Macrolog

Weeknotes #656    ·

Late with the notes this week due to a reshuffled production schedule. But the paper’s been put to bed now so I’ll get these thoughts down as I decompress.

Week 656 started with the NUJ’s Freelance Forum for spring 2014 at Buswells Hotel all day Monday, which was mostly helpful to me in terms of my confidence in making pitches for writing work. Not that I’ve made any pitches yet, but I feel like I know what to say when the time comes (ie not too much, just enough; and for god’s sake proofread it before you send it).

Most of the rest of the week was devoted to production: lots of subbing, laying out pages, and emails, emails, emails. That bled into the weekend a bit, too, meaning I didn’t have a lot of time for my regular freelance bits. So the week to come will see a bit of catching up there. It helps that there’s a long weekend to come.

Continued...


Weeknotes #655    ·

Yesterday was Tabletop Day, and I spent a good chunk of it with Bee watching the live streams, playing Discworld: Ankh-Morpork (fun in the middle, but ultimately not really suitable for two players) and getting reacquainted with Race for the Galaxy (much better for two, and a lot quicker to play). Here’s hoping for some good board game vendors at the comic con in the RDS next weekend.

Work was mostly correcting InDesign page proofs this week — so time consuming! — with some review writing along the way. My few hundred words on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah went up on Thursday evening, and I’ll have some on new Irish film Calvary next week.

Continued...


Weeknotes #654    ·

The first half of this week was another one of those times when things just pile up out of my hands. The end of any production cycle is often super-stressful, but I’ve had enough experience to know such stress is amplified by the notion that it doesn’t always have to be that way. And I’m acutely aware of the affect it has on the quality of my work. So that’s what was on my mind Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday evening I was at the IFI for Breadcrumb Trail, the new documentary on Slint and the making of their classic album Spiderland, with director Lance Bangs in attendance for a Q&A afterwards. I liked the film quite a bit, and wrote about it here.

Continued...


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Microlog

UK’s concerned clowns call for end to copycat crime wave
Argh! Attack of the Clown Trolls! #   ·

Handleband: a universal smartphone bar mount for bicycles
I want one of these. #   ·

The Death of the Blog, Again, Again
At some point in the coming years, blogging will become cool again thanks to the hipsters, and then it really will be dead! #   ·

mental_floss on the restored original cut of The Dark Crystal
No longer on YouTube at the request of The Jim Henson Company. Which is a shame, unless they make it a DVD/Blu-ray extra or something down the line. #   ·

On Smarm
First there was snark, the “hostile, knowing, bitter tone of contempt”; bullshit criticism of anything that doesn’t fit one’s own flimsily constructed worldview. But as Gawker’s Tom Scocca posits, it’s a reaction to smarm, an equally odious posture of self-satisfaction; the notion of being above criticism of any kind, which is built on similarly shoddy foundations. Both are as smug, selfish and ignorant as each other. #   ·

No girls allowed
Or, how the mainstreaming of the video game industry reinforced gender stereotyping. First there was this: “Knowing that you have limited funding, you can’t just market shotgun. You can’t just go after anybody,” says [marketing firm president] Rodger Roeser. “You need to have a very clearly differentiated and specific brand because that’s going to play into where you’re running your ads and what kind of ads you run. That niche-ing, that targeting makes it easier for marketers to have a very succinct conversation with their target without overspending and trying to reach everybody.” That led to this: “The industry did the math. Companies like Nintendo aggressively sought out people who played their games … Publishers traveled to cities, held tournaments and got to see firsthand who was playing their games … The numbers were in: More boys were playing video games than girls. Video games were about to be reinvented.” And somehow that got written in stone, and society at large has simply accepted it without question. Which says a lot about us, quite frankly. #   ·

Nick Southall on criticism
A different take on the matter than Simon Price’s piece but similarly thought-provoking. Myself, I try to approach things as a fan first and foremost, and go with my head where my gut leads me; it helps me avoid the kind of ‘decision fatigue’ Rumaan Alam writes about in The Firehose of Certainty. #   ·

Jonathan Lethem on the subversive power of comics and science fiction
I like Lethem, but I hope Dissident Gardens is better than his last novel Chronic City, which was fucking terrible. #   ·

Computers are for people
Tim Carmody touches on so many ideas here that it’s impossible to categorise. I like it. #   ·

A Shit Writing Day
Paul Ford analyses his work like no other. Maybe he could do with reading my previous post on the Ass-In-the-Chair Canard. #   ·

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