Friday, December 28, 2012

Justice League reviews

Soooo... I got Justice League 14 and 15 from Comixology, for the Captain Marvel backups.

I find myself, actually enjoying Justice League again... particularly the Throne of Atlantis crossover.  Amazing.  I think I just like comic art that takes place underwater.

What I do not like is Superman condescending to Di.  In issue 13 she says (about Barbara Minerva):
'How could I have put my trust in someone like her? How could I not see what she really was?"

Superman then answers her.  Really.  Any fool can see that Diana's questions are spoken musings. They are rhetorical, they are Diana voicing her concerns and worries aloud.  They are not genuine questions for someone to answer.

Then in issue 15 Supes gives her some glasses and starts lecturing her on the benefits of a mask.

Patronising fool.

The old Diana wouldn't have put up with this.

The old Superman would have far too much intelligence and common sense to even consider it.

Men do this a lot to women I think.  I think it's telling that a fella wrote this, because he probably does the same thing in real life.  Whereas women have this done to them, a lot.  It's frustrating.

Perhaps I shall put this down to youth and inexperience.  Perhaps I shall pretend they are all only 19, or a very self centred 21.

I miss maturity in my heroes.  I Di, Arthur, Bruce, Ollie, Hal etc to be in their 30s.  At least.  Age brings a different perspective on events, and a mix of ages makes for a far more interesting story.

On the other hand, the Captain Marvel back up was marvellous.  Even if I miss the old innocent Shazam family.  This is a changed story but it remains good.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I started a tumblr

Mostly because I want an easy quick way to reblog images that I like.

I have come to a decision about how I will use each of my blogs (and twitter).

This blog (Pai) is for informal comics review, essays, ramblings, whinges, celebrations and anything that needs more than three sentences of words.

New readers...start here! shall continue as a formal comics blog for people new to comics.  And I am going to update it more often too.  Honest.

My tumblr, Pai tumbls, is located at  That will be used for reblogging photos, most likely to be of Supergirl and a Wonder Woman, but quiite possibly will cover other heroes too.  I really wanted to do a fuck yeah Supergirl tumblr but don't want to give myself another project, and anyway, there already is one (

Twitter (@sarangacomics)  is for general chit chat and finding out news.

Weekly comics reviews.

Likely to be drunken reviews by the end of the post..

Spoilers ahoy!  For: DCU Presents Black Lightning and Blue Devil 15, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 18, Danger Club 3, Wonder Woman 15, Princeless Short Stories for Warrior Women 2, Superboy 15, Supergirl 15, Birds of Prey 15.
DCU Presents 15 : Black Lightning and Blue Devil
I finished this and I thought, eh, not as good as the first one.  Definitely a filler between the opening and closing issue.  Then I thought about it and thought NO.  This does expand their story, I did like it.  What I don't like are that Blue Devil is human 70% of the time and I don't like Lightning's new costume.  But that's superficial rubbish.  I do like the story.  If you exclude the silly physical and verbal posturing.  Blue Devil now becomes a blue devil by putting on an old devil skin (I know, yeuuch).  In this issue the devil in question want sit back.  But it doesn't want him.  Ooops.  And Jeff's Dad gets involved and kidnapped.
Yeah.  I'm looking forward to the concluding arc.   I picked this up off the shelf, it's not on my standing order list, and I def think that's the way forward.  Even though I'd recc pre new 52 Black Lightning Year 1 to folk who wanted to learn about the character. 

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 18
Marvellous!  Much better!  Still part of the stupid crossover but so much better!  Mostly cause Miles is left alone and has to fight a giant woman in the desert.  And then Spider-Woman turns up and they get all honest with each other (up to a point).  And Miles' Dad has to face up to stuff he did in the military crisis.  But overall, yeah!  I do like Miles.

Danger Club 3
Finally got this in!  MY local comic shop had problems with this title, so I got 4 before 3.  Nevermind.
This may be about kids, but it's def one for the adults.  It's violent, and distressing and sad, and threatening,  It is nothing like Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, done by the same team, but it is still damn good.  I believe the schedule has slowed due to personal, family problems with the creators, but that makes it more special when it comes out.  If you're sick of DC or Marvel's offerings try this out.  It's set on a world where all the adult heroes have left the planet, disappeared, perhaps dies.  Just the kid sidekicks are left.  They have to face up to the few villains also left, deal with rifts amongst their community, and deal with missing their parents and mentors.  In this issue some of the kids get caught in a mindbending trap by a (presumably now dead) villain, another one finds out the president (himself an ex hero) killed all the adults, and another, the most grown up of them all (and probably analogous to a Robin), has to keep the Olympian sedated.  The Olympian is another teen, who in the first issue went power crazy and had to be put down by our Robin analogue.  The Olympian is still pretty destroyed in this issue.

Dammit this is good.

Wonder Woman 15
Better than I expected!  perhaps I'm in a better mood this week because it's the Christmas holidays?
Anyway, Wonder Woman herself is, as always, amazing.  She's diplomatic with Hera and Zola, she's a great fighter with Milan and Orion.
She got surprise swords after that battle cry too.

I adore the depiction of the Gods, and I'm dying to know more about Milan (blindfolded, sees through the eyes of flies).  And Orion is here!  Presumably heralding the rest of the new Gods.  So long as they don't make the Greek gods inferior to the New Gods I'll be happy.  If they do, you shall hear wailing and gnashing of teeth.

You know what though, I def preferred Cliff Chiang's art when he was doing Green Arrow/Black Canary.  it seems awfully stilted now.  Like there's lots of static shots and no flow.

Princeless Short Stories for Warrior Women 2

Go buy it.  Either in your shops or in comixology.  It's a perfect antidote to the shit that Marvel and DC can put out.  It's funny.  You can give it to your kids to read.  It turns fairy tales on their head.  It's got a dragon and an elf and a hapless Prince (winning the Charm classes does not help you in daily life when your daily life is stuck in a dungeon and you have no castle to hand).  And we learn a bit more about our runaway action Princess, but mostly about her armourer (and her family).

I rabbitted on at length about Princeless over on New readers.. and I have since found out you can buy it on Comixology.  So go buy it. Now.  Treat yourself to a late Christmas present.

Superboy 15
Hooboy.  It's H'el on earth.  I expected this to be utterly dreary.  Instead, i got something fun.  And moody Superman!  T-shirted and Caped Superman!  Why hasn't he thrown that stupid outfit out yet? I was disappointed to discover that Martha Kent has HAD NO INPUT into his costume.  Way to go.  Martha making his duds was cute, and sweet and lovely.  Now he's got battle armour.  Battle armour.  On a  Kryptonian living in Earth's atmosphere.  That's ridiculous.

Nevermind.  I liked the issue. 

Supergirl 15
We see a bit of Kara at home, on Krypton, happy and smiley.  I want more of this Kara please.  I understand she's had a shit time, and man I want H'el to just be defeated and fuck off, but I also want positive, optimistic Kara back.  I want to see her positively adjusting to earth life.  Judging by what we've now seen of her in Argo City I reckon this art team can do it.

See, unlike other favourite heroes of mine, I can identify with Kara and want to emulate her.  At her snottiest previous incarnation I understood her rage and her need to go and shitfaced and ignore the world.  In her lighter days I admired her carefree attitude.  I've always wanted her powers, and I reckon she gets to have more fun than Superman does (definitely this current Superman who I don't care for at all).  I admire her silver age happiness, her good naturedness. Unlike my other favourite female heroes I feel closer to Kara.  Wonder Woman is someone I aim to be (but I will never be mature or wise enough to be).  Black Canary is someone I want to be friends with (and probably get drunk with) but Kara is someone who has been a mess, but has come through it and is a good sweet, kind person.  She sometimes strikes out in anger, don't we all, but on the whole she does her best.  And that makes her far more human than the others.  Lets face it, I will never have Black Canary's ninja skills and Wonder Woman is a goddess.  I can't match that.  But I can make mistakes like Kara does and I can try and fix them.  And try to be a decent person.

So for that reason, I want to see a different Kara in the pages of Supergirl.  I want her happy.  I want her content.  I hope that will come soon, after the H'eL on Earth storyline.

Birds of Prey 15
A-ha!  The one I do want to be drunk for.  I've worked out what I'm not happy about with this series.  they are too happy to kill people.
Starling has guns for gods sake.
Katana stabs people with her sword.  And guts them and kills them.
I don't want to read a comic with heroes where they kill people.  I want my heroes to be heroic.  I want them to save the day and the innocents without murdering people.

And then there's the really stupid artwork.  Katana and Condor are fighting lots of ninja nasties and they decide to destroy the cube shaped bomb which will otherwise destroy part of Japan.
The next 2 pictures are the top and bottom of the same page.

Let's look at Katana again shall we:
 it appears we have an escher girl in our BoP comic.
 Now for clarity, here is the panel afterwards where they look at the cut bomb:

After bitching about this to my boyfriend he drew this version:
I think it's better.
B/c it's blurry, top left corner says 'ZOMG!! A BOMS!!'.  Top right says 'FAST! SLICE ITS'
bottom left says 'SLICES' and bottom right says 'YAY! WORLD A SAFE'
Figures are stick men and the bomb looks like an egg on a block, lying on it's side.  He didn't use the comic for reference.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have a super merry christmas!

Mike Maihack is back with another Christmasd Supergirl/Batgirl striip!
(click to embiggen)

Original found here.

Isn't he talented?  Isn't it great?

Merry Christmas everybody!  Hope you're all having a great day :)

Ps, if you want Supergirl/Batgirl goodness check out Maihack's previous strips:
Last year's Christmas comic
The first Supergirl/Batgirl one he did
The second one he did

His webcomic

A Captain Marvel comic that is somehow linked to the Super/Bat girls comic

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jenny Gyllblad and Corey Brotherson comics

Now onto my second to last (or perhaps third to last?) set of comics from Thought Bubble. (Just got Gunnerkrigg Court and  the Cinebook purchases to go now).

The magnificent Clockwork Watch and Magic Of Myths.

I had my eye on these because I'm a massive fan of Jennie Gyllblad's Skal and Jenspiration. Jennie, Corey and Yomi Ayeni have created Clockwork Watch, but it is much more than just a comic.  It's a transmedia project incorporating the comic, films (I think), exhibitions, interactive theatre, role play, letters, prose stories and more.

It was a pleasure to meet the three creators, particularly after talking to them (well mostly Jennie) for so long online.

From, Clockwork Watch I bought The Arrival and the 2013 preview book.  It's a steampunk story, so the Arrival is set in the Victorian era, and starts with an Indian family coming to England.  The father is the head of Science at Calcutta University and an expert inventor.  Most of the story is told through the eyes of his young son.   The father creates a clockwork servant, and orders his son to befriend him.  Woven throughout this is a look at how the son (Janav) and his parents feel at coming to England, how Janav tries to make sense of everything, and the distrust from the public of this new technology, threatening to displace jobs and ruin livelihoods.

Jennie paints the book, all in watercolours, and her work is a mixture of high art and cartooning.  I am a massive fan of watercolours in comics, hence why I like Dustin Nyguen's work for DC.  Jennie does wonderful work.  The colours are fabulous, the faces are expressive, the layout is perfect.  the plotting is good, the lettering complements the action, the dialogue is good.  I think everybody should read this book.

The previews book contains glimpses of the Arrival, glimpses of the next comic, a closer look into Janav's family, information about live events and collaborations, and a look into how Jennie creates the art - from simple lines to the full watercolour finish.

Go buy The Arrival here!

Then there's Magic of Myths.  I'd seen Corey mention it online but didn't know too much detail about it.  Nevertheless, I picked up issue 1 and the 2013 preview.

This book is about Eve, a schoolteacher who by night (I think always at night anyway) is transported to a mythic fantasy world where she has to undergo certain ordeals, before she's let back to her own world.  It's a fairly standard trope but this feels new and modern.  Eve is black, there are no long winded fantasy speeches, no thou and thees, no posturing, no saving the world bollocks.  Eve talks like a normal person.  The art reinforces the mythic elements, especially the glorious panelling done by Sergio Calvet.  Eve's ordeals force her to consider her life thus far and force her to face herself (OK so maybe it does have things in common with other similar plots).

But if feels fresh.  It feels new and it feels engaging. The 2013 preview gives us a sneak peek of next year's volume, a prose story, fan art and some of Calvet's sketchbook.

Magic of Myths is great, nearly as good as Princeless, which is my other modern-take-on-fairytales-and-mythic-stuff-favourite-current-comic.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sugar Glider Stories and mini comics from Thought Bubble

More from my Thought Bubble haul.

Sugar Glider!  I gabbled on about this series over on New readers... earlier this year.  So I was stoked when I found out both creators were at Thought Bubble.  They were on different desks so after my initial foray to one desk and guessing the wrong person (sorry Gary), it was fine, and I came away with Sugar Glider 1 and 2 and another Sugar Glider Stories book.  Then I went to the other desk and badgered Daniel for a while.

These comics are brilliant.  They stand out for a number of reasons - not many indies do superheros (at least not that I've seen), it's set in Newcastle, it has a very Newcastle/UK voice, there's no Americans, and it's good.  Very very good. This is something I'd pass onto people wanting to read or know about comics.  And I'd pass it on over and above any DC or Marvel stuff.
Buy the Sugar Glider issues here.

I'll do a more comprehensive review over on New readers.

I also found myself in possession of  3 mini comics, and I don't know where from.  This is them:
If you know where they came from, or if they are yours, please tell me!  They are my first experiences with mini comics and I think I liked them.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Very very late Thought Bubble comic reviews

These will probably be incoherent as I'm still feeling off colour.

The last review I did is here, and I just talked about two comics then.  I shoudl really have also have talked about The Last Tape In Hell by Sarah Gordon as she is also involved with The Peckham House for Invalids.

The Last Tape In Hell is a short glossy comic with few words but the most amazing colours.  Satan is hard at work, doing adminstrative hellish type things.  His old cassette player is spewing out the sounds of hell (Doom....Dooom...Dooom) until it suddenly packs up, chewing the tape up.  Younger readers probably won't have a clue what I'm talking about here.  Satan then goes off on a search for The Last Tape In Hell.  I can't tell you anymore because I'll spoil it.

It's only 14 pages long but it's glorious.  Gordon's art is stunning.  She's far more inventive than the majority of 'professional' artists I see in Marvel's and DC's products.  Because there is next to no dialogue the art has to tell the story and she uses  suchclever little framing devices, and colours, and mood lines that it's just perfect.

I am so glad I picked this up.  I was at Howard Hardiman's table picking up copies of the Peckham Invalids for a friend, and he pointed this out to me.  So it was a spur of the moment thing.  Definitely a good choice!

You can read more about this comic on her site and also buy it here.  She's on twitter @ratherlemony.
Also, she's done this piece here.  Isn't it great?

Next up, Black Out. I got this because I've been chatting to @elblondino on twitter, and he was one of my target folk to seek out and say hello to at the con.  Him and his fellow stand mate was all dressed up steampunk stylee, like the Clockwork Watch folk at the end of the row of tables, and it all looked very cool.  So elbondino did mention Black Out was rather adult.. so obvs I picked it up immediately.

It is filthy!  In a good way.  It collects 11 stories and they are all, with the exception of the demonologies, incredibly crude.  If you like Tank Girl, or Viz magazine, you'll probably like this.

Wages of Sin is about a dirty fucker living in a hovel who gets haunted by Death and the Devil.  Zingo's Lament is a one pager about a clown who eats kids, or not, and gets sent to hell.  Fat Jackie is another one pager, with a fat dude carving himself into a pumpkin (with the sort of set up and presentation I find hilarious but others make not get). What's inside a girl? is a tale of unrequtied teenage love, with misundertsanidng, booze, acid and cannibalism.  Then there' sex dolls and love in the afterlife ending in a  suicide.

You get the idea.  It's definitely not for kids.  I think it's bloody great though.  You can see a sample page here. You can buy it here, in digital and print formats.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Happy yuletide everybody!

It's the shortest day of the year!  The end of the dreary dark days and the time of feasting!

I sit writing this at 3.46pm. At 3.15 it was going dark.  But no more!  For the next six months the days get longer and longer until they culminate in glorious midsummer day.

I am fortunate indeed to have finished work today, so this truly is the start of my holiday season.  I have my Christmas tree up:

my yule altar:

and my candles:

Sadly my yule altar looks a little sad.  I am having difficulty finding appropriate places for the altars in my new house.  But I shall get there.  For now, it is enough that I know where it is and can look at it.

I am wearing gold, green and red, I have a Wildhearts album playing, a cointreau and tonic to drink and for dinner tonight I am making pirogis and honey biscuits.  I am very sad that I have no mistletoe, holly, ivy or other ritual plants.  Nevertheless, today shall be a celebration.

I wish all of you a happy yule and a merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Comic thoughts

Really short reviews this week, because I'm ill  Should be writing far more, but I'm ill and very very tired.

Aquaman 13 and 14 - I far far prefer my Aqua books when they are exploring Atlantis and not the surface world.  The cultural differences are far more interesting than the surface fights, and the art is always more interesting.  I do kind of wish that the first big crossover wasn't a war with the surface world though.  I think that's where this is going, and I am not impressed.

Ame-Comi girls 11 to 15 - Gretat.  Avril Palmer is Atom and is fully covered up.  The distinction of her being a scientist not an action hero is something I miss from other comics (where anyone with skills or strength atumatically becomes an superhero, regardless of their suitability).  It's brilliant to have a narrative where Shayara is the Point of View character, not Katar, and where Katar is the romantic interest and only serves to drive Shayara's plot forward.  Even her silly skimpy police outfit didn't look stupid, at least not on the last page where she's drawn with respect and strength.

I also got Fanboys vs Zombies as part of Comixiology's current promotion. It's awful.  No one speaks like that, surely.

Demon Knights 14 -  It's full of sarcasm and pretty art.  I approve.

Green Lantern nu52 #1 is a corker.  Nearly makes me want to get the back issues.
Is the War of Light story collected into 1 trade?   Or did ity spread over several series? What issues did it cover?

Smallville 23, 34, 25 - I adore this comic.  It's perfect.  But good grief, what is Bart wearing?

Arrow 1 - better than I expected.  Will read more.  Need more money first though.  Mike Grell's art give sit a very different feel to Smallville.  I was under the impression Arrow was a spin off from Smallville.   It appears not.

Green Arrow 14 and 15 - It feels good to enjoy a Green Arrow book again.   #14 made me almost tempted to go back and read the savage hawkman..
And I like the art.  I know it's not popular, but the cartoonish, scratchiness of it appeals to me.

Detective Comics nu52 1 - i wish this was a comic I could give give to kids.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gym success!

Yesterday in body combat I got my legs at right angles for several side kicks.


On Monday in body balance I got my legs going nearly straight up in the air (this is when we lying on our backs and doing leg stretchy things, obviously).

2 things I have never been able to do before.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Man of Steel trailer number 2

Just watched it.

I am mostly impressed and awed.

I am surprised by Cavill's voice, that is not how I imagine Clark to sound.  Yes yes yes, I know I'm spoiled by Christopher Reeve and Tom Welling.  So shoot me.

Young Clark(s) are excellent.

I am very very surprised that Pa Kent even considered that Clark should have let the folk in the bus die.  I'm a bit concerned by that.  Pa Kent is meant to be his moral compass (as is Ma Kent).  I'm not sure about Pa's certainty that the world would reject him, but maybe that's just because I haven't heard it put in that way before.

The flowing cape is nice.

Ma Kent seems good.

I wish the colours weren't so muted.

Cavill is a very handsome Superman.

Overall, I'm awed.  Of course I'm awed, I'm a huge Superman fan.  I am very much looking forward to this.

Now, does anyone know if there's an English subtitled version of the trailer?  I want to show it to a Deaf friend.

EDIT: Found subtitled versions.  The new trailer is here:
The first trailer is here:
Pity that neither's subtitles tell you who is speaking though.

Abortion Support Network December update

Abortion Support Network December eBulletin:

Timing Is Everything
Last month’s eBulletin went out mere hours before the announcement of a tragic death.  ---- Some of the resulting media coverage around the heartbreaking death of Savita Halppanavar.   ---- ASN receives record-breaking donations – but we still need your help to fundraise.   ---- Women we’ve helped.  ----
Looking ahead to next year.  ---- -choice tool for those who aren’t social media mavens.

•One woman’s death spreads around the world
•ASN in the news
•Enormous thanks for the outpour of support
•Brand new ASN fundraising toolkit
•Women we’ve helpedPlanning for 2013
•London Irish Women’s Network

Rest in peace, Savita Halappanavar
There are not many things to say that have not already been said about the tragic and needless death of Savita Halappanavar, who died in a hospital in Galway on 28 October 2012. Her death, like the death of any young woman looking forward to first time motherhood and the rest of her life, was heartbreaking. And according to many reports, preventable.

In the most horrific example of what happens when access to abortion is restricted, at its heart was the story of a woman who asked her doctor for an abortion, was refused, and died. Her husband, who was with her at the time of her death, has “no doubt” that Savita would still be alive if she’d had an abortion.

On the 3rd of November, a group of Savita’s friends contacted Galway Pro Choice and asked for advice about how to go public with her story. Their only wish was to try to make sure what happened to Savita never happened again.

Our thoughts and hearts are with the husband, family and friends of Savita Halappanavar. We are grateful for their bravery in coming forward with this story, as well as to the people and organisations who continue to fight for against the injustices of abortion laws in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This tragedy came on the heels of several months of pro-choice activity in Ireland, and outrage and sorrow compelled people to additional action:

•14 November: The tragedy appears in the Irish Times, Rally outside the Dail
•17 November: Dublin Marches for Savita
•28 November: Rally outside the Dail during emergency debate on the X Case (defeated 101 to 27)
•1 December: Rally in Galway

Vigils and protests have occurred across Ireland, Northern Ireland, India, London, Germany, New York, and many, many more places.

For more information about this case, pro-choice activity in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the X Case, please visit/follow:
•Galway Pro Choice
•Savita’s Laws
•Unlike Youth Defence, I trust women to decide their lives for themselves
•Choice Ireland
•Alliance for Choice Belfast

ASN in the News
Coming on the heels of the International Day to Decriminalise Abortion and the opening of the MSI clinic in Belfast, Savita’s tragic death brought continued media coverage of abortion in Ireland. We were heartened to see that much of the media coverage also addressed the plight of the thousands of women each year impacted by Ireland’s abortion laws. Here’s a selection:

14 November
The Nation (US), “When Pro Life Kills” by the amazing Katha Pollitt, recommends people donate to ASN.
15 November
BBC Radio London, ASN’s Mara speaks to Gaby Roslin and Paul Ross (from 1.22.25)
16 November
The Guardian, “Hundreds of Irish women forced to come to Britain for abortions”
19 November
“The day we were arrested for selling condoms in Dublin”, Richard Branson’s blog mentions ASN.
28 November
RH Reality Check, “Abortion in Ireland: The Injustice and Day-to-Day Terror Faced by Countless Women”, article written by ASN volunteer and trustee Sarah Fisher

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

It seemed that November was the month where the entire world became aware of the draconian restrictions on abortion in Ireland (and Northern Ireland). As a result, November 2012 saw more donations to ASN than any other month since we opened our virtual doors in October 2009. We received around £5000 in donations, in comparison with our monthly average of £1200. While most were one-off donations, we are edging closer to our goal of £1500 a month – with £350 left to go!

ASN can’t thank you enough. Having this money in the bank means that we will be able to help more women in need and fewer children will go without Christmas presents because their mothers have no money left after paying the £400-£2000 it costs to travel to England for an abortion.

We’ve also heard from numerous people interested in donating their time for us – thank you and we are responding to you as quickly as we can!

So again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Brand new ASN fundraising toolkit
Despite a record-amount of donations received last month, fundraising remains a pressing priority as the number of women we hear from each month continues to rise.

ASN is a really small charity, with no staff, a small income and even smaller operating costs. We dread the end of the month where we’re out of money until the next lot of standing orders comes in and we have to say no to the woman on the other end of the line. Which is where you come in.

Have a bit of time? We have an amazingly easy to follow and newly updated fundraising toolkit that will help you host a pub night, a film screening, or a cake sale on behalf of ASN. Remember that as a small charity (a definition hilariously explained by ASN volunteer Hannah here, we take donations in literally any amount to help women forced to travel to England for a safe abortion.

We’ll gladly take the change under your cushions and the few quid you convince your mates to donate after watching Vera Drake or Revolutionary Road!

Women we’ve heard from
In November, ASN heard from 30 women, including:
•A young couple with a small child. Both have been made redundant and were looking into borrowing from a money lender at extortionate rates. An ASN grant covered the balance required.
•A young woman in the early stages of pregnancy who has been on medication for more than 10 years for a serious illness. She was shocked to learn that, despite the fact that this medication is harmful to pregnancy, she was not allowed to obtain a termination and was instead advised to stop the medication despite potential consequences to her health.
•A mother of one recently single after breaking up with her partner who was cheating on her. She sold her TV and DVD player and borrowed money from her family, but was still £230 short. ASN gave her a grant covering the difference.
•A woman close to the the legal limit to have an abortion who contacted ASN frantic as she’d been so focused on raising £1350 to pay for the procedure she’d forgotten about the cost of flights, which, as they were last minute, were almost £300. ASN helped.
•A woman with no travel documents and only £18 to her name. We helped her to access a medical abortion via
•A mother of three whose partner ran off leaving her with no money the same week she found out she was pregnant.

We thank these women and men for allowing us to share their stories.

Planning for 2013
Exciting things are afoot for ASN in 2013 – including an AGM and a party planned for Thursday 14 March. Save the date!

London Irish Women’s Network
Pro-choice but not into social media? Ann Rossiter (author of Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora) and Marian Larragy have taken responsibility for putting out emails for Irish women in London and people interested in Irish women’s issues. This is especially good for those who aren’t hooked into the activist networks on Facebook and Twitter.

Email to get yourself on the list.

Thank you again for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to provide financial assistance, accommodation and confidential, non-judgemental information to many women who have contacted us for support.

Call +44 (0) 7897 611 593 or email

Abortion Support Network (ASN) is an all-volunteer charity that provides accommodation, financial assistance and confidential, non-judgemental information to women forced to travel from Ireland and pay privately for abortions in England. The cost ranges between £400 and £2000 depending on circumstance and stage of pregnancy. While other organisations campaign for law reform, ASN is the only group on record providing women travelling for abortions with the thing they need most immediately: money.

Registered Charity Number 1142120

Copyright © 2012 Abortion Support Network, All rights reserved.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas decorations

I made a giant paper snowflake!

And in lieu of a proper post I'm going to post instructions on how to make it.  Which is a double cheat because I put them on twitter y2 days ago.

Forgive me.

1) get a square of coloured paper. Fold in half to make a triangle. Fold it in half again (still keeping it in a triangle shape.
2) Now you have 3 sides. One is open and is the edges of the paper (side1). One is fully folded over with no open edges (side 2)and the last one has two folded edges (side 3).
3) On side 3 cut 3 lines into the triangle.  These lines should be parallel to side 1. The cuts need to go nearly all the way up to side 2.  The cuts should be roughly equidistant from each other and one will be long and one will be short.
4) Now open up your paper.  You will see it now has flaps.
5) Take the 2 most central flaps of paper bend them together and fasten with cellotape or glue to make  tube (see the centre of each petal of the snowflake above)
5) Take the next most central flaps and fold them the OTHER way and fasten the tips together (like with the first one). Repeat for the next two flaps, remembering to alternate the direction you fold the flaps together.
6) Do this with 6 squares of paper. When each one is folded you will see the snowflake petals each have 2 tips.  Take two petals and fasten the tips to each other with glue or sellotape.  Tthis will become the central part of your snowflake.

7) Repeat with all 4 other petals.
8) Once all done, hold your snowflake up by one outside tip. You will see the snowflake shape.
9) Then you need to attach each part of the flake to it's neighbour. You can see in the picture where I've done it. We used staples. It's a bit fiddly, but prolly easier then cellotape. Then admire!

It sounds complicated but it's not. These instructions might make more sense while you're making the snowflake. Let me know if they work.  And merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

DC Comic reviews!

After having so much fun with my Thought Bubble comics I am thoroughly thoroughly fed up with most of DC's products.  I don't feel interested and excited to read most of my weekly haul, I feel antipathy.  Maybe that's because when I buy ongoing series I know what is going to happen.  When I buy the odd off the shelf Dc book I have no idea of the backstory or anything and I am just thrown into a (for me) one off issue.

With that rather negative start, let's begin reviewing the last few weeks worth of books.  Spoilers ahead.
Blue Beetle 13
This was an off the shelf impulse buy.  And was fun.  Jaime is in space and fighting other scarabs, and then meets someone who admires his control over the scarab armour, but looks creepy, and then is narrowly not met by someone who wants to steal his armour back.
I have no idea how we got to this set of events and I don't care.  I enjoyed this issue, but not so much that I want to buy issue 14.
The Superman 13 sneak preview remains as pointless as ever,

Animal Man 14
It's still in crossover hell.  It started as a really strong horror comic, without obvious links to the rest of the DCU, but now that he's joined up with Black Orchid, Constantine, Gorilla Grodd, a red skinned Beast Boy etc, it's lost some of the special feeling.  It's like it's brought back down to Earth (one) and it's lost the power of the horror, because Buddy Baker is forced to interact with other heroes.  I'll still keep it on my pull list though, because I think once the crossover is finished, it will go back to being a scary horror comic.

Birds of Prey 14
Better than I expected.  It took me ages to work out what was happening on the cover, and I'm still confused as to what part the dude is, and how Starling and Black Canary work.  This is a true Escher Girl image.  Having said that, inside the comic story was actually quite good, if not in any way memorable  An improvement on the previous couple of issues at least.  I do wish Batgirl wasn't in the team though.  She just doesn't seem to fit.

DC Universe Presents 14 - Black Lightning and Blue Devil
Hell yeah this was good.  I am definitely getting the next issue.  These were a couple of my favourite b-list characters pre the new 52, and this issues keeps the attraction and the style, even while changing the origins a bit.

Superboy 14
It's crossover hell again.  And Kon just keeps doing the same things he's done in all other issues. get pissed off and hits things.  Hopefully this will improve, but I'm not holding my breath.

Supergirl 14
And here I get sad.  One of my favourite iconic characters has been rebooted.  The artist, Mahmud Asrar, and the writer, Mike Johnson, are doing a fine story, but I'm not sure it's the story I want to read.  Or rather, I am still sad we lost the previous incarnation of Kara.   But perhaps I shouldn't compare the two at all?  Perhaps that is unfair.  I think it is.  This Kara is brave and bright, and far more independent than the previous Kara's.  She is definitely her own woman and not reliant on Kal at all.  She is more like Kara from Smallville actually (without the destiny nonsense and with more confusion).  I really like that she's got her own life, and that her friend is the Silver banshee (and I loved how Asrar drew the banshee).  In fact, Asrar is now one of my favourite artists.

This series has such a different feeling to the previous series.  Less superhero-ey, less comedic, and less young, actually.  Both in terms of the characters and the style of story.  It's sadder and more mature.  I will keep buying it, and I am enjoying it.  But every time I read it I struggle to work out my feelings for it.  It probably doesn't help that this is also stuck in crossover hell.

Comic reviews!!!

These have been a long time coming.  As I said before I spent 80 quid on comics at Thought Bubble, and because I've been busy moving house and doing coursework it took me a while to start reading them.  Now I've read all apart from the 3 Cinebook books, for which I want a full afternoon spare in which to revel in them, and Howard Hardiman's Badger books, for which I want an evening to sit and relax with them.

But I now feel ready to start getting down my thoughts on the other books I got.  The best books will also be reviewed on New readers.

I'll start with the weakest of the lot - Team Girl Comic.  This wasn't something I went looking to buy, but when I saw it I thought it might be the sorta thing I'd like.  You may remember I had a Wonder Woman costume on.  So there I was, stopped at the table, selling TEAM GIRL comics, and I noticed they had about 5 eager looking enthusiastic women all sort of crowded round ready to sell comics to the punters.  In fact, there's a picture of them here. But what with the enthusiasm, and me in the WW costume, and it being a girl comic, it all felt a bit cliched, which was mildly embarrassing, but also quite nice, I think.  Anyway it meant I didn't chat much to them, even though they were all perfectly nice people, and advised me to get issues 5 and 6 as they were the best.  So I did.

It's an anthology, with strips by women artists/writers in the Glasgow area.  The problem is the comics aren't that great.  The quality of work is variable and the only pieces that really stand out are Penny Sharp's Fox comics.  The rest I can easily leave.  However, I guess that's the beauty of anthology comics.  You take a punt and everything is a surprise.  Occasionally you discover a gem.  I have the first two issues of The Girly Comic, which was doing a similar thing, but I feel that The Girly Comic was much better.  Mind you, I haven't re-read them for years, so maybe they are bad too...

Next up I read Julia Scheele's I don't like my hair neat.  I first came across Julia in The Peckham House for Invalids.  I hadn't set out to find her at Thought Bubble, but I saw her name on the table and it rang a few bells and I asked her if she was involved with the Peckham House and she said yes, and so I bought the comic.  I think my boyfriend was buying something else from the same table at the time.  It helped that I saw this image of hers being given away as a postcard:

Julia's blog is here and she is on twitter at @juliascheele.  I don't like my hair neat is a collection of stories, the first (and main) one being about a woman fearing she might be pregnant. Then there's a page showing 'a short history of touches' which is actually quite moving, and a page showing what is in her handbag ( a wonder woman badge and a lot of tobacco and filters, amongst other things).  Julia's strength is in her colours.  They are incredibly vibrant and full of life.  Positive (written by Katie West) and Diem (words and concept by Chrissy Williams) are mesmerising.
On a more physical and less visual note, the paper this has been printed on is gorgeous!

That's enough for ThoughtBubble stuff for tonight.  I'll do more reviews of these indie comics in a few days, and now move onto a few DC issues which are languishing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thought Bubble 2012

I went to Thought Bubble this year and it was ace!

Sadly we could only go on the Saturday and we had the world's most horrendous train journey back (ending in a taxi from Peterborough to Norwich, where the taxi driver didn't know where Norwich is.  I kid you not) but the day itself was fantastic.

I went dressed as Wonder Woman:
Instead of buying a WW symbol top I got an eagle necklace and wore that instead:
In case you can't see clearly, the gemstones are blue.

I felt like a bit of a charlie at first (for charlie, read fool) but quickly got over that.  There were a few other Wonder Woman there (including a roller derby Wondy) and some appropriately tall and lithe Wondys.  I was definitely the fat one. But I enjoyed it and I reckon there's room for a few fat Wonder Women in the world :)

Most of the day was spent trawling the stalls but we did get to go to 1 panel - comic and society. It wasn't quite what I expected (a political analysis of comics), and was more of a history of American comics.  Still, it was interesting, and I was proud that I already knew most of the superhero stuff he talked about, and I even knew some stuff the lecturer didn't! (such a nerd).

I spent 80 quid on comics (the boyfriend spent 60 quid) and I met lots of people I'd previously only chatted to on twitter, which was great.  I'll post reviews of each comic I bought and talk aboutt he creators and who I met as I do the reviews.  I'll also feature the best comics on New readers...

The stallholders were on the whole from the indie scene.  There were a few professionals, but I only got to chat briefly to Phil Noto because his table was empty at the same time as we were buying a Yanick Paquette Swamp Thing poster (Paquette and Noto were seated next to each other).  I would have brought comics for the professionals to sign but unfortunately they were all in boxes due to the imminent house move.  I bumped into a twitter friend Lee Hiley who I had met previously at London Super Comic Con in February, which was really cool.  Lee got an Impulse comic signed by Mark Waid and I got jealous.  Next year I shall bring stuff!

I also didn't get a copy of the Thought Bubble 2012 anthology.  So I shall order it from my local comic book shop instead.  We also didn't go to the British comics awards because we were tired and hungry and wanted food before getting our train back.

I am definitely going to go back to Thought Bubble next year, and for the full weekend.  I'd love to go to more panels and can only do that and comic shopping if I go for the full two days.

My next con to look forward to is the next London Super Comic Con where I shall gush at Peter David at be dressed as a Blue Lantern. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Personal achievement unlocked!

So, I've been back at the gym.  I started back in November, went for about 1.5 weeks, then had nearly 2 weeks off due to being away from work and moving house.  Went back again a couple of days ago.

I'm doing the body balance and the body combat classes, and this Friday I am determined to go use the gym equipment, even though it terrifies me.

My personal achievement is that I can now do sit ups!  And a few press ups, and I can touch the floor with (mostly) straight legs.

I admittedly, I cannot do many sit ups/press ups, but given that before I rejoined the gym earlier this year I have never ever been able to to do any, even when I was previously a member, I'm well pleased with myself.  The press ups are full body ones too, not with the knees but with the toes.

My next goal is to be able to to the abs work for the full length of the track (about 4 minutes) and to be able to touch my toes/the floor without having done an hours exercise first.  A few leg stretches beforehand as warm up would make me happy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Free books and comics!

As mentioned in the previous posts, I'm clearing shelf space and getting rid of books and comics.

If you want any of these let me know and I'll just ask you to pay postage and donate some money towards one of the following charities:
The RSPB's Albatross campaign
Leeway Women's refuge

I have reviewed a couple of the comics on New readers..., and have added in links to the relevant reviews.

Email me on paicomics at yahoo dot co dot uk if you want any of these.

2. All Over the World and Other Stories
3. Semantics: Primes and Universals
4. You Don't Look Forty, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz (Paperback, 1990)
5. I''ll Be Your Slave (Yaoi)
6. Antique Bakery Volume (yaoi)
7. Body Modification
8. Last Four Things
9. The Moon and Sandals Volume 2 (yaoi)
10. The Moon and the Sandals: Volume 1 (yaoi)
11. Iono-Sama Fanatics: Volume 1 (yuri)
12. Shinobu Kokoro (yaoi)
13. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
14. I am Legend by Richard Matheson (Paperback, 1999)
15. I, Coriander by Sally Gardner (Hardback, 2005)
16. Dragonslippers: This Is What An Abusive Relationship Looks Like
17. Collins World Atlas
18. Spiderman Annual: 2003 by Egmont Childrens Books (Hardback, 2002)
19. Red Sky At Night
20. Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly
21. Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show
22. The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin (Paperback, 1993)
23. Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel by Scott Beatty (Hardback, 2002)
24. Freddie & Me: A Coming of Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody
25. The Black Death: The Intimate Story of a Village in Crisis, 1345-50 by John Hatcher (Paperback, 2009)
26. The Other Wind: An Earthsea Novel by Ursula Le Guin (Hardback, 2002)
27. The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan (Paperback, 2010)
28. The Mammoth Book of Travel in Dangerous Places by John Keay (Paperback, 2002)
29. Tales from Earthsea: Short Stories by Ursula Le Guin (Paperback, 2003)
30. With Her in Ourland: Sequel to Herland
31. Herland von Charlotte Perk Gilman (1979)
32. Fire Under the Snow
33. New Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman (Paperback, 2003)
34. Epics of Everyday Life: Encounters in a Changing Russia by Susan Richards (Hardback, 1990)
35. Listening to Trees by Thea Holly (Paperback, 2001)
36. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

More free music!

I'm still desperately trying to get rid of my CDs and books that I don't listen to/read, without the hassle of putting them on ebay.  So as with yesterday's blog, if you want any of these CDs, let me know.  I'll send them to wherever you are, and may ask you to pay postage (it will be about 80p per disc I reckon) and possibly donate some money to a charity of my choice (ASN, the RSPB's Albatross campaign, or Leeway Women's refuge).

If you want any of these email me on paicomics at yahoo dot co dot uk.  Otherwise they are going to a charity shop.

Go on, do me a favour, take them off my hands.

A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms
Afghan Whigs - 1965
Ash - Trailer
At the Drive in - 3 albums ( copied CD)
Audioslave - Out of Exile
Bad Religion - Stranger Than Fiction
Blondie - Parallel Lines
Buzzcocks - Another Music In A Different Kitchen
Clash, the - Sandinista
Clash, the - The Clash
Clash, The - Combat Rock
Dead 60s, The The Dead 60s
Decemberists - Picaresque
 Deftones - Deftones
Divine Comedy, the - A Short Album About Love
 Doors, the- The Doors
 Drugstore - Drugstore
Dubstar - Stars
Everclear - So Much for the Afterglow
Fat Wreck Chords compilations - Survival of the Fattest
Fat Wreck Chords compilations - Physical Fatness
Fat Wreck Chords compilations Honest Don's Greatest Shits
 Fat Wreck Chords compilations Fat Music for Fat People
Fear Factory - Obsolete
Flaming Lips, the - Clouds Taste Metallic
Gene - Rising for Sunset
Gin Blossoms - Follow You Down
Gladys Knight & the Pips Every Beat Of My Heart 
  Godsmack - Awake
Goldfrapp - Supernature
Goldfrapp - Black Cherry
Green Day Dookie
Green Day - 3069 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours
Green Day Shenanigans
Guano Apes - Don't Give Me Names
Inme - OvergrownEden
Jackson, Michael Bad
Jackson, Michael - Thriller
Johnny Boy - Johhny Boy
Juliana Hatfield - Beautiful Creature
Juliana Hatfield Juliana''s Pony
Kaiser Chiefs Employment
Kill II This Another Cross II Bare 
Lemonheads, the - Car Button Cloth
Lennox, Annie - Medusa
Less Than Jake - Borders & Boundaries
Lever - Mustard
LK - Graceless
Lurkers, the - Live in Berlin
Marilyn Manson - Smells Like Children
Marilyn Manson - Golden Age Of Grotesque
Marilyn Manson - Omega
Massive Attack - Rising Son
Mercury Rev - All Is Dream
Midget - Alco Pop
Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The A Jackknife To A Swan
Millencolin - Home from home
Moloko - Things to Make and Do
Morcheeba - Trigger Hippie
Morcheeba - Tape Loop
Morcheeba - The Music That We Hear
Morrisette, Alanis - Under Rug Swept
Movie Soundtrack - The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience
Movie Soundtrack - Boston Kickout
Muse - Origin Of Symmetry
Music, the Welcome to the North
My Ruin - Speak and Destroy
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads
Nicolette Let No One Live Rent Free In Your Head
No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom
O'Connor, Sinead Am I Not Your Girl?
O'Connor, Sinead The Lion and the Cobra
Oasis - What's the Story Morning Glory?
Ocean Colour Scene Ocean Colour Scene 
Pennywise - About Time
Pixies - Doolittle
Pixies Surfer Rosa/Come on Pilgrim
Pixies - Complete B-Sides
Pixies Tromp Le Monde
Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing
Placebo - Black Market Music
Pretty Girls Make Graves - The New Romance
Primal Scream - Echo Dek
Public Enemy - Fear of A Black Planet
Queens of the Stone Age - Queens of the Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
Radiohead - My Iron Lung
Radiohead - The Bends
Ramones - Rocket to Russia
Ramones - We're Outta Here
Rancid - Indestructible
Raveonettes - Whip It On
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Reed, Lou - Ecstasy
Regular Fries - Blueprint for a Higher Civilisation
Ruby - Short Staffed at the Gene Pool
Sebadoh - Sebadoh
Senseless Things - The first too many
Shelter Mantra
Shelter Beyond Planet Earth
Sick of it all - Live in a dive
Sidi Bou Said - Bodies
Silverchair Freak Show
Skindred - Babylon
Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out
Sleater-Kinney The Hot Rock
Slipknot - Slipknot
Smashing Pumpkins - Zero 
Soulwax - Much Against Everyone's Advice 
Space - Tin Planet
Stereo MCs - Connected
Strangelove - Another Night in
Strangelove - The Greatest Show On Earth
Sweet 75 - Sweet 75
Teenage Fanclub - Grand Prix
Teenage Fanclub - Man-Made
Thin Lizzy - Whiskey in the Jar
Tool - Opiate
Tura Satana - All Is Not Well
Vans compilation Off the Wall
Various Artists - Discovered
Various Artists - Punk O Rama – straight outta the pit
Various Artists - The Gone with the Wind of Punk Rock Samplers
Weezer - Blue Album
Winx - Left Above The Clouds
Zero - Simple Things 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Free music!

Hi all.  I've not been around lately because I've been away with work and this week I moved house.  After the move I cleared out a lot of my CDs and books and am not getting rid of a lot.  Given that there's no point listing them on ebay I figured I'd see if anyone reading this wants any.  They are mostly a mix of metal, punk and indie (this list gives you an insight into my musical taste!)

All of the following are without cases, if actual albums, or in a plastic sleeve if copies.  The free promo cds are in their original sleeves.  I'll send them wherever you are, and may ask you to pay postage (it will be about 80p per disc I reckon) and possibly donate some money to a charity of my choice (ASN, the RSPB's Albatross campaign, or Leeway Women's refuge).

If you want any of these email me on paicomics at yahoo dot co dot uk
Otherwise the copied CDs are getting binned and the rest are going to a charity shop.

(edited to take out the claimed CDs)

ABC/ID records - The psychobilly singles collection (Album, Copy)
Astrid - Boy for you (Album, Actual)
Audioslave   - ??? (Album, Copy)
Bad Religion - The New america (Album, Copy)
Black, Frank - Pistoleros (Album, Actual)
Clint Boon Experience, The compact guide to pop music and space travel (Album, Actual)
Cop Out - Free compilation (Album, Actual)
Dark Star - Dark Star promo cd (Album, Actual)
Deftones Promo cd – no idea what album (Album, Actual)
Demented are go - ??  (Album, Copy)

DJ Shadow - Endtroducing (Album, Copy)
Doors - Greatest Hits (Album, Actual)
Doves - Lost Souls (Album, Actual)
Dubstar - The self same thing (Single, Actual)
Echo & the Bunnymen - What are you going to do with your life? (Album, Copy)
Evanescence - Fallen (Album, Copy)
Goya Dress - Rooms (Album, Actual)
 Hatfield, Juliana - Bonus enhanced CD for some album
Junkie XL - Big sounds of the drag (Album, Copy)
Kerrang - Pinnacle Independent noise (Album, Actual)
Live - Throwing Copper (Album, Copy)
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Have a ball/are a drag (Album, Copy)

Metal Hammer - Brutal bunch 3 (Album, Actual)
Metal Hammer - Killing Cuts 6 (Album, Actual)
Metal Hammer - Killing Cuts 4 (Album, Actual)
Metal Hammer - Hammered vol 6 (Album, Actual)
Moby - Play (Album, Actual)
New to Q - Free compilation (Actual)
Orton, Beth - Central Reservation (Album, Actual)
Orton, Beth - Trailer Park (Album, Actual)
Orton, Beth - Daybreaker (Album, Copy)
Patrick Jones - Commemoration & Amnesia (Album, Actual)
Pennywise - Straight Ahead (Album, Actual)
Placebo - Sleeping with ghosts (Album, Copy)
Prodgy - Music for the jilted generation (Album, Actual)
Punk compilation - Made by a friend (Album, Copy)
Punk compilation - Made by a friend (Album, Actual)
Radio Kerrang - Free compilation (Album, Actual)
Radio Kerrang - Free compilation (Album, Actual)
Radio Kerrang - Free compilation (Album, Actual)
Red Hot chilli peppers - By the way (Album, Copy)
Reel Big Fish - Why do they rock so hard (Album, Copy)
Reel Big Fish - Turn the radio off (Album, Copy)
REM -  don't know which, but it has everybody hurts on it (Album, Actual)
Rock Sounds - Free compilation (Album, Actual)
Scarfo - Alkaline (Album, Actual)
Sebadoh - III disc 1 (Album, Copy)
Segovia ( Album, Copy)
Shed 7 - ??? (Album, Copy)
Smashing Pumpkins - ??? It's the one with Siva and rhinoceros on (Album, Actual)
Soundgarden -??? (Album, Copy)
Soundgarden - Louder than Love (Album, Copy)
Sunday Times - freebie 30 years of punk (Album, Actual)
The Beach Boys -  Best of?? (Album, Copy)
Tura Satana - ??? (Album, Actual)
U2 - The best of (Album, Copy)
Velvet Revolver - Contraband (Album, Copy)
Weezer - The Green album (Album, Copy)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Police and Crime Commisioners

The government, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that each UK county will now have their own elected police commissioner.

I think this is beyond stupid.  Admittedly, the only thing I know about police commissioners is all wrapped up in the character of Jim Gordon.  So off, I go to do some research.

Here is an article by the BBC on the folk standing for election in Norfolk.
It syas:
"PCCs, as they will be known, will be responsible for setting priorities for their police force, overseeing its budget and hiring the chief constable.
Those in the biggest force areas will get salaries of more than £100,000 and no prior police force experience is needed."

Emphasis mine.

How on earth can you set priorities for something and control a budget when you have no experience in the area?
Anyone running a regional cop shop should have experience of coppering.  It is ridiculous that candidates can have none.

The Tory candidate has more information on what the PCC job will do.  From it:
"Police Commissioner is a new job introduced by the Government to bring direct democratic accountability to England’s policing"
That will only work if the general public also knows about coppering.  if we really understand the process and can boot people out if they aren't doing right.  In reality, the general public (including myself) knows fuck all about coppering and will probably be impressed if the PCC makes a big noise about certain high profile crimes.

Coppering should not be subject to the democratic process, it doesn't work.  Coppering has other checks in it which on the whole work OK.  Certainly they won't be improved by a PCC.

Onto the candidate's election statements.

Jamie Athill, Conservative.  Oh fuck he's got 35 years military experience.  The army and the police force are entirely different things, and no one who is that embedded in the military should be let anywhere the police.  Just, no.  No way.

Stephen William Bett, Independent.  He's ex Tory. He pledges to keep party politics out of policing.  Which is a good start.  He says his priority crimes include:
drug dealing, sexual offences, domestic violence, hate crime and anti-social behaviour.
I'd quite like to know how he's going to deal with these.

On the plus side, he has actually had experience of coppering, as he's been on the Police Authority for 16 years, and spent the last 6 years as Chairman.  In all honesty, I have no idea how well he's done.  Norwich is one of the safest cities in the UK, with the lowest rate of crime.  Which is good, but I don't know how much of that is to do with effective policing, and how much to do with culture.

James Joyce, Liberal Democrat.  He's got an amazing bow tie.  But more importantly, he has been on the Police Authority for 7 years and has been Chairman of Norfolk Crimestoppers for the last 6 years.
So far it's looking like it will be either Joyce or Bett who will get my vote.

The website says:
His key priorities will include:

  • Cutting bureaucracy to help the police to spend more time out on the streets.
  • Targeting more resources on rape and domestic violence.
  • Developing community policing with new powers for communities to tackle anti-social behaviour.
  • Toughening up community sentencing.
  • Better support for the victims of crime and the expansion of restorative justice.
  • Closer cooperation between the police and other key local agencies, particularly health and social services.
He's specifically mentioned fighting rape and domestic violence.  I think he'll be more likely to get my vote.  Unfortunately he also talks about "driving out inefficiency".  I just feel that's an easy phrase anyone and everyone trots out and it doesn't really mean anything.

Steve Morphew, Labour.  Now, I used to work with his HR organisation so I feel like I do know him a bit.  He has no policing experience and spends a section of the election statement waffling on about peace of mind in regards to areas not linked to policing.  What has council tax got to do with the police force?

Then he says:
I am experienced in leading large public sector organisations, respecting the independence of professionals and holding senior officials to account. I have worked successfully in partnership with many organisations of differing political opinions and none. My overriding priority is, and must always be, your peace of mind.

Experience in large public sector organisations, respecting independence and everything else he talks about there is irrelevant to policing.  Particularly when he's up against candidates with actual POLICE EXPERIENCE.  I seem to recall that when he was leader of the City Council there was a housing scandal which forced him to resign.  I don't think I'll be voting for him

Lastly, Matthew James Smith, UKIP.  Oh christ.  He says he will (asterisks mine):
  • Will put the victim first and not the criminal*
  • Refuse to pander to political correctness or dangerous quota seeking systems**
  • Fight to get our Police force back on the front line and not stuck behind a desk filling in paperwork
  • To prioritise real Police over PCSO’s
  • To re-connect Police and local communities
*This doesn't happen. Ever.
**Political  correctness is about not insulting people through comments on their race/sexuality/gender/other inviolable things.  It should be considered good to not be rude.  I would be interested to know what quota seeking systems he is referring to and why they are dangerous.  I suspect they do not work as he thinks they work.

So there you have it.  Our candidates for chief copper.  I was considering not voting at all, because I think the whole thing is ridiculous.  And I think politicos should be kept well away from day to day policing.  But, I am rather keen on exercising my right to vote and now that I know 2 candidates have policing experience (of a sort) and one specifically mentions prioritising rape and domestic violence, I think I will vote for Mr Joyce.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We are Norwich organise counter demonstration against racist EDL march

A racist fascist organisation called the English Defence League are marching in Norwich today, because they are upset that a man was selling Islamophobic, hate motivated leaflets.  Well boo fucking hoo.  It is, quite rightly, illegal to sell leaflets containing hate speech.  I was furious when I found out the EDL were marching in Norwich, and very pleased when I heard a counter march was being held by We Are Norwich.  But I'm not at the march, mostly because I heard there might be violence and I'm scared (also because I have house stuff to do, we may be moving soon).  I don't want to get caught up in the fights (if there are any).  But I'm also ashamed of myself for not going, because I'm giving in to their tactics.  If you give in to fear then they can spread and win.  That's not right.

But there you have it - I'm afeard, and I'm at home blogging about it, and not there.  I am following it on twitter though - search for #wearenorwich, and I'm very proud of my friends and everyone else who is there.

Fuck I'm still furious those bastards dare to turn up in my fucking city.  Piss off EDL.  We don't want you and we don't support you.  Go back to your poisonous little rock.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Comics review

I only got 1 real paper comci this week, but I did get a lot of digital ones.  Spoilers ahead for Ultimate Spider-Man 16.1, Ame-Comic Girls 1 to 8, Smallville 16-21 and Batman: L'il Gotham.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A belated happy halloween!

I didn't get a Halloween post up in time.  Didn't even write one before the day.  It was on my mind though.  I'd been thinking about it's significance for the couple of weeks prior to it, but I didn't manage to celebrate in quite the style I wanted.  I was going to take some time out to remember those people I have known who have died, and I was going to make a dinner with pumpkin in, and cook a pumpkin pie, and carve a pumpkin.

As it happens I went and saw a friend after work, to pay back some money I owed and then we got to discussing work issues.  By the time I got home I only had time to do a pizza, and then at 8 we started on the pumpkin pie, and the first pastry went wrong, so we didn't finish till 10pm.

I did get my altar set up though:
Despite the fact I didn't celebrate as planned, I still feel it was a good day.  As many of you probably know pagans regards Halloween as the death of the year.  From that point of view, I was bloody glad when Halloween rolled around because this last year has been poxy.  I've been really stressed doing my BSL course and then my boyfriend had his bicycle accident 10 weeks ago.  And we're selling our house.  I was originallyhoping to move into the new place on Halloween (new house, new year, all the jazz) but delays upon delays has meant we still don't have a move date.  Argh.  So, I'm very glad it's a new year.  I feel re-energised, more optimistic, more relaxed.

I want to complete by remembering those who have died.  Caroline, Bill and Lily.  I miss you and wish I'd known you better.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
Until we meet again
May Love hold you in the hollow of her hand

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Exercising my way to an Amazon body

I've decided to write about my time at the gym, and my exercise, and probably my wobbly body.  This is something I've deliberately steered away from before because I don't want to add to the scores of media dissecting weight and women's dissatisfaction with their bodies - that drive to always lose another 3lbs, no matter your current weight.  Also, I know at least one person reading this has an eating disorder which involved exercise, and I am conscious that I don't want to trigger them.
So, with that said, please don't feel the pressure to read if you think this topic may upset you.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Women can do maths thank you very much

So, this article:

talks a bit about the assumption that women are crap at maths. I’m astounded that people think this. I have never, ever had the idea that women can’t do maths. I don’t think this idea has ever been expressed to me. I had a friend who took her GCSE maths at age 14 (normally you do this at at age 16) and got As for it (the top grade). She then went on to do AS level maths at age 16 (you normally fo this at age 18) then you did a maths degree at university.

She wasn’t the only one who did these exams early either. There were between 6 and 8 girls in my school who did these exams early.

From age 13 to 18 I went to an all girls school. An all girls grammar school. After reading the above article I am suddenly, and for the first time in my life, grateful for the opportunties that school gave me. I now realise, that because we were all girls we weren’t subject to the idea that women can’t do science, or maths, or any of those ‘hard’ intelligent subjects. I hated my school, I hated the environment, I didn’t like how it was run and I was depressed. But at the very least I was in an environment where I was able to learn with other people at the same level as me, and I wasn’t taught that women can’t do maths. That’s an amazing thing.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The weekly comics review

I'm going to start it up again.  I think.  I must admit I'm a bit disillusioned by DC's recent output.  The new 52 has been a big disappointment.  There's too much to say about why this is at this point, so I'll start the reviews and elaborate as I go.

Spoilers ahead for:
Justice League 13, Superboy 13, Supergirl 13, Birds of Prey 13, Green Lantern Corps 13, Wonder Woman 13, Swamp Thing 13, Ultimate Spider-Man 16, Angel and Faith 14,  Justice League Dark 13, Teen Titans 13.
Justice League 13
I am utterly disappointed in this title.  The first issue was fabulous.  Really good fun.  Energetic.  Exciting.  Cocky.  Brilliant.  The rest of the arc that #1 kickstarted was fun, but not as memorable as #1.  Now it's turned into utter rot.  I'm not even referring to the Wonder Woman/Superman romance.  As much as that is not to my taste it could still be a good story, if told well.  Unfortunately the dialogue and plotting is boring and the art is awful.  Where the art matches the characters and the plot, it's dull and by the numbers.  Where it's meant to be romantic it looks stilted and awkward.  The anatomy is sometimes bad and there is too much emphasis on showing Diana's arse and her sexiness.  The colouring, inking and the movement lines are nice.  But overall the art detracts from the story.

I was keeping this on my pull list because I enjoyed the Captain Marvel backup.  It frustrates me that we have lost the old innocent Batson family, but if I forget about them I did like the new Marvel.  However in this issue it is gone and replaced by On the Outs which looks like a link in to the Justice League America title, and is also utterly boring.  It doesn't help that Amanda Waller is now a skinny little thing.

Rubbish. I've now dropped this title. 

Superboy 13
Egads, all I can see on the cover is a pair of enormous metal boobs.  This is not a good start.  I'm also thinking about dropping this title.  The art is lovely, but I'm not invested in the characters.  It turns out that this Superboy just isn't doing it for me.

Supergirl 13
The art in this series has been absolutely gorgeous.  Unfortunately regular artist mahmud Asrar did not do thsi issue and the guest artist Sam Basri just cannot make Kara's skirtless/trouserless costume look right.  It's fine until you get to the bottom of the leotard and then it just looks stupid.

I have been enjoying this series but it doesn't really feel like Supergirl to me yet.  Kara should be more innocent, she should be happier, she should be trusting of her cousin.  I know that her reactions to date have been more realistic given her new history, but this still feels a little like someone else in the Supergirl costume.  Nevertheless I shall keep buying it and hope I get more attached later.

Birds of Prey 13
Another disappointment.  It started off so well.  Starling is great, so is Black Canary.  Katana I can take or leave (I have always been that way) and I really enjoyed Poison Ivy's inclusion.  The Batgirl came on the scene and my enthusiasm level dropped.  Then Ivy left in the most obvious-standard-ex-villain-betrays-the-team-storyline possible, and now I'm ceasing to care.  Black Canary no longer seems to have that essential goodness or mothering instinct to her character.  Add to that some occasionally exploitative art, Black Canary losing her legacy identity and the Penguin giving Dinah her superhero name, and I'm really narked.

Another one to possibly cancel.  3 out of 4 so far.  We're not doing too well are we?

Green Lantern Corps 13
This I just picked up off the shelf because it looked fun, and it actually caught my interest.  Guy has been promoted to Lantern Sentinel and then jeopardises it because of some ugly alien threat.  the Guardians appear to have let a super criminal out of his cage.  I enjoyed this but I don't think I'll necessarily be picking up the next issue.  We'll see.  I'm far more interested in what the Guardians are up to than I am in Guy's new job.  It was pretty obvious that he'd wreck it as soon as he'd been given it.

Wonder Woman 13
I love the depictions of the Gods in this.  It's my favourite thing about the new 52.  Diana is portrayed as a lot tougher than previous incarnations, which is a viewpoint I can get behind.  OK, so I find Zeus being Di's father dull and the Amazon's as man haters obnoxious, but the rest of the series is well executed.  It could do with a little more pizazz, but this one is a keeper.

Swamp Thing 13
Bought this one as it's a crossover with Animal Man, which I have been loving.  Unfortunately as a one off issue it's crap.  Well maybe it's not.  Maybe crossover issues are just not to my taste.  I prefer series that run by themselves, referencing the rest of the DCU but with little direct input.  A few pages of art are lush, but overall the inking is a little too heavy handed for my tastes:

Ultimate Spider-Man 16
I have been LOVING this series.  It is quite serious so if you prefer your comics lighter in tone, you should get hold of the Spider-men mini series.

Issue 16 is smack bang in the middle of the United We Stand crossover.  It starts off strongly with Miles deciding he should join the Avengers and assist the country in the throes of civil war.  Because Miles is 13 years old, Captain America says no way.  Then the military stronghold where they are gets attacked, and Miles helps out, and so the Cap'n changes his mind and lets Miles join the Avengers.  Rrrriggghhhttt. I sense editorial insisting that a Spider-mask is part of this event.  And then on the final page we find out the Captain is now President of America.

Sigh.  This is stupid.  The sooner this is out of the way and we can go back to Miles everyday life the better.

Angel and Faith 14
This was really good and made me regret selling my Buffy season 8 comics.  I may continue to pick this up on an ad hoc basis.

Justice League Dark 13
I've picked up the last 3 issues of this on an ad hoc basis and have really liked it.  I miss Zee's old costume and the pre 52 Black Orchid I was familiar with, but I do like the tone and plotting of this series.  This may get put onto a standing order.  Maybe.

Teen Titans 13
This is on my pull list.  It is a surprise success as the solicits looked awful, but it's actually great fun.  Ale Garza does the pencils, and I think I preferred his work from a few years ago, particularly the Supergirl issue he did.  This panel is particularly distasteful:

Cassie's new armour reminds me of Genocide.  But this issue shows us that her armour is linked to Trigon.  I'd really like to find out how Cass is linked to Wonder Woman now.  If at all.  I am not at all interested in Trigon.  But, the comic remains fun and the interplay between characters make sit worth the cover price.

On the plus side, while researching Genocide I found this handy wiki of Wonder Woman villains.

And that's my feeling on the last 2 weeks comics.  Not very optimistic is it?

It feels good to be doing reviews again :)