“No, they’re all behind the trees”

Philip HarrisVideosLeave a Comment

I generally try to post a music video on a Wednesday but this week I’m going with something different. This is an animation by Avi Ofer that uses a voice memo from Amanda Palmer’s phone of a conversation she had with a sleeping Neil Gaiman. It’s very cool – apparently Neil has so many imaginative ideas trapped inside him they seep out at night.   I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s short story collection Trigger Warning at the moment and it’s great. I guess it’s not surprising his night time ramblings are equally creative. I talk in my sleep as well, mostly about monsters. For a limited time, I’m giving everyone who signs up to my mailing list 5 free books, including a copy of my science fiction novel, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet when it’s released later this year. Click here to sign up and get your free books. [“No, they’re all behind the trees” by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 5th August 2015]

A New Story

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

Ethel the Muse struck this morning, just as I was getting up. I’ve had a new story sitting in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now, and today Ethel decided to provide me with an intriguing opening to get things going. I didn’t want to lose the words so while I was eating my breakfast I fired up Scrivener and wrote the first few sentences. Here they are, unedited and unexpurgated. It wasn’t until the fifth doctor appeared that I really got concerned. Even then, it wasn’t just that there were five doctors clustered round the scanner pointed at my leg. That was to be expected. After all, I’d come to the Medical Centre specifically to get a scan, in an effort to find out exactly what was causing the rapidly growing lump on my shin. My concern was triggered by the child-like look of delight on all five of the doctor’s faces. I don’t have any idea where the story is going, whether it’s a short story or a novel, or even what tone it is, but those things will sort themselves out eventually. For a limited time, I’m giving everyone who signs up to my mailing list 5 free books, … Read More

Cthulhu Has Risen

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

A while ago I backed the C is for Cthulhu kids alphabet book on Kickstarter Now they’re back with this…   How can you resist? I know I couldn’t, just click here and this little fella could be all yours.   For a limited time, I’m giving everyone who signs up to my mailing list 5 free books, including a copy of my science fiction novel, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet when it’s released later this year. Click here to sign up and get your free books. [Cthulhu Has Risen by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 17th July 2015]

5 Things I Learned Last Week

Philip HarrisChatter, Five ThingsLeave a Comment

I’ve been ill the last week or so, and I’ve managed to catch up on lots of blogs. Here’s five things I learned along the way. What3words Wants To Change The World’s Addressing System Amazon have launched the DashButton – now you can order essentials like washing powder or cat food just by clicking a button. You can treat a bullet wound with processed white sugar Honey works too apparently. Magic is a text based concierge service that will do things for you. And when they say things, they mean pretty much anything that isn’t illegal. I’d be all over this but unfortunately it’s US only. A couple in Japan have created Run-Bell – a handheld bell runners can use to warn pedestrians they are about to pass them. I’ve lost count of the number of pedestrians I’ve scared by calling out that I’m coming up behind them, so this isn’t as bonkers as it might sound.     For a limited time, I’m giving everyone who signs up to my mailing list 5 free books, including a copy of my science fiction novel, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet when it’s released later this year. Click here to sign up and get your free books. [5 Things I Learned Last Week by Philip … Read More

A Farewell to Cable

Philip HarrisChatter, TelevisionLeave a Comment

This morning, a friendly Shaw Cable technician picked up our DVRs, so now we’ve officially cut the cable. Or rather we’ve cut one of the dozens of cables that connect us to reality. The decision to drop cable often comes from the realisation that it’s possible to download most content for “free”. That switch to a life of digital thievery is usually accompanied by a whole host of justifications as to why it’s okay. Whatever. That’s not how I work. As someone whose livelihood comes from people paying for entertainment that they could, at least in theory, steal, it would be pretty hypocritical of me to not pay for my own entertainment. But… there’s so much good television available at the moment – True Detective, Game of Thrones, Broadchurch, The Walking Dead, Hannibal, and lighter shows like Supernatural and The Big Bang Theory. But there’s a lot of crap too – sometimes every channel seems to be a stream of reality TV and endless variations on American Idol. When we looked at our viewing habits, there are really only a handful of shows that we really care about.  All of those shows are available for purchase from iTunes as soon as they’re shown on TV. Dropping cable has reduced our Shaw bill by over … Read More

Best…Typo…Ever

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

I know it’s only January 6th but this may well be the funniest thing I see on the Internet this year. It’s from Reddit and I’ve been laughing about it for two days now. Not continuously, obviously but probably every seven seconds or so. [Best…Typo…Ever by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 6th January 2015]

Still Alive, Still Writing

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Movies, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since my last post. I guess time flies when you’re having fun. Or in my case – time flies when you’re having a root canal retreatment. My day job, a running injury, the aforementioned root canal and a whole load of editing of Leah may have curtailed my blogging but the writing streak continues. Although my daily word count numbers have dropped significantly because I’ve been revising and editing, I’m currently at 533 days with no plans to stop. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made the last few revisions to Leah, wrapped up the first draft of Reg vs the Martians and started a couple of new chapters that will replace a chapter in Glitch that I’ve never been happy with. I’m not convinced this new stuff is much of an improvement but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll probably rewrite it again next year. I also outlined the sequel to The Zombie Book (working title). I’m heading off to England next week and I had originally planned to spend some time on the final revisions of Glitch. But I’ve come to the conclusion that editing on the road doesn’t really work … Read More

Beating the Blerch Part Two

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

When we left our hero, he’d travelled to Seattle, spent four hours in a line to get his bib and book vandalised by The Onion and become one of the last people to watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the cinema. When I was training for my first marathon, I was given some advice for the final days before a race – “Don’t stand when you can lean. Don’t lean when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can lie down.” Basically, you want to rest as much as possible for a couple of days before the race. So, spending the Friday before a race standing in a queue and the Saturday morning wandering aimlessly around the Seattle waterfront was not the best way to prepare for race day. Saturday started with us tracking down breakfast at Le Panier – A Very French Bakery near Pike Place Market. It was recommended to us by one of our fellow marathon runners (a Saturday runner whose marathon bib number was 1!) and proved a perfect place for breakfast. The apricot croissant and pain au chocolat I had were both delicious, the bread looked and smelled equally good and the prices were excellent. If you’re in … Read More

Beating the Blerch Part One

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

It turns out I took part in two marathons last weekend. The first was the four hours I spent queueing to meet Matthew Inman, better known as The Oatmeal. He’s the mastermind behind this fantastic comic on running and the associated book – The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. He was at Road Runner Sports in Green Lake on Friday drawing sketches and signing autographs. By a bizarre coincidence, that was also the pick-up location for race packages for the Beat the Blerch races taking place at the weekend. Beat the Blerch sold out in twenty minutes but I was just about quick enough to snag an entry to the marathon – my sixth marathon and the first I’ve run outside of Canada. We decided to take advantage of the race to spend some more time in Seattle so went down early on Thursday and stayed until Monday evening. We took the train down from Vancouver to Seattle – partly because we hadn’t been on a Canadian train yet and partly because it’s a bit more relaxing than the bus. It’s also an early start – we arrived at the station at about 5:15 to get our seats and make sure we got through customs … Read More

Facing the Blerch

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

If technology and my race preparation align, I should just be starting the Beat the Blerch Marathon in Carnation, Washington as this post goes live. This is my second marathon of the year, the other being the Vancouver Marathon in May. The original plan was to run four marathons this year but I had to drop out of the Bahamas Marathon due to injury and dropped down to the Banff Half Marathon so that I could run with my wife who was injured for that race. I’m running this one on my own, my wife wasn’t able to register – it sold out in about 20 minutes. It should be an interesting race. For the runners out there you can see the route here. I made a fundamental error at the BMO race – I started out aiming to finish in under four hours and it cost me a personal best. Had I aimed for four hours fifteen minutes, I probably would have come in under that. This time I’m going to try to be a bit smarter and aim for a slower pace until the turn around point and then assess where I am. I’m also going to make a concerted effort to do better with my … Read More