Wednesday, 23 November 2011

We Interrupt This Broadcast | Getting Ahead of Ourselves

I've already mentioned that this is the time of the year when I take it upon myself to power through a selection - of some, but not all - of the books I've managed to miss through 2011; those novels, and in particular those genre novels, that have been recommended to me over and over again, that I feel I really should read before I offer up my thoughts on the best books of the year and so on.

The same goes for all the movies that have contrived to pass me by, so Sucker Punch, Super 8, Conan, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, etc. Pretty much all the biggies, truth be told. I've been to the cinema all of three times this year. My setup here at home - I have true surround sound, 1080p, beautiful black levels, comfy sofas, and a big ol' telly - suits me just fine. Plus there's almost no chance that my living room is going to stink of piss and not nearly enough bleach to disguise the stink of piss, as it so happened was the case the last time I went to the pictures, to see Paranormal Activity 3.

(I wonder if there's not an almighty digression in there somewhere, beginning with my lacking appetite for that singular feature film experience, taking in falling ticket sales and the rise of gimmickry like 3D to make up for all those "lost" dollars. But the thought couldn't have occurred at a worse time.)

Now I'm never going to be able to read all the books I'd like too, nor see all the movies I mean to - not before Top of the Scots kicks off in early December, if ever - but you know what? I'm going to try.

This undertaking began on surer footing than I could have hoped for, with By Light Alone by Adam Roberts and a certain movie you'll see reviewed here on TSS within the next 10 days. Last night it continued courtesy of Sucker Punch, which I was fool enough to watch the extended edition of, and Blackout by Connie Willis, because the sooner begun, the sooner done. But even as we speak I'm far from finished crossing my Is and dotting my Ts, as they say.

Still and all, I had hoped to keep blogging at a semi-regular rate through this period. Sadly some of my other commitments have cunningly chosen this moment to kick into high gear. I won't bore you with the details, except to say that taken together, all these shiny new obligations have made it quite difficult for me to get any one thing done; even an itty-bitty post like this.

But one down now! Only, oh... something like 30 more things to go.

What? No, I don't have a to-do list. What are you talking about? :P

Anyway, wish me luck. And please, dear readers: bear with me. There will be blog posts, I promise! And then on the fifth day of December the year-end celebrations shall start, come hell or high water.

After that? Why after that, I have a mind to turn this little old blog quite upside down. Much as I love the black and purple (but shockingly legible) template TSS is based on, my patience with Blogger - specifically with the horrendous formatting it imposes on so many of my posts, no matter which browser I use to put them through, or how long I spend tinkering about in the effing source code - has long since worn thin.

I am officially considering my other options.

But let's not get ahead of getting ahead of ourselves just yet!


  1. Maybe I will!

    Or perhaps I'll just look into this Live Writing thing. After all, it is the lazy way forward, or so I'm told, and actually being the change sounds like awfully hard work at the moment. :)

  2. Best o' luck with your catch up. I've sort of failed to keep up at all this year. Though I've not yet added them up, I doubt I've read more than ten or so (and probably a fair bit less than that) of new releases.

    Unrelated, but, since you've been dipping and diving into The Weird, have you yet read the Ligotti piece? Interested to hear your thoughts on it (and on 1Q84, for sure, whenever that review's ready).

  3. I have not, Nathaniel - not just yet. I've been going chronologically through The Weird so far, though it's been getting harder and harder to resist some of the more familiar (to me) names from the latter parts of the compendium. Every time I pick it up I'm tempted, and sooner or later - probably sooner - I'll give in, and the Ligotti will be one of my first stops.

    As to 1Q84: I've actually had reviews written for each of the three books for a little while now. Still waiting to hear back from a certain site as to whether or not they'd like them... failing that, they'll be going up here on TSS forthwith. In short, though, 1Q84 is far from Murakami's magnum opus. It's certainly magnum. But opus? No.

  4. If you are thinking about making a change from Blogger, I suggest going self-hosted or remaining on Blogger.

    Dazed Rambling started out on and I really liked the platform, but the security-related limitations are a pain. Want to post a video that's not on YouTube? Good luck. Also say goodbye to any JavaScript based buttons or widgets. I dealt with that though. The final straw was the ads. They are supposed to be unobtrusive when they appear. Ha. Ha. You can turn them off for $30 dollars a year though.

    I moved over to Blogger, which hated me almost as much as I hated it. I have fought the formatting battle often. When Blogger went down in the middle of me writing a post, I decided to look for something better.

    Tumblr is nice, but it is not meant for longer, more involved posts and pretty much takes formatting out of the blogger's hands. That, and it seems that every time I am linked to a Tumblr blog the platform is down.

    I eventually settled on Posterous, which was pretty and had no ads. It suffers the same security limitations as Wordpress, but came with additional frustrations. The sidebar is pretty much limited to links and tags. Uploading images to the blog places them in a gallery frame that cannot be edited--size and alignment is determined by your template and cannot be altered. I got around this by uploading to an outside site and fiddling with html, but it is a convoluted way to get a simple picture on your blog. The final straw, which pushed me back to Blogger, was the overly strict spam filter on comments, which tags any non-user/non-Twitter/Facebook linked comment as spam. It does not allow the user to moderate the comments after they have been caught, which means they never touch your site. No comments = no more use.

    Blogger is a pain, but when it comes to free platforms, it is the best of the lot.