A few weeks back I had a friend drop by from another part of the country and – for reasons I won’t go into – I was in charge of finding us a new cocktail experience. Not that cocktails need to be flashy or gimmicky, but I’d heard about a place which did rather funky things with desserts and cocktails so that seemed worth a try.
It lived up to its reputation! One cocktail called “a girls’ night out” included a sorbet lipstick and a perfume bottle for squirting into your mouth or onto your cocktail. Quite a sight.
But I have to say that what struck me most was how many cocktails involved dry ice. It looks uber cool and makes for a very entertaining serving experience (as they pour it and little droplets land on you), but it was a bit… I don’t know. I think if it had just been one drink on the menu. Or maybe if they hadn’t poured it willy-nilly into other people’s water glasses when serving you.
Still, for all the theater, the drinks were quite tasty and that’s what I love about cocktails; delicious mixtures of flavour.
I think xkcd is right on this one!
An inspired friend has sent me a Kittencorn. A purple Kittencorn.
For those uninitiated in the world of odd unicorn inspired mash-up critters… this is what I’m talking about:
I’m thinking of calling mine Petunia.
A few years back a friend of mine introduced me to Tim Urban and his Instant Gratification Monkey. Well, not his personal IGM of course (though you can catch a glimpse if you watch the TED talk) but the concept of why some of us procrastinate even to our detriment.
If you’ve never heard of the IGM or the Panic Monster, you should check it out because it’s hilarious. And scarily true. I’ve rarely met a creative person who doesn’t have a very active IGM.
Last week I read a fascinating post about what happened when the power went out across and entire state for a number of hours and it struck me a wonderful source of information for anyone writing about some kind of large scale disaster. Below is my favourite bit, but click through to read the whole thing over at my friend Natalie’s blog:
Traffic ground to a halt as traffic lights went off, trains and trams coasted to a stop wherever their momentum could get them to, while our diesel trains had to stop because they didn’t have the electricity to run fans to remove the toxic fumes. People got trapped in lifts which either failed to execute their safety features, or had never been upgraded to include them.
We were warned to conserve our phone batteries, but what we didn’t expect was for the mobile phone towers to stop working after a few hours, most having only a 4-hour battery back-up, some obviously much less because two networks went off within a few hours. So the mobile phones we were saving battery on were useful then only as torches.
Kind of cool and also very scary.
A question that I’m sure every writer out there has been asked at some point is “where do you get your ideas from?” and I think it’s one that rarely leads to satisfaction for the asker.
When I answer that “I heard a conversation that got me thinking what if…” or “there was this scene in a movie that made me picture a world where…” or “I was watching a storm roll in and…” the asker still can’t see how that led to 100,000 words set in a completely made up world with talking snakes.
I think because what they’re really asking isn’t about the idea, but the inspiration.
To me, inspiration is the magical bit where visual (or other) stimulation causes bits of your brain to come up with an idea. For some people that’s just something their brain does naturally.
Of course, the asker’s disappointment can also arise because the writer tends to answer with the initial inspiration and idea when the finished novel might have evolved a long, long way from there. I think often with spec-fic – whether you started with a scene, a world element, a character, a story or a question – you do evolve away from that starting point, because you have to make up so much other stuff and that can shift the focus or bury that one idea.
I may have laughed particularly hard at this, because I am always hoping for a way to download my stories directly from my brain…