All posts by rhys


For those wanting to see the contents of my daydreams made manifest

A short story about clay

Once there was a smart young whip of a man. An eurdite artistic man who could not be intimidated by even the largest dictionary in the world. He dedicated himself to the arts. We’ll call him Stanley. Yes Stanley is a good name.

Stanley decided to take up pottery. A noble cause thought he. Soon he was pretty good. He crafted vases and cups and plates and pots. All throughout the land Stanley’s fame grew as more people heard of his pottery skills. He became good but he needed new challenges. Soon vases were too easy and plates too boring. "I’ll make a statue" he declared, "but not an ordinary statue, a living statue, a clay man". So Stanley set about making his clay man, whom we shall call Theodore, because Theodore is also a good name. Especially if you are made entirely out of clay.

So Stanley gave Theodore life. He made him a pottery house to live in and they became friends. Every day Theodore would drive to work in a clay car, down the pottery driveway to his work. Theodore had a job in a bank, putting staples into small pieces of paper or sometimes removing staples from small pieces of paper. He enjoyed his job, but it seemed somehow, empty. Every evening Theodore would drive home and Stanley would give him special meals made entirely out of clay, but somehow the meals wouldn’t satisify. Every night Theodore would go to sleep in a special pottery bed. Every night he would cry tears of clay before he went to sleep. Every morning he would wake up sad, because despite all the amazing things Stanley could make out of clay, the one thing he couldn’t make was clay love.

House moving, an essay in the style of HP Lovecraft

After the cold stress of too much caffeine and too many tight dead lines I found myself neglecting said blog. I, your humble narrator have been caught up in events beyond my control and chthonic in their intensity.
Well, If I had actually been caught up in some eldritch horror I might have got more writing done, as all of Lovecraft’s protagonists seems to have a strange desire to keep narrating even as they are being devoured.

All of this is however of little consequence. I am actually undertaking the ritual of the house move. It’s a dark and unearthly ritual that necessitates much moving of furniture into occult configurations and the shining of wavering torch light into the dark hidden spaces under the sink. Long forgotten cleaning materials, silent in the dark, await the day when they shall purge the sink of germs. A dark and mysterious ichor stains the bath.

My new dwelling is a duplex apartment (shared with flat mates), I don’t formally move in until the 3rd of Aug, so I have plenty of time to cleanse my current house.

Spook Country (a review)

I feel slightly guilty for admitting it but I’m a big fan of William Gibson. I finally got around to finishing Spook Country (I know it’s been out a while) and I have to say I was mildly disappointed. For starters, on a purely technical level, the proof reading was shoddy (a character’s name was mistakenly interjected into the wrong conversation for example). Then there was the slight problem that nothing much happens. It’s a techno thriller without much in the way of thrills. The plot concerns the concept of geolocative art (mentioned a few blog entries below) and how one such artist also uses his indepth know-how to track the GPS signature of a mysterious cargo container in the Pacific ocean. Various factions are trying to get hold of this container but the factions only ever encounter each other briefly so there’s very little in the way of drama. The geolocative art is only secondary to the plot and the container itself is merely a Mcguffin (see wikipedia for information if you don’t know what a Mcguffin is).

What Gibson DOES do well is speculate on the way humans interact with technology (both now and potential future uses) and I loved the concept of cyberspace ‘everting’ itself. That is to say the tagging of abstract information with geospatial co-ordinates so that what exists on the internet becomes meaningful in the real world. He also has a good turn of phrase for eample "Tito noticed the dull gold of his wristwatch, its dial and hands almost lost behind the worn plastic crystal. A dead man’s watch, like the ones jumbled in battered cigar boxes at the flea market."

Jesus, walk with me

[Club 8 are a swedish indie band and you can listen to the song here:

I hate most religious sounding music but this song made me smile]

Jesus walk with me

When I wake up in the morning
feel the sun shine on my face
I get up and I'm yawning
There is so much time I can waste

Cause I need this
God feed me with your love
And take me through the day

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me
I wouldn't want it any other way
‘Cause then I'd only stay the same

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me

When I wake up in the dawning
And the day is not far away
Find my way in a dark room
That my eyes fail to see through

If God made me
Will Jesus save me?
And take me through the day

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me
I wouldn't want it any other way
‘Cause then I'd only stay the same

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me
Before I go I need to be
Something more than the skin and bones you see

‘Cause everywhere I go
Everywhere I've been
And everywhere I'm going to
I only go with you

An Open Letter to the makers of Project Gotham Racing

[NB it is entirely possible that you might not understand this so don’t worry]

Dear Bizarre Creations,

You make fine videogames. How I love to pretend I have the wind in my hair as I hurtle around a virtual race track. How I laugh and cry as the car prangs a wall and tumbles sideways at hight speed. However I feel there in something missing from the experience.

How about a racing game in which the cars represent atavistic throwbacks to ones childhood? We earn an Audi in the game only to be reminded constantly that this was the car that father left us for the final time in. His arm around some other woman. Mother weeping silently in the corner…. The car a symbol of creeping dread and deep rooted Freudian angst. Or the cheap toy ferrari, the one we loved which was destroyed in a freak accident with a cheese grater. The first time we began to identify with our possessions. A trait that will haunt us all our adult existence.

You could also make a racing game which acknowledges the untenable absurdity of car racing and sees sport as nothing more than a Sisyphean challenge marked out only by constant repetition. In a way motorsport as a metaphor for the 9-5 rat race.

Press A to start your engine. Press B to overcome your existential crisis.



A fresh slice of blogpie for you

The problem with facebook isn’t the fact of it’s ludicrous product placement, nor is it the result of the way in which it turns an abstract concept such as stalking into a commodity item. It’s that it’s so damn easy to waste time playing Scrabble against people several time zones away.

With this in mind I firmly intend to blog more often than I do, about anything and everything that passes through my curiousity duct and into my quizzical gland.

Recently I came across two concepts in the space of a week that illustrate the vast power of GPS (global positioning systems). The first of these is Geohashing:

The concept is this – find your location on the map provided (you can be anywhere in the world for it to work) and the randomising algorithm will provide you and anyone else in your geographical vicinity with a different goal everyday (expressed through a map reference). This means that you and all the people who use the web site in your locality can meet up, for example in a godforsaken location halfway up mount Snowden. It could be a great way to meet new friends whilst hiking.

The second concept I came across was locative art. Art that exists virtually but is tagged with GPS coordinates so that a properly equipped individual (with the aid of a head set) can view computer art overlaid across the real world in 3 Dimensions

the latter forms a plot point of William Gibson’s latest novel Spook Country which I might review in the near future.