkywriter come with a set of ye olde flying goggles and a blunderbuss that is hooked up to a steam backpack to shoot rapid fire missiles?

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Therbs asserts...

Posted 6 hours ago
But the iPad Air 2 is out!

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yankeedog would have you know...

Posted 6 hours ago
That Qwerkywriter is awesome! I want one-and I don't even really write anything. And Simon's right-that thing has a nice steampunky look about it.

dweeze mumbles...

Posted 6 hours ago
Prototype looks way cool. However, they won't be ready until mid 2015 at best. Kind of ass about back to the future thing. Oh, and they got hoverboards now...

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Naut mumbles...

Posted 6 hours ago
The keys off old typewriters make great cufflinks.

Zombie_Balzac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 5 hours ago
Philistine!

Bunyip mutters...

Posted 5 hours ago
Yes ZB, but he's a rather dashing and stylish Philistine.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted 4 hours ago
I am forced to agree with that.

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted 3 hours ago
Is this one of those "I'm sure I'd always hit my deadline and need minimal copy edits and would never ever farking procrastinate if I just had the perfect writing tools" things?

Saw a guy who had a setup like the one in Gilliam's Brazil once. Dunno if he actually got shit done. But it looked nice.

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MickH mumbles...

Posted 3 hours ago
Seems like a backward step myself. Stick to dragon! :P

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Post Human robot wars

Posted 13 hours ago into Movies by John Birmingham

Nice catch by Professor Boylan. A beautifully produced short about robots fighting our wars after we've been annihilated by robots fighting our wars.

Deets at iO9.

9 Responses to ‘Post Human robot wars’

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted 10 hours ago
Wow.

Just makes you want to see more of it.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted 10 hours ago
Great to look at; the design, the detail and movement.
I am not visually creative. Having that ability must be quite thrilling at times

Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 5 hours ago
I must say, I too was rather impressed by his design approach for both of the aircraft.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted 9 hours ago
Oh man that is Teh Shiznit.
10/10 & an wombat stamp.

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@simongarlick swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 6 hours ago
Reminds me of a short story I read as a child, title and author now faded in my memory. Nicholas Fisk maybe?

tk428 is gonna tell you...

Posted 2 hours ago
Same. About an automated bomber being refilled at an automated base

And similar to Ray Bradbury's - There will come soft rains

Nicely done film though

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DNABeast mutters...

Posted 5 hours ago
I could easily watch another 20 minutes of that.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted 4 hours ago
I'll try to contact the writer/director and find out if the world can expect a little more.

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted 2 hours ago

excellent, simply excellent.

of course if Lockheed Martins plans for portable fusion plants become reality so might this.....


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NASA has a soundcloud page

Posted Yesterday by John Birmingham

And it's awesome.

You can listen to mission chatter in the background while you work, or just the eerie wailing of the space between the stars.

7 Responses to ‘NASA has a soundcloud page’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted Yesterday

The live stream from the International Space Station is also great to have as a minimised window while I am working on the 'puter late at night. Though I swear you can hear some staticy comments which If you aren't listening closely your mind can interpret in weird ways

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
I thought that in space nobody can hear you stream?

dweeze swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
Or is it just pissing in the solar wind?

Dave W swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
It certainly is an oddity.

Bunyip puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
Barnes, check your audio settings. Possibly uncheck your interstellar overdrive.

Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
Fuck that was lame..

move along move along

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Anthony asserts...

Posted Yesterday
It does fill a vacuum...

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Hysterical Victorian girl fits about ISIS

Posted Wednesday into Politics by John Birmingham

Hat tip to Guru Bob for sending me this link about the invincible jihadi juggernaut that ISn't. I've long thought ISIS to be a bunch of murderous clowns who would fall apart in the face of a discilplined military outfit. Luckily for them, all they're facing in Iraq is the Iraqi army, and in Syria, more murderous clowns. Unluckily for them, they ran into the magnificent Kurds.

KUWAIT CITY — A strange thing happened in Kobane, the Kurdish border town besieged by Islamic State: It didn’t fall.

In fact, today the BBC reported that Islamic State, the supposedly invincible jihadis who have been besieging Kobane, is retreating from the city.

Nobody expected that. Well, nobody except me. I’ve been saying for a long time that IS(IS) was the most overhyped military force on the planet, and that IS has been attacking Kobane for fifteen months—fifteen damn months—without success, which might just sort of suggest it’s not the juggernaut it’s been made out to be, and that IS’s other supposedly scary advance toward Baghdad is no more than a sad attempt to recover some of the Sunni suburbs of the capital the Sunni controlled completely less than a decade ago.

But I learned a long time ago you don’t get rich being right in this business, so I wasn’t surprised to be all alone yelling “Paper Tiger!” at IS while all the Lexus-driving pundits went into hysterical Victorian-girl fits on TV.

More

20 Responses to ‘Hysterical Victorian girl fits about ISIS’

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted Wednesday
With that kid in the video yesterday, was he radicalised first and then travelled to Syria/Iraq, or is he just a misled misinformed dickhead who travelled to Syria/Iraq who then became radicalised? If it's the latter, how could you possibly spot them and prevent anything?

Halwes puts forth...

Posted Yesterday

i'm tired of arabs and their sectarian shit but I've travelled extensively through these countries and get it a little bit. I don't agree with it but I get it. Imagine you are an aussie kid living in Europe. You look back to aus and aus is being torn apart by a civil war with, what appears to you, a definite good guy and a really bad guy in the leadership roles. You're young and full of bravado and fervent faith in an imaginary friend. What would you do? I'm pretty sure I know what I'd want to do. Unfortunately, some young arabs brought up in the west, haven't had mature enough thought processes to understand that these places are shit for a reason and are ripe for radicalisation. These countries are shit because of greed, patriarchy, western exploitation, laziness, corruption, sectarianism, ancient hatreds, you name it, they've got it. Until some of that is addressed, these countries will always be shit.

yankeedog reckons...

Posted Yesterday
I don't know you from Adam, Halwes, but you win the internet today.

That is the most correct assessment of the Middle East and a lot of the people living there that I've had the pleasure to read. Your statement should be on a paper and put in front of any national leader, statesman, and military officer as required reading.

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Cranky Peanut puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
Thanks for this JB. Daeshi deadshits appear to be dumber than I thought. Good.

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Spanner would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
I assumed that the guys walking along behind the T55 were Daesh. Nope they are Kurds. Not sure how they can walk as they must have testicles the size of bowling balls.

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TheWah mutters...

Posted Wednesday
Anyone else remember the indestructible juggernauts known as the Iraqi Republican Guard? I remember the media wetting its pants about these elite troops just before Desert Storm. They turned out to be mainly uni students in shiny uniforms, and they died or deserted.
I'm not all that up on my military, especially compared with many of the Burgers on here, but I am sure that a massively well equipped and funded professional military, such as owned by the US, isn't all that fearful of Daesh, and neither should we.

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Anthony is gonna tell you...

Posted Yesterday

Years ago when the IRA were misbehaving I was at Heathrow with my then 16 year old daughter. Walking across the concourse we were (very politely) stopped by an armed SAS trooper to have our bags opened and searched.

I can assure you that yes, they will positively shit themselves. I almost did and I had nothing to worry about.

The moral of the story is don't travel with an attractive 16 year old. You keep getting stopped by young cops, security people et al.

ShaneAlpha has opinions thus...

Posted 20 hours ago
I have a relative by marriage who was born in Falls Road, Belfast. Needless to say he even now has a difficult time getting a visa, despite his family emigrating to NZ over 40 years ago when he was a teenager.

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TeamAmerica would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
I dunno, JB. After following your link, after previously reading this: http://ricochet.com/caveat-lector-news-kobani/
I am still not sure what's up in Kobane.

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Maddoug is gonna tell you...

Posted Wednesday
Quite a surprise to see one of the Kurds carrying a Steyr AUG! Wonder if it was one of ours?

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TeamAmerica puts forth...

Posted Thursday
Canadian jihadists appear to be responding to ISIS' cals to target the West:
http://ricochet.com/canada-under-attack/

TeamAmerica puts forth...

Posted Thursday
'cals' should've been calls. Also, a would be jihadi ran over two Canadian soldiers yesterday, injuring one and killing the other.

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted Thursday
No I like to think the Daesh have everything organised based on name. All the Cals in Daesh have orders to run people over, the Donalds will be blowing themselves up and any Phils will be on beheading duty.

Cranky Peanut is gonna tell you...

Posted Yesterday
Simplifies things. I hope they've let Bruce be in charge of the sheep dip.

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Wolf swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
and if ... "it explodes as that RPG round sends superheated molten metal spraying through it as droplets of the MBT armor now zip into the crew compartment at the speed of detonating TNT, as the blast knocks the turret half-off and turns anyone inside to instant bulgoki."... isn't a Birmo worthy sentence, then nothing is.

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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
Obviously those IS clowns haven't played enough Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty. I mean , just look at them strolling around like its a poorly attended all ages gig at youth club. And no helmets or flak jackets. Seriously no wonder they can't do any damage to a well defended position. You know one where the Kurds might actually aim at heads and disco clowns.

SZF ducks in to say...

Posted 21 hours ago
The kids walking and laughing behind the tank WERE the Kurds. It was almost like they were playing chicken to see who could wear a bit of friendly fire shrapnel from the RPG.

Which is even better evidence that Daesh are apparently less "Axis of Evil" than "Data point of Muppetry".

Rob reckons...

Posted 10 hours ago
ah now I get it. Still a few hours playing Battlefield would probably help.
Is there any way I can send some money to the Kurds to buy some body armour?

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Gutsy Lemur reckons...

Posted Yesterday
JB and Burgers,

You might find this blog post by Adam Curtis, a BBC documentary filmmaker, interesting. It starts with:

"In the battle for Kobane on the Syrian border everyone talks about the enemy - IS - and the frightening ideas that drive them. No-one talks about the Kurdish defenders and what inspires them.

"But the moment you look into what the Kurds are fighting for - what you discover is absolutely fascinating. They have a vision of creating a completely new kind of society that is based on the ideas of a forgotten American revolutionary thinker."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/HAPPIDROME-Part-One

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How to drink

Posted Tuesday into Lunch Time Video by John Birmingham

W from Brisneyland sent me this video, which I found rather droll. It is not safe for work.

17 Responses to ‘How to drink’

HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted Tuesday
ROF FKN LMAO!... ITS NOT A FKN INTERNET CAFE!.....FKN GOLD!

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Bangar mutters...

Posted Tuesday
I'm Bangar and I approve this message.

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Dave W mumbles...

Posted Wednesday
I think we just saw Havock's fkn doppelganger.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted Wednesday
I found that video deeply disturbing. Fuck that guy. He can't tell me what to do. I like the sound of women laughing.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
laughing with you or at you?

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted Wednesday
I had no idea there was such a thing as a blackberry margarita.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
There is such a thing as a blackberry margarita, and it is fabulous, although I could do without the seeds.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted Wednesday
They get stuck in my perfect teeth and ruin my charming smile.

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
LIKE

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted Wednesday
I'm a fan of their shoes.

Besides, you don't order water with your drink.

You order iced tea. Fucking idiots. Sheesh.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

damian reckons...

Posted Yesterday
You forgot the words "Long Island" at the start of that drink order. Or is that just assumed these days?

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ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
Don't forget to watch their equally hilarious how to pick up chicks.

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Legless would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
How did you manage to get a video of me? And why do I have a beard?

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TheWah puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
I honestly don't know what this ad/sketch is trying to say. If you follow the edicts set down by this loud mouth then everyone in the bar has a bad night. Look at the punters around him. Everyone of them looks miserable. I'm surprised the last rule of drinking wasn't "Stop being a douche and let people enjoy themselves as they see fit".

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
"I honestly don't know what the ad/sketch is trying to say."

Dear TheWah,
Let me try to explain, from a semi-retired barfly's perspective.

While it is a piece of comic exaggeration, it is making some reasonable points. It is really about being respectful and considerate.

The 'make a triangle' advice is exactly right. The seating arrangements should be inclusive. No one should feel ostracised.

The general drink ordering stuff is really referring to when it is crowded. When the bar is quiet, feel free to treat the bar person as your personal drink consultant. But when it is busy and a lot of people are just wanting for a quick drink under some time pressure; then know your drink and keep it simple, until the crowd thins out.

The women laughing thing is weird, meant to be provocative I suppose. All laughter is welcome, except for the sadistic laughter of your torturer, I suppose. But, people in quiet bars who talk unnecessarily loudly are annoying. Just like people on the bus or the train who think their conversation is so awesome the whole carriage should hear. It isn't, particularly if it is full of vulgarisms. Don't shout.

So it is really about being respectful and considerate.

Needless to say, order a water or a wine if that is your preference. I do both regularly. But ,I think, the clip is a humourously exaggerated way of making some fair points.



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Therbs asserts...

Posted Yesterday

Dear me, people do overcomplicate what to do in pubs. There's one simple rule:

"Don't be a rat farting dickhead."

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