Monthly archives: September 2010

You have the right to be what we tell you to be 7

I discovered Richard Carvath in the run up to the election. I’ve been following him, and fellow self righteous bigot Stewart Cowan, on and off ever since because they can be amusing, In a face-palming I-can’t-believe-anyone-can-be-that-stupid kind of a way. I started writing about them here because arguing with them on their own blogs was a waste of good material I should be sharing with my readers. I hope it has kept you amused. However, it may be time for some of Carvath’s family members to perform an intervention. It’s possible he’s finally slipped over the edge.

Carvath is so proud that the Conservative Party taking his money and sending him a card that he has invented a group called STRAYTory (formerly straightory, which had, for about ten minutes, a blogspot blog here. Apparently-

STRAYTory is the group of social conservatives which campaigns for LGBT rights – specifically the right of LGBT people to go STRAYT.

Which might sound menacing if it wasn’t coming from someone who looks like Mr. Bean’s embarrassing nephew.

STRAYTory’s equally made up leader Jemima Babesworth (given Carvath’s fascination with all things homosexual, surely Jemima Beard would have been more appropriate) has invited him to be a bit of rough for a party full of posh totty and he just can’t wait. I’ve done a basic check on all this- Googling the organisation, Ms. Babesworth and the location of the supposed party- and got no results.

It wouldn’t be too much to conclude that Carvath now lives in his own fantasy world, where he’s being revered as a God-loving heterosexual hero. Perhaps he’ll stage the special party all by himself and post pictures of himself in a room full of primly dressed Real Dolls gurning joyfully. Or maybe he won’t last that long and will be found wandering through Salford with a bedsheet as a toga declaiming on the sins of fornication and homosexual-perversion before October’s out. I did tell him months ago that he needed help. He should have listened to me.

More likely, just, is that this is all a jape, an attempt to satirise the Conservative’s gay group LGBTory. I’m not sure how the satire’s meant to be working. Maybe I need to be a Tory, or Richard Carvath, to understand the subtle points he’s making.

There is a third possibility. Perhaps it’s all an elaborate I’m Still Here style confection, and Richard Carvath doesn’t exist at all. He’s just a character being played by an actor and it’s all about recording the reactions to this bizarre and unlikeable character and his descent into delusion. If that’s the case then I have to congratulate the actor on his convincing portrayal of a gullible and bewildered homophobe/closet case.

Or maybe this shadowy organisation really exists and is operating behind pseudonyms and with great secrecy. Perhaps it won’t be long until gangs of Tory men, determined to prove their heterosexuality, roam through towns shouting “You have the right to be STRAYT!” at any well dressed men or women with short hair.

I’m going to have nightmares now.

Two out of three ain’t bad

Two of the leaders of the three main parties in the UK are now on record as not believing in God. Ed Miliband admitted his atheism in a Radio Five interview earlier this week. I’ve said before that religion doesn’t mix well with making decisions which affect the running of the country. You only have to look at Blair and his cowardly cop-out about how God would judge his decision to go ahead with an illegal invasion to see the sort of arrogance and blindness it can cause.

Making plans for Ian

I’m always making plans. I’ve got to start following a few of them through. What I’m currently thinking is that next year I should finally take the Interrail trip I’ve been promising myself for too long. If I start working out an itinerary maybe it will keep me focussed on getting the money together and sorting out everything else. So, places I’d like to go-

Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s biggest model railway, which is in Hamburg.

The town of Quenast, which my grandfather named his house after.

My sister and her husband, though they’ll probably put me to work building walls or cutting down trees.

The D-Day beaches.

And more. I’m going to book a month long ticket, so there’ll be room for loads more. I’ll have to find out where people I know live in Europe. Though if I tell them I’m coming they’ll probably suddenly be out of the country.

Europe by train is only one of my plans. The big one is to up sticks and live abroad for an extended period. My current plan is Paris, for a minimum of three months, starting as soon after the Interrailing as possible.

I haven’t a clue, right now, how to make these plans happen. The first step is to work out how much they’ll cost. Then I can start thinking about how I’m going to raise the money. Another part of the plan is to have as little stuff as possible in this country to put into storage when I take off. So I’m clearing out my old vinyl, finding MP3s of most of the tracks is easy enough, and offering my books to friends- or selling them on Amazon. I’m never going to be able to strip the flat down to a futon and a laptop, but I intend to offload a large pile of stuff in the next few months.

links for 2010-09-27

  • People have just started moving into Abu Dhabi's planned eco-city Masdar, whose layout modeled on ancient Arab cities means it can withstand the region's heat while keeping its carbon footprint tiny.

    Buildings like the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology are elevated off the ground so that winds can pass beneath it and keep it cool. Elsewhere, vast fields of photovoltaics will provide solar energy to the city. And no cars will be allowed. All transportation will be via electric vehicles in tunnels beneath the city, which is supposed to eventually house up to 45 thousand people

    (tags: ecobuilding)

Not Ashamed? You should be 4

Not Ashamed is a campaign which would like to sideline anyone who doesn’t adhere to a narrowly defined version of Christianity. I found out about it because Salford’s wannabe holy politico Richard Carvath signed up to the campaign, which was an automatic black mark against it. On December 1st the Not Ashamed crew are going to present a petition to ‘leading figures in public life’ which will say-

WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is good news for our nation. He is the only true hope and solid foundation for our society.

WE CALL on government, employers and other leaders in our country to protect the freedom of Christians to participate in public life without compromising biblical teaching and to promote in our society the values that are revealed through Jesus Christ and that have so shaped our nation, for the good of all.

In other words they don’t think the opinion of anyone who doesn’t namecheck Jesus is valid and they want the right to be law breaking hypocrites. The freedom they seek will be to do whatever they can to restrict the freedoms of others, even when those freedoms are legally protected. One or two bigoted registrars refusing to perform civil partnership ceremonies isn’t going to stop them happening, but when they feel empowered to spit the dummy every time the subject comes up they will add unnecessary stress to the proceedings. And the suffering inflicted upon children awaiting adoption but denied perfectly capable parents because they didn’t conform to an agency’s ideal would be even worse.

No metaphysical entity should be used as the foundation for our society. The people behind this campaign should be ashamed for pretending that their beliefs automatically make them better than followers of other, or no, religions.

Post and Unpublish

I’ve unpublished Post and Publish, the novella bundle on the Kindle. It wasn’t selling. Actually, worse than not selling- the two times anyone bought copies they turned around and cancelled the order.

There’s no feedback to tell me why the collection proved so unpopular. I wasn’t happy with the cover, I don’t think it is attention grabbing enough. And the contents were a mixed bag- everything from technothriller satire to romance/sex comedy. I can just republish some of the contents in different formats and see what works. I’ve already done that with So Much To Answer For, even before I’d killed the anthology.

Sounds of Soldiers will be published as a stand alone on the Kindle at the end of October/ start of November. The current version- still available from Lulu– has another cover I’m not happy with. I’ve got a concept for the new cover and will begin putting it together when I have all the elements.

I’ve also removed Global Weirding from publication. It had a cover I really liked, the premise was quite neat and I enjoyed writing it (who wouldn’t with all those sex scenes?), but it just didn’t work as a published book.

links for 2010-09-26

  • If aliens ever land on Earth there will no longer be any confusion over who will greet them with the news the United Nations is set to appoint an astrophysicist to be their first human contact.

    Mazlan Othman is expected to be tasked with coordinating humanity's response to an extraterrestrial visit, if ever required.

    The 58-year-old Malaysian will tell a conference next week that with the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting around other stars, the detection of alien life is becoming more and more likely.

    (tags: aliens)
  • A group of retired U.S. Air Force officers are set to reveal how extraterrestrial visitors have tampered with American nuclear weapons.

    The six former officers, and one other enlisted man, will break their decades-long silence on the matter at a press conference in Washington on Monday.

    The men are expected to describe the ongoing and disturbing intervention of UFOs at nuclear weapon sites, including examples of how several missiles inexplicably malfunctioned while unidentified disc-shaped object hovered nearby.

    (tags: ufo)
  • Controversial plans to transform a city centre landmark into a hotel have been given the green light.

    Britannia Hotels won planning permission to turn the historic London Road fire station, near Piccadilly, into a 227-bed hotel, restaurant and bar complex.

    But the hotel chain, who own the site, remain at loggerheads with Manchester council who are pushing ahead with plans to force the sale of the Grade II-listed Edwardian property using a compulsory purchase order.

    (tags: manchester)
  • Greater Manchester will bid to be one of the first places in the country to bring eco-friendly electric cars to its streets.

    The region’s council chiefs are to apply for £4m in government funding to install a network of more than 400 plug-in points that allow motorists to charge battery-powered cars. They will seek another £4m to match it from private sector sponsors.

    (tags: transport)
  • Masked robbers viciously attacked an elderly military memorabilia collector in his own home – then stole two automatic rifles.

    The two guns – a Kalashnikov M70A and M16 semi-automatic carbine rifle – have been deactivated and cannot fire live bullets.

    (tags: crime)
  • Back in the late 1960s, Britain had a Ministry of Technology, which had the objective of trying to kick Britain's manufacturing infrastructure into the modern age. As part of that goal, the government built seven Bedford mobile cinemas, to tour the nation's factories, showing films about efficient production techniques.

    They were sold off in 1974, and were taken apart one-by-one until only one remained, which eventually ended up in the hands of vintage cinema enthusiast Ollie Halls and his partner Emma Giffard in 2005. They concocted a plan to restore the machine to its former glory and, in the spirit of its original purpose, bring it bang up to date with the latest technology.

  • Scott Brusaw is working on a project to encapsulate solar panels in high-strength glass capable of standing up to thousands of cars and trucks passing by each day. He estimates that a single parking lot paved with solar panels — even one where cars are parked — could power the big box store it serves, and a cul-de-sac paved with solar panels could take an entire subdivision off the grid even on a cloudy day.
    (tags: solarpower)
  • Meteorologists believe that the area of the Atlantic at risk of strong hurricanes is expanding due to climate change, after hurricanes Earl and Julia became the strongest on record so far north and east, respectively.
  • Bicycle designers from Hungary have revealed the Stringbike in Padova, Italy, a bike design that drops the common chain in favour of a wire and pulley system.
    (tags: bike)
  • They may look like something from the days of the Second World War, but barrage balloons have found a new, high-tech role helping British troops in Afghanistan.

    The 60ft-long drones are being deployed as hugely effective ‘spies in the sky’ to snare Taliban fighters before they mount attacks on British troops.

    Bristling with sophisticated cameras, radar and electronic listening devices, the large, unmanned balloons – tethered at over 2,000ft – send live film footage of enemy activity day and night to forward operating bases and eavesdrop on insurgents’ mobile phone and radio calls from several miles away

    (tags: weapons)

links for 2010-09-25

  • It's not quite an adamantium skeleton, but new titanium foam could revolutionize bone implants. The material can integrate with the patient's natural bone, reducing the stress on both the original bone and the implant and making the overall skeleton stronger.
    (tags: medical)
  • The racing driver, who played the character of The Stig for seven years on the show, said he was looking forward to taking on presenting roles of his own.

    He is currently in talks with companies for shows on terrestrial and satellite channels that will perform even more outlandish stunts than those attempted on Top Gear.

    (tags: television)
  • Forensic Entomologist Amoret Whitaker explains how the study of the fly's life cycle can help homicide detectives catch murderers, by giving them information about how long ago a person is likely to have died.

    Here she gives BBC News a tour of her working environment, including the 'insectory', at the Natural History Museum.

    (tags: forensics)
  • The world's biggest offshore wind farm off Kent has been officially opened.

    Swedish energy giant Vattenfall said the 100 turbines are expected to generate enough electricity to power 200,000 homes.

    Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is visiting the project, which has been built seven miles (12km) off Foreness Point in Thanet.

Let’s take bot-crossing global

I’ve been releasing GIs and Transformers almost everywhere I’ve travelled for the last three and a half years, an ongoing memorial to Andy. Now I want to step things up, and I’d like to enlist your help.

I want to send GIs and Transformers all over the world. So, if you would like your own numbered memorial soldier or robot all that’s needed is a small donation to postage and I will send you one. All I ask in return is that you send back a picture of them in an interesting location for me to publish. Any profit after sending out the troops will be donated to the JustGiving page set up in Andy’s memory.

White vans, man. Transfers for OO light commercial vehicles

White vans

There are quite a few 1:76th scale vans available for the railway modeller these days. But do you want the ones on your layout to have the same business names as everyone else’s?

This set of six liveries is available for smaller vans- as shown on the Escort van, but they should also fit Vivas and other little vans- or Transit size. Alternatively, I can create bespoke transfers for six different companies on your layout. The basic set costs £2.50, custom sets are £20.

Lost Contact

It’s fairly obvious by now, but Point of Contact has stalled. I hit a few weeks when I didn’t have the time to get a page done. Then those weeks became a month and on it went. It’s a shame, because I did some pages I was really proud of on the story. (I did some other pages which just make me wince, but we won’t mention those.)

Hopefully the story will return, but when it does I’ll have to back track a few pages. The action had shifted to Afghanistan, and that just wasn’t working. Add the fact that the situation in Afghanistan is pretty fluid and, at the rate I was drawing pages, events were likely to overtake the story before I’d even finished an issue’s worth of art. I shall go away and, should Point of Contact return, come back with a better first outing for the kids in their power suits.

I still want to do some sequential art storytelling, but future projects will have to be handled differently. It’s unlikely, next time I draw any comics, that I’ll publish any stuff here until after I’ve finished drawing it. I’d like to do some shorter tales, and possibly something similar to the old style newspaper strips. I’m thinking of dividing the comic pages into three horizontally and treating each of those tiers as a day’s strip, with occasional full page spreads to break up the rhythm. However, I only have some very rough ideas of what sort of stories to do. Keep coming back to find out where I end up going with this one.

links for 2010-09-21

  • Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s words of divine wisdom: “I do believe that atheists are parasites in the sense that they are benefiting from everything that religious culture has built in America, but they’re doing nothing to add energy into the system.”

    The purpose of this blog is to identify several examples of these nasty little atheos parasitus organisms, to demonstrate what a terrible blight they are on our culture, and to warn believers like Rabbi Lapin to stay away from them and all of their disgusting ways.

    (tags: atheism)
  • This year, ILM turns 35 years old, and to celebrate, the Encore cable TV network commissioned Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Leslie Iwerks to make a 60-minute documentary, "Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible," which will air on November 14, about the VFX house.
    (tags: filmmaking)
  • (more…)

links for 2010-09-20