Saturday, November 22, 2014

DC's Girl Power and Busy Bodies books

A while ago I wrote about my excitement at these two books for kids.  I said I'd review them.  So this is a review of sorts.

Here are my books:

If anyone recognises the kids books to the side of them you get a prize of my respect.  Yes I bought 3 copies of the Girl Power one.  One for me, one for my niece and one for another kid, who I shall be giving it to for Christmas.  I'll also give the Busy Bodies one to another child.

The books are pretty much as you'd expect from the solicit photos.  They are board books, definitely intended for babies and I guess kids aged up to about 2 or 3.  They are designed to help kids to read, to help parents interact with their kids, to promote bonding.  I guess the Girl Power one could be read by an older child with an interest in superheroes (maybe a 5 year old?) but the Busy Bodies one is unlikely to be enjoyed by any kid that already knows their body parts.  Unless, maybe they like the superheros and they use the books to stimulate their imaginations?

I like the books for their traditional (non sexy, non violent) take on the superheroes, for reaching out to kids, for being durable and for being good to look at (if you like stock 70s art).

I'm going to give the Busy Bodies one to a 4 month old boy and the Girl Power one to a 7 month old girl.  I think the parents will enjoy them and I like the idea of the kids growing up with them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sequential Sartorial from Women Write About Comics

I found this post on Women Write About Comics (WWAC) about fashion in pop culture and I just love it:

http://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2014/11/18/sequential-sartorial-why-does-fashion-matter-in-comics/

I love the nerdiness, the appreciation for detail, the importance of the subject, the critical thought behind the passion and all the rest. It's great. I love the comments too.  Go read it.

On twitter I got in on the action by talking about my three favourite Supergirl outfits that really show her personality through her clothes:
 I don't know the artist here, sorry.

Art by Amanda Connor.  Pre new 52, post crisis, was issue 12 I think.

Art by Ian Churchill.  Also pre new 52, post crisis.  This is before issue 20, possibly 13, 14 or 15.  It had the new Captain Boomerang in it.

You may not like the art, or that incarnation of Kara, but you cannot deny that thought has gone into what she is wearing.

Wonder Woman Wednesday

This is the cover of JLA Classified 50.  It's by Joshua Middleton.  How gorgeous is this?  I love the body language, their frustration, the fact they aren't a couple.  It's so different to DC's New 52 house style, which I hate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wonder Woman Wednesday

From the style, I'd say this was 1960s or 1970s art. Anyone know who the artist is?

Wonder Woman Wednesday

A young, pouty Diana.  Good colours.

The credit says Cedric Poulal/J-estacado deviantart.  Link here: http://j-estacado.deviantart.com/

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Comfort food for a winter's night

Since I started eating meat again I've re-fallen in love with this recipe.  It's pretty perfect for a cold dark evening.  Considering I don't usually like chicken or peanut butter consider it a winner.

Chicken and peanut stew
Serves 2
Ingredients:
I chicken fillet, chopped into bits
1 400 gram tin of tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of mild paprika
1/2 a tablespoon of oregano
Couple of garlic cloves, chopped or crushed, whatever you can be arsed to do
4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
1/2 a tablespoon of rapeseed oil (or whatever oil you have in the cupboard, butter would work too)

Method:
Mix the cut up chicken, paprika and ginger in a bowl.  Make sure the chicken is well coated.
Heat oil in a saucepan, add chopped onions.
Fry onions until soft.  I do this on a middling heat.  This should take about 5 minutes.  If you've got the heat too high they'll go crispy.  If it's too low it will take aaaaaaaaages.  I keep the lid on to help keep the heat in and get it to cook quicker.
Take onions out and add the cut up piece of chicken and chopped garlic.  Keep the heat on a middling to low temperature.  Fry until the chicken has gone white and there's water in the pan.  You know, I think this means I'm buying the wrong chicken, but it seems to be quite hard to find chicken fillets that haven't had water injected into them. Le sigh.
Anyway this stage should take about 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on the chicken - if you overcook it it will go dry and hard and rank.  I tend to keep the lid on as it helps the stuff to not dry out.
Once the chicken is cooked put the cooked onions back in the pan.
Add the tomatoes, peanut butter and oregano.  Stir everything until the peanut butter has melted.
Add about 100ml of water.  The sauce should be reasonably thick. You want to be able to stir it and not see the bottom of the pan, but you don't want it really runny.
Keep it simmering for about 20 minutes with the lid on.
If the sauce is really runny just take the lid off and boil some of the water off to reduce it.

Serve with brown rice (takes about 20 minutes to cook) and vegetables - I tend to either steam my veg or roast squash and aubergine.  If you are roasting veg you could add a sprinkling of chilli flakes, that would go well with the main stew.

Modifications:
You could add a bit of chicken or vegetable stock with the water too.  I'd put in just a sprinkling.  Any more and it gets really salty.  If you forget to coat the chicken pieces in the ginger and paprika don't worry too much, just add them after you've fried the chicken, stir everything, then continue as normal.  The original recipe calls for salt to be included in the spice mix, but I find this makes it ridiculously salty.  It also asks for a litre of chicken stock, but I don't think that amount is necessary.

To make it vegetarian you could replace the chicken with quorn chunks, but it's not quite the same.  You can't coat the quorn chunks in the spices to start with.  If anyone knows of anything else to replace the chicken let me know in the comments.  I'm a bit rubbish at being creative with recipes.  Quorn does soak up a lot of liquid though, so either use tons of oil, or cook the quorn in a little stock and the spices, and then add onions, tomatoes, peanut butter and the rest.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

A statistical breakdown of pregnancy outcomes

This was done by a friend of mine:


It makes me even more furious, and scared, and hollow, and feel like I've had my teeth kicked out and all those emotions I don't want to face.
The wheel is plotted from 2012 data and uses these stats:
  • Around 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in miscarriage
  • 1 in 200 ending in stillbirth
  • 1 in 200 resulting in termination for medical reasons
  • 1 in 45 births classified as having some form of birth defect
  • Insufficient data available to include neonatal deaths as an outcome

Remember that miscarriage includes the death of a baby up to 24 weeks.  After 24 weeks the death is classified as a stillbirth.  7 in 10 babies die in the first 28 days of life - that's a neonatal death.

PS, I hate the term pregnancy outcome, nearly as much as I hate the term pregnancy loss.  It makes it sound like there's no child involved, no other human, like it just something that happens to the woman.  Fuck that.

Why the FUCK did no one tell us stillbirth happens.  How the FUCK do doctors and midwives think they have the right to decide what we should know.  If the baby was born breathing they wouldn't shy away from giving us all the information.  Instead we get vague cautions given in wishy washy language.  The baby is distressed.  They can have problems.  You don't want to risk anything.  That means FUCK ALL if they don't tell you that there's a risk of death.  If they don't say that a distressed baby means it's not getting any oxygen.  They make it seem like all problems can be fixed.  Fuck right off.

If you've been affected by this post support is available at Sands.  Sands is a UK stillbirth and neonatal death charity.  They support forum is here: www.forum.sandsforum.orgwww.uk-sands.org/.  The main site with all the information on is here: www.uk-sands.org

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Samaritans radar

The Samaritans launched a new app on Wednesday, called Samaritans Radar.  From their website:

[Samaritans radar is] a free web application that monitors your friends’ Tweets, alerting you if it spots anyone who may be struggling to cope. The app gives users a second chance to see potentially worrying Tweets, which might have otherwise been missed.
Created by digital agency Jam using Twitter’s API, Samaritans Radar uses a specially designed algorithm that looks for specific keywords and phrases within a Tweet. It then sends an email alert to the user with a link to the Tweet it has detected, and offers guidance on the best way of reaching out and providing support.

The website for the app says 'turn your social net into a safety net'.

Purple Persuasion wrote about why the app is creepy.  Obviously I also have Ideas.

Let's take the description for the app - who is it a safety net for?  Safety nets are usually for vulnerable people, not friends of vulnerable people.

I have questions about who would use this app.  If you care that much about someone and are wondering if they are struggling, why not just look through their twitter feed. Send them a message. It's not hard to do.  If you don't care enough to do that why would you use the app.

I have concerns about how people will respond to notifications that someone may be in trouble, which is linked back to their motivations for using the app.  Do they just want to feel like they've done their bit.  Do they think that if they send a quick supportive message then everything is OK.  I kind of feel like anyone doing that is more interested in salving their guilty conscience than in actually helping people.

If the person you are following is not a good friend of yours, if you don't know them beyond a twitter persona, if you don't know much about the details of their life, then you aren't best placed to respond.  You don't know jack and you could make things worse.  Using the app doesn't make you more aware of people in crisis, it makes you ghoulish and voyeuristic.  What *really* are you going to do if you see that someone you don't know very well appears to be in crisis.  What could you do.  Unless you know them well, or are trained, you'd probably be better off butting out.

All in all, it's a ridiculous and creepy idea.  If I find out that anyone is using it on me I'll be having Words.