choco_frosh: (Default)
([personal profile] choco_frosh Oct. 21st, 2017 07:47 pm)
Right. I mentioned to some of you that I had a temp. job, but never got around to giving details. Soooo...

The one advantage of having an interviewer stand me up, as I remarked even at the time, was that the employment agency that had set this up now owed me one.

This is probably at least PART of why I then got a DIFFERENT temp. job without having to do an interview for it.*

Anyway, it's basically filing. This company out in Waltham switched to electronic record-keeping for most purposes a couple of years ago, but they still do some paper filing; more to the point, they have umphteen years worth of paper records, and they need to figure out what to do with 'em. Part of the answer is that they employ some sort of off-site document storage firm; but the files still have to be packed up and sent off, and they now want to (a) inventory them, and (b) group them by expiration date, so that when the time comes to have 'em shredded, they can just have their storage people throw out the whole box, rather than pull individual files. Since everyone there is busy already, and since I guess one or two people are on medical leave or something, this is now my job. It's unexciting, but at worst will look decent on my résumé when I'm applying for future office-type stuff.

Plus there's free coffee. And the people are friendly and chill.

As such, the big question** is How long is this going to last? This is a mystery for two reasons:
1) As I said, I've mostly been hired to deal with a filing project. Thing is, I'm still not entirely sure of the scope of the project; and the last time I got hired to do filing, I finished it in about half the time expected, and then basically twiddled my thumbs while my superiors hunted frantically for something for me to do. There's been vague talk about maybe having me do other stuff after that, but it's been just that: vague. This is partly because
2) I've barely seen my notional supervisor. I started on Thursday,*** which unfortunately ALSO turned out to be the day she was going to be in a three-hour meeting that had been several years in the planning; and then she was playing catchup the rest of the day, and then wasn't in at all on Friday. So I guess I'll try to figure this stuff up at some point in the course of next week. Because as things stand, I don't know whether this gig is going to end next Friday, or next year.

* Have I mentioned I hate job interviews? Only about a hundred times, I guess.

** Well, in addition to "Can I manage NOT to throw out my back lugging around and/or bent over boxes of files?"

*** Despite my concern that I might need to start the job the day I got the offer, I was actually supposed to start on Wednesday. However, I also had to take my car in to the shop on Wednesday, especially if I was then going to haul myself out to Waltham. And I could have just arranged to start half an hour late (dropped the car off, and then caught a train to work), except that I would then have needed to repeat this performance on Thursday (to pick it back up), and I figured that it would be less disruptive to just start a day late--if they were ok with that, which fortunately they were. Plus I had a couple of other appointments scheduled for Wednesday.
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([personal profile] emperor Oct. 21st, 2017 06:59 pm)
Before going to see Blade Runner 2049, I re-watched the original (in the Final Cut version, which I don't think I'd seen before). It's still a classic, although the treatment of women is terrible (and I seem to notice more of that with each rewatch); the plot and visual tropes have inspired a vast amount of film sci-fi that's come since.

The sequel doesn't disappoint - the city-scape is very much from the same visual and audio space as the original, while the desert-scape of Las Vegas is a suitably post-apocalyptic wasteland. There's the same slow pacing (although at 2h40, this is substantially longer), and it's great to see Deckard back again, although I'm a little sad to see the ambiguity of his replicant-or-not nature from the original resolved. There are some great scenes, including a brawl in front of a holographic Elvis and some very creepy moments from Niander Wallace. And there's the continued theme of what it means to be human, and what sort of relationships we can or should have with those who are not.

There aren't really any new ideas, though, and the treatment of women is probably worse than in the original, which feels less forgiveable now than it might have been in 1982. And the bass was rather over-done to my ears, to the point of dragging you out of the scene sometimes. I'm sure I'm going to want to watch it again, though...
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([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 21st, 2017 11:00 am)
purplecat: The Seveth Doctor and Ace (Who:Ace/Seven)
([personal profile] purplecat Oct. 21st, 2017 08:46 am)

I recently listened to the Doctor Who Book Club podcast on Relative Dementias. They quite liked it but thought it wasn't completely in control of its themes, there was too much incidental stuff to bring up the page count and its descriptions of action were confusing. All criticisms that could probably be aimed at many of the Doctor Who novels.
([syndicated profile] andrew_rilstone_feed Oct. 19th, 2017 01:59 pm)

Posted by Andrew Rilstone

I am writing this essay because my Patreon Supporters are now donating $70 for each essay I publish. Why not join them? 

You can sort-of picture the scene when, sometime in 1937, two kids from Ohio burst into the offices of DC Comics with their pitch for a new character. Alien news reporter. Secret identity. Red cape. Champion of the common man. You can't really imagine anything similar ever happening at DC Thompson.

“I’ve hud thes idea fur a freish comic strip. It’s abit a skale bairn aboot ages wi’ oor readers! N’ gie thes — he’s naughty! An’ gei thes — some weeks he gits aw’ wi’ it, and some weeks he gits intae trooble!”

“Brilliant jimmy, stoatin! It will rin fur sixty seven years!”

American comics were exciting, colorful, thrilling. British comics just existed: ephemeral, forgettable, disposable. And mostly black and white. If some American comics thought they were literature (pulp literature), British comics were more like daily newspapers. Part of the background of life. If some Americans dreamed of someday writing the great American novel, most Brits were craftsmen, artisans, dutifully bashing out the same tales of naughty kids, silly teachers and nasty Germans that they’d been telling for the past half a century. 

And yet kids read them; or, at any rate, parents bought them. Not just the Beano and the Dandy, but a seemingly endless parade of weekly anthology comics with names like Cheeky, Topper, Whizzer, Krazy and Buster.

There were exceptions. The Eagle had been started by a vicar, for goodness sake. In my day, swotty kids had a thing called Look and Learn, although we suspected that they were more interested in the Trigon Empire than the photo features about daily life in a Dutch fish refinery. But comics like that were supposed to be good for you. The whole point of the Dandy and Cheeky and Buster was that they were just a little bit naughty. 

Mike Taylor recently wrote a piece about an early 2000AD strip called Harlem Heroes and said that he was still struck by the visceral power of the story and art. 2000AD was, by the standards of 1970s comics, very naughty indeed: the violence of it can still take your breath away. But how did an English comic strip by a white artist for mainly white kids come to be called Harlem Heroes? Basketball wasn’t very widely played in England although Globetrotters exhibition games had been shown in late not slots on BBC2  2000AD's target demographic would be more likely to have remembered a cut-and-paste Hannah-Barbara cartoon series which had been on children's TV a couple of years before. Harlem Heroes is simply the Harlem Globetrotters playing futuristic death basketball. It’s hard to say if Pat Mills was being shamelessly derivative, or producing a shockingly poor taste parody.

It wasn’t so much a question of cultural appropriation as of grabbing everything within arms reach. If there had been a summer blockbuster about a shark them the English comic book artisans would scribble out a violent strip called Hookjaw and a silly strip called Gums in time for the Autumn specials. If that years hit movie involved a marooned alien making friends with some American schoolkids, then some hack would rush out a comic about some English kids and a crashed flying saucer occupant. I don’t know if the kids noticed, or were supposed to notice. I don’t think we engaged with the material to that extent. Comics had always been, and cold only ever be, mildly diverting knock-offs of better books, or anachronistic little squibs about pea-shooters and canes and German spies. That was why the launch of American style superhero comics made such a massive impact on us. 

Buster was typical of the era. When it launched in 1960 the title character had been the son of Andy Capp, the outrageous un-PC Geordie who appeared (and still appears) every day in the Daily Mirror. But by 1976, he was just a generic Dennis the Menace character who played pranks and clashed with authority figures. A list of the other features in the comic is enough to generate feelings of suicidal ennui: Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (with Milly O’Naire and Penny Less); Kid Kong; Lucy Lastic; X-Ray Specs; James Pond... Adam Adman was “A young man obsessed by advertising”; Jack Pot was “a boy with exceptional luck” and Joker was “a boy obsessed with jokes”. This is apparently how young people amused themselves before Minecraft was invented. 

The Leopard from Lime Street appeared in Buster from 1976 to 85. (The first year's worth have just been reprinted by Rebellion.) He is often said to be “England’s first superhero” or “Britain’s answer to Spider-Man”. But reading these episodes 40 years later, it feels less like a British attempt to do Marvel Comics and more like a gag strip that accidentally got drawn in a serious style. Yes, the Leopard wears a costume and, on occasion, catches robbers. But he’s also a schoolboy who deals with bullies and outwits nasty grown ups and earns himself treats by means of a special gimmick. 

It all starts when Billy Farmer is, and I promise I’m not making this up, scratched by a radioactive leopard. (Not a lion or a tiger or even a wolf. A flippin’ leopard.) He decides to make himself a leopard costume, as you would, and uses his strength to thwart a crime wave that is going on in his town. He starts selling photos of himself in action to the local newspaper, the Selbridge Sun. But the editor — one Thaddeus (yes, Thaddeus) Clegg (yes, Clegg) takes against him, and twists all the news stories to make it seem as if the Leopard is a baddie. 

If British comics are a celebration of naughtiness, there is a joyful shamelessness in the way writer Tom Tully scrumps the good bits from his more famous American template. Peter Parker has the proportional strength of a spider; Billy Farmer is as strong as a fully grown jungle cat. Peter Parker has his spider-sense: Billy gets danger signals from his Leopard’s sixth sense. Spider-Man has his webbing; Billy has a grappling rope. In the early installments, artist Mike Western even makes use of a Janus motif, showing Billy’s face as half human and half leopard. It’s all so outrageous that it sometimes feels less like swiping and more like dead-pan parody. Viz is still three years in the future. 

On the first page of the very first episode, one Ginger Moggs dangles Billy from the roof of the school cycle sheds on the the end of a rope. (Cycle sheds are an important part of British scholastic iconography: most early experiments with tobacco and heterosexuality take place behind them.) A friendly teacher extracts Billy from his predicament, but he, nobly refuses to “split” on the bullies. But a few episodes later, he gets his own back. “Mogsy” tries to climb the clock tower as a dare, and has to be rescued by Billy in his leopard persona. Mogsy ends up blindfolded, believing that he’s dangling off a high tower by his own belt — even though the Leopard has in fact left him only a few inches off the ground! This is very much the kind of thing that might have happened to Dennis the Menace: a massively exaggerated prank followed by equally far-fetched consequences. Mogsy is cured of being a bully, but there is a steady stream of louts with names like Stacey and Nogsy to torment Billy in subsequent installments.

When Billy starts selling photos to the Daily Bugle — I’m sorry, to the Selbridge Sun — he uses the money to purchase a colour television, still very much an aspirational item in 1976. When he rescues a kidnapped TV actress, he is rewarded with a ride back to school in a Rolls Royce; and when he wins £250 for surviving three rounds in the ring with the Masked Hangman, he uses the money to replace the vandalized basketball court at his youth club. This is a long way from Peter Parker pawning his microscope to pay for Aunt May’s heart surgery: it’s a lot more like that great big plate of sausages and mashed potato that has signified “reward” in English comics since the days of food rationing. He intends to use his very first pay check to buy a bag of groceries for his poor family, but when he steps into “Mason’s Magnificent Mart” he finds that he is the one millionth customer and can take home “all the goods that he can collect in exactly one minute”. Naturally, due to his superpowers, he manages to walk away with more or less the whole shop. The “one millionth customer” thing is a pretty standard cartoon trope.

It is the artwork which does the most to transpose the strip into a serious register. It’s consistently and impressively naturalistic. We have more of a sense of what Billy Farmer’s habitat looks like than we do of Peter Parker’s. There are PE lessons and supermarkets and TV showrooms. The Daily Bugle is based in a shiny Madison Avenue skyscraper; the Selbridge Sun seems to be published out of a dingy converted-shop front with offices to rent on the second floor. But inside there are filing cabinets and pots of ink and in-trays and actual members of staff. But Selbridge is also a kind of dream-world. Billy's school is dreary collection of 1950s concrete boxes: it’s clearly a Secondary Modern rather than a Comprehensive. But when there needs to be, there is an old fashioned castellated building with a flagpole and a clock tower for Mogsy to climb. The town is mostly a grim collection of terraced houses, labour exchanges and youth clubs — but there can be a ruined abbey and a stately home within striking distance when the plot calls for it.

There is also a surprisingly consistent — logical, if not actually realistic — treatment of Billy’s life as
a super-hero. Billy makes his leopard suit by finding the costume he wore when he played the cat in a school production of Dick Whittington and painting spots on it. When he decides he needs a grappling rope, he conveniently find a “claw like ornament” on a set of old fire tongs and fixes it on the end of a rope. Peter Parker gets his powers due to, er, “fate”; but Billy is deliberately sent to Prof. Jarman’s experimental zoo to interview him for the school magazine. Jarman has deliberately injected the leopard which scratches Billy with a “radioactive serum”. The origin is followed up in several subsequent strips: Jarman wants to give Billy medical check ups to see if he is suffering any ill-effects from the scratch, and Billy and the leopard become good friends. The latter ends up living fairly happily ever after in the safari park. 

Billy lives with a predictably kindly Aunt and an unexpectedly horrible Uncle — a bald, unemployed man with a mustache, rolled up sleeves, open topped shirt and braces. In the next decade unemployment would come to be indelibly associated with Mrs Thatcher: young people resigned to years on the dole, politicians urging them to get on bikes, Youth training schemes and Enterprise Allowance culture. But in 1976, the stereotype of an unemployed person was still a lazy middle-aged man who wastes his dole money at the betting shop. That's why Billy uses his photo money to buy TVs and groceries: if he handed the cash over, his Uncle would put it on a horse. Eventually, as the Leopard, Billy scares Uncle Charlie into going to the labour exchange and looking for work. He seems to find a job quite easily once he starts looking.

We can see just how nasty Uncle Charlie is supposed to be from the tag line of the third episode: “Billy uses his new powers to avoid a beating from his guardian!” The gag strips notoriously represented corporal punishment as a rather funny occupational hazard of being a kid; but the straight ones equally consistently use it to indicate that an adult is bad parent, an impostor, and incidentally, lower class. While the various Menaces are amusingly spanked across their parents' knees Uncle Charlie strikes the side of Billy’s head with the back of his hand, so hard that he is said to go to bed with ringing ears and a headache; and threatens to flog him with a belt. But we are assured that Billy’s leopard strength means that Uncle Charlie can’t really hurt him any more (even though he muses about paying him back for all the “hidings” he’s had in past). So maybe we aren’t so far from Roger the Dodger slipping a book down the back of his trousers after all?

This is perhaps the biggest difference of outlook between Spider-Man and his British parody. Billy actually gets to do stuff: to make small, but positive and permanent improvements to his own life. The readership’s need to say “If I had amazing powers, I know what I would do…” is consistently indulged. Let me assure you: if, at the age of 13, I had gained the powers and abilities of a fully grown leopard “dangling the bully from the tree” and “getting a colour TV” would have been first and second on my to do list. Groceries, not so much. Billy not only gets his own back on the bullies: they actually lay off bullying him. He not only avoid being hit by his nasty uncle: he forces him to go and get a job. He goes from being the classroom pariah who doesn’t have a telly to being the lucky kid with a spiffy colour one. 

Strips like this have to sustain themselves on simple ideas — hence the plethora of “young lad with a toy soliders than comes to life” and “young girl whose best friend is a ghost” strips elsewhere. Two pages is not very long to develop a story: no-one is characterised beyond their basic function of cruel uncle, kind aunt, understanding teacher, bully, crook, copper. Even Billy himself is is more internal monologue than human being. The only thing that will make the reader come back is a wish to find out what happens next; so every two pages, something has to happen. If the school is going on a coach trip to a safari park then of course one of the Dads is going to use the excursion as a pretext to steal silver from the stately home, and of course his bully of a son is going to push Billy into an empty lion cage and of course the cage is going to turn out to have a leopard in it and of course that leopard is going to be the very one loaned to the zoo by a certain scientist. The whole thing will dried and dusted in 16 pages, but eked out over two months.

Spider-Man is a timeless classic. The Leopard of Lime Street seems like a dispatch from a different world. But as a piece of archive material, it’s worth acquainting oneself with.

I am very happy indeed a) that this book exists and b) that I managed to bag one of the original print run of a mere 600 copies for only £35 last year. It now goes for upward of £150 on eBay... The publishers' page is still up, though, and includes several page images which indicate what the book is like: basically a pictorial record of the seven Hammer Dracula films which have Christopher Lee in them (so not Brides or Legend), covering cast pictures, production documentation, behind-the-scenes pictures and publicity material. As such it is of course an absolute treasure-trove.

I'm fairly familiar with the publicity photos and posters, but even they are wonderful to have in high-quality printed form. Meanwhile, the really exciting content was the production documentation, including letters, set designs, pages from shooting scripts etc. From these I learnt several things which I had not known before, such as how the various sets for Dracula fitted together. I had long realised that Harker's bedroom and Dracula's crypt in this film must be essentially the same set re-dressed, because they share the same curved, pointed arches along one wall. However, I never realised before I saw the set drawings in this book that this is actally because they both make use of the area glimpsed between the very same curved, pointed arches in the dining room after they had been blocked off by book-cases to create the library set. (I.e. they are slotted into the shadowy space from which Valerie Gaunt's vampire woman first appears when Harker is in the dining room.) Nor did I know, as correspondence with the censor for Risen reveals, that the name of the Monsignor's niece in this film was originally to have been Gisela. The switch to Maria in the final film was of course a sound move, since it is more familiar to Anglophone audiences, as well as accentuating her virginal purity and connection with a Catholic clergyman. Meanwhile, Gisela did not go to waste: the name was repurposed for the unfortunate girl found in the bell at the beginning of the film, whose coffin Dracula goes on to steal once he has been reawakened from the icy stream.


Also very illuminating were Terence Fisher's hand-written notes on Jimmy Sangster's original script for Dracula 1958. They're written on plain pages, rather than on the script itself, so you can't see what Sangster actually wrote - only Fisher's reactions. But that is enough to make it very clear that Sangster's first draft must have included far more scenes from the original novel than ever made it into even the shooting script, never mind the film. Scenes or characters which Fisher is reacting to include for example Harker in an inn before he ever reaches the castle, the three vampire brides, the 'child in a sack' scene, Harker gashing Dracula in the head, the Demeter, Renfield and Quincy Morris. And what Fisher is saying about them includes things like "cut", "keep till later?", "new character unexplained and uninteresting", "make it a pre-title sequence?" etc. This is absolutely revelatory, because the standard line until now has always been about how the efficiency of the script reflects Sangster's instinct for what could be achieved on a small budget. But I now see that his original draft must actually have followed Stoker's novel fairly closely, while most of the credit for that ruthless efficiency really belongs to Fisher.

In between the images runs a concise and generally useful supporting text from Kinsey, but I was struck by the fact that he doesn't always seem to recognise the full value of the material he himself is presenting. So, in spite of having treated us to Fisher's observations on Sangster's first draft, he still reports the usual story about how Sangster "was given Bram Stoker's novel to adapt, which he achieved again within Hammer's modest budget" only a few pages later. I spotted a couple of mistakes, too. The double-page spread on Francis Matthews in Prince calls his character Alan (rather than Charles), while a similar spread about Patrick Troughton as Klove in Scars claims that he passed on the mantle of Doctor Who to Tom Baker (not directly!).

That is to quibble, though. On the whole this is an absolutely superb collection which huge amounts of work must have gone into, and which I am certain I will keep returning to over the years. Three thousand cheers that my favourite films in all the world have received this splendid tribute.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
([personal profile] rmc28 Oct. 20th, 2017 09:26 pm)
1. We spent a pleasant low-key weekend in Todmorden with my mother and stepfather for Charles's birthday / their wedding anniversary. The only niggle was the mild cough I had before going turned into a horrible cough and I got very little sleep on the Saturday night, so my patience etc on the journey home was ... limited. We got home with no-one murdered though.

2. I love my Yuletide assignment and have a plot bunny gently growing. It's going to be pretty niche and I don't care, so long as it works for the recipient.

3. Thanks to the aforementioned cough, I missed morris practice last week - so frustrating given my fears about falling out of it - but I managed it again this week, and it is still very happy making. (I am so, so unfit compared to all these older women, but they are all so pleasant and welcoming.)

4. Charles was away this week with the school residential outdoor activity week with PGL. It was a bit of a challenge for him being away from home and his usual routine, but he seems to have mostly enjoyed it, and enthused at me about climbing and rifleshooting and archery and a few other things too ... It is good to have him back; and now it is half-term.

5. I had my flu jab this week, and the children had their flu sprays last week (I am a bit envious of them, but the nurse at my GP surgery is really very good about doing jabs quickly and with minimal pain). Flusurvey has started up again and are keen for more participants if any of my UK subscribers aren't already doing it and would like to.

6. It seems like half my reading list already posted about the #PullTheFootball campaign to require a congressional declaration of war before the US President can launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  But in case you didn't see it, that link has actions, phone numbers and a script for US citizens (the rest of us can just help by sharing it with US citizens ...)

7. Clipping wrote the soundtrack for a new TV show, The Mayor, and tracks from it are being released weekly onto Spotify and iTunes.  I couldn't find an official Spotify playlist so I made my own and am adding the new tracks each week as they get released - TWO this week for a Halloween-themed episode.  The show's premise is that an up-and-coming rapper stands for mayoral election as a publicity stunt for his music career and accidentally wins. I love this idea, but can't find a way to legally watch the show from here; anyway I am really enjoying the musical output.

miss_s_b: (Default)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 20th, 2017 12:00 pm)
hollymath: (Default)
([personal profile] hollymath Oct. 20th, 2017 10:49 am)
I have a lot of reading to do, having somehow kept busy but gotten nowhere so far this week. And I'm away this weekend (with good intentions of reading on the train, but also...I've met me). So I'm trying to catch up now.

Some of it's hard going, but luckily some of it's also written by Geoff Pullum (a name anyone who reads Language Log might recognize and someone I learned I liked from there).
"A silly, infuriatingly unscholarly piece, designed to mislead" is what one irate but anonymous senior scholar called this chapter when it was first published in NLLT. But this is not correct; rather, what I have written here is a silly, misleadingly unscholarly piece, designed to infuriate. There is a huge difference.
May more of my reading be silly and misleadingly unscholarly!
... and while not everybody on these two playlists fits the definition of feminist or metal (especially not metal, TBH) I would say that these two spotify playlists are the place to start:

Emma Jay Olsen's Angry Feminist Playlist
and my very own Ladies Who Rock

But in terms of feminist metal bands, you can't go far wrong with:

Hysterica (esp Heels)
McQueen (esp Not For Sale)
Wicked Wisdom (esp You Can't Handle)
Halestorm (esp Rock Show - principally because I've never heard anything capture that feeling better)
In This Moment (esp Comanche - we've took all we can and we won't take any more)
and of course
Skunk Anansie (esp Rise Up)
Not much to report back, really. It was the debrief meeting. It was mostly us examining the things you lot had reported back to us.

I fed back all the things that you folks asked me to feed back in this and this post; pretty much all of them were received loud and clear. Especially popular was [personal profile] hollymath's suggestion that we put "would you benefit from step-free access" rather than "are you a wheelchair user" on Speaker's cards; this is definitely going to be done, hopefully for spring, but if not then for next autumn.

I've been given more work to do, which is mostly my own fault for volunteering to sort shit out. Nick Da Costa and I have to redesign the end of conference survey, so if you have any specific ideas about that do let me know. Is it too long, too short, too fiddly, etc? What questions do you think should be asked, and which ones do you think should be retired? As usual, I can;t promise to act on every suggestion, but I promise to at least read and respond to every suggestion.

Specifically regarding the app, which I know a few of you talked about: there was a feeling that we've sunk a lot of time and effort into the bespoke app, and it gets better every time - which it definitely does - and the developer is very responsive to requests for changes, so Grenadine is not going to fly. The specific comments about line numbers and clock hiding and too much nesting are definitely going to be fed back to the developer, so if those aren't sorted out for Spring you can take me to one side, spank me, and call me Gerald.

I'm going to go get a well deserved drink now.
I suspect everyone reading this review here is already familiar with this, but for anyone who hasn't come across it before, The Comfortable Courtesan is a serial story set in Regency London, mostly narrated by Madame C-, a very exclusive courtesan, in which we hear of her exploits and those of her circle of friends and acquaintances, which includes artists, actors, political radicals and her upper-class clients. It began as a one-off response to a "post three sentences from a nonexistent novel" challenge in May 2015 and has now grown to more than 700 individual posts, with twelve ebook compendiums of the main story (which is now complete) as well as a number of side-pieces and two novella-length stories taking place some years after the majority of the action. I've been following the blog from the start, but I was browsing through my Kindle in search of comfort reading and when I came across the ebooks I decided it was time to revisit the very early days.

It's an absolutely delightful read. It's written in a pastiche of the style of the period, and as the author is a historian of gender and sexuality it's historically accurate although the subject-matter would never have seen the light of day then. Unsurprisingly, given Madame C-'s profession, it's unabashedly sex-positive, and features numerous LGBTQ+ characters, both male and female, as well as multiple characters of colour. The first volume features intrigue, scandal, matchmaking, female solidarity, epistolary mathematical flirtations and a wombatt, and it really is one of the most charming things I've ever read.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 19th, 2017 06:19 pm)
I'm attending this meeting right now, by dialing in to the phone conference machine in the middle of the meeting room.

It's interesting to note who has a clear speaking voice and who doesn't. No, I couldn't possibly name names :P

Will report back on actual happenings later...

ETA: Have just been christened The New Gareth Epps due to my scathing comments about real ale provision; I'm taking that as the compliment it was doubtless meant to be
([syndicated profile] andrew_rilstone_feed Oct. 19th, 2017 10:27 am)

Posted by Andrew Rilstone

Alas, Colston is now in disrepute in this crazy time of asinine politically correctness…for being a successful slave trader. People forget that in his day slave trading was perfectly respectable like buying and selling motor cars today! However, Colston was also a philanthropist who helped a lot of people, and gave great sums of money to the city of Bristol. How about Jardine Matheson of Hong Kong selling Opium to China in the days of “gunboat diplomacy” then??? Do you want to close down Jardine Matheson???

.....The asinine politically correct Libtards fail to take into account that Colston Hall was built almost 150 years after Colton’s death, and was actually named after its address, which is Colston Street. I for one, to be brutally frank am not into political correctness aka hypocrisy. To me it is a load of Balderdash! I digress…so..

.... I decided to make an enquiry to Bristol Cathedral and got a reply from their very politically correct Press Officer…Wendy Matthews (*)

....Mark [owner of a coffee shop in Bristol] please make the Colston Bun! It will be a best seller! You can call it Bristol Bun to be politically correct…wahahahah!

All quotes from "The Search For The Colston Bun" by The Travelling Gourmet

(*)i.e female
miss_s_b: (Default)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 19th, 2017 11:00 am)
So, my friend made a game. It's a classic point and click adventure in the style of things like Monkey Island. You click on things, you talk to characters, you solve puzzles, you win the game. Except... I thought Monkey Island was dead boring. This is not dead boring. I've even played the tutorial through three times, just to see what the different answers do, because it's so laugh out loud funny.

So yes, I'm slightly biased here because the game is made by someone I know, and is set in a fictionalised version of a town two train stops away, and my daughter voices one of the characters (look out for small child of indeterminate gender Little Bilge)... but this is the most fun I've had playing a game in ages. It doesn't try to screw you for more money, it doesn't make you do stupid repetitive daily tasks, it doesn't rely on ninja reaction times. It's happy to just make you laugh and warm your heart. In times like we are going through now, that's more valuable than diamonds.

Honestly, guys, you know I wouldn't bullshit you about anything involving money, I'm from Yorkshire.

Go buy Yorkshire Gubbins. You won't regret it.
miss_s_b: (Default)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 18th, 2017 11:00 am)
choco_frosh: (Default)
([personal profile] choco_frosh Oct. 17th, 2017 09:37 pm)
Starting a temp. job on Thursday! Let's hope I don't ^%$&*(& it up!
(And that it lasts more than a week.)

--Tired Schreiber
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 17th, 2017 04:11 pm)
I totally can see the light when it's turned to "off", i.e. when the light meter is set to 0, but only really notice it a lot at night. You guys who claim you can't see it are either lying, or my eyes are freakish. Frankly, I think it's probably the latter, given how often one of my boys complains they can't see the dogs when we are walking them after dark and I can see them perfectly fine.

Happily, Andrew's explanation of how the light works was spot on, and it doesn't bother me like a glowy phone or computer or TV screen. To give you some idea of how Lorca-ish my eyes are, though, I have it set to 2 when I'm in bed, and 5 in daylight. It goes up to about 30, by the looks of it (haven't actually counted).

I'm really REALLY happy with the cover I got for it, which is incredibly thin and light, but still feels sturdy. It also has the autowake function, which is handy. I would genuinely rec it to anyone who has a papperwit of the requisite size (that's pretty much all of them less than 5 years old).

I think I am also going to quickly get used to having Goodreads integration, which my old Kindle was too ancient to support.

All in all, I think I made the right decision. Thanks to those of you who helped by voting and commenting and things.


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