Monday, December 30, 2013

Miley Cyrus: Wrecking Ball

I just watched the video for this, first time I've heard the song too (I'm slack).

The song is actually quite good, and she's got a dead nice voice, but I can't help but think that she didn't really need to be naked or to be having sex with the demolition equipment for it.  I might go so far as to say the song would be stronger had she had her clothes on and not been licking everything.

If you haven't seen it, here it is:

Honestly, who's idea was this?  I really hope it was her idea, or at least that she was keen to do it, because the idea of someone pushing her to do this is just creepy.

Oh, and the opening shot of just her head is the only thing this video has in common with Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Moar comic reviews!

So I got those books back in November and I never talked about them.  Here's a few brief thoughts:

Supergirl: Part of the H'el on Earth crossover.  Actually not bad.  Didn't make me want to buy the other issues in the crossover though.

Sex Criminals I talked about on the last review post.

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion, probably issue 2: I recall thinking this wasn't as strong as issue 1.

X-Men: I had to ask friends who this lady with the make up was.  I liked this issue a lot.  Good shiz.

Harley 0: Great stuff. Really great.  Cleverly told, lots of different artists who all worked really well together. The unknown who won the competition turned out to be not so unknown, but my main comment on his piece was that it wasn't very interesting.  His work was technically competent and his style is very 'now' but it was also pretty dull, to my eyes.

Wonder Woman: I can't remember what happens in this issue.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A further Merry Christmas to everybody!

I have two more things for you!

- By Mike Maihack.  Visit his site here and buy the comic here.

Was the Hogfather a God?  Why not?  thought Susan  There were sacrifices, after all.  All that sherry and pork pie.  And he made commandments and rewarded the good and he knew what you were doing.  If you believed, nice things happened to you.  Sometimes you found him in a grotto, and sometimes he was up there in the sky...

- The Hogfather, Terry Pratchett.

Merry Christmas!

Have a great day everybody!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Old comic reviews!

Covering Cataclysm Ultimate Spider-man 1, Fearless Defenders 11 and 12, Sex Criminals 1 -3, Revival 15, Adventures of Superman (can't remember the number), Hawkeye (can't remember the number), Larfleeze 3.

Probably not got any spoilers ahead because they came out so long ago I've forgotten the details!

Cataclysm Ultimate Spider-man 1
As I said in my review of #3, this is better than the previous Ultimate Spidey issues.  And that's all I can remember.

Fearless Defenders 11 and 12
I am absolutely gutted this series has ended.  Despite the occasioanlly dodgy art, this is the series that I would, without a doubt, hand to new readers of comics, who like adventure stories, smart women and fun writing.  Fearless Defenders is absolutley bloody fabulous and it's a bloody disgrace it's been cancelled.

Sex Criminals 1 -3
This series is great and has beautiful depictions of orgasms.  It's not about people who committ sex offences.  It's about two people who stop time whenever they orgasm so use that opportunity to rob a bank.  It's clearly not suitable for kids, but it's not smutty or filthy either.  It's a breath of fresh air.

Revival 15
Much like issue 16, I have no bloody clue what's going on here.

Adventures of Superman (can't remember the number) and Hawkeye (can't remember the number)
I can't remember what happened in these issues.

Larfleeze 3
All I remember of this is humourous dialogue and Scott Kolins beautiful art.  Worth buying. 4/5.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Yule!

Woo-hoo it's the shortest day of the year!

For the first time it *really* occurs to me that the shortest day of the year also means the longest night of the year, which changes my perception of the day.  Previously I've always celebrated the Winter solstice for the extended light the next day brings.  Now, it strikes me that the longest night of the year signifies cold and fear and danger.  Or would have done were we still living in wooden huts in the middle ages.  But, these festivals are about marking the physical changes of the year and the symbolism associated with them, so I think it's appropriate to discuss and consider the psychological aspects of the light and the dark.

I mention every year that I hate the Winter.  I hate the cold, the dark and the general miserableness of it all.  I love Yule and Christmas because it gives us an excuse to celebrate and it takes our mind off the horrible time of year.  Having said that, it's been pretty mild recently.  Thank you global warming.  The trees in my back gardne only just dropped their final leaves and the birds didn't return to the garden for the birdseed and fats until about 2 weeks ago.  They just haven't needed to, there has been plenty of other food for them in the wild.  I haven't seen or heard a hint of Waxwings in Norfolk yet.

Christmas decorations went up a couple of weeks ago.  I haven't yet put up my Yule decorations, I'll do that tomorrow, once I've worked out where everything else can go.  We do however have a Ratotosk in the Christmas tree:

Now I want to get a Nidhog-dragon for the bottom of the tree and an Eagle for the top.

Lastly, I leave you with a link to the Norse mythology blog for the winners of their Midwinter art contest.  There are some lovely pieces in there.

Merry Yule everybody!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Bendy dolls

I've been on a bit of a Bendy Doll making spree lately.  So I'm going to show them off because I'm proud.

Supergirl, made for my niece, who at 20 months is probably way too young for it, but her mother appreciated it:

Aquaman and Mera, made for my friend @Kap_L, who is a massive Aquaman fan:

A pumpkin doll I initially made my friend's 1 year old, whose birthday is around Halloween and who is definitely too young for it.  I have since decided to keep this and get her a Christmas present that comprises less of a choking hazard:

This is the tutorial I used:
It's fun making them and they are pretty quick to do.  I plan to make more dolls for Christmas presents. Once given to people, I will post pictures up.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Thought Bubble 2013!

So last weekend I went to the Thought Bubble con in Leeds, and I had a fabulous time.  I went with an old uni friend and the Radio Bamf crew.  It was a really good weekend.

This is an image heavy post so I've put a break in.  Please do read more!

I brought loads of stuff up to get signed, and then had a look at the queues for Emma Rios, Jock, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction and thought no bloody chance.  I am just not in the mood to send my weekend queueing for a 2 minute chat with a creator.  I did however meet Richard Starkings and he signed my Superman/Batman: Supergirl trade, and I bought a book about lettering from him:
The message in the Supergirl book is Supes saying: You're really super, Supergirl!  He asked if I was a Churchill fan or a Supergirl fan, then clocked what I was wearing:
He said a few words about how Churchill was absolutely the sweetest guy to work with.

I also met Fiona Staples who signed a Superman/Batman comic and Lee Garbett who signed my favourite Batgirl issue:

I went to 3 panels - How they Work: Oscar Zarate, Frederik Peters and Ilya.  This one was mostly interesting for the people on the panel, not so much the topic.  Having said that, the panel did give me Christmas gift ideas and some of the art was very pretty.  We got to see in progress shots of each of the creators most recent books which focused various aspects of the comics making process.  How the panels are constructed to lead the readers eye in the correct path, how lettering and speech bubbles are important and affect the flow of the story, how to dry out watercolour paint - that sort of thing.  I'd really like to read Ilya's Room for Love now.

The second panel I went to was the Diversity in Comics one, on the Sunday.  There is a full transcript of the panel here.  From that post:
"Moderated by Louise Crosby of Leeds’ Laydeez Do Comics, the panel featured Mariah Heuhner (Angel, Emily and the Strangers, The Witching Hour), Howard Hardiman (Badger, The Peckham Invalids, The Lengths), Barry Nugent (Unseen Shadows), Gillian Hatcher (Team Girl Comic), Gary Erskine (2000 AD, War Story, Dead Boy Detectives), and Fiona Stephenson (Books of Magick, Judge Dredd, The Crow: City of Angels).

The panel was really interesting and I came away from it desperately wanting to buy the Roller Grrls comic.  Number one is out next year so I'll keep an eye out for it.

The last panel I went to was titled Dreams of a Low Carbon Future.  The University of Leeds has worked with artists and schoolchildren to produce a comic about the need for a low carbon life and the effect of climate change.  It looks amazing.  The book itself was free, so I picked up 3 copies and am very much looking forward to reading it:
 Here are pictures of some of the inside art:

In terms of comic shopping, I bought rather a lot.

I got Lament of the Lost Lands Moor and The Empire of a Thousand Planets from Cinebook.  Lament is really rather good, I haven't got round to Planets yet.
I'll put a review of Lament on New readers and, Planets as well if I like it.  I think I will.  It looks like it influenced Star Wars somewhat:
I think my next Cinebook purchase will be Thorgal.  That looks good.

I got the next instalment of Clockwork Watch and Magic of Myths:
Clockwork Watch is a steampunk story and Magic of Myths is a mythic story with a modern day schoolteacher.  Here is a picture of the inside art, just to give you an idea of the amazing colours:
Both comics are darn enjoyable.  I highly recommend you try them out.

I went to @pmbuchan's stand and bought his two latest comics, Blackout: YOLO (friggin wonderful) and La Belle Dans San Merci (based on the Yeats poem).  I want to put a review of YOLO on New readers.

I got the final issue of Sugar Glider, which is bloody great because it's about a Geordie superhero, operating in Newcastle.  They call their mums Mam. I mean, it's just great seeing a well written, well constructed British superhero.  And there's a group of heroes all named after birds.  Rocking.
 Halycon and Tenderfoot is a kid's comic I haven't read yet, but am really looking forward to it:
Daniel Clifford writes both series and is invovled with ArtHeroes, an initiative encouraging kids to do comics.  By all accounts ArtHeroes did pretty well over the weekend, which is great.

I also picked up a free Science Comic, which looks fricking amazing.  And I got 20 Peter David Supergirl issues, only 9 more to go and I will have the full run!

Then I also bought Spandex, which fully deserves it's own New readers review because it is somehow excellent:
I bought one more comic which I won't detail here because it's a gift for a friend.

The last couple of things I bought were not comics at all, but pretty cool nonetheless.
 It's awesome. I just wish I could remember the name of the company selling them.
I also bought this sketchbook primarily for the Wondy and Kara images:

You can find the artist at and
Finally, here's what I wore on the Sunday:
I'm posing with @jessienoochies.
Here's the view from my hotel room:

Here's the ceiling of the evening party venue:

And that is all I have the energy to write about!  If you got this far, thank you!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Interview with an abortion doctor in texas who has been outlawed from doing his job

From here.  I am going to crosspost all of it.


On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a new law in Texas that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a measure that has caused at least a dozen clinics in the state to stop terminating pregnancies. Dr. Lester Minto owns and operates one of the affected clinics, Harlingen Reproductive Services. I spoke with him last week as he awaited the Supreme Court’s vote.
Slate: Are you closed? 

Lester Minto: Of course not. I have nine ladies scheduled for tomorrow.

Slate: What do you tell them? 

Minto: That I do not do abortions. I cannot do them legally. And I tell them that I know that there are other things that people do.

Slate: What do other people “do?”

Minto: If they have a passport and enough money, they go over the border to Mexico and go to a pharmacy and buy misoprostol at a pharmacy. It is an ulcer drug, but it works as an abortifacient. It is not as effective mifepristone, which is the on-label medicine used in the U.S. But in these ladies’ situations, misoprostol can be a good choice. It is proper medicine in a blister pack from a proper pharmacy. Someone might even know how to dose it. But it can be an expensive choice. In the U.S., misoprostol costs 10 to 12 cents a pill. I have had ladies charged $80 a pill at Mexican pharmacies. Also passports are expensive and can take too long to get if you don’t have one already. Misoprostol only works up to about seven weeks after your last menstrual period. You need a passport now just to walk over the bridge into Mexico and back. Of course if you are undocumented this isn’t an option at all.

Slate: What do women do if they don’t have a passport? 

Minto: They buy the drug at a flea market. This is bad and sad and wrong. They are going to be buying things on the street. You don’t even know if you are getting the real thing. But these goddamn politicians ... Women are forced to crawl around like goddamn criminals. So I am here to help them.

Slate: How do you help them? 

Minto: I give them a sonogram to make sure they are pregnant—and if they are pregnant, to make sure it is a uterine pregnancy—that they have no ectopic issues or anything. Then I give them vitamins. Because if they decide to keep the pregnancy, you want it be a healthy one. If they decide to do “something,” you don’t want them to hemorrhage excessively. That is a risk if a lady is anemic. A lot of my patients don’t have great health care, so a lot are anemic.

Slate: So the women take the drug and ...
Minto: They stay close to home, and sometimes it all works fine. But if it doesn’t—or it works part-way, that is what often happens— they can come to me, and I can do “miscarriage management.”

Slate: That’s legal in Texas?
Minto: Yes, in Texas once a woman is vaginally hemorrhaging, it is legal for me to help her.

Slate: What does that involve? 

Minto: The same thing as an abortion. It’s just a change in words. It’s double talk. It’s bullshit.

Slate: Why don’t you just get admitting privileges at a local hospital and comply with the new law?
Minto: They won’t have me. They are religiously affiliated. So you know, Jesus.


Jesus indeed.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Link time!

I keep seeing cool things I want to talk about but not finding the time to do a proper post.  So here comes another link list:
Lesbians in Archie comics discussing the stress of a closeted relationship:
Advert advocating engineering toys for girls!
Or rather, trying to sell engineering toys for girls.  It’s an ace advert, go watch.
How to submit writing samples to comic publishers:
Steampunk variant covers for DC:
Fantagraphics kickstarter:

Loki meets some school kids and pushes one of them off her seat:
New Ms Marvel:
I’m dead excited about this.
DC moves to the west coast:
I feel sorry for the staff who now have to choose to relocate or lose their jobs.
Marvel animal variants:

A write up of the kid book group comics discussion from last week:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sexual harassment in comics

Over the last few days I have seen a few posts by women comic creators discussing their experiences of sexual harassament in the comics industry.  You can read them here:

Tess Fowler
Anne Scherbina
Mariah Huhner

Rantz Hosely gave his experience of seeing harassment towards women.

Rachel Edidin then offered her support for every con she goes to.

I've now just seen this post by Jamal Igle.

I was reading these women's accounts of harassment and they made me really sad.  Sad that women go through this.  Sad that men don't see how intimidating and scary their actions and behaviour is.  Sad that the women feel guilt and shame for something another person did to them.  After I'd read Mariah's story I talked to my boyfriend about it.  I recounted the times I've been harassed on the street and at work.  We talked about how I've never felt in danger when I've been drunk and walking home blitzed out of my mind.  My harassament stories all happened in broad daylight, in public spaces.  I won't recount them here.  I still feel shame at one of them, which I didn't talk to the boyfriend about, because it still makes me uncomfortable.

My boyfriend was quite shocked at Mariah's story.  At the email she'd received.  Remember that these are fellow professionals, colleagues, acting like this.  If someone in my work sent a sexually explicit email to someone else they'd be sacked.  Why is it different when someone is freelance?

As I was reading these stories and talking them through a few things occured to me.  This behaviour is not peculiar to the comics industry. It happens in all male dominated industries, and probably female dominated or equally balanced industries too.  For example, I believe that sexism is rife in the City - the financial people.  Blaming it on comics is not helpful.

This behaviour will continue if people continue to keep it quiet. I don't mean that the harassed women should be the ones to speak up.  I mean that people in the same circle who know that someone's behaviour is not on, is wrong, makes women feel intimidated, they should speak up.  When they see harassment occur they should tell the harasser to stop it. It is especially important for men to to do this because women aren't believed.  We are sidelined and dismissed.  When men think that other men approve of their behaviour they keep doing it.  We know this.

I know there are issues with speaking up and risking your professional career.  I would never expect the women going public with these stories to name names - that could be career suicide.  I understand how it's difficult to stick your neck out.  But, there have to be ways to deal with this effectively.  Maybe I'm in a third sector bubble. I know my working environments have on the whole been respectful and I've had next to no problems over the years.  Maybe at every publisher all the managers are dicks and engaging in sexual harassment.  I can't say for sure.  But unless people speak up about it and unless they back this up with their actions, women in the industry will never know who to be trusted.

If you know of a person in your circle who acts badly - tell other people.  Tell women. Warn them.  Tell a senior manager that you are not comfortable with what so-and-so did.  You don't need to issue a formal complaint, or bring up harassment charges.  You need to vocalise your feelings.  Add to (or start) a chorus of voices that says this is not acceptable. Start with throwaway remarks.  That's how cultures change.

I don't really want people to stop buying Brian Wood's books (or anyone else's).  If you want to, if you feel you can't give him money anymore, that's fine, that's your choice.  But I don't believe in mass protests like that.  It won't change his attitudes (if in fact they haven't changed since the incidents anyway) and it won't help the women he harassed.  I will add that I haven't seen anyone call for a boycott, and I haven't seen anyone sending hateful messages to him.  But I am concerned that this may happen, because it seems to happen a lot on twitter.  I just think that two wrongs don't make a right.

I am not excusing Wood's behaviour.  Of course I'm not.  I have less truck with Igle saying that the truth lies betwene both parties' version of events.  The truth for both Tess and Anne is what they experienced, let's not deny that.  Wood's truth is probably different.  That does not invalidate Tess and Anne's truth, and quite frnakly I have far more sympathy with them than I do with Wood.

I think that most harassers do not know they are being intimidating.  I think most think they are just being friendly or flirty.  But women are brought up to be scared of the rapist in the dark.  We are taught that we may get raped everywhere we go, and that it will likely be our fault, but nevertheless we can probably prevent it.  So when someone moves into our personal space, gives a strange remark, says something suggestive, looks at you funny, you get scared.  You don't shout back.  You make excuses, you stay polite, you go somewhere safe.  You hide.  We do this because if someone is already being threatening (whether they mean it that way or not) we do not know what else they are capable of.  Having your breast stroked, your bum or groin grabbed is not harmless. It's assault and it's scary.

What I don't want to see now is people derailing these women's conversations and talking about how people change, how they don't see sexism in comics, how the truth is somewhere in the middle.  I don't want to see people excusing Wood's behaviour.  I don't want to see tone policing.  I want us to listen to women's experiences and then improving how we react to sexism and harassment when we see it.  You don't have to be all high and mighty about it.  You can just say actually that's not on.  Or hey, don't do that.

What I don’t want to see is people feeling like they need to defend the comics industry, to say it isn’t all like that, that these are isolated incidents.  When this happens, it seems to insinuate that the women talking about their experiences are somehow outside of the industry, that their experiences aren’t valid and real.  It sets women against the industry.  Women are involved in the comics industry and they are being harassed.  I am sure there are plenty of people do stand up against harassment and casual sexism, just like there are in other sectors.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems.  I am concerned that there will be a closing of ranks.  An us and them approach.  That sort of thing is useful to no one.  There must be a way to talk about sexism and harassment that doesn’t make the women who have spoken up feel like they are being dismissed.  When that happens, (anywhere, in any industry), it encourages the feeling that you can’t speak up.  That people won’t take you seriously.  That in turn means that sexist remarks and actions keep happening.

The women that spoke up are incredibly brave and I think it must have been really difficult for them to write those articles.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Looking forward to Thought Bubble this weekend!

This Saturday I am travelling to Leeds to go the Thought Bubble comic convention.  I went last year and had so much fun - given how disillusioned I was with mainstream comics I just fell in love with the indies I discovered.  This year I plan to revisit the creators I found last year for new books, and search out more.  Kelly Sue DeConnick will be there and I am desperate to get her to sign one of her Supergirl issues.  There's some really interesting panels going on, and the British Comic Awards.  I'm meeting up with the Radio Bamf crew and hopefully other twitterers.

Like last year I have devised some sort of costumes.  My plans to be a thin Wondy have come to naught, because, well, my belly.  But fuck it.  It is more a homage to Wondy rather than a pure costume anyway.  Here's a couple of photos of part of it:

In my head there wasn't any fat muffin top over the jeggings, but it seems like there is.  perhaps the godl belt I have will cover those bulges.  Perhaps not.  If the weather is as cold as I think it will be I'll prolly be wearing a hoody all weekend anyway.

I have also come up with a Supergirl ish outfit, but as usual, a very casual one.  I'm leaving myself with two options so that at least one of the days I don't look all fat.  I apologise in advance if anyone I'm with is embarrassed by me.  I hope I don't look too foolish.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kid Book Group discussion on twitter tonight

Tonight on twitter is the monthly Kid Book Group chat.  This month, it is focusing on kids' comics.  It's set up as a comics clinic and I will be taking part as an expert (!) to give recommendations and advice.  If you want to join in, stroll on over to and 9pm (UK time) and follow the hashtag #kidbkgrp (note that it is a singular kid and singular book).  The chat will last for 1 hour, until 10pm.

#kidbkgrp is the brainchild of @chaletfan, a children's and young adult literature devotee.  She's great at getting people involved and stimulating discussion.  You can find out more about the book group here:

I don't think you need a twitter account to view the tweets, but if you want to join in you'll have to register.  You can have a look at the preparatory tweets here:

I hope you can join us!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Linky time

This will just be a list of things that caught my attention lately.  A long list.

Why zombies wouldn't survive long.  Or, why wildlife is bloody awesome:

A story that demonstrates brilliantly why teachers should be trained and regulated:

My Lai, sexual assault and the black blouse girl.  It's an explanation of a famous picture from the Vietnam war. ***Trigger warning***  Once you read the article the picture becomes even more upsetting.

Fantagraphics kickstarter for their 2014 Spring season:
An interview with one of the Fantagraphics guys explaining why they are doing this:

Aquaman marries Spider-Man!!  On a cake at least.  This is a great story.

Chinese movie theatre displays slashy Thor poster:

Independent bookstores can now sell kindles and earn 10% of profits from future ebook sales:
This is an amazing move and I'm so pleased they've gone down this route!  I hope it's not just limited to the United States.

An alternate Silver Banshee cover for Superman Unchained, sadly, it's not a Banshee story inside:

The set of the TV show The Addams Family, photographed in colour, it's quite pink:

The most revolting article I've ever read about food.  It talks about blood soup and maggot cheese.  It's really rough.

Possibly the best thing on the internet.  25 autocorrect fails:

Interview with Cher where she talks about Miley Cyrus, vocoders and Salvador Dali giving her a vibrator (or not):

Hope you've enjoyed them all!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Supergirl to become a Red Lantern

As of Green Lantern/Red Lantern 28 in February.

So that's what DC meant when they said they were moving her out of the Super family set of books.  Fuckity fuckity fuck.  I bet you I can tell what's going to happen.  She becomes the lead Red Lantern, sales don't do so well, her own series gets cancelled then she gets removed from the lead in the Red Lantern books and then we get to see bugger all of her.  Fuck fuck fuck.

Hells, reading this I'm nearly a Red Lantern.  Godsdammit.  Look, I like the Red Lanterns OK.  I like the rainbow corps.  However, Supergirl at her best has always been a fundamentally good character.  Friendly, sweet.  Before the Crisis she was almost saccharine at times.  She was naive, she was innocent, she was trusting and she tried to do her best by people.  Post crisis, we got Matrix.  A confused protoplasmic alien who chose to live with the Kents and become a hero.  Then we had the earthborn angel saga, where Matrix fused with Linda Danvers.  Linda was a nasty, violent piece of work, but by fusing with Matrix Supergirl she was redeemed herself.  She became a good person.  Then we had the reintroduction of the Kryptonian counsin Supergirl, who was an angry, confused mess until Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle made sense out of her convoluted back story and gave her a stable personality.  They gave her friends and relationships and a supporting cast and gave her humanity and a purpose.  And a desire to be a hero.

My point is, people don't like an angry Supergirl.  They don't buy it. Literally.  The post crisis Kara who was angry and violent and bitter was not received well.  The last series got good when Gates and Igle started, and made her a pleasant person to read about who wanted to be a hero.

What the fuck are DC playing at.

Now, trying to lok on the bright side here, Charles Soule is writing Red Lantern (I think?) and he's a pretty good writer.  he made the Superman/Wonder Woman issue 1 readable.  Nearly good.  So maybe this will work.  I'd like it to work. I really would. But I don't think it will.  Hopefully I'm wrong.

Prepare for more angry posts when this book comes out.

Incidentally, my boyfriend said that me typing this is the sound of someone wrong on the internet -  vocal silence accompanied by angry smashing of keys.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween.  I love the bright orange of the pumpkins, I love the idea of trick or treating (not that we get many round my way), I love the idea of costumes, I love the pumpkin carvings.  The fallen leaves are crunchy on the ground and there's a real sense of fun in the air.  I wish the UK treated it more like the USA does.

It’s also the night of the dead.  Both literally and metaphorically.  Literally, the spirits walk the earth and figuratively it’s a time for us to remember those we’ve lost and perhaps light a candle for their memories.  I’m lucky, I have had very few deaths in my life.  I found this prayer online today and found it quite beautiful:

Hallows blessing for the ancestors

To those whose feet are stilled,
And those who laugh with us no more.
To you we say, our love was with you here
And goes with you now to that place
Where you rest and take delight.
May your feet  walk along the coffin paths
To that place where all is fresh and green
Where lovers, friends and ancestors wait
With open arms to greet you.
Go in peace, and with our blessings
Or remain awhile this eve, with us
The living, and life and hearth, and love
Be rested amongst your own, this eve
This one night, this Samhain.
With countless turns of the wheel
We miss you, be near us this eve,
We pray ever for you
And we will met again, once more
When the wheel turns for us.
Pray be there to greet us, in that place
We will walk the coffin paths together
And bide awhile with kin and hearth
Until that time be near us.
Our kinsmen
Our guardians
Our ancestors
Our beloved dead.

Halloween is the death of the year.  The next 2 months are dark and dreary and miserable, and won't start improving till the Winter Equinox when the days start getting longer.  Roll on Imbolc I say.

Here are my decorations:

As you can see, I didn’t manage to carve the pumpkin yesterday, instead I shall do that on Sunday as I am visiting an art exhibition this evening.

Finally, I want to share this new Mike Maihack Batgirl/Supergirl Halloween themed strip.  Please do go visit the rest of his site.

There are some more interesting Halloween themed comic pieces on this Forbidden Planet post.

Whether you call today All Hallows Eve, Samhain or Halloween, enjoy it and revel in it!  Have a wonderful day, and if you've done any pumpkin carving, drop me a link to pictures in the comments :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Page of the week?

Definitely the page of the week.
From Larfleeze 4.  Man, I just love Scott Kolins art.  The colourist is doing a fab job on it too.

Friday, October 25, 2013

ASN newsletter October 2013

Here is ASN's October newsletter.  Please read and consider supporting them.  Or, if you want to sponsor me for my 10k training and subsequent race, the fundraising page is open for another 3 months:  PS: I got another donation this week bringing the total raised to £317.50!!!  :D

To the newsletter:
  • Brilliant stigma breaking videos
  • 4 Years in: Our 1,000th call
  • ASN in the News
  • Women we’ve helped
  • Putting the fun in fundraising
  • Events survey
Brilliant stigma breaking videos

The ifpa the ippf, as well as Decidir Nos Hace Libres have released two fabulous movies around the International Day to Decriminalise Abortion. Have a look at these wonderful tributes to the fact that abortion is a common experience for women worldwide.

Women have abortions every day. It’s just one choice.

Who are the women who opt for abortion?

Four Years In: Our 1,000th call

When we opened our virtual doors in October 2009, we had no idea what the future would bring. It seems incredible that two weeks ago we sent an email to share an ASN milestone: 1,000 calls to our helpline. As the result of our appeal, over £440 has been donated towards the next 1,000 calls. Thank you so much to everyone who donated! This is enough money for us to give a typical grant to three women. Or one grant to a woman in exceptionally difficult circumstances. It’s only thanks to support from people like you that we were able to answer those 1,000 calls - and the 15 calls we’ve received since we sent our last email bulletin. If you have been thinking of donating, today would be a great time! £20, £10, even £5 - whatever you can give is always welcome.

ASN in the News

New Statesman
“When will abortion become legal for women in Northern Ireland?”, quoting ASN Director Mara Clarke, the Royal College of Nurses, Goretti Horgan of Alliance for Choice and Dr Fiona Bloomer of the University of Ulster.

Women We’ve Helped

In September, ASN heard from 37 women, couples and families, including a number of young teens as well as several women who were pushed into later gestations as they struggled to raise funds. Here are some of their stories:

A mother in her 30s who was almost completely debilitated by the pregnancy, which made it increasingly difficult to hide. She did everything she could think of to raise funds but was still short, and was then pushed into the next price bracket, meaning she needed to raise even more. ASN was able to help her with a grant.

A woman who had moved from another country to be with her partner. When she arrived, he became abusive and she left him. Her visa has run out which is limiting her ability to work. We were able to give her information on accessing early medical abortion pills from

A single mother who was 16 weeks pregnant. She had gone to her GP for the morning after pill but was told that she couldn’t get pregnant because she “wasn’t on her cycle”.

The parents of a young teen facing an unwanted pregnancy, as well as serious mental health issues. Said her mother, “I know nobody can judge this because nobody has the right to judge this choice a woman needs to make for herself."

A young woman who initially sought our advice on how to obtain an abortion but then after several roadblocks were put in her way, she decided to continue with the pregnancy. She said, “I am feeling that although I did not want this child, perhaps it wants us! I simply cannot go ahead as planned with the abortion. I am full of fear and panic, but I will just have to deal with my own emotions before this person is born.”

A single mother who fell pregnant despite taking birth control pills.

A woman who travelled to England for a termination only to find that she was several weeks further into the pregnancy than thought, and as there was no doctor available to do the later procedure, she was sent home. An unexpected emergency required her to spend most of the funds she’d borrowed from a disreputable money lender for the procedure. ASN was able to help her with £700 towards the £1600 cost of travel and procedure.

A young mother living on the Isle of Man – where abortion is also illegal.

A foreign national living in Ireland who felt so trapped by the unplanned pregnancy and lack of family support that she resorted to self harming to try and induce a miscarriage.

Two women in the process of escaping abusive relationships.

We thank these women for allowing us to share their stories. Please note that all monies are written as GBP regardless of where clients are resident.

Putting the fun in fundraising

Thanks to? Doctors for Choice, Cork Woman’s Right to Choose, and Dublin Nights for Choice for raising almost €700 from running a race, fundraising at a panel discussion entitled “After the X Case, What Now?” and a collection at the March for Choice. Not to mention the sale of twelve knitted uteruses in Dublin!

And there are a number of excellent events coming up for all you pro-choice party people in Dublin:

19 October
Dublin Nights for Choice hosts a clothing swap with all proceeds going to ASN! Schwoop for choice! Click here for more info'.

27 October
ARC, the Abortion Rights Campaign of Ireland is hosting a book, zine and record swap.

15-16 November
Dublin hosts its first ever Festival of Choice! Two nights of fabulous acts with all proceeds going to the Abortion Rights Campaign and ASN. Find out more here.

19th November
And for those of us in London, SAVE THE DATE. ASN is planning an exciting, one of a kind event on 19 November. Stay tuned for more info!

Events survey

Did the events above inspire you? Or possibly frighten you off the idea of fundraising?
Fundraising for ASN takes all shapes and sizes and can range from having a few mates round to watch a film to organising a club night, and now those of you keen to fundraise have the fab Lydia to help you on your way. Whether you are interested in running a race, holding a bake sale or organising a club night, you can contact for help. To help us help you out with this, we’d like to ask that everyone who has done any fundraising for ASN to provide feedback through this super quick survey. Thanks in advance for your time!


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

Monday, October 21, 2013

This week's comics

This week I read Supergirl 24, Hawkeye 13, Batman/Superman 4, Animal Man 24, Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 1, Wonder Woman 24.

I think the surprise winner this week was Forever Evil: Rogues Revenge.  I do like a good Rogues story.  Animal Man is leaving me a bit cold, even though Ellen has now made up with Buddy, which you'd think I'd enjoy.  Supergirl was OK, a fast resolution to the Zor-El/Kara sharing a body thing, which is fine, but the art in it was shockingly bad for the most part.

Hawkeye I enjoyed but it's been so long since the last issue I'd forgotten all the background.  Batman/Superman was pretty but I no longer have any idea what is going on.  Wonder Woman was fab - the ramifications to Di becoming God of War are starting.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I did the 10k run!

I did it yesterday!  I didn't collapse, or trip over, or break my ankle or ANYTHING.  I did nearly turn my ankle once, but it wasn't serious.  I did it in 1 hour 11 minutes and 11 seconds, according the timekeepers, which I'm pretty happy with.  That means I was running at 5.17 miles an hour which is fine.  I also didn't come last, woo-hoo!

I did it at the RSPB's Lakenheath Fen reserve.  They hold an annual Race for Wildlife.  It's a suggested £10 donation for the entry fee and there are courses of 5K, 10K and 2K.  The 10K route takes you round parts of the reserve not usually open to the public.

I did want to do it an hour but as soon as I started I knew that wasn't possible.  Nearly everyone else there was from a running club and as soon as we started most of them tore off ahead of me.  I think I had a few seconds of attempting to keep up but very soon slowed down to a more reasonable pace.  I guess I could have tried to go faster and got a better time, but I didn't want to.  I just wanted to do it.

As I was going round, especially at the start, I wasn't sure I was enjoying it, it was just something I had to do.  I got a stitch fairly early on, then it went, then it came back close to the 30 minute mark (and came back again towards the end), so I walked for one minute then started running again.  At about 32 minutes I got to the water station and stopped for, I dunno, half a minute?, to drink some water.  I was told this was about the halfway point.  Then the track suddenly got a lot more uneven and I was forced to slow down.  The only other part I walked was down a steep 3 foot slope, and that was because I didn't want to fall down.  The rest of it I ran.  I'm quite proud.  Thankfully the reserve is really flat - it used to be carrot fields, so I had no horrible ascents to deal with.

As usual, I felt a whole lot better once I'd finished it than when I was doing it.  It didn't destroy me, I could talk afterwards and I could walk.  In fact, I went for a walk with my friends afterwards and we spotted this awesome mushroom.  At the time, I felt like I could have gone further, but I think that might be wishful thinking.  I was certainly glad when the finish line came into view.  Incidentally, my friends came first in the men's 5K and third in the women's 5K.  That's because they are superfit and do lots of running.  The winner of the 10k did it in 36 minutes.  I wasn't sure that was possible, until a friend told me the world record for a 10k is 27 minutes or so.. Christ that's fast..

Today I feel battered.  My right knee was hurting a bit last night, after I'd been sat down for a while.  Today I'm not in pain but I do feel a bit achey and really rather tired.  When I woke up yesterday I had a dead stuff neck - I must have slept on it funny.  After the race it felt much better and today it is fine.

Since I was running on a nature reserve I should probably mention the wildlife.. I saw swans, tiny moths (or possibly butterflies), dragonflies and I heard a bearded tit calling.  I'm pretty sure it was a bearded tit.  The weather was fine - it was warm and it didn't rain.  I was dreading it raining.

Would I do it again?  Yeah.  But possibly not for a while.

EDITED TO ADD: I lost my navel bar when I was running.  That's only happened once before when I was in the gym doing an abs class.  Obviously I was particularly sweaty on this run and the ball must have worked loose.  I'm quite glad I didn't also lose the hoop at the bottom of my navel (I have two piercings in my navel - top and bottom). Now to ebay to replace it.

In terms of fundraising (donation page here) for the Abortion Support Network, here are the results:

Total raised: £305!!!  I think that's worth saying again - £305!!  That's amazing!  Thank you to all my sponsors!
Money from me: £48. I think it should have been £46 but somewhere along the way I miscounted by £2.  So I've stuck with that.  I have included £3 for last week's training sessions that I didn't do, and £1 for the race itself.
Offline money from others: $20 (American).  I've counted that as £12.
Donations through the fundrasing page: £196
Gift aid: £49.

That's amazing.  That's really really generous of everyone.  Thank you!

Regarding the donation page, there's currently a glitch in their system where when you edit the amount of offline donations it forces you to change the event start and end date to a future date, so the event details now read as happening on 21st October, not 19th October.  I'll change it back when they've fixed it.  But you can still donate for a further 3 months, if you would like.  If you do, thank you!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 13, session 2 and 3

Man I'm slack at reporting on this.  I'll  explain why in a bit.

Session 2 - 43 min. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 3 times.
Session 3 - 52 min. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes.

So session 2 was fine.  It was short, it didn't leave me feeling invigorated, it just was.   It was cold though.  Session 3 I did today and I attempted to run up Gas Hill again.  I failed.  I'm basically lazy.  I'm sick and tired of running now and I'm a bit sulky that I still have to do it. It was OK earlier on in the programme because I knew I had to raise money and I knew that I had a long way to go to improve.  Now I'm pretty certain that I can run the 10k and I'm fed up of training.  And I've exceeded my fundraising target.  I'm also probably not going to be able to do sessions 1 and 2 of the final week's training because I'm away with work, so I'm grumpy about that too.  Perhaps I'll manage session 1 tomorrow before I go to work.

Today it was bloody cold outside and running didn't really warm me up that much.  Perhaps I should have run faster.  Running in the cold is horrible because I get cold nipples.  That is no fun.  Ugh.  Perhaps I should take a hoody out with me tomorrow morning.

Funds raised to date:
£44 from me - I'm donating £1 for every training session I complete, plus an extra quid for every additional session at the gym.
£161 from some amazing sponsors.
Total: £215
Gift aid: £40.25
Total including gift aid: £255.25  And yaayyyyy I've exceeded my target!  Thank you all ! So pleased!

$20 from an American (about £12.41 I think).  So I think that's about £267.  Aces!  Amazing aces!

I have also been told that Americans can't donate through my fundraising page on my donate, but ASN have improved their Donate pages: - and now you can pay by paypal or by standing order.  Please consider donating.

Finally, the my donate site is a bit broken so I can't update the total funds on there.  It should be fixed tomorrow so I'll try to update it then.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 13, session 1

Because I've got another week before my run I'm copying the official Week 12 plan. So this session was:
Session 1 - 60 min. Run 50 minutes.

It was fine.  I felt like I could have gone on longer, it was no great hardship.  I nearly didn't go out because the weather suddenly turned cold and blustery - it's a proper Autumn now - but on the half hour walk home I convinced myself to at least try the session. As usual, once I was outside it was fine.  The cold was kind of nice because tt  I didn't sweat like a pig.  I was (as always) using my stopwatch to time myself and when it got to 50 minutes I thought I was done.  Then I realised thatose 50 mins included the 5 mins of walking to warm up, so I kept going for another five.  I think I did 4.35 miles in total, at between 10 and 12 minutes a mile.

I'm planning to go out tonight as well.  I feel ready for the proper 10k race now.

Funds raised to date:
£43 from me
£161 from sponsors - thank you!!  Plus $20 from an American sponsor. About £13?
Total: £217 (ish)

Gift aid: £40.25
Total including gift aid: £257.25  And yaayyyyy I've exceeded my target!  Thank you all ! So pleased!