The Hold Steady - Cattle and the Creeping Things
The Hold Steady - Cattle and the Creeping Things
If you know me at all, you'd know that this was my guy.
And I know that his answer on LGBT issues won't satisfy everyone (Post Part 1). But I give marks for effort, and he earned those when he talked to me about the issue.
So, I was biased against Jamie going in. He ran for Labour selection as the Momentum, Jeremy-supporting Labour Candidate. But like, I was also biased against the Lib Dem, for his party affiliation, so I think my assessment is still mostly fair. And he came second.
They both were politicans, and I mean that as a compliment. Both of them knew what people in neighbouring areas they needed to talk to. They had a little snit about the exact designation of the head of Nexus. They were ready. Sometimes Jamie's policies were better than John A's. He tended to promise a bit more, maybe, in terms of bus routes and adult learning and cycle parking. But the two of them had the same goals in the end, and similar-enough policies.
He just didn't impress me as much. My first note about Jamie is "OMG you are way too white to quote Martin Luther King Jr." And it was one of the fucking boilerplate quotes too, not a fire and brimstone condemnation of moderates. His plan to improve the economy sounded like protectionism - what if City Hall had to buy everything possible from within the North East?
Like, he was fine. He believes in the same things I do, mostly, and probably the exact same things as John A. I just can imagine getting stuck next to him at a dinner party and listening to him say all these things that I agree with and wondering why I want to gnaw off my own leg to escape.
Plus, he still hasn't answered my email about anti-Semiticism. Contrasting that with the heart-felt response I got from the Lib Dem-er about his party's deepest issue ... This is not my guy.
This seems like a tiny point, but you can't get the big things right if you fail the little things, and his opening statement went overtime and he got cut off. I think he knew that a Conservative candidate doesn't win in Newcastle upon Tyne, and phoned in those opening remarks.
That said, he wasn't bad. I disagree with his politics, but not as much as you'd think. The civil servant said he was pretty far left by Tory standards. He seemed like a competent politician who knew the names of the areas that he'd represent and also knew who ran Nexus.
I didn't like when he said that the solution to traffic in Newcastle was expanding the A1, because there is a strong body of literature that says building roads does nothing to reduce congestion. I was stupidly happy when John A. said as much.
His most memorable line was "I think you guys are the reason why the North East is great" which honestly I've heard at so many concerts and it sounds just as fake when musicians say it.
I went in ready to love this guy. Like. I've contacted all the candidates or their parties, and this was the ONLY GUY who told me about the Hustings. I cannot think of a better or more necessary attribute for a Mayor than "communicates information". All he had to do was be able to string together coherent sentences, and he had my vote.
Coherent is really a subjective term.
Like, points for keeping to your time in the opening statement. But not every question can be a good question, and not every problem can be solved by gathering together a Commission to look at this issue. Commissions are the opposite of ideas.. I'm not impressed that you're not a polician, as you repeatedly mention. I'm voting for Mayor. It's a political office. I want a politican to do it.
That said - he wasn't god-awful, and voting for him would be a protest against Jeremy and Vince, and honestly I can see myself doing it. He seemed smart enough. He can learn on the job.
"We don't want to be too off the wall. Although, having said that ..."
The first question was about what was holding back business in the North East. He said, more or less, lack of Brexit, and then said that he agreed with every other candidate about everything else. He agreed with the other candidates a lot. It didn't make his answers any shorter.
"We also have something called geography."
He explained that unemployment happens because labour is too expensive so people need to find jobs that are not dependent on labour.
This exchange between Hugh and Charlie, which I paraphrase. H: Growing up, my school was full of Jews. Refugees from the war. Later, my landlord was a bus driver, an immigrant. There were communication issues. C: Are you anti-immigrant? H: No, no, not at all, I have four French nephews. Now you've made me lose my train of thought.
He tried to explain how we could fix something - I think congestion in the City Center. The answer started by explaining that things are different now than they were in the 1950s. And that there are only a few ways to fix things. The first is waving a magic wand, but we can't do that. We can't make everyone ride skateboards either. The answer got less coherent from there.
He doesn't have my vote, the internet says he was a terrible enough person that the Conservatives kicked him out in 2008 (https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/
I've never got to the end of this one, but that was before I started watching episodically so I should make it this time. The cartoon bits are good, probably the best cartoon bits they've done because IIRC they actually had a budget for this one.
They have yet to reveal who the monsters are, but I think we all know.
At any rate, when viewing The Daleks' Masterplan there was a certain amount of confusion about which Dalek-Chase-Story-Starring-Peter-Purves Tame layman had already seen. I thought it was probably this one. He remembered some of this (so I think I was correct) but he also got confused on several occasions while watching with the other Dalek-Chase-Story-Starring-Peter-Purves.
Famously (for a value of famously that means "among certain Doctor Who fans") Peter Purves, who has a comedy role in one episode of The Chase, so impressed the production team that they brought him back two weeks later to become a companion. I can only think that it was his personality not his performance that impressed them because Morton Dill (from Alabama) is really not a great performance, even if you forgive the fake American accent. Steven Taylor, on the other hand, is pretty watchable from the get go. It is a shame that after the first 5 minutes of the next story his toy panda mascot is never mentioned again, because we became quite attached to it.
The Chase does not have a great reputation and its easy to see why. The format, in which The Daleks pursue the Tardis through time and space encountering the crew in a variety of locations, feels like an attempt to get out of any kind of detailed plotting in favour of a few set pieces. The Daleks, while not as reduced to comedy villains as some fan commentary had led me to expect, are a bit on the comical (utilising several different chants the effect of which is not to make them seem more chilling) and useless side (getting beaten up by a robot Frankenstein at one point). However having gone into this with low expectations I found it perfectly watchable. I'm not as big a fan of Ian and Barbara as many people are, but I do like Vicki, who has a number of nice moments here and who's relationship with the first Doctor is charming and so I was quite happy to watch this Tardis team just having vaguely random short adventures in time and space. Some of the sequences were more forgettable than others but the chase format, while hackneyed, at least kept things moving along.
There is a sequence where the Daleks construct a robot version of the Doctor in order to "infiltrate and kill". We were very interested by the places in which the duplicate was played by William Hartnell and where he was played by Edmund Warwick. This was obviously not determined only by when both characters had to be in shot at the same time, so presumably also depended upon some of the almost "as live" production which meant Hartnell was somewhere else in the studio at that point.
The final two episodes introduce the Mechanoids who, allegedly, were at one point intended as a recurring monster. It was interesting to contrast them with The Daleks. They are clearly more unwieldy, seeming to move more awkwardly around the set. One of the paradoxes of the Daleks is that they work in spite of (or perhaps because of) the sink plunger. The Mechanoids had little arm like things that while less ridiculous in principle, looked a lot sillier in practice. Mostly the Mechanoids served to highlight the mysterious genius of the Dalek design - they did have a very pretty city though.
This is definitely not a story I would recommend trying to view in one sitting, but as a series of 25 minute episodes spread out over a period of time, it is surprisingly entertaining. You have to let it roll over you as slightly mindless entertainment, but it manages not to be dull, has its moments of charm, and is saved by its variety of setting and plot.
She'd park by the quarry,
Walk into the woods until she came to a clearing
Where townies would gather and drink until blackout,
Smoke cigs till they're sick, pack bowls, and then pass out.
theirs was a rage that didn't need much convincing.
The girls gave her glares, but the boys were quite pleasant.
To be totally honest, they didn't seem much different.
When there weren't any parties,
Sometimes she'd party with townies.
When they'd rev up their engines.
It's hard to describe, so she kept it a secret.
The girls that she lived with, they knew nothing about it.
The night with the fight and the butterfly knife,
It was the first night she spent with that one guy she liked.
The heated towel rail in the bathroom has been turned off and therefore I'm making the switch from cotton to linen bath towels.
This being the UK, spring may be revoked at any moment without notice. Much like Brexit.
One of my good intentions was to sit down and read the Mueller report. Yes, all 400-plus pages of it. Other folks have done so, and if I can read zoning reports, I can read this.
Unfortunately, my back started acting up again (or my leg. Or both, consecutively and concurrently). so I spent much of the afternoon lying in bed with a heating pad. I also did some exercises that are supposed to help strength muscles around my sacroiliac joints, so I feel as if I've done the right things by my back.
I did manage to make one of the larger amounts of applesauce that I've made in my life. It also has plums in it, since I needed to use some up before they went bad. It needed thickening after it was done, but I was able to thicken it up with Bird's Custard (WHAT??!?) and it wound up tasting very nice. Cinnamon., nutmeg, mace ... all the classic additions.
Almost the best part of making the applesauce was getting to use the apple peeler-slicer-corer that BB and I picked up at a second hand store years ago. I'd never used it before, but the large amount of large apples I had to peel (these days I need to eschew fruit skins, much to my sorrow) convinced me to find the thing and use it.
And it worked like a charm, a little - or a lot - to my surprise.
And tomorrow? In the morning, the Mueller report, at noon, an Easter brunch with my friends, and in the evening, Episode 2 of Game of Thrones. In which, I know, I just know, at least one of my favorite characters is going to bite it. Argh.
We determined earlier this week that we wanted to go to the movies or have a picnic or something, go out in the car some place. So he picked me up and he'd come up with a good idea: we went to the viewing park at the airport. It's a big field where you can see planes land, also see a few they have on display. There's also "British people in a field" stuff like ice cream vans and fairground rides for tiny children. It was really busy today, a sunny warm day in the middle of a long weekend. Nice to see kids running around, people admiring the planes. We had ice cream and sat in the sunshine.
And we went back to his place and watched a movie, The Spy Who Dumped Me, which I'd seen but he hadn't because it does look like it should be terrible but luckily he agreed with me that it's great. We laughed so much.
Thanks to the people who've suggested bands for the previous time I asked - I have listened to some of them, but I don't want to answer comments until I've listened to more of the suggestions because I am a COMPLETETIONIST (sometimes) but, yes, very much appreciate the suggestions.
Good working music for me:
Death Cab For Cutie
Fall Out Boy
1989 by Taylor Swift BUT NOT THE NEW ALBUM NO RAPPING
Yes I have a type. Any more ideas for what fits my type? I'm gonna go back to the earlier thread of suggestions too, but I thought I'd ask again.
So, what to watch next? I haven't been even sort of caught up on TV since 2012, so I have a lot of shows on the list all vying for my attention. My husband has suggested The Expanse as a possibility for the next Top Spot. It's a coveted position, since by the time I finish whatever I watch next, there's likely to be few hundred more shows on my list. So every time a show misses out on Top Spot, it becomes that much more difficult to get into the position.
A) The Expanse
C) None of the above.
D) All of the above.
I have taken about 999 photos of various expeditions I keep meaning to at least mention here but in the meanwhile, I shall just note that my sister has been visiting from Canada, and so yesterday we first went for a Rosie-Led Walk, in which Rosie led us Up and Up until there was no more Up available and then we had great difficulty persuading her to go back down again. But eventually we got her to go back to the river, which was much cooler and very pleasant, and while we were there, we saw some dippers and a pair of distant but definite kingfishers.
And then in the evening we went out on the river at Wacker Quay, since at long last the sun is not only shining but the wind has dropped too. Our canoe is not much fun in wind. We paddled up to St Germans, which has a handy little slipway where we were able to swap paddlers over so all three of us got a chance to paddle. Today my shoulders are a bit tired but it was fun. Very calm and quiet with huge reflecting hazy skies.
No photos of that because although I did remember my camera, I forgot it didn't have a card in it. Oh well. I snapped some pics on my sister's camera, anyway, which is one of those superzooms, though I imagine those will not come to light till she gets home and rummages through them. It was interesting to try out the amazing zoom, though I prefer to have a bit more control over what the camera does, it wasn't easy to work out even how to adjust white balance, since it's designed very much as a point-and-shoot.
Oh, and we saw a fox wandering through a field, from the canoe.
I am noticing that the first running interval each time is almost always uncomfortable, but everything seems to loosen up by the second or third, so I'm trying to make sure I take that first one as gently as possible while still actually running, and trusting that it will get better (and so far it always has). I am definitely reaching the point of actively enjoying most of the running intervals and coming out of the overall exercise with a nice endorphin buzz. Whee.
The Honey Month is a collection of very short stories and poems, themed around a gift of a month's supply of samples of different honeys. Each piece begins with notes on that day's honey - colour, smell, taste - followed by a story or poem inspired by it. El-Mohtar's writing is beautiful: lyrical, sensuous, atmospheric, and several of the pieces in this collection play with familiar fairytale narratives in the way I loved so much in 'Seasons of Glass and Iron'. It's a short book, but utterly delightful and deeply absorbing.
So happy anniversary, Dreamwidth! My anniversary here isn’t until next month.
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It's so sunny out I don't have any pockets -- I didn't even bring a hoodie with me. I'm waiting at the bus stop to meet diffrentcolours for a drink, after an afternoon in the sunshine eating Japanese food with haggis.
A lot of things are really tough but right now the world feels nice and sounds nice and smells nice and I'm enjoying it. I figured that was worth making a note of.
I went to the Mayoral Candidate Economic Hustings for the North of Tyne Region, which doesn't cover all of Newcastle and also isn't exclusively North of the Tyne River, because that would make sense and we can't have that.
I'll post in detail about my experience, because I took lots of snarky notes about ridiculous things the candidates did and said, but later because typing long posts on my phone is too much. For now, I'll say that I left with a very definitive candidate-quality ranking, one which was supported by the civil servant sitting next to me. Mind, this isn't a ranking of policy. That ranking will come in my second post. This is purely "how good will you be at the job of being a mayor"?
1. John Appleby - Liberal Democrat
The problem being, of course, that I don't want Vince, Jeremy or Theresa to get the boost of their party doing well in a local election. The civil servant said that he was considering voting for the Independent instead of the Lib Dem, because, well, mayor is kinda a figurehead and John M. seemed to meet the base level of competent. I am in a similar situation, but I decided that I'd give the two top local candidates a chance. Maybe they're better than their parties on the issues that most concern me for each party.
I e-mailed Jamie last week to ask how he had personally worked to combat anti-Semiticsm. I haven't had an answer back but I'll post if I hear back.
After the debate, I cornered John A. I said that he was the candidate who spoke most about diversity, but he had never explicitly mentioned LGBT people and could he tell me where he stood on that?
He said that he wasn't going to just give me assurances, because anyone could do that, but he would give me 3 concrete examples.
1. When he was Head of Mechanical Engineering, he supported a staff member's transition to female.
2. Something something a lesbian elected in the Anglican Church I don't understand church stuff.
3. He wrote an article on intersex people and faith, and had it published in the Church Newspaper. I found the article, and you can read it here: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/
The overall impression I got of him was someone from a different generation who's trying to learn. Like, I wouldn't be impressed if my younger siblings wrote that article or used exactly the words John A. used to describe helping his colleague transition. He's not #Woke. But I'd be delighted if my dad did. I think his intentions are good and he's acting in good faith (no pun intended).
I've learned by now that it's useless to tell people their parties have a problem with an issue, but I told him that his party has a big problem with perception over LGBT issues, and they need to rehabilitate their image. It's the same thing in politician-speak, where perception and reality are the same thing, but that framing doesn't get backs up the same way as calling out the problem itself. He listened, anyway. If nothing more comes of it than one member of the Liberal Democratic party seeing that this issue is still very much alive in his target demographic, I'm happy.