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David Wellington, online serial horror writer, is celebrating the publication of his latest novel by releasing 30 free stories online for 30 days – apparently starting a few days ago, on the 22nd.
My opinion on David Wellington is kinda mixed; Monster Island was great and Monster Nation was fucking fantastic (huh- still free online, even though they’re in print… good on him), but I didn’t enjoy any of his subsequent novels nearly as much, and I haven’t really kept tabs on him. Although it was pretty cool when I randomly found Monster Island at my local Borders, in Australia, considering that many years ago I was reading it chapter-by-chapter online and talking to the author in the comments. As I’ve said many times before, I fucking love this decade.
Where was I? Right, short stories. They’re quick to read and don’t cost a cent, so check them out here. They’re hosted on a site I’ve never heard of before called DailyLit, which has an absolutely fucking retarded set-up where you have to sign up and have them emailed to you. I’ve read the first three, and now I’m looking forward to a month of Stephen King-style horror/speculative fiction, two genres that mix together so very, very well. And when Wellington’s on form, he can be quite artful with his prose.
edit – If anybody figures out how to access the rest of “Boy,” let me know. I’m getting maybe ten paragraphs in before a link urges me to “Read the rest of the story at DailyLit” and then says “Sorry – Could not find the book you were looking for.” Should have just hosted them yourself, Dave! Dammit Dave!
Matt Harding is one of my personal heroes. He’s the guy who earned his 15 minutes of fame by dancing badly around the world, becoming a fairly popular YouTube sensation (first video, second video, third video).
A YouTube celebrity might be a weird person to idolise, but I find him really inspiring. He was a backpacker before he ever became an Internet hit, and he writes what is easily the wittiest and most insightful travel blog I’ve ever read (my favourite entry, in which he conquers Kilimanjaro). A lot of travel writers like to think they’re Cormac McCarthy and babble on as poetically as possible about the landscape, with a few observations on the human condition thrown in for good measure. Everytime they hop on a plane they have a fucking epiphany. Matt, on the other hand, has an accessible writing style that’s full of rants and wisecracks, making it all the more surprising when he throws in his own observations on human nature – and a lot more profound. He makes travelling the world seem like fun. Reading his blog was a significant factor in my own desire to hit the road.
And he’s written a book, which is apparently not selling well, but which you can buy! If I wasn’t about to fly to another country in two days I’d definitely buy it myself. But even if you don’t, you should at least check out the hundreds of thousands of words he has typed detailing his travels to over 65 countries on all seven continents.
A chat site that matches you up with a random stranger. More often than not the stranger will yell profanity and immediately disconnect, but every now and then you’ll have interesting conversation – whether it’s because you’ve chosen to be genuine, tried to get as far as you can copying and pasting the text of Moby Dick, or weaved an elaborate lie about being a former child soldier in Chechnya who fought his way to freedom in the West, is up to you.
Google has been coming up with some really weak excuses to tweak their logo lately.
Google Street View went live in Australia the other day. When they first launched this last year in the States, it was just a handful of intersections in major cities, and I thought “lame” and went back to snowboarding with Samuel L. Jackson.
It’s only just now that I’ve discovered that Street View in Australia (and presumably, for some time, in the United States) actually has hundreds of thousands of photos from virtually every street in the country, from the esplanades of Sydney to the remote desert highways of the Northern Territory. Notable absentees are Kalgoorlie and most of the Top End, including Darwin. Nonetheless, this is fucking amazing.
Here’s my house!
My car isn’t there, so I must be somewhere out and about. It’s not parked on the edge of the road outside Warwick Train Station either, so I can’t be at university. I’m probably at work – but Google was FUCKING LAZY and didn’t bother to do every carpark in the country as well as every road, so we’ll never know for sure. I’m out there somewhere in that frozen moment of time. Judging from petrol prices, that frozen moment was quite some time ago – last year at least:
At the same time it can’t be any earlier than about October or November, when I was driving to work and saw a group of people on the side of the road clustered around a guy who’d taken a spill on his motorcycle, and who later died.
Here’s the driveway where, in mid-2004, I had an accident of my own and could easily have died. I used to ride my bike at top speed down the footpath on this hill every day on the way home from school, despite Chris’ warnings that a car could back out of a driveway and I’d run right into it. As it turned out, he was right, and one afternoon I woke up lying on the verge of this house with a broken arm. I note that they still haven’t trimmed that view-obscuring hedge.
I think this is an awesome little toy. If you had decent broadband and mountains of spare time you could take a virtual roadtrip from one side of the country to the other. In fact, sooner or later I expect to see a blog doing just that, as dull as stretches of it might be…
There’s the usual hysterical panic from the tinfoil hat brigade, who claim that it’s a breach of privacy to be able to see a photos of people walking down the street, or the outside of somebody’s house. Whatever. Here’s a news flash: when you’re in public, people can see you!
Despite the fact that I now deeply dislike the zombie horror genre, what with having been chained to a neverending piece of it for three and a half years, I nevertheless have an association with it and am dutifully compelled to inform you, the reader, of new developments in the field. Or I just waste a lot of time on Flash games. Whatever.
The point is that the entertaining time-killer The Last Stand now has a sequel, the Last Stand 2, in which you continue the adventures of a scruffy, bearded survivalist in a nation overrun with the living dead. While the first game gave you the simple objective of staying alive for 20 days, the second game requires you to reach an evacuation point within forty days. And so you head off across the quintessential American State, through farms and towns and cities, spending your days recruiting fellow survivors and gathering supplies, and spending your nights defending hastily constructed barricades from hordes of slavering monsters. There are a number of improvements on the last game; you can now search specific buildings, set traps like landmines or gas cylinders, and distribute your spare weapons amongst your fellow survivors.
For Flash timewasters, these games are unusually atmospheric and well-presented. I certainly recommend them if you have a looming deadline you want to ignore.
Gmail is refusing to sign me in, claiming that I don’t have cookies enabled, despite the fact that I clearly do. I’m wondering if the “beta” warning that I’ve been cheerfully ignoring for the last four years has finally proved accurate, or if this is a problem on my end of the wire. Anybody else use Gmail? I don’t want to be reduced to communicating solely via myspace like some fucking deadbeat.
On a related note, iTunes is crashing before it even opens. I suspect I’ve unearthed the edge of some vaster conspiracy.
edit: OK, I figured it out. It had something to do with the fact that I’d been fucking around with my computer clock and had set the year to 2099. Jesus.
Word count of “John McCain presidential campaign, 2008” – 13, 056
Word count of “Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008” – 19, 390
Word count of “Hillary Clinton presidential campagin, 2008” – 28, 065
Word count of “George Washington” – 9, 425
If your comments section is more than four scroll lengths down the page because the top half is overflowing with photos, video files and other superfluous shit that would make a web designer slit his wrists, take a drink.
If more than 90% of your friends are people whom you barely know and rarely speak to, take two drinks. (Pro tip: this applies to everyone)
If you’ve ever forwarded a bulletin containing a corny fictional story about a vacuous teenage relationship in which love blossoms despite tragedy/cheating/adverse circumstance, take three drinks.
If your photo album is mostly comprised of pictures of you and your whorish friends wearing an inch-thick layer of makeup and slutty clothes, swanning around in front of the bathroom mirror like prostitutes, drain your glass.
If you send out a bulletin begging for comments on the aforementioned slutty photos every time you so much as glance at your photo page, finish the bottle.
Finally, if you’re thinking up a myspace drinking game when you’re meant to be finishing a professional writing assignment that’s due tomorrow, then get the fuck back to work cocksucker.