Sunday Update 30/09

This week it feels like I have got very little done. I’ve mainly been crocheting, playing Destiny 2, and working on my current novel.

Well, I say working. It’s mostly been staring at it, writing one new sentance, deleting that sentence, adding a word or two to an existing sentence, deleting those words and then reading the same fucking paragraph yet again. Everything I do to improve it just makes the next bit harder. I’ve now reached an impasse where I can’t transition from the scene I’m working on to the next scene because the ways I’ve changed this scene mean that the existing transition no longer makes sense.

As regular readers will remember my mother broke both arms and as a result has had a shoulder replacement. She’s now recovering and undergoing rehabilitation in a different hospital even further north. I’ve been crocheting a poncho for her as she’s having difficulty with sleeves. The first poncho should be finished tonight and I’ll post it tomorrow. Then I’ll have to find the money for the yarn to make some more. I was able to use some chunky yarn that I already had for the first poncho but I want to make her something really nice and that means more expensive yarn. Any donations made via my Ko-Fi link this week will go towards buying nice yarn.

I did get a post out this week on the subject of Destiny 2 and I have continued to play it. I’m sure I’ll stop having quite so much fun with it at some point but not yet.

My slow preparation for the Brexit stockpile continues. I’ve found a source of instant ramen noodles that are tasty and cheap. I’ll have to build up a stock of ingredients to go in the noodles though. We’ll need to add vegetables of some kind to ensure something approaching a balanced diet and maybe some source of protein. I’d love to make my own Kimchee to add to the noodles in the Korean style but I’m not sure that I can afford the home fermentation kit necessary and I don’t want to invest in something that I might not be organized enough to use.

You’re maybe thinking that it doesn’t sound like I’ve done much this week and wondering what else I’ve done with my time. Have you seen the news? I have and as a result I’ve spent most of this week seething. It’s hard to read the news without experiencing a horrible sense of panic and deja vu. Britain plunges on towards a cliff edge marked Brexit and the US discovers that the Republican party has completely forgotten what the Supreme Court is supposed to be (hint: impartial for one thing).

In my life I’ve had to learn over and over again that the world is not fair, that the rules that apply to me don’t apply to people with more money. power or status than me. People with less money, power or status than me face far stricter punishments for breaking those rules and have to deal with extra rules that I won’t even know about unless I make an effort to seek out their narratives and learn from them. Obstacles that I deal with every single day are invisible to the people who don’t have to deal with them.

I believe that our problems are fixable but we all have to admit that they exist in order to fix them. How is that going to happen as long as the people with the money and the power and the status have so little incentive to do anything about it?

What I’m trying to say is that I have no faith in the the government in either the US or here in the UK. The ‘due process’ that they are so fond of talking about is not some impartial system of justice. It exists to serve the interests of those in power. The people in power used to pretend to fear consequences but it was always largely optional and now they don’t even pretend. There may be nothing that we, the ordinary people, can do to ensure that our governments actually follow our will but at least we can try. If we don’t try we will regret it in the days to come.

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Sunday Update 26/08

I’ve decided that I need to get back into regular blogging. I’m starting with a weekly update on the… um, usual stuff that I update on. Lets see how many weeks I can keep it up for.

It’s official that I won’t be pitching at Bloody Scotland this year. I got the rejection email this week. As I previously said I’m not too upset about it because the novel I was going to pitch was one I felt in two minds about actually finishing.

I am back working on the sexy spy novel that I’ve nicknamed Project Kindness. Coming back to it after a break has been a weird experience. I have enough distance now that it no longer feels like something I wrote and that means it feels like I’m editing someone else’s work. However I’m still too close to it to be sure which bits of it, if any, are actually good.

Much of the rewriting and editing on Project Kindness is of the deeply finicky and technical type. I’m constantly wondering which order to put the scenes, when to switch point of view characters or jump from a-plot to b-plot and exactly where to cut each scene for the maximum impact when we come back to those characters.

I’m also still looking forward to NaNoWriMo this year. As previously stated I’m hoping to work on a YA (Young Adult) novel so that I can finally have a novel I can show to my kids. My previous attempts to write YA have been failures due to my stories running away from me. Or in one case to two characters in their 40s deciding that this was the book they were going to consummate a 7 year long flirtation in.

In non-writing related news I’ve decided to try spinning. I already crochet and I’ve been known to knit but this is my first attempt at spinning. I ordered a drop spindle kit that came with some carded fleece ready to spin and today was my first try.

OH MY GOD I suck at spinning. I really suck at it. It’s been a long time since I tried a new craft and discovered that I had zero aptitude for it. It’s kind of embarrassing to be this bad at the foundational fiber art. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying though. Stay tuned for future updates and possibly photographs of my cack handed attempts at producing yarn.

This week I also had not one, but two phone calls from my mother that had me running to Google. It happens occasionally that she phones me talking such utter tripe that I’m convinced that she’s flipped. Sometimes she just has a bee in her bonnet as a result of uncritical newspaper reading. Other times a quick google will reveal that she’s right-ish she’s just doing her usual thing of communicating the facts in entirely the wrong order or using language usually associated with people who need a lot of medication to cope with reality.

Once I’d done my googling and decoded what she was saying it became clear that the area she lives is suffering an infestation of “corn ticks” (so called because the engorged ticks look like corn kernels) and that she’s allergic to the ticks and they’re causing lung inflammation. All that explains why last week she phoned me up to cough at me so badly that I was worried I’d have to call her an ambulance.

No further news on my ongoing attempts to stockpile enough food to survive Brexit. See you next week if I don’t see you before.

Zeppelin Watch!

It’s been a while since I posted about our worlds continuing slide into alternative history. I think we can all agree that we are beyond the point of forecasting the appearance of Zeppelins. They must already be here. The news sounds like an excitable teenager trying to summarise a month’s worth of reality TV for someone who doesn’t own a television.

Which brings me to the first Zeppelin Watch! post: A pro-Trump computer generated instagram model is beefing with another computer generated instagram model and may have hacked her account. It reads like the “ethics in video games journalism” of instagram.

And as a bonus. Here’s a story about the President of the United States of America potentially getting sued for defamation by a porn star. To me that most incredible thing about this story is that; if you follow @StormyDaniels on twitter you’ll know that she is a intelligent, funny, hard working woman; and it’s amazing that she’d ever want anything to do with the unimaginative, intellectually lazy, con man in the White House.

Keep an eye out for Zeppelins and tweet me with your weird news so we can track them.

 

The Bloody Scotland Pitch

Yesterday I went to Stirling for the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect competition. I didn’t win or get any interest from any of the publishers or agents. The standard of competition was very high and I’m looking forward to reading the other novels that were pitched. I’m sure most of them are going to be published. I also attended the Graduates event where some of the former pitchers who now have published novels talked about the experience and read from their novels.

It was a useful experience. I got to meet other writers, some published already and some not published yet. It was nice to meet other people who’re going through the same stuff and it was encouraging to meet those who are already in the industry. I also got some useful feedback on how to tweak my query so I’ll have a better chance of landing an agent.

However it was also discouraging. I am really starting to feel like I’ve got no chance of getting a traditional publishing deal. I’m just too weird. My stories are too weird. The panel said my story was “really creative” and said that they’d “never heard anything like that before” but that didn’t seem to be entirely a good thing.

I’m also feeling like a mug for following all the writing advice I’ve seen. Because the most common writing advice is “finish your novel”. I keep hearing that no-one will take you seriously without a finished manuscript but there were 8 people pitching and I seemed to be the only one who was pitching a finished manuscript.

So where do I go from here? I’m not ready to give up on Singularity yet. I’m going to tweak the query letter and keep sending it out. I’ve been challenged by a friend to try my hand at writing more mundane crime fiction on the grounds that once I’ve been published people might be more willing to take a risk on the weirder stuff. I’m thinking about it.

I’m also thinking about self-publishing Singularity but I will regard that as admitting defeat because there’s no way I can do it professionally enough. I lack both the money and the skills. It’s going to feel like I’m failing my novel.

Attack of the Nazi propaganda blimp

Has anyone spotted the Zeppelins yet? I ask because it’s clear that the USA is experiencing a full on incursion from a Nazi timeline. That’s the only way I can explain actual Nazi’s marching in the streets with neither hoods nor masks and then being surprised when this doesn’t go well for them.

It’s almost possible to feel sorry for these travelers from another realm trapped in a world that doesn’t work the way they thought it did. They stumble around, expecting their violence to go unpunished, expecting to be lauded for their crimes, smearing their victims with insults that the world regards as nonsensical and when all else fails pretending not to be Nazis

Almost.

Because let us not forget that these are Nazis. These are people who believe that some people aren’t people and that makes it totally ok to exterminate them. Even in their homeline they are arsholes without a single redeaming feature. They’re just used to getting away with it.

So what do we, the right thinking descendants of people who fought a war to put these arseholes back in their box, do about this?

We fight. We fight the very idea that it’s ok to be a Nazi. We enforce consequences. We remove the possibility of wearing a swastika all weekend and then pretending not to be a reprehensible piece of shit all week. When someone gets all uppity that no-one is condemning leftist violence let us pause briefly to point out all the times when people did condemn it before asking them if they have a problem condeming actual fucking Nazis. We show up to protest. We make it clear where the line is drawn and which side of it we are on.

Those of us who benefit from white privilege should weaponise that privilege. If someone has to tear down monuments then let it be those of us who will be charged with a misdemeanor not shot by some cop with a twitchy trigger finger. Let those of us who look like the imaginary Ayran master-race be the first to strike down the very idea of white supremacy.

One last thing before I let you go. While it is absolutely morally correct to punch a Nazi (but only if they really are a Nazi) it is illegal unless they attack you first. If you punch a Nazi you could be arrested, charged and convicted. So maybe don’t do it if you have people relying on you or if you can’t afford the conviction on your record.

 

More Zeppelin references

+++ZEPPELIN FORECAST FOR THAT LONDON+++

+++COUNCIL INSTRUCTS PROPERTY DEVELOPER TO INCLUDE GAY VENUE ON THE SITE OF THE JOINER’S ARMS+++TOWER HAMLETS MAYOR’S OFFICE WILL SEND IN INSPECTORS TO MAKE SURE IT IS GAY ENOUGH+++

+++LONDON MAYOR DEMANDS URGENT ACTION TO HALT THE DECLINE OF LGBT BARS+++LONDON MAYOR’S OFFICE PUSHING PLANNERS TO DO MORE TO PROTECT LGBT VENUES+++

Authorities in London are worried that the nightlife of the city is insufficiently gay and they are taking steps. That’s something I never thought I would see. For most of my life LGBT venues needed preserving from city authorities not by them.

 

So how will they check that the new venue is gay enough? The reader who sent me the the link imagines an undercover LGBT Inspector’s report would go something like this:

Inspector’s Report on the Joiner’s Arms:

Entered the club at 20:10., three adult males seen dancing topless on the dance floor. Two women observed kissing in booth at the back. Approached bar and was served at 20:21. Drinks on offer included 3 types of wkd, various vodkas and standard selection of lager. By 23:39 an eligible gentleman had been approached. Left club with said gentleman at 02:30 the following day.

Concluding Remarks:
The new Joiner’s Arms shows satisfactory levels of LGBT+ activity.

Recommendations:
Poppers should be offered at the bar.
Change Drag night from Tuesday to Saturday.

I’m predicting a 6.9% increase in the chance of Zeppelin sightings over London. These will be the rare rainbow Zeppelins associated with the LGBT+ future utopia that Captain Jack Harkness off of Doctor Who will be born into sometime in the future.

I, for one, welcome our fabulous overlords. It’s getting dangerously dystopian round here. Sign me up for the glitter and the loud music.

Follow the Zeppelin link to the rest of the Zeppelin posts.

+++ZEPPELIN FORECAST FOR NEW YORK CITY+++

+++AGGRESSIVE SQUIRREL TERRORISES BROOKLYN+++PROSPECT PARK ATTACKER OF FIVE STILL AT LARGE+++AUTHORITIES UNABLE TO CAPTURE ‘NINJA SQUIRREL’+++

+++HEALTH DEPARTMENT WORK ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE SQUIRREL IS RABID+++IMMUNOLOGIST SUGGEST IT MAY HAVE ‘FURIOUS’ VARIANT OF RABIES+++

A potentially rabid animal biting a person is no joking matter. However  the idea of a New York park in lockdown because of a squirrel that the authorities can’t catch is straight out of an issue of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

The current Zeppelin forecast for New York City is 17%. This might seem low but every version of New York is pretty weird. We suggest you also keep an eye out for a curvy young canadian with buck teeth who goes by the name ‘Dorreen Green’ and clams to be studying Computer Science. Render her any assistance she requires and she will solve the crisis.

Furthermore the mention of ‘Furious Rabies’ leads to a 3% increase in the local chance of a zombie outbreak. Stay safe out there.

Further explanation of the Zeppelin Forecast is here.

Previous forecasts for Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Global and the USA/Mexico border.

+++ZEPPELIN FORECAST FOR USA/MEXICO BORDER+++

+++PRESIDENT WARNS OF FALLING PACKETS OF DRUGS+++MEXICAN CARTELS APPARENTLY THROWING CONTRABAND ABOUT+++NEW BORDER WALL TO BE POROUS TO AVOID HEAD INJURIES+++

+++ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRESIDENT TRUMP INFORMED REPORTERS ON AIR FORCE ONE THAT HIS PROPOSED BORDER WALL NEEDS TO BE SEE-THROUGH, OR AT LEAST HAVE HOLES IN IT, SO AMERICANS DON’T GET CRUSHED BY FALLING BAGS OF DRUGS+++

I’m not buying this story. I think the real reason for the fear of falling drugs is that they’re dropping out of Zeppelins as they transition to our reality. Therefore the current Zeppelin sighting forecast for the US/Mexico border areas is standing at 22%.

Zeppelin explanation. Previous forecasts for Alaska, Colorado and the emergency global forecast.

Hat tip to Laura Lam for posting the link to the news story to facebook and commenting that it’s getting hard to tell real news from satire.