Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yahoo blocking URLs in webmail?

Can anyone with a Yahoo! (or BT?) account confirm they're censoring the occupywallst.org URL, as in this article/video?

Pretty low if so.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fire Service up the spout

The story of AssetCo is pretty FU. Privatised dire fire service. £100m+ debts. Allegations of cash mis-use by former CEO. The pension scheme could have to be rescued by public money. Fire engines owned by Lloyds Bank. It's hard to imagine a much bigger mess, really.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Flash-Lit Fiction

I had great fun at the weekend getting remotely involved in Flash-Lit Fiction night, organised by Paragraph Planet, Grit Lit, and Story Studio. The challenge was to submit a story in a tweet - so 140 characters, minus the #flf11 hashtag. There was an initial theme of "21st Century", followed by an all-encompassing "Any" theme. Sadly I couldn't make the in-flesh meet-up that followed, but welcome to the 21st Century...

I should caveat by saying I don't really "consider" myself a "writer". I can do words and have a pen at the top of this blog, but I've never had the time or brain to sit down and write something I really like. (And oh yes, I've tried.)

So Twitter is great for this - you can think of some nugget of an idea and dash it out to the Internet for casual judgement in under a minute. That instantaneity is also why I love writing Haiku - there's no time to dissect and ruin an idea, and once you've posted it, you can move on to something else. There's a great and raw "nowness" to it all.

You can see the final shortlisted and winning stories here - the winners were indeed awesome tweets. I came in second on both categories - which I'm definitely more chuffed than miffed about, what with not really being a writer and all that. (Although I'm even more pleased that one of the categories came down to a clapometer-style showdown...) More than anything though, it was huge fun just bashing ideas out into a phone, refining them to be the right length, and seeing what works and what doesn't.

For posterity, all my entries are below. But I'm also hoping to carry on tweeting stories - they fit nicely alongside 100-word Drabbles and Paragraph Planet's 75-worders. Just need a short-enough hashtag now.

My entries (# links to original tweet):

# I sat, staring out of the flung-open window of my new penthouse flat. Clouds hovered. Birds cartwheeled. I jumped.

# My hand fumbles around in the darkness for a rope, while the clown just smiles at me for another hour. [my favourite]

# I remember the day of my birth perfectly; it was snowing, and I couldn't help but scream.

# I grew up around the trees of this forest. 89 years and one cheap dagger later, now they grow up around me. [shortlisted]

# I thought 'the Great Malaise' was an exotic place. In History class today we learnt it referred to the 1st half of the 21st century.

# The old woodcutter fell asleep surrounded by the forest, and woke up in a field of skyscrapers. He still thinks there's a way home.

# For them it was less "arranged marriage", more "conveyor belt romance". With the obvious, inevitable conclusion.

# We discovered the particle for love on the 11th of March, 2088. The first products hit the shelves in time for Christmas. [shortlisted / clapometered]

# There aren't many who can remember where they were for both the 2000 and the 2100 celebrations. And none that want to.