Ooh, I have had a week. It's been long and tiring and mostly dark and rainy to boot, and I've been singularly unproductive in spite of just having taken on some new (creative) professional responsibilities. This is about as grateful as I've been for Friday in awhile, especially since the femslashexarchive opens today at 8pm EST! There are currently 179 new pieces of f/f fanfic & fanart all ready to go; I'm so excited! (My own contribution will be here, though naturally I'll do a post here as well when I may.)
I'd say things have slowed down a bit, but that's not true so much as that I've been working more on deadlines than at my own pace. Here's a small roundup of exceptions and the like ...
Oh, speaking of X-Men comics, I've also been listening avidly to Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, which does what it says on the tin in an entertaining, clever and deeply nerdy way. Highly recommended.
Huh, I've been doing a lot of color work lately; I suppose that's good practice? I'm never fully satisfied with any of it (except sometimes the flats), though; I might make an effort to go back to more of my b&w inks for the next little while. Coming up: tw_fallharvest, teenwolf_bb, allydiareversebang, and teenwolffemslashexchange. Um. Oops?
I'm going to be using the community shadowscometoplay to host a number of things including writing, writing updates, goals, and a number of other things. I'll link the updates once a week on this journal and while I may not update it every day, I am goign to try and put up a snippet and a wordcount update at least once a week, if not more.
You all might remember asworldsspinon. I'm booting this back up and it will be hosting the serial I am starting on this month/next month. I was supposed to get this off the groudn in August but things went to hell in a handbasket and I moved and went crazy and all that fun stuff. I'm hoping that I will be able to take some time to put work into the comm, do some build up towards introducing people to the world and the characters of The Devil makes Three and start posting the actual story in December/Januarry.
Full coverage of the Rochester and Strood byelection, including background to the campaign and todays developments
For those of us who write about politics for a living, talking to the people who actually do the voting is always a salutary experience. I spent more than an hour on Rochester high street and I had long conversations with about 20 people, and fleeting conversations with a few more. This is what I learnt.
1- Ukip seem well ahead. People planning to vote Ukip, or leaning towards Ukip, outnumbered Conservative supporters by at least two to one. I only spoke to one Labour supporters, and others were either undecided, or would not say.
This area has gone down so quickly in recent year. There is a street here that English people cannot walk down without feeling threatened.
According a post that Laura Pitel has written for the Timess Red Box email briefing, Ukip are using a new IT campaign tool in Rochester for the first time.
[Ukip] has spent two years on a campaign system that is being rolled out for the first time in Rochester. Built by a programmer for Lloyds investment bank and designed for use on iPads and smartphones, it combines socio-economic data with information from credit ratings agencies to target voters. It is said to be working well.
Ukip is of course very excited. But as the party has enjoyed good results with only clipboards and blank sheets of paper, the new system could be another important step on its journey towards professionalisation and further success.
Im back from my vox pop, sitting at a table at the (very good) Cafe@172, and ready to write up all Ive picked up this morning.
Ukip tell me that Survation arent doing a poll for the Mail on Sunday after all. Apparently it was cancelled because it would come too soon after the ComRes poll.
At the Tory campaign HQ, which, like the Lib Dems, is also on Rochester high street, theyre refusing to accept claims that their all-postal ballot was a bit of a flop. (See 8.53am and 10.56am.) One source said:
Im not surprised that Ukip are talking us down, because their candidate was chosen by six people in London. Our candidate was chosen by 1,000 times more people.
Labours candidate in Rochester is is 28-year-old PR consultant Naushabah Khan. Im not going to have time to spend with Labour today, but my colleague Rowena Mason covered their campaign yesterday.
Heres an extract from her story.
Speaking to the Guardian, Khan acknowledged that Labour was not putting as much financial resources into this contest as its two big rivals. The issue is partly that Ukip and the Tories have thrown the kitchen sink at this election and that is just not something that is possible for the Labour party, because we dont have the same sort of millionaire donations that they do, she said.
We do have our canvassers out on the ground and we do have a strong activist base already But, again, it does come down to the Tories [having] already spent a significant amount of money on this election, which we ultimately cant match at that level.
David Coburn, the Ukip MEP, has taken to Twitter, to declare the Tory all-postal primary a disaster.
There is something terribly wrong going on in Tory Rochester campaign - Primaries only got 4,000 votes cast - Disaster
Here are the key polling figures for Rochester.
The general election result in 2010
At Ukip HQ they are surprised that Kelly Tolhurst won the Conservative all-postal primary only very narrowly. From the way senior Tories were going out of their way to promote her, it seemed obvious that the party expected her to emerge as their candidate, Ukip say.
That was also the view of journalists who saw Tolhurst alongside the other Conservative in the all-postal primary, Anna Firth, at an event last week.
First up on the hustings after the prime ministers introduction was Anna Firth, a local barrister. She lost her audience the moment she opened her mouth.
The Tories arent going to hold off Ukip with a candidate straight from central casting and a voice that sounds like a radio presenter from the 1950s. This is the Home service, she said. Today I want to talk to you about hospitals, schools and preserving the village green Radio static from decades past mercifully filled the airwaves and blocked out the rest of her address.
Miss Tolhurst rose, doing so with such vigour that her chair yelped. She is daughter of a Rochester boat builder and spoke with a Kentish accent.
Throwing her strawberry-blondeish hair off a bean-shaped forehead, she proclaimed her local credentials why, this was the very hut where she had once collected her Brownies presentation badge.
Im just been in the Ukip office on Rochester high street, and, as I was leaving, two of their MEPs, David Coburn (Scotland) and Nathan Gill (Wales) arrived for a days campaigning. It was the first thing they wanted to talk about.
This is going to absolutely crush Cameron. Its going to be dynamite. It could not be better. If that doesnt hit him, nothing will. We are expected to bail the French out and it is going to cost £27 for every man, woman and child in Britain.
Cameron is making huffing and puffing noises now, but he is not going to not pay this money. It seems like the EU is now punishing us for success. We did not join the euro, weve worked damn hard as a nation to get back on our feet, and we are now being asked to pay another £1.7bn, while they are giving money back to the French and the Germans because they are not doing so well.
All-postal primaries are expensive, and the Tories have used them just twice before, in Totnes and Gosport. The big advantage, though, for a party is that this is a process that should produce a candidate with wide, mainstream appeal.
Putting CON Rochester primary turnout in context Totnes 2009: 16,497 Gosport 2009: 12,659 Rochester 2014: 5,588
Low turnout in open primary another setback for Cons in Rochester. Aim was to engage and energise members - looks to have totally flopped.
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has described this as the most important byelection for 30 years. There are probably at least half a dozen byelections that could fit that description, but this is a very important one for Ukip, and for David Cameron too. Earlier this month Ukip won its first election to the House of Commons when Douglas Carswell retained his seat after leaving the Conservatives, defecting to Ukip and triggering a byelection. In Rochester another former Tory, Mark Reckless, is doing exactly the same thing. But there is a crucial difference. In Clacton the Conservatives took one look at the seats demographics, and at Carswells popularity, concluded they had no chance, and effectively threw in the towel before poling day. In Rochester, they took a decision that they could win and that they would fight it with all theyve got. After the Clacton loss there were only faint ripples of discontent in the Conservative parliamentary party. If David Cameron loses Rochester, some MPs are predicting a leadership challenge.
This week NHS Englands new chief executive unveiled a blueprint for tackling the worst budget crunch in its 66-year history. So just who is Simon Stevens? And can he save our health service?
From his offices, with their panoramic views of south London, Simon Stevens can see the scene of his happiest experience with the NHS so far St Thomas hospital, where his wife, Maggie, gave birth to their son in 2003. Because it was Christmas day, a lot of staff were off and there were locums. There was a bit of Christmas spirit, but a lot of planned deliveries not happening, so when my son was born they basically said, If you and your wife want to go to an empty ward, you can spend the night there with your baby. In this darkened ward with no staff we spent a very happy first night. The recollection prompts a smile.
He can also recall his worst moment. He was just seven. I had a hip problem and was in hospital for the best part of a school term. It is a visceral memory. I woke one morning and I couldnt walk. I crawled to my parents bedroom. They took a bit of persuading that I wasnt just messing about, but we went to hospital. I still remember when the staff said to them, OK, you can leave him now. That first night. I was just screaming: that complete sense of abandonment.
After a quarter of a century judging the prize, we sometimes feel weve read it all but with Gareth Thomass Proud among the pack this year, the quality of the work continues to surprise us
When we start the process of reading for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, we sometimes have only five or six books already entered. It is like the early stages of the racing season, when every horse just might be a Derby winner, according to its owner, trainer and jockey, but as each one appears on a racecourse it has to be judged against the other contenders and either eliminated from, or promoted up, the list of potential champions.
Then we have to worry about making sure every eligible book is entered. One would think that after more than quarter of a century as the richest sports book prize in the world, wed be at the forefront of every publishers mind, with every author desperate to send their work to us. Youd be staggered how hard we have to work sometimes to have a specific book entered. This year there was a particular, high-profile title we were desperate to put in front of our judges, but it took us over six months to get hold of it from the publisher.
Our agony aunt advises a man whose girlfriend says she is disappointed in him and is ignoring him
My girlfriend of two years is furious because of a prank I played while on my way to a stag do. I sent everyone a photo of a (fully clothed) girl, joking that she was a stripper who was coming to the stag do with me (this was made up, I found the photo online). My girlfriend found out and says she is disappointed in me, that it was indecent, and insulted my friends. She has ignored me since. Were pretty happy together normally, but sometimes she gets really angry for no apparent reason and I have to beg for forgiveness. Do I do that now, or should I make a stand?
Disappointed? Indecent? Did she also give you a spanking and send you to your room without dinner? Begging for forgiveness should be saved for the really big stuff forgetting anniversaries, betrayal, leaving the toilet seat up. Using it up on the tiny stuff is just bound to make you resentful and further entrench you in your already somewhat unhealthy relationship dynamic.
Marian and I just looked each other and said, Lets go. We headed across the railway track, not thinking about safety. We just thought, Wow, there they are
Marian Keery (on the right) Word had leaked that the Beatles were coming to Minehead and my sister, Sheena, who was three years older and much braver, said, My friends and I are bunking off school at lunchtime to see them come on! I was a very obedient kid, but I couldnt not go, because I was fiendish about the Beatles.
They were in town for two days filming A Hard Days Night. This picture was taken on the first day, when there was hardly any security and not that many of us there compared with the following day, when the school gave everyone permission to go. Beatlemania was just at its height and I had seen them in concert the year before. I knew every single word of every single one of their records. I still do.
The Portuguese is not a man of regret, but how different might the landscape be if he had succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson?
On Sunday, a little before four oclock, José Mourinho will leave the tunnel at Old Trafford and walk along the front of the South Stand.
Hell see ahead of him the touchline along which he sprinted and slid in 2004 after his Porto side had beaten Manchester United in the Champions League with a late goal. And, before the halfway line, hell turn right, and take his place in the away dug-out. Given hes not a man who seems particularly to regret, he may not even cast a glance to the bench 15 yards in front of him and wonder what might have been, but theres another reality, not that far removed from this one, in which he would have been sitting in the home dug-out.
Kate Mayfields father was an undertaker and his workshop was at their home her early memories of life were all about its end
Its one thing to choose to be in the death business and quite another to be born into it. My first introduction to all things funereal began when my parents carried me from the hospital straight to the funeral home. My playground, carefully curated by my undertaker father, consisted of rooms full of gleaming coffins, the neon glare of brightly coloured embalming fluid bottles, and the bodies, always the bodies.
We lived in a small town in southern Kentucky on the Tennessee border. On Main Street, the old, sprawling house was large enough to host the business of death on the ground floor, while our family lived quietly, as silent as the grave, on the floor above. The staircase led straight up to our living quarters and offered no door of comfort, no solid thing to shut us away from the funerals and visitations that occurred below.
Recent attempts to scapegoat feminism reveal a society that is hopefully beginning to change
Feminism is ruining everything. In the past few weeks alone it has single-handedly threatened to ruin a poor convicted rapists hopes of returning to role-model status and celebrity career, allegedly destroyed masculinity, and obnoxiously banged on about a lack of opportunities for women in the theatre, when in fact there is no real problem at all. Which is weird, because I thought the real problem lay with the person who decided to rape someone, the person who brutally beat his ex-partner and the enormous inequality women face in the theatre!
It has been suggested that footballer Ched Evans is the victim of a feminist gang, because some pesky women had the audacity to suggest that a man convicted of rape did not belong in the position of an adulated role model. Meanwhile mixed martial arts fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver (aka War Machine) attempted suicide while being held in jail, awaiting trial on charges brought after a violent attack on his ex-partner Christy Mack. According to TMZ, he allegedly left a suicide note telling her I forgive you, asking his brother to keep alpha male shit alive and protesting that society has killed men. And arts reviewer Rupert Christiansen has reacted to the Donmar Warehouses all-female production of Henry IV, writing that we are in danger of making the question of gender much more problematic than it needs to be, under the helpful headline: There is no conspiracy against women in the theatre.
Clearly, these are drastically different situations and I am not for one moment seeking to draw any moral equivalence between them. But they do have one thing in common. Each features somebody grappling with the accusation of inequality and, instead of reflecting on that problem, seeking to blame or ridicule the voices pointing it out. Flailing wildly against feminism for vocally pointing out sexual violence and gender inequality is a last-gasp attempt to retain a privilege that is being threatened. And these ridiculous arguments only start to come out when that privilege begins to be eroded in other words, this backlash is a sign that things are changing.
Koppenhavers alleged note which wildly suggests that the woman whose bones he reportedly shattered, teeth he knocked out and liver he ruptured could only be testifying against him due to pressure from others for money paints him as the victim and smacks of bewilderment at having his entitlement taken away. More than 150,000 signatures on a petition against Evans reinstatement at his old football club are testament not only to the massive recent resurgence of feminist activism, but also to a society whose cultural norms are beginning to shift. And Christiansens article brings up some of the most recognisably weak back to the wall protestations; like suggesting women are creating a problem where one doesnt exist, telling us he hasnt come across discrimination against women in his own experience, and pointing out several examples of women in high-profile positions, as if a smattering of individuals can somehow magically refute extensive evidence of gender inequality in the theatre. (If this argument sounds familiar it is probably because youve heard that theres no inequality in British politics either, because of Margaret Thatcher).
Of course, these attempts to shoot the messenger instead of examining the problem are not new, nor are they restricted to the realm of womens issues. The same sticking of heads in the sand has frequently seen Obamas presidency hailed as proof that racial prejudice no longer exists in the US. Its the same kind of desperate attempt to shift the blame that saw Nigel Farage recently claim he needed bodyguards to protect him against anti-racism campaigners. Or right-wing American radio host Bryan Fischer blaming high suicide rates among the LGBT community on gay rights campaigners in 2010.
Its a natural knee-jerk reaction to lash out at those pointing out a problem, especially for those in a position of privilege who have been (unconsciously or otherwise) benefiting from the status quo.
But learning to combat that instinct is something we should all work on, including within the feminist movement itself, where proponents of intersectionality are sometimes dismissed for making a fuss about nothing or accused of reading too much into non-diverse panel lineups or events, though such criticisms would not be levelled at similar complaints about gender inequality.
Every Friday we pledge to review whatever youve sent us over the past seven days, with absolutely no restrictions. We might not be nice about it, mind. SUBMIT YOUR OWN: post in the comments below or send them in via Twitter:@guideguardian
Ready? Steady? Review!
Okay, I know I'm not exactly a Jeff Beck, Beck Hansen one, not even a middle Beck. But I have this inexplicable urge to compose some weird songs and, unintentionally, watching João, my four-year-old play on the Mac with a car game called "Car Bites Car" or something , I tried to follow the soundtrack on my guitar, I liked the progression of some chords that accidentally found and recorded. When listening a few days later I noticed some resemblance to "I'm the Walrus". The first thing I thought was to forget the music because I did not want to plagiarize anyone, especially John, my hero, but I could not resist and went back to Garageband, I gathered some parts, other modified to create riffs that I liked so posted in my band page, the TchêWertz Sketches at Soundcloud, with the provisional name of "The Eggman?" changed to "Family Tree (So High)" and now I replaced it with a Newer recording renamed of "Exciting in the Axion Dark Matter (so high)". I am looking for a partner for this job, someone to help me complete the song, you know, with instrumental or even with a letter (why not?) I'm open to suggestions, you can contact me on twitter Tchwertz. Thanks https://soundcloud.com/tchewertz/family-tree-so-high
Dane beats Petra Kvitova in straight sets in Singapore Agnieszka Radwanksa to face Simona Halep in other semi
Caroline Wozniacki arrived in Singapore as the eighth and bottom seed for the WTA Finals, but the Dane never doubted her ability to compete against the very best and goes into Saturdays semi-finals with a spotless record after round-robin play.
Wozniacki opened her tournament with a three-set win over Maria Sharapova and after brushing aside Agnieszka Radwanksa, she ensured she finished top of the White Group with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Friday.
Much of today has been about (mostly) C19th-early C20th German art - Neue Pinokoteck, the Schack Collection, the Stuck House.
On an entirely different note, during our perambulations we crossed a bridge over a waterway which was (not sure of reason) producing a tract of wave-type manifestations, and people were surfing on it - at least, one guy in a wetsuit was shooting the curl until the eventual wipeout, and a young woman similarly clad was standing on the edge with her surfboard.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the seeds of the GamerGate movement began when game developer Zoe Quinn’s former boyfriend wrote a blog post accusing her of cheating on him, and of generally being “an unbelievable jerk,” which led to a campaign of harassment against Quinn. Quinn’s ex- alleged that one of the people Quinn had slept with was journalist Nathan Grayson, and that this led to a brief mention of one of Quinn’s games in an article that was published before the alleged relationship ever started.
Because GamerGate is all is about ethics in journalism. And also time travel, apparently.
The movement began it’s crusade for stronger ethics in journalism with such rallying cries as, “Next time she shows up at a conference we … give her a crippling injury that’s never going to fully heal … a good solid injury to the knees. I’d say a brain damage, but we don’t want to make it so she ends up too retarded to fear us.” People who spoke out in support of Quinn were attacked as well, and their personal information published online.
All right, fine. So this all started with a whiny man-child’s temper tantrum about his failed relationship. But then it evolved into a Very Serious Conversation about ethics in journal–
But that was all before Adam Baldwin coined the term “GamerGate”! Just because the not-yet-officially-named movement was born in the muck and slime doesn’t mean Baldwin couldn’t turn things around and lead the newly-baptized group into a more Productive and Important Discussion of ethics in–
But soon women and minorities joined the #GamerGate boat, coining the new hash tag #NotYourShield to protest those who were focusing on harassment instead of ethics in journalism. Apparently a small minority of Angry Feminists™ and Social Justice Warriors were using GamerGate as an excuse to push their own agenda. But ethics affect everyone, and #NotYourShield clearly showed that most women and minorities weren’t upset about–
Oh … Hill goes on to note that GamerGate looks like “some strange bizarro world” where the people being targeted and attacked have nothing to do with the larger problem of ethics in journalism.
But the people making threats aren’t really with GamerGate. They’re all sockpuppets, and also, Wu and Quinn and everyone else have been posting threats against themselves to discredit the movement. Because we all know women lie, right? And the best way to criticize a group you don’t like is … um … by posting your own home address on the internet? I guess? So where were we. Ah yes, ethics in–
And now Felicia Day gets harassed and doxxed for expressing her concerns about GamerGate.
Problem solved! If nobody is identifying as GamerGaters, then obviously GamerGate isn’t harassing anyone.
Look, from reading through some of the boards, it’s clear there are people involved with GamerGate because they genuinely care about the problems in gaming journalism. And it sounds like there are legitimate concerns there, and things that need to be challenged and addressed. But there are an awful lot of people who jumped on the GamerGate bandwagon because it was an opportunity to troll and harass and attack women in gaming. Who view “Ethics in Journalism” as synonymous with “The Evil Social Justice Warriors are coming to Ruin All the Things!!!”
Sexism and harassment in gaming? That’s a legitimate and real concern too. And the GamerGate movement was born from it. Maybe it’s grown into a hydra with one head that truly just cares about ethics while another head is all about harassing women, and a third head is just mad at social justice warriors, but no matter how many heads GamerGate has sprouted, it only has one ass, and it’s been dropping an awful lot of particularly noxious crap for months now.
Thousands of people with degenerative conditions such as MS and Parkinsons are being deemed able to work soon by DWP assessments that are as cruel as they are incompetent
Iain Duncan Smith is Jesus Christ. For anyone who missed the Second Coming, it happened at around mid-morning on Thursday when it became apparent that the secretary of state for work and pensions has started to cure the disabled and chronically sick.
I mean, he hasnt actually cured anyone yet. But I assume its only a matter of time, because thousands of severely ill and disabled people have had their benefits cut since the DWP deemed that they would recover from their degenerative conditions in order to go to work. Recover, that is, from a condition that by its very definition is bound to get worse.