Posted on January 1st, 2024 in braindump, making things

Hello, New Year. There’s so many lovely metaphors for you: you’re like the first page of a fresh empty notebook, the first brush-stroke on a newly-stretched canvas, an empty plot of land just tilled for a new crop, the first needle-loop of a new skein of yarn, and all the other sorts of things you can start with old tools and known skills and a bit of something new to use them on.

Which is the sane way of stating what the cynics in the room (which I’m only ever accused of being when people don’t like my jokes, haha) will have said at midnight:  It is, after all, just the day after last year.

Optimists and pessimists and soon-to-be pessimistic optimists are all flippity flopping about how 2024 will be better or worse or just the same as 2024.  Of course, from where I’m sitting, it’s already better: today’s weather is just a touch warmer than yesterday’s, a little bit of nagging elbow pain faded overnight with some ibuprofen (and that same pressure change that brought the weather, likely), and people have started saying “twenty” instead of “two thousand” – so that’s three points to 2024, just in my first ten hours of it.

But, yes, of course – there are bound to be colder days again, this elbow is a chronic condition, and some people will I’m sure, continue to say “two thousand” for as long as we’re in it.  You pessimists and already-broke-your-resolution-and-so-shortly-joining-them optimists can stop reading now, warm in the assurance that my 2024 may look better but it certainly can’t last.

Silly kids.

Everyone that’s still here, lemme start with the good news: 2024 is going to be better than 2024.  Honestly.  This is based not on some vague feeling or gambler’s fallacy, but on absolute fact: lately I’ve only been on about one thing – making things, and how, and just get ‘er done – and if you’re still here reading me, it’s because that’s what you want to do.  And if that’s what you’ve decided to do, then 2024 can’t help but be better than last year, when you didn’t.  Can (and will) things go wrong?  Yeah.  They can.  And will.  I’m not going to lie to you. And that possi-probability for disaster is the bad news, sure.  But that’s no worse than it’s ever been, so there’s really no need to dwell on that.  All you need remember is that this is the year you decided to Do More Stuff, and so loong as you don’t sabotage yourself, there’s no reason why you won’t.

Eventually.  But very probably this year.  Barring that self-sabotage thing.

Take a look at this pretty little site I found this morning: My Someday. It’s yet another to-do/goal/planning network amongst the gajillion others already online.  I’m not endorsing this particular site over any of the other apps/widgets/sites/etc that already do much the same thing, I just liked the timing of it (it is a rather New Year’s sort of site, innit?)… and it reminded me of something that’s a good thing to remember any time, but especially on January First, while we’re thinking about it.  A little copy paste from the site:

For each Someday, we’ll show you related step-by-step Plans for achievement. You can copy and customize a Plan or build your own.

[. . .]

Help others by posting a Plan with the steps you used to achieve your Someday.

There you go.  Don’t forget those bits, yeah?  I’m not saying sign up for yet another site (although if it floats your boat, then go right ahead. I can already see little mini-nets piggybacking on the service), what I’m saying is that achieving, making, doing anything does require some sort of plan.  And it needn’t actually be that detailed – god knows I make shit up all the time – but parceling your plan into easily managed (and swappable/changeable when necessary) modules never hurts.

And that second part is what I do here, sometimes, and what I always like seeing from other people: there is, again, no harm in lending a hand to other folks that want to make things, too.  There are very few actual trade secrets, in any trade. More often there are just folks that are terrified that if they tell someone how to install a word-processing program, those other folks will finish their books, first.  Which is a ridiculous and, worse, lonely way to work.  It’s worth noting that when you make friends by helping them learn how to do their things, you’re not usually making competitors – you’re making a network of folks that may very well be your first customers, sure, but will certainly be your first supporters.  And that second bit, support, is something you’re not going to succeed without, period.

Of course, don’t give yourself away completely – unless your goal is to become an advice columnist, you can’t spend all your time giving advice.  But there’s a lot to be said, as you all start your new years and your new projects (well, for some of you, that might come after your new hangover, sure, but you know what I mean), about how you’re going to exchange information in 2024.  If you’ve got things you’re going to need to learn how to do to get your thing done, chances are other folks do, too.  It won’t hurt for you to ask, and it won’t hurt for you to offer, either. 

That little segue done, let’s circle back to the start of this post: I can’t honestly say how the year’s going to play out all across the board, but I feel pretty good about mine, and I’ve got a hunch yours is going to turn out all right, too. 

So welcome along in 2024, thank you for reading, and let’s see how it goes, shall we?

Links for 2024-02-06 via Warren Ellis

Sunday February, 07 2024 09:00 PM UTC

100 Words: Sibling Rivalry via Dan Curtis Johnson

Sunday February, 07 2024 06:48 PM UTC

Sara tried to shake her head clear. What happened? Dale was a good hider but her x-ray vision found in him in an Icelandic volcano shaft. She?d flown in and?

She was on a ledge, her wings bound. Behind her, she could hear the throat of the mountain, lava bubbling somewhere below. Dale was standing over her.

?What are you doing, Dale? This isn?t funny.?

?I?m tired of hide-and-tag. We?re playing heroes-and-villains now. Welcome to my lava trap.?

?You?re going to be in so much trouble with Dad.?

?Dad?s a has-been.?

Dale pushed with his boot and over she went.

For consideration: "If I survive, I'll tell on you"

Station Ident: Add Your Own Caption via Warren Ellis

Sunday February, 07 2024 02:02 PM UTC


(From this set on English Russia.)

This is warren ellis dot com. I write here every day. You can also inspect me on Twitter. Tomorrow I commence ten days of travel. I want to stay in bed more than you can possibly imagine.

OK, this one I quite like via Lee Barnett

Sunday February, 07 2024 12:57 PM UTC

From [info]apiphile:
Today has been declared lurker amnesty day! Have you read me but never commented? Do you surf by occasionally? Here for the the random ramblings?

Say hello! You are under no obligation to ever comment or delurk again, but here's a chance to do so in a post just for that.

ExoCab and Friends at the Mourning Market via Libby Bulloff

Sunday February, 07 2024 07:33 AM UTC


Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?! You aren’t busy with television, really. Get ready to weep for joy and get your butt to Club Motor, ’cause ExoCab and crew will be appearing tomorrow (Sunday, February 7) at Seattle’s Mourning Market, which is a FREE craft fair for all things dark, gloomy, spooky, and otherwise ooky. We’ll be there from 12-5 pm, at 1950 1st Avenue South (98134).

Besides all the fantastically shiny gothy stuffs, yours truly will have beetle elytra earrings, vacuum tube jewelry, photo prints, and pretty things to attach to your noggin. Joining me will be Noah Beasley of Improbable Cog, purveying metal and nylon jewelry made with love by robots.

I’m also pleased to announce that we’ll be vending the first wave of clothing from our upcycled fashion line, Gypsy Mansion. Noah, Finn von Claret, Bergen McMurray, our gang, and I have been hard at work, sweatshoppin’ to bring you one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn, uniquely dyed and embellished clothes in a variety of sizes.

So, come on out and buy something handmade for you or your sweetheart, and do swing by our booth and say hello!


Links and Updates via Cherie Priest

Sunday February, 07 2024 05:07 AM UTC

    Boneshaker is back on - thereby indicating that Macmillan and Amazon have reached some kind of detente, I must assume. This is particularly good for Kindle users, who can’t just order books from somebody else. Three such people emailed during the blackout, demanding to know why they couldn’t get my stuff for their Kindle because they were preeeetty sure they saw it available a couple of weeks ago and WTF was up with that? Yeah. Well. Here you go.

    The Guardian tackles steampunk - including a mention of yours truly as someone doing American steampunk (which totally gave me a hearty squee). DO YOU HEAR THAT, NAYSAYERS WHO INSIST THAT STEAMPUNK HAS TO HAPPEN IN VICTORIAN LONDON? It turns out REAL LIVE ENGLISH PEOPLE disagree.*

    The STRANGER blog takes recommendations - for additional books to read, if you liked Boneshaker and are interested in picking up something similar. Feel free to go throw your two cents in.

    The Capitol Hill Seattle blog interviews yours truly - wherein we discuss Seattle as a nexus for all things steampunk (at least, one nexus thereof), local history, upcoming projects, and playtime for grown-ups.

    A quick and dirty with the little fattie - Which is to say, here’s a Spain the Cat video I shot the other day. It’s pretty cute. She waves, and hogs the camera. If this does not satisfy your craving for cat action, here’s the little monster sitting in a box.

* Yesterday I might have hypothetically stumbled across a pissy, ranty review of Boneshaker complaining that it wasn’t really steampunk because it was set in America — and the reader felt cheated by this fraudulent representation of the genre. Bonus asinine: I’m fairly sure the reviewer was American.

The Mother of Parliaments... via Lee Barnett

Sunday February, 07 2024 01:30 AM UTC

The House of Commons is quite striking at night, isn't it?

And the other side of the bridge ain't too bad either...

Links for 2024-02-06 via Warren Ellis

Sunday February, 07 2024 12:00 AM UTC

notebook 06feb10b via Warren Ellis

Saturday February, 06 2024 09:14 PM UTC

* "Attention scarcity"

* Rimel Neffati:


* "Vlub":

bigworldsmallvictories: schadenfreude on ice. via Trixie Bedlam

Saturday February, 06 2024 08:20 PM UTC


schadenfreude on ice.

hahahahaaaaa via Trixie Bedlam

Saturday February, 06 2024 08:00 PM UTC


illillill: cumicoco:tagumayu:lacontessa:By Rimel Neffati on... via Trixie Bedlam

Saturday February, 06 2024 07:56 PM UTC


cumicoco:tagumayu:lacontessa:By Rimel Neffati on Flickr. I am constantly seeing her beautiful work posted on Tumblr without so much as a credit or link. Have some respect, people.-via lushlight:akubizone:(via murmurs)

100 Words: Hold Back the Rain via Dan Curtis Johnson

Saturday February, 06 2024 06:46 PM UTC

?Pyrolio, come here.?

?Yeah, boss??

?What?s that??

?Your potion-kettle.?

?That?s right. Is it simmering??


?And over here. What?s this??

?The signal lamp.?

?That?s right. Is it lit??


?And here??

?Haunch of unicorn. For dinner.?

?That?s right. Is it slow-roasting on the spit??


?Pyrolio, are there any fires still going anywhere in the castle??


?Whose job is it to provide me with fire at all times??

?Sorry, boss.?

?You?re the dumbest elemental I ever summoned.?

?Yeah. Guess I?m sort of an? igneo-ramus.?

?Was that a pun??


?Well, you?re fired.?

?Was that a pun, boss??

?No. Begone.?

For consideration: "And if the fires burn out there's only fire to blame"

Posterous Test via Warren Ellis

Saturday February, 06 2024 06:20 PM UTC

Quick shot from a notebook, just to test a moblog solution. I know no-one says “moblog” anymore. Shut up.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from warrenellis’s posterous

notebook 06feb10 via Warren Ellis

Saturday February, 06 2024 06:07 PM UTC

* why porting graphic novels to the Kindle makes sense: a million people (or whatever) have Kindles, will want to use their Kindles because they paid a lot of money for them, and therefore need stuff to put on their Kindles. Platform-locked audience: eventually people will start reading outside their immediate interests just to keep using the thing they paid through the nose for

* Suzanne Gerber (longtime readers will remember "Miss Wurzel Tod") trying to set up an art/design space in London

So here I am, asking you, fellow (preferably East) London creative/artist/designer/utopian to join forces with me and share a space for creative endeavours with me.

* note to self: remember to try hooking this up to Posterous.

* why is post-by-mail on (non-hosted?) Wordpress such a fuckaround? Why isn’t blogging getting easier? (Answer: it is, if you’re using Tumblr.) Why is it still such an ugly, fiddly process? In essence, it’s no more elegant than the early days of moblogging.