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!

Couch to 10k: Week 12, session 3

Edit: This should have been posted before this entry, but it seems I never hit publish.  Oops.
I copied an earlier session and did:
57 min. Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes.

It felt OK.  Then I got home and realised I was quite slow.  I don't have the stats to hand - I've been so busy I'm a bit delayed writing this.

I have one more week of training to go.  then I'm away with work for a few days then I do a 10k race.  eep.

Funds raised to date:
£42 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: £213
Gift aid: £40.25
Total including gift aid: £253.25  And yaayyyyy I've exceeded my target!  Thank you all ! So pleased!

Gift aid: £40.25
Total including gift aid: £253.25  And yaayyyyy I've exceeded my target!  Thank you all ! So pleased!

$20 from an American (about £12.41 I think)

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.

I should go out for another run either today or tomorrow.  Not sure which I'll do yet.

New comic kickstarter: Nutmeg

I got sent an advance copy of a new comic named Nutmeg.  It’s about a girls school and features a lot of baking, and is an all ages comic.  I think it’s going to end up as a detective/baking story.  In fact I’m sure it is because the summary of it says:

Nutmeg is a coming-of-age culinary crime comic about a pair of teenage girls who rise to power thanks to their criminally delicious brownies.

The art is done by someone who did the cover to Princeless: Tales of Girls Who Rock.  She’s got a pretty cute style.

I like food themed comics, especially those which focus on cake.  Anyway there’s a kickstarter for it: so go check it out!  I’ve donated $2.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Three things of merit

One is this article in the Guardian, an open letter to Michael Gove, our hated Education Secretary, questioning Gove’s statements and policies regarding schools.  It’s well worth reading.

This is a photo of cats waiting for fishermen to return:

Lastly, this bit of amazing news – Seeking the next Jane Foster!  I'll just copy the article here:
Marvel has announced the Ultimate Mentor Adventure, part mentor program, part contest, that gives American girls in grades 9-12 the resources to find and interview professional women in science, technology, engineering, and math, and then rewards them for doing it.
Natalie Portman has always been a consistent voice for greater screentime and opportunities behind the scenes for female characters and real women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it doesn’t surprise me at all to learn that she’s the first face you see on the Ultimate Mentor Adventure’s explanatory video. Portman talks about her character Jane Foster, an astrophysicist, amid finished and behind the scenes clips of Jane in Thor: The Dark World, and, while the bombastic music of the trailers plays, she says, “the truth is, I really do love science. And the role gave me an amazing opportunity to explore science in all its possibilities.”
That’s what the contest appears set up to do. With the resources on the page, eligible girls (they must be at least fourteen, in grades 9-12, and live in the continental U.S.) can find a woman working in a STEM job that they find interesting in their area, and also get tips on how to interview and introduce themselves. In order to be eligible for the big prize, however, entrants must submit a unedited five minute video in which they talk about their love of science, their experience interviewing their mentor, and what steps they might take to embark on a STEM career.
That big prize? A trip to Los Angeles, California, to a screening of Thor: The Dark World at the El Capitan theater on opening day, a screening where the winning videos will run as part of a documentary short before the movie. It’s hard for me to express how cool of a contest this is. Not only is it taking one of the oft diminished characters in superhero film (the love interest) and emphasizing that her talents are useful and achievable in the real world, it’s also structured in such a way that even girls who don’t win are given resources to follow their interests, and motivation to find out a bit more about their career opportunities.
Four for you, Marvel Entertainment and Natalie Portman, and I do hope that documentary short makes it onto a DVD release!
Recognising and celebrating a female character’s achievements? Check.  Relating this to women in the real world? Check.  Providing resources, opportunity and incentive for teenage women to get involved in STEM technologies? Check.  Doing something to even out real gender disparity in these sectors? Check.

This is a wonderful, brilliant idea and Marvel and Natalie Portman should be widely applauded for instigating it.  It’s made my day.

Couch to 10k

I forgot to add in yesterday's update that the run I did on Sunday was the first one since I fell over where my knees didn't hurt.  Hoozah.

I had some aches in my bum though.  I had a deep tissue massage on the Saturday which involved dealing with some really deep seated knots and as a consequence I could feel some points deep in my bum cheeks which ached the next day.

I am determined to go out running tonight.  The mind is having a strop but the body is willing.  i have my route mapped out and I aim to do about 5.6 miles in 50 or 60 minutes.  This will be my last big run before the race in a couple of weeks.

Oh, and here's some beginner's running tips from a friend's blog:
I'd add in go to the toilet before you leave the house and make sure you know where the public conveniences are.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Latest Wonder Woman fan film trailer

You can view it here if you haven't already.

Is it just me that thinks the choice of music, the lighting on Paradise Island and some of the posing and direction is, well tacky?  Perhaps a bit cliched too?  I mean I'd watch a full length film of it, but I'd watch anything with Wondy in.  They don't need to attract me.

Her costume is good though.

I'd be interested in what someone with cinematic skill would think of it.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Comic reviews

Spoilers ahead for Green Arrow 24, Savage Wolverine 9, Marvel Knights Spider-man 1, Batwing 24, Forever Evil 2.e GA title.

I would give you photos but blogger is not uploading my pictures. Grr.  Last week I got Ultimate Spidey (boring), Revival (not as good as other issues but still pretty good), Lex Luthor (good but forgettable), Black Adam (good and I remember some details), Doomsday (origin for Doomsday and young Kara - aces), First Born (good) and Adventures of Superman (fab).  I talked about them on Radio Bamf episode 30.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 12, session 2

Because I’ve got an extra week before I do my race I’m veering away from the training programme a little.  I should have done:  43 min. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 3 times. 
I did 4 rounds instead of the 3 rounds.  Incredibly slowly.

Really, today should have been titled How Not To Do A Running Session.
So I got up at 6.  Had a breakfast of porridge and then left the house 45 minutes later.  Thing was, I was still pretty full from yesterday’s dinner so ended up feeling a bit sick as I was running.  This made me slow down to a snail’s pace.  My stats for today are 3.68 miles in 44 minutes, at an average speed of 5.01mph.  The first mile was done in 10 minutes 36 seconds.  The second was done in 12 minutes 2 seconds and the third mile was done in 12 minutes 38 seconds.  That’s pitiful.
I decided to wear a long sleeve top as I imagined it would be very cold at 7.05 in the morning.  It wasn’t. It was humid. I got quite hot.  I should have worn a vest.

Seriously, this was a badly planned session.

Wildlife: I saw a ginger cat as I was running.  I also came across a dog that was proper growling and barking and so I stopped till the owners had called it away.  Bah.  I also got a few threads of spider web across my face as I was on the heath.  That was interesting.

I plan to go out again on Sunday morning and do week 11’s third session again.  Then next week I will do the week 12 running as they advise.  Although I might increase the 50 minute run to 60 minutes.  We’ll see.

A reminder that the running programme I am using can be found here.

A reminder that I am using this training as an opportunity to raise money for the Abortion Support Network who provide funds to Irish women so they can travel to England and access safe, legal abortions.  You can sponsor me here or donate direct to ASN - see info on their website.

Funds raised to date:
£41 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: £202

Gift aid: £40.25
Total including gift aid: £242.25  And yaayyyyy I've exceeded my target!  Thank you all ! So pleased!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Hey Kids, Comics!: True Life Tales from the Spinner rack

I got given a review copy of this book and so I shall talk about it.

Hey Kids is the brainchild of Rob Kelly, who I know as the founder of the Aquaman Shrine.  The book has been in development for a few years, and for the last couple of years Rob has been pulling together stories and getting publisher interest, culminating in the book being published earlier in September.  I will add here that I consider Rob an internet friend, so I guess I'm not completely impartial.

Anyway, what is the book?

It's a collection of 38 true life stories of how people found comic books - what got them hooked, where they found them, who they read, what they loved and the impact its had on their life so far.
Man, I've made it sound really dreary.  It's not.  It's a fabulous, thrilling peek into a huge variety of different lives, all with just one thing in common - glorious comic books.

There is one story from England, the rest are in the US.  There are a couple of women's stories in there.  All the stories are really well written, whether they are just a couple of pages or ten pages long.  All of them discuss the thrill of being thrust into new worlds where everything is Amazing! Fantastic! Marvellous!  Astonishing even ;)  There's the thrill that kids get reading books, where they just can't believe what they are reading - adventures seem mind boggling and the reader is overwhelmed with the immensity of it all.  They can do that?  People can fly?  He can throw a car over a building? She can do magic?  It's all a rush when you're a kid.

The first story is by Sholly Fisch and we find out that he loved comic books enough to get hit by a car on the way to the shop.
Chris Ryall talks about how he marks time through comic books - through new comic book day, through the specific titles he read, through big events.
James Kakalios writes about how he taught the physics of superheroes, to comic fans and non comic fans alike.  Is it realistic that Gwen Stacey's neck snapped when Spidey caught her in his webbing?  Answer - Yes.
Roxanna Meta talks about how comics got her cosplaying.
Ed Catto mentions the ethics that superheroes instilled in kids - he couldn't fathom why kids would steal a comic when the superhero genre is explicit that stealing that wrong.
John Zakour writes to Charles Schulz and asks to take over Peanuts... and gets a phone call from Schulz himself!
Jill Pantozzi comes to comics rather late, as an adult, but now tries to feed her nieces comics.

The comics code gets covered (of course) and the effects this had on reprinted Dick Tracey comics - all art and dialogue is left intact but the gun is taken out of the criminal's hand, leaving a gun shaped blob..

There's one very sad, very touching story by Tim Neenan, about why he doesn't read comics anymore, and it's because his brother was killed while serving in the army.  This story left me crying on the train.

There's stories of how comics helped get kids through difficult times, how Wonder Woman and Power Man were icons to girls and black kids, how parents threw whole collections out, how old Superman comics are about what a ten year old would do with Supes' powers, Spider-man musicals, collectors editions and number ones,  and more and more and more...

I'd have liked to have read more stories from British contributors, because we have a whole different comic scene over here.  We don't have spinner racks, we have magazine shelves.  We have the Beano and the Dandy and Bunty and Judy and all that stuff.  Not that any of those ever interested me.  Why would you read about school kids when you have superheroes?

There is so much stuff covered in this book and it's a joy to read.  It brought back memories of the comics I was obsessed with as a kid, and reminded me of my journey as a fan.  It's a really really great read and if you like comics, or comics history, or nostalgia, give it a look.

Here's a link to it on Amazon UK. I also talked about this book on Radio Bamf a couple of weeks back.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 11, session 3 and Week 12 session 1

Week 11: Session 3 - 57 min. Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes.
Week 12: Session 1 - - 60 min. Run 50 minutes.

Apologies for combining these into one post, but I did Week 11, session 3 on Saturday, then went out Sat night and battered myself into an exhausted wreck for Sunday and Monday.  I'm too old for late night parties.

Anyway, the run.
Week 11, session 3
I did very well on this session.  I did 4.64 miles in 47 minutes.  I did my first mile in 9 minutes 15 seconds, and the remaining miles were done in 10 mins 7 secs, 10 mins 45 secs and 10 mins 2 secs.  That's pretty impressive I reckon.  Parts of it felt hard - the inclines (Norfolk's very shallow ones, let's be honest) left me gasping but I soon recovered.  I had very few pauses at roads, only 1 I think, so the timing is an accurate representation of my speed.  I'm dead pleased.

Week 12, session 1
I did this one today, getting up at 6am to go out at 6.50 before work.  This one was my first time of a session with no walking breaks in it.  Or it would have been, had I not needed the toilet and so had a facilities enforced break for 2 minutes around the 16 minute mark.  C'est la vie. If I'd waited until I'd used my home's toilet I'd have never got out.

Despite that break, or because of it, maybe, this run felt easily accomplishable.  Is that even a word?  Anyway, it felt fine.  It felt easily doable, I wasn't really gasping at any of it and I felt perfectly happy doing it.  I did the exact same route as I did on Week 11, session 3, but I did it much slower.  It took me 50 minutes to cover 4.33 miles.  My average pace was 5.11 mph and my mileage times were 11 mins 44 secs, 11 mins 5 secs, 12 mins 24 secs and 11 mins 32 secs.  So much slower.  I'm not bothered about the slowness though.  I've proved to myself that I can run for a long time and that I can do so quickly.  that's enough for me.  I've also found a woodland based route that will take me one hour to do, so I'm happy.

In terms of wildlife, there were loads of unidentifiable birds out this morning.  The main thing I noticed though was the trees turning.  Leaves are on the ground and lots of trees are going orange.  When I woke up at 6am it was pitch black.  By 6.40 the skies had lightened.  I wore a long sleeved top and shorts and I really needed the top.  I've felt the cold wheedle into my chest for the rest of the day - it was a proper damp Autumn morning.  I do not like this time of year.  Well, it's nice seeing the sunrise, but I loathe the cold and the dark.

A reminder that the running programme I am using can be found here.

A reminder that I am using this training as an opportunity to raise money for the Abortion Support Network who provide funds to Irish women so they can travel to England and access safe, legal abortions.  You can sponsor me here or donate direct to ASN - see info on their website.

Funds raised to date:
£40 from me - I'm donating £1 for every training session I complete, plus an extra quid for every additional session at the gym.
£153 from some amazing sponsors.
Total: £193, towards a target of £200.

Gift aid: £38.25
Total including gift aid: £228.25