Blah Blah Free Book Blah Blah

Okee doodle. Last chance to buy the first edition of my novel Losing Jules before the fully re-edited version goes online and such.

http://amzn.com/1475260733

So, as a gift, or, perhaps (mu hua ha ha ha!) a curse (ζθΕ!!!), for one last time, I offer it to you as a free download. Remember, I can never, ever, ever autograph it for you in electronic format. Also, unless you choose to stalk me and chase me down with an iPad in your hands, you cannot with said electronic format beat me to death  for stealing those hours from your life you invested in reading it. Okay, yes, you could I guess print it out, glue the pages together into a paper mache like club of sorts and well, be creative…

Enjoy.

Ultravox – Vienna

I just repurchased a digital copy of Ultravox’s first album with the classic lineup (not the original ) including Midge Ure. This is following a rediscovery of their electronic majesty when I picked up an English Electronic music magazine a whole back that included a compilation cd of songs from the 70s and 80s. This cd housed a version of Mr X, what in my opinion is their second best song after Dancing….

I owned the original vinyl back in my DJ days and didnt give it the credit it was due at the time as I was fixated on other groups. Listening now, it immediately reminds me of high school weeknights, laying awake in bed, far too late at night, listening to Brave New Waves on CBC and assorted English and German stations via shortwave. Yes. Shortwave. My bedroom was. A mass of wooden furnishings from the Edwardian period, computer equipment and a shortwave radio complete with a wire antenna that I constructed that wrapped around the extents of my north wall. Every night, it was music and old black and white movies I could pick up via a black and white TV fitted with yet another big UHF antenna.

This cd brings me back. It is clean, crisp and well produced. It makes me happy.

That is all that matters. Happy.

Open Letter to (various)

Dear Media, aging management, advertisers, etc…

We get it. You want to sell something. Stories, airtime, your “Vision”, yourself, the crap people hire you to sell.

Stop using dated catchphrases.
Stop trying to sound like “those hip kids”.
Stop drawing from nerd culture because frankly we are for the most part pretty damn smart and most of us cringe at your attempts to sound like us.

Be original.
Don’t use “Game of Thrones” in anything you write.
Stop making ads for an older demographic using a younger demographic or vice versa to try to make product seem cooler.

You are making smart people irritated.

Signed
Us

The Tree

gnarled-tree

A tree stood there, just down my road
Gnarled and mangled, skin like a toad
Limbs about on the ground from cold winter howls
A maw in it’s trunk uttered silent growls
When the wind blew up it would wave and twist
Bits of bark and twigs in your face it would spit
The cattle wouldn’t stand in its sparse dappled shade
And down below, no grass ever made
Just mossy rocks like speckled teeth
And blackened wet soil clung underneath
One day my hound and I meandered by
A storm brewed above, the tree caught my eye
A thick arm like branch swooped down and did grasp
A poor frightened fox that had been running past
A yelp then nothing was heard by me
But my hound belched a bellow toward the old tree
A brief flash of red and the fox entered maw
It then shut with a smile, that was all that I saw
The branch it flew back from my hound with a growl
The maw twisted up and became a thick scowl
As we stood, the rain beat more ‘pon the ground
And from the tree came a cruel ripping sound
The black earth tore up and the roots then whipped free
The soil borne demon then moved toward me
I turned quick to run, dropped leash, the hound fled
As the rope like wood tendrils wrapped round legs and head
A whoosh then a roar and a low rumbling near
I could see my death before me to be clear
One free hand grasped, failed, it found nothing firm
My body dragged cross rocks and mud covered berm
Lifted high, I screamed like a girl in sheer fright
But then from the clouds, a flash of white light
I hit the ground hard, gained my breath, scrabbled free
Then a wrenching wild creak, then a crash behind me
Mud, rocks and white bones they delayed my flight
Into the torrent and the dark sodden night
I reached the road’s edge and then to turn
To see the flames creep up, the demon did burn
The writhing the smashing, flayed mud cross the field
The tree scream in silence, then at once, it did yield
Then it toppled in splinters and sticks twig and leaf
I sat on the pavement in wet disbelief
The hound stopped her baying, I patted her mid
I stood with a shudder, gaped t’ward what the tree hid

Anti-Social Networking

Facebook Symbol Sean Liddle
is going to go outside and throw rocks at the woodpecker pecking
away on his old TV aerial tower… 
That’s how I was going to start my
day.  First up, I slept through the ever increasing in volume
“sleep tracker” app on my phone.  I slithered out of bed after
pressing the big red DISMISS button, walked to my NOW BLARING old
school clock radio, strategically set at the far end of the bedroom
to prevent oversleeping, and turned off the tedious
blathering.  Grabbing the phone I headed downstairs, an hour
before my wife and kids get up, for the usual: ten minutes of
wakeup Facebook and email perusal, a BIG cuppa and putting out the
cat and garbage, hopefully in their applicable locations.
I didn’t do the usual.
Sean Liddle puts on new shirt from Tommy
Hilfiger and immediately thinks he looks like George Costanza and
not in the good way #thereisnogoodway 
I logged in and promptly didn’t update my
status with a smarmy witticism about Monday mornings, age, the
death of yet another weekend or some funny bit of black humour that
arrived in my email from any one of the half dozen sources of quick
news bites on celebrity or world news.
Sean Liddle sees that the lead singer of the Divinyls
has died. #touched 
 I made my tea, strong and sweet and in my late fathers ironic
Bill mug . It is ironic because the name he went by was Art. 
Bill was the name he went by until 1963. His real first name was
William.  Something about fathering a child in Germany. I
started making lunches and pondered how much time I have been
wasting on social networking since 2007. “A Lot” is the answer. A
hell of a lot.
Sean Liddle
is taking a FaceBookation for a week until the Symbiot army
finalizes its takeover.
#hailournewrobotoverlords 
I was sitting at my desk back in ’07 when a friend from
another department burst into our wing, rambling on about
Facebook.  “Have you seen it yet? Its awesome.  I’m
finding all my old friends from school!”
I
am unsure what part of my brain misfired but I immediately set
about creating a profile and over the space of a few weeks, my
quite popular and all too often updated political humour blog
stopped being the focus of my attention and I was sucked into the
world of “FB”.  It became an art form (until they changed it)
to find a witty way to end “Sean Liddle Is…” with something that
made sense to my ever increasing number of “friends”.  I
completely ignored the fact that I was a bit of an introvert, a
hermit, one who avoided old friends due to a variety of reasons
both silly and real. I friended people left and right, people I
knew, some I barely knew, some I barely remembered.  It became
a competition, I strove for 100, 200, 300 friends.  Then the
social crash hit me like a ton of Minecraft bricks.  I don’t
really “like” people.
Sean
Liddle thinks that Peanut Butter And Honey On Toast deserves
capitalization at all times as it is the greatest foodstuff ever
invented (by me, in 1974 #itsafact ) 
I culled the herd.  I brought it to a
more reasonable level in the mid 200s.  I just couldn’t keep
up. I sorted them, organized them and stopped responding to
everything even remotely interesting. I started taking vacations
here and there for a week when I realized I was going overboard in
my postings.  I stopped even looking at it for days on end
when I was writing my novel because I found I was turning into one
of the characters in my book  (a fictional version of Paris
Hilton) and started trashing folks left and right.
Sean Liddle wonders why people wear those
stretchy clingy running pants when at the gym on the treadmill.
#youra55isntasgoodasyouthink 

So I
walked away, again and was pulled back by “friends” who wondered if
I was okay.
Sean Liddle
thinks “Kiss Off” by the Violent Femmes is a damn fine and oft
overlooked song #siriusfirstwaverocks 
So it went and so it goes.  I run
away. I take breaks. I focus on my website. I focus on writing the
two books I am working on. I unfriend the irritating. I get
re-friended by the irritating because I worry I may run into them
late at night or they may be suicidal and don’t want to be the
catalyst for their demise. Generally, the crack, the social meth,
the cocaine that is Facebook is fuelling a huge wastage of time
that I could be spending on other things, things more
profitable.  Things more, (insert Shatner Pause) productive.
Sean Liddle is pleased that
when he stopped to get a coffee, his fit athletic son had zero
interest in any doughnuts, cookies or pastries
#parentingWIN 
I am
also noting (though don’t tell anyone) that approximately ninety
percent of my real world friends are infinitely less interesting
than my electronic, digital, non Real World, in-person friends.
Yes, I have “friends” that I have never met.  Friends that are
of the entertainment/celebrity sort, some from the realms of
science I am interested in, some from various atheist groups I
follow, that I have never met.  Frankly, I have more in common
and more interesting discussions with them than that guy I played
hockey cards with in grade five.  Doesn’t mean that the
GIPHCWING5 isn’t nice, funny, decent, it just reinforces something
I have been saying for years to my wife: There is a reason you
don’t stay in contact with some people.  It is that they have
a place in your past but don’t fit in your future.
Sean Liddle warns you to not watch
Gilligan’s Island ever again in your life.  I did. It isn’t
funny.  Let it remain a memory
#skipperandgilliganareacouple 
Ever notice when someone says “don’t get me wrong, but”
they are about to say something offensive?  Don’t get me wrong
but I wish Facebook had never been introduced to me.  Apart
from meeting about a dozen non-real-world friends, two of whom I
have met in meat space, and maybe another dozen friends I actually
did know years ago and lost touch with, it has been a never ending
drain on my productivity.  My son wants me to build a remote
control vehicle powered by a sail and a fan on a moveable
pivot.  My video gaming has taken quite a hit and there are
games that I wanted to play that I never purchased and have since
vanished from shelves.  There are TV shows I am only now
marathoning through because every night that I have free time I end
up babbling on with my friend Nick for the world to see about
something inane.
Sean Liddle
has seen three people today driving Mercedes that look like cavemen
#convention?  
I
guess what is really in question, as I don’t seem to be the only
person fixated by FB the way I am, is why?  Why have we become
literally a planet of millions of people spending their free time
updating their friends on their current status.  I am at work.
I am at the gym.  I have just run 10km at a speed of
X.X/Y.  I ate sushi for lunch. Why do I think, why does the
world think that my friends need to know this?  Has society
become so close knit that we need to know everyone else’s
activities on an hour by hour basis? Has society become so
fractured that they only way we can maintain a tribe/community feel
to our lives that we have to pretend we are talking with like
minded, like origin, like acting compadres rather than dealing with
the vast array of difference around us? Why do we feel the desire
to weigh in on other people’s status updates? Is it because we all
consider to be life a stage and we are all vying for some sort of
comedy award? Why is it so hard to run away from it all and just go
back to dealing with the day to day without sharing our trials
tribulations and our kids ribbons they received for showing up at
school each day without punching someone?
Sean Liddle thinks that “fauxhawks” are the hula
hoops of the 2000’s.  The idiotic bejazzled pink hula hoops
that you wear on your head. #banthefauxhawk 
So here I sit, sipping a beer, a very nice
English ale far superior to anything you have in your fridge,
debating a dozen witty status updates, resolved to not type a
single one into my phone app.  I’ve taken breaks in the past
for a week or two but always devolve into reading notifications and
sending messages, taking only a break from the status
updating.  I’ve been away while on vacation but the first
moment in wifi range I am back on, telling people I am on my way
home, telling them the vacation was awesome and so much better than
theirs. I’ve stepped back from the false sense of community and
done things, read more books, written more things, watched more
episodes of Mythbusters, caught up on the pile of magazines beside
my 1950’s era comfy chair, one glass of scotch and a pair of
slippers away from a cliché.  I’ve done this, and felt the
need to let people know I have done this.
Perhaps that is it. Sean Liddle Notes the the use of
hastags in status updates is useless as Fb doesnt recognize them
#pretentious
Perhaps it is
vanity and in some cases a cry for input.
The world is big, bigger than ever.  When it was the mid
nineteen eighties you could write a book and it was a BIG THING
even if it sold five hundred copies.  Now, everyone and their
dog, yours truly included, can whip up a book and self publish
it.  A decent song could sell a whole album, now, people buy
the song in seconds and may never listen to you again.  Now,
we are ants, cogs, Borg in the collective, yet we all ascribe to
the belief that everyone has the ability to become a star. 
Reality shows and talent shows and handing out awards to every kid
that takes part in a sport doesn’t help this because in our real
lives we know it to be hogwash.
Sean Liddle dropped his son off at school today and
saw the most perfect little bunch of blue and white flowers in a
tiny rock garden beside the parking lot.  He got out and
photographed it and showed his son and other kids came over and he
showed them too.  He felt like it was the most perfect thing
he has ever seen growing in nature and that there will never ever
be a more pristine display of colour and life and he desperately
wants to cling to that image and if he were to die tomorrow he
would be content that he did not see more flowers as he has seen
all that matters.  He chose to not share it with the
world. 
It is time we
all stepped back from the “social network”.  I don’t mean
delete accounts, I don’t mean take a year long vacation and invent
the time machine.  I just advocate we stop and think about why
we are doing what we do on Facebook, Myspace (sorry, I try not to
laugh even typing that), Twitter etcetera.  Why are you, we,
all of us, letting everyone we know in on little intricacies of our
lives. Why are we rambling on about Breaking Bad when the show is
on hiatus till June and there are other shows on.  Why are we
dumping crappy haikus about winter on the screens of 200 or so
“friends” when we could be writing fifty more and putting them
somewhere the world could see.  Why wax poetic about politics
to those that haven’t relegated you to their “acquaintance” friends
listing so you don’t fill up their inbox when you could go join a
party and actually make a chance. Go do something real.  Go do
something you like.  Go do something worth telling people
about, then log on next weekend and update your status about it
instead of spouting on that…

(Your
Name Here) would (insert goal) if he (insert reason he isn’t
working toward the goal at present) but he (insert joke about why
its not really his fault and maybe something from George Takei or
Grumpy Cat)