Book Notes

MØ22: A Week In The Life

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #22

Hi.

So this week's Morning Øutput is gonna be a little different. I've been reading Kevin Smith's My Boring-Ass Life for a little while and I'm really kinda digging it. I thought I'd give his format a go. A daily somewhat detailed journal.

It's unedited, messy, and pretty truthful.


Tuesday 5th September 2017

Okay so here we go.

Another day.

Feeling a little bit sluggish today.

After the phone call with Matt the script guy, I've been thinking a lot about Keith and ways to focus the film more on the protagonist's journey. At the minute we've got a bit of a scattershot thing happening which is one of my writer's ticks. I tend to introduce a ton of disparate elements and then boil them down through the story, which I think CAN work quite well sometimes, but I've overplayed it a bit here. I need to reign it in a little.

So yeah that's what I want to focus on this week. I really want to get a fresh outline to hand to Ben so he can work his magic.

We recorded an episode of Horror Hangout last night all about 28 Days Later. Man, what a great film. Still just as terrifying every time I watch it and the scenes of him walking through the deserted London have an added resonance now that I know the locations so well.

"That's the place I used to grab a Tesco meal deal!"

"That's around the corner from that place where I used to write and drink coffee!"

Got to get my run on today and I'm already feeling a little nervous. It's pissing it down outside and I really don't want to get soaked.


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Wednesday 6th September 2017

Okay so here we go.

Got a nice lie in this morning and got up at 6:30. As always I woke to a mix of my snoozed alarm and Alaska's downstairs barking.

Straight up and dressed this morning and feeling pretty refreshed.

Yesterday was a super busy day and the kind of day that makes you think you got a lot done.

Got up in the morning to Alaska's morning barking, journaled, and then headed to work, did some meditating on the bus and read some more of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. This last part is really starting to go over my head. Not much more to get through before I can finish the book off and start the next non-fiction -- Kevin Smith's Boring-Ass Life -- which I've already been sneak-reading.

Work was busy as me and Edd tried to get on top of everything for an upcoming inspection.

'nuff said.

And then after work I headed to a café to drink coffee and work on the new outline for Keith. It's getting there. I know where it needs to be fixed and I'm ploughing away at it.

Then on the way home I got on a call with Dan to talk all things H&C. He's had a great opportunity come up so he may be super busy for the next few months. We also talked about his upcoming KS project, a H&C live-event, and general publishing stuff. All the while he was bathing Bailey and the conversation was occasionally broken up giddy laughs and cries of a bathing baby.

And then home, a quick kiss and a cuddle of Cat, Alaska, and Oscar, before putting my (my smelly) running gear on and heading out for a 2.5 mile run. I listened to Joe Rogan as I really pumped away but didn't manage to beat last week's easy-going 2.5 mile run. Weird that. Sometimes you huff and puff and it makes no difference.

Then home, shower, and to eat Cat's amazing chicken and sweet potato hash whilst watching It's Always Sunny and the Great British Bake Off.

Oh yeah, and we walked Alaska again and we bumped into this giant German Shepherd pup called Harley and the two of them had a good play.

And then we were in bed with a cup of tea and conked out by 10:30.

Gotta say, Alaska is growing into a really sweet and lovely dog. Earlier on she sat on Cat's lap and just chilled whilst we gave her a good cuddle.


Thursday 7th September 2017

Okay so here we go.

Thursday morning. Cranking right through this week.

Got woke at 5:30ish by Oscar as he jumped on me. I went to get him some food but he already had a ton. I showed it to him and he seemed happy with that. Sometimes he just needs a reminder that the food is in the bowl.

Back in bed and then woke again by Alaska at 6:15 yapping because she needed a wee. Downstairs to let her out and then I put the coffee on and to start journalling.

So what happened yesterday?

I read more of Kevin Smith's Boring-Ass Life (which has go me jazzed about journalling again) on the tram to MediaCity and headed into work.

Busy day with one of our boss's down.

Much work done. At lunch I wolfed down a Huel. Although you can't really wolf down a Huel. I guess it was more of a baby goating than anything, bleating as they guzzle at the teats.

And then I quickly edited and published this week's episode of Horror Hangout before going back to work.

Once the dayjob work was done I chilled for a little bit before opening up my Keith outline and spending a pom on it. I really feel like it's getting a lot stronger now. I've been playing with some new ideas and I think it's boiling down the waffle to a really great and solid story.

And then after all that I answered some emails before jumping on the tram. I was just about to stick on an episode of the Joe Rogan show I've been listening to all week (they're like 3 hours long and he publishes 3 episodes a week!) and then I got a call from Cat.

She was in town with her mum eating McFlurries.

So I went to meet them there and surprise, they had haircuts! Cat looked good and fresh. We drove back home, I took Alaska out to the field for a runaround.

Then back home to eat dinner and watch an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm before heading out to the shop for a last-minute catfood pickup. We maybe could've waited till tomorrow but you have no idea how angry Oscar gets if he has no food.

And then home, a quick haircut, and then into bed where we stuck on an episode of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle before falling asleep.


Friday 8th September 2017

06:30am

Okay so here we go.

So I climbed out of bed at 4am again to sort Oscar some food, then straight back in bed to catch another couple of hours sleep. As I got in Cat was fidgeting in her sleep and I was getting a little annoyed with it and then a second later she sleep-punched me in the face. I'd like to say it isn't a common occurrence but Cat isn't one for sleeping still.

6am on the dot and Alaska barks until I'm up and out and putting the coffee on.

So yesterday was a busy one again. Got the bus to work, meditated, and read some Kevin Smith's book and listened to Joe Rogan's interview with James Damure. Didn't get any breakfast at home so I picked up one of those cheesy croissants from Pret and headed into work.

Not overly busy but busy enough to not find much chance to do my own stuff. We listened to the Machinarium OST as we worked.

At lunch I nipped out for a 2-mile run which I was NOT looking forward to but didn't mind too much when I was actually out there. Running around the quays used to be such a fun visual thing for me and I seem to have lost some of that. Maybe I need to try some new routes or something. Not too sure.

Then back to work where I crash at around half 4 and feel too tired to do much. I bummed around on emails before finishing at half five. I spend a pom working on the Keith outline which I think is really getting there now.

And then bus home whilst reading and listening to more of the same.

When I got back I took Alaska out and got attacked by either a bat or a tiny bird. Not too sure. It was too dark. Either way, I freaked out and (I'm still not completely sure why) I barked at it before running away with Alaska.

Then back home for this lovely soup Cat made and we chatted and then went to bed, watched Suits and American Horror Story and I fell asleep.


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Saturday 9th September 2017

7am

Okay so here we go.

I woke up grumpy this morning. Oscar got me up at 5am to show him where his food was and then Alaska started barking at 6am demanding I let her out for piss-time.

I came downstairs and saw she'd somehow gotten a hold of one of my headphone jack cables and had shredded it to pieces during the night.

Not one for telling her off AFTER the fact, I let her out for a wiz without a fuss or a kiss. Yes, I get passive aggressive with my dog.

Then I put the coffee on, sat and stared at the wall for about fifteen minutes before drinking some morning liberation and bumming around on Youtube and watching a video of a guy saying Millenials are anti-rebellion and actively campaign against free speech, vote in favour of the middle class, and are pro-authoritarianism. He also mentioned a very real inequality within the class system which gets overlooked now.

Better get working on that Bug-Out-Bag. Just in case the millennials come for me.

So yesterday as I said goodbye to Cat (whose new hair was looking particularly pretty) and the animals, I climbed on the bus to the city, meditated/snoozed, and read more of Kevin Smith's book.

I got to MediaCity and opened up the office, decided to have my Huel for breakfast and then cracked on with work.

Let me just say... the day-job is killing me right now. I did my best to plough through but there's still a ton to do and by 4pm I was knackered.

After work, I spent a pom working on the Keith outline and it's really crackling now. Everytime I go over it, it gets tighter and that final act is really ramping up. Though I've come to a bit of a sticky widget with the ending. I've got an ending, but I'm not so sure it's the right one.

And then I put my Derry baseball top on like a good little King fan and headed back into the city to get ready for It.

So I've been VERY excited to see this film. I read the book in June, I now consider myself a Constant Reader, and have been loving all the promo I've seen for it.

And I'll deep dive into the film for the next Horror Hangout recording but here are some quick thoughts (spoilers):

- The kids are fricking great. Richie Tozier was bang on and all the while I was thinking these kids are so funny. Especially Eddie Kaspbrak shouting that his pills are gazebos.

- The film moves so SO fast and although I can see how it would work for It newbies, I kinda missed the slower pace of the novel. The book really develops the relationship with these kids before the hauntings whereas the film pretty much jumps into the hauntings within the first ten minutes.

- Some very creative choices to translate the book to the film. They really did a good job.

- The slideshow scene got me good when Pennywise went all Giant Man.

- That kid who played Georgie almost brought me out in tears... especially in the reunion at the end of the film.

- It wasn't as scary as I would've liked. It was a little too Goosebumps in places.

- I don't quite understand how you can separate out the adult part and make it into a sequel. I totally get that the kids' section works as a standalone story, but the adult part is almost an extra meta-level narrative that in my mind only works when winding down towards the ending simultaneously with the kids' story. Difficult to explain but I need to think this through a little more.

- By the end of the film, I think everyone loved the Losers Club.

- The book is better. I'm sorry but it just is. The book has an added literary meta quality that, understandably, doesn't really translate to film.

- I can't believe I only paid £5 to watch the film. Film tickets are so cheap at that Vue in the Printworks.

- I can't believe I went on my own. That's the problem with moving to a city where you know almost nobody. You get lonely.

After the film was done I grabbed a four-pack of Brewdogs for the weekend (I don't drink much) and got the bus back to Droylsden, walked back home and caught up with Cat as we ate some food.

She then went and did some online gaming guild stuff and I snuggled up to Oscar and fell asleep to the Bon Iver NRP live performance.


Sunday 10th September 2017

Got woken this morning at 5:45am by the two-part harmony of Oscar and Alaska. "Get up!" they sang, "get up you sunna'bitch!"

And how could I refuse?

So I fed Oscar, let Alaska out for a pee, and then sat down at the kitchen table and did my best to zone out and catch another ten minutes of sleep.

And now here I am, a little more coffee'd up, writing this.

Yesterday was a Saturday. One of two of my favourite days of the week. Cat got up pretty early and before doing anything we had a real good tidy up and a clean of the downstairs -- sweeping, mopping, the works. We then drank tea and chilled for a bit before I headed upstairs for a nice warm bath. The heating's not working at the minute and it's getting colder every day.

As I ran it I popped on a new true crime show on Netflix called The Confession Tapes. It's really good and incredibly frustrating how little evidence they have to convict these people to a life in prison. Imagine being put in a cage for the rest of your life because you were pressured into a false confession.

And then I bathed and read and got out and it was STILL raining like hell.

Next up I popped on a Distraction Pieces podcast and took Alaska out for a good long walk where I got soaked in the rain and muddied up to hell.

Came home and sat down to do some company admin stuff for H&C -- Currently compiling a big list of TOS episodes with accompanying story blurbs and wrote some answers for a comic-con Q&A we're doing.

Then onto the Keith outline. I've got what I think is the crux of the story but I'm not convinced by the ending, or the choice the MC makes to end the film. Today's the last day I've budgeted to work on it too.

I'll be honest, as I was reading through some of the outline I started to get a little scared. I don't have a clue how I'm going to film some of these scenes. But I guess that's the next step. I just gotta have faith that I'll figure it out later on. For now I just gotta get the best story I can on the page.

And then I felt super tired so I put Alaska in her crate and went upstairs for a quick snuggle, more Confession Tapes, and a nap that turned into an hour long snooze.

I woke groggy and grumpy. The stairs are completely covered in cat and dog hair and our hoover is a piece of shit. Just something else to put on the to-buy list.

So then me and Cat had a walk up to the shop to grab some butter and milk before heading home to chill. We ordered in some pizza, stuck on Dogma (been in a bit of a Kevin Smith mood), and then fell asleep. At least I did. Cat got up and went to play some of her Mabinogi game and then Oscar climbed up on the bed for a snuggle and we fell asleep.


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Monday 11th September 2017

Okay so here we go.

Oscar woke me around the 3:45am mark. I gave him some food, checked the time, and rejoiced as I slipped back into covers, snuggling into the warmth-cocoon. I closed my eyes and the two hours passed in a blink as Alaska woke me with her barking at 5:45am.

I climbed out of bed, let her out for a pee, and put the coffee on. I also noticed the heating hadn't come on. Our boiler is an intermittent piece of shit only wants to work when it feels like it. (Bloody millennials! ;p)

So now I'm up, slurping coffee to warm up.

Anyway, yesterday was crammed. After getting out of bed, I wrote my journal, spent a pom on Keith outlining, before going out for a 3.5 mile run. I listened to a Distraction Pieces episode as I ran. It was an interview with Aisling Bea, talking about grittiness, and emotional health for men.

Once home, Cat was up. We drank tea and played with Alaska for a bit before I hopped on a bus and headed into the city.

First stop was the comic shop to pick up Ryan's Beautiful Canvas and Fabian's Blood Brothers, and then I picked up a guilty McDonalds, and then into Primark for cheap pants and socks and some Harry Potter slippers for Cat.

And then I holed myself up in a book café that I can't remember the name of. Book Café is as good a guess as any.

There I read some of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and John Lees's Quilte, worked on the outline to Keith (and I think I've gotten it to about as good as I'm going to get it), before writing a letter to a friend I've lost touch with, which was quite difficult to do.

Then the bus home to let Cat try on her HP slippers. They've got little gold snitch's on the heels of them and Alaska was going crazy trying to get them. I guess she just really wanted to win the game.

More tea and a quick snuggle and a nap in bed before I headed downstairs for more Keith work, some podcast work, and then the storms began outside. Full on lightning, thunder, etc, that got me thinking about Hurricane Irma (the bitch!) and how bad it must be over there.

Realising I was pretty out of it by then, I cracked open a Brewdog ale, stuck on episode 13 of Twin Peaks and chilled.

Afterwards, I went upstairs, popped on In The Mouth Of Madness until the sleep came.


And that brings us back to today. 

I might do this journal-style of MØ every now and again but will probably be going back to the regular format next week. I don't want to be boring the crap out of you every week! Well, no more than usual anyway.

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

 

MØ20: McGregor, Huel, & Tobe Hooper

 
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MORNING ØUTPUT #20

Sunrise walk with Alaska

Hi.

I can't believe I've been doing this thing for twenty weeks already.

How was it for you? Rough? Pointless?

But still... that's what this has been all about for me. Doing something that doesn't have to be perfect. Doesn't have to be considered or thought-out. Doesn't have the sheen of a blog-post or the polish of a short story.

I was looking for a way to let loose, keep an online journal of sorts, try stuff out, win some, fail more.

So a quick thanks if you've been reading this every week. There's something very special about you. Very special indeed.


The Big Fight

On Sunday morning I slimed out of my duvet-cocoon at 3am to watch the big fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.

I was rooting for Conor. I knew he didn't really stand a chance but I can't help but admire the guy who's able to bend the universe again and again with his infectious madness.

Frankie Boyle hit the nail on the head on Twitter:

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Here are two things you might not know about me. 

1. I'm a creature of habit.

2. I hate choosing what to eat at lunch time.

Enter, Huel.

"Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need, plus at least 100% of the... blah blah blah..."

It's essentially a meal-replacement powder that is way healthier than the tuna and kidney bean mix I've been making myself every day for the past few months. 

When it comes to the middle of the day, I just want someone to hook me up to an IV drip and pump me with all the stuff I need to stay sane, healthy, and not-dead. Huel is the next best thing.


INTERESTING BITS


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INPUT

READ

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury - Rockets, Mars, spacemen, time travel. All told in that vivacious lovely prose that I expect from Bradbury.

Some amazing stories and a few average ones. Here are my favourites:

  • The Veldt
  • Kaleidoscope
  • The Last Night of the World (actually an amazingly sweet story that I plan to go back and re-read)
  • The Fox and the Forest (time travelling cat and mouse story)
  • The City (surprisingly gory)
  • Zero Hour

WATCHED

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - We recorded an episode of Horror Hangout all about this film a few days before hearing of Tobe Hooper's death. Incredibly sad to hear that. This film really is a classic for so many reasons.

A quick aside, check out this art by Tristan Jones:

 
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Defenders - It was okay. It was kinda awesome to see the four guys coming together to kick some ass but I feel like we've completely left the bone-breaking grittiness of the original season of Daredevil. That was the very thing that made it work so well. Now all we're getting is kung fu campiness that just leaves me feeling icky.

Ozark SE1EP1 - Only caught the first episode and thought it was incredible. Jason Bateman directing too. I think he's going to do quite well in this film business.

LISTENED

The Keith Playlist!


Right then...

If Conor McGregor can pull Mayweather out of retirement, jump to a completely different sport, and make enough money to make a small country melt with envy, then I can damn well get my writing done.

Until next time,

Luke & Family.

P.S. Huel stands for Human Fuel but it sounds so much like the noise of someone vomiting.

 

MØ12: Handling Your Thing

 

MORNING ØUTPUT #12

And how are you this fair morn?

It's 05:49 here in Manchester (as I write this) and I've taken the pup for a walk, written down some words, published a new episode of TOS, and am literally now writing this that you're reading.

Off to a good start, I reckon.

1. Handling Your Thing

We got the print copies of El Marvo #1 through. The courier dropped them off without a wink or a biscuit, having no clue he was about to make my damn week.

We've been working on El Marvo since... I believe the Ben proposed the character around Jan 2016. So a long time, and after much writing, much Kickstartering, we've finally got them, in our hands and wow it's pretty magical.

Digital copies are now available from the H&C store. Physical copies will be available after the KS backers' copies have been shipped.

2. I finished Stephen King's It

Took me a month to finish It, but… well I mean it's a masterpiece. Seriously. 
When I went into the book I thought it was going to be a story of four or more loser kids who come together to fight an evil demon vampire clown who's terrorising the town of Derry.

Well, yes, it was about that but I had no idea just how much myth and scale and history was in the story. We've got a story that spans 100+ years (not including the smoke vision), demons from outer space, interdimensional entities that sick up universes, and some of the best, no kidding the BEST characters I've ever read.

The Losers Club is what makes this book what it is. Sure, Pennywise, Derry, the horror, all work together to make for a tasty book, but the Losers and their friendship really take it to the next level. I think that bonding might have something to do with the 1300 pages we've spent with them but still, we've bonded!

Standout moments and pieces for me:

The classic opening scene with Georgie.
Richie Tozier not shutting up even when he's about to get straight-up murdered.
Ben Hanscom's love for Bev.
The apocalyptic rock fight and Mike getting his own back for his dog.
the interludes that travel through time to tell different stories of Pennywise throughout the decades.


Full on 5-star book.

Man, that Stephen King. He's not half bad, is he?

3. Battleplans 

This past week I managed to get all my chores done like a good little boy. I wrote my 22-page script for the Top Cow Talent Hunt, I helped launch a book, and I even went for a run.

But this week it's really on. I'm shaking just thinking about how much I've got to do.

I'm starting the first draft of the third Rotverse book today and aim to have 50k words written by the end of July so I want to start the month with a nice breezy 10k. On top of that, I'd like to get El Marvo shipped out, get the podcasts recorded (got an interview with the amazing Chris Fox on Wednesday), and get the cover design underway for mine and Dan's first none-Rot story, Lazarus.

I won't tell you too much about it just yet, but here's some feedback from one of our super early beta-readers:

...also I have finished the first reading of Lazarus. I have to say it really bowled me over I'm still digesting it and will give proper feedback eventually when I re-read but I have to say I think it's the best thing I've read in long time and that I've read a few recently that have tried to write along similar themes but were unconvincing at best and just cliche at their worst. Lazarus was neither, it was convincing and terrifying but felt familiar as well.

So fingers crossed you guys like it too.


👾*  **


Oh, yeah, just a quick one. I've seen a few people post this on their own newsletters and I think it bears repeating here:

…Montaigne, who writes in his essay ‘Of Practice’:
What I write here is not my teaching, but my study; it is not a lesson for others, but for me. And yet it should not be held against me if I publish what I write. What is useful to me may also by accident be useful to another. Moreover, I am not spoiling anything, I am only using what is mine. And if I play the fool, it is at my expense and without harm to anyone. For it is a folly that will die with me, and will have no consequences.

It's the answer to the question of why?

Why write this newsletter?

Why publish something that isn't a well thought out Listicle?

Why don't you keep all your nonsense inside your own head and not in my inbox, eh?

Eh?!

Well, because this is how I learn best and I want to get myself all learnt, dun I? 

Reading - Postal

Watching - Twin Peaks S3EP8 (Holy shit!)

Listening - Kendrick Lamar's DAMN

So then, that's it. Until next time,

Luke & Family

*Watch out for deadly aliens. 

**Deadly aliens are deadly.

 

 

BOOK NOTES: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

 

I've read this book about 6 times through. It's lovely, funny, refreshing, honest, and I've never made it all the way through without having at least two of those I have to stop and think about what I just read moments.

A full 5-stars from me.

If you write books, draw art, sing songs, grow businesses, whatever, then this book is for you. It's a solid reminder that what you do is precious and you should think twice about selling your soul.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS